Episode 37 – Inside the San Jose Giants

podcastgraphicThe San Jose Giants are 100 games into the season and making a push for the playoffs. In the latest podcast episode, Joe and Ben discuss what’s behind the club’s recent hot streak, notably standout starting pitching, Elliott Blair’s emergence as a top hitter and Brian Ragira’s power surge. The two also examine what the Giants need to do in their last 40 games to reach the playoffs for a league-record 11th consecutive season.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Lake Elsinore

Lake Elsinore Storm (58-40) at San Jose Giants (51-47)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Saturday, July 19, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, July 20, 5:00 PM
• Monday, July 21, 7:00 PM
• Tuesday, July 22, 12:35 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Saturday
Lake Elsinore – Coby Cowgill (3-1, 4.56)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (7-3, 2.94)

Sunday
Lake Elsinore – Matt Shepherd (5-1, 5.18)
San Jose – Matt Lujan (3-1, 3.60)

Monday
Lake Elsinore – Bryan Rodriguez (5-5, 3.93)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (6-6, 4.57)

Tuesday
Lake Elsinore – Zach Eflin (9-5, 3.50)
San Jose – Pat Young (7-3, 5.70)

Broadcast Information
Saturday’s series opener will be televised on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Lake Elsinore
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Lake Elsinore Storm at Municipal Stadium. Joe Kurrasch (7-3, 2.94) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. This series marks the first meeting of the season between the Giants and Storm.

Series Sweep
The Giants swept the visiting Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in a three-game series that concluded last night. San Jose posted a 9-8, 10-inning victory on Wednesday before a 7-5 win on Thursday. The Giants then completed the sweep with a 3-0 shutout of the Quakes last night. It was San Jose’s fourth series sweep of the season (June 3-5 vs. High Desert, July 1-3 at Modesto, July 8-10 vs. Bakersfield). In yesterday’s finale, Kendry Flores fired six scoreless innings with just two hits allowed, two walks and five strikeouts to pick-up the win. Tyler Rogers, Mason McVay and Bryce Bandilla then each worked an inning of relief to complete the shutout. Bandilla earned his second save in as many nights. Brian Ragira (2-for-4, RBI, SB) was the only Giants player to finish with a multi-hit game.

Winning Ways

The Giants are 15-5 in their last 20 games dating back to June 27. All five losses during the stretch have come against Stockton (3-5 vs. the Ports, 12-0 vs. the rest of the league). San Jose’s last loss to a team other than Stockton was on June 26 (vs. Visalia). During the stretch, the Giants have rattled off winning streaks of six games (June 27-July 3), four games (July 8-11) and three games (July 16-18). San Jose hasn’t lost more than two games in a row since dropping four straight from June 20-23.

Season-High Four Above .500
With last night’s victory, the Giants (51-47) are now a season-high four games over .500. San Jose moved above .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season nine days ago.

In July
The Giants are batting .288 as a team in July – tops among North Division clubs. San Jose is averaging 5.3 runs per game this month. The Giants’ 12-5 record in July is tied for the best mark in the league (Lake Elsinore).

Blair’s Offensive Surge

Over his last 16 games, outfielder Elliott Blair is batting .443 (27-for-61) with six doubles, one home run and 10 RBI’s. He’s raised his season batting average from .272 to a team-leading .306 during the stretch. Blair enjoyed a season-high 10-game hitting streak from July 2-11.

Six In A Row At Muni
The Giants have won a season-high six straight games at home. San Jose swept a three-game set from Bakersfield during their last homestand (July 8-10) before taking three straight against Rancho Cucamonga during the current homestand. The Giants are 10-3 in their last 13 home games overall. This series concludes a stretch for San Jose playing 21 out of 28 games at home (June 23-July 22).

Jones’ Hit Streak At Six Games
Right fielder Chuckie Jones brings a six-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During his hit streak, Jones is batting at a .423 clip (11-for-26) with two doubles, a home run and five RBI’s.

Bullpen Standouts
Bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.05 ERA – 5 ER/42.2 IP – in 27 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (0.96 ERA – 2 ER/18.2 IP – in his last 17 outings), Stephen Johnson (0.95 ERA – 3 ER/28.1 IP – in his last 20 games) and Bryce Bandilla (13 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings spanning his last 14 appearances).

Opponent Notes: Lake Elsinore Storm
The Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, own the best overall record in the league at 58-40. Lake Elsinore’s 18-10 second half mark is tied with Rancho Cucamonga for the top spot in the South Division. The Storm lead the league in ERA (3.91) and are sixth in the batting average (.265). In their most recent series, Lake Elsinore swept three games from the host Bakersfield Blaze. The Storm are a league-best 33-19 on the road this season (25-21 at home).

Giants, Dodgers Affiliates Meet At Muni

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (50-45) at San Jose Giants (48-47)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Wednesday, July 16, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, July 17, 7:00 PM
• Friday, July 18, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Wednesday
Rancho Cucamonga – Fabio Martinez (4-5, 4.88)
San Jose – Pat Young (7-3, 5.47)

Thursday
Rancho Cucamonga – Jharel Cotton (3-6, 5.75)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (6-8, 4.95)

Friday
Rancho Cucamonga – Julio Urias (1-1, 3.44)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-6, 4.64)

Broadcast Information
Friday’s series finale will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Homestand Tonight Against Rancho Cucamonga
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at Municipal Stadium. Pat Young (7-3, 5.47) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After the current series versus the Quakes, San Jose hosts the Lake Elsinore Storm in a four-game set beginning on Saturday.

Last Series
The Giants split a four-game set against the host Stockton Ports in their most recent series. San Jose earned a 2-1, 12-inning victory in the series opener on Friday before the Ports bounced back with a 10-6 win on Saturday. The Giants then posted a 4-1 victory on Sunday behind a 13-strikeout performance from starting pitcher Matt Lujan. Stockton earned the split with an 11-1 rout of San Jose on Monday evening. The Giants allowed a total of 21 runs on 35 hits in their two losses compared to a combined two runs and eight hits surrendered in their two wins.

Winning Ways
San Jose has posted a 12-5 record in their last 17 games dating back to June 27. All five losses during the stretch have come against Stockton (3-5 vs. the Ports, 9-0 vs. the rest of the league). The Giants rattled off a season-high six consecutive victories from June 27-July 3 while also claiming four straight games from July 8-11. San Jose hasn’t lost more than two games in a row since dropping four straight from June 20-23. The Giants are 14-11 in the second half and in second place in the North Division – four games behind Stockton (18-7) for the top spot.

Versus The South
The series marks San Jose’s first games against a South Division opponent since sweeping a three-game set against the High Desert Mavericks from June 3-5. The Giants have played their last 33 games against North Division clubs. San Jose is 13-10 overall versus the South Division this year. The Giants’ only previous meeting against Rancho Cucamonga came during the opening series of the year when San Jose won three out of four games at LoanMart Field (April 3-6).

Above .500
A victory in tonight’s contest would improve the Giants (48-47) to a season-high tying two games over .500. San Jose moved over .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season six days ago.

July Surge
The Giants are batting .294 as a team in July – third in the California League and tops among North Division clubs. San Jose is averaging 5.1 runs per game this month. The Giants’ 9-5 record in July is tied for the second best mark in the league (Stockton 10-4).

