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SF Giants Minor Lines 7/24/19: Hella-Hjelle!

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Seth Corry and Sean Hjelle lead shutout victories.

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Hunter Bishop’s bat has warmed up yet in his debut but that doesn’t mean he’s not out there showing off his skills!

HIGHLIGHTS: Sean Hjelle threw 6 shutout innings; Seth Corry went 5 shutout innings with 7 Ks; Wilkelma Castillo struck out 6 over 4.2 IP.

Sacramento won at Fresno Grizzlies (Nationals), 9-1

The RiverCats rolled to their fifth straight win — a season high — and continue to solidify their position atop the Pacific Northern standings. Sacramento got a huge game from Cristian Adames, who reached base safely four times including a double and homer. No matter how much depth the big club keeps gleaning away from Sacramento they seem to replace it by finding more and more guys to plug in! Adames, the former Rockies player, has endeared himself to his new teammates, hiting .378 with a .489 OBP in his first 11 games with the team.

Mike Gerber also continued to swing a hot bat, homering for the second straight night (22) and smacking his 30th double of the year. That’s 53 XBH for Gerber who boasts a .318/.381/.608 line in this video game PCL season, though he does also have 103 strikeouts on the year.

Dereck Rodriguez will take the mound tonight to try to lead the team to back-to-back road sweeps.

Richmond lost to Bowie BaySox (Orioles), 8-1
getting swept in their series, 0-3

The good news? Gio Brusa’s pinch-hit HR in the bottom of the 9th prevented the Squirrels third consecutive shutout loss.

The bad news? Pretty much everything else. Richmond completed a 1-6 homestand with a three game sweep at the hands of Bowie in which they scored just the one run. That followed a series against Erie in which they went to their final at bat of the night without a hit. Their 36-64 record is one of the worst in all the minor leagues.

Despite the branding, Richmond has not been Funtown in 2019.

San Jose won at Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 4-0

I don’t think Visalia was ready for this Hjelle! The big right-hander helped San Jose to the rarest of achievements — clinching a series victory in Visalia — dominating the Rawhide over six shutout innings. Hjelle racked up 11 ground ball outs, while allowing just two hits. After an impressive run through the Sally league at the beginning of the year, he’s gotten even better with his promotion to the Cal, allowing just 19 earned runs over 67.1 IP, with 5 of those coming in one clunker start. Aside from that rough outing in Modesto, Hjelle has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 9 of his last 10 starts.

Holding on to a 2-0 lead going into the 8th, the Giants took the drama out of the night when Joey Bart and David Villar went back-to-back to pad out the lead. Manager Hector Borg was using the Green Light to great effect, as both Bart and Villar homered on 3-0 pitches.

If San Jose could somehow manage a — dare I say it? — sweep tonight, they could climb into a first place tie, as things are finally starting to come together to produce some Ws for the Giants.

Augusta won at Columbia Fireflies (Mets), 5-0

Lefty Seth Corry took the mound in Columbia last night without the sharp stuff that he’s had for most of the month. The snap was missing off the curve, the fastball didn’t quite dance as lively. He was having trouble missing bats in the zone, as Columbia hitters extended at bats fouling off pitch after pitch. Through 2 innings he had already amassed 50 pitches and narrowly avoided disaster.

And yet for all that, Corry walked off the mound after 5 innings, having thrown 2-hit shutout ball, lowering his ERA to 1.97 with Augusta and taking over the lead league in strikeouts. His 7 punchouts — most on called third strikes — gave him 119 on the year in his 86.2 innings of work. A gritty, winning without your best stuff, start this late in his first full season is yet another impressive sign of improvement in Corry’s true breakout 2019.

I know this will engender another round of “Call Him Up” but Augusta has reason to want to hang onto the 20 year old for the remainder of the year, having already lost Sean Hjelle, Jake Wong, and much of their bullpen to promotion, and Blake Rivera and Gregory Santos to injury. WIth Augusta in 1st place in the Sally and fighting for a post-season birth, having Corry anchor the rotation the rest of the way might be a good idea for both him and the Greenjackets. After all, it didn’t seem to slow Madison Bumgarner down any to keep him Augusta all year.

