Sunday, June 27, 2021
I didn’t have time to do a full report this morning, but I did make sure to at least recap last night’s M-Braves win given I was actually in the stands for that one. For the rest of the report I have just scores and a few stats.
I’ll get back to the full reports when I get home as we’ll have opening day for the FCL Braves on Monday.
(22-24) Gwinnett Stripers
L, 4-2 vs. Norfolk
SP, T. Toussaint – 2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K
LF, J. Kipnis – 2 for 4, HR, RBI
C, J. Lucroy – 2 for 4
(29-18) Mississippi Braves
W, 5-0 vs. Tennessee
SP, O. Javier – (W), 6 IP, H, 8 K
3B, W. Rijo – 2 for 3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
RF, T. Harris – 2 for 4, R
The M-Braves won its fourth game in a row last night, including its third consecutive series as this team continues to roll. I was there for both games on Friday and Saturday, and it’s almost like Mississippi is simply playing on a different level than its opponent.
Following Friday night’s walk-off win, which essentially featured the M-Braves B Team (the trio of Justin Dean, Trey Harris & Shea Langeliers was out of the lineup), last night Mississippi jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 4th when the hot-hitting Wendell Rijo belted a 427-foot homer to left. Rijo’s long ball on Saturday comes after he hit two in Thursday’s win, and the 25-year-old infielder is now sporting a .350 AVG over his last seven games.
The M-Braves scored two more in the 8th, this time with two outs as, following back-to-back strikeouts by Drew Lugbauer and Shea Langeliers, prospect Braden Shewmake slapped a line drive to right. The shortstop would later score from third when a routine ground ball hit by Jalen Miller was mis-handled by Tennessee’s defense, which wound up being a bang-bang play at first. The ump initially called Miller out at first, but after a short meeting with his colleagues the call was overturned and the run was awarded to Mississippi. The Smokies manager was not happy, and he quickly got himself thrown out of the game.
Reliever Matt Withrow pitched around a single in the final inning and preserved the M-Braves lead for the win. The Tennessee offense managed just two hits altogether.
The takeaway from last night’s win was definitely the pitching by Mississippi. Starter Odalvi Javier came out throwing heat and was even touching 96 MPH a few times in the 1st inning (though he settled in at 91-92 for much of the start). The 24-year-old righty has been solid all season, but on Saturday he was nearly unhittable as he effectively leaned on his heater while mixing in a breaking ball to keep batters honest. A little dribbler up the middle by the Smokies in the 4th was the only hit Javier allowed in his six-inning out. The Domincan pitcher will enter his next start with a 2.35 ERA to go with 47 strikeouts in 38 ⅓ innings this year — pretty impressive numbers for a non-prospect in his first stint in Double-A.
Almost just as impressive as Javier last night, Withrow came in and flew through the Tennessee lineup for the final three frames. The 27-year-old Withrow is another M-Braves pitcher that has enjoyed his 2021 season so far, and versus the Smokies he allowed just one hit, no walks and struck out five. Withrow cuts his ERA down to 1.71 for the year and is currently sporting a K rate of 11.6 strikeouts per nine in 26 ⅓ innings.
There wasn’t as much offense by Mississippi on Saturday — Dean had a rough game finishing 0 for 5 with five strikeouts, and Langeliers went hitless in three tries with three punch outs as well. But Shewmake just continues to completely turn his season around at the plate. Last night the prospect shortstop went 1 for 4 with a run scored, but he now owns a four-game hitting streak and has four multi-hit performances in his last eight. In that eight-game stretch… Shewmake is slashing .367/.406/.667 with six XBH and nine RBI, which has allowed his season AVG to creep up to .180. Even the pitches that he’s fouling off seem to indicate that Shewmake is seeing the ball much better now, and on Friday he barreled nearly every one of his batted-balls. It will be interesting to see just how big of a turnaround he has in him.
The M-Braves will wrap up its series against Tennessee today with a 3:05 PM (ET) game. The announced starter is A.J. Puckett, who currently owns a 2.21 ERA this season.
(23-22) Rome Braves
L, 5-0 vs. Aberdeen
SP, D. Vines – (L), 5 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 7 K, HR
C, L. Brown – 1 for 4
3B, K. Josephina – 1 for 4
(20-26) Augusta GreenJackets
L, 9-1 vs. Charleston
SP, M. Van Buren – (L), IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HR
1B, B. Horne – 1 for 4, HR, RBI
C, V. De Hoyos – 1 for 4, 2B