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SF Giants Minor Lines 8/29/19: Chris Shaw booms 3 times

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What’s this? A Welcome Home gift from my fellow Golden Eagle? How sweet! You shouldn’t have Chris!

That’s just one of a whole bushel-full of wonderful highlights in today’s Minor Lines. Bet roog61 doesn’t get treated like this!

HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw hit three HRs; Joey Bart had four hits including HR, double; Norwith Gudino struck out 12; Alexander Canario had four hits including HR.

Sacramento beat Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 10-2
losing their series, 1-3 but winning something much better!

The wait is over! As Kevin predicted, the RiverCats strung out their magic number of 1 for nearly a week so that I could announce the clinching of their 12th division title — and first since they became a Giants’ affiliate.

Chris Shaw provided the thunder for the triumph, smashing three home runs and driving in 7 runs — both career highs. The big night gave him a career high 28 HRs including 21 with Sacramento. He’s hitting .298/.354/.596 with the RiverCats while slashing his K rate from last year by about 10%.

And for much of last night he made Reno CF Abraham Almonte his plaything — go chase Abraham!

Because it’s 2019 in the PCL, that is, of course, the third time this year a RiverCat has performed the trifecta — following in the footsteps of Mac Williamson and Jaylin Davis (who had two hits himself last night). The system has also had a three homer nights this year from 16 year old Rayner Santana as well as minor league vet Courtney Hawkins.

Shaw’s huge night, backed by strong pitching and lots of top of the order hitting made it a night of delicious anticipation, down to the final moments, as Williams Jerez capped things off by striking out the side in the 9th:

We should be seeing Chris again soon, but maybe, hey! grab yourself a championship ring first, Chris and have a party! Sacramento becomes the third affiliate this year to clinch a post-season birth (though sadly, one of those teams post-season is already over).

Playoff Position: Clinched!

Richmond won at Erie SeaWolves (Tigers), 9-5
sweeping their series, 4-0

Tiny sample sizes are fun! They allow me to say things like: Joey Bart improved his OPS from .648 to .844 in this series! His batting average jump from .208 at the start of the four game set to .290 by the end of it, thanks to his second four-hit night in Erie. Man, Joey liked him some Pennsylvania! And this four hit night came with some thunder:

The Squirrels had a little extra skip in their step in sweeping the final road series of the year — and much of it came from their 1-2 punch of Bart and Heliot Ramos. The pair combined for 14 hits in the series, including five doubles, a triple and Bart’s opposite field HR (his 16th of the year). This is the pair around whom so much of the Giants’ mid-term hopes revolve. They came to San Jose together, they came to Richmond together, they’re going to the AFL together. Will there be a day in 2020 when they come to the Bay together? Who knows, but here at Minor Lines they get highlighted together!

The Squirrels now come home to end their season, hopefully on a good note and a promise of better times to come next April for the long-suffering Squirrels fans (hey look to Sacramento for an example of things turning around!). In addition, to their last chance to get a glimpse of Bart and Ramos for the year, there’s also the chance to see an all time record!

Johneshwy Fargas leads the Eastern League (by a lot) in Stolen Bases (48). He also, unfortunately, leads the Eastern League (by a lot) in Caught Stealing (22). His 22nd came last night after he had successfully put himself on the precipice of Squirrels history. He’s trying to set the franchise’s all time record for SB in a season. It’ll take just one more this weekend to tie Kelby Tomlinson’s 2014 mark of 49 and two to secure the record for himself. If he makes it, it’ll mark the second time in his career he’s reached the half century mark.

Playoff Position: Out

San Jose beat Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 9-5
sweeping their series, 3-0

As was true with the other Giants-Diamondbacks affiliate tilt going on above, any Visalia victory in this series would have clinched the second half title for the Rawhide. But the Giants finished off a signature statement sweep as they rattled off 8 unanswered runs after falling behind 5-1.

The win was San Jose’s 8th in a row — their longest winning streak in four years — and the team heads into the final series of the year playing their best ball (even without their best players!). Most of this is the result of the veterans on the team. Heath Quinn has been providing timely hitting, Shane Matheny has come up from Augusta to give the team another strong left-handed bat, and former 1st round pick and Indy Ball refugee Courtney Hawkins has all but put the team on his strong shoulders since the departure of Bart and Ramos.

Hawkins ignited a huge 5 run rally in the 6th with his 19th home run for San Jose — and his 11th in the month of August. Shane Matheny pitched in with three hits including a double and his third HR since joining San Jose two weeks ago. And Aaron Bond had a RBI double in his first game at a full season affiliate since injuring himself in Augusta way back on May 30.

Since his one-hit shutout two starts ago, Aaron Phillips has allowed 8 earned runs in just 7.2 IP. But the bullpen had his back last night, as they provided 5.2 shutout innings in relief, allowing the bats to do their thing.

How well have the Giants been playing during this streak? Let Joe Ritzo provide the details:

They’ll have to keep it going through the weekend though, because the Modesto Nuts are hot on their heels.

Playoff Position: 2 games back of Visalia in 2nd half Division Title, 1.5 games in front of Modesto in Wild Card race. If Visalia clinches the title, the final playoff birth will be the Wild Card winner (because Visalia also won the first half).

Augusta won at Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 11-0
winning their series, 3-1

The Greenjackets can NOT be stopped! Neither without NORWITH Gudino! (an oldie but a goodie!). Augusta needed a stopgap in their rotation, with Keaton Winn now joining the list of injured, and the 23 year old Gudino stepped up with a huge performance, striking out a career-high 12 batters, while throwing 5.2 shutout innings. Gudino allowed just two hits and walked none in overwhelming the Drive.

I may be forgetting someone, but I feel like that matches Seth Corry for the biggest strikeout performance of the year (in what’s been a fairly light season from a double digit K perspective). Gudino’s unexpected dominance (perhaps the Drive is ready to drive off into the offseason) allowed the Greenjackets to race to an easy 11-0 victory and reclaim sole possession of 1st place.

Gudino was backed by a well-balanced attack. Yalie Simon Whiteman set the table with 3 hits and his 14th SB with Augusta (his 29th overall in just 65 games). Frankie Tostado knocked in 4 runs to give him 82 for the year — third best in the Sally and just three away from the league lead.

And Sean Roby went deep for the 3rd time as a Greenjacket. Roby is having an interesting year. After hitting .338 with almost no power as a Volcano, he went out and won the ASG HR Derby. And now after being promoted to the Sally, he’s hit just .169 (admittedly tiny sample) with six of his 10 hits going for extra bases. SHRUGGING GUY EMOJI! Very interesting kid to watch.

If you didn’t see, the great Sally league resource John Calvagno sat on the Giants series in Greenville and put up notes on several of the players, Roby included yesterday. Everybody whose interested in the Sally League should be following John:

Combined with an Asheville loss that puts the Greenjackets in position to take care of business at home this weekend against the Columbia Fireflies. No margin for error though. Asheville heads to Rome to finish their year.

One concerning thing to keep an eye on from last night — 2nd round pick Logan Wyatt was removed from the game after singling in the second inning last night. Losing Wyatt for the final series would be a blow to the offense.

Playoff Position: 1 game lead with 4 to play. Magic # is 4.

And before I leave Augusta, I have to share this amazing adventure for Greenjackets play by play man Rylan Kobre, which let me tell you would have left your humble narrator needing some new underwear! Incredible! Nice work keeping cool under pressure Rylan!

Salem-Keizer won at Eugene Emeralds (Cubs), 10-5

Amid all the myriad excitements that 2019 has offered us here at Minor Lines, are we really paying enough attention to how good a season Alexander Canario is having. I mean REALLY?

With four hits last night including his 9th HR and 17th double of the season with SK, the 19 year old boosted his NWL line to .314/.378/.562. Including his Bugs Bunny/videogame numbers in the AZL at the start of the year, the overall slash line is .329/.388/.645. In just 57 games this year, Canario has 38 extra base hits! Twenty seven of his 58 hits with Salem-Keizer have gone for extra bases. A-freakin-mazing! This kid is crushing it!

And I know there will be those of you out there saying “but the strikeouts!

And to that, I think I’m just going to let Kiley McDaniel respond for me, with a quote from a recent chat:

Canario is a 19 year old with exceptional athleticism and elite-elite bat speed dropping extra bases hits like so many pennies in a fountain. Holy crap, just look at this good thing!

That would be yet MORE opposite field power coming up in the system (and don’t get us started on Luciano’s oppo power!).

Playoff Position: In as 1st half champions. 2 games back of Hillsboro for 2nd half.

With Eugene eliminated by last night’s loss, the 1st round playoffs are set as SK vs Hillsboro. Even if the Volcanoes were to sneak by and take the 2nd half division this weekend, the Hops would be in as the Wild Card team. With the recent subtractions of Hunter Bishop, Marco Luciano, and the Hops Kristian Robinson (whom Arizona just promoted to full season ball) the series loses some prospect luster for sure, but it’s still go time against the hated Hops! Time to regain a crown that used to keep a regular residence in Keizer but has long since moved away. Get it back!

Thanks so much to Kevin for allowing me some extended R&R time in the Baltic (where I picked up my very own Russian hacker apparently!) Kevin is a rock!

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Burch Smith) vs. El Paso (Jacob Nix)
Richmond (Brandon Lawson) vs. Bowie (TBD)
San Jose (Matt Frisbee) vs. Stockton (TBD)
Augusta (Adam Oller) vs. Columbia (Christian James)
Salem-Keizer @ Eugene (Chris Clarke)

Everybody ends the year at home (the ever weird NWL schedule will move the SK-Eugene series back to Keizer for the final two nights) so you have four more chances (maybe more!) to see your hometown heroes. Two of the five teams are already into the dance, and two more are fighting for their spot.

Let’s hope that San Jose and Augusta send us pictures like these before Labor Day sets. We’ll extend the Minor Lines season until the last out of the last series is made.