Blair’s Hot Streak
Over his last 13 games, outfielder Elliott Blair is batting .451 (23-for-51) with five doubles, one home run and nine RBI’s. He’s raised his season batting average from .272 to .303 during the stretch. Blair enjoyed a season-high 10-game hitting streak from July 2-11. He went 8-for-16 (.500) with three doubles and a home run during the last series against Stockton.

At Muni
The Giants have won their last three home games to move above .500 at Municipal Stadium for the season (25-24). San Jose is batting .259 as a team at home (4.2 runs per game) compared to .271 on the road (4.8 runs per game).

Bednar Bolsters Offense
In 12 games since joining the club from Augusta (A), infielder Brandon Bednar is batting .340 (17-for-50) with three doubles, a home run and five RBI’s. Bednar has made starts at third base (four games), shortstop (three games) and first base (three games) with San Jose. Bednar was added to the Giants roster on July 1. The former seventh round draft pick was leading Augusta with a .275 batting average at the time of his promotion.

Bullpen Standouts
Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (0.91 ERA – 4 ER/39.2 IP – in 25 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (16 straight scoreless outings – 17 IP), Stephen Johnson (1.03 ERA – 3 ER/26.1 IP – in his last 19 games) and Bryce Bandilla (1.02 ERA – 2 ER/17.2 IP – in 19 games since joining team).

Opponent Notes: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are in first place in the second half South Division at 18-7. The Quakes began the half winning 18 out of 20 before dropping their last five games. Rancho Cucamonga is eighth in the league in batting average (.261) and third in ERA (4.44). The Quakes finished the first half with a 32-38 record.

Giants Open Four-Game Series In Stockton Tonight

San Jose Giants (46-45) at Stockton Ports (53-38)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Banner Island Ballpark

• Friday, July 11, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, July 12, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, July 13, 6:05 PM
• Monday, July 14, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-6, 4.94)
Stockton – Chris Lamb (3-1, 3.96)

Saturday
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (7-2, 2.12)
Stockton – Yeiper Castillo (1-1, 8.78)

Sunday
San Jose – Matt Lujan (2-1, 4.58)
Stockton – Seth Streich (9-4, 2.98)

Monday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (6-5, 3.90)
Stockton – Jake Sanchez (3-0, 3.12)

Broadcast Information

The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a four-game series against the Stockton Ports this evening at Banner Island Ballpark. Kendry Flores (3-6, 4.94) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 6-11 against Stockton this season. The clubs last met from July 4-7 at Municipal Stadium with the Ports taking three out of four games in the series. Stockton has won eight out of the last ten games overall played between the teams.

Sweep

San Jose swept the visiting Bakersfield Blaze in a three-game series that ended yesterday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. The Giants earned victories of 5-2 on Tuesday, 5-1 on Wednesday and 6-2 yesterday. It marked San Jose’s second sweep in their last three series’. The Giants limited the Blaze to just five runs total during the three-game set. In yesterday’s finale, Chris Stratton allowed only two unearned runs and struck out nine over the first six innings to pick-up the win. San Jose finished the game with 15 hits led by Jesus Galindo (3-for-5, 3B, RBI), Brian Ragira (2-for-4, HR, RBI) and Shawn Payne (2-for-4, 3B, RBI).

Won 10 Of 13

The Giants enter tonight’s matchup having won 10 out of their last 13 games. San Jose rattled off a season-high six consecutive victories from June 27-July 3 before dropping three out of four to Stockton to begin the last homestand. The Giants have now won their last three games. San Jose is 12-9 in the second half overall.

Above .500

With yesterday’s victory, San Jose (46-45) moved over .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season. The Giants were last above the .500 mark on April 7 when the club owned a 3-2 record. A win tonight would move San Jose to a season-high tying two games over .500.

Bednar Bolsters Offense
In nine games since joining the club from Augusta (A), infielder Brandon Bednar is 13-for-36 (.361) with a double, a home run and five RBI’s. He’s hit safely in eight out of the nine games. Bednar has made starts at first base (three games), shortstop (three games) and third base (two games) with San Jose. Bednar, a former seventh round draft pick, was leading the GreenJackets with a .275 batting average at the time of his promotion on July 1.

July Surge
The Giants are batting .315 as a team in July – second-best in the California League and tops among North Division clubs. San Jose is averaging 5.8 runs per game this month (7-3 record).

Miller Among League’s Best

Second baseman Blake Miller is up to 68 RBI’s for the season to rank tied for third in the California League. Miller is batting .310 overall and is tops on the Giants in hits (101), doubles (22) and RBI’s while he’s tied for third on the team in home runs (8). After batting .312 in April, Miller hit .304 in May and .330 in June. Through 10 games in July, Miller is batting .275.

Starting Strong
Over the last five games, Giants starting pitchers own a 2.51 ERA (9 ER/32.1 IP). San Jose starters have worked at least six innings in each of the last five games. The Giants have won four out of their last five.

Hitting Streaks
First baseman Brian Ragira brings a season-high 10-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. Ragira is batting at a .375 clip (15-for-40) with three home runs and six RBI’s during the streak. His nine home runs overall this season are tied for the team lead (Mitch Delfino). Additionally, outfielder Elliott Blair has hit safely in his last nine games. Blair is batting .429 (15-for-35) with seven RBI’s during his streak.

Bullpen Standouts

Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (0.96 ERA – 4 ER/37.1 IP – in 24 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (14 straight scoreless outings – 15 IP), Stephen Johnson (0.77 ERA – 2 ER/23.1 IP – in his last 17 games) and Bryce Bandilla (1.13 ERA – 2 ER/16.0 IP – in 17 games since joining team).

On The Road
The Giants have won a season-high three consecutive road games. Most recently on the road, San Jose swept a three-game series in Modesto from July 1-3 – the club’s first series sweep away from Municipal Stadium this year. The Giants are batting .273 on the road this season compared to .259 at home. This series against Stockton serves as San Jose’s only four road games in an 18-game span from July 4-22.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are in first place in the second half North Division at 16-5 – three games ahead of San Jose for the top spot. Since June 1, Stockton has posted a blistering 25-9 record. The Ports are currently fourth in the league in batting average (.271), first in home runs (115) and second in ERA (4.21). Stockton is 29-16 at home this season (24-22 on the road).

Episode 36 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Podcast graphicIn this podcast episode, Joe and Ben breakdown the San Jose Giants starting rotation. The discussion includes Joe Kurrasch’s emergence as the staff ace, while examining the performance of the club’s top pitching prospects. The two also spotlight the team’s improving hitters and look ahead to a key stretch of games over the next week.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Bakersfield

Bakersfield Blaze (56-32) at San Jose Giants (43-45)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Tuesday, July 8, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, July 9, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, July 10, 12:35 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Tuesday
Bakersfield – Daniel Wright (5-1, 3.89)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (5-5, 4.14)

Wednesday
Bakersfield – Ismael Guillon (0-1, 12.41)
San Jose – Pat Young (6-3, 5.80)

Thursday

Bakersfield – Drew Cisco (4-2, 5.51)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (5-8, 5.31)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Bakersfield
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand with the opener of a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze this evening at Municipal Stadium. Joe Biagini (5-5, 4.14) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight.

