In the immortal words of Bull Durham, the greatest baseball movie ever:
This....is a simple game. You throw the ball...
...you hit the ball...
...you catch the ball.
There endeth the lesson.
HIGHLIGHTS: Steven Duggar two doubles, SB and great D; Ryan Kirby doubled, tripled, and homered; Luis Toribio homers for third straight game
Sacramento lost to Oklahoma City Dodgers, 10-6
losing series, 1-2
As seen at the top, Steven Duggar delivered an extraordinary all around game, saving runs and delivering them. In addition to the great catch to help Taylor Hill out of the 5th and the great throw to help Jose Flores out of the 6th, Duggar doubled twice, walked knocked in three runs, and stole his 9th base of the year. He was actually robbed of a third extra base hit when his counterpart, Alex Verdugo, made a great diving catch on his liner to the gap in the bottom of the first.
Duggar’s efforts at run prevention were sadly not enough for starter Taylor Hill who allowed two runs in each inning from the 2nd through the 5th, leading to the easy win for Oklahoma City. In the 7th inning, however, there was a very interesting development: for the very first time in his professional career (a career that began back in 2011), Ray Black pitched on back to back days. Interesting! The experiment didn’t go perfectly, as Black allowed two of the three batters he faced to reach base, one on an ground ball through the whole and one on a walk. More importantly, his strike throwing was down on the second night, as he threw just half of his 14 pitches for strikes (well below where he’s been of late) and his final batter was a five pitch walk in which none of the balls were terribly competitive (all fastballs). The velocity, however, was good, as he was throwing 97-98 pretty consistently, with a single 100 mph offering.
Ever so slowly, we may be creeping towards something we’ve been anticipating for a long time here at Minor Lines....Ray Black’s major league debut. I would imagine that the two things the Giants need to see from him are how the stuff responds on back to back nights, and how he handles a “dirty inning.” Couple more hurdles to go Ray!
Out of an (appropriate) abundance of caution, the Giants did not choose to extend Black’s inning once he got two on board. The competitor in him wasn’t pleased,
Ray Black was not happy about getting pulled.— Madison Marie Parks-Valetta (@legaleagle88) June 8, 2018
The guy on the internet, worrying about his health was ok with it! Josh Osich came into the game and did what Josh Osich does...allowed everybody to score! Sigh.
On the very positive side, here’s a sight for sore Minor Lines’ eyes!
We’ve been missing that swing for awhile! Welcome back, Chris Shaw! Keep hitting taters and working on the defense. We’ll see you ...soonish.
A brief story about Jerry Sands. At spring camp this year, my wife pointed out that every day when practice broke up there was one minor league player who would seek out his wife and bring his kids onto the field with him. You’d see him running the bases with a small boy after everyone had gone in for lunch or walking around the fields with small children in his arm as his younger colleagues filtered off to the facility. It was Sands, and it was every single day. It was clear that he was soaking up the experience, and working ceaselessly to create lasting memories for his young family.
During a Richmond game earlier in the year, Squirrels broadcasters Jay Burnham and Sam Ravech were talking about the things that motivate the older minor league vets to keep playing. Like Jerry Sands, they said, who wants to keep playing long enough that his kids will be able to remember him on a ballfield, remember him being a professional baseball player. And I thought — Yep, that’s exactly right. The three hours of practice in the morning and the three hours or game in the afternoon were all just the price he paid for the 10-15 minutes of glory he got running around the practice field with the little ones. These are the things that keep 30 year old former big leaguers working the bus leagues day after day.
So here’s to you Jerry Sands, once again providing the big swing when the Squirrels need it, and making memories along the way:
Chase Johnson stretched out to 4 innings in his 6th start since returning from TJ surgery. He allowed just one unearned, though he did have to escape a frightful jam in the 3rd inning when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with 1 out. A 5-2-3 double play got him out of it however, and Trenton never seriously threatened again. Johnson has been putting a lot of zeroes on the board so far, but he hasn’t been missing many bats so far. He has just 7 Ks in his 16.2 IP so far this year. Numbers aren’t all that important at this stage in his rehab, but I do recall that Baseball America’s Josh Norris noted he doesn’t appear to have much in the way of an out pitch at the moment.
