I’ll repeat myself: Get ye to San Jose, where an amazing stretch of baseball just keeps on keeping on:
HIGHLIGHTS: Steven Duggar had 3 hits with a double; Bryce Johnson had 4 hits with a double; Manny Geraldo had 3 hits with a double.
MORE Tacoma? Sacramento began their third series of the year against the Rainiers out of just five series that they’ve played this year. This is already their second road trip into the great northwest. Does anybody really need to make multiple road trips into Tacoma Washington in early April?
Anyhoo, the RiverCats scored early and often in this one, building up a 7-0 lead at one point and coasting to the victory. Saramento got great production from the top of the order, as the 1-2-3 hitters collected 7 of the team’s 10 hits. Steven Duggar sparked things with his first three-hit game of the year. Duggar singled and came around to score twice in the early going, and added a RBI double to finish off his best offensive game of the year.
Duggar’s starting to get into a groove. He has a modest six-game hitting streak going and his K rate has been trending in a slightly better direction, as it’s crossed under 30% with just 6 Ks in his last 6 games. Duggar’s always been a patient hitter, and consequently puts himself into a lot of two-strike at bats. I think we’re seeing the young hitter’s education and adjustment process early this year as he’s learning what advanced pitchers can do late in counts.
Andrew Suarez kept the Rainiers at bay while his teammates were piling up a lead. The lefty was more solid than sensational, but he pitched 5 scoreless innings and would have ended up with a quality start had Chase D’Arnaud not committed a throwing error with two-outs in the 6th. That play brought in two-runs and ended Suarez’ night at 99 pitches. Three of the six hits he allowed on the night came in that final inning, so he might have been running low on gas at that point.
Andrew Suárez threw five scoreless in Triple-A tonight before giving up three runs (1 ER) in the sixth. Nothing official yet, but I would think he'll get one of the doubleheader games next Saturday against LA.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) April 22, 2018
Ah, and just after I’d been bragging yesterday that the Squirrels could seemingly win any kind of game. Cory Taylor was knocked out early, giving up 2 runs in each of the first 2 innings and piling up an extraordinary 59 pitches while collecting just 5 outs.
That put the Richmond offense in a bind as they were going up against arguably the best pitching prospect currently in the minors, the Pirates’ Mitch Keller (#12 prospect in baseball on BA’s Top 100 this year). But the Squirrels put up a spirited effort, thanks to a long ball attack.
Matt Lipka reached Keller for a two run shot in the 1st, the 26 year old veteran’s 2nd of the year. Lipka has played all three OF positions for the Squirrels this year and also is distinguishing himself in another way:
RVA Acorns: @GoSquirrels Matt Lipka walked 2 more times last night, up to 11... leads the EL Polish God of Walks... move over Youkilis.— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) April 21, 2018
Dillon Dobson got in on the action, as well hitting his first AA HR. Dobson has been working hard on his infield versatility, playing 3b last night for the second time this year. He also has a game in at 2b, which is kind of crazy for as big a guy as Dobson is. His best position is Batter’s Box though (more than half his starts have come at DH), and it’s been a slow start for the slugger there. He has shown an excellent command of the strike zone thus far, with 7 BBs to 9 Ks (leading to a .375 OBP). Hopefully yesterday’s opposite field shot is a sign of things to come for the big bat.
That was all they managed off Keller, but once the Curve went to the bullpen the Squirrels went to work with relish on his replacement. With a little two-out magic, Richmond launched an 8th inning rally with singles from Miguel Gomez and Aramis Garcia and big three-run homer from Jerry Sands to make it a one-run game, but they could get no further.
Ultimately, the losing runs came from Ray Black’s first runs allowed on the year. Black struggled mightily, giving up a single and double to the first two batters he faced and then walking the bases loaded before being removed mid-inning. Black appeared three times in Richmond’s first six games, but this was just his second outing since April 10. And, of course, with Black that kind of usage pattern (and a rough outing) also trend the mind towards questions of health. Be well, Ray!
Sheer coincidence (we think), but the Curve’s promotion for the night was honoring a current Giant. How’s that for happenstance? (Might need to pick one of these bad boys up).
