Hoping everybody had a wonderful 4th full of friends, food, and fireworks (I know I did!) and took time to celebrate being a country since, as Mark Twain may or may not have once said, patriotism means supporting your country all the time and your government on the occasions that it deserves it. Anyway, to the fields:
HIGHLIGHTS: Jose Flores allowed 1 hit in 7 innings and struck out 10; CJ Hinojosa had three hits including walk off; Manuel Geraldo and Jacob Gonzalez both went 4 for 4.
|a- Carlos Moncrief||PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.309|
So as long as we’re shooting off fireworks and celebrating things, let’s celebrate the tenacity of the baseball lifer. And if you want to see what a baseball life looks like, check out the back of Jose Flores card. Twelve years since he signed his first pro contract he’s still plugging away. Check out that transaction sheet!
Flores was a Rule 5 pick 7 and a half years ago! Three years ago, he spent three months in Sacramento’s bullpen as a member of the Oakland A’s organization before being sent down to the Texas League. Until yesterday, those three months were the summit of his achievement in the game and they were followed by three years of releases, Indy ball and the Mexican League. But he’s been a real find this year for a Giants org desperate for pitchers who can fill minor league innings and was possibly the best pitcher on the Richmond staff this year, among several more heralded prospects.
Yesterday, he finally got his return to AAA and it was sensational! Seven innings of one-hit shutout ball while striking out a career high 10 batters. And not in the easiest of circumstances either, but in the launching pad of Albuquerque facing a very difficult group of Rockies prospects and major leaguers (Gerardo Parra, Tom Murphy). Flores used his mid-90s fastball and an occasional curve with good depth to mow them all down. His 10 strikeouts all came within the first five innings of serious shoving, as he twice struck out the side in order. Let’s enjoy Flores blowing away long time major leaguer Gerardo Parra for his 6th K of the day.
You know what, he throws hard, he’s getting outs in the strike zone and under the right circumstances, Jose Flores could be rewarded with a trip to SF some day and wouldn’t that be something? Congrats, Jose. You’ve been a bright spot in 2017!
Unfortunately for Jose and the RiverCats, his opposing number was just as dominant, as Colorado’s #18 prospect, lefty Sam Howard (who gave San Jose fits a couple of years back) went 8 shutout innings, also striking out 10 and completely smothered the Sacramento attack.
Flores great work was ruined before he even got toweled off, as reliever Tyler Rogers allowed a HR to the first batter he saw and a triple to the second. Those few pitches made the difference in a fantastic day of power pitching. Pitchers’ duel in Albuquerque. That’s something you don’t see every day.
|1- Carlos Garcia||PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.237|
For much of this game it looked like Richmond’s offense was going to suffer the same fate as Sacramento’s. Erie’s hard-throwing Beau Burrows (Tigers #3 prospect) was throwing a no-hitter through 5 innings with 5 strikeouts and though Burrows had walked four, thrown two WP and committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, the Squirrels’ hitters had never been able to make him pay for it.
Meanwhile, though Dan Slania too was loose with the strike zone he was matching Burrows 0 for 0. In the 6th there was some movement on both sides. Slania was finally hurt by his command issues when he followed a walk and WP with a two-run double to provide the game’s first score. But in the bottom Miguel Gomez’ double broke up the no no and before the inning was over Burrows was gone from the game.
Down 3-1, Richmond scored three in the final two innings to grab a much needed comeback win and Gomez and SS CJ Hinojosa were in the middle of every rally. The two singled back to back to start the team’s two-run rally in the 8th to tie the game. And then in the bottom of the 9th, Hinojosa came to the plate with two on and one out and provided a dramatic finish to lead in to the fireworks.
It’s been a tough year in Richmond (as in most of the system) but it warms the heart to see that these players can still take that much joy in a single win. They are professional competitors after all, they live to compete. That’s why they’re so fascinating to watch.