And we have another player returning from the DL. Welcome back Jonah Arenado, who’s missed more than a month after emulating his brother a little too closely and diving into the stands for a foul pop up:
San Jose lost to Stockton Ports (A’s), 11-10
losing their series, 0-3
A week ago, San Jose was riding an incredible streak of 78 consecutive victories when leading after 8th — a streak that went back to August of 2016, when Reyes Moronta allowed back to back two-out HRs in Visalia (classic Visalia loss!). This week, however, San Jose was 0-2 in such games. Yesterday they let a wild one slip through their grasp. After coming back from a 6-0 deficit, Rudolfo Martinez blew a three run lead in the 9th and the Giants would ultimately fall in an extra innings heartbreaker.
Martinez allowed a solo HR to start the fateful 9th (one of two on the day for the Ports Collin Theroux), but after that he was mostly a victim of the defensive play of Gio Brusa, whose conversion to 1b isn’t going so smoothly. Following the HR, Brusa mishandled a ball to really get the Ports rally going. And then with two outs and the tying run on first, he couldn’t come up with a grounder which snuck under his glove, around a deep, shifted Jalen Miller, and all the way to Sandro Fabian in RF. The speedy Sky Bolt who had been running with the pitch just never stopped running and the result was a serious gut punch.
Along with everything else going on in that play, it kinda looks like Fabian’s throw got Bolt at home, but I guess Winn’s swipe tag came up with air? I don’t know. Anyway, rough rough play. A CJ Hinojosa error (his third in just six games) let the ultimate winning run of the game score in the 10th.
Martinez’ staggered through a 40 pitch inning. His velocity was back down in the lower 90s, after Joe Ritzo mentioning that it had ticked back up lately. I wonder if we’ll ever see the triple digit throwing version of Rodolfo again?
Prior to the sad conclusion, the story of this game appeared to be the Giants huge 7-run 5th inning, that completed a comeback from a 6-0 deficit. Bryce Johnson’s second double of the day helped kick start an inning that included six Giants’ hits, a walk, a HB, a WP, and a Stockton error.
Jalen Miller had another fine game with two hits including his 16th double of the year and three RBIs. Miller is 8th in the league in hitting and 14th in OPS. His peripherals are actually pretty close to where they were last year, with a 5.5% bb rate and a slightly lowered 19.4% K rate. But he’s making hard contact much more frequently, with an ISO that’s jumped up to .167 and a BABIP that’s jumped way up to .364 this year (it’s been in the .270 level the last few years). Miller has an excellent chance to end up in the California League All Star game.
And we have more health news!
INF Kelvin Beltre has joined the #SJGiants, will make his California League debut today starting at third base.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) June 7, 2018
Kelvin Beltre finally made his long-awaited 2018 debut after breaking his tibia at the end of spring training, going 1 for 4 with an RBI. The Giants are looking to get much healthier for the second half. Heath Quinn is currently playing in games in XST down in Scottsdale and should be returning soon. DJ Myers is also throwing in games down there and is also nearing a return. And some excellent, unexpected news: starter Mac Marshall is beginning to throw and there’s a chance he could be back before too long as well. Good news for a San Jose pitching staff that’s beginning to run on fumes heading towards the break.
Augusta lost to Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 5-4
losing their series, 1-3
For the first time since the season’s opening days, the Greenjackets wake up this morning in second place, with just ten games left in a first half that’s been in their grasp for two months. Augusta lost a serious chance to get healthy this week, dropping three games at home to the league’s worst team and the slide has put them a half game behind the Rome Braves.
