Major props to Sacramento RiverCats for maybe the greatest bobblehead ever. I’ll be heading to EBay as soon as I finish this post.
HIGHLIGHTS: Conner Menez struck out 10 in 6 IP; Caleb Baragar struck out 9 Joey Bart homered twice among three hits; Solomon Bates struck out 8 in 3 IP.
The RiverCats put on a master class in poor hit sequencing last night: despite getting a runner on base in each of the first 8 innings — most often with 0 or 1 out — they rarely got anybody to 2b. They took just 5 At Bats on the night with a runner in scoring position. Their most sustained offense came in the 5th, when they had two singles, a walk, and two hit batsman — and scored just one run. That came on a Chris Shaw RBI HBP (not the only time we’ll see that today!).
In fact, Shaw provided all the RBIs for Sacramento last night, as he knocked in their first run in a more traditional Shaw manner:
Joe Panik went 1 for 3 for the second consecutive day in his rehab. Peter Bourjos had his third consecutive two-hit day. Bourjos has collected at least one hit in 10 of his 11 starts for Sacramento and overall is hitting .360 since joining Sacramento.
Less hot is Mac Williamson, who went 0 for 4 on the night. Mac is hitting just .209/.308/.407 since his return to Sacramento. He did throw out a runner at the plate however.
It seemed at first, as if Richmond hitters caught a break in this game. Reading traded their scheduled starter, Franklyn Kilome, to the Mets shortly before game time. However, the switch to a bullpen game didn’t provide the Squirrels’ hitters any relief, as they’d amass just four hits in the game. One of those, John Polonius’ 2nd inning RBI double, gave the team a 1-0 lead — and that lead that nearly lasted throughout the night.
And that was thanks to the brilliance of Conner Menez. The left-hander came an out shy of 6 shutout innings, striking out 10 while allowing just five baserunners. It’s likely that had I asked at the beginning of the year who would lead the Giants’ organization in strikeouts, Menez name wouldn’t have made many people’s list. And yet, with five weeks to go in the season, that’s exactly the position Menez finds himself. He now has 122 strikeouts—14 more than John Gavin, the minor leaguer with the second highest total (Derek Holland, with 109, leads the major lead squad — another one that few would have predicted).
Dillon McNamara was entrusted with preserving the 1-0 lead in the 9th, and instead he allowed four consecutive hits to open the inning for the day’s obligatory blown save (Site Update: we are looking into rebranding Minor Lines as Blown Saves Chronicles). Fortunately, for the second time this week Matt Lipka helped keep the game tied.
And that set up, for the second time this month....
Yup, the ol’ Homer Simpson. Two walks sandwiched around a soft liner for a single brought John Polonius to the plate for the climactic walk-off HBP. Thus, like Chris Shaw, Polonius collected both of the Squirrels’ RBIs for the game. Nice fill in job, Sir John!
Johneshwy Fargas has been an invaluable sparkplug for the Giants this year and the energetic LF has hit fingerprints all over yesterday’s victory. From the #9 spot in the order, Fargas scored a pair of runs, stole his organization leading 35th base of the year (in just 68 games), and in the 5th inning gave San Jose the lead for good with his career high 6th HR (combo meal!).
Matt Winn chipped in with his 9th HR and Jalen Miller and Wander Franco had two hits each. Miller has cooled off significantly since his red-hot May — hitting just .250 over June and July — but he’s avoiding falling into the type of long sustained struggles that have marked each of his past three seasons. He’s having a nice week now, going 7 for 19 with three doubles. Hopefully Miller will finish the best season of his career with a flourish in August.
Impressive Cal League debut tonight for Trevor Horn. 3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, 2 hits allowed, 0 walks, 2 K's. Threw 24 of 29 pitches for strikes. FB 91-92. Horn joined the #SJGiants today from the AZ Rookie League. 39th round pick last month out of UNLV.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) July 28, 2018
We tend to be Giants’ specific hereabouts, but we would be negligent to avoid noting when the game’s finest prospects cross our paths. Last year’s #9 prospect, Jo Adell, was the #2 prospect in the AZL last year — just one spot above Heliot Ramos on Baseball America’s list, and in chatting about the list Bill Mitchell mentioned that they were separated by a hair’s width and could easily be flipped. In the year since though, the 19 year old Adell has really separated himself and become one of the elite prospects in the game. He flew through A ball with a 1.009 OPS in the first half of the season, and the Cal League doesn’t appear to be slowing him down any either, as he’s posting a .907 OPS in 55 games in the league. Last night he hit his 12th HR in the Cal League, and 20th overall for the year.
