A night of returns in the system as Shark begins his rehab in Maryland, and this big guy returned from back troubles in Sacramento:
How did they do? Let’s get to the lines!
HIGHLIGHTS: Heath Quinn drove in 6 runs with two hits, Grand Slam.
Sacramento busted out of their offensive in a powerful way, but it would all be for naught as the game slipped away in gut-punching fashion.
The RiverCats hit three home runs to jump out to an 8-3 lead in the game. That included just the 2nd of the year with Sacramento for both Gregor Blanco and Miguel Gomez (though Gomez had 4 with Richmond and Blanco 1 with San Francisco).
The headline blast, though, came from Chris Shaw: fresh off the DL and ready to mash. Shaw had vocally disagreed with the home run ump who had rung him up on a high strike 3 in his second at bat. In his third, he didn’t leave matters to chance, and gave Sacramento a 5-3 lead with a magestic swing of the bat:
The three home runs were the most the RiverCats have hit in a game since way back on July 18. On that day they got two home runs from Jerry Sands (his first two in Sacramento) and a solo shot from Mac Williamson (his 11th). Sands, of course, is now playing in Korea and big Mac is on the DL with probable season-ending concussion symptoms. The baseball season is a long road.
All of the fun and offense though was undermined by a nightmare 9th inning in which the first 9 batters all reach safely. Pierce Johnson walked two of the three batters he faced (with a double sandwiched between) to get things started. Roberto Gomez came in to try to bail Johnson out of the jam, facing the Astros #2 prospect Kyle Tucker as the game tying run. And game-tie he did, hitting a Grand Slam to knot things up at 8-8. Gregor Blanco made a valiant attempt to track it down, but it wasn’t quite enough:
Facing Kyle Tucker is scary enough, but things get extra frightening when the bases are full. The No. 2 #Astros prospect bashed two homers for @FresnoGrizzlies, including a game-tying grand slam in the ninth.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 23, 2018
: https://t.co/qReT6fOVA6 pic.twitter.com/oWVXmoXFPn
It was Tucker’s second home run of the game. Things continued to go south for Gomez who would never retire a batter.
Ninth inning moodboard pic.twitter.com/4HqSRwdrJf— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) August 23, 2018
You got it right, social media intern! The end result was yet another ugly loss in a season full of ugly losses for the woeful 50-78 RiverCats.
Jeff Samardzija started his third rehab of the season in Richmond — one presumes so he could be under the watchful eyes of some of the team brass coming down from New York. Samardzija’s outing had some good and some bad features — he allowed just one hit in four innings, and that to the penultimate batter he faced, the Orioles Yusniel Diaz (the plum acquisition of their Manny Machado trade). Shark left the mound having allowed no runs.
However, it once again appeared that rest has not really cured what has ailed Samardzija all year long, as the mid-90s velocity did not return with the rest of him.
RVA Acorns: @GoSquirrels 1-2-3 for the Shark in 1st inning. 88-89 FB, 82 slider.— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) August 22, 2018
He did strike out the Orioles #1 prospect Austin Hays with a wipeout slider to end his night, but it was his only K of the night. If that velocity continues to stubbornly hide away, at some point rest is not going to be the solution for the big right-hander.
The Squirrels offense went up against the former 4th overall pick of the 2015 draft — now on his third organization after coming to Baltimore in the Zach Britton deal. Though hits were spare, Richmond launched a winning three-run rally against Tate in the 3rd. Jeff Arnold and Luigi Rodriguez sandwiched singles around a HBP for Ronnie Jebavy. With two outs and runners on 2b and 3b, the Squirrels managed a rarity, scoring two runs on what turned out to be an infield hit — albeit a hard hit one:
Corbin Joseph dove for the ball and knocked it down, but was unable to recover in time to catch Luigi Rodriguez dashing for home with the game’s final run.
Word is that Shark will have one more rehab start and then re-evaluations will begin. We’ll see how he looks when he eventually re-joins the big club.
At long last an unbelievable streak has come to an end as the Giants won their first road series in Visalia in more than 5 years. Wow! They did it in style, winning a 1-0 pitcher’s duel in the series opener and then routing the Rawhide last night.
It was a grand performance for Heath Quinn! The No. 10 #Giants prospect eclipsed his career-best RBI total with one swing and finished with six to double the mark in the @SJGiants' victory.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) August 23, 2018
: https://t.co/9GlZkMwPhN pic.twitter.com/q6Nfdt2j0U
Heath Quinn was the star of the night, picking up 6 RBI on two hits including his 13th HR of the year — a Grand Slam. Mirroring the Sacramento game, Quinn’s Slam came against a Visalia reliever who never retired a batter. Symmetry!
Heath Quinn blasts San Jose's first grand slam of the season. His 13th home run this year. SJ's first slam since Steven Duggar in July 2017.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 23, 2018
Giants have a 13-3 lead in the eighth, looking for their first series win in Visalia since 2013.
