We don’t have many rules here at Minor Lines, but #Pitcherswhorake get highlights is absolutely the first among them!
Do you know how hard it is to hit a ball out to CF at the Diamond? Holy cow!
HIGHLIGHTS: Jordan Johnson pitched 6 shutout innings and hit a bomb; Sandro Cabrera struck out 5 in 3.1 IP; Jose Marte struck out 6 and allowed 1 ER; Franklin Van Gurp struck out 6 in 3 IP.
Strong pitching ruled throughout the system Friday night as the four affiliates surrendered a combined total of just 5 runs. Mostly that pitching was combined with juuuussssst enough hitting to make things work out. The only place where that wasn’t true was Sacramento, which fell on the losing side of the Pitchers’ duel.
But, first things first: #didMachomer?
He sure did! What’s Statcast have to say about that one?
Mac Williamson has homered for his 3rd consecutive game. 4th of season. 404 feet isn't that crazy but it left his bat at 115 mph.— Giant Potential (@giant_potential) April 14, 2018
I have to feel we’ll be seeing Mac Williamson and his 1.661 OPS in vanilla and orange again before too long.
That was pretty much it for the RiverCats offense though. Williamson’s first inning blow was followed by singles from Ryder Jones and Kyle Jensen, but that rally fizzled and Sacramento had just five batters reach base the rest of the game. Only one of those made it all the way to 2b.
Tyler Herb’s second AAA start went much better than the first, as he gave the team a quality start. His only major stumble came with two outs and nobody on in the first when he gave up a free rally, walking two hitters in between two singles. Mac’s HR made it 2-2 in the first and it stayed that way through most of the game.
Of course, well pitched games always go hand in hand with well defended games, so let’s hear it for the gloves, too
Calixte tho— River Cats (@RiverCats) April 14, 2018
T5| River Cats - 2, Rainiers - 2 pic.twitter.com/f3xZC8fK9H
The game was decided in the 7th when Jose Valdez allowed a leadoff double and wild pitch the runner to 3b. A Sac Fly brought home the eventual winning run.
But let’s focus on the Mac Williamson on fire part! Here, let me help you envision him in a Giants uni again:
Mac Williamson takes Kershaw deep! pic.twitter.com/nrafCc9raq— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 24, 2017
The mercurial Mr. Johnson did it all on Richmond’s opening night, thrilling the sellout crowd with six shutout innings on the mound and, as we saw, a blast to center field to help his cause. Johnson struck out 5, and more importantly walked just 1 in throttling the Not-So-Fightin’ Phils, following a 5 BB/5 WP night in his last start. Johnson’s allowed just five hits in his two starts this year, so when he keeps his stuff in the strike zone he’s been hard to barrel up. Preventing the free baserunners and free bases is definitely the issue.
The Squirrels had just five hits of their own in the game. In fact, with a double from Miguel Gomez and a triple from Ronnie Jebavy, they barely managed to equal Jalen Miller’s Wednesday night line. Fortunately they clumped three of their baserunners and both of their successful SB on the night into one inning and scraped out a two-run rally. That along with a great night from the pitchers was enough to secure the win.
That made for a very appreciative — and appreciated — home crowd. It’s really amazing what the Richmond management group has done in connecting with that city.
It's official! Opening Day in #RVA is sold out for a 9th straight season! (That's every single one if you're scoring at home)— Squirrels Baseball (@GoSquirrels) April 12, 2018
Plenty of , ☀️and FUNN this weekend! #WelcomeToFunnville
️: https://t.co/sFxng6CpJC pic.twitter.com/op65zT8qnh
One new feature at the Diamond this year is this great display, which on it’s first day of use, is already out of date (need to add Beede and Suarez, and Reyes Moronta too)!
Yup, more strong pitching and barely enough hitting. But this one wasn’t exactly a dominant pitching performance, so much as a Houdini-esque act of prestidigitation:
Got a weird stat line here in San Jose at the #SJGiants game: through six innings, Stockton has no runs and one hit...but have left 12 runners on base. SJ up 2-0 on a 1st inning 2-run HR by Frandy De La Rosa.— Mike Hohler (@MikeHohler77) April 14, 2018
Starter Mac Marshall and reliever Michael Cederoth combined to walk 7 batters and hit 3 more in the first 5 innings alone. But they combined to allow just 1 hit and kept dancing through the raindrops. Stockton would ultimately go 0 for 14 in the game with runners in scoring position.
Lefty Sandro Cabrera entered with two on and two out in the 5th and he would bring a measure of calm to the game, going 3.1 strong innings, striking out 5. Cabrera didn’t get a spot in San Jose’s rotation this year but he’s been remarkably useful so far as a long reliever. In just two appearances he’s worked 7.1 IP. He’s yet to allow a run on the year while striking out 9 and walking just 3. Cabrera’s an arm I’ve always liked. He could use another tick on the fastball, but he throws one pretty curve.
