It was not the best of day on the Atlanta Braves farm system, but there were some big performances of note. Justyn-Henry Malloy hit two home runs to lead Augusta to a win and over in Rome Vaughn Grissom reached base three times.
(65-48) Gwinnett Stripers 0, (52-59) Columbus Clippers 3
- Drew Waters, LF: 1-3, BB, .234/.331/.374
- Johan Camargo, 1B: 1-3, BB, .308/.386/.512
- Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, .272/.344/.438
- Connor Johnstone, SP: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5.13 ERA
- Jay Flaa, RP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 6.32 ERA
Gwinnett’s offensive output was nonexistent on Saturday night and a big third inning from the Clippers was enough to sink them. The Stripers had a chance to score in the third inning when Yolmer Sanchez was hit by a pitch and Drew Waters walked to set up Cristian Pache with runners in scoring position, but Pache struck out to end the threat. It was the sixth before they did anything more and it was once again Waters who led off the inning with a single. Johan Camargo added a single with two outs to move the runner over to third base for the first and only time all night but Travis Demeritte grounded out to end their last breath of life. Cristian Pache managed an infield single with two outs in the 8th but it was also to no consequence as Gwinnett was shutout.
Connor Johnstone and the bullpen were handed the reins to this game and for most of it they were able to get the job done while the offense scuffled. Johnstone opened the game by tiptoeing around hits in the first and second to keep the game scoreless, but the game got away from him in the fourth inning. The leadoff hitter reached on a doule to spark another scoring chance and on the seventh pitch of the subsequent at bat Johnstone allowed a two run home run to break the tie. After getting it to two outs Johnstone once again gave up a home run which stretched the deficit for the Stripers out to two runs. That was really the end of the road for the Clippers as well as Gwinnett’s bullpen allowed one more hit the rest of the way to give their hitters a chance to crawl back in it. After Johnstone pitched a scoreless fourth inning they turned the ball over to Jay Flaa, and he delivered his best outing of the season. Flaa allowed a walk to the first batter he faced and then went on to erase that on a double play and set down the last 8 he faced for a three inning outing. Chasen Bradford scuffled a bit in the 8th and allowed a hit and walk with two outs but also pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Next Game: 9/12 @ (52-59) Columbus Clippers @ 4:05 PM ET
GWN: Kyle Muller (4-2, 3.08 ERA)
(65-41) Mississippi Braves 3, (57-55) Montgomery Biscuits 6
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-4, .225/.271/.392
- Hendrik Clementina, DH: 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, .202/.261/.411
- Shea Langeliers, C: 0-3, BB, .256/.332/.487
- Spencer Strider, SP: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 5.09 ERA
- Indigo Diaz, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0.53 ERA
Mississippi’s offense had similar levels of success to Gwinnett, but did have one big hit and a lead the pitching staff could not hold on to. Finding themselves down 2-0 already the Mississippi hitters went to work in the third inning and found themselves quickly in a good spot. Drew Lugbauer grinded out an 8 pitch walk with two outs and CJ Alexander ripped a double to put both men in scoring position for the bottom of the order. The bottom of the order delivered with Hendrik Clementina crushing a three run home run to give Mississippi the lead. That lead was short-lived however, as Montgomery scored two more runs in the top of the third and Mississippi never matched the success of that second inning. That home run was immediately followed by 18 consecutive outs before Jacob Pearson finally broke through with a single in the eighth inning. Trey Harris doubled in the ninth inning to give Mississippi a whiff of life with the middle of the order coming up, but Shea Langeliers struck out and Braden Shewmake popped out to end the game.
Ultimately, the blame for this loss lies squarely in the hands of not the offense, nor the pitching, nor the defense or baserunning. It is a casualty of the calendar as I unfortunately drew another Spencer Strider start and I accept full responsibility for what followed. Strider was never comfortable in the game and allowed runs in every inning he pitched while not completing four. The first batter of the game ripped a double off of Strider, and all it took was a wild pitch and a ground out to score him to put Mississippi in an early hole. The game then got away in the second as following a leadoff hit Strider allowed two walks to load the bases and then hit a batter to bring in the second run. In a glimpse of his potential he struck out the next two batters and got a fly out to end the inning with only one run allowed, but he was unable to turn things around. A one out walk in the third led to him coughing up the lead on an RBI triple and then giving it right back on an RBI ground out. A walk, a hit, and an error on that infield hit ended Strider’s day with one out in the fourth inning. Corbin Clouse allowed a sacrifice fly to score the final run charged to Strider on the day and then went on to pitch a nice outing. Clouse struck out 2 batters over his 1 2⁄3 innings of relief work and didn’t allow a run to lower his ERA to 1.93. He turned the ball over to the electric Indigo Diaz in the 6th inning and the unthinkable happened. Diaz allowed a leadoff double in the inning and then a base hit followed which scored a run. I repeat, Indigo Diaz allowed a run for the first time since July 10th. Diaz closed out a shaky sixth inning with no damage, then looked much more himself with a strikeout in a perfect seventh. Brandon White pitched two innings to finish off the day with one strikeout, one walk, and one hit allowed.
