Going into the league’s first weekend, Richmond and Sacramento stayed red hot, while things began to cool off in Single-A.
Highlights: Richmond’s Pitching Staff held Hartford to 3 hits over 15 innings; Shaun Anderson had a strong first start; Mac Williamson was 2-for-4 in his return to Sacramento; Aramis Garcia hit his first home run of the year.
Sacramento defeated the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), 11-5
#DidMacHomer? No, but he was back in Sacramento, doing well again.
The Sacramento offense was superb for the third game of the season. Five Sacramento batters ended up with two hits, and two home runs, on way to an 11-5 win.
Mac Williamson returned to Triple-A with a 2-for-4 day with two singles and a walk, and no strikeouts, in an encouraging start to his next second chance with the Giants. He cleared waivers and joined a crowded outfield of minor league veterans vying for playing time. His first appearance was as good as he could hope.
OF Mac Williamson with a 2-RBI single with the bases loaded, in his first AB of the season for Sacramento: pic.twitter.com/h07PwcJzJl— GPT (@giantsprospects) April 7, 2019
Aramis Garcia was 1-for-4 on the day, but most notably hit a 2-run home run for his first of the season, part of a 2-home run inning in the third, which put the River Cats up 10-1.
C Aramis Garcia hits a 2-run HR, his first of the season for Sacramento: pic.twitter.com/071owZj8SA— GPT (@giantsprospects) April 7, 2019
Breyvic Valera also homered, his first of the season as well. He had 9 in 2018 for the Dodgers and Orioles organizations.
The start belonged to Shaun Anderson, and he did as well as could be needed, giving up two runs on three hits, one unearned. He struck out 5 and walked one. Taylor Rogers and Ray Black combined for 2.2 IP of scoreless baseball. Only Steven Okert, who allowed 3 ER in 1.1 IP faltered.
Richmond swept a Doubleheader against Hartford (Rockies), 2-1 in 8 innings and 3-0 in 7 innings.
It was a good day for Richmond. Over 15 innings of double-header baseball, Richmond pitching held Hartford to just 3 hits, and won both games.
Game 1 was a tight affair. Conor Menez had an excellent start for the Squirrels, going five scoreless innings with five strikeouts, and just a hit and a walk allowed. Menez had a 4.46 ERA combined across three levels last season, including a 4.38 ERA in 15 games at Richmond.
But Rodolfo Martinez had trouble, coming in to start the sixth. Martinez walked each of the three batters he faced, and gave way to Keiran Lovegrove. With no out and the bases loaded, Lovegrove got a groundout that allowed a run to score, and then a doubleplay to get out of the trouble. Nice Giants debut for Lovegrove, who ended up with two innings and no runs on his record. Not so much for Martinez. who has a *.** ERA officially to start his year. Then again, last year, Camilo Doval walked his first four batters without an out, and all of them scored to start him off with the dreaded *.** ERA as well, and he would eventually turn things around to have a pretty nice year.
Down 1-0 going into the 7th inning (remember, minor league doubleheader games go 7 innings each), Brock Stassi led off the inning with a double, and after being replaced by Jalen Miller, Jacob Heyward would single in Miller to tie the game. In the 8th inning, with Fargas on second base to start the inning, Fargas got to third base on a groundout. Ryan Howard walked and Chris Shaw was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Heath Quinn came up and hit a sacrifice fly to right, and that was it. The Squirrels had a Sac-Off win in Game 1.
WALK IT OFF.@HeathQuinn9 drives home the winning run and we take Game 1 of the double-header, 2-1 pic.twitter.com/q9Gy5wr8W5— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) April 6, 2019
Game 2 was a more dominating affair, led by the pitching. Starter Garrett Williams struck out five in four innings, allowing just two hits, and looking nothing like the pitcher from 2018. It was a statement game for the starter. Just as much of a statement came from 26-year old Ryan Halstead, returning to a relief role in Double-A. Halstead struck out four and walked one in two innings. Melvin Adon picked up the save, his first in Richmond, with one strikeout and a walk in an inning.
