Johnny Cueto took the start in Sacramento last night, and apparently decided the opportunity was right to check out the new guy in CF:
Yep, Johnny says you done good Steve (though you might want to limit the pirouettes in AT&T).
HIGHLIGHTS: Garrett Williams threw 5 shutout innings; Bryan Reynolds hit game tying HR; Ryan Kirby doubled and HRd; Aaron Bond doubled and tripled.
Sacramento beat Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), 3-2
winning their four game series, 3-1
|b- Conor Gillaspie||PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.296|
For a game that started with a couple of high profile major leaguers on rehab, the conclusion was decidedly A ball standard. Let’s head straight to the dramatic conclusion. Bases loaded. Two outs. Pinch Hitter Conor Gillaspie battling against Albuquerque closer Carlos Estevez.
That’ll do it! Gillaspie by the way, truly deserved the love his teammates were dishing out there, as he had fouled off five consecutive high 90s pitches on the corner to get the AB to that point. Estevez was probably just giving himself a mental break from the battle Gillaspie was giving him when he ended it with his errant pick off. One of the best 0 PA pinch hit performances I’ve ever seen.
Prior to all that, we had a very well pitched game. Cueto declared himself healthy, fresh, and feeling fine. Andrew Suarez was clearly affected by the change in his routine and when he came on in relief in the 4th he was clearly not quite ready. The first four batters he faced reached base including a bases loaded, two-run double to the fourth of them. But he got out of the jam with two strikeouts sandwiched around a comebacker, and would allow just two hits and no runs over the following four innings of work.
The fine pitching was necessary because on the other side of the field Albuquerque starter Ryan Carpenter gave Sacramento all they could handle. Carpenter struck out 9 RiverCats over his 7 innings of work. Steven Duggar was the biggest culprit among the RiverCats 11 Ks, as he took the hat trick in his second PCL game. He did also single and steal his 2nd base in AAA. Still I think we’ll all be happy if he gets his K rate back down below 20% next year (or at least below 30%).
As for Joe Panik, like Cueto he declared himself satisfied and happy with the results of the game.
|Carlos Alvarado (W, 1-4)||2||1||0||0||0||3||0||3.34|
Seeking their fifth consecutive win (season high!) the Flying Squirrels first had to wait out a long, long, LONG rain delay (think Giants vs. Nats style) before they could take the field. But when the weather finally cooperated they ambushed Erie starter Beau Burrows quickly, putting up a four-spot on the Tigers #3 prospect in the top of the 1st.
No doubt this was due to the diligent work they put in during the delay:
Rain delay... still from Erie. Slania & Kline still working hard. pic.twitter.com/ahgHbvHSlA— Squirrels Baseball (@GoSquirrels) August 23, 2017
Yep, that’ll keep you sharp! And a Happy 45th birthday to Mr. Kline, while we’re at it!
RIchmond’s veteran middle of the order did a ton of damage in the victory as 3-6 hitters, Sands, Hobson, Bednar, and Carbonell combined for 11 hits, six runs, and nine RBIs. Woot! Jerry Sands led the party with four hits. Though the final score indicates a rout, it was actually close through the middle innings, until Richmond’s second big inning when they scored six runs in the 7th.
That partially explains the extraordinary amount of pitchers the Squirrels had to use to make it through this game. With starter Dillon McNamara getting knocked out early, they ended up working through pretty much every live arm standing in the pen before the night was out — 7 pitchers in all.
One of those pitchers, unfortunately, didn’t last too long. Ryan Halstead, who’s had a real breakthrough season, left the game after throwing just 1 pitch with an arm injury. As you can see, after he delivered the first pitch with an odd wincing skip at the end, he took the ball back and got on the rubber to deliver the next pitch when Kline decided he didn’t like the way that looked and called time.
Richmond will be looking for a lot of innings tonight from Cory Taylor, though I suppose they do have Nate Reed in reserve, as Reed pitched just one inning in his last start before rain interrupted the proceedings.
Tigers #4 prospect Christin Stewart hit his Eastern League leading 27th HR in this game.
San Jose Arms
Bryan Reynolds hit an opposite field HR off Visalia closer Yoan Lopez (0.49 ERA) to tie the game in the top of the 9th and the Giants would go on to win the first game of this crucial series in 11. Reynolds took on some very high 90s cheese from Lopez and beat him with one of the biggest swings of the bat San Jose has had this year.
In the 11th, Gio Brusa put the Giants on top with a single before Heath Quinn unloaded a three-run double to salt it away.
As it happened, we had a Munter in the stands at Recreation Park last night, so let’s check out the notes from the field.