Last Series

San Jose dropped three out of four games to the visiting Stockton Ports in a series that concluded last night. Stockton won the first two games by the scores of 17-6 and 4-3 on Friday and Saturday respectively before the Giants earned an 8-4 win on Sunday. The Ports then took the series with a 7-0 shutout of San Jose last night. The 17 runs and 18 hits allowed by the Giants in Friday’s opener were both season-high totals while last night’s whitewash marked the sixth time San Jose had been shutout this year – tied for the league-lead. The Giants have now dropped eight out of their last ten games to Stockton.

Streaky Second Half
The Giants have been a streaky team throughout the first three weeks of the second half. After enduring a stretch of six losses in seven games, San Jose rattled off a season-high six consecutive victories from June 27-July 3. The Giants have now followed the win streak by dropping three out of their last four games. San Jose is 9-9 in the second half overall.

Recent Offensive Surge

Despite getting shutout last night, the Giants are batting .311 as a team and scoring 5.9 runs per game over their last 10 contests (7-3 record). San Jose has had four games of 14 or more hits during the stretch.

Miller Among League’s Best
Second baseman Blake Miller is up to 65 RBI’s for the season to rank sixth in the California League. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average (.309), doubles (22), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.465) while he’s tied for third on the team in home runs (7). After batting .312 in April, Miller hit .304 in May and .330 in June. Through seven games in July, Miller is batting at a .250 clip (7-for-28).

Versus The Blaze
The Giants are 4-6 against Bakersfield this season, including a 2-5 mark at Municipal Stadium. This series marks the first meeting between the two clubs since the Blaze took two out of three from April 25-27 in San Jose. The Giants will play only six games against Bakersfield in the second half.

Home Run Drought

After hitting a league-low nine home runs during the month of June, the Giants have hit just two homers through their first seven games in July. San Jose’s 54 home runs overall this season are eighth in the California League.

Bednar’s Fast Start

In six games since joining the club from Augusta (A), infielder Brandon Bednar is 10-for-25 (.400) with a double and an RBI. He’s hit safely in all six games. Bednar has made starts at first base (three games), third base (two games) and shortstop (one game) with San Jose. Bednar, a former seventh round draft pick, was leading the GreenJackets with a .275 batting average at the time of his promotion on July 1.

At Muni
The Giants (22-24) are one of only three teams in the league (Inland Empire 20-26, Modesto 16-26) with a sub-.500 record at home this season. Since sweeping a three-game series against visiting High Desert from June 3-5, San Jose is just 6-9 at Municipal Stadium. The Giants are batting .254 as a team at home compared to .273 on the road.

Blair Heats Up
Over his last six games, outfielder Elliott Blair is 12-for-23 (.522) with two doubles and seven RBI’s. Previously, Blair had collected just four hits in 31 at-bats (.129) spanning 10 games.

Bullpen Standouts

Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.02 ERA – 4 ER/35.1 IP – in 22 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (13 straight scoreless outings – 14 IP), Stephen Johnson (0.81 ERA – 2 ER/22.1 IP – in his last 16 games) and Bryce Bandilla (1.29 ERA – 2 ER/14.0 IP – in 15 games since joining team).

Home Cooking

The start of this homestand marked the beginning of a stretch for the Giants playing 14 out of 18 games at Municipal Stadium. After this series, San Jose travels to Stockton for a four-game set beginning on Friday. The Giants then return to the South Bay for a seven-game homestand against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Lake Elsinore Storm.

Opponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, own the best overall record in the league at 56-32. Bakersfield has already qualified for the playoffs after winning the first half North Division title. The Blaze lead the league in batting average (.297) and runs scored (6.4 per game) while they’re sixth in ERA (4.57).

Giants Begin Seven-Game Homestand On The Fourth Of July

Stockton Ports (47-37) at San Jose Giants (42-42)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Friday, July 4, 6:30 PM
• Saturday, July 5, 6:30 PM
• Sunday, July 6, 5:00 PM
• Monday, July 7, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
Stockton – Jake Sanchez (1-0, 1.38)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (5-7, 4.79)

Saturday
Stockton – Tim Atherton (6-2, 5.04)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-5, 4.84)

Sunday
Stockton – Chris Lamb (3-0, 3.83)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (6-2, 1.76)

Monday

Stockton – Yeiper Castillo (0-1, 15.26)
San Jose – Matt Lujan (2-0, 4.63)

Broadcast Information

The games on Friday, Saturday and Monday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants open a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium. Chris Stratton (5-7, 4.79) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After the current series versus the Ports, San Jose hosts the Bakersfield Blaze in a three-game set beginning on Tuesday. Starting tonight, the Giants will play 14 out of their next 18 games at home.

First Road Sweep

The Giants earned their first road series sweep of the season when they took three straight games from the host Modesto Nuts over the last three nights. San Jose outscored Modesto by a combined margin of 25-7 during the three-game set. The Giants earned victories of 7-3 on Tuesday, 8-2 on Wednesday and 10-2 last night. San Jose never trailed at any point over the course of the series. In yesterday’s finale, the Giants matched a season-high with 16 hits led by Elliott Blair (4-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI), Shawn Payne (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Ben Turner (3-for-4, 2B, RBI). Starting pitcher Pat Young picked-up the win after tossing six innings with two runs (both earned) and three hits allowed. Young struck out six.

Season-High Six-Game Winning Streak

San Jose enters tonight’s contest having won a season-high six games in a row. Previously, the Giants’ longest win streak this year was five games (June 1-5). Prior to the current win streak, San Jose had lost six out of seven. The Giants are batting .338 as a team, averaging 7.0 runs per game and boast a 2.67 ERA over the last six games.

Back At .500
With last night’s victory, the Giants (42-42) returned to .500 overall for the first time since June 12 (34-34). San Jose owns identical 21-21 records at home and on the road this season. The Giants were last over the .500 mark on April 7 when the club was 3-2.

Jones Heats Up

Over his last nine games, right fielder Chuckie Jones is 15-for-37 (.405) with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI’s. Jones has multi-hits in five out of his past eight games. After hitting .214 in April (1 HR, 8 RBI) and .229 in May (2 HR, 6 RBI), Jones finished June with a .323 batting average (4 HR, 23 RBI, .556 SLG). Since June 1, Jones is batting .342.

Starting Strong

During the club’s current six-game winning streak, Giants starting pitchers possess a 3.29 ERA. In 38 1/3 innings during the stretch, San Jose starters have 40 strikeouts and just six walks.

Miller Among League’s Best
Second baseman Blake Miller is up to 63 RBI’s for the season to rank tied for fourth in the California League. His .311 batting average is also eleventh in the league. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average, doubles (19), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.465) while he’s tied for second on the team in home runs (7). Over his last 11 games, Miller is batting .378 (17-for-45) with 10 RBI’s.

Versus The Ports

The Giants are 5-8 against Stockton this season, including a 2-5 mark at Municipal Stadium. San Jose has lost five out of their last six games versus the Ports. The Giants have scored a total of just eight runs over those last six contests. Tonight is the first of 16 second half meetings between the two clubs.

Bednar Joins San Jose From Augusta
The Giants added infielder Brandon Bednar to their roster on Tuesday from Augusta (A). In 74 games with the GreenJackets this season, Bednar was batting a team-high .275 with nine doubles, one home run, 24 RBI’s and eight stolen bases. The versatile infielder saw action at third base (33 games), first base (25 games) and second base (9 games) while in Augusta. Bednar also played shortstop last season at Salem-Keizer (Short-Season). Bednar was a seventh round selection of the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University. Through two games with San Jose, Bednar is 3-for-9 with one stolen base.

Bullpen Standouts

Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.10 ERA – 4 ER/32.2 IP – in 20 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (11 straight scoreless outings – 12 IP), Stephen Johnson (0.86 ERA – 2 ER/21.0 IP – in his last 15 games) and Bryce Bandilla (1.38 ERA – 2 ER/13.0 IP – in 14 games since joining team). Since June 1, the San Jose bullpen owns a cumulative 2.92 ERA.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports

The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, own an overall record of 47-37 this season. Stockton is in first place in the second half North Division standings with a 10-4 record – two games ahead of San Jose (8-6) and Bakersfield (8-6) for the top spot. The Ports rank fourth in the league in batting average (.269), first in home runs (105) and third in ERA (4.32). Stockton is 21-21 on the road this season (26-16 at home).

Giants Travel To Modesto For Three-Game Series

San Jose Giants (39-42) at Modesto Nuts (27-54)

San_Jose_Giants157At John Thurman Field
• Tuesday, July 1, 7:05 PM
• Wednesday, July 2, 7:05 PM
• Thursday, July 3, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Tuesday
San Jose – Matt Lujan (1-0, 5.40)
Modesto – Jayson Aquino (2-4, 6.68)

Wednesday

San Jose – Joe Biagini (4-5, 4.30)
Modesto – Ben Alsup (0-8, 5.61)

Thursday

San Jose – Pat Young (5-3, 6.06)
Modesto – Matt Flemer (7-5, 4.67)

Broadcast Information

The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Travel To Modesto For Three-Game Set

The San Jose Giants begin a three-game series against the Modesto Nuts this evening at John Thurman Field. Matt Lujan (1-0, 5.40) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 7-8 versus the Nuts this season. The clubs last met from June 23-25 at Municipal Stadium with Modesto taking two out of three games in the series.

Last Series
The Giants earned their first series victory of the second half when they won three out of four games against the visiting Visalia Rawhide to conclude the last homestand. Visalia claimed the series opener last Thursday by a 6-2 score before San Jose picked-up victories of 8-3 on Friday, 7-5 on Saturday and 2-1 on Sunday. In the series finale, Joe Kurrasch allowed just one run over the first seven innings to record the win. The Giants finished their homestand with a 4-3 record.

Three Consecutive Wins
San Jose enters tonight’s contest having won three games in a row – their longest win streak since posting five consecutive victories from June 1-5. A win this evening would get the Giants (5-6) back to .500 in the second half.

June Review
San Jose concluded June with a 13-11 record – their first winning month of the season (April 11-16, May 15-15). The Giants led the California League with a 3.68 team ERA in June. Top individual pitchers last month included starters Joe Kurrasch (4 G, 3 GS, 3-1, 1.29 ERA) and Kendry Flores (4 GS, 0-1, 2.59 ERA, 36 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings) along with relievers Bryce Bandilla (0.90 ERA in 11 appearances) and Tyler Mizenko (1.29 ERA, three saves in 13 games). Offensively, San Jose hit .274 as a team in June – their highest monthly batting average this season (April .261, May .246). Top hitters individually in June were Ben Turner (.405, 9 2B, 8 RBI), Blake Miller (.330, HR, 17 RBI) and Chuckie Jones (.323, 4 HR, 23 RBI).

Galindo Matches Team Record

Center fielder Jesus Galindo tied a San Jose Giants single-game record with five hits in Saturday’s win over Visalia. He became the 32nd player in the 27-year history of the club to record five hits in a game. Galindo is the second player to accomplish the feat this season joining Mac Williamson, who had five hits against Visalia on April 24.

Strikeout Surge

Giants pitchers have collected a whopping 94 strikeouts over the last eight games (11.8 per game). San Jose is now second in the California League in strikeouts (697) this season. Last year, the Giants led all of Minor League Baseball with 1,282 strikeouts as a pitching staff.

Bednar Joins San Jose From Augusta

The Giants added infielder Brandon Bednar to their roster today from Augusta (A). In 74 games with the GreenJackets this season, Bednar was batting a team-high .275 with nine doubles, one home run, 24 RBI’s and eight stolen bases. The versatile infielder has seen action this year at third base (33 games), first base (25 games) and second base (9 games). Bednar also played shortstop last season at Salem-Keizer (Short-Season). Bednar was a seventh round selection of the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Home Cooking Ahead
After this series in Modesto, the Giants will play 14 out of their next 18 games at home. San Jose returns to Municipal Stadium on Friday for a seven-game homestand against the Stockton Ports and Bakersfield Blaze.

Jones Heats Up

Right fielder Chuckie Jones has 11 RBI’s in his last six games (.360, 9-for-25, 2 HR). Jones also has multi-hits in three out of his past five games. After hitting .214 in April (1 HR, 8 RBI) and .229 in May (2 HR, 6 RBI), Jones finished June with a .323 batting average (4 HR, 23 RBI, .556 SLG).

Bullpen Standouts

Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.14 ERA – 4 ER/31.2 IP – in 19 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (11 straight scoreless outings – 12 IP), Stephen Johnson (0.92 ERA – 2 ER/19.2 IP – in his last 14 games) and Bryce Bandilla (1.50 ERA – 2 ER/12.0 IP – in 13 games since joining team).

Miller Among League’s Best

Infielder Blake Miller has 58 RBI’s this season to currently rank fifth in the California League. His .315 batting average is 10th in the league. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average, doubles (19), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.476) while he’s tied for second on the team in home runs (7).

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts

The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, own an overall record of 27-54 – last in the North Division. The Nuts are 4-7 in the second half. Modesto is ninth in the league in batting average (.253) and last in ERA (5.26). The Nuts are 16-23 at home this season (11-31 on the road).

Giants Continue Homestand Against Visalia

Visalia Rawhide (40-37) at San Jose Giants (36-41)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Thursday, June 26, 7:00 PM
• Friday, June 27, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, June 28, 6:00 PM
• Sunday, June 29, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Thursday
Visalia – Aaron Blair (2-2, 3.86)
San Jose – Pat Young (5-2, 5.57)

Friday
Visalia – Braden Shipley (1-1, 2.81)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (4-7, 4.75)

Saturday
Visalia – Jesse Darrah (3-4, 5.72)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-5, 4.92)

Sunday
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (7-5, 5.03)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (5-2, 1.82)

Broadcast Information

The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Visalia
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Pat Young (5-2, 5.57) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 7-9 versus the Rawhide this season. The clubs last met from June 19-22 in Visalia to open the second half with the Rawhide taking three out of four games in the series.

