Went to Raley Field last night to watch the AAA Giants play AAA Atheltics. First time to Raley Field. Nice park. Intimate setting. Like many minor league ballparks, there is little foul territory, so the seating seems like it is right on the field. We sat on the first base line, about 25 feet from the Giants dugout. When you see how little foul territory there is, it helps you understand why Minor League pitchers can naturally have a higher ERA. Pitchers make good pitches, induce foul pop-ups, yet most of those foul popups make the stands.
It was $2 beer night, so a healthy crowd was in attendance. Even though it was an Athletics ballpark, I would say at least 40 percent of the fans were obvious Giants fans. The signature item on the menu, was the Dinger Dog. Dinger is the Athletics AAA mascot. A Dinger Dog, is a 1 lb sausage, about a foot long, on a sourdough roll, smothered in Chili, and smothered again, in hot Nacho Cheese. There was a teenager sitting next to us, who consumed this item, without the benefit of a napkin. Chili, and Cheese was oozing everywhere, yet not a drop hit the ground. I thought there was no way, that kid could eat that thing without, getting Chili and Cheese all over himself, and for sure we thought, somehow, we would be collateral damage too. Not a drop of Cheese or Chili came our way.
Brown leading off in CF. Perez in RF. Francouer in LF. Pill at 1B. Kieschnick at DH. Dominguez at 3B. Adrianza at SS. Williams at C. Villegas at 2B. Surkamp the starting Pitcher.
Surkamp pitched out of trouble all night. His fastball ranged from 88 MPH to 86 MPH. On the whole he kept his pitches down. We walked 6 and hit one batter, so he struggled with command all night. I think the Ump hosed him on a number of breaking pitches though. At least a half dozen times, Williams would catch a breaking pitch, and hold the glove frozen in a spot, and the Ump would not make the Strike call. Somehow Surkamp pitched out of trouble, but in the 4th he had a 32 pitch inning. He performed a Houdini act to get out of the inning without giving up a run, aided by some great defense.
Some commentary on the position players. Brown does not look ready. He still has happy hands at the plate. He holds his hands close to his chest, then as the pitcher starts his motion to the plate, Brown pulls his hands back. If the pitcher throws hard, then Brown has to reverse the movement of his hands to attack the pitch. The Athletics starter threw consistently 91 MPH + all night, and all Brown could do with hittable fastballs, was foul them off or swing and miss.
Perez, looks great. At the plate and on the field. Perez had 4 hits and was the offensive star of the game. He also, ranged far to his right to snag a line drive in the gap to kill an Athletics rally. He made a difficult play look easy.
Francouer, looks done. An Ofer. Weak ground balls, and a pop up on the first pitch in the 9th, with one out, and the bases loaded.
Pill. He plays with a lot of confidence. He hunts fastballs. His first time up, he crushed a bunch of balls foul, then he walked. His second time up, he got a first pitch fastball, and killed it, but it was a mile high, and was caught at the fence. The Athletics pitchers then decided to throw him off speed pitches, and he went out quietly after that.
Kieschnick looked good at the plate. He had a couple of loud outs, and RBI single off the end of the bat.
Dominquez, looks comfortable in the field. Strong arm, not a lot of range, but decent glove. Dominguez though has a serious upper cut in his swing. His bat does not stay on a level plane. How he is hitting .290+ is a mystery to me. When he is pounded inside with a Fastball, his upper cut swing becomes more pronounced. He too took an Ofer.
Adrianza, has quick hands and decent arm. Quick hands too at the plate. He dropped an easy pop up in the 8th, that put two on with no out.
Williams hit a couple of warning track outs to Center field. More line drives, than fly balls. He had one passed ball, and had two or three more that could have been passed balls. With runners on base, he seems to take his eye off the ball at bit, causing him to not catch pitches cleanly.
Villegas looked pretty good. Patient at the plate 3 walks. One hard hit triple. Plays with a calm confidence. Solid at 2B. Does not appear to have great range, but a good glove.
Relief pitchers. Bochy. Fastball topped out at 88. He kept the ball down. Pitched two innings with no runs. Has a 4.6 ERA. Runzler pitched an action packed inning. Fastball 93 - 95. No command of the breaking pitch last night. He gave up 3 hits, but somehow survived the inning without giving up a run. Just missed giving up a 3 run homer. Barton, saw a first pitch Fastball, was sitting on it, and hit it out deep to right, but foul by less than 10 feet. Hembree closed the game out. Gave up a lead off walk. He started out at 91 MPH, but after loosening up his arm, got up to 94 MPH. After the walk he settled down, and finished off the game.
The Giants scored a run in the top of ninth to win it. It was a long game. Not over until 10:30PM. We didn't get home until midnight or so.