Starter Garrett Williams had another strong Cal League start though he wasn’t getting many swings and misses in this game. As usual, Williams was sticking to his two pitch mix with a fastball in the 92-93 range, touching 94, and a hard curve around 81 and 82. The curve wasn’t getting the swing thrus we’ve seen from it in previous Cal League starts, though he picked up a couple called 3rd strikes with it.
But what was most impressive, was Williams ability to command his fastball to both sides of the plate on both LH and RH hitters. He consistently got in on batters, breaking bats, and inducing weak groundouts. The Giants have gotten Williams to take some huge strides in fastball command this year which is a giant first step in unlocking his significant potential. I’m not sure any player in the system has taken as big a step forward as Williams has in development this year. Over the two levels his season ERA is now down to 1.94 and he’s been especially good since his promotion. Williams has not pitched 24 innings in the Cal League and he’s surrendered runs in two of them.
Williams fellow 2016 draft-mate Matt Krook took over for him in the 6th and Krook too had one of his better outings. Krook didn’t issue a walk over 3 innings of work while striking out 5. When he can keep the plus movement on his sinker near the zone he can do damage.
Rodolfo Martinez sat at 97-98 with occasional forays up to 99 but as has been true of Martinez in his career, that high velocity didn’t lead to much missed contact. He had just one swing through in two innings and gave up a lot of solid contact, though he did retire all but one of the seven batters he faced. He threw just one non-fastball on the night, and it wasn’t a very effective one. The lack of a secondary allowed the batters to stay on his fastball and ran up his pitch count with a lot of foul offs with two strikes. He ended up with 33 pitches over two innings despite only facing 7 batters. The one hit he allowed was an infield hit.
So with the dramatic victory, San Jose climbed back into a 3-way tie at the top of their division. This is not the most impressive chase of all time, as the three teams are tied at a 2nd half record of 28-30. Visalia sits one game back of the three, and somewhere in the Cal League office an intern is pulling their hair out trying to figure all the potential tie-breaker scenarios.
San Jose has also set themselves up to do something that has been a very long time in coming if they can win one of the next two games — take a series in Visalia.
#SJGiants have played 56 regular season games in Visalia since their last series win at Rec Park (April 2013). 16-40 record.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 23, 2017
|Shawon Dunston Jr.||LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.235|
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||1B||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.243|
There was some bad — or at least confusing — news right from the start yesterday:
Augusta GreenJackets vs. Asheville Tourists. Tonight's starting lineups: pic.twitter.com/Wsifh8rDqN— RatDogFreak (@ratdogfreak) August 22, 2017
Announced starter Melvin Adon was replaced on the sandwich board by heretofore reliever Connor Kaden. Let’s walk through the recent developments for Melvin. A week ago, on Aug 16, Adon was knocked out of his last start in just 0.2 innings, allowing six runs. Three days later, Adon was brought back in a 1-inning relief appearance on his bullpen day, and again was hit fairly hard, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits in just 1 inning.
With his turn in the rotation come round again yesterday, he didn’t appear at all. At this point, Adon is far past his previous high in innings with 93.2 IP this year after being in the 60s the last two years. Possibly more importantly, ever since he left a fantastic start in West Virginia back on July 13th with back spasms, his season has been trending downwards. He’s allowed 20 runs in 19.2 innings over his last five appearances, though he has struck out 16 batters in that time.
There was no word from Augusta so it’s impossible to know whether Adon is just being backed off or if he tried to get ready last night and something was wrong. We’ll see when we see, I suppose.
That wasn’t the only surprise Augusta had in store with their pitching last night though. After making 11 straight start appearances, Raffi Vizcaino came on in relief for Kaden last night. Vizcaino’s time in the Greenjackets’ rotation hasn’t been terribly successful, pushing his ERA up to 5.58, so it’s possible that relieving is his path forward. We’ll see on that one as well.
On the offensive side, Augusta piled up 12 hits yesterday, with five different starters collecting two hits. That included Kelvin Beltre, whose two-run double was a key hit in the victory.
Sandro Fabian also had two hits including a double — his 27th of the season. He also drew his 9th walk of the year, pushing that OBP ever so close to .280. Good going, sandro! After a slow start, Fabian’s up to 2 walks this month, just one off his season high (3 walks in May). We jest! Actually Fabian’s having a terrific final month of the year, hitting .318/.338/.415 in August. The Giants love to see kids fight through the fatigue of the full season, so he’s got to be impressing them with this effort.
|a- Kevin Rivera||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.259|
Jose Marte really should get more credit for the big jump he’s attempting this year, but it’s hard to do when he keeps giving up runs at such an inauspicious rate. The good news is that Marte set a season high for strikeouts with 6! The bad news is he was bushwhacked by a 7-run third inning that put the game pretty much out of reach early on.
As was true on Monday morning, one the primary culprits was Diamondbacks #10 prospect Daulton Varsho. Varsho homered twice in the Eclipse victory. In this game he got all the other kinds of hits, finishing a homer shy of a cycle.
Ryan Kirby doubled, walked, and homered (7th) to lead the Volcanoes attack. Manuel Geraldo also had two hits, but he also made a huge double error that contributed to the Hops 7-run inning.
Malique Ziegler is now down to just a .258 batting average and .740 OPS as he’s faded badly in the second half. In the NWL’s second half he’s hit just .169/.286/.281. Oof. Given the competition it will be interesting to see if he can get himself a full-season assignment next spring.
The game was, of course, overshadowed by news off the field. At the beginning of the day, we had these types of dreams in our heads:
But by evening, 2017’s ugly claw had ruined even these mild hopes.
More brutal luck for Giants: Heliot Ramos, who was crushing in rookie league, has a concussion. He got hit by a pitch Sunday.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 23, 2017
7-10 days off is the initial word. The AZL post-season, which is only two days long, is still two weeks away, but it’s entirely possible and even probable that we’ve seen the last of the excitement that Heliot Ramos brings for this year. In a year of epic bummers and awful injury news, this one hurts.
So, with that backdrop, what happened in the game? Well, 3rd round draft pick Seth Corry walked four of the six batters he faced and exited after just two-thirds of an inning.
Not a great day.
Jacob Gonzalez did do his bit to represent for the Top Round Brigade with three more hits, including a double. Interestingly, only five members of the Giants’ lineup had hits, but four of them had extra base hits. Mikey Edie was the only exception, but he had a nice game picking up two singles and stealing his 6th base of the year.
Aaron Bond kept his solid debut going with a double and a triple. He also picked up an OF assist.
The Giants got solid work from the pen, especially from Keenan Bartlett who struck out 4 over 2.1 near perfect innings. And as luck would have it, right on cue we have a Baseball Census scouting report on Bartlett.
DSL Bats Gm 1
|Wascar De Leon||DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.270|
|1- Robinson Batista||PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.324|
|a- Wascar De Leon||PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.273|
The Dominican Giants kept their improbable drive alive with two victories yesterday which moved them to within 3 games of 1st place, though their elimination number is down to just 3 as well.
They started out by picking up a game that had been suspended on Aug 5th in the 7th inning of a 5-5 tie. In the 8th inning, after a Jose Patino double, Robinson Batista singled in the go ahead run. Batista then scored what would prove to be the winning run in the most DSL of ways: moving to 2b on a wild pick-off throw; stealing 3b; coming in to score when the Catcher’s throw to 3b went into LF.
Jorge Labrador pitched the entire final 3.2 innings and though he allowed a run in the bottom of the 9th, he held onto the victory, again in the most DSL of ways: by picking off the tying run at 3b to end the game. This has to be the only professional league in which 3b pick-offs are an actual thing.
In the regularly scheduled game, Aneudy Acosta, Oliver Pinto, and Jose Yan combined on a two-hitter, allowing just one unearned run to score. Raiber Gutierrez continued his recent hot hitting, with three hits out of the leadoff spot. Ghordy Santos had an RBI single and walk, though he also committed his 20th error of the year. And Alexander Canario got his 44th RBI of the season on his 17th double. He’s third in the league in the former and fourth in the league in the latter.
With just four days left in the season, the Giants need to pretty much win out and hope for some help to sneak their way into the playoffs. While DSL schedules can be a little obscure sometimes from this distance, it appears that they will play back to back double-headers today and tomorrow. The 1st place Blue Jays also appear to have six games left in their final four days. Stay tuned for craziness as only the DSL can deliver it!
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: OFF Day
RIchmond: Cory Taylor vs. Matt Hall
San Jose: Shaun Anderson vs. Jose Almonte
Augusta: Jose Morel vs. Erick Julio; DJ Myers vs. Kenny Oakley
AZL: OFF DAY
DSL: Gregory Santos; TBD
We’re into the final fortnight, as this bitterly disappointing season has almost slipped away from us entirely. We’ve seen the last of Christian Arroyo, of Tyler Beede, and now quite probably of Heliot Ramos. Will we see Melvin Adon again this year? Sigh. So many losses.
But while there’s still baseball to play there’s still efforts to celebrate. And we’ll be hear for two more weeks (plus postseasons!) doing just that.
Hey, here’s some guys to celebrate!