Rodolfo finished up with a 1-2-3 9th and San Jose had their second shutout of the young year. That allowed the team to survive a night when the offense had just 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 12 times. Yikes!
They got all the offense they would need in the 1st inning, however, when Bryce Johnson’s walk was followed by Frandy De La Rosa’s third HR in the last four games.
As you heard Joe Ritzo say, De La Rosa’s had a strong start for the Giants, now with an OPS over 1.000. As you may recall, the 22 year old came over from Texas in the Clayton Blackburn trade. He’d played middle infield with Texas, but he’s mostly been a 1b for the Giants.
Back to Marshall, while the lefty’s stuff is undeniable, he continues to struggle with his control. In his pro career he’s had 89 walks (against 105 Ks) in 95.1 IP. Which is, wow! This year he’s allowed just 1 hit so far in his 6 innings of work, but walked 6 while hitting 2. Finding a way to keep him in the zone is a big part of the development staff this year.
One (expected) roster note:
#SJGiants roster moves: LHP Conner Menez returns from Sacramento (made spot-start in AAA last night). LHP Caleb Baragar back to Extended ST.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 14, 2018
Let’s finish up the night with more strong pitching shall we?
No one told me Augusta (Giants) RHP Jose Marte would be throwing gas. Consistently 94-95 and has hit 97 twice from plus arm speed. Secondaries lag behind but this is an arm to work with.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2018
Who loves them some Jose Marte? Minor Lines does, that’s who! Marte came out of the gates smoking, striking out 5 Legends batters his first time through the order. He threw 5 shout innings before tiring in the 6th. WIth two outs in his final inning he allowed back to back doubles, but struck out his final batter of the night to keep a 2-1 lead that would hold up the rest of the way.
Franklin van Gurp would hold the line the rest of the way, striking out 6 more in his 3 innings of work. Van Gurp has now allowed just one baserunner in 6 IP this year while striking out 8. Pretty gaudy numbers for the 22 year old RHP from Florida International. He relies on offspeed pitches for his kill pitch, setting them up with an average fastball. That’s a great recipe for success at this level, and with good enough fastball command can be a great recipe for success at higher levels too.
And once again, there was just enough offense to go around. Jean Angomas’ two-run single in the bottom of the 2nd capped an inning that included half the team’s hits for the nights and a well-timed WP. The veteran Angomas’ contributed to the win on both sides of the ball as he also ended the 1st inning by throwing out a runner at home.
Heliot Ramos had his second straight two-hit day, and he also managed his first game of the year without a strikeout. It seems like he’s been working on more up the middle contact the last couple of nights, as all of his hits have been singles.
Continue to be impressed with Heliot Ramos in my first looks. Has yet to turn on one but makes consistent contact across the field and it’s usually hard.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2018
And one more note from David, on yet another Minor Lines fave:
Augusta (Giants) OF Malique Ziegler is going to be fun to watch this season. At least a plus runner, quick actions, loose quick swing with sneaky pull-side pop. Good JuCo grab.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 14, 2018
It’s, of course, too early in the year to think seriously about records, still there was so much losing throughout the system in 2017 that it’s nice to see teams get off to decent starts. Augusta’s 6-3 is the best record in the organization and at the moment they’re just a game back of Lexington for first place in their division. Which means a couple more wins today and tomorrow and they could see themselves sitting atop their division come Monday. I’m pretty sure THAT never happened at any point in the season last year.
Finally not sure if you’ve noticed reknowned architecture critic Grant Brisbee’s review of SRP Park. As usual, Grant nail’s it.
The Augusta Greenjackets' new stadium is a perfect example of Grant's First Rule of Ballpark Aesthetics. pic.twitter.com/JnrwWt9iZj— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) April 13, 2018
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Dereck Rodriguez vs. Max Povse
Richmond: Matt Gage vs. Jacob Waguespack
San Jose: Raffi Vizcaino vs. Matt Millburn
Augusta: Joey Marciano vs. Daniel Tillo
And finally, we have important new information on the bi-cycle! First up, we have confirmation that it has happened at least once before!
Here's more info on the California League's previous "Bi-Cycle." https://t.co/eA8R1OpbVV— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) April 13, 2018
Ok, Kevin Stock completing a cycle even though leaving the game in the 5th inning is a quite the mic drop move.
And secondly, the amazing feat has given Joe Ritzo the chance to say he’s in the Hall of Fame, which is the coolest thing I can possibly imagine. Congrats to everybody involved!