Next Game: 9/12 vs (57-55) Montgomery Biscuits @ 3:05 PM ET
MIS: Matt Withrow (3-0, 2.44 ERA)
(53-59) Rome Braves 3, (50-59) Asheville Tourists 15
- Michael Harris, LF: 0-3, BB, .293/.361/.433
- Drew Campbell, RF: 3-4, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, .275/.269/.647
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-2, 2 BB, .440/.571/.760
- Dylan Dodd, SP: 3 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 24.00 ERA
- Mitch Stallings, RP: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 5.31 ERA
I promise it gets better, but for now we just have to deal with this and we’re going to get through it together. Rome did not have a very together day on Saturday unless you count the pitches they threw coming together with Tourist bats for home runs. Rome found themselves down 2-0 after one inning but the offense wanted to show they could match blows and put together a second inning rally. Vaughn Grissom led off the inning by beating out an infield single and Drew Campbell broke the Braves into the scoring column with a triple. Carlos Martinez doubled to follow up Campbell and tied the game at two with no outs still on the board. Then Rome didn’t score again in the inning, Asheville put up a four spot in the third inning, and from there it just got kind of ugly. Rome tacked on a run in the fourth and guess who it was leading off. Vaughn Grissom drew a walk to lead off the inning and Drew Campbell ripped a double to score him for his second RBI of the game. The Braves got one more hit the rest of the day. Drew Campbell has had one of the more wacky lines we’ve ever seen from a player and his three extra base hits today contributed to that. In twelve games with Rome he has seen a ludicrously low 2.98 pitches per plate appearance and that aggression has led to him drawing no walks and having an on base percentage lower than his batting average. Still, his OPS remains high because he has fourteen hits and ten of those have gone for extra bases.
Dylan Dodd made his debut in a Rome Braves uniform and you already know how this went based on the score. Dodd was able to avoid home runs in the first inning, instead just allowing three doubles which brought in two runs to score. Dodd struck out the other three batters he faced in the inning in a fairly weird way to start a game. He kept that two outcome streak going with two more strikeouts in the second, then in the third allowed another double. It wasn’t very fun, however, as Dodd allowed an RBI single in the third and then back-to-back home runs to make it 6-2. His internship with Drew Smyly complete he was ready to take over the title of master and did so with back-to-back home runs to open the fourth inning before being pulled from the game in an 8-3 hole. If you’re keeping track, that’s four home runs and one out recorded. Mitch Stallings made it even uglier by allowing a two run home run later in the inning, but for awhile after the Rome pitchers kept it under control. Stallings skirted around trouble for the next three innings with the help of three double plays and all-in-all was able to give Rome some important length to save the bullpen. Enter: Marrick Crouse. Because 10-3 just wasn’t spicy enough Marrick Crouse went full Kyle Wright in the eighth inning and hit three of the first five batters in the inning with a pitch. The other two each recorded hits, so it was not going according to any mortal’s plans. Crouse ended up allowing five runs and capping off this stinker of a contest at 15-3.
Next Game: 9/12 @ (50-59) Asheville Tourists @ 1:05 PM ET
ROM: William Woods (0-1, 4.91 ERA)
ASH: Cesar Gomez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
(46-63) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (46-63) Columbia Fireflies 4
- Cal Conley, SS: 2-5, 2 2B, .221/.315/.336
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, 1B: 2-3, 2 HR, BB, 3 RBI, .274/.397/.474
- Landon Stephens, RF: 2-4, HR, RBI, .242/.351/.484
- Rainery Rodriguez, SP:4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 6.26 ERA
- Roddery Munoz, RP: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 6.49 ERA
If you have read this far you deserve this game. A normal starting pitching performance combined with a normal offensive performance to produce what I am being told is called a “win”. Augusta, down 1-0 after allowing a run in the top of the first inning, turned to their revamped lineup to turn things around. Cal Conley got it started with a double and then the red hot Justyn-Henry Malloy hit a two run home run to give the GreenJackets a lead in a game. Then the pitching staff actually, sit down if you’re not already, didn’t allow any runs and held on to this so-called “lead”. For like three innings, Then they allowed a run in the fifth BUT Augusta decided that hitting in more than one inning is cool and that everyone should do it. Cal Conley, please come to the plate. Conley led off the inning with another double and then Cade Bunnell said have a lead right back and had a leisurely stroll around the bases after ripping a go-ahead home run. Malloy made it a double, hitting his second home run of the game to extend the lead to 5-2. The pitching held and Landon Stephens delivered another home run in the eighth inning to tack on the final bit of insurance to get the score to 6-4. Stephens has gone crazy of late with four home runs in his past three games to bring him within one home run of the league lead. His 21 home runs are the most by a Braves Low-A player since Evan Gattis hit 22 in 2011.
Rainery Rodriguez got off to a less-than-ideal start for Augusta in this game and allowed two hits and a walk to allow a go ahead run in the inning. A throwing error and a walk had the Fireflies pushing again in the second inning but Rodriguez kept them at bay and clung to a 2-1 lead. Rodriguez only allowed one hit in the game after that first inning and over the third and fourth struck out four combined batters to finish those innings scoreless. This brought on Rolddy Munoz in the fifth inning, and the lead was no more. The first two hitters of the inning got hits off of Munoz and in his stretch of striking out the side to finish the inning he allowed a run scoring wild pitch. A two out throwing error on a ground ball back to him in the sixth inning scored a second run but he struck out three more batters. Finally in the seventh he was able to deliver a clean inning and a seventh strikeout. Malcolm Van Buren pitched the eighth inning and after retiring the first two batters on strikeouts the game got dangerously close to flipping. He allowed a single and a double to score a run and make it 5-4, then his control eluded him as he walked the next two batters to load the bases. With the tying run on third the GreenJackets went to another arm in the bullpen and Peyton Williams put out the fire with a fly out to end the inning. Williams pitched a clean ninth and Augusta was able to escape with the only win of the day.
Next Game: 9/12 vs (47-66) Columbia Fireflies @ 6:35 PM ET