Happy Easter, everyone!
We recap our games from Saturday, but a note from the Major Leagues, where former Giants prospect Bryan Reynolds made his debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates today, against his former organization.
Former #SFGiants top pick Bryan Reynolds will make his debut today for the Pirates against ... the Giants. In 2017 I spoke with him while on the @SJGiants about being unrecruited to a top prospect for @VandyBoys https://t.co/9uBX126yi0— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) April 20, 2019
Reynolds was hitting .367/.446/.735 with 5 home runs in 13 games in Triple-A for the Pirates before his debut. Hindsight is always 20/20, and Andrew McCutchen was a great player to have in a Giants uniform…but looking at the outfield right now, boy, he would have been nice to have.
Highlights: Henry Ramos hits 2 home runs; Mac Williamson hits a home run and a double; Sean Hjelle has his best start of the season.
This game didn’t take place in Colorado, but the home runs were flying. Eight home runs in total kept this game exciting, and luckily, most of them were hit by River Cats.
Henry Ramos led the way, with two home runs, giving him four on the season. Ramos raised his batting average to .288. The 27-year old’s career high in home runs is 12, hit back in 2013 in the Carolina League, and looks like he may be on a pace to beat that, if he can stay healthy.
#DidMacHomer? Mac Williamson’s resurgence continued, as he collected his sixth straight game with a hit, his second straight with a home run. The reawakened Williamson is now batting .341/.364/.537, up from a paltry .188 when this hitting streak continued. Mike Gerber hit his third home run and fifth double of the season, and the 26-year old continued to be one of the team’s leaders, with a .347/.377/.633 average. Zach Green rounded off the home run hitting with his fourth home run, giving him a team-leading 1.119 OPS.
All the home run hitting did bite Sacramento starter Andrew Suárez, as he gave up four runs in five innings, and took two home runs on his record. Suarez has a 5.89 ERA after four games this year, with his BAA of .297 and WHIP of 1.58 much higher than his career levels of .268 and 1.27 respectively.
It could also have been worse for Suárez, if not for this second inning play by center field Mike Yastrzemski.
Finally, some injury news:
From Giants: AAA RHP Ray Black was evaluated by Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco this morning and diagnosed with a pronator strain. He will be shut down for 7-10 days and then begin a throwing program to return to pitching.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) April 20, 2019
That, honestly, is better news than I think many of us feared. Here’s to a quick recovery.
Richmond was swept by Altoona (Pirates) in a Double Header
Okay, this was just ugly, as far as Richmond’s offense went. Just one hit in each game by the Squirrels, and this double header was a long day for the Richmond offense.
So, let’s start with the pitching. Garrett Williams started game one, and his control issues made a return. The four walks he issued in this game were his first in three starts this season, and the one strikeout are also in contrast to his previous two starts. Ryan Halstead worked relief and bounced back after having given up ten runs in his last two outings. 25-year old Tyler Cyr made his first appearance of the season with a quiet inning.
Game 2 had been scheduled to be Brandon Beachy, but reliever Yoanys Quiala took the start. He has been a part-time starter for his entire career, posting a 5.97 ERA in the Double-A Texas League last season. He did as well as one could hope in his first start, limiting the Curve to only three baserunners in five innings. The loss fell on Melvin Adon, who was working his second inning of work. He was throwing one of his best games, allowing just one hit. Unfortunately, the one hit was a single in extra innings, with a placed runner on second, scoring the game’s only one.
On offense, there’s not much to say. Max Stassi got the only hit in Game 1, a double. Jonah Arenado got the hit in Game 2, going 1-for-2 with a walk (after striking out twice and committing an error in Game 1). But you aren’t going to find many silver linings here. Let’s just move on.
San Jose pitchers got plastered by Rancho Cucamonga hitting pretty soundly.
Starter Trenton Toplikar got a season-high six strikeouts, but three hits and two walks turned into three earned run to put him behind early. John Gavin worked relief behind Toplikar, and did not do much better. He also got a season-high with five strikeouts, but saw his ERA shoot up to 4.91 off of three runs. Raffi Vizcaino also suffered, mostly through four walks (he’d allowed just one walk in his previous nine innings of work).
Bryce Johnson was the leader of the San Jose offense, the only player with multiple hits, including a double and adding a walk in addition. Johnson had been just 2-for-27 with three walks over his previous six games. Johnson had been batting .290 when the slump began.
On the Heliot Ramos watch, Ramos broke his string of 1-for-4 games, with an 0-for-2, but with two walks and another strikeout. That gives him a 17:13 K:BB ratio over 16 games. He also collected his second stolen base of the season, giving him two in four attempts.
The bullpen ended up wasting a very nice start by Sean Hjelle.
The Tall Man gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out six in six innings. It was by far his best start of the season, after having given up 16 hits in 13.2 innings over his first three starts. Most notably, 11 of the 12 outs from balls in play were ground balls, as was the one hit (an infield single to third). That groundball rate is what you’d hope from a pitcher with a natural downward plane, and for one day, it was working.
Unfortunately, Solomon Bates could not hold the lead, giving up three hits in the eighth inning to turn a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit. Even with the runs, Bates has an excellent strikeout to walk rate going. He has 16 strikeouts in 11 innings, and has yet to walk anyone this season.
Augusta’s offense had everyone taking part except the team’s leading hitter Frankie Tostado. Ismael Munguia led the way with two hits, his third-straight multi-hit game and his fourth double. Munguia is now batting .314/.364/.431 over the first two weeks of the season. Jacob Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to four games with his second double of the season and adding another walk. He now has eight walks to six strikeouts. Meanwhile, Aaron Bond collected his first triple of the year, getting his batting average back over .200. He’s batting .204/.291/.367 on the season.
Today’s Scheduled Starters
Sacramento (Tyler Beede) vs. Salt Lake (Max Herman), 1:05 PM PT
Richmond: Day Off
San Jose: Day Off
Augusta: Day Off
Only one game on Easter Sunday, with the resurgent Tyler Beede to go.
Two quick notes to wrap things up. First, our friend GPT has some pitching scouting reports from extended spring training.
Other pitchers:— GPT (@giantsprospects) April 20, 2019
RHP Jesus Reyes: 87-90 FB, mid 70s CB.
RHP Cooper Casad: 90-92 FB, mid 70s CB
RHP Israel Cruz: 91-93 FB, low 80s SL
RHP Yovanny Moronta: 89-93 FB, low 80s slurvy breaking ball
LHP Marco Gonzalez: 86-88 FB, mid 70s CB.
And finally, an RIP to a former Giants prospect.
#SadNews: stemming from my native #DominicanRepublic as Braulio Lara who pitched with @TigresdelLicey, @SultanesOficial among others apparently passed away in another tragedy of vehicle accident. Not too much info out, appears to be another case where abused velocity cost a life. pic.twitter.com/zGA5ogH5KP— Cristian Moreno (@CristianMorenoD) April 20, 2019
Lara was a pitcher in the Giants system in 2015 and 2016. Another car accident, another young player gone. RIP, Braulio.