Last Series

The Giants began their homestand by dropping two out of three games to the Modesto Nuts in a series that concluded last night. Modesto earned a 2-0 shutout victory over the Giants in the series opener on Monday. It marked the fifth time this season that San Jose had been shutout this season. The Giants bounced back on Tuesday afternoon with a 15-3 thrashing of the Nuts. The 15 runs scored was a season-high for San Jose. The Nuts then claimed the series with a 9-4 victory over the Giants last night. Modesto knocked out 14 hits in the contest and took the lead for good with a four-run top of the fourth.

Lost Seven Of Nine

San Jose enters tonight’s contest having lost seven out of their last nine games. Previously, the Giants had won eight out of 11. Tuesday’s victory over Modesto snapped San Jose’s season-high tying four-game losing streak. The four-game skid marked the first time that San Jose lost more than two in a row since dropping four straight from April 26-29.

Brandon Belt To Begin Rehab Assignment
San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment with San Jose tonight. Belt is recovering from a broken left thumb sustained when he was hit by a pitch on May 9. Belt is batting .264 with nine home runs and 18 RBI’s in 35 games with San Francisco this season. The 26-year old was leading the Giants in home runs at the time of his injury. Belt batted .289 with a career-high 17 home runs and 67 RBI’s in 150 games with San Francisco last year. Belt debuted as a professional with San Jose during the 2010 season and hit .383 in the California League with 28 doubles, 10 home runs and 62 RBI’s in 77 games.

Home Cooking
Last Monday began a stretch for San Jose playing 21 out of 28 games at home through July 22.

Okert Promoted

Giants All-Star closer Steven Okert was promoted to Double-A Richmond on Tuesday. Okert leads the California League with 19 saves to go with a 1.53 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Okert was San Jose’s only All-Star representative this season.

Improved Pitching
San Jose’s 3.72 team ERA in June leads the California League. The Giants posted a 5.01 ERA in April before a 4.70 ERA in May. San Jose is now sixth in the league in ERA (4.56) and third in strikeouts (650).

Hot Hitters

Catcher Ben Turner owns a sizzling .413 batting average (26-for-63) with seven doubles and eight RBI’s in June (18 games). Turner has a pair of three-hit games and two four-hit games during this month. First baseman Brian Ragira is hitting .365 (23-for-63) with 12 RBI’s in his last 17 games. Blake Miller (.329, HR, 15 RBI) and Chuckie Jones (.317, 3 HR, 14 RBI) are also batting over .300 in June.

Home Run Drought
The Giants have hit just three home runs in the last 16 games and have only seven home runs for the entire month of June.

Bullpen Standouts
Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.26 ERA – 4 ER/28.2 IP – in 18 appearances since the beginning of May), Tyler Mizenko (eight straight scoreless outings – 9 IP) and Stephen Johnson (1.06 ERA – 2 ER/17.0 IP – in his last 12 games). The San Jose bullpen has a 3.69 ERA in June.

Miller Among League’s Best
Infielder Blake Miller has 56 RBI’s this season to currently rank sixth in the California League. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average (.314), doubles (19), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.483) while he’s second on the team in home runs (7).

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide

The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, own an overall record of 40-37. The Rawhide are 4-3 in the second half. Visalia is fifth in the league in batting average (.266) and second in ERA (4.12). The Rawhide are 16-22 on the road this season (24-15 at home).

Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight Against Modesto

Modesto Nuts (24-50) at San Jose Giants (35-39)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Monday, June 23, 7:00 PM
• Tuesday, June 24, 1:35 PM
• Wednesday, June 25, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Monday
Modesto – Ryan Carpenter (1-3, 4.05)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (5-1, 1.74)

Tuesday
Modesto – Devin Burke (5-3, 5.07)
San Jose – Matt Lujan (0-0, —)

Wednesday

Modesto – Jayson Aquino (1-4, 7.27)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (4-4, 3.93)

Broadcast Information

Wednesday’s series finale will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Homestand Tonight Against Modesto

The San Jose Giants open a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Joe Kurrasch (5-1, 1.74) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After the current series versus the Nuts, San Jose hosts the Visalia Rawhide in a four-game set beginning on Thursday.

Last Series

The Giants began the second half in Visalia and dropped three out of four games in a series that concluded last night. San Jose claimed the series opener last Thursday by a 7-2 score before the Rawhide took the next three games, 5-3, 10-2 and 2-1. The Giants were held to a total of just six runs over the final three games in the series. In last night’s finale, Visalia’s Rudy Flores and Raul Navarro connected for solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings respectively to propel the Rawhide to the victory. Visalia starting pitcher Braden Shipley, a 2013 first round draft pick, earned the win after recording 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. San Jose starter Kendry Flores struck out 13 batters in seven innings, but suffered the loss after surrendering both solo homers. The 13 strikeouts are the most by a Giants pitcher in a game this season. San Jose’s only run last night came on a Brian Ragira solo homer in the top of the ninth.

Three Straight Losses

The Giants enter tonight’s contest having lost their last three games. It marks the first time that San Jose has lost more than two in a row since a four-game slide from April 26-29. The Giants need a victory tonight to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season (four games: April 11-14, April 19-23, April 26-29). San Jose has also dropped five out of their last six games overall going back to the final week of the first half.

Offensive Struggles
San Jose has scored only 18 runs over the last eight games (2.3 per game). The Giants have been held to three runs or fewer in seven out of their last eight contests.

Versus The Nuts
The Giants are 6-6 against the Nuts this season, including a 3-1 mark at Municipal Stadium. San Jose won three out of four games versus Modesto from May 5-8 at Municipal Stadium. The clubs last met June 6-9 with the Giants and Nuts splitting a four-game set at John Thurman Field. Blake Miller (.442, 23-for-52, HR, 15 RBI) has been San Jose’s top hitter against Modesto this season. The Giants are under .500 against every North Division team this season with the exception of the Nuts. San Jose’s first 25 games of the second half will be played against North Division opponents (Visalia – 8, Stockton – 8, Modesto – 6, Bakersfield – 3).

Improved Pitching

San Jose’s 3.55 team ERA in June leads the California League. The Giants posted a 5.01 ERA in April before a 4.70 ERA in May.

Hot Hitters
Over his last 16 games, catcher Ben Turner owns a sizzling .411 batting average (23-for-56) with six doubles and seven RBI’s. Turner has a pair of three-hit games and two four-hit games during the stretch. First baseman Brian Ragira is hitting .358 (19-for-53) with 11 RBI’s in his last 14 games.

Home Run Drought

Brian Ragira’s ninth-inning homer last night broke a season-high streak of nine straight games for the Giants without a home run. Prior to Ragira’s blast, San Jose’s last home run was on June 7 in Modesto (Chuckie Jones). The Giants have hit just two home runs in the last 13 games overall.

Bullpen Standouts

Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (1.33 ERA – 4 ER/27.0 IP – in 17 appearances since the beginning of May), Steven Okert (1.23 ERA – 2 ER/14.2 IP – and nine saves over his last 14 appearances), Tyler Mizenko (seven straight scoreless outings – 8 IP) and Stephen Johnson (1.13 ERA – 2 ER/16.0 IP – in his last 11 games). Okert’s 19 saves overall this season lead the California League. He also picked-up the save in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game last Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Miller Among League’s Best

Infielder Blake Miller has 53 RBI’s this season to currently rank fifth in the California League. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average (.306), doubles (18), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.481) while he’s second on the team in home runs (7).