Things are getting seriously crazy at the Muni!
Joe actually undersells it a bit since there was a road series mixed into that stretch. This is actually four walk off wins in their last FIVE home games! And as Joe notes, in each case they were trailing entering the 9th. In two of those games they were also trailing in extra innings.
Bryce Johnson had a huge game with 4 hits including a hustle double in the 9th to start the game winning rally. The CF has raised his batting average 85 points in the last four games, going 10 for 19 with at least two hits in each of those games. He has not been terribly good at drawing walks yet (just 4 in 68 ABs) which needs to be a part of the speedsters game. But he is sure slap and dashing his heart out right now.
The Giants were down to their final strike, when for the second time in this remarkable stretch, the Giants got some help from the opponent.
With Frandy De La Rosa on 1st representing the winning run, up stepped Jacob Heyward to play tonight’s hero (with even a little MORE help from the defense).
Logan Webb continues to impress in the #SJGiants starting rotation. 3 scoreless innings today with just 1 hit allowed, no walks, two K's. Retired 8 of 9 hitters. FB was 93-97.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 22, 2018
Webb this season: 10 IP, 1 ER, 10 SO.
Long before all that happened, the Giants got another encouraging outing from starter Logan Webb. Webb is still stretching out cautiously, but while he was in there he was electric, pumping strikes (22 out of 32 pitches) and carving up the Nuts hitters. Once they get the 21 year old 4th round pick stretched out, he has a chance to be a very impactful player on this roster (and in this system). Here he takes on the Mariners’ #2 prospect, Evan White, last year’s 17th overall pick in the draft (with bonus footage of Matt Winn gunning down a runner!).
No telling what we’re gonna see today, but if I were in the area I’d be heading to the peninsula for some ball this afternoon!
First things first, we appear to have good news on the Heliot front:
Good news! Heliot Ramos did some pregame base running work. Seems fine. Likely, just precautionary on him being out of lineup. I guess I have a 2nd night in a row free to spend with my wife. Back tomorrow but weather issues. #SFGiants— Chris Blessing (@C_Blessing) April 21, 2018
Hopefully we’ll see Ramos in a lineup again very soon.
As for the game, the Greenjackets apparently have been jealously watching San Jose’s results and said “we want in on that late inning comeback action, too!” Augusta scored three times in the top of the 9th to pull off the comeback win. The heroes du jour were Manny Geraldo and John Riley. Geraldo’s hit into a little bad luck this year so far, but he had a big game here with three hits including a game-tying double in the 9th.
Riley then singled Geraldo in with the game winner. Just back from AA, Riley had two hits himself, and easily could have had a third without this great effort against him.
Those two provided nearly all the offense for Augusta against Braves #20 prospect Kyle Muller, with five of the team’s seven hits and all it’s RBIs (the 5th run scored on a throwing error on a Geraldo bunt single). However, Ryan Kirby also contributed to the cause with three of the team’s four walks.
The comeback took starter Jason Bahr off the hook after his first rough effort of the year. Bahr more than doubled his season walk totals last night and allowed just his second and third runs of the year. He also had by far his worst night of the year generating swings and misses. Still an 0.96 ERA with 24 Ks in 18 IP isn’t a bad way to start the year. Get ‘em next time, Jason!
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey Kelly vs. TBD
Richmond: Shaun Anderson vs. Taylor Hearn
San Jose: Conner Menez vs. John Richy
Augusta: Garrett Cave vs. Alan Rangel
Things aren’t looking half bad on this Sunday morning. Sacramento, at 7-9, has the only losing record in the system and the other three teams all own at least a share of 1st place in their divisions. After the avalanche of losing last year, it’s nice to see some records on the right side of the ledger. Shaun Anderson hopes to continue staking a claim to be arguably the system’s best pitching prospect, while Garrett Cave looks to get his dominant stuff into the strike zone.
And maybe we’ll get Heliot back? Who knows. It’s Earth Day and a great way to celebrate is to get out an enjoy a view of some earth: