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SF Giants Minor Lines, 8/28

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Down to the closing days, even hours, for some teams' playoff hopes, as both Augusta and the AZL team do what needs doing.

Never let it be said that here at Minor Lines we don't honor the efforts of the opponents! Great plays are great plays, and this, from Fresno Grizzlies' CF Andrew Applin, was a great play:

Tip of the hat to the Fresno defenders.... and... uh... hey what the heck, guys! Stop stealing our hits!

HIGHLIGHTS: Austin Slater had three hits including yet another HR; Mac Marshall K'd 8, walked just 2 over 6 strong innings.

* * *

Sacramento won at Fresno Grizzlies (Astros), 8-6
winning their five game series, 3-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Austin Slater

CF

4

1

3

0

0

1

1

1

0

.302

.388

.519

Ryan Lollis

RF

5

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

.268

.337

.340

Miguel Olivo

C

5

1

2

0

0

1

2

0

1

.250

.295

.436

Travis Ishikawa

1B

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

1

2

.258

.343

.455

Juan Ciriaco

DH

5

2

2

1

0

1

2

0

1

.276

.330

.416

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Tyler Rogers

3.1

7

6

6

0

3

1

5.88

Matt Reynolds (W, 1-0)

2.0

1

0

0

1

2

0

0.00

Steven Okert (H, 7)

2.0

1

0

0

1

2

0

3.88

Jean Machi (S, 12)

1.2

1

0

0

1

1

0

3.72

Do we have an Austin Slater highlight? Another day, another dinger?

WE DO! Wow, what a roll! I know there are folks here who like to think they drive the Austin Slater bandwagon, but your humble narrator demurely wonders who else was labeling Slater a hitting savant back in the opening weeks of 2015? Hmmm?

The RiverCats took the road series in Fresno despite the struggles of emergency spot starter Tyler Rogers, pressed into duty for his first ever professional start (after 182 relief appearances over four seasons). Rogers, who has had such a strong campaign, was knocked around a bit trying to go multiple innings. This was only the third time this year that Rogers has been tasked with going beyond 2 innings of work, so it's probably not surprising that he faltered. After a clean first he got into trouble and ultimately allowed a three-run HR to Max Stassi in the 2nd. And then going out for a fourth inning of work for just the second time in is career (the other coming in the opening week of the 2014 season in Augusta) he allowed hits to four of the first five batters he faced in what would be another three-run rally. Matt Reynolds came in to settle things down, thanks to a huge assist from his infield -- and I mean his entire infield! As they turned off what may well be the first 3-2-5-4 double play I've ever seen to escape the jam.

Down 6-1 at that point the offense cranked themselves up for a stirring comeback, using 14 hits including HRs from Slater, Juan Ciriaco, and Miguel Olivo to do the damage. In addition to his HR, Ciriaco also had a big double in the middle of the RiverCats four-run 6th inning which gave them the lead they wouldn't relinquish. For Olivo, it was his 10th HR of the year. Hank Schulman noted in his piece on Joe Nathan the other day, that the Giants would likely try to find room for a third Catcher on the September roster to give them more flexibility down the stretch, and Olivo certainly would appear to be the logical candidate. So perhaps the 37 year old vet will get his wish with a return to the big leagues. He last appeared in the majors in 2014 with the Dodgers.

Excellent relief work from Reynolds, Steven Okert, and Jean Machi shut the Grizzlies down for the final five innings to seal the victory. Though Reynolds did WP in Rogers' final run, he kept alive his streak of not allowing a run all year on his tally, involving 20 innings split between AA, AAA, and MLB. Sacramento now sits at 65-71. They're probably not going to make it all the way back to .500, but for a team that was once nearly 20 games below .500 they're making a strong run at respectability down the stretch.

* * *

Richmond lost at Akron Rubber Ducks (Indians), 8-2
splitting their four game series, 2-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Steven Duggar

CF

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

1

1

.318

.379

.410

Christian Arroyo

SS

4

0

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

.276

.317

.376

Chris Shaw

1B

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

.242

.290

.401

Tyler Horan

DH

4

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

.258

.323

.447

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Sam Coonrod (L, 4-3)

5.1

7

7

7

2

8

2

3.24

In a turnaround from his typical starts, Sam Coonrod punched up the strikeouts yesterday, hitting a season high 8, but at the same time he got knocked around in shocking fashion. The 7 runs allowed in yesterday's start, matched all the runs allowed his previous seven starts combined. Home Runs did Coonrod in, as he allowed a big three-run HR to Akron's slugging 1b Nellie Rodriguez on a big hanging breaking ball (Rodriguez' 25th of the year), and later a two-run job to SS Eric Stamits.

For those who like peripherals more than ERA in the minors, Coonrod's last two starts have been a step forward on the year though, as he's K'd 14 (to 5 BBs) over his past 11.1 IP. Though I'll admit I like those Ks more when they're accompanied by oodles of zeros.