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, own the worst overall record in the league at 24-50. Modesto opened the second half by dropping three out of four games to the visiting High Desert Mavericks in a series that ended last night. The Nuts are ninth in the California League in batting average (.253), tied for ninth in home runs (41) and last in ERA (5.22). Modesto is 8-27 on the road this season. Left-hander Ryan Carpenter (1-3, 4.05) is expected to make the start for the Nuts in tonight’s series opener.

Giants Open Second Half In Visalia

San Jose Giants (34-36) at Visalia Rawhide (36-34)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Recreation Park

• Thursday, June 19, 7:00 PM
• Friday, June 20, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, June 21, 7:00 PM
• Sunday, June 22, 6:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Thursday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (3-4, 3.96)
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (7-4, 5.51)

Friday
San Jose – Pat Young (5-2, 5.59)
Visalia – Spencer Arroyo (4-3, 3.16)

Saturday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (4-6, 4.43)
Visalia – Aaron Blair (1-2, 4.26)

Sunday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-4, 5.19)
Visalia – Braden Shipley (0-1, 3.86)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin the second half this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Recreation Park. Joe Biagini (3-4, 3.96) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants have posted a 6-6 record versus Visalia this season and will play eight out of their first 11 games of the second half against the Rawhide.

First Half Review
The Giants finished in fourth place in the first half North Division standings with an overall record of 34-36. It marked the first time in 11 years that a San Jose team was below .500 in a first half (28-42 in 2003 – the last year the Giants missed the playoffs). After an 11-16 record in April, San Jose was an even 15-15 in May before going 8-5 in June first half games. The Giants ended the first half seventh in the league in batting average (.257) and sixth in ERA (4.52).

Recent Success
San Jose is 14-9 in their last 23 games dating back to May 22. The Giants’ consecutive losses to Stockton to end the first half marked the club’s first back-to-back defeats in June (last: May 28-29). San Jose hasn’t lost more than two in a row since a four-game slide from April 26-29.

Offensive Struggles
The Giants scored only five runs during their four-game series against Stockton to close out the first half (1-3 record). Last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Ports in the first half finale was the fourth time this season that San Jose was shutout. Only the Modesto Nuts (5) have been shutout more this year.

Okert Shines In All-Star Game

Giants closer Steven Okert picked-up the save in last Tuesday’s California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Wilmington, Delaware. Okert entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with the California League ahead by a 3-2 score. The left-hander retired all three batters he faced, including two via the strikeout, to strand a pair of inherited runners. Okert was San Jose’s only representative in the All-Star game. The former fourth round draft pick is 19-for-20 in save opportunities this season to go with a 1.57 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. His 19 saves lead the league.

Improved Pitching
San Jose’s 3.09 team ERA in June leads the California League. The Giants posted a 5.01 ERA in April before a 4.70 ERA in May. San Jose has allowed four runs or fewer in eight out of their last nine games.

On The Road

The Giants are 10-7 in their last 17 road games going back to May 14. A victory tonight would move San Jose’s overall road record this season (17-18) to .500.

Turner Heats Up
Over his last 12 games, catcher Ben Turner owns a sizzling .476 batting average (20-for-42) with five doubles and six RBI’s. Turner has a pair of three-hit games and two four-hit games during the stretch.

Bullpen Standouts
Recent bullpen standouts for the Giants include: Mason McVay (0.69 ERA – 2 ER/26.0 IP – in 16 appearances since the beginning of May), Steven Okert (1.32 ERA – 2 ER/13.2 IP – and nine saves over his last 13 appearances), Tyler Mizenko (six straight scoreless outings – 6 IP) and Stephen Johnson (1.20 ERA – 2 ER/15.0 IP – in his last 10 games).

Miller Among League’s Best
Infielder Blake Miller’s 52 RBI’s this season currently rank tied for fifth in the California League. Miller is tops on the Giants in batting average (.311), doubles (18), RBI’s and slugging percentage (.496) while he’s second on the team in home runs (7). Miller, a 25th round draft pick last year out of Western Oregon University, entered 2014 with only 41 games of professional experience.

Versus The North
San Jose’s first 25 games of the second half will be played against North Division opponents (Visalia – 8, Stockton – 8, Modesto – 6, Bakersfield – 3). The Giants will not play a South Division team until July 16 (Rancho Cucamonga).

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide

The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, finished the first half in third place in the North Division with a 36-34 record. Visalia has lost eight out of their last 11 games and are just 8-18 since May 19. The Rawhide rank fourth in the league in batting average (.267), fifth in home runs (70), and second in ERA (4.18). Visalia is 21-14 at home this season (15-20 on the road).

Episode 35 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcast
In the newest episode of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben review the first half. The two analyze the club’s recent success, take stock of the team’s top pitching prospects and look ahead to the second half of the season.

Giants Host Ports In Four-Game Series To Conclude First Half

Stockton Ports (34-32) at San Jose Giants (33-33)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Wednesday, June 11, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, June 12, 7:00 PM
• Friday, June 13, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, June 14, 5:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Wednesday
Stockton – Tim Atherton (5-2, 5.18)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-4, 5.87)

Thursday
Stockton – Sean Murphy (0-0, 2.16)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (4-1, 2.04)

Friday
Stockton – Seth Streich (7-4, 3.21)
San Jose – Ryan Bradley (0-3, 7.50)

Saturday

Stockton – Chris Lamb (2-0, 4.32)
San Jose – Pat Young (5-1, 5.50)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Close Out First Half With Four Games Against Stockton

The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a four-game series against the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium. Kendry Flores (3-4, 4.87) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. This four-game set versus Stockton concludes the first half of the season for San Jose.

Last Series
In their most recent series, the Giants split four games with the host Modesto Nuts. The Nuts snapped San Jose’s season-high five-game winning streak with a 4-3, 10-inning triumph over the Giants in the opener last Friday. Modesto catcher Will Swanner hit a game-winning two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th. San Jose bounced back the following night to post a 9-3 victory before the Nuts claimed an 11-5 decision on Sunday afternoon. In the finale on Monday, the Giants scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to rally past Modesto for a 7-3 win and earn a series split. Mitch Delfino delivered a go-ahead two-RBI triple in the eighth for San Jose. Chris Stratton picked-up the win after limiting the Nuts to two runs (one earned) over the first seven innings. Stratton struck out a season-high nine.

Won Seven Of Nine
San Jose enters tonight’s contest having won seven out of their last nine games. The Giants are also 13-6 in their last 19 games dating back to May 22.

June Offensive Surge
Through the first nine games of June (7-2 record), the Giants are batting .302 as a team and averaging 6.4 runs per game. San Jose hit .261 in April before batting at a .246 clip during May. Ben Turner (.519, 14-for-27, 5 RBI), Blake Miller (.405, 15-for-37, HR, 10 RBI) and Brian Ragira (.400, 12-for-30, 9 RBI) have been the Giants’ top hitters this month.