Game 2’s offense came in a single inning that had a cloud with the silver lining. Levi Michael hit a sacrifice fly that scored the first run. Later, with the bases loaded, Quinn came up, but was replaced by Johneshwy Fargas after an injury delay (no information about Quinn or a possible injury has yet been reported). Fargas hit an infield single that led to an error by the shortstop and two runs, giving Richmond a 3-0 lead and win.
Wooo, busy day in Richmond. One tip for anyone playing a double-header...always remember you have a second game. We’re talking to you, Kieran Lovegrove.
That moment when you really want to dump the cooler but realize it’s a double header and the field needs to stay nice pic.twitter.com/redCbeu3By— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) April 6, 2019
San Jose was defeated by Visalia (Diamondbacks), 1-0, in 11 innings
And we thought San Jose would be known for its offense…
It was a pitcher’s duel in Visalia, and the game’s first run would be its last, in the 11th inning. The game was decided in the 11th off of reliever John Russell. With the initial runner on second, the first batter Russell faced hit a sacrifice bunt, and was unable to field the ball cleanly, letting the runner get on. The next batter he faced hit a single that scored the winning run with none out.
The rest of the pitching boxes looked good. 22-year old starter Trenton Toplikar, the surprising assignment of the 2018 draft, held up well, striking out two, walking one, giving up one hit and hitting one batter in three innings. Toplikar had a 1.23 ERA working mostly in relief in Salem-Keizer last season, though he struck out just 25 in 36.2 IP, with ten walks. The most dominating pitcher was Caleb Baragar, who went three hitless inning with six strikeouts in his season debut.
Unfortunately, the batting side of the ledger was much less bright. DH John Riley led the offense, the only Giants with two hits, both of which were doubles. The other big hit came off the bat of Joey Bart, who was 1-for-5 with a triple.
Some encouraging signs came out of the line of Heliot Ramos. Not perfect, but encouraging. Ramos hasn’t gotten a hit in the two games since opening day, but he walked twice in his five plate appearances. He struck out twice as well. He now has three walks on the season, to go along with six strikeouts in 14 plate appearances.
Augusta lost to Asheville (Rockies), 6-3
It was a disappointing start to the season for Jake Wong.
Actually, it was a good start to the start, as he struck out the side in the first inning. But the Giants’ 3rd round pick could not get out of the second inning in his first start of the year. He gave up four runs, half as many as he allowed in 11 starts in Salem-Keizer last year, giving up three hits and two walks. That start was too much for the five relievers and the offense for the GreenJackets.
The main man on offense was leadoff man Jose Layer, who went 3-for-4 with his first home run of the season, plus a double and a walk. The 21-year old Layer hit .280/.354/.446 with five home runs for Salem-Keizer in 2018. Behind him, Shane Matheny was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.
Otherwise, the most notable number was the defense for Augusta. Augusta suffered five errors, including three errors by third baseman Jacob Gonzalez. Gonzalez had 30 errors at the hot corner in 94 games in 2018, and is already 10 percent of the way there. Catcher Andrews Angulo had a second catcher’s interference in the young season, and a passed ball as well, and an error by shortstop Shane Matheny.
Today’s Scheduled Starters
Sacramento (Ty Blach) @ Tacoma (Justus Sheffield) - 1:05 PM
Richmond (Brandon Beachy) vs. Hartford (Ty Culberth) - 10:05 PM
San Jose (Garrett Cave) @ Visalia (TBD) - 2:00 PM
Augusta (Seth Corry) @ Asheville (Alfredo Garcia) - 11:05 AM
The first Sunday of the season will be highlighted (on the Giants’ side) by 2018’s other top high school draft pick, 3rd rounder Seth Corry, making his full-season debut. Hopefully, he can keep things under control. Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Ty Blach is back in a starting role, and faces the Mariners’ top prospect, Justus Sheffield, making his Mariners’ organizational debut. The 6’ lefty has mid-90s heat and a strikeout slider.