And speaking of which, kudos to the Flying Squirrels’ faithful who keep packing the Diamond to back these guys,
I’ve been a bit negligent in noting that Eduardo Nunez’ rehab stint short-circuited after one night. I assume everyone saw the Hank Schulman piece on Nunez’ now longer timeline for return and how that’s likely to affect his trade value, and also the Giants’ ability to look at guys like Hwang and Jones if Nunez continues to be a part of the roster into August.
San Jose Bats
|1- Junior Amion||PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
In what’s apparently the theme of the day, San Jose’s offense spoiled a terrific pitching performance as the flat bats could produce just 1 run on 7 hits while striking out 15 times.
If you like whiffs, this was the game for you as the two teams combined to strike out 29 times on the day, with three different pitchers striking out at least 6. Matt Krook continued pushing the needle towards the “Up” position on his 2017 season. Over his last six starts Krook has now struck out 41 batters in 31 IP, which is good! He’s also walked 16 over that same time which is less good, and he’s sometimes been a little light on the run suppression. But for now, we’ll focus on the missing bats and getting a little better at the control and the run prevention. Two runs, two walks, six Ks in 5 IP? I’ll take it. He’s still a high variance lotto ticket who’s likely best case outcome is a high leverage reliever but he’s made a fairly impressive comeback from a disastrous April, so let’s hope for big things in the second half from Matt.
Let’s pick up the action in the 4th. Krook has just allowed a run scoring Ian Kinsler-esque double off the top of the wall. Runners and 2nd and 3rd with no outs and a big inning looming:
Nice work, Matt. And let’s not sleep on the incredible work from Aramis Garcia there. (Of course, just a few pitches later Krook uncorked a scud that did get past Garcia, allowing the second, and ultimately winning, run to score).
And speaking of crazy wild men, we can’t neglect the season that Caleb Simpson is having. As the announcers note, Simpson is really a fascinating story: former catcher at Seminole State College in Oklahoma drafted as a pitcher in 2013, Simpson missed all of 2014 and 2015 with TJ and labrum surgery. But he is back and throwing a fastball with some serious hop on it this year. Though he’d rather walk you than shake your hand, his K numbers are almost Ray Black-esque this year with nearly 14 K/9 on the season and even with the walks, a K% above 35%. Look at this fastball jump on batters:
With Sacramento out of town and heading toward their All Star Break, San Jose is playing host to pair of fabled alumni, Conor Gillaspie (who went 1 for 3 yesterday) and Madison Bumgarner, who starts (in front of a sold out house I’m sure) tonight. As Joe Ritzo notes, there’s a lot of 2009 in the air this week
2009 reunion week here in San Jose. Gillaspie, Bumgarner and manager Nestor Rojas all played on the 2009 Cal League champion #SJGiants.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) July 4, 2017
Augusta Arms (selected)
More good pitching! Raffi Vizcaino bounced back from a rough outing in which he took nearly 50 pitches to make his way through 2 innings, returning to his more sensational form of his first couple of starts. Vizcaino was punished by three big swings, two solo HRs and a leadoff triple that turned into a run. But when he avoided the big hit he was dominating, striking out 7 in his 6 innings of work.
Though his run suppression needs a little work, Vizcaino’s peripherals are looking pretty shiny, with 27 Ks against just 6 walks in 24.2 IP. When Vizcaino has his entire repertoire working he can be impressive, but as is typical of young pitchers, more consistency would be useful.
Raffi’s support came in one big burst out of the gate as six of the first seven Greenjacket batters reached base leading to a big 5-run 1st inning. That inning was highlighted by a two-run triple from Kelvin Beltre, his first XBH since June 17. Definitely a welcome sight.
The game was suspended do to a power outage — not the first time that’s happened at Lake Olmstead this year and a reminder that the new stadium can’t open soon enough. It will pick up in the bottom of the 7th tonight before the regularly scheduled game 2 of the series.
It wasn’t his pro debut, but Giants 5th round draft pick, Jason Bahr, was introduced to the rough side of professional pitching yesterday. Tasked with protecting a 3-2 lead in the 8th, Bahr was knocked around for a big 4-run rally, retiring just two of the six batters he faced.