Corry, along with relievers Matt Seelinger retired 19 consecutive batters, from Corry escaping a bases loaded two-out jam in the 2nd all the way through the 8th inning. At one point 10 of 12 hitters were K’d.

All the support those pitchers would need came from the bat of Frankie Tostado, who might want to apply for permanent transfer to whoever Columbia is facing. Tostado drilled his 13th HR of the year in the 1st inning last night — his 5th off of Fireflies pitching this year and 3rd off Columbia starter Willy Taveras.

Tostado would key the Greenjackets 2-run rally int the 5th with an RBI double, all part of a 3-hit night for the lefty basher.

Salem-Keizer lost at Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 4-1

Well, I suppose it would break the space-time continuum to have series victories in Visalia and in Hillsboro at the same time. The delicate balance that holds the universe together must be preserved, after all.

After an intense week of charging to the first half finish line victorious, the Volcanoes have come out a bit flat to start the 2nd half (this is where a palate cleansing All Star break really helps!).

Hillsboro pitching held Salem-Keizer to just six hits — with Jeff Houghtby’s double the sole XBH. Meanwhile, starter Conner Nurse and Co struggled to locate the strike zone as they issued 8 walks to Hops hitters.

While we tend to be Giants-centric around here for obvious reasons, this game was most notable for a couple of Hillsboro moments that I need to share. First and foremost, you’re going to be seeing this effort from Hops CF Jorge Barrosa for many years I think:

Really they should have awarded the catch just on sheer merit points. Run through a wall? Record an out.

And second, what the D-backs #4 prospect Kristian Robinson did to a baseball last night was simply unfair. Yowza!

AZL Giants Orange beat AZL Brewers Gold, 4-3

AZL Giants Black lost to AZL D-backs, 9-2

I have yet to see any kind of report on what 19 year old RHP Wilkelma Castillo is throwing down in the desert, but he’s certainly having a ton of success with it. The unheralded Venezuelan is putting together perhaps the strongest pitching campaign of anybody in the AZL camp. Back on July 6, he suffered a rough outing in which he gave up 5 earned runs in 3.2 IP. Aside from that effort, he’s allowed just 5 more earned runs in his other 6 games combined — over 22.1 innings. He’s punched out 33 batters this season (6th best in the league) while walking just 11. Intriguing!

Here was Wilkelma back in April:

Marco Luciano and Adbiel Layer’s first inning doubles keyed a 3-run rally that Team Orange was able to ride to the victory, thanks in large part to Castillo’s effort.

I apparently jinxed Jairo Pomares yesterday when I noted that he had more 4 hit games (2) than 0 hit games (1), because he then went out and posted his second 0-fer of the season. Sorry Jairo!

And one more thing of note was going on in the desert yesterday...

DSL Giants lost to DSL Pirates2, 2-1

At .382, Matos has climbed up to third in the DSL in batting average, and one has to wonder if he can make an assault on .400 this summer? Matos has an 11 game hit streak going during which he has amassed 24 hits. His 20 doubles leads the league, while he’s third in the league in Slugging.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Ty Blach) @ Fresno (Wil Crowe)
Richmond (Brandon Lawson) @ Altoona (TBD)
Visalia (Aaron Phillips) @ Visalia (Justin Vernia)
Augusta (Trent Toplikar) @ Columbia (Jose Butto)
Salem-Keizer (Travis Perry) @ Hillsboro (Luis Frias)
AZL Orange (Juan Sanchez) @ AZL Black (Ivan Armstrong)
DSL Giants (Marvin Brown) @ DSL Pirates2 (TBD)

An All Road Trip day! Sacramento and Augusta can firm up their positions atop their divisions with victories while San Jose is hoping to climb into a piece of their top spot for the first time this year.

Oh yes, and with just a week to go before the trade deadline, not all of the action is taking place on the field: