Braves take series lead in San Diego, while a couple of prospects dominate down on the farm

Boy was it nice to see Ian Anderson back to his normal self, as the Braves again defeated the Padres by an identical score of 5-2 on Saturday, with a chance to win the series tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

The 23-year-old Anderson – coming off a walk-fest in last week’s outing against Cincinnati, featuring five free passes – appeared to have gotten over his recent control issues, as the righty effectively worked around a walk in the first inning, a solo-homer in the second and a harmless two-out single in the sixth before giving way to reliever Collin McHugh. I have to say, concerns regarding Anderson (if there were any), should now be withdrawn, for he mostly kept the Padres lineup at bay on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ozzie Albies continued his bid to reach 30 dingers in consecutive seasons, as the Braves second baseman quickly put the team up 1-0 when he kicked off the game with a lead-off, solo-home run. Already with four long balls in 2022, Ozzie has been an ambushing fool recently, which seems to fit him nicely given historically he’s always been a bit of free swinger.

The aforementioned homer allowed by Anderson in the second made things tied for a bit, but Atlanta’s offense struck again two innings later when Adam Duvall started a rally by leading off with a double in the fourth. The scoring threat, though, was nearly spoiled, as Alex Dickerson struck out and Dansby Swanson grounded out to third. However, Manny Piña came through with the two-out knock by going down and getting a solid pitch from San Diego’s Nick Martinez, on an 0-2 count nonetheless. The opposite-field single scored Duvall and put the Bravos up 2-1.

Atlanta kept the pedal down over the next two innings, scoring three runs combined in the fifth and sixth, thanks to homers from both Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna in the former inning, and another oppo-RBI for Piña in the latter frame. Each long ball was impressive in its own way, as Olson went the other way on a high-in-the-zone 93 MPH fastball and Ozuna’s came off a loopy breaking ball on the inside corner. Either way, though, both of these hitters are locked in.

With a 5-1 lead through six, all the Braves needed was some decent work from the ‘pen, and for the most part it got just that. After McHugh entered for Anderson and got a hot-hitting Manny Machado to strike out swinging to end the frame, he went on to get two more outs in the seventh, before allowing a ground ball single to Eric Hosmer. Manager Brian Snitker than went with Will Smith, and the veteran lefty ended the frame by striking out Jurickson Profar, but then another one of those two-strike homers bit him in the eighth as the Padres Trent Grisham went with the pitch for a solo dinger over the left field wall to make it a three-run game. It wasn’t a bad pitch by Smith. Just a better piece of hitting by Grisham.

Fortunately, Smith got himself out of the inning, and in the ninth closer Kenley Jansen made quick work out of a dangerous 3 thru 5 group, featuring Machado (strikeout), Jake Cronenworth (groundout) and Luke Voit (pop out).

This Braves-Padres series will wrap up tonight on national television, and it’s shaping up to become quite an exciting matchup as prospect Bryce Elder is slated to face San Diego’s Yu Darvish. Talk about a helluva assignment for the kid’s second MLB start! First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 PM (ET). Happy Easter and GO Braves!

Punch outs galore down on the farm

While I usually save these minor league reports for Mondays, I figure it’s appropriate to post a write-up when anything interesting happens down on the Braves farm. And let me tell you, some cool stuff went down on Saturday night. If you hadn’t heard yet, both prospect pitchers Jared Shuster and Tanner Gordon went off last night, combining to strike out 26 batters in their respective outings. The former ranks 12th on my Braves Offseason Top 35, while the latter came into the season ranked 24th.

Starting for Double-A Mississippi last night, Shuster worked around base runners in each of the first, second and third innings, but then went on to tie a Southern League record by striking out eight-straight Biloxi batters. The punch out total could’ve probably been even higher, but Shuster had to settle for a dozen strikeouts overall before rain ended the contest with one out in the sixth. The prospect lefty’s line was as follows: 5 IP, 2 H, BB, 12 K.

Gordon took the bump for High-A Rome on a night in which the R-Braves offense was without the hot-hitting prospect Vaughn Grissom (scheduled night off it appears). That didn’t seem to faze the 24-year-old righty, though, as Gordon struck out 14 Hudson Valley batters and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. After setting down a whopping 10-straight, Gordon pitched around two hits in the middle of his outing, before six consecutive strikeouts to finish his start after six inning. The dominance is a bit more expected coming from the former first-rounder in Shuster, but Gordon – who was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 draft – is a little less talked about. Well, it appears that could change this season, as the kid seems to be shooting for a Double-A promotion soon.

Other notables down on the farm from Saturday (which will also be included in tomorrow’s report) include more hitting from prospect Michael Harris II, who has now hit safely in all eight games with Mississippi. Also, Drew Lugbauer went deep for the third time this season, and Jefrey Ramos finally got in on the action by slapping an RBI double in the M-Braves win (snapping a four-game losing streak). Down in Single-A Augusta, prospect Cal Conley and much of the GreenJackets lineup broke out with nine hits altogether, but for the third time in the current series the team lost via a walk-off hit. Conley had a base-hit and stole two bases, while Brandol Mezquita finished 2 for 4 with an RBI and a walk.

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28 thoughts on “Braves take series lead in San Diego, while a couple of prospects dominate down on the farm”

  1. Jonathan F, JC’d

    On August 5-7, 1947, the Phillies arrived for a three game series in the Polo Grounds and lost all three 5-2.

    From June 29-July 1, 1980, the Milwaukee Brewers won 3 5-2 games in a row. They beat the Angels in the last game of a road trip and returned home to beat Oakland twice in a row.

    That’s it. The only two times in MLB history a team won 3 5-2 games in a row.

    Let’s make it 3.

    Oh, and for Chip:
    “Since 2019, no team has had two consecutive 5-2 wins until yesterday afternoon.”

  2. Instead of Touki, Gwinnett will be starting Kyle Muller today.

    Rest of minor league probables include Alan Rangel for Mississippi (hopefully he bounces back from a rough outing last time out), Luis De Avila for Rome and Landon Leach for Augusta.

    Weekly minor league report tomorrow morning!

  3. @2

    Clint…Appreciate you bringing your minor league enthusiasms, names and numbers, to these pages. We have lagged sometimes in these departments, go to it and thank you.

    Jorge Soler. A pleasant surprise to see our old friend reappear when switching on the Phillies and Marlins this afternoon, mid game. I wonder how he feels, World Series MVP and then this. Eddie of course in even more difficulty but at least he’s still a Brave, for now. Good to see 7/1 Marlins, late, about to take 3 out of 4.

  4. Watching the preview of tonight’s game, I have to say I like Matt Olson’s swing and swing plane better than Freddie’s. I never really understood how Freddie was so good with his swing plane. I’m no professional but Freddie’s swing always looked more like a golf swing to me.

  5. It just doesn’t seem like Elder has the stuff to pitch himself into and out of these types of situations.

    There ya go… mediocre stuff and he hits a dude…

  6. That third innings was more like it for Elder.
    Only one single was well hit, the walks are what got him in trouble. It happens.

  7. Dickerson should be the odd man out today. Demeritte wouldn’t be a worse option. 1-19 and a ton of non competitive at bats

  8. Feels like with nobody up in the pen we are semi punting on this with our inability to hit Darvish and the fact we will need the pen against LA

  9. Almost any random major league starting pitcher can have a great game when he has his best stuff. Every pitcher goes through games when he obviously doesn’t have his best stuff and struggles with command. Personally I think you find out more about a pitcher when the latter occurs. The latter is what’s happening with Elder tonight. I’m impressed with his maturity and how he has been able to limit the damage. Obviously, this kind of game should be more and more rare for him, but he’s shown me something about his character tonight. We are still in the game and he has a chance to go 5 innings. Not an outcome I was expecting after the 1st 2 innings.

  10. @14 he certainly battles and understands the stuff he has. The roof could have fallen in and didn’t and he again ate valuable innings and gave us a chance although the way Darvish is pitching it might not matter

  11. Figures the guy with 10.50 Era coming in is shutting them out.

    Braves kryptonite:
    Pitchers with ridiculously high ERA
    Pitchers they haven’t faced before
    Emergency starters
    Ex braves

  12. I gotta say, when ozuna is on, his batting stance / swing motion kind of reminds me of Sheffield, just a rapid uncoiling and hitting it hard. no where near as intimidating as Sheffield, but sort of a cousin of his swing.

  13. I think AA has already signaled he is done with Swanson after the season and will pursue an upgrade like Turner or Correa. He just has no approach at the plate other than pull happy, and his defense while solid is not enough to offset .248/.318/.407.

  14. Yeah, Elder was fortunate to only give up 2 runs tonight. But it is impressive that he didn’t just collapse and he fought through it to keep the Braves in it.

  15. @10 I don’t think they’ll dump a lefty hitter. So much talk about how unlucky he’s been. Since Acuna is only on the 10 day IL, they don’t need to create a 40-man roster spot. So someone with an option is likely to go to Gwinnett. Has to be Elder, Strider, or Ynoa. If it’s about performance only, I’d have to pick Ynoa. Not many guys on the active roster with options. If we needed a roster spot, putting Brooks Wilson on the 60-day IL would do the trick. If we have to DFA then it has to be Newk.

  16. 24 — Possible. But Dickerson is also redundant when the Braves already have 2 other guys in Ozuna and Rosario who will play left field /DH and make a lot more money. When Acuña comes back there just won’t be any playing time for Dickerson barring any injuries. Also, don’t forget that the 28 man roster will become a 26 man roster.

  17. nice post match concluding into the night…you draw and I’ll draw and likely we’ll both learn something.

  18. @25 – You make good points, but when Acuna returns, due to injury concerns I expect him to be more of a DH for the 2 to 4 weeks. They may decide to keep Dickerson around as an outfield option. Dickerson has never been great, but he’s better than he’s showing right now. Of course it would be hard to be worse.

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