That undid a huge offensive night from Manuel Geraldo who went 4 for 4, scoring a run and driving in another in helping to give the Volcanoes the 3-2 lead. Geraldo is now hitting .342, third best in the NWL in his return to the league.
Malique Ziegler was replaced in the field after the 5th inning, suggesting that perhaps he’s not fully recovered from last week’s HBP (or has a different ailment). Ziegler is just 4 for 23 over his last 7 games. He did throw out yet another runner at 1b though. Guys should probably stop going half way on a fly to CF against him.
And thanks to BA’s Josh Norris we have a documented appearance from Salem-Keizer’s mythical beast:
|a- Tyler Brown||PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||.118|
|b- Nathanael Javier||PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.308|
|1- Kyle McPherson||PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
Finally a hint of rockets red glare! I was afraid we were going to go through an entire 4th of July without a single HR, which would frankly be pretty lackluster. But 12th round pick Aaron Bond from San Jacinto College provided a little boom with a 3-run HR to supply all the Giants’ scoring. Bond also threw a runner out at home in the game. Let’s see, did he also steal a base to pick up a Toolsy Triple Crown? Sadly, he did not. But HR and an OF Assist is a nice combo. The 20 year old OF has started his career going 7 for 15.
But the story of this game was Jacob Gonzalez, who continues to swing a torrid bat to start his career. The 19 year old from downtown Scottsdale, AZ (which means he gets to live at home year round while working out at the complex) went 4 for 4 to boost his batting average to a hella-impressive .800!!! Jacob is now 12 for 15 to start his career with four doubles and three walks to just one stikeout. Stay hot, Jacob! 1b profiles are always risky, but Gonzalez offers a potential special bat and plus power potential down the line.
Let’s watch some swings!
That’ll work. Not sure what you’re doing but I’m just going to dream a little dream of our own Paul Goldschmidt showing up in three or four years. la la la la la... pretty pretty dream....
Oh! You’re still here.
Ok, well Seth Corry appeared in this game too! Striking out 1 and walking 2 in 0.2 of an inning, Corry has a perfectly balanced 3 Ks/3BBs in his two appearances. I wouldn’t be surprised if Corry’s innings output is extremely limited this summer as is often the case with high school draftees, especially high round ones. He’ll still show up in Augusta next spring I’d imagine.
|Wascar De Leon||2B||4||1||3||0||1||0||4||0||0||.280|
Wascar De Leon tripled in two runs to spur an early three-run rally. That was just the beginning of a three hit, four RBI day for 19 year old switch-hitting 2b. De Leon led a big offensive effort on a day when they also got multi-hit efforts from Anyesber Sivira, Raiber Gutierrez, and Enoc Watts. Watts had two doubles which were just his second and third XBH all year and just his sixth and seventh hits on the year in 58 at bats. The 17 year old leadoff hitter Sivira also stole his 9th base of the year, to tie Canario for the team lead.
18 year old RHP Jorge Labrador, who really scuffled in his debut last year has been getting starting to turn in reliable relief efforts. This was his third consecutive scoreless effort and he’s allowed just one batter to reach base in those outings (4 IP).
Today’s Scheduled Starting Pitchers:
Sacramento: Roberto Gomez vs. TBD
RIchmond: Jordan Johnson vs. Tyler Alexander
San Jose: Madison Bumgarner vs. Caleb Ferguson
Augusta: Garrett Williams vs. Gabriel Lane
Salem-Keizer: Alejandro de la Rosa vs. TBD
AZL: Weilly Yan
DSL: Marco Gonzalez
The big lefty highlights tonights offerings as Madison Bumgarner returns to San Jose. He was so good the first time he was there he only stayed for five starts; this time he’ll be at the Muni for two starts and then we’ll see. Down the ladder a ways there’s a couple other interesting lefties going as well in Williams and Gonzalez.
Well, there weren’t a whole lot of fireworks on the field on a lackluster day of offense, but you can’t have a 4th without fireworks off the field. We’ll see you at the ballyard.