We’re all about effort here at Minor Lines, just like Matt Lipka:
HIGHLIGHTS: Mac Williamson HRs, knocks in 3; Shaun Anderson Ks 7 in 5 IP; Garrett Cave allowed just 2 hits in 5 IP.
Once again, just as a reminder, to make things more mobile friendly this year we’re using screen shots of the box scores rather than tables. To see the full game review, we’re linking to the MiLB.com box score page in the header.
The Rivercats showed off the muscle in what should be a powerful lineup in recording their first win of the season. They used 12 hits including 3 HRs to bludgeon Josh Smith and the Rainiers. We have lift off!
It was a good night for most everybody’s batting lines (MOST everybody, ICU there Ryder Jones and Josh Rutledge), but the true star of the night was Mac Williamson. He shook off getting hit in the hand in his first AB to record three hits, three RBIs and blast his first HR of the year.
Keep those good times rolling, Mac! And he wasn’t just producing in the batter’s box either. With four OF for three defensive positions, it looks like Williamson will take regular DH duty, but here’s a reminder that he prefers donning the glove.
Steven Duggar worked two walks, scored two runs and stole his first base of the year. He did strike out two more times. That’s 4 in his first 9 PA of the year, something to keep an eye on as he’s had elevated K rates pretty much everywhere he’s been the last year.
Good to get the first win on the board!
And another affiliate gets in the win column. I noted yesterday that the Richmond/Trenton tilt was a marquis pitching matchup, with Shaun Anderson going up against the Yankees Justus Sheffield, part of NY’s haul for Andrew Miller two years ago and possibly the top LHP prospect in baseball.
The big right-hander with the flowing locks seized the challenge and made this his night. Through the first 4 innings, Anderson allowed just a single ground ball hit, while striking out 6 of the first 11 batters he faced.
The pitchers’ duel lived up to the promise. Sheffield was tough too, but six walks and an elevated pitch count proved his undoing. In the top of the 5th Aramis Garcia chased the lefty with a booming run scoring triple.
That was the beginning of what proved to be a 10 batter, 4 run inning that included five walks (Trenton walked an amazing 11 batters on the night) and two pitching changes. At the end of it Richmond held a 5-0 lead and the question was whether Anderson would retain his sharpness after such a long time in the dugout. An immediate solo HR answered that question, but Anderson recovered to work through the inning with no further damage and picked up strikeout #7 to end his night’s work. Pretty nice debut, Mr. Anderson. I’m high on this kid. I think the Giants really got themselves some value out of Mr. Nuñez.
Most of the evening’s scoring was over at that point, but things took a turn for the weird in the bottom of the 8th when downtown Trenton went dark.
The current status is not ideal. pic.twitter.com/6CQI0AQbBl— Trenton Thunder (@TrentonThunder) April 7, 2018
It took about 20 minutes to turn the lights back on (if you have MiLBtv it’s actually pretty fun footage as the cameras still worked and they took long lingering shots of a dark city at night). And it’s a good thing they didn’t just call the game at that point, because after the black out.... came the Ray Black Out!
I know I’m fighting an uphill battle against prospect fatigue on this one, but as Kruk says “IWANTTHAT!IWANTTHAT!IWANTTHAT!IWANTTHAT!” The Once and Future DL Stint made a triumphant return with his huge fastball and ridiculous spin rate breaking ball intact and in the strike zone. Man! Just for one season, maybe even one month, I want to see this guy stay healthy long enough to pitch in the big leagues. I want to see that stuff against the best in the world.
Ray Black just looked like Ray Black. Watch out - @GoSquirrels— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) April 7, 2018
One more note on Garcia before heading to A ball, he’s starting out the season hot with 4 hits in his first two games. Interestingly, through about 100 PA now he’s been a better hitter in AA than at any other level, as he now has a combined line of .299/.367/.460 since getting sent up to Richmond. Still waiting on that first AA HR though.
The Giants suffered their second consecutive 3-2 loss to open the year. An offense that may take awhile to find itself went up against rehabbing major leaguer Andrew Heaney on this night, and the results weren’t pretty (I mean, unless you were an Angels fan). Heaney held the Giants hitless until a Matt Winn double in the 6th inning. For the night the Giants managed just two hits off of the LHP, while striking out 7 times.
On the other side of the scale, Logan Webb’s first start in nearly two years didn’t quite go to plan. Webb looked overamped to start the night, walking two of the first three batters he faced and tossing in a WP for good measure. In between the two outs he allowed a ringing run scoring double. The inning nearly took a nightmare turn when Webb and 1b Gio Brusa failed to convert a swinging bunt into an out (the error was initially charged to Brusa but later was changed to a throwing error on Webb). That made it 2-0, men on 2nd and 3rd and no outs.
But my big brother would be proud, as Webb admirably “bowed his neck,” competed like heck (as the Inland Empire announcer said) and struck out the next three batters to end the threat.
That monster 36 pitch inning was it for the night for Webb, as the Giants, like most clubs, have a rule against sending a pitcher back to the mound following a 30 pitch inning, especially early in the year.
Not exactly the way he drew it up, but one has to admire the spirit to fight his way through. Things to build on for next time, Logan!
The San Jose bats are still looking to find their footing, having managed just 11 hits in the first two nights. Matt Winn would come around to score on a WP following his double and Gio Brusa provided a momentary wake up with his first HR of the year in the 7th. But that was it for a quiet offensive unit on this night. Brusa’s conversion to 1b is still something of a work in progress. On back to back nights he’s failed to come up with throws in the dirt on tough chances. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy to convert to 1b! (Tell ‘em Wash!)
Never let it be said that I don’t know how to please my audience! First pitch swinging
And there we have Heliot’s first hit and first extra base hit of the year. Jacob Gonzalez chipped in with two opposite field singles, including a two-run hit in the first that proved to be the team’s output of Runs for the night.
On the mound, Garrett Cave made a fine debut in his first start as a pro, allowing just two hits over 5 innings while striking out 4. The big right-hander stayed mostly in the strike zone, walking just two on the night (one each in the 4th and 5th innings) in a nice display of power ball. Like Garrett Williams before him, if Cave can keep his outstanding fastball/breaking ball combo in the strike zone, he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Once Cave left the game however, things took a turn. Camilo Doval entered a very tidy 2-1 game in the 6th inning and he made a mess of it but good. Doval’s full season debut couldn’t have gone much worse as he walked all 4 batters he faced on just 19 pitches. Most of those balls weren’t remotely close and one of the strikes was a 3-0 gift from the ump. Like Webb, Doval was clearly overamped as he pumped fastball after fastball high and away to his arm side and simply couldn’t make the adjustment out of it. Frank Rubio would ultimately inherit the bases loaded no out mess and by the time he was done with the inning 2-1 had turned into 7-2. Doval went home for the night with the unenviable infinity ERA, and a rather unpleasant 100% walk rate. Fight again another day, Camilo!
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Tyler Herb vs. Erasmo Ramirez
Richmond: Jordan Johnson vs. Dillon Tate
San Jose: Conner Menez vs. Jose Suarez
Augusta: TBD vs. Jake Simon
The Greenjackets are being a little secretive about their rotation. I’d guess John Gavin goes today but we’ll see. In Trenton, Jordan Johnson goes up against the former 4th overall pick in the 2015 draft as Johnson tries to get his prospect status back in 2018.
We’ll see if any of them can match performances with the big guy with the flow.