Gwinnett wins fourth-straight despite another middling performance from Jasseel De La Cruz

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

-Clint Manry

We’re back with another week of Braves minor league baseball, now into Week 14 of the regular season. Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s action…

(53-54) Atlanta Braves

W, 6-1 vs. Cardinals

SP, M. Fried – (W), 6 IP, 4 H, BB, 7 K

1B, F. Freeman – 3 for 4, HR, RBI

RF, J. Soler – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI

CF/RF – J. Pederson – 2 for 4, RBI

Atlanta jumped all over St. Louis in the opening inning with the first seven Braves of the game reaching base via walk or hit, including a home run by recently-acquired slugger Jorge Soler.

Later in the inning Dansby Swanson knocked in a run with a single, as did Joc Pederson, followed by Kevan Smith (who grounded into a double-play). By the time the dust settled in the top of the first, the Braves had given starter Max Fried a five-run cushion to work from. Freddie Freeman added another run in the second when he belted his 24th homer of 2021.

Fried did exactly what he needed to do. The only time the Cards reached base in two consecutive at-bats was in the second, when Fried walked Tyler O’Neill and then surrendered a single of the bat of Yadier Molina. Other than that, the 27-year-old lefty contained St. Louis as he tallied 98 pitches (68 strikes). The scoreless outing gives Fried a 4.05 ERA through 97.2 innings this season. The trio of Jesse Chavez, Edgar Santana and Josh Tomlin worked the final three innings of the Braves win. Tomlin allowed an RBI single by Molina in the ninth, but the hit was rather harmless given Atlanta’s lead.

(42-37) Gwinnett Stripers

W, 6-4 vs. Charlotte

SP, J. De La Cruz – 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K, HR

CF, C. Pache – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 R

LF, P. Ervin – 2 for 4, 3B, RBI, R

C, W. Contreras – 2 for 4, 2 RBI, R

SS, O. Arcia – 2 for 4, RBI, R

Thanks to a sac-fly in the sixth by Yolmer Sanchez and an RBI triple by Philip Ervin in the eighth (scoring Sanchez), Gwinnett came away with its fourth-straight win last night.

Jasseel De La Cruz got the start on Tuesday and mostly struggled, however, the Stripers offense picked him up. Down 4-2 in the third, DH William Contreras did what he does best and tied the game with an RBI single.

Two innings later, with the score still locked up at four apiece, shortstop Orlando Arcia flashed the glove with an over-the-shoulder catch, in which he capped off by quickly firing to first base to complete the double-play.

Fortunatley for Gwinnett, following Cruz’s departure, a six-man bullpen came in and silenced Charlotte by working 5.2 scoreless frames and striking out five. Also notable last night was that Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud was active for the Stripers, starting behind the plate and batting third in the lineup. d’Arnaud finished 0 for 4 with a strikeout, but it’s a great sign to see him working his way back to Atlanta.

(45-34) Mississippi Braves

W, 7-4 vs. Birmingham

SP, B. Elder – (W), 7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, BB, 9 K, 2 HR

RF, G. Jenista – 1 for 3, HR, 3 RBI

2B/SS, W. Rijo – 3 for 5, HR, RBI

C, S. Langeliers – 2 for 5, 2B, RBI, R

The M-Braves had plenty of supporters last night in Birmingham as they won Game 1 versus the Barons, despite being out-hit 11-9. Mississippi started Bryce Elder, and despite allowing a homer in the first and an RBI double in the second, the righty managed to settle into his outing and end the night with nine strikeouts in seven innings – the fifth consecutive start in which he’s lasted exactly seven frames.

Wendell Rijo started the scoring for Mississippi with a solo-homer in the second, giving him 11 for the 2021 season.

An inning later, catcher Shea Langeliers tied the game again with an RBI double, and then Greyson Jenista gave the M-Braves the lead when he belted a three-run homer.

Birmingham couldn’t overcome the deficit, and Mississippi’s bullpen did a nice job of preserving the victory. The duo of Indigo Diaz and Brooks Wilson worked the final two frames in scoreless fashion and combined to strikeout six.

(37-42) Rome Braves

L, 5-1 vs. Greenville

SP, A. Puckett – (L), 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

RF, S. Michel – 2 for 4, 2B

3B, K. Josephina – 1 for 4, RBI

Rome couldn’t figure out Greenville starter Brandon Walter on Tuesday night as the former 26th-round pick tossed six innings of five-hit ball, allowing just one run and striking out eight. Shean Michel’s double was the only XBH of the evening for the R-Braves and five different batters in the lineup tallied multiple strikeouts.

Righty A.J. Puckett found himself making another start at the High-A level. Puckett has been up and down between Rome and Mississippi this season, though he has performed similarly at both stops. Last night he gave up a pair of runs to the Drive, but other than surrendering a couple of doubles he pitched fairly well. Puckett sports a 3.38 ERA in 29.1 innings this season with Rome, compared to a 3.15 ERA in 34.1 frames with the M-Braves.  

(34-44) Augusta GreenJackets

PPD vs. Charleston

Augusta’s series opener with Charleston was rained out on Tuesday. The two teams will instead play a doubleheader on Wednesday.

(10-13) FCL Braves

PPD vs. Pirates Gold

As has often been the case for the baby Braves, its doubleheader versus the Pirates Gold team was postponed. Following a scheduled off day today, the two teams will try again on Thursday, with Game 1 slated to start at 10 AM (EST).

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