Lot of firsts for Heliot Ramos this week. Tuesday night he picked up his first two walks of the season. Which was nice! And then yesterday morning, armed with a modicum more patience, he got to “the first” that I think we (and probably he) were all waiting for:
Heliot Ramos just hit his first home run this season. Flick of the wrists sent out to left. When he barrels it the raw power is there.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 18, 2018
No video (#@*&! you, Augusta!), so we’ll have to go Artists’ Rendition version:
HIGHLIGHTS: Jordan Johnson threw 7 shutout innings; Jalen Miller homered, singled, and stole a base; Franklin Van Gurp is perfect
Ryder Jones was all over the stat line in this one, picking up three hits including the double that drove in Sacramento’s final run, while also making two errors (one of which helped produce the Bees final run). Not quite the Bob Brenly game but a decent approximation. Ryder’s one of the few RiverCats hitters who’s gotten off to a slow start this year. This was just his second multi-hit game of the year. Ironically, Ryder was the only Sacramento hitter with multiple hits in this game.
After 5 innings, the RiverCats had just three hits in the game. But in the 6th they strung together five consecutive hits to take a 3-2 lead. And in the 7th they padded the lead thanks to run scoring doubles from Jones and Chris Shaw.
Ryder’s double was the payoff to a beautiful 10 pitch at bat, in which he fouled off pitch after pitch with two strikes.
That was enough to do it, with Tyler Rogers, DJ Snelten, and Roberto Gomez containing the Bees out of the pen.
Sacramento has gone through a mess of transactions the last couple of days. INF Josh Rutledge and C Trevor Brown have both gone on the disabled list, resulting in Jeff Arnold’s return to AAA. Meanwhile they’ve cycled through a rash of fresh, with Will Lamarche, Dillon McNamara, and Manny Parra joining the club. OF Eury Perez also joined the team, which I have to say makes my spidey sense tingle, with Austin Slater now having played just one time in the last six days. I have to wonder if there’s some kind of lingering issue going on with Austin.
Richmond takes a second consecutive 1-0 victory. That deserves a Wow! And no Joe Panik homers in sight, though in this second 1-0 game they did get the game winner from Luigi Rogriguez’ first homer of the year. Rodriguez hit a career high 13 HRs last year with Akron.
Jordan Johnson delivered his second straight scoreless outing, going a season high 7 innings. After a season debut in which he had trouble keeping balls from going to the backstop, JJ has now walked just 1 (and thrown no WP) over 13 IP in his last two starts, while striking out 10. And with the improved control has come improved run prevention. Johnson was in the 90-93 mph range for most of the night with his fastball and effectively mixed in secondaries through the night. Nice job Jordan!
RVA Acorns: Sounds like Aramis Garcia is available to PH today, says he feels fine (finger). Giants returned catcher John Riley to Augusta. Riley made one start, 0-3, but will be remembered for a 12-pitch walk Monday, setting up a run.— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) April 18, 2018
It’ll be good to see Aramis back in action. But even without him, the Squirrels have now won six straight games and nine of their last 10. Amazingly, in eight of those games the margin of victory has been two runs or less with the Squirrels picking up five one-run victories! When they’ve needed 1 they’ve scored 1, and when they needed 7 they somehow found a way to score 7. This is a streak!
San Jose lost at Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 9-6
losing their series, 1-2
After winning the series opener, hopes were raised that the Giants might win their first series in Visalia in five years! Consider those hopes dashed in brutal fashion, as DJ Myers gave up six runs in the 6th inning to turn a 6-3 lead into a 6-9 loss. That inning included Myers getting gobsmacked by last year’s 7th overall pick, Pavin Smith.
The game featured a surprise starter, as LHP Mac Marshall went from “scheduled starter” to the DL.
