You know what? That video operator didn’t really do a great job of showing off Johneshwy Fargas’ arm in yesterday’s video. But fortunately, Johneshwy gave him another chance like the polite young man he is. So let’s start off once again with some Fargas defensive stylings, as he guns out his 3rd runner in two nights, with a little style!
HIGHLIGHTS: Orlando Calixte picked up two more hits, 3 RBIs and SB; Johneshwy Fargas had 3 more hits; Kelvin Beltre had two hits including a HR.
There were, once again, some pretty short outings from starting pitchers around the system yesterday — Sacramento was the one place where that was intentional. Short a starter in their rotation for the moment (Chris Stratton’s return should help that), they went with a designed bullpen game. And for the most part it worked. Roberto Gomez gave them a fairly effective 2.2 innings, and Dusten Knight followed 2.2 more in a somewhat skittish AAA debut, which included three walks and a two-run homer (to former Grant Brisbee white whale Reid Brignac!).
But after that Matt Reynolds and Ryan Webb held the line, preserving a 5-4 advantage over the final four innings. Reynolds has given the RiverCats a strong effort this year, allowing just two ER in 8 appearances (12 IP). For the time being, he’s the main lefty in the pen now that both Okert and Osich have been called up.
The offense was led by the suddenly hot Orlando Calixte, who knocked in three runs on two hits, and stole his 5th base of the year (against 1 CS). It was the second consecutive 2-hit game for Calixte, who’s also had a 3-hit game and a 4-hit game over the past week. In just the last 10 games, Calixte has raised his OPS from an anemic .570 to .715, all while playing a very strong defensive SS and showing great speed on the bases. He’s starting to show the tools that led the Giants to take the unusual step of protecting a minor league FA on the 40 man roster.
Kyle Blanks, playing in just his second game of the last week, provided two doubles and a walk, and Mac Williamson also had a two-hit game. The news was less good for Justin Ruggiano, who is struggling to find his swing off off-season shoulder surgery. Ruggiano has 16 Ks in 45 AB (against 3 walks) while hitting just .200 and slugging just .267 so far.
All hail Matt Gage! Six innings, five hits, two runs. By FAR, the best starting pitching outing of the night in the Giants entire org (thinking of you when I wrote that Matt). A Quality Start! The grail has been located. Gage fought his way through a bit of traffic as he had only one clean 1-2-3 inning, but he kept crooked numbers off the board and kept his team in the game.
His toughest test was his final inning, the bottom of the 6th. After a single, walk and a sac bunt, Gage issued an IBB to load the bases with one out to face the bottom of the order. But he got the #7 hitter to pop up to shallow LF, and ended his night in style striking out the #8 hitter to avert the threat.
Alas, it was all to no avail as the Squirrels lineup went dark. Richmond actually outhit the Curve 8 to 6 but all their hits were singles (Shaw actually got thrown out at 2b trying to stretch on the closest thing to an XBH), they hit into three double plays, and went 0 for 6 with RISP.
Richmond’s 70 runs scored on the season is the worst in the Eastern League, with these same Altoona Curve the closest to them with 85 runs scored. Miguel Gomez continues to roll along, with two more hits, though as tends to be true in Richmond, he’s seen his power dip from last year.
And just a couple final notes, for those of you on Twitter interested in the Squirrels, I highly recommend following play by play man Jay Burnham’s twitter feed. Jay is now posting a daily video game preview, and they’re pretty good info!
Also, the year’s first Squirrels Insider is up, which ironically enough features TJ Bennett talking about his peripatetic minor league life (he was sent back to SJ before the episode hit the web!)
San Jose Bats
Starting pitching struggles extending to San Jose. Last 1-2-3 inning from a SJ starter was Friday. https://t.co/a1IiLiO8a3— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 3, 2017
Statistics are always trying to find ways to gain insight into the actions taking place on the field. I have to say, that Joe Ritzo has really found a gem there, because very simply he has found a stunning stat to express exactly what is going on in San Jose. Conner Menez and Michael Connolly are giving the Giants great work. But when those two aren’t on the mound, it is Katie Bar the Door time! Over the last four games, the BEST outing San Jose has gotten from a SP was the guy who gave up 5 runs in the 1st inning (Mark Reyes, who at least lasted six innings). None of the other three (Matt Krook, Heath Slatton, Jake McCasland) made it past the 3rd inning.
