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SF Giants Minor Lines 4/7/18: Conner Menez strikes out 7

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A little Sunday morning reading suggestion for you: a fantastic piece from Baseball America’s JJ Cooper on the widest gulf and thinnest line in baseball:

HIGHLIGHTS: Conner Menez threw 5 shutout innings with 7 Ks.

Sacramento’s game in Tacoma was postponed by rain

Richmond lost at Trenton Thunder (Yankees), 6-2

Facing the Yankees #11 prospect (and the 4th overall selection of the 2015 draft for the Rangers) Dillon Tate, the Squirrels didn’t put up much of a fight. They managed just 3 hits on the day and added in a couple of walks. They were pretty efficient in their hits/runs ratio, as two of the three hits were solo HRs, including Dylan Davis 2nd shot of the year.

Tate went 6 strong against Richmond, allowing just two hits and Davis’ HR while striking out 5. Along with three relievers the Thunder ultimately recorded 10 Ks against the Squirrels in a game they controlled from the 1st inning. Richmond was playing without their best hitter, Aramis Garcia, who rested in this day game following a night game. Without him they ran out a lineup that included six hitters who ended the day with batting averages below .100.

On the mound, Jordan Johnson got the start and delivered a particularly mercurial effort. Johnson walked the first hitter he faced and then helped push him all the way around the bases with two Wild Pitches sandwiched around a ground out. That would set the stage for a day when Johnson walked 5 batters and unleashed a whopping 5 WPs in just 3.1 innings of work. To keep perfect symmetry he also struck out 5. The search continues for Mr. Johnson.

And before we leave, how about a little “when life gives you lemons, make some lemonade” highlight featuring Matt Lipka in LF?

San Jose won at Inland Empire 66ers (Angels), 5-0

San Jose got themselves into the WIN column, as Joe Angel would say. San Jose got the upper hand in what was a battle of the lefties. Conner Menez, the lone veteran in the San Jose rotation, got his season off on the right note throwing 5 shutout innings, striking out 7 without a walk. Menez, who sits decidedly in the “crafty lefty” camp, was in control throughout his evening as he allowed only three baserunners in his 72 pitches.

Once again, Kyle Glaser was on hand for the game, so let’s get some field notes.

Menez’ counterpart Jose Suarez was even more dominant, as the 66ers 20 year old starter struck out 10 Giants in his 5 innings of work, also without issuing a BB. Suarez found himself in trouble in the 2nd however, when he hit Gio Brusa, and then Sandro Fabian executed a hit and run perfectly, squeezing a single just past the vacated 2b position. That brought up Jacob Heyward, making his first start of the year. Heyward wasted no time, jumping on the first official pitch he saw this season.

Heyward would be the only San Jose hitter with two hits on the night, though he did set a trend as all of the Giants’ runs would score on doubles, with Heath Quinn and Jeff Arnold each chipping in an RBI double later in the game.

Following the Heyward double Suarez would retire the next 11 Giants he faced, but the damage was done as Dylan Rhealt and Rodolfo Martinez completed the shutout victory.

The Rodolfo note is a repeat of what our own Quincy reported from Martinez’ first outing. It’s really been a lost year and a half for the burly right-hander since that All Star game in 2016.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s now 28 Ks across two levels for the affiliates on the night. Against just 10 hits and 4 BBs. Youch!

Augusta won at Columbia Fireflies (Mets), 6-2

It’s a Joe Angel kind of night! Now everybody’s in the WIN column. Augusta put together a solid 6-2 victory, doing a lot of things well along the way. They collected five extra bases hits among their seven total hits. They stole four bases (in five attempts). They worked five walks (plus a HBP to Ramos).

Augusta mixed up the lineup a little in their third start, moving Malique Ziegler up into the leadoff position, and Ziegler did well picking up two hits including a two run bloop into right field to salt the game away. He also collected his first stolen base of the year. The Greenjackets also got erstwhile Catcher John Riley his first start of the year and Riley responded with an RBI double and walk. Strong armed young catcher Jeffry Parra (whose presence on this team surprised me a good bit) picked up a hit and two walks. The 20 year old Catcher, born in the Dominican Republic but drafted out of an upstate New York high school is an interesting kid to keep an eye on. With his defense, you really just look for him to keep his head above water offensively. Lord knows the Giants need to bulk up their system Catcher depth.

The heart of the order, Ramos, Garcia, and Gonzalez had one hit each, but they were all big blows in the game and each set up a scoring rally!

Heliot Ramos’ boomed a first inning triple and came around to score on Orlando Garcia’s Sac Fly. Here’s that easy power:

That would be the only run scored by either team for the first six innings of the game. But following a Ryan Kirby leadoff walk in the 7th, Jacob Gonzalez ignited a two-run rally with a grounder down the line that went for a 2b.

And finally, Orlando Garcia, who’s been the Greenjackets best hitter in the early going (as we anticipated he might be) sliced a low liner through a howling wind that the CF played into a triple to begin the Greenjackets final two-run rally in the 8th.

Hey, try sliding there Orlando!

Meanwhile, Bay Area native John Gavin gave the team nearly 5 innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits in 4.2 IP. CJ Gettman, returning from a season lost to TJ, and Olbis Parra took it the rest of the way.

Strong starting pitching and production up and down the lineup? That’s a nice team win. Oh, and since I know part of my job here is to be keeper of the Heliot Ramos’ highlight repository, I suppose I should note that you don’t run on Heliot!

Today’s Scheduled Starters:

Sacramento: Tyler Herb vs. Lindsey Caughel; Dereck Rodriguez vs. Rob Whalen
Richmond: Matt Gage vs. Will Carter
San Jose: Mac Marshall vs. Connor Riley
Augusta: TBD vs. Anthony Kay

Jeez, Greenjackets! What’s with all the TBDs? Well I rightly figure John Gavin for yesterday’s game, so let me see if I can read the tea leaves again? It appears to me that the only three pitchers on the roster who have yet to appear in a game are Franklin Van Gurp, Joey Marciano, and Jose Marte. Van Gurp’s strictly a reliever, so it would appear that Marciano and Marte are the last two starters. Let’s figure they want to break up the lefties, that would make Marte the Sunday starter.

You may have noticed I’ve mostly been featuring pitchers in the highlights section this weekend as the hitters have yet to get untracked. Jacob Heyward and Malique Ziegler were the only players in the system to record even two-hit nights on Saturday. It would be nice to be able to feature a big offensive performance tomorrow morning. Maybe the DH in Tacoma will provide us with an opportunity.

Most of the teams finish their series today and then continue on the road for the week before finally making their home debut. Sacramento is the lone exception in both cases as they’ll finish their five game series on Monday and then head to Raley Field for a Tuesday Opening Night. Have a great Sunday at the ballyard everyone!