Minor League Notebook: August 24th

The six teams of the Giants minor league system are heading into the final weeks of the season. To some of them, playoffs are imminent. There's still a post-season push for one team. And yeah, Fresno and Connecticut aren't going anywhere. With three teams all but guaranteed to see the playoffs, there's a lot to talk about. It's Just Another Day in the Minors!

Fresno Grizzlies (AAA) - Fresno 9, Sacramento 5

LF Fred Lewis - 3-5, 2 R, 2B (20), HR (12), RBI (51), .271
CF Jason Ellison - 1-5, 3B (2), 2 RBI (14), SO, .392
SS Juan Melo - 2-3, R, 2 RBI (48), SF, .265
C Guillermo Rodriguez - 2-4, SO, .241
3B Mike Cervenak - 0-4, R, BB, SO, E (8) .278
1B Lance Niekro - 2-4, R, 2 2B (5), RBI (29), .323
DH Clay Timpner - 0-3, 2 R, BB, SO, .268
2B Jed Hansen - 2-4, 2 R, HR (8), 3 RBI (33), .235
SP Jonathan Sanchez - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, HBP, 4.15; W, 2-2
RP Erick Threets - 2.0 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2.90
RP Carlos Hines - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, HR, 4.91

Jonathan Sanchez is working in Fresno to build up his arm strength to start at the major league level. It begins with starts on the AAA club, and he won his second game with the team with few problems. Things got ugly late in the game, with the relief corps of Erick Threets and Carlos Hines giving up three runs in the final three innings. The Grizzlies scored more than enough runs to cover this trouble, however, with two three-run innings. Fred Lewis had a big day, with a RBI double and a solo home run. Lance Niekro and Jason Ellison will certainly appear on the Giants' 40-man roster on September 1, and the time in the minors has done them well. Ellison had two RBI and Niekro hit two doubles as well as picking up an RBI.

Notes: Fresno has nothing left to do but play well to build hope for next season. At 27.5 games back, there's not a lot more the team can do.

Connecticut Defenders (AA) - Reading 8, Connecticut 7 (16 innings)

2B Derin McMains - 4-7, 2 R, RBI, BB, .223
RF Nate Schierholtz - 3-7, R, 2B (23), HR (13), 2 RBI (50), BB, .270
LF Brian Horwitz - 1-4, R, BB, SO, .278
CF Dan Ortmeier - 0-7, R, BB, .242
3B Brian Buscher - 2-7, .259
C Todd Jennings - 2-7, R, 2 RBI (13), 2 SO, E (3), .252
1B Tyler Von Schell - 1-5, R, BB, 3 SO, .231
SP Gene Espinelli - 5.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, BB, 3 SO, 4.17
RP Oscar Montero - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, SO, 4.19
RP R.D. Spiehs - 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO, HBP, 3.10
RP Joe Bateman - 3.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 3.68
RP Osiris Matos - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, SO, 3.86
RP Jeff Petersen - 2.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 0 BB, SO, 4.81; L, 1-1

Connecticut would not die Thursday night. Down three runs in the bottom of the ninth, they tied the game and sent it deep into extra innings. Starter Gene Espinelli could not limit the damage against Reading and the Defenders could not score enough runs to get ahead. Nate Schierholtz had a big game with three hits, two of them a double and a home run. Connecticut's bullpen handled the task of extra innings. R.D Spiehs, Joe Bateman and Osiris Matos were nearly perfect over 6.1 innings until Jeff Petersen gave up the deciding run in the top of the 16th inning.

Notes: Connecticut has fallen to 13 games behind division-leading Trenton. They are ten games below .500, and they'd have to win every game for the rest of the year to finish with a winning record. Given that they have lost six of their last seven, this may not happen.

San Jose Giants (High-A) - Stockton 17, San Jose 2

CF Pat Dobson - 2-4, R, HR (3), RBI (45), .253
SS Julio Cordido - 1-3, R, SO, .282
1B Will Thompson - 1-3, 2B (6), RBI (7), .261
SP Gregorio Martinez - 2.0 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, SO, 4.26; L, 8-7
RP Alex Hinshaw - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, HR, WP, 4.59
RP Thomas King - 1.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO, WP, 3.81

A demoralizing loss comes at the wrong time for the Giants. With Visalia only a game back, they needed to win this game against the mediocre Ports to gain precious ground over Visalia in the final days of the Cal League season. Gregorio Martinez was shelled in two innings, giving up seven runs. He pitched to seven batters in the third inning before he was mercifully removed. It didn't stop there. Stockton put up another seven-run inning in the eighth against San Jose reliever Thomas King, and their pitching held the Giants to two runs on four hits. An awful game all around for the defending champs.

Notes: Visalia and San Jose are now tied for the division lead, with the Giants loss and the Oaks win. The magic number for San Jose to sweep both halves of the Cal League season is 12, but job one for the team is to get alone in first, and stay there.

Augusta Greenjackets (Low-A) - Augusta 7, Kannapolis 1

CF Antoan Richardson - 2-5, 2 R, RBI (24), 2 SB (63), .295
LF Ben Copeland - 1-5, RBI (69), CS (21), .281
2B Eugenio Velez - 2-5, R, HR (13), 2 RBI (86), SO, .309
RF Mike Mooney - 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR (11), 2 RBI (65), SO, .281
DH Julian Benavidez - 2-4, HBP, .265
1B Pablo Sandoval - 1-4, R, SO, HBP, .257
SS Anthony Contreras - 2-4, R, RBI (51), .306
SP Dave McKae - 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, WP, 1.96; W, 7-2
SP Buck Cody - 2.0 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 4 SO, 4.96

The Greenjackets won their sixth game in a row with a lot of runs and more great pitching. Bay Area product Dave McKae went seven innings without allowing a run, and when Buck Cody came in to finish it off he had a seven run lead to play with. Augusta scored early on, the runs coming from expected sources. Antoan Richardson was all over the diamond. Two hits, two runs scored, one run batted in, two stolen bases. Eugenio Velez and Mike Mooney hit home runs and knocked in four runs between them. Ben Copeland drove in a run as did Anthony Contreras. Augusta looks to be in great shape for the South Atlantic League post-season as long as they play games like these.

Notes: Augusta has an eleven game lead over Asheville in the Southern division of the league. Going into the final days of the season their magic number is 4.

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short-A) - Salem-Keizer 4, Everett 3

SS Emmanuel Burriss - 1-4, RBI (21), BB, .301
RF Bobby Felmy - 1-5, 2B (7), 2 RBI (26), .258
C Adam Witter - 0-3, R, BB, SB (2), E (5), .272
CF Michael McBryde - 1-4, R, 3 SO, SB (11), .274
2B Bradley Boyer - 1-4, R, RBI (21), 2 SO, E (2), .228
SP Adam Cowart - 6.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, HR, HBP, 0.86
RP Adam Paul - 1.1 IP, 0 H, R, 0 ER, 0 BB, SO, 4.15; H, 6
RP Ryan Paul - 1.0 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 3 SO, 6.57; BS, 2
RP Juan Trinidad - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0.86; W, 2-1

Salem-Keizer got tripped up and put the win in danger late. Adam Cowart had a two-run lead after the second inning, and the way he's been throwing this season, he looked to be locked in for another win. Cowart pitched well again, but the pitchers who followed let the swagger unravel until they were faced with a 3-2 deficit in the ninth inning. Adam Paul allowed one run and Ryan Paul (no relation) blew the save. Bobby Felmy came through with the clutch double, a two-out hit that scored two runs to win the game.

Notes: The Volcanoes are way ahead of everyone in the Northwest League, 11 games up on Eugene and Vancouver. Their magic number to clinch the division is 4.

AZL Giants (Rookie) - AZL Angels 4, AZL Giants 1

SS Sharlon Schoop - 0-4, E (7), .319
LF Emmanuel Cividanes - 1-3, .289
RF Matt Roundy - 1-4, R, .246
CF/LF James Simmons 2-3, 2B (8), SB (2), .264
SP Henry Sosa - 5.0 IP, H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 3.90; L, 2-1
RP Lenny Martinez - 1.1 IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB, SO, 4.20
RP Frolian Ramirez - 1.0 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 0 SO, WP, 4.35

Another flat loss for the rookie Giants. They scored one run, on an error in the second inning. The pitching leaked runs, too many to give the Giants a chance to catch up. Only one hitter managed an extra-base hit. James Simmons had the double, one of his two hits on the night. Sharlon Schoop came up empty at the plate and in the field, going hitless in four at-bats and committing his seventh error of the season.

Notes: The Arizona League roulette continues. With four more games for the Giants they are a half game behind the Angels and Royals for the second half championship. If they can make it to the lead position they will face the Padres for the AZL championship.

Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 24th season of fandom. Love/hate mail can be sent to seasond_salt@yahoo.com, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.

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