McCasland managed to run his pitch count up to 80 in his 3 innings of work last night, while putting his team in yet another early hole, 5-0 after the top of the 3rd. But another strong relief effort from lefty Carlos Diaz would help hold the Nuts in place awhile, and the Giants offense kicked it back into life again for a much-needed comeback victory.
The offense piled up a season high 16 hits (just 1 walk), with every member of the starting lineup collecting at least one and every hitter from the 5-9 spots getting multiple hits. Johneshwy Fargas had three — his third straight multi-hit game and fourth in his last five nights, to climb his batting average above the Mendoza Line. He started the comeback in earnest in the bottom of the 6th.
Joe’s got it right there, too. There are an awful lot of things that Fargas can do on a ballfield to help his team win and help make the game exciting for fans. If he can just find a way to develop his offensive potential, there’s a fun, exciting player there.
Fargas would score on a ground out to make it 6-5, and after another Stockton run in the 7th, San Jose exploded in the bottom of the inning. Six consecutive batters reached base including four consecutive XBH. Now, not all of those were exactly scalded. Gio Brusa grounded a ball the other way against a shift for a double. And then Daniel Carbonell tied the game when he blooped one just over the 1b head for another double. But Jonah Arenado laced a line drive to gap for a double to give the Giants the lead, and Matt Winn punctuated it all with some big power, going the opposite way off the scoreboard.
It was a big win for the Giants who are in last place, but in a very tightly bunched division. Modesto is currently in 1st place in the four team division, but just 3 games ahead of last place San Jose.
You can listen to Dillon Dobson reflect on his big 3-homer night and his pro career on the pregame show with Joe here:
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The story going into the game was Domenic Mazza’s first start since his Perfect Game. Could he keep the perfection going? He did! For awhile. Mazza retired the first 9 Intimidators he saw giving him a stretch of 37 consecutive batters. The streak actually would have stretched out to 43 consecutive batters, but for an error committed by Ryan Kirby in the final inning of Mazza’s April 18 start.
However, the second time through the lineup would be different. Leadoff hitter Joel Booker opened the 4th with a double and floodgates opened quickly. Three more hits followed (including another double) and in the 5th Mazza would allow five more hits and a walk, including the big blow, a Grand Slam to the White Sox #24 prospect, $1.6mm Dominican bonus baby Micker Adolfo whose huge raw power mostly hasn’t shown up in games so far in his pro career. It sure did here though, turning a 4-3 Greenjackets advantage into a 7-4 deficit.
Cameron Avila-Leeper has been piggy-backing with Mazza pretty consistently this year since his difficult first start, and he did here as well. Avila-Leeper also allowed a big inning, a four-run 8th that included a 3-run HR. He has allowed 9 walks and 21 hits in just 12.2 IP against 7 Ks.
On the offensive side, Kelvin Beltre kept on hitting, picking up two more hits including his team-leading 3rd HR (tied with Fabian). Beltre is 1-2 with Sandro Fabian in most offensive categories on the team (HRs, RBIs, TB, SLG) and his OPS is 17th in the Sally. He’s also cut his K rate so far by about 10% from last season, down to under 20% which is certainly an acceptable level for the infielder. Since April 18, Beltre is hitting .387/.429/.742 with just 4 Ks (2 BBs) in 35 PA. Can we dare hope for a season of health to go with his burgeoning offensive numbers?
In lieu of any actual game footage from last night, let’s just watch Beltre’s swing again!
Manual Geraldo also went deep for the second time this year and Sandro Fabian added to his team leading RBI total (17). Jacob Heyward’s start to the year has been, to me, frankly shocking. He now has 26 Ks in 72 PA.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Mike Roth vs. TBD
Richmond: Jordan Johnson vs. Tanner Anderson
San Jose: Conner Menez vs. Pablo Lopez
Augusta: DJ Myers vs. Jimmy Lambert
Richmond’s game has already started, so enjoy some early morning baseball!