May 2019

Mike Yastrzemski

May 1, 2019

The River Cats ended April atop the PCL Pacific Northern Division two games ahead of the Fresno Grizzlies with a record of 13-12. Tyler Beede is seventh in the league in both ERA with 1.99, and a WHIP of 1.06. Beede was also third in the league in strikeouts with 34 in 22.2 innings. Although he only had one win to Andrew Suarez’s two, there were at least two games where he left with a lead after a strong start only to have the bullpen blow the lead. Mac Williamson started a little slow after being DFA’d on March 29 but has really heated up to lead the team in most offensive categories. It puts the Giants in a tight spot as he is no longer on the 40-man roster. His .373 batting average just cracks the top 10 in the PCL, but his team leading 12 RBI and six home runs don’t even crack the Top 25.

“For the past month and a half, I have tried endlessly to find the answer to why the M4 metabolite was found in my urine sample” has become the sound bite of the day around baseball but mostly among San Francisco Giants fans as Logan Webb releases a statement on being popped for PEDs, and will be hit with an 80-game suspension. I really don’t know if Webb used anything off the banned substance list or not, but Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT)  seems to be what players are getting busted for lately. Most notably Ryan Braun who got 65 games back in 2013. I feel that PEDs have been so prevalent in baseball that players just need to own up to it if they get popped, apologize, and move on. I have to say at least Webb has a lot more integrity than Braun and isn’t throwing some innocent guy under the bus.

The other half of Giants’ Twitter are the fans asking to bring Williamson up, after Stephen Vogt was called up today. Vogt is coming back from shoulder surgery in 2017, he’s put in a lot of hard work to get back to the Bigs. Vogt is also an established Major League player, and catcher, so I can see why the Giants selected him. He will be missed in Sacramento, as he brought a presence to the team that really made a difference in how this season has started out. Ronnie Freeman was added back to the roster from extended Spring Training to take his place, and Ty Blach was optioned back to Sacramento.

I just got word that Tyler Beede is being called up to start on Friday night against the Reds.

Yoanis Quiala takes the mound again for the River Cats tonight and he didn’t have a very good outing in his debut last week. After dropping 17 runs last night, let’s see if the Cat’s bats have anything left.

Strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play for the River Cats and that’s a nice way to start tonight’s game, and Josh Fuentes grounds out to end the inning.

This home run barrage from last night has spilled over into today’s game as Henry Ramos starts the scoring with his fifth here in the top of the second. 

Gerber hits a two run home run, his sixth on the season, to tie Williamson for the team lead here in the third, and the Cats lead 3-0.

The Isotopes get on the board in the bottom half of the third when Roberto Ramos doubles in Yonathan Daza.

Austin Slater with the oppo-taco and the River Cats extend their lead to 4-1 here in the top of the fifth.

Quiala has walked five so far as we start the fifth. Four of those walks have been to start the inning, include the four pitch walk he just issued to pitcher Sam Howard.

Tyler Rogers replaces Quiala here in the fifth after he’s given up two doubles, and walked two, while there is still only one out.

Tyler Rogers walks Brendan Rodgers to load the bases, and then walks Drew Weeks and the game is tied at four. Rogers finally gets Chris Rabago to hit a soft grounder back to him for the easy out at first to end the inning.

James Pazos replaces Howard here in the top of the seventh for the Isotopes.

Yaz reaches on a bunt that goes over the pitcher’s head, and he barely beats the throw. That will bring up Austin Slater who just misses his second home run going to the opposite field as the ball hits the wall. Slater is tagged out trying to go to third on the play for the first out but Yaz scores and its 5-4 River Cats. Gerber follows with a double to left, which brings Williamson up to the plate, who gets intentionally walked. Henry Ramos bloops to Valaika to end the inning.

Coonrod comes in to close out the game and the Cats are up by one here in the bottom of the ninth. I can’t watch this.

There is one out and Brendan Rodgers doubles over the head of Mike Gerber in right field and he represents the tying run.

Coonrod walks Hilliard.

Elliot Soto comes in to hit for the pitcher.

Passed ball by Aramis Garcia advances the runners to second and third

A base hit could win this. The infield moves in. Single up the middle, Rodgers scores. Game tied. Luckily Sam Hilliard ran back to second and didn’t advance.

Rabago with a ball hit to Solano who quicky throws home, and Garcia tags out Hilliard, two outs as Rabago takes the fielder’s choice and is on first.

Mylz Jones comes to the plate hits one over Gerber’s head, Soto scores, and that’s the game!! Cats lose.

May 2, 2019

Last year I started using the hashtag #BougieBourjos any time that Peter Bourjos would make a great play or come up with a big hit. I think this year I’m going to start using #SlaterTater every time Austin Slater hits a home run.

We be rolling this morning! The Cats are trying to put this game away early. It’s a 10:05 local time start here in Sacramento as the River Cats finish their series in Albuquerque.

Yaz, and Gerber single, then a double by Anthony Garcia to scores Yaz, and Gerber to third. Solano hits one to the mound, Gerber gets in a rundown but long enough to get Garcia to 3rd, and Solano to second. One out with runners on second and third.

Tyler Beede was scheduled to start today but since he was called up to start for the Giants tomorrow, Caleb Baragar was called up from San Jose for a spot start. The Topes get one back on a ground rule double by Josh Fuentes in the bottom half of the inning.

A random fact that I learned today, National League team pitchers don’t start batting until Double-A, so this at bat for Baragar is his first professional at bat since he has not played at the Double-A level.  He didn’t bat in college, so this is probably his first at bat since high school. He looks nervous, but I’m sure he is excited as well. Sadly, he goes down looking. 

Like Baragar, Isotopes’ pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez is getting his first professional at bat, and again, he did not bat in college. Gonzalez with a nice grip it and rip it swing. He’s got a pretty good cut. Oh, and backdoor breaking ball on the sixth pitch of the at bat to strike him out looking.

Yonathan Daza with his third home run of the season makes this a 3-2 ballgame. Who is this guy??? He just continues to impress me.

Yaz starts the top of the fifth with his fourth home run of the season!

Two on for Solano who singles to left scoring Mac Williamson, and Solano cruises into second on the throw home.

Two run double for Zach Green scores Gerber and Solano! 7-2 River Cats.

Make that 8-2 as Ronnie Freeman with the back-to-back double which scores Green!

Funny little thing just happened; River Cats pitcher Caleb Baragar ended the top half of the fifth, and Isotopes pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez starts the bottom half of the inning with a strikeout in their at bats.

I have way too much time on my hands to notice that.

Daza with ANOTHER double and scores off a hit by Peter Mooney to right.

Baragar walks Fuentes, and that will be it. Brundage brings the hook, and Steven Okert will be coming in.

Baragar leaves having gone 4.1 innings, giving up three runs, and he is responsible for the two on base. Overall, it’s a job for a Single-A pitcher making a spot start at Triple-A.

Okert, after striking out the first batter on 3 pitches, Brendan Rodgers with 2 strikes on him, knocks in Mooney to make the score 8-4. If you haven’t had a chance to see Rodgers play in person or follow his career, there is a reason he was a number one overall pick. Hilliard with a single under Solano’s glove, another run scores, and Rodgers is on third. Those runs will be charged to Baragar.

To the top of the sixth and for the second time in this game Yastrzemski hits a leadoff home run in an inning. That’s number five for Yaz, and the Cats now lead 9-5.

Donovan Solano with his second home run of the season, and Anthony Garcia scores. Zach Green goes back-to-back, and the score is now 12-5 after six. The River Cats have hit 12 home runs in this series.

Gerber knocks in another run. It’s his 10th hit in this series and that includes three home runs and eight RBI.

Sam Moll comes in to pitch for Okert. Moll had a big night when he made his professional debut back in 2013 as he was the starting pitcher in a combined no-hitter for the Tri-City Dust Devils of the short season Northwest League.

The Cats end this road trip with a nice win over the Isotopes by a score of 13-5. They hit six home runs today, including a multi-homer game by Mike Yastrzemski.

It will be nice to see some live baseball again at Raley Field when the Cats return tomorrow

May 3, 2019

Mike Gerber will be joining Tyler Beede in Cincinnati today as he was just called up after the game last night. Giants Twitter is all in a huff with people who are whining that Mac Williamson should be going up instead of Gerber but lets look at the numbers here.  Gerber is tied with Mac in home runs and leads the team in hitting, and in the Top 10 of the PCL. Mike is 10-18 in his last four games with three home runs; this promotion is well deserved. The Giants had to make a couple of moves for this to happen, and Gerrado Parra has been DFA’d while Erik Kratz was put on the Injured List (IL). The Giants have also made a cash consideration trade with the Cardinals for veteran catcher Francisco Pena, son of catching legend Tony Pena, and he has been assigned to Sacramento. Pena should be a great addition to the River Cats as he’s been Yadier Molina’s back up as of late.

Tyler Beede will be facing for River Cats pitcher Sonny Gray tonight as the Giants face the Reds. Today also marks the Major League debut of Nick Senzel of the Reds who is the #5 prospect in baseball.

As for the River Cats, they start a 12 game home series where they will see Reno, Fresno and El Paso, who have become the PCLs best team as the Aviators are coming down to earth. The Chihuahuas had won 12 straight until they took a loss last night against the Grizzlies.

Its 3:27 PST, and I still don’t have a clue who is pitching for either team tonight.

The Aces come in with an 11-16 record, and just 3 games behind the first place River Cats. They have some of the Diamondbacks top prospects playing for them, including their #1 pitching prospect Jon Duplainter who has already made a couple of spot starts for the D-Backs this year. Taylor Clarke, their #3 pitching prospect and Domingo Leyba, their #22 overall prospect are on the roster as well. Joining them is long time Giants and River Cats favorite Kelby Tomlinson. Let’s see if he gets a warm welcome when he plays this weekend.

When I got to Raley Field, the Giants were already down 8-0 and Beede had only worked 2.1 innings and had given up two home runs to Derek Dietrich. The Giants started to come back, but eight runs……I wasn’t expecting much. They had tacked on five runs when I left the press box.

Shaun Anderson will be starting for the River Cats tonight and he will be facing Troy Scribner.

Kelby was his usual cordial self before the game, and great with the fans as he took time to sign autographs and take a couple of pictures.

The game starts off quietly until the third when Reno’s Albert Rosario hits a triple and is knocked in with a single to left by Juniel Querecuto and the Aces strike first.

It didn’t take long for Austin Slater to get the River Cats on the board with a solo shot, his second of the year, to tie up the game in the bottom half of the inning.

It looks like Francisco Pena is already suited up for the River Cats and has been warming up Anderson between innings.

When I got back to the Press Box in the bottom half of the fifth the Giants game was now Giants 12-11 in the bottom of the 11th. What happened??? Well part of what happened was that Steven Vogt went 3-3 with a double and game tying home run to make the game 11-11.

Shaun Anderson has pretty much cruised through the first five frames, and started the six, but he is coming out after not being able to retire the first three batters, and the Aces plated a run on a double by “El Tanque” (The Tank) Yasmani Tomas. Cats still on top 3-2.

Anderson is responsible for the two base runners, and Tyler Rogers is coming in to replace him. Rogers strikes out Travis Snider, and then walks Abraham Almonte to load the bases, only to follow that by striking out Kelby Tomlinson and Alberto Rosario to preserve the lead!!

One of my favorite pitchers comes in for the Aces, Braden Shipley. I got a chance to just talk to him a little bit last season and watched him interact with the kids here at Raley Field and his humility really made an impact on me.  Anthony Garcia on a 3-2 count comes up to hit his second home run of the season to pad the lead 4-2.

After giving up a double to Mac Williamson Alex Young walks the bases loaded, and then walks in a run. Solano up with a two-run single to center scoring Yaz and Slater. 8-2 River Cats.

Line drive by Aramis Garcia, and the Aces double up Anthony Garcia on second. Which was a joke of a call. Anthony made it back to the base well before Leyba flips it to Tomlinson. The crowd reacts accordingly.

Mac Williamson gets tossed here in the eight for arguing balls and strikes after striking out swinging. He must be frustrated because to me it seems like the Giants aren’t too interested in keeping him around anymore.

Tyler Rogers and Sam Selman shut down the Aces over four innings, and River Cats pitching combine for eight strikeouts. I must say that the bullpen is really starting to come together; they have an 8.2 scoreless inning streak and now have the lowest ERA in the PCL at 4.08. They have struck 16 batters and have only walked two during this streak as well.

Beede was shipped back down after tonight’s performance in Cincinnati.

May 4, 2019

Happy Star Wars Day everybody! May the 4th be with you………

Ugh I’m really not feeling it today. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize that writing this book would be so taxing on me. Obviously, it’s a lot of fun to watch live baseball day in and day out, but what’s turned out to be the hardest part of this has been trying to keep up and watch all of the road games live. I’m not in any way trying to compare what I do with what the players go through, but it does give you more of an appreciation of what they endure and see how this life just isn’t playing a game, but a job. The time zone changes, the routine, my attempts to make the mundane interesting. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing, while at the same time I’m doing exactly what I had set out to do, and that was to chronicle this season.

Tying in historical events or days in River Cats history isn’t coming along as I’d like at this moment either, but I guess I have 120 more games to have that happen. It’s all baseball, and every season is special, and I’m not just saying that to make myself feel better.

What makes of break a major league player? Is it confidence? Maturity? How is it that someone like Stephen Vogt, a two-time Major League all-star, can do so well in Triple-A, and go up in his first game back to the Majors and raps out three hits? While someone like Tyler Beede who this year has been dominating Triple-A hitters, gets beat around like an old rug? What do you think is the common denominator in those who make it to the Majors? And I’m not talking someone who makes it up for a few games, or maybe even a year, but someone who sticks around whether it be a star or a journeyman? It can’t solely be talent, is it? Is there something more that comes with it? What got me thinking about this is how Beede and Stephen Vogt both went up yesterday (and I know this was only Beede’s third Major League game) but the outcomes were very different. Vogt was 3-3 with a double and home run, while Beede gave up 8 in 2.1, yet he has been dominating PCL hitters thus far. Thinking on this I look at someone like Vogt and there was just a presence about him in the clubhouse, and the dugout. He is humble and confident. I compare that to someone like Mac Williamson, where their power is undeniable, but it seems to me as though he lets his emotions get the best of them.

The Cats are in first place with a record of 15-13 in the PCL North. Tonight, is another bullpen night; with all the shuffling around of pitchers, Navas will be starting the game and expected to go 2-3 innings as the “Opener”. He will be going up against the Diamondbacks #1 pitching and #2 overall prospect Jon Duplantier.

Tonight’s game is being broadcast here in Sacramento on CW31, and they have a female reporter here to cover the game. One of the Spanish speaking players walked by and called me over. He wanted me to tell her that he thinks she was pretty. I laughed it off and he went into the restroom. The first thing he said to me when he came out was whether I told her or not. I had not because I thought he was joking, but for a laugh, I decided to go through with it. When I told her, she had me tell him, “Oh, that’s sweet. Tell him good luck”. When I relayed the message to the player, everyone around him all started to laugh.

Breyvic Valera just stopped the game with two outs complaining about something just on the grass behind second base. The head grounds keeper runs out to look at it and then brings some dirt in to handle it as there was a waterspout that was exposed. The grounds crew mumble under their breath about the spout have been like that all season, which gets me to wondering if Valera is stressing out and losing some confidence in his ability considering he leads the team with the most errors this season.

Navas looked pretty good here in the first by striking out two.

Duplantier is not looking good today and cannot find the zone. He’s already walked two but was able to get Slater to ground out to short for an out.

Mac Williamson is on first, and Henry Ramos is on second. Anthony Garcia comes up and hits an easy grounder to Tomlinson for an easy double play, but he bobbles it, and can only get Garcia at first. Ramos speeds home from second, and after recording the out at first, Kevin Cron throws home but not only is the ball too late, Caleb Joseph drops it, and Ramos slides in to score. Its hard to say if he would have been safe if Joseph hadn’t dropped the ball, but from my vantage point he was in all the way.

Duplantier has just walked his third batter, and the Ace’s pitching coach comes to check up on him.

Aramis Garcia with a drive to left field over Tomas’ head for a bases clearing triple that drives in two!

Two-thirds of an inning will be all for Duplantier today. The crazy thing about this quick outing is that Duplantier has had 8 games in the majors in relief and has not allowed a run.  Stefan Crichton comes in to replace Duplantier and puts an end to the bleeding. River Cats up 3-0 after this LONG first inning.

Navas has walked the bases loaded here in the top of the second, with one out. Crichton drops the bunt right to Navas, and he bobbles the ball and falls. The runner from third scores, and Navas can’t make a play and the bases are still loaded with one down.

Abraham Almonte step into the box. Foul ball.

A foul ball that was just caught by an older gentleman in his beer cup, and the crowd gives him a standing ovation.

Almonte hits into a 4-6-3 double play on the next pitch, and the River Cats get out of the jam with little damage.

The scoreboard has been having some display issues and has been off for most of this game. When it was just turned back on, it got the biggest ovation of the night.

I’ll be taking in the rest of this game as a fan as my Aunt Francis, and cousins Florence and John are out here today, and I’ll be hanging out with them.

This game has moved along at a snail’s pace, so my family decided to head home in the 5th, around 9:30pm. Yeah, it’s going by slow, but the River Cats also are throwing a no-hitter which I’m not sure many people know is going on. Once they left, I came up to the press box to get out of the cold.

Well, there goes the no-no. Olbis Parra gives up the first hit of the game to the Aces, as Domingo Leyba gets a double to right. And now Travis Snider, and Caleb Joseph get walked. With the bases loaded, Wyatt Mathisen hits a ball to Henry Ramos and it gets by him, bases are cleared and its now 6-3 in the top of the fifth.

That’s it for Parra, after walking pinch hitter Marty Herum, there is a double switch. Zach Green enters the game for Parra, and Sam Coonrod is coming in for Donovan Solano.

I just leaned over and told the River Cats social media coordinator, that Coonrod is going to blow this lead. He walks Kevin Cron on four pitches, so this doesn’t look too good, but he strikes out Yasmani Tomas to end the inning.

I hate saying that I called it, but I called it. After allowing lead off singles to Travis Snider, and Caleb Joseph, Coonrod gives up a three-run homer to Wyatt Mathisen, Cats are now down 7-6. This is Coonrod’s fourth blown save of the season. I’m headed down to watch the end of this game behind home plate.

Brundy got himself ejected today, but I missed what went down on my way down here, but ejections are always fun.

Jimmie Sherfy comes in to close the game for the Aces. I have been waiting three years to watch this guy pitch in person, and he does exactly what he’s supposed to do. After allowing Avelino to reach on an error, he right away picks him off, and Zach Green ends the game by striking out.

Not only do the River Cats end up blowing this game, but we also didn’t even get the satisfaction of setting a new record for longest nine inning game, as the team came up nine minutes short. Time to get out of here and get some sleep. 1:00pm game tomorrow.

May 5, 2019

Beautiful day so I decided to ride the motorcycle in with a 1:05 start time. The River Cats will be making their first appearance of the season as Los Dorados de Sacramento as part of the “Beisbol es Divertido” program that Minor League baseball has implemented to reach out to the Latino communities around the country. The Aces will be playing as Los Corazones de Reno. It’s cool that this day lands on Cinco de Mayo, and while the whole “Divertido” marketing scheme is a nice idea it seems to fall way short here in the Sacramento market.

I think Minor League baseball fails to recognize that those they are paying lip service to and trying to reach don’t necessarily have the disposable income to bring their families to a game. Even with a family pack that provides 4 tickets, 4 hats, 4 meal vouches, and watching the fireworks on the field, that’s going to be $100 for a family of four. The cost of living in Sacramento housing has skyrocketed the past couple of years, gas this summer is up more than usual, and granted there are plenty of taxes in California, there are also a few refineries down for maintenance right now. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe I hear that they are reaching out to the Latino community, and I assume they are talking about the migrant workers and lower income families that dominate Yolo County, and parts of Southern Sacramento County. If that isn’t the target market, then I think they are way off the mark. Educated or more affluent Latinos seem to find this kind of pandering offensive. Stereotypes are abundant in the “Beisbol es Divertido” plan. From the River Cats using a luchador’s mask as their logo for the Dorados, the El Paso Chihuahua are the “Margaritas”, this isn’t a program for Latinos, it’s a program for Minor League Baseball and to put on a face of inclusivity.

River Cats fans are diverse enough, and yes, without a doubt, those who attend come from all different socioeconomic backgrounds, but the game and the team are a draw on its own. There is no need to focus on a culture and exploit it for financial gain in the name of reaching out to the community. Although he didn’t have the exact numbers or data at hand, I asked River Cats Manager of Communications and Baseball Operations if he would be able to get me the numbers on how the “Divertido” program has impacted attendance, and if its reaching its target market; I also asked what exactly the market was. I was told that originally “Divertido” was introduced by Minor League Baseball in cities with a high percentage of its population being Hispanic, but this year they are just expanding to pretty much everyone.

Rant over.

Breyvic Valera was DFAd today.

All jokes aside about how bad of fielder Valera is, I really liked him because he could flat out make contact. Sadly, eight errors in only 24 games isn’t going to cut it with anyone.

“The Preacher” Ty Blach will be making his first start since being sent down from San Francisco after last week’s poor outing, and his pitching woes continue. After staring the game with two quick outs, Blach has allowed eight consecutive batters to reach base via, three walks and a grand slam by Abraham Almonte. He turns the order over, and finally gets Domingo Leyba to strike out to end the inning. The Aces lead 6-0 going into the bottom half of the first.

The River Cats try to get something started in the bottom half of the inning, but Solano and Pena strand three on the bases and we’re headed into the second.

Blach seems to have found his composure and sets the Aces down in order in the top of the second.

Zach Green starts the bottom of the second with him seventh home run of the season to get the River Cats on the board.

That will be all they get as Taylor Widener continues to keep the Cats in check.

The Aces goes down 1-2-3 the hard way in the top of the third. After Abraham Almonte flies out to center, Wyatt Mathisen reaches on a ball hit deep to short. He is then gunned down at second by Francisco Pena and a laser to Donovan Solano for the out. Tomlinson grounds out to end the inning.

After Mac Williamson goes down swinging for the second out, Austin Slater takes second on a wild pitch by Widener. Slater steals third on the next pitch and Widener walks Solano which brings up Pena.

Pena with a drive over the centerfielder’s head, Slater scores, and Solano scores from first while Pena digs deep looking for a triple but is thrown out on the relay by Almonte to Widener to Mathisen to Tomlinson at third for the final out, but the two runs count, and its now 6-3 as the Cats cut the lead in half.

Zach Green does it again! That’s number eight to lead off the fourth, and the score is now 6-4.

JJ Santa Cruz comes out to replace Blach here in the fifth.

Santa Cruz is running into a little trouble here in the sixth with one out, he’s given up back-to-back singles and just walked pinch hitter Cody Decker to load the bases.

Santa Cruz strikes out Querecuto, two down.

Domingo Leyba walks. One run scores.

Kevin Cron walks. Another run scores, and its now 8-4 with the bases still loaded.

Travis Snider grounds out to first baseman Austin Slater who flips it to Santa Cruz to get the out at first to end the inning.

Alex Young comes in for the Aces to replace Widener here in the bottom of the sixth.

The River Cats just climbed the ladder to score a run. Francisco Pena starts off the inning by grounding out to third for the first out, Zach Green flies out to center, and Abiatal Avelino puts it over the fence for a solo home run. Anthony Garcia who is pinch hitting for Santa Cruz ends the inning by lining out to Mathisen at third. The score is now 8-5.

Steven Okert is taking over for Santa Cruz here in the top of the seventh for the Cats.

Things are going well for Okert here. There’s only one out, and two on he walks Kelby Tomlinson to load the bases get to pitcher Alex Young, but the Aces will be sending up pinch hitter Yasmani Tomas in his place. If you don’t know who Yasmani Tomas is, he’s a Cuban born power hitter who defected in the Winter of 2014 and signed a $86.5 million dollar contract with the Diamondbacks. His nickname is The Tank, El Tanque. That pretty much sums him up in a nutshell, and he doesn’t disappoint for the Aces as he doubles on a line drive to left field that scores Tyler Heineman and Abraham Almonte, and Tomlinson makes it to third. The score is now 10-5.

After striking out Querecuto, Pena throws down to third to pickoff Tomlinson but Green misses the catch and it looks like he is hurt. Tomlinson scores and its 11-5.

It looks like Green took that throw off of his face, and he’s leaving the game. Brandon Van Horn comes in to replace him. Van Horn is making his River Cats debut as he was just called up from San Jose.

The River Cats give up one more before striking out Kevin Cron to end the inning. 12-5 Aces.

Mike Yastrzemski is something else. He’s quietly just blossoming right before our eyes as he just led off the bottom of the seventh with his sixth home run to make it 12-6.

Yaz’s home run was the last piece of action we’ve seen tonight, and Williams Jerez comes in to close out the game here in the ninth with the Cats down 12-6. He shuts down the side and continues to look great in his role. It’s almost expected that he will be called up to the Giants any day now, but for now he keeps getting it done here, and that’s the ballgame.

May 6, 2019

Enderson Franco is going to start the game for the River Cats today. This year started off rough for Franco, but his last two outings have been better. I think if the team manages him in such a way to watch his pitch count, or not allow him to pitch twice through the lineup than he can be an effective piece of the rotation. He will be facing, as I mentioned before, one of my favorite visiting players Branden Shipley, who pitched an inning of relief on Friday, so I was surprised to find that he was starting today.

Levi Michael has been added to the roster again from Richmond. He was one of the final cuts for the River Cats at the start of the season. The funny thing about him was I had no clue who Michael was so at the start of the season I Googled him, and for whatever reason, I either saw or looked at the wrong guy, not sure, but I assumed he was black. When I got to the park today, I was looking for the new face on the team, and I wasn’t seeing anyone who fit the image I had in my mind. After a few minutes, Michael walks by me, and I look at the number on the jersey (56), and I look at my roster, and see that’s Levi Michael. I was a little surprised to see a 5’9” white guy. Oops.

More changes are coming to the lineup as Tyler Beede will rejoin the club soon, Andrew Suarez is set to come off the IL on Wednesday, and rumors have Ryder Jones coming off the IL since this past weekend; it will be interesting how it plays out with how well Zach Green is playing at third, and his hot bat in the lineup.

Franco is back to his old self. After getting the first out of the game, he has given up a single and three consecutive walks, and the Aces score first. Now Franco walks Caleb Joseph and in comes another run, and with that here comes pitching coach Steve Kline.

Kline didn’t look happy to be going out so early in the game and when he got to the mound his talk seemed pretty short, and direct, as he pointed to home plate. The only thing I could make out as he walked to and from the mound was a string of “Fucks”. It’s amazing how the first pitch after a mound visit is usually a strike.

Well Franco strikes out Mathisen, but then gives up a double to Marty Herum and two more runs score. Thankfully pitcher Braden Shipley is up now and that’s the end of the inning.

The bottom of the first started with a ground out by Mike Yastrzemski, and a single by Austin Slater, and then Mac Williamson cuts the lead in half with a two-run shot off Shipley. The inning ends on a double play ball hit by Solano.

The Aces tack on another run in the top of the second after a couple of singles and an error by Avelino, and the score is now 5-2.

Levi Michael gets a hit in his first River Cats at bat and is quickly picked off first by Shipley. This game does not feel like it’s going to end well. To make matters worse, Michael just booted the first ball that was hit to him to start the third. Luckily nothing comes of it as Franco gets the next three in order.

Enderson Franco comes to the plate to lead off the bottom of the third and strikes out for the first out of the inning, and Yastrzemski flies out to right for out number two.

Austin Slater on the first pitch he sees of the at bat with a home run to left field and its 5-3, Reno still on top.

Franco will go 4.2 innings today, and Olbis Parra comes in to close out the inning.

Going into the bottom of the 5th that will be the end for Shipley as he is replaced by Anthony Vazquez. After striking out the first two batters, Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, and Mac Williamson go back-to-back-to-back!! Sacramento now takes the lead! 6-5.

The River Cats follow that up with a double by Anthony Garcia before Donovan Solano flies out to right to end the inning. Strike out, strike out, home run, home run, home run, double, fly out; what a fifth inning!!

Mac Williamson’s shot was over the foul pole, and past the Ace Hardware Home run Terrace in left field and measured 511 feet!! This is new territory and is the longest in River Cats history since they first started to track the distance in 2016. The previous mark was 469 feet by Chris Shaw in 2017.  On a side note, the second best part about this home run was that Williamson, and third base coach Jolbert Cabrera were practicing their hop and high fives before the game.

Can you imagine the smack talk in the locker room after the game? Slater hits two home runs tonight, the second being 402 feet. Then Mac comes up and hits his second of the night for 511. Talk about a buzz kill.

Double switch here in the top of the sixth as Brandon Van Horn comes in to replace Solano, and Taylor Rogers comes in to pitch for Parra.

Brandon Van Horn does not want to be left out of the fun tonight! In his first at bat to lead off the seventh he hits his first Triple-A home run! 7-5 Sacramento. This guy is excited to be playing in Triple-A right now.

Mac Williamson does it AGAIN!! Van Horn is happy to be here, and Mac is knocking down the door to get out! That’s three home runs on the night. The only other players to have hit three home runs in one game are Graham Koonce, Shane Peterson, Adam Duvall, and Chris Carter who did it three times. It’s only the seventh, will he set a new team record with a fourth if he gets another at bat?

Marty Herum just hit a home run for Reno and I’m going to blame it on the fans who took a picture of him while he was waiting on deck, and then told him that he looked like country singer Travis Tritt. He really does though. 8-6 Sacramento.

Juniel Querecuto just about took off Fernando Abad’s head, but the quick 31-year-old snared the ball and threw to first to complete the 1-3 double play on Tomlinson.

Avelino and Van Horn with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the 8th scoring three more runs and the River Cats now lead 11-6. Horn is now 3-3 in two games with the River Cats including a double and a home run. Mac Williamson is now up for the fourth time, and all eyes are on him. He hits a fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly that will score Van Horn, 12-6 River Cats, and Mac will end the night with three home runs.

Fernando Abad gets an opportunity to hit tonight, and I’m pretty sure he just called his shot, twice. LOL. He is not being shy about wanting to join the home run party tonight, but he ends up hitting a slow dribbler back to the pitcher. Abad shuts down the Aces in the top half of the 9th and that’s the game.

The River Cats had 38 home runs in April of this year compared to 28 at the end of April in 2018. They hit seven tonight and now have 58 on the season. Many feel that the reason for the home run barrage in Triple-A since the league is now using MLB baseballs for all of their games. In the past, MLB balls were only used for rehabbing pitchers. I must note that the Pacific Coast League has always been known as a hitter’s league, but this is still a jump.

May 7, 2019

Whoa what did I wake up to? A lot of craziness going on this morning after Mac Williamson’s three homer night. So here is the news of the day as that’s not the only move that’s going on.

Donovan Solano, and Williams Jerez have also been called up. Yangervis Solarte and Pat Venditte have been DFA’d, and Mike Gerber has been Optioned back to Sacramento. Mac Williamson has been added to the Giants’ 40-mon roster and will get the start in left field tonight in Colorado against the Rockies, so I’m expecting to see some long balls.

I’m glad that Mac is getting another shot for himself but there are only two ways that this plays out. First, Williamson may continue his hot hitting in the Majors, and he will be a star on the Giants roster for a while. Secondly, and what I see actually happening is, even if he gets off to a hot start, teams already have the book on him and will exploit his weaknesses. Those three home runs will be the last we see of Mac Williamson in Sacramento, but what a way to say goodbye.

Yoanys Quiala gets the start for the River Cats today, and he’ll be facing off against Kyle McGowan for Fresno. Fun little fact, McGowin played summer ball in high school with his battery mate Matt Reistetter. Today the Nationals also optioned their top prospect Carter Kieboom to Fresno so we should see him this series.

I’ve been distracted by the Giants game tonight to have kept up with what’s going on here at the game. So far Mac Williamson is 2-3 with a home run, a single, and four RBI. To date, the only players to have 4 RBI in a game for the Giants have been Williamson and Kevin Pillar.

Former River Cat Collin Cowgill who played here during the last Division Championship years with the A’s in 2012 will be leading off the game for Fresno. Cowgill leads the game off with a double on his return to Raley Field. Jacob Wilson follows with another double that scores Cowgill and they’re getting on Quiala early.

Today’s game is just rolling along. Everyone here seems to be dragging. It’s that adrenaline hangover from all the excitement we witnessed last night, I’m sure.

Already leading 1-0, the Grizzlies put two more on the board in the second just by hitting a double and single. Throw in a wild pitch, and another single and the Grizzlies now lead 3-0.

Mike Yastrzemski with his eighth home run of the season for the team lead. Even with last night’s performance, Mac was only sitting at nine home runs.

Fresno gets that run back. Matt Reynolds just hits one out to dead center to start the fourth.

Back-to-back doubles by Pena and Aramis Garcia make it 4-2 as the Cats chip away at the lead.

Bottom of the fifth and Yaz tries to score from first when the right fielder bobbles the ball hit by Henry Ramos, but he is thrown out 9-4-2 at the plate. That’s a hit for Ramos as he goes to second. Slater then hits the ball to short where they catch Ramos in a 6-5-4 pickle. Slater reaches on a fielder’s choice, but the Cats can’t score any runs this inning.

Levi Michael brings us within in one with his first home run as a River Cat! 4-3 Fresno.

Six innings will be it for Quiala. Not the best numbers as he can leave here with a loss or no decision, but he went deep into the game to give the bullpen some rest. Sam Moll come out of the pen to replace him.

Chuck Jameson performed America the Beautiful on bagpipes during the middle of the seventh tonight. I have no clue why the team decided to have it performed, but I really hate this custom more than people playing the Star-Spangled Banner on guitar before a game.

Brandon Van Horn comes in to pinch hit for Moll, and that is the first time that he has not reached safely since joining Sacramento. Ramos singles to left and he is the tying run which brings Austin Slater to the plate. Will we get another Slater Tater? No, he slices it to the right fielder, and we go to the eighth.

Coonrod comes in to start the eighth. This is a good spot for him as he doesn’t have a lead to blow. Well, he gives up the first walk of the game, and right away gives up a two-run home run to the very next batter Jacob Wilson. Fresno now leads 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth.

Dakota Bacus comes into the game for the Grizzlies, and Anthony Garcia starts the bottom of the eighth with a walk, Franciso Pena with a hard single to right, and starts to take the turn to second when Yadiel Hernandez fires it back to first to get him out. Garcia advances to third on the throw but is left on base as the inning ends.

Well, the hits keep comin’ in the top of the ninth for Fresno off of Coonrod. After walking Matt Reynolds to start the inning he strikes out Marmolejos, only to give a long double to Chris Dominquez which easily scores Reynolds from first, and here comes Brundy with the hook. JJ Santa Cruz comes in to take over and he isn’t much better than Coonrod. This win for Fresno puts them in a tie for first place with the River Cats as they both end this game with a 16-16 record. This is the first meaningful series of the season for the River Cats, and it will be interesting where they are in the standings come Friday when El Paso, the hottest team in the Pacific Coast League come to town. It’s crucial that the River Cats pull away from Fresno this week. All the changes in the lineup though are going to make it difficult.

Meanwhile in Colorado, Williams Jerez comes out to close the game with the Giants up 14-4. Mac was 2-3 with a single, home run, 5 RBI, and a walk. That’s a pretty good way to reintroduce yourself to the big club.

Anyway, at least today’s game was done before 9:30pm. Two hours and forty-five minutes is the game time. More baseball tomorrow at noon.

May 8, 2019

I had a hard time getting to the game on time. I even went to bed fairly early but it’s taking its toll. Last season I only did this for half a season, and I didn’t follow away games which gave me plenty of time to recoup without even realizing that I needed it.

Game 2 of this series against Fresno, and although he’s listed on the roster Carter Kieboom is not in the lineup, and I haven’t seen him.

Andrew Suarez returns from the IL today and he’ll be facing Scott Copeland.

Hmm, Aramis Garcia just ran out of the dugout like his pants were on fire with his gear. Call up?

Not a lot really went on today. Cats lost 4-1 with their sole run coming off the bat of Mike Gerber in his first game since being sent down from San Francisco. Gerber went 2-3 with a home run and double, but he was plunked in his last at bat. He also made a nice diving catch in the outfield.

Fresno’s Alec Keller made an amazing diving catch that stretched him across the warning track to rob Austin Slater of extra bases and end the bottom of the eighth.

I did find out what happened to Carter Kieboom. Yes, he is in town, but the problem is that he doesn’t have any of his equipment or uniforms here except for a helmet. Hopefully since Fresno is just a few hours away he will be in tomorrow’s game.

The River Cats are now one game behind the Grizzlies after tonight’s defeat, and ideally, they want to win the next two to keep hold of first.

It was also just reported that Williams Jerez is being sent back down to make room for Derek Holland who will be making the start tonight for the Giants after coming off the IL.

Just heard a little nugget. 42.6% of the River Cats runs this season have come off a home run. 

More craziness reported by Alex Pavlovic. Tyler Beede is now in Colorado as part of a taxi squad. He was scheduled to pitch tomorrow here in Sacramento, but I guess we can scratch that now.

May 9, 2019

Happy Anniversary to Dallas Braden! Nine years ago today, he pitched a perfect game in Oakland on Mother’s Day. I’ve never been a fan of Dallas, but you have to acknowledge how good he was that day. I first met Braden in early 2005 when I worked for the Stockton Ports, and he was about to start the season there. The front office had dinner with the team in some bar just outside of Galt, but I can’t remember the name. Anyway, I didn’t know who he was, this is the first time we had met the team. The biggest names coming in that day were Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki, Richie Robnett, and Jason Windsor. Tucked in there was also Dallas Braden, and Brad Zeigler. The first thing that I noticed about Braden was his hair, but what pissed me off about him was how rude he was after bumping into me and dumping half of my drink. All he did was look at me and kept walking. Kurt Suzuki looked at me and shrugged, but Daric Barton saw what happened and bought me another drink and informed me who Braden was as we sat at the bar.

Barton was hounded by the media at the time because he was traded for Mark Mulder that off season. Right about that same time, a PED story broke about a Cardinals player, and we were instructed to not talk about PEDs with Barton.

I would run into Zeigler the following year after a game in Sacramento. I was out with a friend, and we stopped by the Denny’s that was located right across the river on J and 3rd St. While waiting to be seated, around 11:30pm, I was wearing a Stockton Ports cap, and Ziegler says to me “Nice cap”. I told him thanks and asked he was a fan of the Ports. Then he said that he used to play with them and now he was with Sacramento. I asked him name, made some small talk, and then we were seated. He said goodbye as we were leaving the restaurant too. Nice guy if I must say so myself.

More money moves by the Giants today. Buster Posey has been put on the IL for concussion symptoms, and Drew Pomeranz has a lat problem. Aramis Garcia is being called up from Sacramento to take Posey’s spot, and Beede who was already on the taxi squad will be activated in his spot. It looks like Posey is set to return on Sunday.

Beede was scheduled to start tonight, so let’s see what the Cats do. Brundage has had a lot to deal with the past couple of days and he’s doing the best as he can juggling such a rotating roster. Has it affected the team? Probably since they’ve lost a couple of games recently but let’s see if this rights itself soon. The next two games against Fresno are must wins, with or without this year’s best arm and bats.

Some of the changes made with all the juggling going around of rosters are the following; Van Horn was sent to Richmond, Zach Green was put on the IL, Ryan Howard was promoted from Richmond and is one of San Francisco’s top 30 prospects. Another call up was Lodi native Gio Brusa from San Jose. Originally drafted in 2016, he hasn’t advanced past Single A, as he’s spent the past couple of years in San Jose. He has some pop but can’t make contact. He is currently batting .115 in San Jose. One last move, Williams Jerez was added back to the roster after his one appearance in San Francisco.

Where’s the KIEBOOM?!?! He’s batting second and playing shortstop tonight for Fresno.

My first impression of Carter Kieboom is that for someone who is consider a weak fielder, he sure does seem awfully aloof prior to each pitch, but I guess that’s part of what makes him a weak fielder.

Tonight has been a pitchers’ duel. Shaun Anderson has done an amazing job though five complete innings and has allowed no runs on five hits, five strikeouts, and no walks. Fresno’s Pablo Espino has pretty much matched him, also allowing five hits, no runs, but he has seven strikeouts. The score is still 0-0.

Welp. Spoke too soon. Anderson has walked the bases loaded here in the sixth, and here comes Brundage with the hook. Steven Okert comes in to replace Anderson.

First pitch. Grand slam off the bat of Yadiel Hernandez. Three of those runs will be charged to Anderson. What a horrible way to end your night. The curse of this bullpen continues.

Here in the bottom of the sixth Ramos singles, and Slater doubles, which sets up a double by Mike Gerber knocking the two in. Gerbs is still on a tear her in Triple-A as he cuts the score in half. 4-2 after six.

Mike Yastrzemski has just hit his team leading ninth home run to tie the game! Pinch hitting for Tyler Rogers, and with Avelino on base, Yaz hits the first pitch he sees to right center for a home run. He must be the most clutch player on this team. Amazing!

Gio Brusa is coming in to pinch hit and possibly be the star of the night here in the bottom of the ninth. He’s been pacing around the dugout all night trying to stay loose, stretching, and doing his best to stay ready. Up to this point he’d only gotten on the field when he went to coach first base. There are two outs, and Anthony Garcia is on second. This at bat is a battle. Wild pitch by Dakota Bacus and Garcia is now on third.  The winning run is just 90 feet away, and Brusa just needs to get it through the infield to walk this off. You can see the focus in his eyes, but at the same time he is trying to keep himself calm. What a big moment, your first Triple-A at bat, and it’s basically with your hometown team as Lodi is only a thirty min drive from here. The tension mounts. Bacus strikes him out swinging, and we’re going to the 10th.

Carter Kieboom is the Nationals #1 prospect for a reason, and it isn’t his glove. I think I jinxed the game. Extra innings baseball and Carter Kieboom smashes a two-run home run in the top of the 10th to put the Grizzlies on top 6-4.

Tanner Rainey comes in to close the game out for the Grizzlies.

Slater walks to start off the inning and after giving up a hit to Francisco Pena which moves Slater to third, Rainey strikes out the side, and that’s the ball game. Cats lose 7-4 and are now two games behind the Grizzlies in the Pacific North.

May 10, 2019

Today is Buster Posey Hat Day at Raley Field, and the quote of the day goes to Mike Yastrzemski as he asks those in the dugout, “When are we going to have a Gerber hat day”?

Pitching coach Steve Kline isn’t here today as he was called up to San Franscisco to cover for one of the coaches was attending a wedding, but I didn’t catch the name. Mike Couchee, the pitching coach for San Jose will be taking Kline’s spot for the day.

First pitch of the game from Ty Blach and gone! Collin Cowgill hits one to dead center field and Fresno takes a 1-0 lead.

Carter Kieboom up to bat. WATCH OUT! I just snared a foul ball off one bounce into the photo well, yes it hurt. Sometimes you don’t think about death, you just elude it.

Kieboom is hit with the next pitch and takes first base. Thanks for looking out Blach.

No further damage done as Blach induces a double play, and a ground out to end the inning.

Yaz singles to start the bottom half of the first, but it comes to naught as Ramos strikes out, Gerber strikes out, and Yaz is out number three on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play.

To the top of the third we go, where Blach sets down the first two batters but lets another home run fly; this time off the bat of Jacob Wilson and its 2-0. A hit by Yadiel Hernandez and a double by Brandon Snyder now put the Grizzlies up 3-0. Matt Reynolds works the count full and its coming apart for Blach and walks Reynolds. All this has happened with two outs, and he closes out the inning with no further damage as Jose Marmolejos flies out to right.

Ty Blach leads off the bottom half of the third by striking out, one down.

The Cats are getting something going here. After walking Yastrzemski, and giving up a single to Henry Ramos, Mike Gerber lines a shot off of the foot of first baseman Brandon Snyder which allows Yaz to score and Ramos stays at third. There scoring that an error for Snyder, and its now 3-1.

Collin Cowgill just keeps getting on base. Two outs here in the fourth and he walks. Kieboom with a deep drive to centerfield over Yastrzemski’s head, Cowgill scores and Kieboom ends up with a double. Single to left by Wilson which scores Kieboom and that brings out pitching coach Mike Couchee to check in on Blach. Blach gets Hernandez to dribble one back to him, and the throw to first, in time, and that ends the inning. River Cats trail, 5-1.

Ronnie Freeman with his first home run of the season to right center and its now 5-2 Fresno after four complete.

Heny Ramos with his sixth home run to bring the Cats within one in the bottom of the fifth, and    Levi Michael with an absolute bomb to tie the game on the first pitch in the bottom of the sixth! 5-5.

River Cats pitching has shut down 10 straight Grizzlies batters going back to the last out of the fourth until Matt Davidson leads off the eighth with a double.

Jose Marmolejos grounds out to Stassi for the first out, but Taylor Gushue singles to center and Davidson scores; the Grizzlies take back the lead here in the top of the eighth. 6-5.

The River Cats are mounting something here in the bottom half of the inning. Levi Michael, and Abiatal Avelino have both reached on errors, and there is only one out. Austin Slater is coming in to pinch hit for pitcher Sam Moll. Slater grounds into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Dillon McNamara replaces Sam Moll in the top of the ninth and only gives up a walk to Keiboom but closes out the inning. Going into the bottom of the ninth down by one, and Yastrzemski, Ramos and Gerber are due up.

Bottom of the ninth, Yaz, who walked is on first, and the River Cats were down to their last strike when Brock Stassi doubles down the right field line to score Yastrzemski!! The River Cats have tied this game again, 6-6, and we are going into extra innings.

Yadiel Hernandez starts the inning at second base for the Grizzlies, and Tyler Rogers comes in to replace McNamara on the mound for the River Cats.

Rogers gets Snyder to pop up and strikes out Reynolds and Matt Keller. On to the bottom half of the inning.

Ryan Howard starts the inning at second base. Levi Michael grounds out to first, and Howard advances to third.

Ronnie Freeman is hit on a 3-0 count and there are runners on the corners for Avelino.

Bunt attempt is missed by Avelino, strike one.

Ball, outside.

Ball, inside.

Ground ball by Avelino, and Howard is caught up in a pickle between second and third when he is hit in the back by a throw allowing him to score and what a way to pick up a win for the River Cats. 7-6 final.

May 11, 2019

The news of the day is that Dereck Rodriguez is being optioned back to Sacramento. The Giants also signed Aaron Altheer, and former River Cats pitcher Chris Stratton, who we traded away for Williams Jerez, was just signed by the Pirates after being released by the Angels.

Tonight, the Cats start a new series with the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A club of the San Diego Padres. The Chihuahuas will be bringing out the big guns in this series, using two of the Padres best pitching prospects in Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill.

Enderson Franco with the start for the River Cats and I’m really trying to be positive when I know it’s his turn in the rotation.

Boog Powell will be leading off the for the Chihuahuas and he comes in hitting .414. That’s crazy, and he gets a single on the first pitch of the game.

Padres #3 Prospect and #22 in baseball Luis Urias comes up following Powell in the order. On an 0-2 pitch Urias jacks a pitch onto the River Cats clubhouse and El Paso takes the early lead 2-0. Another huge prospect for the Padres follows Urias; Josh Naylor has 8 home runs and 26 RBI, but luckily Franco gets him out.

Esteban Quiroz? Who is this? This guy is like 5’4” and he just jacked a pitch to right field for a home run. Well, at least this game is starting off with a bang.

In the Cats’ half of the first, Yastrzemski lines a shot right off Logan Allen. Not sure exactly where he was hit, but it looks like he is pointing at his arm. Allen looks hurt, but after a couple of practice throws, he continues the inning.

Yaz gets picked off at first and a little later there is a running mistake on the bases. Slater was the lead runner and could have easily scored off the bat of Francisco Pena, but Slater held up and went back to third while Gerber kept going and gets caught up between second and third for the out.

Logan Allen is out of the game as he is being pitch hit for by Jerry Keel, who also happens to also be a pitcher. Kyle McGrath is coming in for Allen in the second.

Jumping to the third starts with a double by Luis Urias and an infield single by Josh Naylor before Quiroz flies out to center. Seth Mejias-Brean doubles to left scoring Urias, Naylor to third and the Chihuahuas lead 4-0.

The Chihuahuas add on another run on a ground ball that scores Naylor, and Jacob Scavuzzo strikes out to end the inning. 5-0.

McGrath makes quick work of the Cats in the third and the red-hot Luis Urias adds two more for El Paso with his 10th home run of the season in the top of the fourth; the Chihuahuas lead 7-0.

Two outs here in the bottom of the fourth and Brock Stassi continues his on base streak to 23 games with a single tonight. This streak goes back to last season when he first came to the Cats as a free agent late in the season.

The River Cats finally get on the board here in the bottom of the fourth with Avelino’s third triple of the season and he knocks in two. Chihuahuas still up 7-2.

Franco is finally relieved here in the fifth by Sam Selman. Sam a former prospect for the Royals has been lights out for the River Cats this season.

Yaz starts the bottom of the 5th with a double. Austin Slater with a big bat flip for a long out which allows Yaz to advance to third. Gerber with the sac fly to score Yaz and the Cats are coming back. 7-3.

Well, I spoke too soon, and Ryan Howard flies out to center to end the inning.

Steven Okert in for Selman in the seventh.

Home run number ten for Yastrzemski here in the bottom of the seventh and its 7-4 El Paso.

Robert Stock is in for El Paso here in the bottom of the eighth inning and boy does this guy throw smoke.

The River Cats fall 7-4 to the Chihuahuas. Mike Yastrzemski gets four hits including his 10th home run on the year. This is Yaz’s second four hit game, and he is quietly just tearing up the league this month. His slash line for May is .425/.521/.975 with seven home runs and eight RBI. Its only May 11th.

The bullpen has really come together as of late. Tonight, the trio of Sam Selman, Steven Okert, and Sam Coonrod threw five scoreless innings while striking out eight, and only walking one. The bullpen now has a 4.17 ERA which is good for second in the league.

May 12, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day. The Cats are wearing special black with pink jerseys in honor of Mother’s Day and breast cancer awareness.

I thought the Chihuahuas were going to start Quantrill tonight, but they went with Dietrich Enns, and Quantrill will go tomorrow night against Suarez. Quiala gets the start as scheduled for Sacramento today.

Bottom of the fifth now and Freeman reaches on an error by the third baseman Matthew Batten. Avelino gets a hit, and now Quiala comes up. His last at bat he got a nice sacrifice bunt which put the tying run in scoring position.

WOW! Quiala almost gets a base hit. The ball hit off the glove of first baseman Jason Vosler and careened right into the glove of charging second baseman Esteban Quiroz who catches the ball for the out. Quiroz then runs to first for the unassisted double play and Avelino is out. Talk about a bad break, inning over.

We are through five and it’s a 1-1 game. Both teams scored their only runs with some small ball in the second and third inning so not much going on. It’s no wonder everyone in the stadium was entertained with the Diaper Derby between innings where three ankle biters raced to the finish line. Left in the dust and the foul stench of diapers to start the race, a crawler named Dax came from behind to pull off the surprising victory when the two other crawlers were distracted by blades of grass.

Quiala will go 5.2 innings, and its his best outing of the season as he gives up one run on four hits, two walks, and gets six strikeouts. Willaims Jerez is coming in to relieve him.

Boog Powell is up to bat, and Jerez quickly picks off Esteban Quiroz 1-3-6-3 to end the inning.

Bottom of the sixth starts with a Yaz single and Ramos sacrifices him over to second for Austin Slater.

#SlaterTater

Austin Slater goes oppo taco for his sixth home run of the season and the River Cats lead 3-1. This is now the eighth straight game in which the River Cats have homered. The longest streak in River Cats history was 15 games back in 2004.

Stassi lines out to shortstop Luis Urias. Two down.

Anthony Garcia decides to join the fun and hits his third home run of the season to make the score 4-1 River Cats. I was just thinking today that I didn’t remember when Garcia hit his last home run. I’ll take credit for this one, so that should make up for the homerun that I caused back at the end April when I said that Brendan Rodgers needed to cut his mullet and he right away hit a home run.

That home run will be the end of El Paso pitcher Dietrich Enns who is replaced by Carlos Torres. Torres right away pops up Ryan Howard to end the inning.

The River Cats would score two more runs in the game on solo shots by Ronnie Freeman in the seventh, and Anthony Garcia with his second of the night in the bottom of the eight. Cats now lead 6-1.

Now pitching and making his River Cats debut is Jandel Gustave looking to close out the game.

Gustave strikes out two and pops up Jason Vosler to end the game. The River Cats beaten the red-hot Chihuahuas to remain one game behind the Grizzlies. This was just the third time all season that the Chihuahuas have been held to one run or less, as they have been averaging 7.2 runs per game; this was their 37th game of the season.

Today was a hot day, and I’m beat from the sun.

May 13, 2019

I’m missing my first game of the season tonight, as I’m going to a concert to see the only band that matters now; Starcrawler.

Mike Yastrzemski led off the game with his 11th homerun of the season, and his eighth in the month of May, but the River Cats lose by a score of 5-3 tonight to the Chihuahuas. Shaun Anderson will take the mound tomorrow against Jerry Keel.

May 14, 2019

Big news! Shaun Anderson who was scheduled to start today will be making his Major League debut tomorrow against the Toronto Blue Jays. I was lucky enough to buy my ticket in advance as it’s a River Cats off day, and I wanted to see Vlad Guerrero Jr in real life, so it worked out quite well. I did reach out to the Giants in hopes of getting a media pass for the day, but we will see. If that doesn’t work out it will still be nice to see his debut.

Carlos Navas will be making his second spot start of the season. He did well last week when he found himself in the same position, but they pulled him after a couple of innings since it was a “relievers” game as it is today. He’ll be facing Jerry Keel.

The first inning goes by quickly as the Chihuahuas go down in order in the top half, and with two out Austin Slater walks to only be picked off. He had been dancing around and faking going to second just the pitch before, and the Keel threw over. Slater does the same thing on the next pitch, and Keel throws over again and caught Slater leaning. Inning over.

Avelino just misses a home run to dead center as it hits off of the wall about two feet from going out, and he ends up with a double to start the bottom of the third. That will bring up Carlos Navas who lays down a nice sacrifice bunt to move Avelino over to third. One out. Mike Gerber grounds out to first baseman Jason Vosler which allows Avelino to score, and the Cats take the lead, 1-0. Ramos strikes out to end the inning.

Navas is able to get Boog Powell to ground out for the first out of the fourth, but things start to come undone.

Michael Gettys doubles, Urias singles to right and scores Gettys to tie up the game. Josh Naylor follows that by reaching on an error, and Vosler gets a hit to knock in Urias. With only one out that will bring Kline out to check on Navas.

Navas is able to get Matthew Batten to fly out but that will be all for Navas as Brundy comes out to send him to the showers.

Jerez comes in to replace Navas and right away ends the inning by getting Peter Van Gansen to fly out to right.

The River Cats have a nice opportunity here in the bottom of the fourth as both Austin Slater and Anthony Garcia have reached base via a walk, and Ronnie Freeman reaches on a throwing error by Keel, and the bases are loaded for Ryan Howard.

Howard lines to first baseman Jason Vosler who immediate throws to Luis Urias and that’s a 3-6 double play to get Anthony Garcia. Nothing he could really do about it. Slater is now on third, and Freeman is on first, two out. Levi Michael strikes out to end the fourth. The bases loaded, no out, threat is over.

Michael Cantu, Jerry Keel, and Boog Powell all go down swinging as Jerez strikes out the side here in the top of the fifth.

That will be it for Jerez as he is due up to bat in the bottom half of the inning and pinch hit for by Quiala, which is weird in itself because Blach was getting ready to hit. “Pitchers who rake”, they are not. Tyler Rogers will replace Jerez, well technically Quiala in the top of the sixth.

The River Cats tie the game up at two in the bottom half of the inning. Anthony Garcia comes through with a big double and Slater scores from first. 2-2.

Jandel Gustave replaces Rogers in the top of the eighth and he’ll be facing Cantu, the pitcher’s spot, and Boog Powell. Michael Cantu is making his Triple-A debut, and it’s his first game above Single-A. Cantu is showing that he wants to stay as he takes Gustave deep for his first home run and the lead for the Chihuahuas. 3-2.

Esteban Quiroz will be pinch hitting for pitcher and walks on four straight pitches.

Boog Powell hits his fourth homerun with a Quiroz on first and it’s 5-2.

It looks like Selman has started to warm up in the bullpen.

Gustave gets Gettys, and Urias to fly out on deeply hit fly balls, and that will be the end of his night, as Brundage goes to Selman.

Selman strikes out Josh Naylor to end the inning, and the Cats go down in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Selman still in here for the ninth.

Vosler starts things off with a walk, but Selman strikes out the next two which will bring up Cantu who had a homerun in his previous at bat, last inning.

Michael Cantu hits his second homerun of the game and its now 7-2 El Paso. These are the first two runs that Selman has allowed since being called up to Sacramento from Richmond three weeks ago, and only the third run he’s allowed all season.

Selman shakes it off to strike out Jacob Scavuzzo to end the inning.

Carlos Torres comes in for El Paso to close out the game.

With one out here in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Howard gets his first Triple-A double but that will be all that the River Cats can muster as Michael and Avelino leave Howard stranded.

Tonight’s loss puts the River Cats three games behind Fresno for the Pacific North division. They have their second off day of the season tomorrow, and then start a five-game series in Fresno.

I applied earlier today for my first Major League Baseball media credential, and I feel nervous like the first time I got a pass here at Raley Field. Its old hat now, and I have a routine here, but this is “The Show”, and waiting for the approval on short notice, and not knowing what to do or where to go when I get to Oracle tomorrow makes things a lot more stressful.

May 15, 2019

Today is the anniversary of Opening Night at Raley Field in 2000, ending a drought of 24 years without professional baseball in Sacramento. On a rainy day, much like today, the River Cats would wait out the storm until they were able to play. Ariel Prieto would take the mound that day for the River Cats, and he would square off against Seth Etherton and the Salt Lake Buzz. That night would not produce the outcome that the fans wanted, but baseball was back in Sacramento.

When the 2019 season schedule was released, and I saw that the River Cats would not have a game today I was a little disappointed, but in the end, it would become the perfect off day that tied the organization’s past with the San Francisco Giants’ future. Nineteen years, and twenty seasons, to the date of that first game in Sacramento, 24 year old Shaun Anderson who has been a member of the River Cats since last summer, would make his Major League debut.

I had already by chance purchased tickets to today’s Giants game because I wanted to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr play in real life, especially since he hit his first Major League home run against the Giants last night, but the credential approval came through this morning!

I was totally lost when I got to the ballpark. It took me a while just to find the media entrance. When I was in the bowls of the stadium it’s a simple set up, but when you haven’t been down there, it was disorienting. While I was familiarizing myself with the place, I walked by Barry Bonds who was talking on the phone. There he was right there, larger than life, just feet away from me. I played it cool and kept walking but had to tweet that I just walked by Barry Bonds.

I had someone help me find the elevators to the press box, and as soon as I walked in it was so big and the view was amazing! Everyone was hunkered down over their laptops, so I just looked around until I found the game day information and rosters. I made my way down to the bowels and got some help finding my way to the dugouts from Derek Holland. This would be the first time that I’d stepped foot on the dirt of Oracle Park.

Getting a credential to a Major League game had never really crossed my mind, but as I stood on the field not only was I awe of where I was, but it was kind of cool knowing that, yeah, I’m really doing this. I’m writing this book, I’m writing about baseball, and the River Cats have just opened a door for me that I’m just peeking in to. 

The game is a blur to me. The adrenaline rush of the experience, watching Shaun Anderson make his Major League debut with Aramis Garcia behind the plate for him, and witnessing Edwin Jackson break a Major League record as he suited up for the Blue Jays, his 14th team.

It makes me feel old because I remember watching Jackson pitch against the River Cats at Raley Field as a Dodgers top prospect about 15 years ago.

Shaun’s first Major League pitch was swung on and fouled off by Brandon Drury. Welcome to The Show Shaun.

After the game Bochy said that he thought Shaun did a really nice job, with good effort but that he also didn’t know that, “Shaun could swing the bat like that”. I asked Boch specifically about his using Aramis as the catcher over Vogt and if it had anything to do with Garcia having caught Shaun more than Vogt to which he replied, “It was more of a day game after a night. Vogt could have gone, but to your point, I’m sure there was a little sense of comfort with those two. Garcia goes out there with a great throw to second, and of course the homerun put us ahead, it was a great game by the battery”.

I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes with Shaun away from all the cameras after the game and asked about how Brundage told him that he got the call,

“He told me right after the game, maybe 11 o’clock, he asked me what did I want to do for the next couple of days, and I was like, well, I’m supposed to pitch tomorrow, and he said, Well, we’re going to skip your start. So, I said why you skipping my start? And then he’s like, because you’re going to debut on Wednesday with the San Francisco Giants, and then I was instantly excited about that, and I gave him and Steve Kline a hug and they wished me the best of luck”.

Shaun’s debut will always mean a lot to me. From watching him pitch for the Giants in a scrimmage game in Sacramento prior to the 2018 season when I was first getting my feet wet on this book, to being called up to Sacramento shortly after the Futures Game that same year, and to see this moment, his Major League debut in person, and having it be a part of this book is one of the greatest memories I will have from this experience. Much like that wet night in May 2000, today’s game was threatened by rain, but the baseball gods opened the skies long enough to play nine. Shaun would get a no decision, but he would get two hits, and the Giants would beat the Blue Jays by a score of 4-3. Happy birthday Raley Field.

May 16, 2019

No game tonight as there is a rain out in Fresno. They will play two tomorrow. One piece of news to report is that Aramis Garcia has been optioned back to Sacramento to make room for the return of Buster Posey.

In other news, the Giants have signed Courtney Hawkins, who is a former first round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2012. You may remember him as the guy who did a back flip on TV after he was announced by the commissioner. The White Sox didn’t like move. Well, it looks like he will be assigned to the River Cats. He’s a right-handed hitter with lots of power when he connects, but the problem is that he can’t connect.

May 17, 2019

GAME 1 (Seven Innings)

Quick update on the news of the Courtney Hawkins signing from yesterday, he has actually be assigned to San Jose, not Sacramento.

First game of the double header has the return of Dereck Rodriguez to the River Cats as he faces Mario Sanchez of the Grizzlies. The River Cats come into this game three games behind the Grizzlies in the standings so this weekend’s series could be a huge swing in the leader board for either team.

Kieboom REALLY can’t field well. Yastrzemski leads off the game with a pop up “double”. Kieboom whiffs catching the ball, it rolls to the second baseman Snyder who just doesn’t get it in time to tag Yaz out for the out. Sanchez does not have his best stuff whatever that is tonight. He just walked Slater on four pitches. Gerber bloops one to left and Yaz scores. Howard singles to score Slater and that’s all we get from the first. 2-0.

Dereck Rodriguez with the easy 1-2-3 bottom of the first.

Rodriguez with a double to lead off the second inning!!! Avelino with a single to knock him in. 3-0. Fresno does not look in this game at all. Yaz with another base hit. 3-0 River Cats. Sac fly by Slater scores Avelino. 4-0.

Another three up, three down for Rodriguez in the second with help from Austin Slater. Slater catches a line drive off the bat of Taylor Gushue and he tags the base before Brandon Snyder who was on base can return, and Slater turns the unassisted double play.

Dereck Rodriguez hits another double to start the fourth inning! He scores on a Gerber single, and Gerber is knocked in by Anthony Garcia before the inning comes to an end and its now 6-0 River Cats.

The Grizzlies get themselves a run here in the bottom of the fourth when Yadiel Hernandez singles to left to score Kieboom who had doubled to start the inning.

Ryan Howard strikes out to start the top of the fifth, and Levi Michael gets a double to bring up Rodriguez. Already 2-2 with two doubles, Rodriguez hits his third double of the night and picks up the RBI as Michael scores!! Yaz follows it up with a double of his own and its 8-1 Sacramento after four and a half.

4.2 innings of smooth going for D-Rod until he walks Alec Keller with two outs and gives up back-to-back singles to Matt Reynolds and Kieboom, and the score is 8-2.

Kline comes out to check on Rodriguez, and then Rodriguez makes quick work of Jacob Wilson to end the fifth.

Three up and three down for both teams in the sixth, but there is some confusion here as Gushue hits a ball right down the third base line and it’s called fair by the third base umpire, but the home plate umpire called it foul. They finally decide it was foul and Gushue grounds out to end the sixth.

Fernando Abad comes in to relieve Rodriguez and close out the game here in the bottom of the seventh in a non-save opportunity.

Jose Marmolejos doubles to start the seventh, and Jake Noll comes in to pinch hit for pitcher Michael Blazek and grounds out for out number one.

Alec Keller singles past a diving Howard and Marmolejos scores easily and its now 8-3.

Abad strikes out Davidson and gets Kieboom to hits a soft grounder back to Abad who flips it Slater and that’s the ballgame. River Cats win 8-3.

There will be a slight break before Game 2 gets started.

GAME 2 (Seven Innings)

I’m having some issues connecting with the game online, so I’m not sure exactly what’s going on. It looks like there was no action on Gameday to report after the top of the first, but with my limited connection I can tell that both teams have changed uniforms for the game. The River Cats are now wearing their black jerseys, and the Grizzlies have switched out the red pants for white.

Bottom of the second and Jacob Wilson hits his 14th home run to put the Grizzlies on top 1-0.

Jumping to the top of the fourth and Henry Ramos starts the inning off with a walk on four straight pitches which will bring out Fresno’s pitching coach to check on J.J. Hoover.

Hoover’s very next pitch goes wild and Ramos advances to second. 

Freeman walks on four pitches and that is it for Hoover. Henderson Alvarez comes in now to pitch for the Grizzlies.

Levi Michael ties it up the game on the first pitch he sees from Alvarez by singling up the middle and scoring Henry Ramos.

Now Alvarez’s first pitch to Mike Yastrzemski is wild and Freeman and Michael advance to third and second respectively.

Yaz with his 12th home run puts the Cats up 4-1 with a three-run shot.

Back-to-back!! #SlaterTater number seven and its 5-1.

Anthony Garcia grounds out to end the inning.

Well, this is interesting. The on-field promotion guys for Fresno are Mexicans. This place really represents their community.

It’s now the bottom of the fifth and the Grizzlies are starting to get to Blach, and McNamara is starting to warm up in the bullpen. Matt Reynolds singles to left and pinch hitter Jose Marmolejos doubles to left which advances Reynolds to third, and that brings out Kline.

Slater saves extra bases with a nice stop at third and gets Cowgill out at first, but a run still scores, 5-2 Sacramento. Kieboom gets a hit and another run scores for Fresno. Jake Noll with a double to make it 5-4 and that’s all for Blach.

McNnamara comes in and gets Jake Wilson to ground out to third.

Tyler Rogers comes in to replace Coonrod who started the bottom of the sixth inning and to protect the lead with two on and two out, and he gets Alec Keller to ground out to first.

Bottom of the seventh and the Grizzlies are down to their last three outs. Rogers stays in to close it out. 

Collin Cowgill hits one back to Rogers who can’t make the play. It will be ruled an error and Cowgill is on first. Base hit for Kieboom and we have runners and first and second.

Jake Noll hits into the 6-4-3 double play, and Cowgill moves over to third, two out.

We’re going to extra innings.

Fresno’s broadcaster Doug Greenwald made an interesting point today about the “Runner on Second” rule saying that we will never see this in the Major Leagues because that’s where the money is in the wins. He also stated the money is what allows this rule to be implemented in the Minor Leagues, because of the Bonus Babies, and they don’t want them to get injured. Here I was naïve enough to think it was about pace of play.

Aramis Garcia will start on second for the Cats in the top of the eighth, and Henry Ramos will lead it off. Ramos goes down swinging on three pitches.

Freemen with a single to center, Aramis scores, and Freeman cruises into second on the throw home. Cats are up 6-5. That will be all for this inning, and since Ryan Howard pinch hit for Tyler Rogers, we’ll see who comes in for the bottom half of the eighth.

Jerez comes in to try to close this out with Brandon Snyder comes to bat and Jacob Wilson starting at second.

After getting two outs, Matt Reynolds triples on a missed dive by right fielder Henry Ramos; it would have been an amazing catch if he had come up with it.

Tied again and going to the ninth.

Ryan Howard will be starting on second for the River Cats with Avelino up to bat. They get Avelino to ground out to second, but it moves Howard to third. Derek Self intentionally walks Yaz to get to Slater, which I guess the lesser of two evils if you’re the other team.

Slater doubles and two runs will score! Cats up 8-6! Garcia and Garcia end the inning on a line out and strike out. Three more outs for the River Cats. Gushue, Cowgill and Kieboom coming up with Yadiel Hernandez on second.

Gushue bloops a single to right, and Hernandez goes to third. Cowgill lines a ball right back to Jerez who immediately throws to Garcia at first, but they don’t get the out. Garcia drops the ball, but it looks like Gushue made it back anyway.

Carter “You-Gotta-Be-Friggin-Kidding-Me” Kieboom sends us home on a three-run home run to end the game. Jerez blows the save for the second time tonight and the Cats lose this one by a score of 9-8.

This day just gets worse. It was announced that Grumpy Cat has passed away.

May 18, 2019

Rain out. This is the first rain out in Fresno since 2015, and only twice since then has the team even had to pull out the tarp but they didn’t even have to delay those games.

May 19, 2019

GAME 1

Today is my first “road trip” of the season as I braved this May storm and headed down to Fresno. The trip here was kind of intense. I saw two cars that had spun out, and on the side of the freeway facing the wrong direction, and a car that was literally on fire.

The River Cats are looking to play two today and the weather coming down from Sacramento was brutal. It cleared up with some once I got to Fresno. The tarp wasn’t on the field at the time, but the rain has returned, and the tarp is back on. It’s 12:22pm and the scheduled first pitch is 1:05 with Tyler Beede taking on Scott Copeland. Let’s see if we can get this in without a delay.

Well, there was a nice flash of lightning, and we were just told that game time has been pushed until at least 1:35pm.

Tanner Rainey was called up to DC, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s not raining there. So, Rainey left Fresno in Northern California to head back east to avoid the rain.

Apparently, the place to eat around here is Batter Up Pancakes. Unfortunately, they will probably be closed when the games are over today, so that’s a bummer. Carlos Correa once named drop them on ESPN after a rehab assignment in Fresno. He was asked about how his rehab went while in Fresno, and his was reply was that at least he was able to go to Batter Up Pancakes.

To kill time, I’ve been making a rain delay play list and sharing the songs on my Twitter. So far, the songs are:

Prince – Purple Rain, Blind Melon – No Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Guns n’ Roses – November Rain

2:05pm is the new start time. The tarp is off, and they are literally scooping water off the warning tracks into buckets, and there is a puddle behind short and second on the grass.

First pitch strike on Mike Yastrzemski from Scott Copeland at 2:06pm.

The Cats get a couple of hits but put up a goose egg to start the game. Tyler Beede on his way to the mound. 

Kieboom starts the scoring early off Beede with a two-run blast to center after Beede hit Cowgill to lead off the inning. The Cats would get those back in the Top of the third with back-to-back doubles by Avelino and Yaz. Ramos grounds out but moves Yaz to third who then scores on a grounder from Gerber.

Keiboom seems to have Beede’s number today as he hits a double off the left field wall and scores on a single by Jacob Wilson. The box score is making Beede’s performance seem worse than it is. 3-2 Fresno after three.

Fresno just had a “Fresno Famous” caricature mascot race between innings that included Heidi Watney and Brooks Lopez; they were both beaten by William Saroyan.

Top of the fifth and the score is still 3-2 with Ramos, Gerber and Slater due up this inning.

Ramos flies out to center.

Gerber with a single to center. The team seems to have figured out Copeland.

Austin Slater with another #SlaterTater this series! Two-run shot puts the Cats on top. 4-3. 

Walking around the ballpark I’m seeing that pretty much everyone here today is Latino; from the on-field promotions, concessions workers, and fans alike; it’s really weird.

I did get myself a souvenir hat thought of the Fresno Lowriders; it’s a beautiful depiction of a low rider on a white background but the rest of the hat is purple.

Ramos makes an error on a ball hit to him here in the bottom of the fifth that allows Yadiel Hernandez to advance to third on a hit by Jake Noll. Let’s hope that with two outs it doesn’t come back to haunt them with Fresno’s hottest hitter Matt Reynolds at the plate.

A very nice stop by Aramis Garcia on a wild pitch that bounced a good ten feet in front of the plate. Noll on first advances but no one scores. 2-2 is the count on Reynolds.

Beede strikes him out to preserve the lead.

Coonrod is warming up in the pen, so I’m guessing that he will be replacing Beede when the Cats take the field in the sixth.

Sam Selman will be replacing Beede instead of Coonrod, which if you ask me is the way to go. Selman has struck out 20 of the last 40 batters he has faced.

The Grizzlies announce their “Player of the Game” before the end of the game. We are going into the seventh, yes, the final inning of the first game of the double header, but that is just weird to me.

The Cats pull out game one by a score of 4-3. Beede gets the win and improves to 2-1, while Rogers picks up the save.

GAME 2 (Seven Innings)

The River Cats played their first game in the black jerseys with the Tower Bridge hat but have switched to the maroon tops and the splash hats for the second. The game has been pushed to 6:05, but the rain just started at its 5:40pm. Let’s see what they decide to do. The rain has finally cleared out in Sacramento for now, so I hope whenever I get out of here, I’ll have a smooth ride home. The game has been pushed again. Its 5:55 and they are thinking they can get this started around 6:20 or so. I don’t think that means what they think it means.

Having never been to a game here in Fresno I decided to give the ballpark a tour and I have to say that Chukchasi Park is beautiful, just make sure you come out when the sun is shining. The team has put in $3.4M in renovations for this season which included removing about 2,000 seats in left and right field to make room for the pool in the outfield. Their redone Kodiak Club is absolutely gorgeous, with large flat screen TVs, serving staff, and an upscale dining and bar experience and definitely worth the price of admission.

Spent a few minutes with River Cats radio announcer Johnny Doskow talking about the book, and the trips I’ll be taking to follow the team. He’s been really excited about the project and has always been willing to get me in touch with players and tips about interviewing, and my own insecurities about the project.

There is a beautiful double rainbow before the start of the second game.

This is going to be another “reliever” game as Carlos Navas will take the mound for the River Cats. He does well in these spots starts and he’ll be facing Michael Blazek for the Grizzlies.

The team looked energized and in a great mood for the start of this game; laughter and dancing around in the dugout, high fives and slaps that made the dugout buzz. That energy carried over to the field. The bats have been hot tonight with Francisco Pena crushing a two-run shot into the pool past left center. Ryan Howard was called safe at a play on third when it really did look like he was tagged, but that led to getting the bases loaded. Slater followed up with the River Cats’ first grand slam of the season off the face of score board. That’s his second home run of the day going back to Game 1. The score is now 6-0 after the second inning.

The defense is looking great in this game too. In starting the second inning Jake Noll hits a ball that looks to split Yaz and Gerber in right center, but a leap by Gerbs and he’s able to grab the out. Not to be outdone, Avelino makes an outstanding play off the bat of Raudy Read which I can’t even describe to you, and a strike out of Marmolejos ends the inning.

The third ended with a hot shot off the bat of Carter Keiboom to Slater at third, and the ball careened off of Slater right into Ryan Howard’s hand who threw to first to get the out. What a play!

Yaz doubles to start the top of the fifth and he is knocked in by Gerber. 7-0 River Cats.

The rain may be coming, so if we can get through this inning than it should be good to go.

Henderson Alvarez was named the player of the game. Pitched two no-hit innings and got a hit himself at the plate.

Benji Gonzalez will be pitching for the Grizzlies here in the top of the seventh with the Grizzlies down by seven. We now have a position player pitching in Gonzalez who sets down the River Cats in order, and even struck out Austin Slater to end the inning.

Sam Coonrod closes it out for the Cats who win by a score of 7-0 which is the first shutout for the River Cats this year.

The bullpen was close to unhittable during these two games; Sam Selman, Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave, Sam Coonrod, and Pat Venditte combined to strike out a combined 12 batters in just six innings of work among the five of them. 

May 20, 2019

I might be getting too old for these road trips, or maybe it was just a long day, but I’ve been beat all day from yesterday’s trip to Fresno. I still have trips to New Orleans and Las Vegas this summer, I’m not sure how these players do it.

Andrew Suarez was recalled by the Giants to make a start tonight against the Braves. It will be Suarez’s first start in 2019 for the Giants. He will be facing the red-hot Mike Soroka who is 4-1 to start the season for the Braves. I noticed that Suarez shaved his little mustache that he had going on before the game time tonight too.

Enderson Franco goes for the River Cats today against Paulo Espino for Fresno.

An update from San Francisco, Ronald Acuna Jr just hit a home run off the first pitch of the game from Suarez.

It’s the top of the third now, and Mike Yastrzemski starts it off with a fly ball out to centerfield. Slater singles, and Mike Gerber hits one over centerfielder Collin Cowgill’s head for a double. Slater is held up at third, by third base coach Jolbert Cabrera. Anthony Garcia goes down on strikes for out number two.

Abi Avelino drops a perfect bunt down the third base line. Slater scores, and Avelino is safe at first. Freeman knocks in Gerber with a single, and its 2-0 River Cats.

Ryan Howard walks and the bases are loaded for Levi Michael.

Michael just misses a grand slam to end the inning. We’re going to the bottom of the third, Sacramento leads 2-0.

Top of the fourth with two outs and Slater doubles on a line drive to left and is knocked in by Anthony Garcia before the inning ends

There goes the no-hitter.

Kieboom just hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 3-1. Franco had retired the first 11 batters that he faced tonight. Hernandez strikes out to end the inning.

Ok, Brundy, time to get him Franco out of the game now before it goes off the rails.

What did I tell ya? Travis Snyder just launched the first pitch of the fifth over the left field wall. It’s now 3-2 after five.

Tonight, we witnessed a new Enderson Franco. After the Snyder homerun he shut down the next six Grizzlies batters, and ends the night with six complete innings, two runs, on two home runs, and six strikeouts. He has started well all season, but one time through the order was pretty much as good as you were going to get, and tonight was something special. I still think he’s more of a reliever, but I’ll take this performance any day.

McNamara relieves Franco here in the bottom of the seventh, and its not going well. McNamara has gotten himself into bases loaded jam, due to a double, an error by Ryan Howard, and walk, which brings out Brundage with the hook.

Double switch as Okert comes in for McNamara, and Francisco Pena replaces Ronnie Freeman behind the plate.

Okert strikes out Raudy Read on three pitchers and we’re going to the eighth.

After giving up a leadoff double to Collin Cowgill in the bottom of the eighth, Okert strikes out two and they intentionally walk Kieboom. That’s the end for Okert as Brundage goes to the mound and brings in Fernando Abad.

Cowgill and Kieboom double steal, and there is no attempt as Pena can’t hold on to the ball. The next pitch by Abad is wild and Cowgill scores to tie it up at 3.

Abad finally gets the third out by striking out Yadiel Hernandez.

Outside of a single by Ryan Howard in the eighth, the River Cats bats have been quiet since the fourth innings. On to the bottom of the ninth tied at 3.

Brandon Snyder singles to right, and Noll flies out to Garcia. Gushue hits into what should be a double play, but Avelino can’t get the ball out of the glove and everyone is safe for Logan Ondrusek, the pitcher, who strikes out trying to bunt. Cowgill comes to bat and grounds out to Avelino. We are going to the tenth and free baseball! This marks the fourth time this season that these two teams have gone into extra innings in the nine games that they have played so far.

Anthony Garcia will start the inning at second base for the River Cats here in the tenth. 

Avelino with a nice sacrifice bunt that moves Garcia over to third, one out.

Henry Ramos flies out to left fielder Yadiel Hernandez, and he drops the ball on the transfer, Anthony Garcia breaks for home and Hernandez’s throw is in time! Double play to end the inning. That’s soul crushing.

Sam Selman comes in here in the bottom of the tenth, and he’ll be facing Wilmer Difo, Benjie Gonzalez, and Carter Kieboom. Cowgill will be the runner on second.

The count is 0-2 on Difo who hits a fly ball to center, Cowgill tags and he’s now on third. Gonzalez has worked the count full, and he gets a sac fly to center, and Cowgill scores as the River Cats fall 4-3 in ten to the Grizzlies and fall two games out in the standings.

Benji Gonzalez ends it on a fly ball to center which sends Cowgill home and the River Cats are now 2 games behind the Grizzlies. The Cats are back in town tomorrow to start a series against the Bees.

To make room for Andrew Suarez, the Giants have optioned Donovan Solano back to Sacramento. Bochy stated that it had nothing to do with performance, they just needed to make room. Solano is a solid defender and a clutch bat so it will be a plus to have him in the line up again. It was also reported after the Giants game by Maria Guardado that Suarez will be staying in the rotation for now as he did have a pretty good start. While he gave up a leadoff home run to Acuna and ended his sixth inning of work with a two-run home run by Austin Riley, everything inbetween was a solid performance for Andy.

In other news from around the Pacific Coast League tonight, I have to mention that Reno Aces slugger, “El Tanque” Yasmany Tomas ended the night with FOUR home runs, and eight RBI against the Tacoma Rainiers in a game which had a final score of 25-8. Kevin Cron added two home runs on the night which brought his total to 21 which leads all of baseball. A performance that gets lost in all the above is that Matt Szczur hit for the cycle in the game as well.

The River Cats are back at home tomorrow as they start a series against the Salt Lake Bees, Triple-A affiliate of the Angels.

May 21, 2019

Feeling pretty blah today as I head to the field. I’ve been tired before, but this is one of those days where I feel like I have to drag myself there. I normally try to make myself somewhat presentable when I go out in public, but I think I’m going to take the L on this one. When did these pants become “Dad jeans”?

I thought it was Monday when I got to the field today. I even told someone “Happy Monday” but then she stopped to think about it and said that it was actually Tuesday. I slept a lot yesterday, so I think that’s where my Monday went.

Kind of a chili day out here today, but still nice. There are some dark clouds out on the skyline but fairly blue above our heads. It did rain a bit here in town today which was a bit of a surprise. It’s a weird day.

I was standing in the photo well before the game, and Avelino was playing with some sort of heavy squishy ball for lack of a better term and throwing it up against the dugout. I’m not sure exactly what happened but it ricocheted and hit me in the stomach. It surprised me but it didn’t hurt. I looked at him and said don’t worry, I’ve got some extra padding, and then he pats my stomach while he laughed.

Are we sure today isn’t Monday?

A lot of the guys are starting to grow out mustaches for the month of May. By far Mike Yastrzemski has had the best one. Austin Slater’s just makes him look creepy, and Zach Green’s is just too much. Levi Michael has just joined in, and his isn’t too bad, but so far isn’t groomed very well. I sported a mustache during the off season, so I decided to grow it back. I’ve been comparing with Yaz a couple of times, but today I decided to tell him that I may now have the better mustache. He said it was too thin and needed to be fuller. I had to disagree. I felt the classic Clark Gable look was much more pimpin’. I decided to ask Henry Ramos and Tyler Beede what they thought of the mustache, and Ramos laughed and gave me the thumbs up, while Beede said they were both good, so he’s going to have to say a tie. I then asked John, dugout security, what he thought, and at first, he said that Yaz definitely has more of a porn ‘stache, while I have more of a porn body. That’s sad, but fair enough. A little while later after seeing Yaz again close up, John said that mine is “probably’ better. I’ll take that as a point.

Game time, and the River Cats are starting a series against the Salt Lake Bees. Yoanis Quiala will take the mound for the River Cats, and Salt Lake will be sending out Dillon Peters.

Quiala with the nice three up and three down inning to get things started tonight. 

Yaz is at it again as he doubles to lead off the game, its gotta be that ‘stache.

Gerbs knocks him to put the Cats up by one here in the first.

After playing small ball to tie the game in the top of the second, Brennon Lund starts off the top of the third with a solo home run on an 0-2 pitch.

Dustin Garneau grounds to short for out number one. After a single by Matt Thaiss, a walk to Taylor Ward, and passed by by Aramis Garcia which advances both runners, Steve Kline comes in for a mound conference to help get things back under control.

Justin Bour singles to left scoring Thaiss, and Jose Rojas with the sac fly to score Taylor Ward. Two outs and the score is 4-1 Salt Lake.

Jarrett Parker comes to bat for the Bees, and pops up to third to end the inning, and the Cats are down 4-1 coming here into the bottom half of the third.

Yaz walks to open the third, and the River Cats reel off 4 consecutive hits which include a double by Gerber that tied it up for the Cats. After Avelino hits a sac fly to score Anthony Garcia, Levi Michael reaches on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Dillon Peters walks in a run, only to be replaced by Greg Mahle who does the same and the score is now 7-4 River Cats.

After putting up six in bottom of the third, Aramis leads off the bottom of the fourth with his fifth bomb of the season, and Ramos quickly follows up with a double. Avelino with his 4fourth triple of the year makes it 9-4. Earlier today I was thinking that the Cats looked a little flat, but I guess I spoke too soon. Quiala is still as he comes out to start the fifth.

Matt Thaiss really likes Sacramento. He just hit his fourth home run of the season, and second this season here at Raley Field. 9-5 at the end of five.

Rogers comes into the game in the top of the sixth to relieve Quiala.

Kaleb Cowart starts things off with a gound out to first, but Wilfredo Tovar singles to get things started for the Bees. Rogers issues a walk to Lund, and Roberto Perez strikes out.

Matt Thaiss up to bat. Single to left and Gerber bobbles the ball which allows Tovar to score, it’s now 9-6.

Rogers is not having a very good night as he walks Taylor Ward to load the bases for Justin Bour. 

Bour must have been trying to hard as he hits a little dribbler back to Rogers who easily throws to Slater at first and he gets out of the bases loaded jam here in the sixth. 

Rogers has been having a decent year for anyone else but seems to be struggling for what we are used to seeing from him. Which is really depressing with how he has been treated by the Giants the past couple of years since he has deserved to be called up only to be passed up. This year with a new front office, I hope that they can appreciate what he has to offer them out of the bullpen.

Williams Jerez replaces Rogers here in the seventh and right away walks Jose Rojas.

Rojas steals second.

Parker grounds out to short but Rojas is able to move to third on the throw to first for the out.

Kaleb Cowart with the hard hit ball to third baseman Ryan Howard.

Howard looks back Rojas at third and throws to first to get Cowart for out number two, but Rojas breaks for home and just gets his hand on the plate before Slater’s throw to Garcia arrives and he gets in under the tag. 9-7.

Nice running by Rojas to score the run, but from my vantage point it looked like Garcia was able to get the tag in. They started running the play back in the press box, and the replay shows that Rojas clearly got his hand in under the tag, nice call by the umpire.

Jerez strike out Tovar to end the inning.

Avelino with his second triple of the night to start the bottom of the seventh. That’s his fifth triple of the year which puts him second in the PCL long behind Jorge Mateo who has 9. These numbers seem crazy for this point in the season. The last River Cat to hit two triples in one game was Jemile Weeks on June 8, 2013. 

Levi Michael follows up with a single, Avelino scores and its 10-7 with no outs.

The Bees replace Greg Mahle who came into the game back in the third for Peters, with Zac Ryan.

Levi Michael immediately steals second for his first swipe of the season but the lone run will be all the Cats get this inning.

Bees go down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Coming in to close out the game is Yandel Gustave to face the Bees’ 2-3-4 hitters in the top of the ninth. The Cats are up by three.

1-2-3 for Gustave and he picks up a save but it wasn’t without some excitement as Rojas hits a smoker to Slater who bobbles it and recovers in time to throw to Gustave to end the game. The River Cats are now one game behind the Grizzlies who lost to Tacoma tonight.

Shaun Anderson did well tonight in his second start with the Giants. He got into the sixth then got in trouble and came out with a final line of five innings pitched with eight hits, two runs allowed, no walks, and three strikeouts.

May 22, 2019

Today is the return of Dereck Rodriguez to Raley Field. He has already pitched on the road for the River Cats since being optioned to Sacramento and he did a great job.

The River Cats have Aramis Garcia at first today, which I’ve only seen a couple of times so I’m not sure how well he does. I’m more used to seeing Slater there.

D-Rod looks good as he shuts down the Bees easily 1-2-3 in the top of the first.

Aramis makes an error on his first chance of the game here in the top of the second as he makes a throwing error to Rodriguez who was covering first, and Rojas reaches safely.

I don’t know if that error messed with Rodriguez, but he doesn’t look good. I will admit that I haven’t watched Rodriguez pitch much this year in San Francisco, but he had a 5.05 ERA which along with the fact that he still has options that he’s down here in Sacramento. Since the leadoff error, he has given up a walk, a single and wild pitch that has allowed leadoff batter Jose Rojas to score.

Brennon Lund flies out to center for the first out.

U.C. Davis Alum Ty Kelly singles on a line drive to center which scores Kaleb Cowart, and Wilfredo Tovar goes to third.

Double steal!  

Ty Kelly heads to second and Francisco Pena must have forgotten about Tovar on third. Kelly gets the steal, and Tovar beats the relay home to score and its 3-0 with two outs.

Rodriguez issues two more walks and the bases are loaded for the powerful Justin Bour. Bour was just sent down a couple weeks ago because of his poor performance this year. He looked ugly at the plate yesterday, but he’s a big boy, and he’s due. Bour is most notable for his 2017 Home Run Derby performance where he hit a record 22 home runs in the first round and would be knocked out by eventual Derby winner Aaron Judge.

Well, Bour may be in the Minor Leagues, but he has Major League power, grand slam!

That’s going to be it for Rodriguez and Venditte will be coming in to relieve him. The score is 7-0 Salt Lake in the middle of the second inning.

Leave it to Levi!!

Two on and one out, Levi Michael with a three-run shot to answer back here in the bottom of the second, and the River Cats close the lead, 7-3.

Yaz sends a screaming liner to shortstop Wilfredo Tovar for out number two.

Avelino singles and then awarded second on a balk by Parker Bridwell.

Back-to-back doubles by Mike Gerber and Anthony Garcia and the score is now 7-5.

The Bees pitching comes out to talk to Bridwell.

That didn’t work. The next pitch goes wild and Garcia advances to third, and Bridwell gets Francisco Pena to end the inning on a ground out to short.

Although he did allow a hit, it’s been two quick innings for Venditte as the games goes into the bottom of the fourth.

Avelino starts off the inning with a bunt back to the pitcher Bridwell but his speed allows him to beat the throw for a hit. That speed didn’t do Abi well on the base paths as he is gunned down at second by catcher Roberto Pena for out number one.

Gerber walks, and Anthony Garcia strikes out for out number two.

Francisco Pena up, with one on, and he goes the other way for a double that scores Gerber from first and the Cats pull within one, 7-6.

Aramis Garcia with a well placed hit to right field, and Pena running hard on the play scores.

The River Cats have come from a 7-0 deficit to tie it up!! 7-7.

John Curtiss replaces Bridwell and ends the inning by popping up Ryan Howard.

Coonrod replaces Venditte to start the sixth. Venditte did a great job out of the pen tonight, shutting down the Bees and allowing only one hit in 3.1 inning.

Coonrod is one and done, getting the Bees out in order, and in comes Steven Okert in the seventh for the River Cats.

Taylor Ward starts things off for the Bees with a double to left.

Okert gets two quick outs, but a grounder to first by Bour advances Ward to third. 

What a way to give up the lead as the ball came right back off the bat of Kaleb Cowart, hits off of Okert’s foot and ricocheted to Howard who was unable to make the play. Taylor Ward scores from third and its now 8-7 Salt Lake in the seventh.

I’m really impressed by Dereck Rodriguez’s character for staying in the dugout to watch the rest of this game. Rehab players aside, I get the impression that most starting pitchers will head back to the clubhouse shortly after coming out of the game, but Rodriguez sat there knowing he gave up seven runs and didn’t make it out of the second inning. He was there and accepted his outcome but remained to support the rest of the team. Tonight’s 1.2 innings is the shortest outing of his professional career.

Dillon McNamara comes in and replaces Okert in the eighth and makes quick work of the Bees.

Matt Thaiss strikes out, for out number one in the top of the ninth.

Double to left by Taylor Ward which brings up Justin Bour.

Balk! Ward is given third base.

Bour hits it to Aramis Garcia at first who bobbles the ball and makes the play at first to get Bour, which allows Ward to score and its now 9-7 Bees.

The River Cats are down to their last three outs here in the bottom of the ninth. Jake Jewell takes the mound for Salt Lake.

Jewell walks Ramos to start the inning.

Howard singles to left and the Cats seem to have something going here.

Two outs now and Avelino drops a soft liner in front of Taylor Ward in left that scores Henry Ramos. That’s Abi’s fourth hit of the night and Gerber coming up to bat with runners on first and second.

Gerber goes down looking and that’s the game.

I learned a couple of interesting facts tonight after the game. The River Cats have committed 51 errors in game 46, which is the most in the PCL so far this season. On a more positive note, of Mike Yastrzemski’s 12 home runs, 10 have been hit in the month of May. 

May 23, 2019

Giants’ fans are getting frustrated with Mac Williamson on Twitter these days. He hasn’t done much of anything since his call up except for that home run in his first game. Mac is a great Triple-A player, one might use the term Four-A, and that’s really his ceiling. He has been given enough chances in the Majors and he just hasn’t panned out. Yes, 2018 was going pretty good for him until his concussion, but really, those are the breaks, it’s sad but true. He hadn’t produced much before that and hasn’t now. Today against the Braves he went 0-5 with six strikeouts. If he hadn’t had been hit in his first at bat, I fear he would have struck out six times in this game.  It’s time to let Mac go, and I would be surprised if he is with the organization after this year.

Ty Blach will get the ball for the River Cats tonight opposite Jose Suarez for the Bees. Blach’s been having a pretty rough go at it this year and was shelled when he was called up for a spot start earlier this year with the Giants.

Thaiss starts the game with a fly ball to center for out number one.

I think tonight might have been the first check swing double I’ve ever seen in my life. Taylor Ward tried to hold back, and it connected enough to shoot it past Slater at first.

With first base open, and one out, Bour gets an UNintentional intentional walk.

Jarret Parker strikes out. Two down.

Cesar Puellar doubles down the right field line which looked but just inside the line. Taylor Ward scores and it’s a 1-0 game.

Kaleb Cowart with the line drive to short, and that’s the inning. Gerber, Avelino, and Slater are due up for the River Cats.

Aramis Garcia started the bottom of the second with a walk but is caught up in a double play as Henry Ramos bloops it right to second baseman Ty Kelly who throws to Bour at first to double up Garcia.

What is going on? Ronnie Freeman walked to start the bottom of the third, Levi Michael gets a single, and Mike Gerber follows up with a double. There was some confusion on the base paths as Cabrera started to hold up Freeman but then told him to go home. Freeman rounded third and stopped, looked around in confusion, and then went back to third which was already occupied by Michael, and he is out. That’s the second running error of the night and something that seems to be becoming an issue over this past week. Luckily, Avelino grounds out to second which allows Michael to come in and score, tie game.

The Bees take the lead again in the top of the fourth as Blach, helped by a Ryan Howard error, can’t seem to get anyone out. The score is now 4-1 Salt Lake.

On a side note, Salt Lake’s catcher Roberto Pena got his first Triple-A hit, a double that knocked in two runs for the Bees. Congrats Roberto.

Jose Suarez strikes out the side to end the bottom half of the inning.

Ty Blach goes out for inning number five. He’s thrown 82 pitches so far 41 balls, and 41 strikes, and there is no one warming up in the bullpen.

Sam Selman starts to warm up in the bullpen as Tovar hits a solo HR here in the top of the sixth to make it 5-1. Well, there’s another home run for the Bees, Roberto Pena makes this a 5-1 game in the sixth, and that’s it for Blach.

All I have to say is, all Sam Selman does is shut shit down. 1.2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 Ks. Sam has lowered his ERA to 1.59, giving him the lowest ERA on the team, and is striking out 14.3 per nine innings.

Up next on the mound for the River Cats, Ray Black is making his first appearance in a month since he went down with an elbow strain.

Black had a good outing hitting 98mph on his fastball and throwing a scoreless eighth.

Fernando Abad here in the top of the ninth and right away gives up a home run to Roberto Pena, his second of the night. 7-1 Bees.

The River Cats are down by six going into the bottom of the ninth. It’s not like it can’t be done, but I’m not holding out too much hope tonight.

The River Cats fall tonight by a score of 7-1, which now puts them two games behind the Grizzlies, and a half game behind Tacoma in third place.

The season ends September 2nd, but I think once the trade deadline passes on July 31, and we see what is remaining of the team from either being called up, or traded away and new pieces join, and if the team stays within a couple of games, then maybe there is a shot for the playoffs. That’s a lot of ifs but this has been one of the most exciting seasons in a long time, and it would be great to get back to the playoffs and for the first time in the Giants tenure here in Sacramento.

May 24, 2019

Happy Orange Friday!!

Orange is gross, and just silly.

Last game of the series against the Bees before the River Cats head on a small road trip to Albuquerque. I can’t believe my trip to New Orleans is less than two weeks away. When the Cats return from the ABQ they will play a series against Las Vegas, then head for Oklahoma City, followed by New Orleans.

Tyler Beede will be getting the start tonight. His last outing was a little shaky against Fresno, but the team’s bats were able to secure him the win. The Bees will counter with Patrick Sandoval on the mound.

Tonight, is Willie Mays bobblehead night. Bobbleheads always seems bring the crazy out in people, and the lines were very long way before the gates opened. Shortly after I arrived a fan named Katie who I follow on Instagram posted a picture of her new bobblehead. She is one of the biggest fans out here, and loves the Giants, and the River Cats, so a Willie Mays bobblehead is a great giveaway, or you would think.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the bobblehead was that of a black caricature from a 1930’s cartoon. Very dark, almost “black faced” for lack of a better description, wide white smile, it was poorly done and just an overall offensive look. You may be thinking that I’m just some politically correct snowflake, but the reality is that it takes an awful lot to offend me. This was just that bad and it’s hard to imagine that quality control approved this. The post itself was innocent and made by a sweet, kindhearted woman, simply enjoying her new giveaway, but I will be surprised if the team doesn’t get any complaints about this one.

Beede has been perfect through four with five strikeouts and gives up his first hit of the game to Jarrett Parker to start the fifth on a ball that gets past a diving Ryan Howard. The River Cats have also been held to just two hits tonight.

Well, this is awkward, when Ronnie Freeman came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth, they had a picture of Ty Kelly up on the stadium board. D’oh!

The Bees second hit was a deep shot over Yaz’s head in center, and although he made a leap, he just couldn’t get to it. The ball bounced off the wall and ricocheted back toward the infield allowing Matt Thaiss to get an inside the park home run. The game is now 1-0 Salt Lake. The inside the parker was the first one since Orlando Calixte hit one last year, almost to the day, and it was last accomplished by an opponent in 2015 when Tony Kemp of Fresno pulled it off.

No one is warming up in the bullpen, so this is Beede’s longest and outing of the year.

Beede had a great night, pitching seven, allowing one run, on three hits, and one walk, while striking out eight. He will be replaced by Williams Jerez in the here in the eighth. The Bee’s Sandoval also had a nice night going three innings, allowing three hits, no runs, and three walks, with eight strikeouts.

Jerez shuts them down 1-2-3 in the eighth. These pitchers are really on point tonight. De Horta relieved Sandoval in the seventh and has pitched two no-hit innings and allowed one walk. Coming in now for Jerez is Jandel Gustave in the ninth.

Bottom of the ninth and Gerber goes down on a controversial strike for the first out. Garcia goes down on strikes, and Pena grounds out to end the game.

Quick game at 2 hours and 40 min. The Cats drop this one by a score of 1-0. The last time that the River Cats lost 1-0 where the only run was a home run was April 19, 2012, against the Tacoma Rainiers on a ball hit by Guillermo Quiroz.

Beede pitched seven complete on 104 pitches of which 71 were strikes but takes the loss tonight. He is now 2-2 with a 2.34 ERA.

May 25, 2019

On this day 1981, Hall of Famer Carl Michael Yastrzemski played in his 3000 Major League Baseball game. Exactly 38 years later his grandson, Michael Andrew Yastrzemski makes his Major League debut.

Mac Williamson is DFA’d,

Dereck Rodriguez was also officially called up. He had been put on the taxi squad but this morning he was activated.

The River Cats start a series in Albuquerque against the Isotopes, and tonight’s pitching matchup will have Enderson Franco vs Pat Dean.

Good start to the game today as Avelino reaches on a throwing error by Garret Hampson and Austin Slater takes one for the team. Gerber doubles off the wall to score Avelino! Slater to third. That’s Gerber’s fifteenth double of the year to lead the club.

Anthony Garcia with a swinging bunt back to the pitcher Dean who throws to first for out number one.

Aramis hits it right to third baseman Josh Fuentes and reaches on a fielder’s choice as they throw out Slater at home. Slater stands there upset over something, but he was out by a few feet, not even close.

Ramos comes up with a double and scores Gerber and the Cats take an early lead here in the first. Ryan Howard with a single up the middle scores two and its now 4-0. Time for Franco to come in and do his work.

Daza leads off the bottom of the first with a nine pitch at bat and hits a ball right off the foot of Franco, Michael fields, but doesn’t get Daza at first. Franco attempts to pick off Daza and the ball gets by Slater. Daza dashes to third and beats the throw. No outs.

On the next pitch Franco almost takes off Hampson’s head off, but still hits him. Valaika with a very deep sac fly scores Daza, and Hampson goes to second. Sam Hilliard strikes out and Brian Mudell grounds out to end the inning, ‘Topes only score one. Franco comes out strong in the second and strikes out the side, and he has four on the night.

Gerber starts the third with a solo home run. Ramos with a double and Howard with a dribbler that the pitcher Dean fields, but he throws it away. Ramos scores and Howard is safe and steals second on the very next pitch. 6-1 River Cats.

Even I must admit that Enderson Franco is looking great! Six strikeouts through three innings.

Between innings, Isotopes’ mascot Orbit leads a group of kids, the Little Orbits, on the field to the song “Baby Shark” and Levi Michael seems captivated with the performance.

Valaika pops out to start the bottom half of the fourth.

Welcome to the PCL folks!

Oppo-taco for Sam Hilliard and that’s number 15 of the season. Time to get Franco out. 6-2.

Brian Mundell double to right and that brings up the “Mariachi Masher” Roberto Ramos.

Ramos breaks his bat but still crushes a pitch for a monster home run! The score is no 6-4.

I’m telling you that once Franco starts to give up hits, it’s time to get him out.

The bases are loaded now with two out for Yonathan Daza.

Runners on first and second for Daza, who hits one off Michael, and the ball is recovered by Avelino who throws to first but wide. Slater makes a nice stop to keep the ball from going by and the ‘Topes don’t score on that. Bases loaded and Franco strikes out Hampson to prevent any further damage.

Aramis on the second pitch of the inning takes one out over the left field fence. 7-4 River Cats. Ramos and Howard go down for outs one and two.

Levi Michael with the solo shot to left and its 8-4 River Cats.

Francisco Pena replaces Slater at first here in the bottom of the fifth.

Pat Valaika leads off the bottom of the fifth with his 12th home run and Franco is still in the game and McNamara is now warming up now in the bullpen.

Five innings will be all for Franco as McNamara enters the game here in the bottom of the sixth.

My laptop died, and all I really know is that it’s now 10-5 River Cats and that Anthony Garcia hit his fifth home run.

Back to live baseball in the bottom of the seventh with Abad on the mound for the Cats with two outs, and he gets Sam Hilliard to fly out on one pitch to end the inning. 

The game is in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, and Tyler Rogers gives up a triple to Garrett Hampson. Valaika with another hit and third RBI of the night to make it 10-6.

Rogers gets Hilliard to ground out to short, and the River Cats take game one by a score of 10-6.

I need to get over the trauma the Enderson Franco has caused me earlier in the season. He had an amazing outing today by striking out nine in five innings of work. At one point he had retired 10 straight Isotopes in route to his second victory.

To follow up on Yaz’s Major League debut, he went 0-3 in his debut with two strikeouts, and a run scored. I wouldn’t put too much stock in this game though; I mean can you imagine the pressure that was on him today with that name? If you ever read this Mike, congratulations, its well deserved, and although you shaved off the ‘stache for the Show, mine was still better than yours. *cheers*

May 26, 2019

Feliz Dia de la Madre a todas las mamas de la Rupublica Dominicana!

Sam Coonrod was called up today. I’m guessing the Giants really don’t want to keep leads and are hoping to land that #1 overall pick next year in the draft. #TankForTorkelson

Quiala is getting the start tonight against the Isotopes and Tim Melville.

A young lady performed the National Anthem before the game, and she played it on her guitar. Normally I really hate it when people try to pull a Jimi Hendrix, but hers was simple enough, with just a touch of flair at the end that it wasn’t bad and overall, a better performance than most. 

The game starts with two quick outs of Abi Avelino and Henry Ramos before Mike Gerber triples down the right field line. In 25 at bats, Gerber has 14 hits against Albequeraue including four home runs; he owns the ‘Topes.

Anthony Garia walks, and Aramis Garcia with a three-run homer that just stays fair down the left field line. 3-0 River Cats here in the first.

Garrett Hampson leads off the bottom of the first with a single for the Topes. Elk Grove’s Dom Nunez hits a double that scores Hampson who was on the go with the pitch. Quiala strikes out Pat Valaika and Sam Hilliard to follow and he’s looking as good as he did in his last outing, so I hope that can continue. Noel Cuevas sends a deep fly ball to left center, but Gerber with a long run and tracks it down to end the inning.

The Isotopes promotional team is doing a 90’s night and some of their on-field staff just sang the Fresh Prince theme song. It was bad. I’m not an amazing singer or dancer, but I can’t emphasize how bad that was. The Cat Crew in Sacramento though, most impressive. Well, maybe that one skit they did that I mentioned earlier wasn’t the best but other than that, Cat Crew from 2019, you guys are awesome!

The last four innings have been a pitching duel between Quiala and Melville with the lone exception of a solo home run by Mike Gerber in the top of the fifth to make it 4-1 River Cats after five complete.

Top of the sixth starts with a single by Aramis Garcia, followed by ground outs from Francisco Pena and Ryan Howard which brings up Levi Michael.

Michael singles to left scoring Garcia. 5-1.

This brings up Quiala who is 0-10 in his career. 

Base hit!

Yoanys Quiala, first pitch swinging collects his first hit as a professional, looks up and raises his hands and looks up to the sky when he reaches first.

That will be it for Melville. Give up a hit to the pitcher and it’s time to get pulled. He will be replaced by Sam Howard.

Quiala continues here in the sixth to face Pat Valaika. Valaika takes him deep to center for his thirteenth home run. What makes that more remarkable is that he’s only played in 26 games this season. It’s now 5-2 River Cats.

Sam Hilliard follows up with a double and I think it’s time to get Quiala out. Follow that with a single by Cuevas, and that will be it for Quiala as the River Cats bring in Sam Selman. Selman gives up a very rare hit, and a run as Roberto Ramos doubles down the third base line. 5-3 with last year’s PCL MVP Josh Fuentes coming to bat.

Three run bomb by Fuentes on the first pitch and the ‘Topes now lead 6-5.

This is Selman’s first blown lead. Prior to this, Sam had only given up 3 earned runs all year, but this is the third home run he’s given up in over 25 innings. Selman retires the next three batters with two strikeouts and a flyout to finish off the inning.

Back to 90’s night, the ‘Topes played “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC as a name that song answer, but this song was released in 1987.

The River Cats tie it up in the seventh when Henry Ramos walks to lead off the inning and Aramis Garcia, who is now 4-4 on the night, doubles to knock him in.

After a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, Selman is lifted and Ronnie Freeman hits for him, with Howard on second, and draws a walk. Avelino up, and he triples to right knocking in both Howard and Freeman!! Cats regain the lead 8-6! I’m telling you, if Avelino can develop just a little more pop, and power these balls a few more feet what an all-around threat he would be.

Henry Ramos two run home run! The bats have come alive!

Geber walks, and Anthony Garcia with a shot to left field makes it 12-6! The River Cats have just scored six runs to pad their lead after having fallen behind in the sixth. That will be it for ‘Topes pitcher James Pazos with Yency Almonte coming. Almonte strikes out Aramis Garcia and Francisco Pena to put an end to the inning.

Ray Black comes in for Selman here in the bottom of the eighth. This is his second appearance since rejoining the team. After giving up three straight singles, including an RBI single to Fuentes, Black strikes out two of the next three hitters. On to the ninth with the score 12-6 River Cats.

After Michael walks and Freeman singles, Avelino with another hit to knock in Michael. Ramos hits a long fly ball to right field, far enough for Freeman to score after tagging up and the Cats now lead 14-7. Mike Gerber with his second home run of the game and its now 16-7 River Cats. Gerber really does own this team. Mike Gerber has hit six home runs against the ‘Topes in six games! He has 10 total on the year.

Jandel Gustave comes to close out the game and replaces Ray Black in the bottom of the ninth.

Last chance for the Isotopes and leading things off here in the ninth, Dom Nunez wins the battle of a nine pitch at bat to hit a home run just inside the foul pole. 16-8. That’s all the damage that will be done as the River Cats close out the rest of the game and hold on to the victory.

In San Francisco Giants news, whenever I hear Bochy say that going to “stick with him”, I am going to start taking that to mean that they’re sticking with him in the Triple-A, as Suarez has been sent back down to Sacramento. Also, Sam Coonrod did have a nice outing in his debut by pitching a perfect eighth inning.

Exciting news though, and following up to Yastrzemski’s 0-3 debut yesterday, today he was 3-4 at the plate, and also gave his family a nice laugh right after getting that first hit.

On a 1-1 pitch from Taylor Clarke, he bloops his first hit to left field that drops between Tim Locastro, Nick Ahmed, and Eduardo Escobar. He drifts too far off first and a fast-thinking Tim Locastro sends a laser to first. Yastrzemski looks like a deer in the headlights for a second and then dives back to first, but not in time as Kevin Cron applies the tag for the out. On air Duane Kuiper is shouting “Heads up kid, get back”!!!! “Got him”. The replay shows his family also shouting to get back, and then laughing when the play is over.

Kruk and Kuip end the play with this banter on air.

“The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat”. – Duane Kuiper

“The life of a rook”. – Mike Krukow

A very memorable and fun moment for all, well except maybe Mike.

May 27, 2019

Today is Memorial Day, and we honor the fallen who have served. o7

The Isotopes are starting Ryan Castellani today, a second-round pick from 2014 who has trained with Max Scherzer since the time he was an amateur. This may be someone to keep an eye on in the near future. After striking out the first two batters, he hits Gerber, and gives up a single to Anthony Garcia, but Aramis hits the ball back to him for the final out, so a bit of a mixed bag here in the first for Castellini.

Dereck Rodriguez was scheduled to start today, but since being called up, today is a bullpen day for the River Cats and the ball goes to Pat Venditte to start. His last start was Aug 2, 2016. When he was pitching for Buffalo, and he faced Syracuse.

Welp.

Sam Hilliard with a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to put the ‘Topes on top 2-0. That’s Hilliard’s 16th of the season.

It’s been quite since Hilliard’s home run, until Henry Ramos hits a double, with two outs, in the top of the third. That will bring up Gerber who again getting the best of the ‘Topes with a double to score Ramos, and it’s now 2-1. Gerber just misses a home run by feet on that ball. Anthony Hilliard is on the money, but Gerber just beats the throw to tie up the game at 2-2. It was a bang-bang play at the plate, but Gerber is safe!

There are two outs, and Ryan Howard has reached on a walk which brings up Venditte, and for the second night in a row, a River Cats pitcher gets their first professional hit. Pat Venditte who up to this point was 0-1 in the Majors, and 0-3 in the Minors gets his first hit as he shoots one up the middle off Castellani.

Drew Weeks misses the ball in rightfield off the bat of Avelino who strolls into second on the error. Ryan Howard and Pat Venditte both score and Venditte slides into home 4-2 River Cats! Huge smile on Brundy’s face as he cheers on Venditte; and they say that pitchers aren’t athletes.

That will be it for Venditte as he goes 3.2 innings before being replaced by Okert. Venditte’s eight strike outs on the night are a personal best for him in a game.

The Topes get one back in the bottom of the fifth as Fuentes and Soto get back-to-back doubles and make the game. 4-3.

Williams Jerez comes into the game in the bottom of the seventh for the River Cats, gives up a walk and a double but no damage is done.

Levi Michael with a three-run homer in the top of the eighth to make it 7-3 River Cats with 2 outs. That’s his fifth home run of the season.

Williams Jerez is up to bat, and this will be the first time I get to see him hit. I’m interested to see how he does, as he was originally a second-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2011 as an outfielder. Coming out of high school he was considered a five-tool player and at the time was the highest pick to come out of New York City since Jason Marquis was drafted in 1996. Jerez would spend three seasons as an outfielder before being converted to a pitcher. After all this, he hits a weak chopper to short to end the inning.

Two out and two on here in the bottom of the eighth for the Topes, and that will be it for Jerez. Brundy goes to the pen for Abad.

Drew Weeks singles off Abad, and two more runs come in for the Isotopes. The score is now 7-5 and those runs will be charged to Jerez. Valaika ends the inning with a pop up to short left field that Avelino tracks down and makes a snow cone catch.

Two outs for the River Cats here in the top of the ninth and Gerber doubles, Ramos singles to score Gerber, and Aramis Garcia delivers a two-run home run, and the score is 10-5 River Cats. After a Freeman single, Ryan Howard hits a two-run home run and it’s 12-5 with two outs.

Pitching change and for the Isotopes as Sam Howard comes in for DJ Johnson.

Levi Michael gets the sixth straight two out hit for the River Cats! Abad grounds out to end the inning. 12-5 going into the bottom of the ninth.

Abad closes it out and that’s the game. The River Cats have won their third in a row and have had an amazing 47 hits in that time frame. It was just days ago when they were held to just three hits on back-to-back games, these bats are on fire.

We learned today that Bill Buckner, who spent 22 years in the Majors but will always be remembered for Game 6 of the 1986 World Series has passed away today at the age of 69. Bill had been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. 

May 28, 2019

Major drama online this morning caused by the Fresno Grizzlies as a video that they showed on the big screen for Memorial Day appears not to have been vetted and did not go over well. What started off as a nice salute to those who had lost their lives in battle quickly turned into political propaganda and the community and team sponsors are up in arms.

Tonight’s game will pit Ty Blach against ChiChi Gonzalez. Both pitchers have cruised right along through the first two innings, but that finally changed here in the third. A walk to Blach, by Rodriguez, followed up by an Avelino double that sets up the double that Austin Slater just hit to make it 2-0 River Cats in the bottom of the third.

Creighton vs Creighton to lead off the bottom of the third as Blach faces off against former college teammate Eliott Soto. There is another Creighton connection here on the River Cats in Mike Gerber who also played there and was a teammate with Blach.

Soto bunts on the first pitch and Blach throws it away allowing Soto to advance to second. Errors almost always hurt you. On an 0-1 pitch Drew Butera sends a shot into the picnic pavilion to make it 2-0. After errors by Blach and Howard, that will be it for the bottom of the third. The Topes tie it up on a Butera home run, and it is a new game.

In the top of the fourth while trying to bunt with runners on first and second, Blach strikes out. In frustration he flips the bat to try to catch it but instead he slaps it away down the third baseline. Oops. He did his own version of the walk of shame by returning to get the bat.

Three straight singles to start the top of the sixth for the River Cats by Ramos, Pena, and Howard, and that will be it for Rodriguez. Bases loaded, no outs for Levi Michael. Evan Grills comes in to replace Gonzalez.

Levi Michael on the first pitch that he sees from Grills with a stand-up triple and the game is now 5-2 and still no outs. After Blach grounds out back to the pitcher, Avelino drops one in short right field to score Michael. 6-2 River Cats. Slater strikes out, and Grills starts Gerber off with a wild pitch that advances Avelino to second. Gerber with a single to right on the very next pitch scores Avelino, 7-2 River Cats! Anthony Garcia pops up to end the inning. That will be all the excitement for the rest of the game as both team’s bats go quiet.

The River Cats have won four in a row, to complete their first sweep of 2019. The Cats are now tied for first with the Grizzlies, but only a half game separates them from the Rainiers. This division is looking like it is going to be a tough and exciting year.

May 29, 2019

Ryder Jones is in the San Jose Giants lineup today and playing third. This is his first game since he injured himself on Opening Night in Sacramento. Having Zach Green on the IL makes it easier for him to return to Sacramento when he is ready, but Zach’s performance this season will make for some interesting moves when that time comes. The River Cats also have Austin Slater playing games there, and Ryan Howard who is probably the odd man out and who would most likely be sent to Richmond, but this is all just speculation.

Carlos Navas gets another start for the River Cats now, and he is going deep enough into the games that you can’t really call this a bullpen game anymore. He’ll be facing Tanner Anderson and the Las Vegas Aviators who are a powerhouse here in the PCL although they have cooled down from that ridiculously hot start they had to open the season where they were just steam rolling everyone.

The A’s really have someone special in Jorge Mateo and he just launched a ball onto the clubhouse to make this game 2-0 in the first scoring Nick Martini who singled to start off the game.

Anderson makes quick work of the River Cats and only allows a hit by Henry Ramos, but no damage is done in the first.

One out, and Sheldon Neuse is hit by a pitch; a roar comes out of the dugout as well as a few choice words from River Cats pitching coach Steve Kline. The home plate umpire, Junior Valentine, says he heard it hit off “his hand”. Brundy came out to talk to him for a bit, but the call stands. Barreto singles, Payton flies out, and Martini knocks in Neuse which sets the stage for Dustin Fowler who unloads with a three-run bomb to make the game 6-0.

Jorge Mateo made a nice play at shortstop to get the last out of the second off the bat of Aramis Garcia. After seeing the play, coach Jolbert Cabrera said to no one in particular as he walked into the dugout, “Pueden jugar al pinche Mateo y nadian mas, y ganan”.

Right after the inning ended, I decided to tweet, “6-0 LV After 2. Its Ok. The River Cats like to score after the 7th”. Let us hope they do.

One of my favorite things to see being so close to the action is when players let their human sides show and have fun with the fans. Sheldon Nuese picked up a foul ball and was looking for someone to throw the ball to in the stands. A group of A’s fans sitting on the third base side started shouting “Sheldon”, and he threw the ball to them. The fans cheered loudly, and the guy who got the ball said, “Sheldon, I love you man”!! After which Nuese smiled and gave them a wave.

Navas is having some trouble here in the fourth as Barreto reached on an error and Martini walks.  Dustin Fowler who hit the three-run homer in the second is up to bat, but he strikes out. It doesn’t get any easier as Mateo is now up and has a full count, but Navas gets out of the jam making Mateo hit a little dribbler back to him to end the inning.

That’s going to be it for Navas tonight who goes 4.2 innings and is replaced by Tyler Rogers here in the top of the fifth. Rogers gives up a hit to Rupp, walks Neuse, and is able to strike out Barreto to end the threat.

The River Cats start to put on some pressure here in the bottom of the sixth with one out, and Slater just misses a home run. Going the opposite way Slater stood there watching the ball and lollygagging but when it hits the wall and doesn’t go out, he kicks it into high gear and just makes in for a double. That is Slater’s 99th career Minor League double.

Anthony Garcia grounds out to shortstop keeping Slater at second, but another ball hit to the left side by Aramis Garcia moves Slater to third as Mateo makes a great play deep in the hole to save a run, but he can’t get Aramis at first. River Cats have runners on the corners with two outs. Ryan Howard comes through with a hit up the right side and the score is now 7-1. That will be it for this inning as Freeman hits one back to Tanner Anderson for the final out.

Tyler Rogers is still in there to start the seventh. For the Aviators, their starting pitcher Tanner Anderson did a great job going six complete and allowing one run on six hits. He is now replaced by Trey McNutt.

Ray Black comes in to start the eight, and the PA announcer just called him Blach. He’ll be facing Barreto, Payton, Martini. After striking out Barreto and Payton, Black gives up two singles to Martini and Fowler before putting away Mateo on a fly ball.

Still down 6-1 in the top of the ninth, and Sam Selman in to try to keep the Aviators from scoring any more. Selman hasn’t been the same the last two outings. He gives up a run, on a walk and two singles, and that ends up being the final score 7-1 Aviators. I guess the good news is that it wasn’t a shutout.

May 30, 2019

Last night I was looking at the probables and trying to figure out why Beede wasn’t listed to pitch in the series. This morning I got my answer, as he was called up and starting against the Marlins today.

Continuing with the drama from Fresno on Memorial Day, it was reported today that Sun-Maid pulled their team sponsorship today. While I believe that they had every right to do that, I feel it was a horrible decision for what appears to be an honest mistake. The Grizzlies are a class act and a benefit to the community. I hope that Sun Maid sees that its move negatively impacts more families than bowing to public outrage over a human error. 

The River Cats look loose and in good spirits tonight. I’m going out on a limb here and predicting that they just might win their first game against Las Vegas this year.

Tonight’s game will feature Andrew Suarez for the River Cats, and Parker Dunshee for the Aviators. The first inning was quiet for both teams, but the Aviators put that to rest with a Seth Brown home run to start the top of the second. 1-0.

The Aviators quickly add three more singles to load the bases for Franklin Barreto with no outs. This will bring out Steve Kline to talk with Suarez. I imagine a mound visit with Kline goes something like this, “”Get this M*&%/÷Гu&!\$; out or I’m going to kick your &!%:!_$/:÷&!;!_!_!/$%÷$=#&$€€ six ways to Sunday”!

Next pitch, strike one.

Barreto grounds into a force play at second and Beau Taylor is out number one, but Neuse scores on the play and the Aviators lead 2-0.

Suarez walks Mark Payton and the bases are loaded again, but Martini grounds into a 5-3 double play to end the inning.

The top of the third is starting similarly to the top of the second. Eric Campbell singles to right to start the inning, and Jorge Mateo hits a ground ball to short that Howard was able to field to his right, but Mateo beat the throw by strides. It wasn’t even close. Seth Brown with the single to score Campbell. 3-0. The bleeding doesn’t stop there. Neuse doubles to left scoring Mateo and Brown, and still nobody out. 

The at bats were battles but Suarez gets the Fowler to fly out, and Taylor and Barreto to ground out to end the inning. The Aviators lead 5-0 going into the bottom half of the third.

Jorge Mateo indeed is human after all. The bottom of third starts off with Levi Michael reaching on a throwing error by Mateo. Back-to-back singles have loaded the bases for the River Cats, and Gerber pops one up, infield fly rule is called. One out.

Sacrifice fly by Anthony Garcia scores Levi Michael and the Cats are on the board. 5-1 after three.

The Aviators finally go down in order in the fourth, but so do the River Cats. Base hit in the top of the fifth by Mateo to start things off. On an attempted pickoff, Suarez throws the ball away and Mateo goes to second.

Seth Brown up the middle and Mateo scores. Ok, Brundy time to get Suarez out of here. High pop up by Neuse, Howard is calling for the ball and he loses it. The wind shifts it toward right field, and it falls between Michael and Ramos. Ramos picks it up and throws to second for the force out on Brown. Score that 9-6. On a 2-2 pitch, Dustin Fowler crushes a two-run home run to right and the Aviators extend their lead to 8-1.

It’s the second home run of the series for Fowler, and the fourth for the Aviators, and its only game two of a five game series. Okert is warming up in the bullpen, so I’m pretty sure this was Suarez’s last inning. He was able to get out without any more damage, but you can stick a fork in him for the night.

Okert does enter the game here in the sixth and shuts down the Aviators 1-2-3 with two strikeouts.

There are some changes here for the Aviators in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron Rupp replaces Beau Taylor behind the plate, and Miguel Romero comes in for Parker Dunshee.

Romero walks Gerber and Anthony Garcia to start things off, before striking out Aramis Garcia for out number one. I have to say that I hate how Brundy puts Anthony Garcia and Aramis Garcia back-to-back in the lineup.

Line drive to left for Ramos who knocks in Gerber, but he gets caught up between first and second as Garcia stayed on second base. Ramos tried to juke the first baseman, but he was called out. Two down.  Pena with a base hit, and it’s now 8-3. Ryan Howard with a double that should score Pena, but he’s held up at third!

Avelino beats out a swinging bunt that scores Pena from third and its 8-4.

That will be all for Mr. Romero tonight as Ryal Dull enters the game.

Dull strikes out Slater and the inning is over but the River Cats have cut the lead in half. 

After a 1-2-3 inning for the Aviators, Gerbs leads off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the right field line, but the Cats are unable to take full advantage of it.

Okert had two perfect innings of relief today and is replaced by Abad here in the eighth. Abad strikes out the side and the River Cats bullpen are doing a great job tonight.

To the bottom of the ninth we go, last chance for the Cats, and it will be Michael, Avelino and Slater but they need to double the score just to tie.

The River Cats fall short tonight, and while they made it exciting at the end it just wasn’t in the books. Tonight, isn’t all bad though because word just came that Chris Shaw is on his way to Sacramento.

May 31, 2019

The Prodigal Son has returned. Chris Shaw is in the River Cats lineup for the first time this season. He will be the Designated Hitter and be batting fourth. Chris is also sporting a mustache, which I am going to be honest, its not working for him. Sorry, Chris.

Dalton Combs was sent to extended Spring Training to make room for Shaw on the roster.

Tonight’s pitching matchup will be Enderson Franco for the River Cats against Jake Buchanan for the Aviators.

The Aviators and the River Cats have gone nine up, and nine down through the first and top half of the second inning which brings us the Chris Shaw’s first at bat of the game.

First pitch, ball one. Shaw lifts the next pitch to left field for a routine fly ball to Seth Brown, one out.

The River Cats pick up hits from Francisco Pena and Abiatal Avelino but the inning ends on a ground out by Ronnie Freeman.

Solo home run for Mike Gerber to put the River Cats on the board, and its 1-0 here in the bottom of third.

Going into the fourth and the lights have gone out in the ballpark. River Cats staff is scurrying around trying to figure out the problem while the team’s General Manager, Chip Maxon, is on the field trying to direct everything and get this resolved as soon as possible for everyone.

The River Cats players are taking it in stride. Ryan Howard and Abi Avelino are sitting back on chairs in the dugout trying to relax. I told Shaw that this was a nice way to let people know that he was back, to which he replied, “I brought a power outage”. I guess that means that the River Cats just got a power surge in the lineup.

A group of Aviators, including Neuse, and Mateo have started playing a game of two ball which has attracted a crowd of players. Just past them, Aviators’ Franklin Barreto is hitting ground balls to the River Cats’ Abiatal Avelino. After a while, those games come to an end while we all continue to wait, and the players start to sign autographs for the fans to pass the time.

Kudos to the Cat Crew staff who worked tonight! They really did a great job and stepped it up to help entertain the crowd; they were amazing!

After a 1 hour and 7-minute delay the game is back on. Due to the delay, Pat Venditte replaces Franco. Through two innings Venditte has struck out four.

After three perfect innings and four strikeouts, Venditte is replaced by McNamara here in the seventh.

Well, the most exciting thing to report since the Gerber home run was that Corban Joseph reaches on an error by Avelino; that’s number 59 for the River Cats this season.

Jerez comes into the game for the top of eight, and 1-2-3. River Cats are still up 1-0 off the Gerber home run.

The Aviators send in J.B. Wendelken to replace Kyle Lobstein here in the bottom of the eighth with Freeman, Michael, and Gerber due up for the River Cats.

Freeman flies out to start the inning, followed by a hit by Levi Michael, and a walk to Mike Gerber. Two on for Austin Slater who flies out to center. Michael tags and takes third.

Anthony Garcia wins the battle and walks on an 11 pitch at bat and the bases are loaded with two out for Chris Shaw.

Shaw goes down on three straight sliders. He is 0-4 tonight, but he only struck out this once, which is a small sample size, but a lot better than what it would have looked like last year. I imagine that Chris is putting some pressure on himself tonight too, but hopefully once the adrenaline of traveling and the time zone change wears off then he will get on track over the next few days.

Fernando Abad in now to close out the ninth, and he starts it off with striking out Eric Campbell and Seth Brown. Two down for Sheldon Neuse.

The Aviators after not having a hit since the third, get a double from Neuse representing the tying run on second. Abad walks, Corban Joseph, who becomes Abad’s first walk of the year. Runners now on first and second with two out. Mark Payton comes in to run for Joseph and Cameron Rupp is up to bat.

Abad pops up Rupp and the River Cats get their first win over Las Vegas this year by a score of 1-0.

The Giants were in Baltimore playing the Orioles tonight, and magic happened for Mike Yastrzemski. Yaz hit his first Major League home run tonight against the team that originally drafted and signed him; after six long years toiling in the Minors for the O’s and never being called up, I can only imagine the feeling.