As I’ve noted before on several occasions, Eliezer Zambrano has been on every Richmond Flying Squirrels team in the franchise’s history. In his first tour of duty in AA he was teammates with Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt and Conor Gillaspie and Thomas Neal. He was even teammates with the long departed Eddy Martinez-Esteve. For parts or all of the last 8 seasons, he’s been a backup catcher in the Eastern League, as much coach on the Richmond squad as player. But in all those years one thing he’d never done was made it up to AAA. So Z, this one’s for you. Long in the making, your first AAA hit. A heart-felt Minor Lines congratulations!
HIGHLIGHTS: Jalen Miller reached base 4 times including his first HR of the year; Sandro Cabrera struck out 5 in 3 IP.
As noted yesterday, the ripple effects of Buster Posey’s concussion have cascaded down throughout the system’s pitching depth. With Clayton Blackburn officially off the roster, both Sacramento and Richmond were left scrambling for arms. For Sacramento, the result was Dan Slania’s return to AAA where he appeared briefly in 2016.
Slania got off to a fine start in this game, throwing four shutout innings to open it. He cruised through the first three innings, facing just 11 batters. In the fourth he got into some trouble and a long inning as a couple of seeing eye dribblers and a walk loaded the bases. He got out of the jam, but perhaps the effort tired him as his loudest hit of the night opened the 5th and he was knocked from the game in a decisive four-run rally that would be all the runs the Bees scored in the game. His final batter of the night was the killer, as he allowed a two-out three run homer to the former Oriole Rey Navarro. For the night, Slania had an uncharacteristic 3 to 3 BB/K ratio.
The RiveCats actually outhit the Bees in this game 10 to 8, but nine of their hits were singles and they grounded into four rally killing DPs. The story of the night was really some sensational defensive work by the Bees, and here at Minor Lines we tip our cap to great play, so check out some of the Bees’ defensive stylings. First Sherman Johnson makes an astonishing running grab of a Kelby Tomlinson pop up.
And then matching his MI partner, SS Matt Williams starts a highlight reel double play against Austin Slater.
Christian Arroyo, playing 2b for the first time this year, had two more hits in this game and actually saw his average DROP to .417. Dude is raking! He also collected his first SB of the season. He’s not provided much in the way of secondary production with just one walk and three XBH (all doubles) on the year, but Christian can really put bat to ball.
Having a tad more trouble with that is rehabbing vet Justin Ruggiano, one of the many intriguing RH platoon bats the Giants have acquired. Ruggiano, who is trying to come back from shoulder surgery is just 2 for 14 so far on the season with 6 Ks. Doesn’t seem like the long-time lefty killer is quite back to form.
Richmond lost to Altoona Curve (Pirates), 4-0
losing their three game series, 1-2
With Richmond’s scheduled starter for the day actually pitching some 2000 miles to the west, the Squirrels inserted the 6’8” right-hander Pat Young into the rotation for the spot start. Making his first start since the 2015 season in the Sally, Young wasn’t expected to go too deep into the game, and unfortunately, he ended up not making it 3 innings (unfortunate for a team that is struggling to fill innings right now), giving up two runs in the first and solo runs in each of the next two. Young was backed up by two innings from Carlos Alvarado (explaining why both Young and Alvarado sat and watched in a tie game in the 9th while Rando Moreno and Tyler Horan pitched).
In a sight that’s been pretty regular so far in the young season, the Squirrels also got an inning from starter Cory Taylor on his side-session day and this proved to be the highlight of the game for the Squirrels as Taylor, who scuffled a bit in his first start, was dominant in striking out the side.
For the offense? Well, it’s never easy to hit at the Diamond, so we’ll see what the upcoming road trip brings, but so far this is an offense struggling to get much going. They snoozapalooza’d their way through the finale of the homestand, picking up just five hits in getting shutout for the first time this year. After scoring 11 runs in their opener the Squirrels scored just 12 more in the ensuing six games. Not flying so high just yet, these Squirrels.
However, Miguel Gomez did pick up another hit. Gomez has started his AA career with a bang collecting at least one hit in each of the six games he’s played. And of course, he has his nearly pristine 1 walk/1 K ratio on the year. He’s a wonder!
First road trip of the season! 254 miles to Reading, PA. See you next Friday night. pic.twitter.com/Q74g2Mru02— Squirrels Baseball (@GoSquirrels) April 13, 2017
San Jose lost at Lancaster JetHawks (Rockies), 9-7
losing their three game series, 1-2
San Jose Bats
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||.167|
It’s always important to set the dramatic scene, first:
#SJGiants attempting to win their first series in Lancaster since August 2011. SJ just 8-20 here at The Hangar since start of 2012 season.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 13, 2017
Ooh, drama! Any difficult circumstances to overcome?
