Are you dreaming of a full homegrown OF of the future made up of Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, and Austin Slater? Well then John Shea has you covered!
I’ll be honest, I’m dubious on the “homegrown OF of the future” concept, but I’m happy to root for all three of these guys and hope they’ll be on hand and productive soon.
HIGHLIGHTS: Conner Menez struck out a career high 10 in 5.2 IP;
Turns out that the thin desert air was exactly what Casey Kelly needed to right himself! Go figure! After allowing a two-run single in the first, Kelly righted himself and gave up just three hits and a walk over the next five innings.
Chris Shaw’s 5th HR in his last 7 games broke a 2-2 tie and gave the RiverCats a lead they never relinquished. Shaw’s 3rd HR of the series came off 51s starter Chris Flexen, who started 9 games last year with the NY Mets.
Boy, he got his foot down on that one!
With Hunter Pence still rehabbing and no DH for this NL-affiliates matchup, Sacramento had a bit of an overload at OF. Consequently, the time was right to bust out this little gem:
Austin Slater playing first base tonight for the first time since little league.— Johnny Doskow (@JDoskow) May 4, 2018
Slater naturally singled twice and walked. Pence didn’t get a hit in this one, though he did walk once.
Derek Law had his best outing of the season in his first game back from his short jaunt to San Francisco, striking out the side. It wasn’t fully dominant as it took him 17 pitches to make his way through the three batters he faced, but the end results were fantastic. Law has now struck out 6 of the last 7 minor league batters he’s faced, albeit, of course, there’s a (much less successful) major league appearance in the middle of that stretch.
Richmond had a Off Day
They traveled up to Reading to begin a series with the Fightin’ Phils tonight where they hope to get back to winning ways.
San Jose lost to Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 4-0
splitting their series, 2-2
There’s a logical chain of events set in motion by the Johnny Cueto news. Andrew Suarez gets an extended stay in the majors to take Cueto’s spot. Matt Gage got the call up to Sacramento to take Suarez’ spot. With Gage gone, Richmond went to a bullpen game this week, piggybacking Michael Connolly and Jake McCasland for innings. It would make sense for San Jose to send a starter East to patch Richmond’s hole and it would make sense for that starter to be Conner Menez, the most mature and healthy of the San Jose starters.
If indeed that latest link of the chain should manifest itself this week, then Menez’ final Cal League start would certainly have been a fitting farewell.
Conner Menez matches his career-high with 10 strikeouts in today's start for the #SJGiants. Worked 5 1/3 innings with three runs allowed. Took a shutout into the sixth. Has a 1.42 ERA through five starts this season.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 3, 2018
The lefty from Hollister rolled through the first half of this game, allowing just two hits over the first 5 innings. He struck out 5 out of 6 batters between the 2nd and 4th innings, and then struck out the side in the 5th. Nearing the 90 pitch mark he may have shown some fatigue in the 6th, or he may have just been a bit hit unlucky. Regardless, he allowed three of his final four batters to single, and Dylan Rheault would ultimately allow them all to score (then add one extra, just for himself!).
That was plenty enough to sink the Giants on an afternoon when the offense seemed dull and listless. San Jose suffered their first shutout of the season and it was well deserved as they took just three at bats in the game with runners in scoring position. Even their extra base hits were of the iffy variety!
Frandy de la Rosa had half of the team’s six hits (all singles) from the 8 spot, but he never advanced beyond 1b. Jalen Miller and Sandro Fabian each doubled but neither was advanced beyond 2b.
In the 2nd, Fabian’s double opened an inning that was troubled by outs on the bases paths. Fabian tried to take 3b on Johneshwy Fargas’ hard smash off Visalia pitcher Emilio Vargas. But Vargas recovered Fargas’ shot to get the ball to 3b just in time to get the out (and that’s the Miller-Hiller-Haller hallelujah twist! A throw back reference for us old timers). Just a couple pitches later, Fargas attempted to steal 2b when Conner Sabanosh hit a little pop up to 1b and Fargas was unable to get back before getting doubled up.
Anyway, Menez now has 38 Ks in 29.1 IP, has allowed just 8 runs, held Cal League opponents to a .204 batting average and a 1.16 WHIP. Lefty replacing Lefty replacing Lefty has a good solid synchronicity to it for my money. Let’s get Conner to the River City, shall we?
After the game, the Giants loaded the bus for the long ride down to Lancaster for a quick little three game southern swing.
Rob Calabrese stunned the Power with a 9th inning, two-run HR (his 3rd) to tie the game 4-4. That set off exactly the kind of wild game that Minor League baseball’s controversial new rules were designed to preclude. Thus go the best laid plans.
The Greenjackets didn’t seem to get the normal boost from the new rules, as over the course of six extra innings, they managed to drive in a run just once. Their other two scoring innings came courtesy of Power mistakes, as they scored a run in the 10th on an errant pickoff throw, and a WP set them up to score (on a double play ball) in the 11th. Logan Baldwin’s two out single in the 14th gave Augusta the lead for a third time, but once again the Power came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning, and in the 15th they took the prize.
By sheer happenstance, Augusta managed to be perfectly set up to survive the marathon. With Aaron Phillips making his second start of the year, the Greenjackets (and Giants) had apparently made the decision not to go to a 6 man rotation, and instead chose to piggyback or tandem start Phillips and Marciano. With Marciano already lengthened out to starter duty that allowed them to get through the first 10 innings of the game without using their bullpen at all. With Franklin Van Gurp accustomed to going multiple innings (this was his third 3 inning stint of the year), Augusta amazingly managed to plow their way through 15 innings of baseball using just four pitchers in all — without any of them going longer than normal or off their regular schedule. Miraculous!
They were a little less fortunate in the press box, where radio man Joe Laurendi solo’d his way through all 15.
Van Gurp’s performance was particularly notable as he went three extra innings, allowing just one hit. He was the primary reason the game was extended as long as it was. Granted the one hit he did allow — a ground ball with eyes — was a two-out single that prevented the Jackets from picking up a win in the 11th. Still his 5K extra innings performance with a runner in scoring position for every pitch he threw was pretty remarkable nonetheless. Van Gurp has allowed just three hits in 15 IP this year, while striking out 20. His WHIP is a microscopic 0.67 and it was virtually exploded last night thanks to two IBB (his 3rd and 4th BB of the season). Quite a year Mr. Van Gurp is having.
15 innings. 4:44 time of game.— West Virginia Power (@wv_power) May 4, 2018
15 combined runs and 21 combined hits.
Homers from Rodolfo Castro, Oneil Cruz and @Chris_Sharpe19.
And another wild and wonderful walk-off win for West Virginia.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Jose Flores vs. Kent Emanuel
Richmond: Cory Taylor vs. JoJo Romero
San Jose: Mac Marshall vs. Brandon Gold
Augusta: Jason Bahr vs. Brenan Hanifee
A ball is the place to look for pitching tonight, as Mac Marshall and Jason Bahr hope to continue fantastic starts to the year. We’ll see if Marshall matches rotation-mate Logan Webb and attempts a 4th inning in his 5th start of the year.