Bum is Back! Whatever happens afterwards, that’s a good feeling!
Oh hey here's Madison Bumgarner taking BP pic.twitter.com/QYuLNCgxLL— Doug (@moonwalkmcfly) May 26, 2018
Giants fans and media flocked with excitement and trepidation to Raley Field in Sacramento and were rewarded with a wondrous night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Madison Bumgarner struck out 8 in 3.2 hitless innings; Dylan Davis doubled twice among three hits.
Giants fans (and executives) could hardly have had their hopes for Saturday night more richly rewarded, as Madison Bumgarner was nearly perfect for 50 pitches, retiring 11 of the 12 batters he faced, 8 of them via the strikeout. His fastball was up to 92, his curve was down to 61, and he showed command of all his pitches. It was a night to raise the spirits.
Just for the fun of it he also went 1 for 1 at the plate.
Bumgarner is wearing a padded batting glove to protect his hand. He said it doesn't bother him. He lined the first pitch he saw into RF. pic.twitter.com/hfMMVghejO— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 27, 2018
As Alex Pavlovic wrote, the night went so well that it raised hopes of the Giants perhaps rewriting Bumgarner’s rehab schedule. We shall see.
The good feelings kept on rolling as Mark Melancon also made another successful rehab appearance, and even Tyler Beede had a good night, completing the shutout with 4 innings of work. For awhile anticipation was raised that the good feelings would end in a combined no hitter, but the Isotopes finally broke up the no no with a single off Beede in the 8th.
Even the offense had a special shimmer of electricity for the night;
Just a special evening at the park.
With Bumgarner, Pence, and Melancon all in the lineup it really was feeling like a Giants-East for the evening, and that’s going to get cranked up another notch this weekend as Joe Panik is also set to begin his rehab assignment tomorrow. It would be nice if a stretch of good health set it for a bit. And speaking of Pence, Alex wrote a nice article on the Giants Master of Good Vibes as well:
Another 40 man arm on the comeback trail is Chase Johnson, and in somewhat less conspicuous circumstances he took a nice step forward last night too. Following a long rain delay at the start of the evening, Johnson went 3 scoreless innings allowing just two baserunners on a BB and a HB. He only collected 1 strikeout but he threw 20 or 38 pitches for strikes as he works regain command (command and breaking balls are typically the last things to return from TJ). It was the third time in his four starts that Chase has gone 3 innings. The fourth was a disaster outing in which he didn’t get out of the 1st and surrendered 3 runs in 0.2 IP. Putting that outing aside, he’s allowed just a single run on 3 hits over 9 IP in his other three appearances, with 5 Ks and 2 BBs. We did hear from Josh Norris that he doesn’t really appear to have an out pitch at the moment, so we’ll see how that develops. He’s quite likely destined to help out of the bullpen eventually.
Johnson’s excellent start was balanced by a brilliant effort from Patrick Ruotolo, who struck out 3, while working a 2 inning save. The move up to AA hasn’t slowed Ruotolo down one bit, as he’s allowed just one baserunner in his first two outings (3 IP) while striking out 5. He just keeps performing. For the season Ruotolo has allowed just 5 runs (3 earned) in 21.2 innings of work while striking out 31. He’s allowed earned runs in just 2 of his 16 games.
Between Johnson and Ruotolo, Mike Connolly spiced the game up a bit by allowing 4 runs, temporarily putting Akron in the lead, but the Squirrels got strong production from the top of the lineup, particularly 3-4 hitters Ryan Howard and Dylan Davis. Davis picked up 3 RBI on the night with a sac fly and two run scoring doubles, one of which put Richmond ahead for good.
Davis’ big night coincided with a change in the lineup as Aramis Garcia was moved down and Davis moved up in front of him. While Davis drove the Squirrels offensive engine for the night, Garcia’s struggles continued as he took a hat trick among an 0 for 5. The 25 year old Catcher is now hitting just .192/.238/.333 on the season. It’s been a struggle this year for Aramis.
RVA Acorns: So far @GoSquirrels have added 3 new players on this trip. Second baseman Tyler Brown makes his first AA start. entered in yesterday on D and got 1AB. Ended game with K..— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) May 26, 2018
Tyler Brown swapped places with John Riley, who returned to Augusta. Richmond also has added Richmond native Conner Overton to the roster as well as Ruotolo, to bolster a pitching staff that has a lot of DL stints going on right now.