Avoiding A Sub-.500 First Half

San Jose’s overall record stands at 33-33 with four games remaining in the first half. The Giants last finished below .500 in a first half 11 years ago when the 2003 club went 28-42. San Jose needs to go at least 2-2 in their next four games to avoid a sub-.500 record in the half. This year marks only the second time (2012) in the last ten seasons that the Giants will not win the first half North Division title. This year’s club was last over the .500 mark overall on April 7 (3-2 record).

Okert Named To California League All-Star Team
Giants closer Steven Okert was named to the California League All-Star team last week. Okert is 18-for-19 in save opportunities this season to go with a 1.67 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. His 18 saves rank first in the league and are the most by a San Jose pitcher in a first half since Heath Hembree had 21 during the 2011 season. Okert owned just two career saves in two professional seasons prior to this year. The former fourth round draft pick is San Jose’s only All-Star representative this season. The California League All-Stars play the Carolina League All-Stars on Tuesday, June 17 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Giants-Ports Season Series
San Jose is 4-5 against Stockton this season. The Ports have won the last two series’ played between the teams. Stockton took two out of three from May 27-29 at Banner Island Ballpark after picking-up two victories in three games during a series from May 20-22 at Municipal Stadium. The Giants won two out of three from May 13-15 in Stockton. The teams play each other 29 times this year.

Bullpen Turnaround

The Giants bullpen has enjoyed a nice turnaround over the course of the first half. San Jose relievers struggled throughout April recording a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but rebounded to post a 3.49 ERA in May. Thus far in June, the Giants bullpen owns a combined 3.58 ERA. In addition to Okert, recent individual standouts include Mason McVay (19-inning scoreless streak snapped on Sunday), Stephen Johnson (nine straight scoreless outings totaling 13 innings) and Tyler Mizenko (2.08 ERA in his last 16 appearances). 2013 San Jose Relief Pitcher of the Year Bryce Bandilla joined the club from Richmond (AA) on May 27 and owns a 3.00 ERA (2 ER/6.0 IP) through his first seven appearances.

Miller Reaches 50 RBI’s For The Half
Infielder Blake Miller reached the 50-RBI mark for the season during last Sunday’s game in Modesto. Miller’s current total of 51 RBI’s rank fifth in the California League while his .323 batting average is eighth-best. He leads the team in batting average, doubles (18), RBI’s and slugging (.520) while ranking second in home runs (7). Miller brings a seven-game hitting streak into tonight’s action.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports

The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are tied for second in the North Division with a 34-32 record. Stockton has won nine out of their last 13 games. The Ports rank fifth in the league in batting average (.262), second in home runs (75) and fifth in ERA (4.37). Stockton is 14-17 on the road this season. First baseman Matt Olson is tied for first in the league with 15 home runs.

Streaking Giants Travel To Modesto For Four-Game Series

San Jose Giants (31-31) at Modesto Nuts (20-42)

San_Jose_Giants157At John Thurman Field
• Friday, June 6, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, June 7, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, June 8, 1:05 PM
• Monday, June 9, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
San Jose – Ryan Bradley (0-3, 8.70)
Modesto – Ben Alsup (0-7, 6.14)

Saturday
San Jose – Pat Young (4-1, 5.70)
Modesto – Devin Burke (4-2, 3.86)

Sunday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (3-3, 3.30)
Modesto – Matt Flemer (5-5, 4.61)

Monday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (3-6, 4.80)
Modesto – Ryan Carpenter (1-1, 2.01)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Modesto Tonight

The San Jose Giants begin a four-game series against the Modesto Nuts this evening at John Thurman Field. Ryan Bradley (0-3, 8.70) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series versus the Nuts and an off day, San Jose returns to Municipal Stadium on Wednesday for a four-game set against the Stockton Ports to close out the first half.

First Sweep

The Giants swept the visiting High Desert Mavericks in their most recent series earning victories of 5-2 on Tuesday, 11-8 on Wednesday and 4-1 last night. It marked San Jose’s first series sweep of the season. The big inning propelled the Giants throughout the series. All five runs on Tuesday were scored during a fourth-inning rally before an eight-run bottom of the second on Wednesday. Then in yesterday’s finale, San Jose scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Joe Kurrasch picked-up the win last night after limiting the Mavericks to one run on five hits over the first seven innings. Steven Okert notched his 18th save with a scoreless top of the ninth.

Five Wins In A Row
The Giants enter tonight’s contest riding a season-high five-game winning streak. The streak began with back-to-back wins at Inland Empire last Sunday-Monday before the three-game sweep of High Desert at Municipal Stadium. The Giants are also 11-4 in their last 15 games overall.

Offensive Surge
San Jose has scored 34 runs during their current five-game winning streak (6.8 per game) after scoring a total of just seven runs during their previous five games (2-3 record). The Giants had scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games before last Sunday’s 8-3 win at Inland Empire. San Jose is batting .297 as a team during the win streak.

Back At .500
Last night’s victory moved the Giants (31-31) back to .500 for the first time since April 18 when the club was 8-8. San Jose was last over the .500 mark during the opening week of the season (3-2 on April 7).

Okert Named To California League All-Star Team
Giants closer Steven Okert was named to the California League All-Star team earlier this week. Okert is a perfect 18-for-18 in save opportunities this season to go with a 1.14 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. His 18 saves rank first in the league and are the most by a San Jose pitcher in a first half since Heath Hembree had 21 during the 2011 season. Okert owned just two career saves in two professional seasons prior to this year. The former fourth round draft pick has worked 11 consecutive scoreless innings spanning his last 10 appearances dating back to May 17. Okert is San Jose’s only All-Star representative this season. The California League All-Stars play the Carolina League All-Stars on Tuesday, June 17 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Giants-Nuts Season Series

San Jose is 4-4 against Modesto this season. The Nuts claimed three out of four games in a series from April 28-May 1 at John Thurman Field. Modesto scored a total of 38 runs during the four-game set. The following week at Municipal Stadium (May 5-8), the Giants took three out of four from the Nuts. The clubs will play each other 24 times this season.

Miller Among League’s Best

Infielder Blake Miller is currently tied for fifth in the California League with 47 RBI’s. He leads the Giants in batting average (.308), doubles (15) and RBI’s while ranking second on the team in home runs (7). Over his last 19 games, Miller has 20 RBI’s while batting at a .342 clip (25-for-73, 4 HR).

Bullpen Turnaround

Over the last 28 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.34 ERA (29 ER/111.1 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April recording a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but rebounded to post a 3.49 ERA in May (1.72 thus far in June). In addition to Okert, recent individual standouts include Mason McVay (no earned runs allowed in his last 21 innings), Tyler Mizenko (2.51 ERA in his last 13 appearances) and Stephen Johnson (eight straight scoreless outings totaling 11 2/3 innings). San Jose’s seven losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Series Openers
The Giants have won their last four series openers. Prior to the current streak, San Jose had dropped seven straight series-opening contests.

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, have the worst record in the California League at 20-42. Modesto has lost five out of their last six games. The Nuts are ninth in the league in batting average (.253) and ninth in ERA (4.98). Modesto is 13-18 at home this season (7-24 on the road).

