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Braves Minor League Recap: Braden Shemake injured, Sam Strickland deals

It was a tale of ups and downs in the Braves’ minor league system.

Atlanta Braves v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

While it was a tale of woe in the big leagues for the Braves after getting swept in a doubleheader, the results were more mixed in the minor leagues as their farm affiliates went a combined 2-2. Braden Shewmake homered and then had to be carted off due to injury, Dylan Dodd pitched very well in a losing effort, and Sam Strickland pitched EXTREMELY well to help carry the GreenJackets. Lets get into the games.

Gwinnett Stripers 3, Charlotte Knights 9

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, .715 OPS
  • Joe Dunand, 1B: 2-3, HR, RBI, 2 R, .747 OPS
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3.27 ERA

This one went sideways quickly as the Stripers fell behind early and lost to Charlotte by the score of 9-3. Kyle Muller made his first start since 7/14 as he had been dealing with a broken bone in his non-throwing hand and Charlotte put four runs on him immediately in the first inning. Ultimately, though, it was not too concerning as there were a pair of errors behind him that made things worse and it wasn’t hard contact he was giving up. He was definitely rusty, though, but he recovered well enough to pitch into the fifth inning. Seth Elledge and William Woods pitched the final two innings and those outings were decidedly poor as they combined to give up four runs on five hits while striking out just a single batter.

Gwinnett’s offense came primarily from two sources as Braden Shewmake and Joe Dunand each connected for home runs. Unfortunately for Shewmake, that was not the only news related to him as he had a nasty collision out in left field on a fly ball with Travis Demeritte. Both players were laid out on the play and when Shewmake tried to get back up, he immediately went to the ground again and ultimately had to be carted off the field. Our initial look made us think it was some sort of left leg injury as it didn’t seem like he could put weight on it at all, but the situation was almost handled like he could have had a head injury. Hopefully we get some clarity soon and we hope he gets well soon.

Mississippi Braves 3, Biloxi Shuckers 5

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-4, R, .880 OPS
  • Cody Milligan, CF: 1-4, RBI, .629 OPS
  • Dylan Dodd, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4.35 ERA

Dylan Dodd pitched well on Saturday, but the bullpen faltered and the offense didn’t get much going until late as Mississippi fell to Biloxi 5-3. After back to back starts where he gave up four earned runs, Dylan Dodd bounced back with six strong innings for Mississippi on Saturday. He was off to a really hot start where he struck out the side on 10 pitches in the first inning and while he cooled down a bit the rest of the way, he still had a strong showing. Lisandro Santos came on in relief and just didn’t have any command as he walked four batters and gave up two runs on zero hits which doesn’t feel great.

The only multi-hit game of the evening went to Vaughn Grissom as he had a pair of singles and scored a run. The only extra-base hit for Mississippi came off the bat of Hendrik Clementina in the form of a double. Mississippi’s offense overall was held scoreless through the first five innings and while they did score twice in the bottom of the ninth, they were unable to rally enough to at least force extras.

Rome Braves 5, Greenville Drive 4

Box Score

  • Nick Clarno, DH: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Jacob Pearson, CF: 2-4, RBI, SB, R, .769 OPS
  • JJ Niekro, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 5.57 ERA

Thanks to four runs late in the game, the Rome Braves were able to steal a win over Greenville by the score of 5-4. JJ Niekro was on the mound for Rome and he was largely pretty good. High-A has certainly been a bit of an adjustment for him after performing really well at low-A, but this start was a step in the right direction even though he didn’t have his best command on Saturday, especially early on.

Rome got a surprising boost from an undrafted free agent on Saturday as Nick Clarno gave the Braves a pair of hits while driving in two runs as well. Not too often that you see a UDFA in high-A almost immediately after signing, so he is a name to keep an eye on as the Braves appear to be willing to be aggressive with him. Jacob Pearson had a multi-hit game while also stealing a base as well. Cal Conley just keeps hitting as he had a hit, a walk, and a RBI to bring his OPS at Rome up to .919.

Augusta GreenJackets 7, Delmarva Shorebirds 1

Box Score

  • Connor Blair, RF: 1-2, HR, RBI, 4 BB, 4 R, .724 OPS
  • Stephen Paolini, LF: 2-5, BB, SB, 2 R, .632 OPS
  • Sam Strickland, SP: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 2.70 ERA

Sam Strickland was the star of the show for Augusta as he was absolutely dominant on the mound in Augusta’s 7-1 victory over Delmarva. Strickland put up easily the best start of his pro career on Saturday as he struck out 11 over eight scoreless innings for Augusta. Strickland has been pretty good for the GreenJackets this season although we do wish he would limit his baserunners more frequently. An interesting arm that we want to see how he performs with more seasoned defenders behind him.

Connor Blair’s recent reign of terror continued on Saturday as he homered and walked four times out of the leadoff spot which seems pretty good. The season numbers overall for Blair are not great, but he has been a fun story for the last week or so. While it was mostly a bunch of singles and walks (aka the Augusta experience), it was still a team effort as four different players had multi-hit games and six different players drove in runs for the GreenJackets.

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