Minor Lines, let’s hit it!
HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw doubled and homered twice; Ray Black struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced; Jose Marte struck out 7 in 5.2 IP.
Cult hero Madison Younginer was anti-hero in this one, allowing Las Vegas to come back and walk it off with a three-run bottom of the 9th inning. Younginer retired just one of the seven batters he faced.
Prior to that sad conclusion, however, the game had been quite a party for Chris Shaw who doubled and hit not just one, but two mammoth HRs.
Shaw is now tied for 4th in the PCL with 7 HRs though he’s still hitting just .263 and striking out about 40% of the time. Still, the desert climes seemed to have the cure to what ails him as this was easily his best night of the year so far.
Orlando Calixte chipped in with Shaw to provide a solid 1-2 punch. The duo provided five of the team’s nine hits and all of its extra base hits, as Calixte also doubled and homered.
Hunter Pence had two hits for the second consecutive game as his bat is starting to show some signs of life.
Pence picks up his 2nd hit of the night and it's an RBI single!— River Cats (@RiverCats) May 3, 2018
5-2 River Cats in the 8th pic.twitter.com/YtY1JYZwM8
Richmond lost to Altoona Curve (Pirates), 3-2 in 10 inn
getting swept in their series, 0-3
I did try to warn the Squirrels that sneaking out 1-run victories every day was no way to make a dime — at least not sustainably. Things have turned around some on Richmond, as they’ve now lost 8 of their past 12 games, including four 1-run losses. It’s just hard to put so much pressure on the pitching staff, and right now the Squirrels, who are “offensively ingenuitive” in the best of times, are in a real rut. Four of their starting 8 yesterday featured averages below .220, and even stalwarts like Ryan Howard and Miguel Gomez aren’t hitting much. Howard’s average has declined 45 points over the last week (and his OBP 60 points).
Team home run leader Dylan Davis was the only one putting any punch in the lineup for the series ender. Davis had a third of the team’s hits and half of their extra base hits. He accounted for the team’s entire output of runs, knocking in one and scoring the other.
But let’s turn to the happy side and look at the pitching. And specifically, let’s look at Kevin’s new crush, Man of Legend Ray Black.
Ray Black is a future Major Leaguer. His stuff is insane, and he’s only throwing 96-98. His 80-MPH offspeed pitch paired with that is simply cruel.— SF Lunatic Fringe (@sflunaticfringe) May 2, 2018
Oh, and he throws it in the zone.
2 innings for Ray Black. 5 strikeouts, all swinging (I think). Wow. Just...wow. #SFGiants— SF Lunatic Fringe (@sflunaticfringe) May 2, 2018
Ray really was pitching like man among boys here, simply dominating the Curve with his ungodly stuff. That’s now 18 strikeouts this year for Black after having faced just 32 batters. His two inning stint was also his longest appearance in a game since July of 2015 — the first time he’d gone out for a second inning at all since that time. I think it’s time to get this guy up to Sacramento while he’s still putting a uniform on.
Black’s outing was so jaw-dropping it put all thoughts of talking about Garrett Williams’ solid performance out of my mind. But Williams was good too! Just, you know, not Black-like! That’s not a knock, Garrett! I know you don’t like being compared to guys:
One injury update for the Squirrels:
RVA Acorns: @GoSquirrels without Jonah Arenado today after colliding with Ali castillo last night. Has not been placed on DL. KC Hobson has been added,from EXT Spring. Hobson on the red eye on his way to The Diamond for this AM game if needed.— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) May 2, 2018
Logan Webb stretched out a little bit, reaching the 4th inning for the first time this year. And as usual, he was hard to hit, allowing just two hits and an unearned run. That’s the 4th time this year (in 6 games) that Webb has allowed 2 or fewer hits in an outing; he’s surrendered just 14 hits in 17 IP so far this year. That’s an excellent sign! However, his WHIP is much higher than that hit total would suggest thanks to the 11 walks he’s given up. This was also the 4th time that he has walked 2 or more in a game. In the strike zone — hard to barrel up! Out of the strike zone — free passes. Stay in strike zone, Logan!
Jalen Miller had a little dip last week, with his average dropping down to .273 and his OPS to .772, but he’s bouncing back up again now with seven hits over the first three games of this series with Visalia. Miller provided much of yesterday’s offense, doubling twice among three hits, driving in a run and scoring another.
That was Johneshwy Fargas coming in from 2b to score in that highlight. Fargas had doubled himself to get into scoring position, extending his recent hot streak.
#SJGiants OF Johneshwy Fargas extends his hitting streak to nine games with a third-inning double off the LF wall. Fargas during hit streak: .517 AVG (15-for-29). Longest hit streak for a SJ player this season.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 3, 2018
This is Johneshwy’s third shot at the Cal League and really the first time he’s put together any sustained success there, as he’d hit below .200 in each of his first two attempts.
But back to Miller: in his return to the Cal League so far he’s showing improvements pretty much across the board offensively. Having passed the 100 PA mark Miller is showing a slight uptick in his BB rate (7.1%) and a slight drop in his K rate (18%; it’s never been below 20% in any season thus far). He’s also showing a big increase in power, with a .167 Iso currently that is far above last year’s .118. So far on the year he has 3 HRs, 2 triples, and 5 doubles among his 31 hits. He’s always had great bat speed, so perhaps he’s starting to learn what pitches he can really attack with those powerful wrists.
All of which segues me up perfectly for this piece:
We got a chance to talk with @Jalen_Miller4, from the @SJGiants about having something with your name on it Cooperstown, Fortnite squads, and growing up in the organization. A great interview with an awesome young man. Check it out! #SFGiants https://t.co/qJusYbg0me— Around The Foghorn (@RoundTheFoghorn) May 1, 2018
Do you need even more podcast-y goodness on the San Jose Giants terrific start to 2018? Well, you’re in luck as Joe Ritzo and Justin Allegri have a brand new Inside the SJ Giants podcast hot off the presses:
New #SJGiants podcast: @JustinAllegri and I review April, talking early-season SJ standouts. Also, special guests Gio Brusa & Jalen Miller look back on the night they both hit for the cycle. Listen: https://t.co/nWZPAFqm56— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 2, 2018
Guys, I broke Heliot by praising him too much! Ramos has had what could fairly be termed a tailspin over the last week, if not a full-on death sprial, going just 1 for 25 with an astonishing 16 Ks over his last six games.
That’s uh....let me check it here.... carry the one...yeah that’s not so good! This all came in the wake of his monster HR shot in Greenville, so perhaps a strong case of homer-itis with symptoms of overswinging has got the champ down. But I liked the “getting a little better every day” version, Heliot. Let’s go back to that, shall we? (I actually have plans to see Ramos and the Greenjackets this weekend, and now between predicted rains and maybe a needed game off for the 18 year old I’m a-fearin’ I won’t get much chance of viewing him.)
On the other hand, you know who was hella-good last night? One Jose Marte, who’s really off to a splendid full season start this year. Marte came an out away from tying his longest outing of the year, and matched his season best with 7 Ks. He now has 24 Ks in 24.2 IP. He only stubbed his toe once, when he was only touched up for a solo HR among his three hits. Starting pitching has really driven the Greenjackets great start to the year, and Marte’s shown some of the best pure stuff of the group (while managing not to walk more than 1 an inning like Garrett Cave!).
Marte was backed up by a trio of relievers, including Camilo Doval who continues to settle into the season once he got over his early jitters. Doval now hasn’t allowed a run in his past six outings (7.1 IP), and has only walked one batter in that stretch.
Manuel Geraldo provided the offense with two hits including the big two-run double in the top of the 2nd. Rally caps would not avail the Power, as Greenjacket pitching made that lead stand up.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey Kelly vs. Chris Flexen
Richmond: OFF DAY
San Jose: Conner Menez vs. Emilio Vargas
Augusta: Aaron Phillips vs. Ike Schlabach
Casey Kelly has allowed 22 ER over his last three starts in just 9.1 IP. And now he gets a start in Las Vegas. Good luck, Casey! Aaron Phillips comes off an excellent season debut to make his second start of the year. And Conner Menez looks to keep mowing down Cal League hitters. It’s almost the weekend! Have a fun time at the ballyard.