Thursday, August 5, 2021
Wednesday night was a great night for Braves baseball as Atlanta actually won its second game in a row. It’s a winning streak! Also, down on the farm we had several 2021 Braves draftees make their pro debuts at both High-A Rome and Single-A Augusta. Here’s a look at last night’s action…
(54-54) Atlanta Braves
W, 7-4 vs. Cardinals
SP, D. Smyly – 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K, HR
SS, D. Swanson – 4 for 4, 3 R, SB
LF, A. Duvall – 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI
RF, J. Soler – 1 for 5, HR, RBI
Wow. This game turned out to be quite the performance for the Braves, despite a shaky first inning that featured three runs by the Cardinals. Starter Drew Smyly had all of us worried as he allowed four-straight batters to reach base in that opening frame, including a solo-homer by Nolan Arenado.
But Smyly actually wound up pitching pretty good through the rest of his outing. In fact, the southpaw surrendered another double (from Arenado) and a single, but no more runs, over his next three innings. Not too shabby for a guy that was down 3-0 with just one out in the first.
The Braves offense waited until the fourth to strike, and it was outfielder Guillermo Heredia that came up with the RBI single to put the team within two runs.
Then, in the following inning with two outs, Jorge Soler instantly made it a one-run game when he absolutely pummeled one to straight-away center.
And then our old buddy Adam Duvall gave the Braves the lead in the sixth. Following a single by Dansby Swanson, Duvall turned on a 99-MPH fastball and drove it over the left-center wall for his first homer with the team this season.
The Cards tied it up in the seventh, but the Braves tacked on three more runs in the eighth, thanks to a sac-fly by Stephen Vogt and a double by Joc Pederson that ended up giving St. Louis fits in the outfield grass.
It was another big night for Dansby, who’s coming off a strong month of July hitting .298 with seven homers and 10 doubles. The shortstop has had several three-hit finishes this season (seven to be exact), but last night’s four-hit performance was his first of the year. If you want to read an interesting piece on Swanson, Talking Chop just put a nice one out on Wednesday.
(43-37) Gwinnett Stripers
W, 4-1 vs. Charlotte
SP, J. Rodriguez – (W), 5 IP, 2 H, 4 K
3B, J. Camargo – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
C, W. Contreras – 1 for 4, 2B
Gwinnett’s three-run first inning, which included Johan Camargo’s 10th home run of the year, was really all they needed on Wednesday as the Stripers rode some solid pitching from starter Jose Rodriguez, as well as several major league relievers. The 25-year-old Rodriguez worked five scoreless frames and set down the first eight Charlotte batters he faced before allowing a single. The strong start was certainly needed as Rodriguez will head into his next outing with a 6.93 ERA for the 2021 season. The quartet of Dylan Lee, Jesse Biddle, Sean Newcomb and AJ Minter worked the final four innings, allowing just one run and striking out six.
Camargo led the way in the lineup, although all of Orlando Aricia, Cristian Pache, William Contreras, Yolmer Sanchez and Philip Ervin recorded at least one hit for the Stripers, with Ervin finishing 2 for 4 and picking up his 11th stolen base of the season.
(45-35) Mississippi Braves
L, 1-0 (F/11) vs. Birmingham
SP, F. Tarnok – 6 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 6 K
SS, B. Shewmake – 2 for 5
DH, C. Alexander – 1 for 5, 2B
The M-Braves and Barons battled it out in a pitcher’s duel last night as Mississippi’s Freddy Tarnok and Birmingham’s Kade McClure combined for 13 strikeouts. Even after the two starters left, neither offense could manage a run… until B-ham walked it off in the bottom of the 11th with a fielder’s choice.
And though it was a disappointing night for the Mississippi offense, the defense was mighty fine. First it was Trey Harris with a snag in foul territory…
Then… it was catcher Shea Langeliers sniping folks on the base paths in the fourth…
And finally, perhaps the play of the game, shortstop Braden Shewmake showed us his inner Derek Jeter with an absolute gem of a throw while falling off balance…
The main takeaway here, though, is that despite walking four, Tarnok had all his pitches working well on Wednesday. And according to MiLB.com’s Chris Harris, the righty’s fastball was touching 97-98 at the start of his outing. That will play, folks.
(37-43) Rome Braves
L, 5-4 vs. Greenville
SP, J. Shuster – 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR
DH, S. Michel – 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI, SB
C, R. Estrada – 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI
RF, M. Harris – 1 for 4, R, BB, SB
Boy it was a rough night for reliever Justin Yeager, who, after entering the game with a 4-3 lead in the seventh, spoiled a potential win for Rome when he tossed a wild pitch in both the seventh and eighth innings. The loss was unfortunate; however, starter Jared Shuster did pitch a solid four innings, ending his start with seven strikeouts and three earned runs from four hits.
There was a bit of excitement leading up to the R-Braves game last night, stemming from the announcement of the starting lineup, which featured 2021 draftee Luke Waddell. The fifth-round pick from last month started at shortstop for Rome and batted second, although he finished the game 0 for 3. The top performer on offense was once again Shean Michel, who has gotten hot lately. Michel is still hitting under .230 for the season, however, he’s 4 for 7 over his last pair of games. Welcome to the pros, Luke Waddell!
(34-46) Augusta GreenJackets
L, 3-1 vs. Charleston
L, 4-3 (9 inn.) vs. Charleston
SP, T. Gordon – (L), 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, BB, 7 K
SP, J. Acuna – 3 IP, 2 K
1B, B. Horne – 2 for 7, 2 2B, RBI
RF/LF, L. Stephens – 2 for 7, RBI, R
Augusta dropped both games of its double header, but it was a good night for a few 2021 draftees to make their pro debuts. Sixth-round pick Justyn-Henry Malloy started at third base and batted seventh in the GreenJackets lineup in Game 1, followed by both Cal Conley (fourth round), Christian Robinson (15th) and Tyler Tolve (17th) who all started in Game 2. Of the lot, only Conley – who started at shortstop and led off for Augusta in the latter game – managed to record his first hit.
Tanner Gordon started Game 1 for the GreenJackets, and as usual this season, the righty pitched well. Gordon got stuck with the loss but the offense didn’t give him much help by only managing four hits overall as a team. James Acuna, who recently earned a promotion from the FCL team, pitched Game 2. Acuna only threw 35 pitches in the outing, and did pretty well too, but again, the GreenJackets offense only tallied five hits in the loss.