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SF Giants Minor Lines, 9/6/15

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Remember: when making last impressions it's always best to leave them wanting more.

Despite having just a 14-16 record since the All Star break, Salem-Keizer entered the last night of the season in control of their own destiny. Win and they were in the playoffs. Barring that, they could still make the playoffs if Hillsboro completed it's sweep of the Emeralds. The Volcanoes... uh... did not win (more on that later). So this is how they made the playoffs:

9th inning in Hillsboro, the Hops leading Eugene 3-2. The leadoff batter walks and is sacrificed to 2b. Let's watch the rest, shall we?

Ok, so now we have the tying run at 3b, two outs.

Excellent effort, Hillsboro! Thanks for that.

HIGHLIGHTS: Clayton Blackburn threw 7 shutout innings and had two hits. Jordan Johnson struck out 10 in 4.2 IP. Sam Coonrod struck out 9 in 5 innings.

Sacramento beat Albuquerque (Rockies), 5-2

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

Other

CF

Darren Ford

5

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.259

CS (15)

1b

Ryan Lollis

4

1

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

.326

P

Clayton Blackburn

2

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

.296

also pitched

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Pitches

Strikes

Clayton Blackburn, W 10-4

7.0

6

0

0

1

5

0

1

0

2.85

93

62

Brett Bochy

1.2

3

2

2

1

2

0

0

0

2.95

39

28

Steven Okert S, 3

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3.82

1

1

To the field correspondents!

We only have one rule at Minor Lines!

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wCY_6mdRdqQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

An excellent end to a very successful AAA season for the former 16th round draft pick, who now sits within reach of the majors. Next up for Clayton, the Arizona Fall League followed by a likely 40 man add and an invite to spring training. Great job, Clayton! If only we could somehow splice Blackburn and fellow 2011 draftee Kyle Crick into one amazing super-hero kind of pitching prospect.

* * *

Richmond beat Reading Fightin Phils, 2-1

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

SB

CS

BA

RF

Myles Schroder

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.249

3b

Juan Ciriaco

4

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

.246

2b

Austin Slater

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

.297

1b

Ricky Oropesa

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

.253

P

Kelvin Marte

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

.150

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Pitches

Strikes

Kelvin Marte

6.0

7

1

1

1

6

0

0

0

2,63

97

63

Kyle Crick W 3-4

1.0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

3.29

22

11

Derek Law, S 13

1.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

4.56

12

8

Man, our Pitcher hitting rule's getting a workout today! Even if it's a highlight without audio and not much in the way of camera movement, it's a highlight! Especially when it's Kelvin Marte getting his first RBI of the year to provide half the team's runs for the games (though if the pitchers keep hitting this well next year, I'm going to have to amend the rules).

That was Engel Beltre speeding home and scoring with the nice slide.

Despite the win, Richmond was eliminated when Altoona won their game against Binghamton. Quite a journey for the Richmond team in 2015. Austin Slater came back from nearly two weeks absence to get into the last couple of games of the year, prior to the AFL. However, Hunter Cole did miss the last two games as the two had trouble occupying the same lineup in the last few weeks.

They end their year with the traditional Bark in the Park day at the Diamond, so we can say for sure that the Flying Squirrels finale for 2015 will leave the fans howling in their seats (rim shot!)

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Barkley is looking forward to Bark in the Park <a href="https://twitter.com/GoSquirrels">@GoSquirrels</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rva?src=hash">#rva</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LaborDay?src=hash">#LaborDay</a> <a href="http://t.co/IHroIdvaOI">pic.twitter.com/IHroIdvaOI</a></p>&mdash; BethRMonroe (@BethRMonroe) <a href="https://twitter.com/BethRMonroe/status/640756194781622272">September 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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* * *

San Jose lost at Bakersfield (Mariners), 8-6

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

Other

LF

Daniel Carbonell

4

1

2

1

1

0

0

0

1

.280

RF

Tyler Horan

2

1

1

0

1

0

0

2

0

.217

C

Aramis Garcia

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

.227

PB 2 (7)

DH

Brian Ragira

4

1

1

3

0

0

1

0

1

.251

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Jordan Johnson L 2-3

4.2

5

6

4

3

10

1

0

2

4.31

Jeff Soptic

1.1

3

2

2

0

1

1

1

1

3.23

Dan Slania

1.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

3.58

Ian Gardeck

1.0

1

0

0

0

3

0

0

1

3.59

So. Interesting game Mr. Johnson. Jordan faced 23 batters and he struck out 10 of them. There were some issues with a few of the others, though some defensive miscues played into that. Johnson opened the first inning by walking the first two batters and then uncorking a wild pitch. The third batter, Cal HR leader Tyler O'Neill hit a high fly ball that Daniel Carbonell lost in the lights/setting sun (this is actually a notorious issue at Sam Lynn Ballpark and they frequently adjust their start times to try to combat it). It was ruled a two-run triple and a ground ball out brought in the third run of the inning.

After a messy 2nd inning, Johnson really got rolling in the 3rd, striking out the side. From the 3rd inning until the time he left in the 5th, he struck out 8 of his final 12 batters. In the 5th inning he struck out three batters and got a ground out and still didn't manage to get out of the inning. One of the strikeout victims reached on a PB and another on a WP, and both would end up scoring on Jeff Soptic's watch.