Wind is blowing hard tonight in Lancaster. Y'all know what that means pic.twitter.com/xuuHJsHxPe— Bobby DeMuro (@BobbyDeMuro) April 12, 2017
#SFGiants Jonah Arenado just hit a ball off the top of the scoreboard, too. It's lit in Lancaster tonight— Bobby DeMuro (@BobbyDeMuro) April 13, 2017
The offensive environment didn’t disappoint as the two teams would go on to combine for five HRs (four from the Giants) and 16 total runs as San Jose’s struggles at the Hangar continued. They come off their opening road trip leading the Cal League in both Runs Scored and Home Runs; we’ll see if all that offense translates back at the Muni.
Jalen Miller continued to swing a hot bat at the top of the lineup with two more hits and a walk. One of those hits was his first HR of the year. And he wasn’t the only one to get into the HR column for the first time. Light-hitting Johneshwy Fargas got his first ever Cal League HR off of rehabbing major leaguer Jairo Diaz.
And Gio Brusa hit what looked to be a Hangar special. But it was Dillon Dobson’s shot that got the crowd talking as he really put a jolt into a ball.
But all the offense wasn’t enough as Mark Reyes gave the Giants yet another poor start (which is becoming an unfortunate theme for the A ball teams in the system). Reyes only gave up one HR, but he really struggled to control the running game, which is almost unforgivable from a LHP. True to their name the JetHawks ran all over Reyes, picking up six SB in his less than 5 innings of work, which helped them pile up a big 7-1 lead that San Jose could never quite recover from.
The Giants get back to the Muni tonight for their home opener, tired no doubt, but hopefully excited and ready to go for the home crowd.
Augusta lost at Charleston RiverDogs, 4-0
losing their three game series, 1-2
|a- Anthony Marks||PH-CF||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.292|
|Brandon Van Horn||SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||.136|
As I teased at the top, if you’re reading any material from the baseball prospect world today you are most definitely going to be reading about this game. But that’s not because of anything good that the Greenjackets accomplished. The New York Yankees #9 prospect, RHP Albert Abreu (picked up from Houston in the Brian McCann deal) just destroyed the Augusta lineup, striking out 11 in 5.2 shutout innings. Abreu, who was clocked hitting 100 multiple times in the outing really went through Augusta like Gen. Sherman, with Greenjacket bats providing almost no resistance whatsoever.
Sandro Fabian grounded a seeing eye single up the middle in the first inning and later beat out a slow grounder to short. Those were the two hits that Abreu surrendered and gave Fabian the distinction of being the only Greenjacket starter who didn’t strike out on the night. Manuel Geraldo also managed to make contact in his two ABs vs. Abreu, but he went down swinging later in the game. In all, Augusta hitters struck out 18 times in this game, while reaching base just 3 times. They also had 3 errors. So not so good all around.
But as I say, we tip our cap here at Minor Lines, so behold the glory.
Jacob Heyward, who has, somewhat shockingly really struggled to make contact in the Sally so far this year (12 Ks in 22 ABs for the former Miami Hurricane) actually hurt himself swinging and missing last night and was removed from the game mid-AB. He took a might rip and instantly collapsed on the ground. Possibly a rip cage muscle? Or wrist? Anyway, it bears watching.
The best performance of the night from Augusta’s perspective came from LHP Sandro Cabrera, who was very strong in relief of starter Dom Mazza. Cabrera was touched up for a solo HR, but he was otherwise almost perfect over 3 innings, striking out 5 of the 11 batters he faced. Given some of the struggles the Jackets have had getting quality starts, I wonder if they’ll consider moving Sandro II into the rotation at some point.
Again, here’s the Charleston highlight reel, if you’d like to see a bunch more strikeouts (and Tony the Peanut Man):
Highlights from Albert Abreu's dominating performance and the thoughts from our skipper: https://t.co/RUqB7oXJJE— Charleston RiverDogs (@ChasRiverDogs) April 13, 2017
Augusta too, makes their home opener tonight, licking their wounds from a very very rough 1-6 roadtrip.
Tonight’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Mike Roth vs. Daniel Wright
Richmond: Andrew Suarez vs. Tyler Viza
San Jose: Jake McCasland vs. TBD
Augusta: DJ Myers vs. Jordan Humphreys
Not a slate designed set the heart’s of Pitching Prospect lovers alight, but Suarez is hoping to deliver a little better performance than his season debut. Augusta faced Humphreys this past weekend and he shut them out on three hits, so hopefully a second look will improve their fortunes.
Get out and enjoy the San Jose opening homestand everyone! Home runs and fireworks and fun for all! You might get to see something like this