Augusta has ridden a dominant pitching staff for most of the first half, but the staff is leaking a little bit lately. Promotions have hurt the depth in the bullpen, as Peter Lannoo (now in San Jose) and Frank Rubio (made his AA debut in Richmond yesterday) have both gone, taking a lot of valuable middle relief innings with them. Tyler Schimpf hasn’t been as effective at soaking up those innings. Schimpf has allowed 7 runs in just 5.1 IP with Augusta, included 6 runs in his last two outings.
Garrett Cave and some leaky defense put Augusta in a 3-0 hole in the top of the 1st. Cave opened the game with a single and a HB, but the real damage in the inning came when the MI combo of Manuel Geraldo and Orlando Garcia made errors on consecutive plays. Garcia’s was especially painful, throwing away the back half of a double play that could have gotten the team out of the inning with just one run.
Still, Cave held the line for the rest of his outing, and the Jackets’ hitters managed to comeback, scoring single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th. Ryan Kirby was most of that comeback, as he hit his team leading 9th HR to start the scoring and then tied it up with an RBI triple in the 6th. Augusta lost some crucial chances to add more runs to those rallies though, particularly in the 3rd inning when Logan Baldwin was unable to score the tying run from 2b on a two-out throwing error from the Greenville SS.
However, Schimpf couldn’t deliver the shutdown inning after Augusta tied the score, immediately allowing Greenville to re-take a 5-3 lead.
Heliot Ramos made it close, hitting his 5th HR in the bottom of the 8th, but that was as close as they got. Now the team needs to find a way to shake these doldroms and come back from behind. I need to see Heliot get in some playoff action, after he was robbed of a post-season last year by concussion protocols. C’mon guys! Get that title!
DSL Giants stories are in a Groundhog’s Day loop. 3b Luis Toribio went deep for the 3rd consecutive game. In just 5 games played in his career, Toribio has delivered four extra base hits and is slugging a somewhat impressive 1.067! Toribio is tied for the league lead in HRs, is second in SLG and third in OPS. Have a week, Luis! Ok, you may be saying, he can hit dingers. But how’s Toribio’s bat flip game? Good news, fictional reader! Luis’ got some salsa in his swing!
Video of 3B Luis Toribio (17.8Y) HR from yesterday's DSL Giants game. It was his third straight game with a HR. pic.twitter.com/BJgYxblg8N— GPT (@giantsprospects) June 8, 2018
Returnee Samuel Jorge is another one displaying a remarkable consistency in his lines. In four of his five games played for the year, Jorge has had two hits including a double. Like his teammate, Jorge is tied for the league lead in 2bs (interestingly both Toribio and Jorge had tied with the same player — the Cubs’ Carlos Morfa who is off to quite a hot start himself).
The Giants also got a fine game from Richgelon Juliana, who doubled and tripled. The speedy CF, signed for just $50,000, played for the Curacao 18U national team at the World Cup in Canada shortly after signing with the Giants.
RF Yohan Polanco picked up 3 hits including a double and drove in 3 runs. Polanco was another of the Giants’ maximum $300k signings last year. He’s now 4 for 8 to start his career.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey Kelly vs. TBD
Richmond: Michael Connolly vs. Logan Darnell
San Jose: Melvin Adon vs. Randy Bell
Augusta: John Gavin vs. Anthony Kay
DSL Giants: TBD
Melvin Adon tries to pull San Jose out of its five-game losing streak and continue making positive strides in his development. Meanwhile Augusta All Star John Gavin matches up with the Mets #14 prospect Anthony Kay as Augusta tries to climb back up to the top of their division.
Finally, a personal note of sadness this morning as we mourn yet another victim of depression, proving yet again that no amount of success can arm people against the pains that lurk within. 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Share it with anybody you love, know, work with, or sit next to on the bus.
Anthony Bourdain had one of the only shows on tv that tried with all its might to teach Americans not to be scared of other people.— Allison F. (@ablington) June 8, 2018