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Minor Lines, 9/18 and 9/19

I hope you weren't waiting to see the California League Championship Games in San Jose on Sunday and Monday.

Highlights: Jordan Johnson had a hell of a Game 2.  Game 3....nothing, really.

9/18 - Game 2: San Jose was defeated by Rancho Cucamonga 4-3; Rancho Cucamonga leads the Best-of-5 Series 2-0

1B Angel Villalona 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2
DH Brian Ragira 4 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
SS Christian Arroyo 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
RF Steven Duggar 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Jordan Johnson 6.0 4 1 0 1 9 0 1 1
Tyler Rogers, L 0.2 3 3 3 2 2 0 1 0
Ian Gardeck 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0

A tough loss for San Jose, after troubled starter Jordan Johnson practically matched Scott Barlow, who had one of his best-ever starts for Rancho Cucamonga.

Barlow struck out 11 Giants over seven innings, giving up just four hits.  Only a Brian Ragira double in the fifth, followed by a Ty Ross single to score him, put a blemish on his game.  But Jordan Johnson, who'd given up at least 4 ER in each of his last three games, and in four of his last six, had an amazing game of his own.  Johnson struck out nine over six innings, and his only run allowed came on the third after a throwing error by third baseman Jonah Arenado.  Johnson then threw a wild pitch and gave up a single to let the run across.

However, trouble struck the Giants bullpen again as normally reliable Tyler Rogers had his worst outing of the postseason.  The sidearmer was wild, walking his first two batters and throwing a wild pitch, before giving up three singles around a strikeout.  The three runs that came in gave RC a 4-1 lead.

In the ninth inning, however, the Giants attempted to rally.  Chuck Jones singled to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a wild pitch.  After Bednar flew out, Christian Arroyo singled him in.  Arroyo then moved to third on two wild pitches, and Angel Villalona singled him in, to make it 4-3.  Brian Ragira followed that up with single to put Villalona on second with one out, but Ross hit into a double play to end the inning.

9/19 - Game 3: San Jose was shut out by Rancho Cucamonga 5-0; Rancho Cucamonga sweeps the Best-of-5 Series and wins the California League Championship

2B Brandon Bednar 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1
RF Steven Duggar 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1
SS Christian Arroyo 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Christian Jones, L 4.1 2 1 1 1 8 0 0 0
Dan Slania 1.2 2 1 1 1 2 0 0 1
Ray Black 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Ian Gardeck 0.1 2 2 2 2 1 1 0 0
Jake Smith 1.2 1 1 1 0 2 0 1 0

Well, there's not much to say about the series clincher beyond that the offense just didn't show up.  Steven Duggar, who went hitless in Game 4, was one of two Giants to get two hits off the Rancho Cucamonga starter Trevor Oaks, but all of the Giants' eight hits were singles and they were scattered around, so no one got home.

Christian Jones got into trouble in the fifth, and maybe if this was a non-elimination game, he would've been allowed to try and clean it up, but he'd never gone more than 5 before.  In all, he put up a career-high 8 strikeouts and kept San Jose in the game, and Dan Slania didn't allow either of his inherited runners to score, but he gets saddled with the tough loss.  Meanwhile, a theme of the series was a previous strength of the San Jose team, the bullpen, letting Rancho Cucamonga add on, and while Slania's run that made it 2-0 wasn't that damning, the two-run homer off of Ian Gardeck essentially was.  This time, there wasn't even the semblance of a comeback made, as in the last two innings, the only Giants baserunner was a walk.

So Rancho Cucamonga takes the series, their first League Championship since 1994.  San Jose stays in their longest Championship drought, now five seasons, since the 10-season drought between 1979-1998.

I know, the rest of the California League is going "Oh, boo-hoo."

As one final note, I'd like to thank you for letting me play Joaquin Arias to Roger's amazing Brandon Crawford.  (I'm not going to humiliate myself by comparing myself to Ehire Adrianza!)  This has been an intriguing minor league season for the Giants.  We've seen some prospects really elevate themselves, like Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede; we've seen some go to roles we long expected, like Kyle Crick.  We've seen some intriguing emergences, like Chase Johnson and Ray Black.  And we've got some exciting additions, like Phil Bickford, Andrew Suarez, Chris Shaw and Lucius Fox.

2016 should be very fun indeed.

From everyone at McCovey Chronicles, thanks for reading Minor Lines this season!