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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Cody Milligan doubles Mississippi to victory

Cody Milligan had his first big game of the season, taking charge in an offensive showcase in Mississippi,

Atlanta Braves Photo Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

It was a cold, rainy day in the south, and unfortunately that means the two most talent-laden teams were not in action as postponements ended their weeks. Gwinnett and Mississippi were both in action however, and one of those games went quite well thanks to Cody Milligan and Tanner Gordon. The other one? Well, in solidarity with Rome and Augusta, Gwinnett decided to take this game off in spirit.

(2-5) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (6-1) Norfolk Tides 21

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-3, BB, .429/.529/.750
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 0-4, .160/.160/.320
  • Yolmer Sanchez, 3B: 2-4, RBI, .316/.406/.316
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 9.00 ERA

Listen, if you want to skip this I won’t be mad. I promise. I wanted to skip it myself, but then I remembered that I signed a contract. For once, that score is not a typo and the Stripers got smoked (yum!). Offensively the bright spot belonged primarily to Vaughn Grissom, who has basically provided the spark of joy we need from this entire roster. With a 2-3 performance in this one Grissom has hit safely in all seven of Gwinnett’s contests and has yet to strike out in 34 plate appearances. Braden Shewmake saw another difficult night cut into his numbers, but he hit all four balls over 95 mph and thus far has hit more than half of his batted balls over that mark. The biggest problem early is that none of those have been line drives with 64% being ground balls. Still, hitting the ball hard is a sign that he could see improvement and since striking out four times on opening day he has only four strikeouts in his past 21 plate appearances.

The Stripers were having a regular bad day for five innings, trailing by a reasonable 5-1 score. Then the sixth inning happened and hope quickly died. Gwinnett allowed 11 runs in that inning to put the game well out of reach with the biggest positive being that none of the pitchers featured in this game seem particularly likely to be on the big league roster any time soon. Well, that is assuming that the half of the 40 man roster that isn’t on the injured list doesn’t also fall prey.

(1-1) Mississippi Braves 11, (1-1) Biloxi Shuckers 6

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, CF: 3-5, 3 2B, BB, 3 RBI, SB
  • Cal Conley, 2B: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, SB
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 1-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, SB
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 5IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
  • Jake McSteen, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA

If you made it through the Gwinnett game then congratulations, because Mississippi was able to avoid catastrophe and close out what was not as easy a win as they had hoped. From the outset this game was all about Cody Milligan, who drew a walk, stole a base, then scored on two wild pitches to put the Braves on top. One inning later Milligan hit his first double and with it doubled the lead for Mississippi. Drew Lugbauer had himself a good day as well, dropping in a double in the third inning then coming around to score on a Mitchell Tolman single for the game’s third run. Mississippi finally broke things open in the fourth inning and there was another Cody Milligan double smacked right in the middle of it.

After Milligan doubled to put runners on second and third Cal Conley drew a walk, loading the bases with only one down. A wild pitch ensure the Braves would get at least one, but Luke Waddell (who I am very happy to see back) wanted more and doubled to score two more runs and really blow the game open. Waddell then pulled off a steal of third base and scored on a single from Landon Stephens to put the MBraves lead at seven runs.

The Mississippi bullpen had a relatively easy job in this one, and it was helped by the strong work of Tanner Gordon. Gordon had a load of trouble with his first go at Double-A last season, but in his first start of 2023 he was rolling. Gordon pulled off five scoreless innings with three strikeouts and left the game after 74 pitches with a 7-0 lead. Gordon is not one we often talk about in terms of his prospect status, but is a solid arm nonetheless that is predicated on an above average fastball. He’s more of a low-end middle relief type arm in my view, but has raw physicality and has developed well as a pro.

Back to the game and as soon as Gordon was off the field the bullpen gave up two runs, but the Braves offense was simply too good to let that get in the way. Conley led off in the bottom of the sixth inning with a double, eventually coming around to score on a sacrifice fly to get a run back. Drew Lugbauer then fully made sure that inning was irrelevant as he cranked his first home run of the season to make it 9-2. The next inning Milligan decided he wanted in on the action and hit his third double of the game to score two more runs and extend the Mississippi lead to 11-2. Biloxi got a run back in the top of the eighth inning, but the game was still well in Mississippi’s control until a bit of a hiccup in the ninth inning. Trey Riley simply did not have it, allowing a hit and three consecutive walks to score a run and leave the bases loaded with no outs. Jake McSteen kept the walk-a-thon moving with one of his own before getting two key strikeouts to avoid disaster. McSteen walked another run in but never allowed the tying run to come to the plate as he struck out Nick Kahle to end the game

(2-0) Rome Braves, (0-2) Greenville Drive PPD

(1-0) Augusta GreenJackets, (0-1) Columbia Fireflies PPD

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