There’s a lot to get to today, but first: it’s mea culpa time! I really screwed the pooch on Jordan Schafer’s debut for the RiverCats Thursday night.
First off, while I did note that he had missed a substantial bit of time after TJ, I did fail to really fail to capture his journey in its totality: the former MLB OF (mostly for Atlanta and Houston) converted to pitching in 2016 when it appeared his OF career was over, but in 2017 he had TJ surgery and his only appearances were, once again in the OF. There are some rumors that his release from the Cardinals system last winter was the result of his refusing to choose between Pitching and OF (though I can’t speak for their accuracy).
That’s all pretty interesting. But much more significantly, I COMPLETELY whiffed on Schafer’s crucial connection to Giants’ history.
Yep. That’s the dude who’s now pitching for Sacramento. The one who connected Gregor Blanco and Matt Cain forever in Giants’ lore by drilling a pitch to the end of triples alley.
Ok, now we got things to do and plays to see! It’s Minor Lines time. Hey Mr. Duggar, did you see that Blanco catch?
HIGHLIGHTS: Jason Bahr strikes out 11 over 6 IP
Mac Williamson was finally put back into action to start his rehab assignment after a spell on the concussion DL. And how’s the swing looking, Mac?
Holy, jeez! PEOPLE! Do not park within a 100 feet of the park when Mac is up! We cannot be responsible for the safety of your car!
Let’s put this into a little context. Between AAA and MLB, this was Williamson’s 10th HR of the season. He has played just 17 games! 62 ABs! It’s incredible. Let’s get that swing back to AT&T quickly, please!
Williamson’s HR was one of three for the RiverCats in the game. Chase D’Arnaud, who is having a fine season, went 3 for 5 with his 6th HR of the year and added his 9th HR. In the absence of Alen Hanson I might prefer D’Arnaud as a 2b option to Tomlinson personally (because I’m never much of a fan of rostering 20 power guys) but in any case he looks like good depth.
Hunter Pence picked up two more hits. Since restarting his rehab he’s 10 for 24 with two hits in four of his six games. Austin Slater went back to back with Mac for his lone hit of the game, popping an opposite field shot into the breeze.
All of that was plenty of support for Dereck Rodriguez who didn’t let the Rocky Mountain High disturb his flow. A two-run shot to Chris Carter in the 6th dinged his line a little, but it was another solid outing for the guy who’s turning into the most reliable member of this, frankly, shaky Sacramento rotation.
The less happy news from Sacramento is that Chris Shaw exchanged places with Williamson, heading to the DL with a groin strain. Shaw left Tuesday night’s game in the 8th inning and hadn’t returned to play this week.
And now we turn to the weather:
This swamp, in western Henrico, has spilled over onto Patterson Avenue and into neighborhoods near Lauderdale Drive. Live coverage of flashing flooding continues at noon. #RVA pic.twitter.com/mNRNEnKfFr— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) May 18, 2018
Yeah, it’s still raining in Richmond. Like the Nats (and I would assume quite a few other minor league clubs in the Capital Metro Region) the Squirrels haven’t gotten a game in this week. Tough week to have a homestand.
They’re going to try to get a double header launched today starting at 4:30, and current thinking is this system will finally move out of the area sometime in mid-afternoon, so with any lucky they’ll be able to get both in (my tickets for the Nats and Dodgers tonight, however, are a bit more problematical).
Starting an important series with the 1st place Stockton Ports, San Jose thought they might have sneak away with a gut punch come from behind victory, but a crucial error from Johneshwy Fargas helped it slip away from their grasp in extra innings.
Logan Webb got things going with another scoreless three inning start. Webb has only allowed earned runs in three of his nine games this year — and has just once allowed more than 1 earned run in a game. Three innings and 0 ER is Webb’s go to line this year, as he’s hit that combo in six of his starts. Interestingly, Webb has allowed as many unearned runs as earned runs this year (6 of each). He’s also having some control issues as the walks are creeping upwards. He now has 14 walks and 24 Ks in 26 IP this year.
