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Braves MiLB Preview: Tough tasks lay ahead for the farm as formidable opponents prevalent throughout

Mississippi coasts into the week against the worst team in the league, while the other three teams take on a trio of strong teams

Mills Fitzner

With the big league team streaking, the top half of the farm system looks to rebound from tough weeks while the Rome and Augusta look to continue on their strong play of late.

Gwinnett Stripers (29-31)

Last week: 2-4

Next week: Indianapolis Indians, June 14-19

The week started off with a hard 6-0 loss to the Louisville Bats and unfortunately didn’t get better as the Stripers won just two games last week. After setting the tone of the series with a dominant 7-0 against the Jumbo Shrimp where Huascar Ynoa threw seven hitless innings where he struck out six, while walking three, and the bats combined for 11 hits. Drew Waters led the charge for the offense that game going 4-for-5 with two runs and a homerun.

For the rest of the series: Kyle Muller put together a dominant appearance the following game as he gave up one unearned run the following day, while striking out nine, however the bats struggled a majority of the series. Gwinnett picked up their second win of the week on Thursday, with Nolan Kingham, Connor Johnstone, Victor Vodnik, and Michael Tonkin combined for a dominant no-walk performance in which the offense scored five runs in large part to Ryan Casteel who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI.

Gwinnett heads into the week in 8th place in the IL-West facing an Indianapolis team that is two games ahead of them in the standings. Starters have yet to be announced but the Indians come into the series ranked seventh in OPS (.771), and third in ERA (4.11) so expect a difficult series for the Stripers to try and rebound.

Mississippi Braves 26-31

Last week: 2-4

Next week: Birmingham Barons, June 14-19

A tough week for Mississippi against the top team in the Southern League saw them drop further in the standings and now find themselves 4.5 games out of first place in the first half of the season. Short starts was the name of the game last week for Mississippi as only two starters went at least six innings (Tanner Gordon, Jared Shuster) last week. Freddy Tarnok combined for just 2.2 innings across two starts last week, while Darius Vines was blown up for seven runs in three innings of work last Thursday.

Mississippi was held scoreless in two of the seven games (including Sunday of this week), and did not score more than two runs the entire week. CJ Alexander and Drew Lugbauer continued their solid seasons with both OPSing .818, and .848 - respectively. The rest of the lineup, sans Jalen Miller, on the season have struggled putting it together at the plate.

Up next for Mississippi is a battle with worst team in the Southern League - the Birmingham Barons. The Barons come into the series with a record of 22-35, and find themselves with a run differential of -49. Most interesting about them is despite the worst run differential in the league, they have the second best team OPS (.783) in the league…which ultimately leads to their biggest hiccup which is their pitching staff that has a team ERA of 5.69, while surrounding a team against batting average of .279.

Rome Braves 31-26

Last week: 3-3

Next week: Asheville Tourists, June 14-19

Despite being 4-6 in their last 10, Rome is coming off of a solid 3-3 week. After losing their first two games of the week, Rome picked up three wins in a row before falling on Saturday. A dominant pitching performance by Dylan Dodd, that saw him give up one earned run over six innings, gave Rome the win on Wednesday. It was followed up by a good start by Andrew Hoffmann (5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K), and Royber Salinas (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) for the other two wins of the week.

Offensively, the team continues to get good production from a trio of players: Cody Milligan, Justyn-Henry Malloy, and Landon Stephens. Stand out shortstop, Vaughn Grissom, went 5-for-21 on the week.

Rome taken the Asheville Tourists next. Asheville is third in the league in team OPS (.761), and fifth in runs scored (284). Their pitching staff, however, comes in at a league worst 6.50 ERA, league worst 1.65 WHIP, and second to last batting average against (.268). Look for the Rome offense, and the quartet of players listed above to hopefully get off to a fast start and help set the tone for a successful Rome week.

Augusta GreenJackets 31-26

Last week: 4-2

Next week: Charleston Riverdogs, June 14-19

Dominant hitting was the name of the game last week for Augusta as they combined to score 52 runs last week, including an impressive four game winning streak where they out scored the Columbia FireFlies 46-7. Nearly ever players saw their OPS on the season, improve during that four game winning streak. The starting pitching was absolutely dominant during that stretch highlighted by AJ Smith-Shawver (5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), JJ Niekro (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), and Jordano Perez (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K).

Up next for Augusta is the incredibly formidable Charleston Riverdogs who come into the series, tied with Myrtle Beach, with a sterling 40-17 record. Charleston is second in the league in team OPS (.746), third in runs scored (326), and lead the league in stolen bases (120 SB: 23 CS). Their pitching comes in ranked second in ERA (3.52), 9th in WHIP (1.32), and third in batting average against (.217).