That note is somewhat ironic as this had come just four innings earlier:
Gio Brusa misses the #SJGiants first grand slam of the season by inches - settles for a three-run double to give SJ a 7-1 lead in the fifth here in Visalia. Brusa now tops on the club with 65 RBI's.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 23, 2018
I guess this was just destined to be the night!
Starter John Gavin had his finest effort since being promoted to the Cal League, striking out 7 and allowing just 1 earned run in his 5 innings of work. He did allow another HR, though, which gives him 6 now in just 18.2 IP with San Jose.
Sam Coonrod struck out 2 in another fine inning. He’s picked up 13 Ks in 7.1 IP in his return from Tommy John surgery, including 3 in 2 innings with San Jose.
Johneswhy Fargas had three hits and stole his 41st base of the year. The slender OF might be wearing down as we reach the season’s end, however, as he’s also been caught stealing four times in the last six games.
Augusta had an off night
It was the Greenjackets final off day of the year — they’re now scheduled to play 14 games over the season’s final 12 days.
Salem-Keizer beat Boise Hawks (Rockies), 5-3
winning their series 2-1
The Volcanoes busted out of the gates with a 5-run first inning and then coasted to a 5-3 win that gave them some necessary breathing room in the Wild Card race.
Kyle McPherson once again set the tone for the team out of the lead off position. Last year’s 26th round pick out of James Madison U is having a fine season for the Volcanoes with an .864 OPS. David Villar hit a two-run double and Wander Franco (still not that one!) followed with a two-run homer. Robinson Medrano finished off the outburst with his 9th HR of the year.
Here's Wander Franco hitting his bomb last night for Salem Keizer. pic.twitter.com/HOtfLed7cy— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) August 23, 2018
Four of the league’s top six HR hitters are on this Volcanoes squad as the team has hit an incredible 74 HRs in 65 games — that’s 20 more than any other team in the league!
Here, have some Joey Bart swings!
I would humbly request that the top of the draft pitchers put a few 0s on the board before the year is over, however. Blake Rivera, the 4th round pick this year, has allowed runs in 7 of his 8 appearances so far — despite having never gone past 2 innings before last night. 5th rounder Keaton Winn has similarly allowed runs in 11 of his 13 appearances, and overall has surrendered 20 earned runs in 36 innings. 2nd rounder Sean Hejlle started off with a bunch of 0s, but now has allowed 14 runs in his last 11.1 IP. I know it’s just short-season ball after a long college season, but c’mon — be a little bit better, guys!
Victorville native Solomon Bates continued running up the Ws and Ks as he improved to 6-0 while striking out 5 more batters in 3 innings. Bates has 43 Ks now (to 13 BBs) in just 26.2 IP, though he too, is giving up runs in bunches (5.06 ERA).
On to a big 5 game series in Spokane, post-season in their grasp if they can sustain some momentum:
Team Orange did their complex-mates a solid, knocking off the 1st place Cubs team, but Team Black was unable to take advantage, and now both teams stand on the doorstep of elimination. The two teams ended up on the opposite sides of identical 4-1 scores. Now sitting a half game apart in 3rd and 4th places, the two teams will both be eliminated with their next loss or Cubs win. As an interesting side note, the Cubs team is expected to host the professional debut of Ethan Hankins tonight. Hankins was at one point considered a potential 1-1 pick in this year’s draft.
Francis Pena, Deiyerbert Bolivar, Julio Rodriguez, Andy Rohloff, and Travis Perry combined to totally shut down the Cubs last night. They allowed just 4 hits between them while striking out 9 Cubs.
21 year old Catcher Fabian Peña continues his fine debut season, hitting his 4th HR, walking twice and scoring two runs. George Bell kept his average just over the .300 mark going 1 for 3, and also stole his 9th base of the year.
Ghordy Santos continued his charge to season’s finish line, reaching base four times on two walks and two doubles. The infielder is hitting .290/.444/.493 in the month of August including three homers and five doubles and a 1:1 BB:K rate. That’s all great, but Santos has also now spent two full seasons in the DSL and cumulatively hit just .213 333 ABs, which isn’t great.
It’s impossible to tell, of course, from this remove, whether his hot final month is indicative of some mechanical fix or adjustment, or it’s just one of those baseball things that happen for a few weeks. Generally hitting .209 in the DSL isn’t a great thing.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Shaun Anderson vs. Brady Rodgers
Richmond: Logan Webb vs. Bruce Zimmermann
San Jose: Dom Mazza vs. Riley Smith
Augusta: TBD vs. Parker Rigler; TBD vs. Drew Harrington
Salem-Keizer: Miguel Figeroa vs. Yerry Rodriguez
DSL: Jesus Gomez vs. TBD
Shaun Anderson and Logan Webb each should be in line for three more starts in their minor league seasons. Both right-handers look to finish off strong and complete excellent steps forward in their development. For Anderson, could there be some more action after the minor league year ends? We shall see!
Both the AZL and DSL teams finish things off this weekend, with just a dwindling few games left to play.
Let’s finish the day by enjoying this excellent piece on Brock Stassi — speaking of the long road...