The Stripers scratched Touki Toussaint from this game and decided to run out their stud ace Bryse Wilson to try to get this series back to Coolray Field for a game five rubber match. Wilson came into this game on fire and over his past 40 innings in Gwinnett had allowed a 0.90 ERA and looked to build on the seven shutout innings he fired against Columbus on July 28th. That didn’t work out so well, as three of the first four batters of the game knocked base hits off of Bryse and the Clippers were able to take a 1-0 lead.
The Stripers were quick to get that run back as Pedro Florimon led off the second inning, ran the count full, and on the seventh pitch of the at bat drove a game-tying home run over the scoreboard in right field.
Pedro Florimón knocks it out of the park to tie the game in the 2nd! pic.twitter.com/uJMLwivU2d— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) September 7, 2019
Cristian Pache came to bat with two outs in the inning and drove a double into left field on the first pitch of the at bat but ended up stranded on second base as a strikeout ended the inning.
Wilson had a bit of trouble in the bottom of the second inning as he issued a leadoff walk, but he forced a double play from the next batter and worked around a two out single. Wilson struck out the final batter of the inning for his second strikeout of the game. The Stripers went down quiet in the top of the third inning and then Wilson came out and gave the Clippers the lead on a Ka’ai Tom home run to lead off the third inning. Wilson had only allowed one home run over his past 49 Triple-A innings prior to this, a pretty remarkable feat given the way balls have flown out of the park this season. Wilson bounced back to strike out the next two batters and then got a line out on the first pitch to finish off the Clippers in the third.
Gwinnett came out looking to tie again in the third inning with leadoff singles from Sean Kazmar and Andres Blanco getting a rally brewing for the Stripers. Cristian Pache grounded out to score a run and tie the game up with his team-leading seventh RBI of this postseason. A walk followed to put two runners on, but a double play ended the inning and turned the ball back over to Bryse.
Bryse could not string together a shutdown inning for Gwinnett, as he allowed a leadoff double and then a run scoring base hit that put the Clippers back up by a run. A bunt single put two runners on, then Bryse got his fifth strikeout before another base hit loaded the bases with one out. This brought up Tom, who had hit the home run earlier, and Bryse was able to get him to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to escape a big inning and keep the deficit at one run.
In the fifth inning the Stripers broke through that barrier for the first time, with Jack Lopez driving a first pitch, two run home run over the wall in left field to put Gwinnett on top 4-3. Wilson came out in the bottom of the fifth ready to shut down the Clippers and got a strike out and then two ground outs to finish off the frame. Wilson allowed a leadoff hit in the sixth inning, but worked around it with weak contact and was able to get through six innings with the lead despite his early struggles.
Bryse Wilson final line 6 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Both teams traded zeros in the seventh inning with Tyler Matzek doing the work for the Stripers, so it turned over to the eighth inning where the Stripers looked to put the game out of reach with a big inning. Sean Kazmar Jr. led off with a walk, and subsequent hits from Andres Blanco and Cristian Pache loaded the bases with none down in the inning. Gwinnett made a huge misstep and failed to capitalize, with consecutive strikeouts and then a Drew Waters pop out ending the inning with no runs in.
The Stripers got two outs in the bottom of the inning, but when Dylan Creasy was brought in for Gwinnett to finish the inning off with a man on first base the game went downhill quickly. Creasy walked consecutive batters to load the bases, and couldn’t come up with the big pitch after going up 1-2 on ninth place hitter Connor Marabell and allowed a two run double that put the Clippers up 5-4.
Gwinnett made two quick outs in the ninth inning, but they were determined to not go down without fighting and Pedro Florimon and Sean Kazmar singled to put two runners on and the tying run at third base. Andres Blanco got down 1-2, and after fouling off a pitch to stay alive, he swung and missed to end the Stripers season with their series MVP Cristian Pache waiting on deck.
Cristian Pache final line 3-4, 2 2B, RBI
Pache was the outright star for Gwinnett in the three games he played this series, leading the team with seven RBIs, three extra base hits, five total hits, a .417 batting average, and finished second in OPS at 1.218 behind JR Murphy of all people. Pache’s three hits tonight led the team and his steady improvement over the past few weeks of the season and explosion in the playoffs gives strong hope that he will be ready for the major leagues come opening day even if the Braves choose to send him back to the minor leagues. Including the playoffs, Pache ended the season on a seventeen game on base streak, with hits during sixteen of those, and during that time hit .375/.403/.640 with twelve extra base hits, fourteen RBIs, and a 16.2% strikeout rate.
Drew Waters final line 0-4, BB, K, SB
While Pache was raising his stock through the rough for Gwinnett, Waters was quietly seeing the worst play of his season and that carries over to a tough postseason. He finished with a .528 OPS, and his most obvious impact on this game was the first pitch pop out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. Waters led off innings four times and only reached once, but he then stole second base and had himself in scoring position but the middle of the lineup couldn’t push him home. It was a great season for Drew as he put himself on the map nationally, but the end of the season proved some of the doubts we had about his readiness and it’s obvious he’s about a half step behind other Triple-A players at this point. That is unsurprising given his age and he really needed this test after cruising through the minor leagues. Waters will benefit from a chance to regroup, adjust, and rest this offseason and should come in hungry looking for a chance to break into a potentially crowded Atlanta outfield sometime in the middle to later portions of 2020.
The full box score can be found here and the MiLB tv archive here. That’s it for our minor league game coverage this season. It’s been a great year and we are incredibly grateful for all of the readers who put their energy into these teams and players and gives us an opportunity to do something we love and spread out into our little niche. Keep an eye out for more original content, potential upcoming interviews, and Road To Atlanta podcasts. We will have weekly coverage of the Arizona Fall League for those prospects, and we’ll be looking forward to another great season in 2020. Thank you all on behalf of the entire Talking Chop crew.