Dreams of a first half title are starting to slip away from the Giants on a rough road trip that has now seen them lose 4 of their last 5 games. The loss gave San Jose a three-game losing streak for the first time since April 19. Starter Conner Menez struck out 9 over his 5 innings of work, but he also allowed 4 runs, surrendering a single run in four of the five innings he was out there. After getting off to a terrific April, Menez has hit a rough patch in May. He’s now allowed 4 or more runs in three of his past four starts. He’s piled up the Ks though, as he now leads the Cal league in strikeouts with 68.
Menez and his teammates were particularly victimized by Storm leadoff hitter Buddy Reed, who picked up 4 hits on the night including a leadoff HR in the 1st. Reed boosted his average to .350, just two points off the league lead, while scoring three runs.
San Jose also got their best production from the leadoff spot as Bryce Johnson reached base four times, including two RBI singles. The team got practically no production from their 4-9 spots, however, as that group collectively provided just 1 hit. The team went just 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position and had troubles all night making contact with 13 Ks. Matt Winn had a particularly rough night, wearing a Golden Sombrero home. Winn is really scuffling right now: he’s 0 for his last 16 with 12 Ks in that stretch. Feels like the organization’s Catchers are collectively making an argument for the brain trust to draft Joey Bart.
San Jose will try to avoid the sweep this afternoon and then jump on the bus for the long ride home. Hopefully being back in the Muni for Memorial Day will spark some magic.
Augusta pitching shut down Rome to take their second consecutive victory of this crucial series on another rainy night in Georgia. Garrett Cave went 5 strong shutout innings before yet another rain delay (the fourth in just these last two games) — combined with his pitch count — ended his night. When the game resumed, Augusta used three relievers to complete the shutout. That included Franklin Van Gurp’s perfect inning in the 6th. Van Gurp continues to dominate Sally hitters. He’s allowed just 1 ER (and just 2 total) all year over 21 IP. He’s struck out 28 hitters in that time while issuing just 4 unintentional walks and just 8 hits. Quite a full season debut the man is having. Is he the next Patrick Ruotolo (albeit MUCH taller!)?
Augusta drove just one run in in this game — that from Ryan Kirby’s solo HR that opened the scoring. It was Kirby’s team-leading 6th of the year. After that both of their runs came on Rome pitches that to the backstop. Heliot Ramos led off the 6th inning with his 8th double and ultimately came around to score on a Passed Ball from Rome Catcher Drew Lugbauer. The very next inning, Rob Calabrese started things off with a double before scoring the game’s final run on a WP.
That was plenty enough support for the league’s best pitching staff. Augusta’s 2.44 team ERA is a quarter of a run better than the next best team in the league. They’ve allowed just 133 runs in 46 games now on the season. They also lead the league in team WHIP, have the fewest HRs allowed, and are second in the league in Strikeouts. That’s how you build the league’s best record!
That game winning feeling. ✌️— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) May 27, 2018
FINAL SCORE: 3️⃣-0️⃣ GreenJackets, and we remain in 1ST PLACE! pic.twitter.com/X1cujW7zwJ
I meant to post this yesterday. Good friend of Minor Lines David Lee wrote an article on Manuel Geraldo this week that’s worth a read. Geraldo has really driven the Greenjackets offense this year. He’s 10th in the league in batting average, leads Augusta in hits and Runs scored, and is second on the team in HRs, RBIs, and SB. Just a solid all around offensive season so far.
Here's a little something on Augusta (Giants) SS Manuel Geraldo and the development he's showing this season. https://t.co/rdHUbiGvSp— David Lee (@David11Lee) May 24, 2018
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Matt Gage vs. Jeff Hoffman
Richmond: TBD vs. Shao-Ching Chiang
San Jose: Raffi Vizcaino vs. TBD
Augusta: John Gavin vs. Bruce Zimmermann
The RiverCats tangle with onetime potential 1-1 draft pick Jeff Hoffman in a somewhat anti-climactic day, while Raffi Vizcaino tries to salvage San Jose’s road trip and John Gavin hopes to press Augusta’s advantage over 2nd place Rome. It’s a good day to watch a game, or just have a game of catch!