Given all the available evidence, I'm going to ahead and say I'm of the opinion that Jordan Johnson was quite possibly throwing some serious shit last night.  Johnson came out of complete nowhere this year and his 2015 has very definitely left me wanting to see much more.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SJGiants?src=hash">#SJGiants</a> drop third straight in Bakersfield, 8-6. Ragira 3-run HR, Carbonell 2 hits. SJ still tied for second half lead w/1 game remaining.</p>&mdash; Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) <a href="https://twitter.com/JoeRitzo/status/640758083220733953">September 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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However, despite all that, the Giants lost their third straight game to the last place Blaze, and their failure to take care of business in Bakersfield has taken control of home field out of their hands.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SJGiants?src=hash">#SJGiants</a> need a win in tomorrow&#39;s regular season finale &amp; either a Visalia loss or a Stockton loss for homefield advantage in Mini-Series.</p>&mdash; Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) <a href="https://twitter.com/JoeRitzo/status/640758926762311680">September 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The Giants' strategy for the finale looks to be to line up their pitchers for the mini-series and not worry about home field advantage, as they're throwing a spot start to Jarett Leverett for the final day.  Leverett, a 25 year old former Indy Ball pitcher, has spent most of 2015 pitching in Salem-Keizer's bullpen.

* * *

Augusta beat Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), 4-2

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

Other

2b

Richard Rodriguez

3

1

2

1

1

0

0

1

0

.326

E (6)

3b

Jonah Arenado

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

.263

E (31)

C

Matt Winn

3

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

1

.275

RF

Andrew Cain

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

.216

SB (9)

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Samuel Coonrod, W 7-5

5.0

4

1

1

1

9

0

1

0

3.14

Dusten Knight

3.0

2

1

1

2

2

0

1

2

2.69

And speaking of coming from out of nowhere, Sam Coonrod's had a pretty good rise this year, too.  The 5th round pick out of Illinois St wasn't even in the Giants Top 30 in BA's Prospect Handbook last winter. He was listed in the RH relief pitcher depth chart, just behind Erik Cordier and in front of Stephen Johnson. The first time I took real note of him was when the Giants included him as one of the pitchers in their spring training Prospect Showcase game. That showed he'd put himself on the org's radar and he showed a good arm. By mid-season BA listed him #5 in their Giants list and a month later the Sally managers had named him the best pitching prospect in the league. His premium stuff has mostly held up under a starter's workload, and for a guy who used to walk the mascot and the peanut sellers in college, he's kept the walks in check as a pro. Very exciting debut. Last game of the year for Samuel Coonrod, looking to finish his 2015 on an up note.

And an up note it was. It would have been fun to see him come back out in the 6th and get his 10th K, but he'd done what he needed to do. After a tired-looking August (including a skipped start), Coonrod delivered two excellent performances to end the year, going 11 IP and giving up just 2 runs in his last two starts, on 6 hits, 2 BB, and with 17 Ks. I want to see more of Sam, too.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Auggie wants to see YOU today @ 2:05 for the last game of the season - Celebrate Labor Day with us! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CatchTheBuzz?src=hash">#CatchTheBuzz</a> <a href="http://t.co/PC0ChlBWQR">pic.twitter.com/PC0ChlBWQR</a></p>&mdash; Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) <a href="https://twitter.com/GreenJackets/status/640863989845635072">September 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Not sure about that mascot, though.

* * *

Salem-Keizer lost to Boise (Rockies) 9-1

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

Other

RF

Steven Duggar

4

1

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

.293

CS (3)

1b

Christopher Shaw

3

0

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

.287

DH

Miguel Gomez

3

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.319

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Nolan Riggs L 4-3

3.0

3

3

3

5

2

0

0

0

3.23

Rayan Hernandez

1.1

3

5

5

3

0

1

0

0

6.46

Armando Paniagua

1.2

2

1

1

0

0

0

1

1

6.65

I guarantee you on the "Keys to Victory" graphics the broadcasters love to put up before big games, nobody has ever said: "walk 9 batters and commit 6 errors."  Yet that's exactly what Salem-Keizer did in their "win and advance" final game. Starter Nolan Riggs was badly off from the start. Taking the mount in the bottom of the 1st with a 1-0 lead, Riggs gave up a double and a single to the first two batters to tie it up before anybody had had a chance to sit down. Then with one out he issued 11 consecutive balls, coming within one pitch of walking in a run. A double play grounder got him out of that mess, but the walks kept piling up and there would be more and more messes to come.

The Hillsboro game ended during the 4th inning of the Volcanoes games, just after Boise had taken a 3-1 lead and things got sloppy in the second half of the game. Perhaps they popped their champagne a little early.

Steven Duggar, with three of the team's eight hits, had the only game of note.

The Volcanoes begin their Best of Three divisional series in Keizer tonight. They'll get their only home game of the series on the heels of a 9 hour bus ride and as when it's over they'll have to head off to Hillsboro for game 2 on Tuesday, which is a pretty rough road. They didn't have much luck against the Hops during the year, winning just 3 out of 12 games.  One particular weakness the Volcanoes will have going into the series is starting pitching. With Andrew Suarez and Jordan Johnson sent up to San Jose, and Mac Marshall sent down to the AZL, the rotation is by no means a strength for this team. Their one reliable starter, Andrew Leenhouts, pitched on Saturday night, so he probably won't be available until the Championship series should they make it that far. I would guess Michael Connolly, Grant Watson, Logan Webb for the three games. The fanboy in me (who temporarily doesn't care about development needs) sure would love to see Phil Bickford show up on the mound tonight.

This is just Salem-Keizer's second playoff appearance in the NWL in the last six years, following a period when they won the league championship three times in four seasons and five times in a decade. They haven't won a playoff game since clinching their 2009 title in a 13 inning epic.

Final note:

* * *

Say goodbye to Sacramento, Richmond, and Augusta after tonight, while San Jose and Salem-Keizer get to dream on for a couple of days more at least.