#SJGiants to skip Mac Marshall's turn in the rotation. Sandro Cabrera will start instead this afternoon in Visalia. Marshall expected to make his next scheduled start on Monday. Cabrera will be 10th different SJ starting pitcher in first 14 games this season.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 18, 2018
Cabrera had been making long relief appearances, so he was the reasonable choice to start, though he seems to have left his strikeouts behind in the bullpen. Cabrera’s three runs allowed were his first of the year, but he still left with a lead thanks to another strong offensive performance from the Giants hitters.
The lineup produced 12 hits, four for extra bases. And once again the star performance came from 2b Jalen Miller. The 21 year old is on fire to start 2018.
#SJGiants 2B Jalen Miller continues his strong start to the season. Just hit his third home run of the year. Has also singled today. Now leads the Cal League with 18 hits (.340 AVG).— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 18, 2018
Miller also stole his third base of the year, for a perfectly symmetrical combo meal!
CF Bryce Johnson had his finest game of the young year, reaching base three times, picking up his first extra base hit of the year, and nabbing his 3rd SB of the year as well.
In the end, it was yet another series loss in an unending series of series losses in Visalia, a run of team over team dominance that simply defies explanation. I do have to add the obligatory IN THE REGULAR SEASON! as the Giants somehow managed to get in the way of a Visalia league championship in 2015 by taking two games in Visalia in the post-season.
Augusta beat Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox), 5-1
winning their series, 2-1
You can almost (hopefully) feel Heliot Ramos starting to get his feet under him a bit. After striking out 11 times over his first six games of the season, he’s starting to gain a little control of the strike zone, with just 4 Ks over his last six games. At the same time, he started going with a more singles oriented attack, getting hits from up the middle or opposite field approach. As noted at the top, he worked his first two walks on Tuesday night. And then today the first round tripper. Hopefully the precocious youngster is maneuvering his way up the learning curve, or the first learning curve I should say, as many more are still to come.
Ramos scored runs in each of the first two innings, reaching base in the first on an error and coming around on Shane Matheny’s triple. In the 5th singles from Matheny, Jean Angomas, and Manny Geraldo’s third hit of the game, salted it away.
That was thanks to more tremendous pitching from the Greenjackets staff. First came lefty John Gavin:
A little morning baseball in Augusta. It'll be my second look at Augusta (Giants) LHP John Gavin, who commanded well and showed a solid changeup last time out.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 18, 2018
And Gavin spots a same-side changeup to the glove side for a swinging strike three. Strong.— David Lee (@David11Lee) April 18, 2018
Gavin gave the team 5 strong innings, with just a solo HR marked against him. He has 19 Ks now in just 14.2 IP.
But the true eye-popping stat line belongs to RHP Franklin Van Gurp, who continued his dominance of the Sally league in this game. Van Gurp, the 22 year old RHP from Florida International, has faced 25 batters so far this season. One of them has reached base. None of them have recorded a hit against him. Ten of them have shuffled back to the dugout without making contact. This dude his pitching his way out of the league.
I’ve seen every pitch this season from him and to describe him as dominate would be an understatement. He has been so impressive.— Joe Laurendi (@Joe_Laurendi) April 18, 2018
Joe Laurendi is Augusta’s new radio guy, so he’s not fibbing when he says he’s seen every Van Gurp pitch.
In the two 10:30 am games this season for the @GreenJackets, they are outscoring their opponents 10-1. Can we just play every game at 10:30?— Joe Laurendi (@Joe_Laurendi) April 18, 2018
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Dereck Rodriguez vs. Osmer Morales
Richmond: Matt Gage vs. Keegan Akin
San Jose: Raffi Vizcaino vs. Darren McCaughan
Augusta: Jose Marte vs. TBD
Three of yesterday’s games were education day affairs. The only one that wasn’t was Richmond and they have a morning set today, that will likely be reaching its conclusion by the time you read this. Raffi Vizcaino looks to keep his early season surge going, as the right-hander has yet to allow a run in two games (just 9 IP). And Jose Marte (I think, as usual Augusta is TBD) hopes to pick up where he left off in last week’s 6 K, 6 IP, 1 Run start.
Have a fun time at the ballyard everybody!