Very short schedule today, so perhaps we’ll stray briefly from a Giants-centric view of the minors and take a little broader look at the lay of the land. We’ve mentioned before that the introduction of MLB balls into the PCL hitting environment has led to a cartoon landscape. The Tacoma Rainiers, who play in one of the better pitching environments in the league, have a team ERA of 6.49. The Reno Aces are the only team with a worse ERA (7.11). Bring the two teams together in Reno? .... things happen...
Matt Szczur just hit for the CYCLE! Yes, the cycle!— Reno Aces (@Aces) May 20, 2019
We have 20 runs. Yasmany Tomas has 3 homers today. Kevin Cron hit his 20th home run.
Just another day in @MiLB. pic.twitter.com/xXI4kMSxXE
To recap what is happening in Reno:— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) May 20, 2019
• The score is 25-5 Aces through eight innings
• Reno has hit 10 home runs as a team; Tacoma has none
• Four of those homers have been hit by Yasmany Tomas
• Two have been hit by Kevin Cron. He leads MiLB with 21.
• Matt Szczur has cycled
That’s right! Kevin Cron is on a pace to hit 66 HRs in a 140 game scheduled and he was maybe the third craziest thing to happen in that game last night. Shaun Anderson and Andrew Suarez are saying “Hallelujah, keep me out of there,” right about now I think.
And an odd draft note to share.
Hadn't heard many great things about Stewart in 2019, but also heard him being discussed as a potential late first-round selection. Was arguably the top prep pitcher in the 2018 class.— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) May 21, 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: Austin Slater reached base 4x; Jacob Gonzalez homered.
Sacramento lost at Fresno Grizzlies (Nationals), 4-3 in 10 inn
winning their five game series, 3-2
Sacramento and Fresno finally wrapped up an epic five-game series full of postponements and free baseball. Fresno took the finale with an extra-innings walk off win, but Sacramento still took the series. This was the fourth extra-inning contest between the two teams in just nine games this year. They also had two double headers in the series thanks to unseasonable raininess in Fresno (hope the raisins are ok!).
Sacramento jumped out to a 3-0 lead, thanks in large part to the work of Austin Slater. who led the offense. Slater reached base four times on three hits and a walk, and scored two of the team’s three runs. Slater and Mike Gerber both doubled for the teams only extra base hits.
That lead stood up for quite awhile thanks to a tremendous start from Enderson Franco, who went 6 innings and surrendered just two hits. Unfortunately, both of those hits did damage as neither stayed in the field of play, making it a 3-2 game. One of the solo HRs came from Carter Kieboom who has punished Sacramento pitching in the series, going 8 for 19 with three HRs and a double — get this guy back to Nats Stadium!
Steven Okert worked around a bases loaded situation in the 7th, but he got in another mess in a wild bottom of the 8th that featured two ejections from the Fresno bench. Okert left with the two outs and the tying run on 2b. Fernando Abad came in and struck out the batter he faced, but not before wild pitching in the tying run.
The 10th inning turned on a series of fly ball outs. Anthony Garcia attempted to take advantage of a momentary defensive lapse to race home with the lead run in the top of the inning.
Crazy play in the top of 10th in last nights @RiverCats game. Anthony Garcia attempts the mad dash home. Fresno would win on successful Sac Fly in bottom of inning pic.twitter.com/EzqYdAof96— Roger Munter (@rog61) May 21, 2019
In the bottom, Fresno’s Colin Cowgill was placed at 2b to start the inning. The speedy CF would come around to score the winning run on two fly balls.
It’s a game of inches.
Sacramento will presumably be scrambling for pitchers a bit now that the Giants have said they’re not giving either Shaun Anderson or Andrew Suarez back just yet, but at least there’s one pitcher who might be close to returning to them:
In case it enhances your day, here’s Ray Black jamming a hitter with 97 mph heat in extended spring. pic.twitter.com/rlQlONShf7— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 20, 2019
Both Richmond and San Jose were off for travel days
Which gives us some time to catch up on our reading. Enjoy this excellent piece on Hollister’s own Conner Menez, courtesy of Richmond radio and media man Jake Eisenberg.
.@GoSquirrels left-hander Conner Menez grew up two hours south of San Francisco collecting every Barry Bonds baseball card he could find. Now armed with a "sneaky" fastball & nasty slider, he's on track to one day pitch for his hometown #SFGiants.— Jake Eisenberg (@JakeEisenberg_) May 20, 2019
: https://t.co/9jwqhd4yyt pic.twitter.com/8GjTtOBzG3
There’s also lots of news going on around the San Jose club, which is starting to bring the pieces together for what they hope might be a second half run:
Sean Hjelle and Jake Wong have joined the #SJGiants. Hjelle 2nd round pick last year, 2.66 ERA in 40 2/3 IP w/Augusta. Wong 3rd rounder in '18, 1.99 ERA in 40 2/3 IP w/Augusta.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 20, 2019
SJ now features 4 of top 7 @MLBPipeline prospects in system (1. Bart, 2. Ramos, 6. Hjelle, 7. Wong).
Also, Jose Marte is throwing 98 and should return to SJ in near future. Doval another high-ceiling arm. San Jose primed for a second-half playoff run.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 20, 2019
Excitement Level: Rising!
Augusta lost at Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), 5-2
winning their four game series, 3-1
After three straight thrilling extra-innings victories, Augusta’s series ended on a quieter note. The Greenjackets were thoroughly befuddled by Charleston starter Jio Orozco’s assortment of breaking balls, preventing them from the four-game sweep which would have vaulted them into first place.
Augusta managed just four hits on the game, while striking out 10 times and drawing just 2 walks. Nobody in the lineup reached base safely twice in the game. The loudest sound of the game came from Jacob Gonzalez who jerked an 0-2 hanger way down the left field line for a somewhat controversial home run. Gonzalez homered in his very first PA of the season but hadn’t gone deep since.
Jacob Gonzalez went deep last night for first time since his first AB of the season. Yanking a hanging curve on an 0-2 pitch barely fair (maybe) pic.twitter.com/GNMtTVTTRm— Roger Munter (@rog61) May 21, 2019
How close was it? Couldn’t tell from the video, but these guys had opinions:
Augusta’s other run scored on a Frankie Tostado double. After hitting .313 with a .913 OPS in April, Tostado is hitting just .187/.215/.320 in May.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Yoanys Quiala) vs. Salt Lake (TBD)
Richmond (Alfred Gutierrez) vs. Reading (JoJo Romer)
San Jose (Matt Frisbee) @ Modesto (TBD)
Augusta (TBD) vs. Rome (Trey RIley)
Lots of unknowns going on today. We’ll see what Augusta does to fill out their rotational needs going forward. Jasier Herrera had been assigned to San Jose for a spot start that was rained out. With Hjelle and Wong now joining the Li’l Giants, could Herrera be headed for the Sally. Lots of players on the move. We’ll see!