As usual, Webb was handcuffed by RHP D.J. Myers, however, Myers was unable to absorb the innings he normally picks up for a Webb start, and it looks like Webb may not have his piggyback partner around for awhile:
On Myers final pitch he surrendered what looked for a long time like it might be the game’s only run. But in the top of the 9th, down 1-0, Sandro Fabian delivered a dramatic shot to tie it up and send the game to extra innings. Ah, Sandro’s penchant for clutch HRs — we’ve seen that before!
Patrick Ruotolo pitched the bottom of the 9th to make sure the game got to extras, but having thrown 2 innings in each of his previous stints, Ruotolo was only available for 1 last night. And that proved to be important!
After Jalen Miller delivered the go ahead run with his second hit of the night in the top of the 10th, it was erstwhile closer Rudolfo Martinez who tried to nail down the win, which would have moved San Jose to within 1 game of 1st. But following a sac bunt to move the free runner to 3b, Rudolfo let the lead go with a line drive RBI single. Then the crucial play:
B10: Mercedes lifts a deep drive to the warning track, and Brallan Perez tags and gets to second!— Stockton Ports (@stocktonports) May 19, 2018
The strong armed Fargas was credited with a throwing error on the play, but without video it’s hard to say exactly how much credit and how much blame he deserves. Regardless, it was a critical 90 feet as Martinez allowed a two-out single to bring Perez in with the game winner.
The Giants now sit 3 games back of Stockton with less than a month to play in the 1st Half of the Cal League season. Securing a first half birth is always the preferable path to success in the Cal League post-season, so a couple of wins before leaving Stockton would go a long way to helping their cause.
Augusta has ridden the backs of an exceptional pitching staff this year. They lead the Sally in team ERA (2.55), runs allowed (124), strikeouts (397) and WHIP (1.13). One lens for viewing their staff’s effort — yesterday was the fourth time this year that they’ve won a game while scoring two or fewer runs, and it was the second such victory in two days!
Jason Bahr struck out 11 for his second consecutive start in delivering yet another dominating performance. Bahr now leads the Sally in Ks (60 in just 41.1 IP) and has a 5:1 K to walk ratio on the year. His ERA is down to 1.73, as he’s allowed just 9 (8 earned) runs total in 8 starts. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any of his games this year and he’s barely averaging over a runner per inning (1.03 WHIP). Quite a performance thus far for the kid from Central Florida who was cut twice by his college staff. Put the fastball on the corners; bury the curve. Simple formula (in A ball at least)!
Bahr didn’t get a whole lot of support from his friends though. 1b Ryan Kirby put the team on the board with a monster shot in the 2nd, his team leading 5th of the year (he was tied with DL’d Malique Ziegler).
After that they needed some help from the league’s worst team. Orlando Garcia doubled to open the 7th and then came around to score the game winner thanks to a fielding error and a wild pitch. Whatever it takes! Greenjackets hitters piled up 15 strikeouts in this game, including a hat trick of hat tricks, from Gonzalez, Geraldo and Tyler Brown. There were a mind-boggling 28 combined Ks in the game.
Another aspect of A ball that Heliot Ramos has found to be a challenge has been the basepaths — where he’s now just 1 of 7 at stolen base attempts. Last year he was a dandy 10 of 12 at base thievery. Toto, something tells me we’re not in Scottsdale anymore. But the speed still plays in other ways though!
Augusta has kept up a blistering pace this year going 25-14, but they too are in a tough battle for 1st, as Rome has kept right on their heels throughout the first half. Augusta currently sits just half a game above the Braves as they try for a 1st half championship themselves with a just about a month to play.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey Kelley vs. Ivan Pineyro
Richmond: Chase Johnson vs. Logan Darnell; TBD vs TBD
San Jose: Sandro Cabrera vs TBD
Augusta: Garrett Cave vs. Jhonathan Diaz
D.J. Myers injury is problematic for the Giants as they’ve already had to move their other hand-cuff starter, Sandro Cabrera, into the rotation to take Mac Marshall’s spot. Perhaps, this will spur an opportunity to move Bahr or one of the other Augusta starters up a level. Richmond too is going to have a challenge covering innings today, as Chase Johnson is also on a strict innings limit and they have a double header to cover. Of course, they haven’t played a game since Tuesday, so they should have a few fresh starting pitchers around.
Enjoy your weekend everybody! Maybe take in a ballgame!