A night marked by crucial errors and too-little, too-late comebacks as the losses continue to pile up throughout the system. But you know, before getting to the rather gloomy Thursday night lines, let’s take a moment to enjoy Jalen Miller’s HR from Wednesday night which wasn’t available at press time yesterday:
There. That was nice, wasn’t it? Now on to the grim.
HIGHLIGHTS: Christian Arroyo hit his first AAA HR; Andrew Suarez struck out 8 in 6 IP; Caleb Simpson struck out 5 in 2 IP of relief.
Good luck catching a flyball in SLC tonight. 40+ mph winds to left field. pic.twitter.com/U6JVU6NSR5— Nick Stephens (@nlckstephens) April 13, 2017
Excellent hitters conditions in Salt Lake City, should be a scoring fest! However, the Bees pitchers had the antidote: don’t let anybody put a ball in play. The RiverCats struck out 15 times in this game (mostly against the immortal arms of Troy Scribner and Kirby Yates) against just 3 hits and 2 walks in going down to defeat.
Justin Ruggiano continued to struggle to make contact (now with 8 Ks in 18 ABs) suggesting his surgically repaired shoulder is still not ready. And Drew Stubbs made his org debut, doing what Drew Stubbs does best (against RHP): going 0 for 4 with 3 Ks.
Standing out in opposition to all the futile flailing, the red hot Christian Arroyo was one of only two members of the lineup not to strike out, and also gave the RiverCats some brief late game hope when he went deep for a 3-run HR in the 8th inning, his first AAA HR.
Michael Roth, making his first start of the year after a couple of 1-inn relief appearances, wobbled through an extremely rough 2nd inning, but recovered to keep the game in check through his 4 innings of work. He was very lucky to escape the 2nd surrendering just 3 runs though as he allowed the final 7 hitters to reach base on six hits and a walk. In fact, the only out he recorded in the inning was a scorched line drive to 2b. However, the Bees ran into the 2nd and 3rd outs of the inning on the base paths, allowing Roth and the RiverCats to escape and later make a game of it. Both of those outs came courtesy of the strong right arm of Carlos Moncrief, an immensely fun player to watch:
There’s lot of moving roster parts for the RiverCats to juggle these days. But even with the addition of Stubbs, they did manage to get Jae-Gyun Hwang into the OF for the first time this year. How’d he do? Well perhaps putting him out here on this windy mountain night wasn’t so kind:
River Cats' left fielder just botched a routine fly in left-center.— Nick Stephens (@nlckstephens) April 14, 2017
Andrew Suarez was mostly brilliant over 6 innings, striking out 8 and allowing just 4 hits and a walk. One thing that really sets Suarez apart (and that I’m sure makes him so attractive to the Giants) is his comfort at pitching inside to batters. Watch him go consistently to the inner half against RHH Scott Kingery here as he picks up a couple of Ks to end the 3rd inning on a roll.
The game turned for Suarez and the Squirrels in the bottom of the 4th. Miguel Gomez started things on a sour note by bobbling an easy grounder. Suarez rebounded to pick up two quick outs but the 3rd out proved elusive. He allowed an RBI single and then had an uncharacteristic bout of wildness as he uncorked a WP and gave up his only walk of the game. And finally, the crucial play: a well struck ball into LF. A faster, more experienced LF likely catches this ball and certainly doesn’t play it into a two-run triple, but the Giants are trying to get Chris Shaw time in the OF this year and the game turned on his effort.
The Squirrels, who have been very challenged offensively this year, never scored again and the chance for a win on the road was squandered. Shaw did have a nice night at the plate with two hits. Over his last four games, Shaw has gone 6 for 16 with two doubles, two walks and four RBIs while striking out just three times.
Miguel Gomez, on the other hand, had his worst night of the year. Not only did he have the crucial error of the game, he also went hitless for the first time this year and unbelievably struck out twice!
San Jose Bats
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||DH||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||1||0||.185|
San Jose had their home opener last night and they celebrated by bringing back many SJ Giants of the past
They also celebrated by continuing their high scoring ways. San Jose also had a late inning rally, but in their case it blew open a tight 3-2 game as they scored five times in the bottom of the 8th to make it a laugher. The Giants were the beneficiaries of five errors from a sloppy Stockton team, which led to five unearned runs.
But they also banged out 12 more hits, led by 2b Dillon Dobson who’s off to a strong start, and two more hits from 3b Ryan Howard who now has a 7 game hitting streak. Gio Brusa, who had homered in each of the last two games, doubled for SJ’s only XBH of the night.
Jalen Miller’s hot start was cooled with an 0 for 5 and he also made his 4th error of the season in just five games in the field. Three of his four errors have been of the throwing variety as he tries to adjust to longer throws from the left-side of the infield. Something to keep an eye on.
Bryan Reynolds has also gone a bit cold. After starting the year with back to back 3 hit games, he’s collected just three more hits in the ensuing five games while striking out 7 times in 21 ABs, though he has also had four walks.
Jake McCasland was solid in the start, though he again only lasted four innings. The real star on the hill tonight was RP Caleb Simpson, the Seminole State College grad from the 2013 draft. Simpson missed all of 2014 and 2015, but he has been throwing bullets so far in 2017, striking out 10 of the 25 batters he’s faced this year.
|Shawon Dunston Jr.||LF||4||0||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||.500|
|Brandon Van Horn||SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||.120|
Oh you Greenjackets! Augusta fell to 1-7 on the year as their offense continues to be anemic and their pitching generous. They kept their home opener tight for half a game anyway as DJ Myers kept the game scoreless through 5. But heading out for the 6th Myers hit his wall and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. All of them would come round to score plus a 5th on reliever Nolan Riggs’ tab and the game was effectively done.
Tebow-mania helped the Greenjackets to an opening day sellout (southern Sally league clubs are likely to see a nice cushion to the bottom line from Tebow’s presence in the Columbia lineup) and among the throng was friend of Minor Lines David Lee who, though he’s no longer covering the beat, had thoughts:
Columbia's Jordan Humphreys is through 4 perfect innings. 3 K. His last start was 5.2 scoreless with 9 K vs. Augusta.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2017
Scoreless between Columbia and Augusta going to the 5th. One hit between them. D.J. Myers looks good as well.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2017
The Humphreys perfect game, no-hitter and shutout are gone with a Kevin Rivera triple and Ashford Fulmer RBI single. 5-1 Columbia in 6th.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2017
Columbia leads Augusta 7-1, mid-8, and we have our mass exit from the stands. Ugly inning for the GreenJackets.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2017
Augusta announces the attendance as 5,830, a Lake Olmstead Stadium record.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2017
It’s still early, but right now it’s looking like Lake Olmstead’s final season is going to be a long, hard slog. Hopefully, things take a turn for the better.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Tyler Beede vs. Drew Gagnon
Richmond: Sam Coonrod vs. Drew Anderson
San Jose: Conner Menez vs. Dustin Hurlbutt
Augusta: Cameron Avila-Leeper vs. Gabriel Llanes
Starting slates to look forward to have been a little scarce in the system this year, but this one headed by Beede and Coonrod certainly qualifies. Both look to build on strong openers.
Also, there’s literally a Pitcher here named Hurl-butt! The 10 year old in me giggles. Have a great weekend everybody! Let’s go out on a little defense, have a non-Giants’ highlight for the fun of it (because who doesn’t love a little defensive thievery):