Steven Duggar picked up another two hits. Combined over two levels this year he's hitting .299/.383/.439 in a true breakout performance. He also stole his 8th base of the year. Base stealing has been his strong suit this year though, as he has just a 14/13 SB/CS ratio.

Christian Arroyo, who hit his 3rd HR of the year (and first since April) on Saturday, clubbed his 35th double of the year yesterday. He is, as he has perpetually seemed to be most of the year, one double behind Reading's Dylan Cozens for the league lead.

Richmond finishes their year with a seven game homestand, starting tonight with a series against the woebegone Hartford Yard Goats who have gone the entirety of their inaugural year without ever getting a home game, and as was recently detailed in Baseball America, it now appears that they may never play a game in Hartford, as the long-delayed construction on Dunking Donuts Stadium has come to a complete standstill without much hope of progress. A very sad story for minor league baseball.

* * *

San Jose lost at Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 10-3
losing their three game series, 1-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Ronnie Jebavy

CF

5

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

.251

.311

.392

Dylan Davis

DH

4

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

3

.301

.360

.593

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Cory Taylor (L, 1-1)

2.1

8

6

6

2

2

0

8.59

Jeff Soptic

3.2

3

2

2

1

5

1

7.18

Pat Young

2.0

4

2

2

0

4

0

4.16

A significant obstacle facing the Giants in their attempts to finish a 14th consecutive season with a winning record, is that they have four (of seven) games remaining vs. the Rawhide, who perpetually struggle to beat. The Rawhide's black magic hold over San Jose is so strong that it sucks seemingly invulnerable players like Cory Taylor into the void. Like Coonrod, Taylor surrendered as many runs as he had in his previous five starts combined (over three levels) as he got run out of the game in the 3rd inning on the way to this blowout loss.

Ronnie Jebavy was the lone San Jose batter with multiple hits, though with five walks the lineup produced several players who reached base twice. Dylan Davis had a rough end to what's been a fantastic roadtrip, taking a hat trick, though he did knock in a run with a Sac Fly in the game.

Despite the loss, SJ moved inexorably closer to clinching the playoffs as both Stockton and Modesto moved closer to elimination. Stockton's elimination number is now just 1, and Modesto's is 3. As soon as Bakersfield eliminates those two from the second half title contention, SJ will clinch the final playoff spot.

A few days ago, surprise offensive force TJ Bennett was Joe Ritzo's guest on the program show, which you can listen to here:

* * *

Augusta beat Rome Braves, 5-3
winning their three game series, 2-1

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Johneshwy Fargas

RF

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

1

2

.282

.353

.370

Jalen Miller

SS

5

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.228

.276

.331

Bryan Reynolds

CF

5

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

.395

.410

.579

John Polonius

3B

4

0

2

1

0

0

4

0

1

.211

.272

.263

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Domenic Mazza (W, 7-3)

5.0

7

3

2

1

4

0

3.89

Charles Owen (H, 2)

1.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0.00

Connor Kaden (H, 5)

1.0

0

0

0

1

0

0

3.59

Ryan Halstead (H, 6)

1.0

2

0

0

0

1

0

3.91

Ryan Koziol (S, 7)

1.0

1

0

0

1

0

0

2.74

After losing the opening night game of this big three game series, the Greenjackets' season was on the brink. But they came responded with a vengeance, taking the final two games to move back to within half of game of the division lead. Augusta faced yet another of the Atlanta farm system's huge inventory of pitching prospects in this game, Max Fried the one-time 1st round pick of San Diego who was Lucas Giolito's HS teammate. The LHP was particularly tough on Bryan Reynolds who, batting RH most of the game, was saddled with a golden sombrero (which admittedly makes for an odd saddle).

But with the help of a crucial Rome error, the Greenjackets put together a huge four-run rally against Fried in the 4th inning, which was enough to get them the victory in this crucial matchup. The big hit came from a thoroughly unexpected source (which is of course the beauty of baseball) when John Polonius cleared the bases with a double, one of the team's biggest hits of the year.

Dom Mazza wasn't great, but he was good enough which was an impreovement from some of the starts they've gotten lately. And the bullpen, which was such a source of difficulty in the first half nailed down the series win with four innings of shutout relief.

Seven games remaining including a big season-concluding four game series at home versus these Braves. The Greenjackets have no Wild Card option; they must win the second half title or go home. Seven games with a half a game in the standings to erase. Now they're on to Lexington for their final road series of the year starting tomorrow night. No time for a let down!