Runs were hard to come by last night, as Augusta and Columbia put up nothing but zeroes through regulation last night and headed to the 10th tied 0-0.
Caleb Baragar took the mound following up on a 6 inning, 1 hit performance the previous Sunday — and he was sensational again last night. For the week Baragar has now thrown 13 shutout innings, with just three hits allowed. The craft left-hander from the University of Indiana matched his career high with 9 Ks as he dazzled the Fireflies throughout.
However, the Augusta offense was just as silent, managing just four hits in regulation. So to extras we went. Columbia brought home their free runner with a single off Keenan Bartlett. Starting off the bottom of the 10th Trevor Abrams laid down a perfect bunt and beat it out for a single moving Logan Baldwin to 3b.
That brought up Heliot Ramos with the winning run on 2b. Ramos made a strong push prior to his Future’s Game appearance getting his average up to .250, but he’s had a sluggish return to Augusta post-Mid-Season Prospects Classic. Ramos had gone just 7 for 43 since his single off system-mate Shaun Anderson in the Future’s Game when he came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th last night. But that doesn’t mean he’s lost his flair for the dramatic. The 18 year old grounded a single into LF for the walk-off. And there was much rejoicing.
Kudos to the Volcanoes social media team for such an accurate marketing strategy! After a couple of lackluster efforts in Eugene, Joey Bart and Diego Rincones both returned to Salem-Keizer’s lineup and the runs returned to the scoreboard.
After missing two games, Bart came back and stole the headlines, as he unloaded two more times last night — giving him 9 in just 24 games. You might have thought the #2 pick had forgotten how to homer, as he’d gone an entire 7 games without one. Not so!
Joey Bart HR— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 28, 2018
The #SFGiants 2018 1st-round #MLBDraft pick went deep to center for his 8th in 18 games with @SKVolcanoes. No. 1 on the @SFGiants Top 30: https://t.co/PPziFR97QH pic.twitter.com/sNqwF4XMoH
That was part of a four-homer night from the Volcanoes and 15 hits over all. Rincones had two hits in his first action in 10 days. The 19 year old is still second in the league in hitting and 5th in OPS.
Of course, Bart’s 1.059 OPS would lead the league if he had enough ABs to qualify. Which, about that —
Joey Bart has hit nine homers in 18 games at Salem-Kizer. Probably time to get him out of the Northwest League https://t.co/7qhyA5DsqL— Teddy Cahill (@tedcahill) July 28, 2018
Blake Rivera had a solid effort, but the eye-popping pitching line came from 8th rounder Solomon Bates, who struck out 8 in 3 IP. The Victorville native from USC now has 22 Ks in 13.2 professional innings.
The AZL teams can really blow saves in style! Clinging to a 2-1 lead in a game in which they had just two hits, the Black bullpen watched the world burn in an 8 run 8th inning. The Orange staff had no interest in drama and they blew things up much earlier, surrendering 10-runs in the 5th inning to the D-backs.
These games were not terribly competitive.
I really only have two things to say about the DSL Giants day.
First, as a lover of baseball oddities, it disturbs me to no end that the Giants passed up the opportunity to have Sonny Vargas throw a Complete Game in a game suspended by rain. We do get some compensation from the fact that in this year of 2018, Vargas started both ends of a double header—and he shall from this day forth be known around these parts as Iron Man Vargas. Still, the greater glory was there to be had. Use some imagination, sheeple!
And second, this box score in time from the 3rd inning of the second game is one of my favorite DSL things ever:
Oh and I suppose a third thing is worth noting — hard throwing Yovanny Moronta prevented a sweep by blowing the 9th inning lead in the lid-lifter with a HB, a walk, a WP, and a couple of hits.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Jordan Johnson vs. Luke Farrell
Richmond: TBD vs. Felix Paulino
San Jose: Mac Marshall vs. Matt Ball
Augusta: Jose Marte vs. Luc Rennie
Salem-Keizer: Sean Hjelle vs. TBD
AZL: Israel Cruz (Black), Jasier Herrera (Orange) vs. TBD
DSL: Juan Sanchez vs. TBD
Have a wonderful Saturday night everybody! Maybe some more Bart bombs are in order?