Braves 8, Giants 1
MVP: Derek Lowe. The offense spread the run scoring among several hitters, so D-Lowe gets the MVP nod for six shutout innings (and it doesn't hurt that he had a hit and a walk in two trips to the plate).
LVP: Nate McLouth. Two flyouts, a strikeout and a single. Not necessarily a bad day, but it earns you LVP when the team is firing on all cylinders.
MIP: Chipper Jones' third-inning, one-out RBI double to put the Braves up 2-0. If you're wondering why the second run is more important than the first in a game that the Braves controlled all the way, it's because Chipper's double also moved Martin Prado from first to third to put two more men in scoring position.
UotG: Offense. The Braves pitched well in this game too, but when the bats put across 8 runs, they're going to take home the prestigious Unit of the Game award.
Gwinnett: Kelly Johnson with two more hits in four at-bats in this game, and Clint Sammons, J.C. Holt, and Brian Barton also had two hits apiece (though none of the hits were for extra bases). Barton has the highest OPS of those three guys at .725, so only diehard G-Braves fans are really all that excited.
Jonny Venters had struggled with the International League until tonight, as he tossed seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, a walk and two strikeouts. His K/BB ratio is a bit worrisome, but he does keep the ball on the ground. And, like seemingly all of our pitching prospects, he's left-handed. Suffice to say he's been a pleasant surprise this season.
Mississippi: The M-Braves managed just six hits in this one, with two more of them coming from Jason Heyward (.388/.466/.673 since his promotion). Brandon Hicks posted a two-hit night as well, but he still has to go down as one of the farm's biggest disappointments this year.
Today was a popular day for under-the-radar pitchers to perform well, as Edgar Osuna went seven innings, allowing one run with four strikeouts.
Myrtle Beach: Just three hits for the team, so no one gets individual mention. That should be motivation for them to put together some offense tomorrow, since we know all players strive to be mentioned in the C-n-C recaps.
Continuing our under-the-radar theme, Jose Ortegano shut out Wilmington for six innings, walking none and striking out five. Lee Hyde pitched a scoreless ninth for the save; he's a Georgia Tech product who had Tommy John surgery last year, and could move quickly as a reliever as he gets his arm back to full strength.
Danville: Toolsy draftee Mycal Jones was just a single short of the cycle in this game, but he did draw a walk, so can't that be like a "modified cycle"? Cory Harrilchak is on fire of late; he had three hits in five tries in this game and he's 17-for-44 in his last ten games. Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg really really needs to be promoted, as he bashed a homer and a single in his five at-bats. It's just not fair to the Appalachian League that he's still terrorizing the pitching. Thirteenth-round choice Jordan Kreke doubled twice and tripled, but aside from the odd breakout game, he's been pretty mediocre.
Chris Masters, he of the supposedly unhittable "palmball" (if anyone knows what a palmball is, please share in the comments), threw six shutout innings, walking none and punching out four. Rehabbing righty Cory Rasmus followed with two innings; he struck out three but did allow a solo homer. I'm really rooting for him to get healthy so we can see what we have.
GCL: In Game 1 of the GCL Braves' doubleheader against the Pirates, the only highlight was Lance Niekro's six shutout innings. You could be forgiven if you thought he was a first baseman in the Giants' system; he signed a minor-league deal with Atlanta to try his hand at the family knuckleballing tradition. He walked three, didn't manage a strikeout in his six innings, and had an unimpressive 9/8 GB/FB ratio, so color me skeptical.
In Game 2, the pitching wasn't notable, but the GCL team did get multi-hit games from powerful left fielder Layton Hiller, catcher Christian Bethancourt, Dominican import Daniel Falcon, and last year's 15th-round selection, third baseman Jake Hanson (who's hitting .326/.431/.512 on the young GCL season).