* * *

Salem-Keizer lost to Eugen Emeralds (Cubs), 6-5
getting swept in their three game series, 0-3

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Manuel Geraldo

3B

5

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

1

.293

.326

.359

Heath Quinn

RF

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

.328

.410

.545

Ryan Howard

SS

3

2

2

0

0

1

1

1

0

.272

.309

.374

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Mac Marshall

6.0

4

1

1

2

8

0

5.05

Victor Concepcion (BS, 1)(L, 4-7)

3.0

7

5

5

1

3

2

5.98

Mac Marshall brought the swing and miss but left the wildness and the bushels of runs at home in what was probably his best start in what's been a very frustrating and inconsistent 2016. Following an 8 walk explosion in his previous start (in which he threw just 42 of 97 pitches for strikes) Marshall showed his best control of the year, walking just two in 6 IP. Marshall had had just three other starts on the year with two or fewer walks, and in two of those he'd been chased early in a barrage of hits and runs. His 63 strikes in 96 pitches thrown was the best ratio he'd shown all year. And because he threw strikes, and was able to limit the hits, he also went 6 innings for the first time this year -- in fact, it was just the fourth time he'd made it 5 innings. So, to wrapup: season high in innings, matched his season high in Ks, lowest BB/IP of the season, highest strike percentage, and only 1 run allowed. Nice work, Mac! One more start in the year with a chance to go out on a roll. Setting aside the proliferation of walks, Marshall has upped his swing and miss stuff in the last two starts, as he's K'd 15 of the last 45 batters he's faced in that time (10 IP).

Unfortunately, all the good work Marshall did was undone by another poor outing for Victor Concepcion, who's really been getting pummeled in his stateside debut season. Back on August 15, Concepcion threw a 7 inning shutout in his best performance of the year. But even including that terrific seven innings of work, he's now surrendered 17 ER in his last 18 innings of work over four appearances. Once again, he was bitten by the longball as he's now surrendered 8 HRs in 55.2 IP with the Volcanoes. Concepcion's getting a hard lesson in the difference between the DSL and domestic leagues full of college veterans. In 43 IP last year he surrendered just 2 ER. In 9 of his 14 games this year he's given up more than that in a single outing.

Fifth round pick Ryan Howard knocked his 4th HR of the year, and Gio Brusa hit his league leading 10th, but they didn't have quite enough offense in this game, when the team collected just six hits. Two of those came from Manuel Geraldo, who continues to rebuild his season in Salem. That's three consecutive multi-hit games for Geraldo, though his near-.300 average in the NWL has come with virtually no power and a still pretty horrible 67 K/ 12 BB ratio.

* * *

AZL Giants beat the AZL Dodgers, 6-0

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Jacob Heyward

DH

3

1

2

1

0

0

0

2

1

.337

.488

.579

Sandro Fabian

RF

4

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.340

.364

.522

Jose Layer

LF

3

2

1

1

0

0

0

1

1

.283

.356

.377

Kelvin Beltre

3B

4

0

2

1

0

0

3

0

0

.333

.360

.583

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

D.J. Myers (W, 3-2)

6.0

4

0

0

1

5

0

1.70

Chris Falwell

2.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

2.73

Wilson Santos

1.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

2.35

Mea Culpa! I entirely screwed up in my encapsulation of the AZL Giants' playoff hopes on Saturday. In wasn't the Angels who were ending the season on an off-day, but the Giants. The AZL team took care of business by sweeping a home and away set against the Dodgers this weekend to put them in a tie for first place.  But now they must sit and await their fate as the Angels play their final game of the season tonight against the powerful Central division-winning Reds. If the Angels win tonight, the Giants season is over. A Reds victory and they live another day. Post-season in the AZL is just a short series of single-elimination games so any reprieve could be short-lived, but we'll know tomorrow whether the Giants get to participate or no.

They salted this game away with a big four-run rally that included contributions from all the lines listed above. A Single from Jacob Heyward and a ground-rule double from Sandro Fabian started the rally. And after an IBB to Jose Layer the Giants got a run scoring Sac Fly from Michael Bernal and ultimately a three-run double from rehabbing Kelvin Beltre.

That was more than enough support for DJ Myers, the Giants 15th round pick out of UNLV who finishes 2nd in the league in ERA. The big righty pounded threw the Dodgers lineup for six shutout innings. College performers in the AZL are, of course, more than a little suspect (remember the dominant AZL campaigns of Austin Fleet or Kyle Nicholson?) but Myers' 52 K to 5 BB ratio (in 55.2 IP) is worth a shout-out anyway. After all, Jonathan Sanchez was also once upon a time one of those small college guys left to perform in the AZL all summer, and that turned out alright.

* * *

DSL Giants have completed their season

* * *

And now we take a breather, as the AZL team sits and waits, Augusta and San Jose get their final off days before the final week's playoff push. Only Sacramento, Richmond, and SK perform tonight, all playing for individual goals and glories, as we go through the final turns in the rotation.

Today's Matchups:
Sacramento: Chris Stratton vs. Matt Koch
Richmond: Tyler Beede vs. TBD
SJ and Augusta: Off
SK: TBD
AZL, DSL: season over (pending playoffs)

Let'ss do one last trivia question, an easy one this time: there were 11 multi-HR games in the system this year but just one 3-HR game. Who had it? (if you want to try to guess some of the two-HR games as well, I'll let you know if you were right).

And as an aside, tomorrow is likely my final Minor Lines of the season (unless there's an extremely extended playoff run by somebody). Kevin will be taking you to the offseason. Thanks for reading!