Good morning from Kramerica’s stomping grounds, Carmel, California. We drove here yesterday and today will head down Highway 1 to Santa Barbara, where we’ll wave to the Crawniks in Solvang and spend the next couple days. We bought a convertible on Labor Day weekend last year, so in honor of its birthday/anniversary, we’re taking a great road trip.
Fortunately, our room here in Carmel actually gets NBCS-BA, so we saw the last few innings of the game after we got back from dinner. Just a few comments on the game and then I’m going to switch gears and talk about the minor league affiliates, who are wrapping up the regular season this weekend.
The Giants won last night using a simple formula of 1 + 2 + Bum=W.
Yaz (batting first, so he’s “1,” get it?)
Mike Yastrzemski emerged from his mini-slump with a homer, two hits, an RBI, and three runs scored. In his previous six games, he’d gone 0 for 18 with nine strikeouts. But his homer last night was his 18th for the Giants in just 81 games, and when you add the 12 he hit for the Sacramento River Cats before being called up in May, that’s 30 homers in 2019, with the whole month of September still to go. His highest previous total was 15 in 2017, split between AA/AAA. Hope he’s back on track.
Oppo shot for Yaz 🤭 pic.twitter.com/2MRHRKTRUZ
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 31, 2019
The homer was an opposite-field shot, and he’s had several of those. I was in the park for one (walk-off extra-inning shot on July 21), and one of those three homers he hit a couple weeks ago in AZ was oppo as well.
Belt (batting second, so “2”)
I know this will be terribly disappointing for the many haters out there who want him DFA’d next week or certainly in the offseason, but Belt’s been on a hot streak.
Last seven days (six games): .364/.417/.727/1.144 (two homers and only five strikeouts in 24 plate appearances)
Last 14 days(11 games): .275/.333/.575/.908 with three homers and 12 RBIs
Last night he got the Giants off to a great start with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, giving Bum some unfamiliar breathing room.
Yaz and Belt together: 5 for 9 with a walk, two homers, four RBIs, seven runs scored. Now, that’s what you want the top of your order to look like.
The other part of the equation was Bumgarner, who was superb at home as he has been all season (6-2, 2.83 ERA, 0.925 WHIP). Going back to June 20, the Giants are now 11-2 in Bumgarner starts, and you don’t have to do much math to understand where the Giants’ record would be if they had, as was rumored at the time, pushed the button on trading Bum in June.
#MadBum 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/oUgX6Abwdw
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 31, 2019
Overall, it was a good team win that also included a 3 for 4 night for Buster Posey and 13 hits for the team.
Wrapping up the minor league season
Before last night’s nice win, the Giants’ week had pretty much looked like this.
However, all was not lost in Giants Nation. There was a group of Giants players popping corks and celebrating. Congratulations to the Sacramento River Cats, first Giants’ AAA affiliate to win its division in 21(!) years. That’s a lot of water under the bridge.
— rivercats (@RiverCats) August 30, 2019
In other affiliate news, Giants Orange lost its first/only playoff game in the AZL and is done for the season. The Giants promptly sent a few of the AZL players to Salem-Keizer, who has already clinched its playoff spot. (If you haven’t read Andrew Baggarly’s piece on the Salem-Keizer manager, Mark Hallberg, who also happens to be Buster Posey’s college roommate, you really should.)
The Augusta Green Jackets have a one-game lead in their division (second-half standings) with three games to play. The team trying to chase them down is the Asheville Tourists. They play their last three games at home vs the Columbia Fireflies, who are 52-81 this season, while Asheville plays on the road against the Rome Braves.
The San Jose Giants are, rather surprisingly, in playoff position as well, despite being 64-72 for the season. The California League plays two halves, and if the first-half division winner also wins the second half, the second-place team in that division gets a wild-card spot in the playoffs. This is the situation in the Giants’ division. The Little Giants are 34-33 in the second half (they just ended an eight-game winning streak by losing in extra innings last night) and stand in second place in their division, one game ahead of Modesto. They finish at home with three games against the Stockton Ports.
Other questions related to the minor league season coming to an end:
- Will anyone from Richmond (soooooo not in the playoffs) be bumped to Sacramento for the playoffs (/cough cough Joey Bart?)
- Any chance Seth Corry heads to San Jose if they make the playoffs? The Giants have done that before with Augusta pitchers, but if the Green Jackets also make the playoffs, it would be rough to take their ace and give him to San Jose.
- Will the Big Giants raid the River Cats’ roster tomorrow when rosters can expand, or will they leave most/all of the players there until the PCL playoffs have run their course?
- Whether the Giants promote players tomorrow or after the playoffs, who gets the nod? History suggests that Zaidi will promote nearly everyone on the 40-man roster (he did so with the Dodgers), but we shall see.
AFL rosters: The other interesting minor league news of the week was the announcement of the Arizona Fall League rosters. Top prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos, whose careers have been joined at the hip this whole season (started in SJ together, got injured around the same time, came back around the same time, played in the Futures Game, were promoted to Richmond together), will both be on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster, making up for lost reps when they were injured in the spring. Lesser-known names going to the AFL include Tristan Beck (former Stanford pitcher now on the SJ roster, obtained from the Braves in the Mark Melancon trade) and current Richmond Flying Squirrels Jalen Miller and Jacob Heyward (who happens to be MyGuy™, as is Ramos). You can read about all of the Giants’ AFL participants here. Melissa Lockard also had a detailed breakdown of who they all are in The Athletic.
Bart, in particular, has been very hot after a slow start in Richmond, and is now hitting .300 with an .859 OPS in 20 games there. His season is ending well.
Padres at Giants, 6:05 p.m. at Oracle Park
Joey Lucchesi (9-7, 4.11 ERA) vs. Logan Webb (1-0, 4.66 ERA)
This is Webb’s third start and his first one at home. His first start was very promising and his second one was less successful. Watching young Webb’s progress is one of the more interesting storylines for the next five weeks. New arrival Mauricio Dubon is reportedly going to start at shortstop today and tomorrow against the Padres’ lefty starters. His September is also a key to the Giants’ near-future middle infield plans.
This is also the first big day of college football. Enjoy it all! Lefty out.