Giants Return Home For Three Games Against High Desert

High Desert Mavericks (31-28) at San Jose Giants (28-31)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Tuesday, June 3, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, June 5, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Tuesday
High Desert – Min-Sih Chen (2-3, 6.51)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (2-6, 5.09)

Wednesday
High Desert – Scott DeCecco (2-4, 5.68)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-4, 5.94)

Thursday

High Desert – Dylan Unsworth (4-4, 6.28)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (3-1, 2.22)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against High Desert Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a three-game series against the High Desert Mavericks at Municipal Stadium. Chris Stratton (2-6, 5.09) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 4-3 record on their road trip that concluded last night. San Jose picked-up one victory in three games against the Stockton Ports to begin the trip before taking three out of four from the Inland Empire 66ers. Against the 66ers, the Giants won the first game of the series on Friday by a 2-1 score before Inland Empire earned a 4-0 shutout victory over San Jose on Saturday. The Giants then took the series with wins of 8-3 on Sunday and 6-4 last night. In yesterday’s finale, Joe Biagini struck out a season-high eight and allowed just two runs over six innings to pick-up the win. Ydwin Villegas (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) hit a two-run home run while Shawn Payne (2-for-5, 2 SB) collected a pair of singles and stole two bases to lead San Jose offensively.

Offensive Surge
After scoring a total of just seven runs during the first five games of the road trip (2-3 record), San Jose plated 14 runs over the last two games to pick-up a pair of victories. The Giants had scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games before Sunday’s win at Inland Empire.

Winning Ways
San Jose is 8-4 in their last 12 games and owns a 16-11 record dating back to May 6. A victory tonight would move the Giants to within two games of the .500 mark for the first time since April 25 when the club was 10-12.

Versus The Mavericks
This series marks the first meeting of the season between San Jose and High Desert. The Mavericks make just one visit to Municipal Stadium this year. The Giants’ only trip to Adelanto is for a four-game series to end the regular season (August 29-September 1). San Jose is 10-10 against South Division opponents this season. After the current series, the Giants won’t play another South Division team until July 16-18 versus Rancho Cucamonga.

Miller Among League’s Best
Infielder Blake Miller is currently seventh in the California League with 42 RBI’s. He leads the Giants in batting average (.307), doubles (14) and RBI’s while ranking second on the team in home runs (6). Over his last 16 games, Miller is batting at a .344 clip (21-for-61) with three home runs and 15 RBI’s. He’s also batting .350 this season with runners in scoring position.

Close Calls Favor San Jose
The Giants are 18-11 (.621) in games decided by one or two runs this season, but just 10-20 (.333) in games decided by three runs or more. Five out of San Jose’s last six wins have been by one or two runs. The Giants have been outscored 32-5 in their last four losses.

Okert Perfect In Save Chances

Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 16-for-16 in save opportunities to go with a 1.21 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .216 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 16 saves this year rank first in the league.

Bullpen Turnaround

Over the last 25 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.47 ERA (28 ER/102.0 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April recording a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but rebounded to post a 3.49 ERA in May. Recent individual standouts include Mason McVay (no earned runs allowed in his last 20 innings), Tyler Mizenko (2.70 ERA in his last 12 appearances), Stephen Johnson (seven straight scoreless outings totaling 9 1/3 innings) and Tyler Rogers (2.55 ERA in his last 11 games). San Jose’s seven losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Payne Power

Outfielder Shawn Payne has 16 extra-base hits in his first 28 games with the Giants this season. Overall, Payne is batting .295 with 11 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 14 RBI’s. His .518 slugging percentage leads the team. Payne had just 17 extra-base hits in 73 games last year with San Jose (.229 AVG, 14 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR). Payne brings a five-game hitting streak into tonight’s action (.389, 7-for-18).

Opponent Notes: High Desert Mavericks
The High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, are in third place in the South Division with a 31-28 record – five games behind Lancaster for the top spot. The Mavericks are second in the league in batting average (.279), first in home runs (69) and last in ERA (5.05). Gabriel Guerrero (.322) and Jordy Lara (.321) rank seventh and eighth in the league respectively in batting average. Lara’s 11 home runs this season are tied for fifth in the California League. Mih-Sih Chen (2-3, 6.51) is expected to make the start tonight.

Giants Continue Road Trip At Inland Empire

San Jose Giants (25-30) at Inland Empire 66ers (20-35)
San_Jose_Giants157
At San Manuel Stadium

• Friday, May 30, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, May 31, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, June 1, 2:05 PM
• Monday, June 2, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (2-1, 2.82)
Inland Empire – Mark Sappington (0-1, 10.80)

Saturday
San Jose – Ryan Bradley (0-2, 9.59)
Inland Empire – Elliot Morris (0-0, 5.40)

Sunday
San Jose – Pat Young (3-1, 5.83)
Inland Empire – Dan Tobik (1-0, 2.84)

Monday

San Jose – Joe Biagini (2-3, 3.33)
Inland Empire – Mike Clevinger (1-1, 4.88)

Broadcast Information

The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Continue Road Trip At Inland Empire
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers at San Manuel Stadium. Joe Kurrasch (2-1, 2.82) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight.

Last Series

The Giants began their road trip by dropping two out of three games to the host Stockton Ports. San Jose earned a 2-1, 10-inning victory in the opener on Tuesday before Stockton posted back-to-back convincing wins of 10-2 on Wednesday and 8-1 yesterday to take the series. The Giants scored a total of just five runs during the three-game set and were outscored by a combined 18-3 over the last two nights. In yesterday’s finale, San Jose starter Kendry Flores suffered the loss after allowing a season-high seven runs (all earned) on seven hits in four innings. The Ports scored two runs in the third inning before a five-run bottom of the fourth against Flores to take control of the game. The Giants’ lone run of the night came on a Mitch Delfino RBI groundout in the top of the third. San Jose was held to five hits.

Lost Three Of Four

Since a season-high tying four-game winning streak from May 22-25, the Giants have lost three out of their last four.

Offensive Struggles
The Giants have scored three runs or fewer in each of their last six games (3-3 record). During the six-game span, San Jose has scored a total of just 13 runs while batting .218 as a team.

Versus The 66ers
Tonight marks San Jose’s first visit to San Manuel Stadium since last September’s Championship Series. The Giants are 3-3 against the 66ers this season with all games taking place at Municipal Stadium. San Jose won two out of three in a series from April 14-16 before Inland Empire claimed two out of three games from May 9-11. This series marks the final meeting of the year between the Giants and 66ers. San Jose is 7-9 against South Division opponents this season.

Miller Among League’s Best
Infielder Blake Miller is currently tied for fourth in the California League with 41 RBI’s. He leads the Giants in batting average (.310), doubles (13) and RBI’s while ranking second on the team in home runs (6). Over his last 12 games, Miller is batting at a .370 clip (17-for-46) with three home runs and 14 RBI’s. He’s also batting .368 this season with runners in scoring position.

Close Calls Favor San Jose

The Giants are 16-11 (.593) in games decided by one or two runs this season, but just 9-19 (.321) in games decided by three runs or more. San Jose has been outscored 28-5 in their last three losses.

Okert Perfect In Save Chances
Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 14-for-14 in save opportunities to go with a 1.30 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .198 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 14 saves this year rank tied for first in the league.

Bullpen Turnaround
Over the last 21 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.32 ERA (23 ER/89.1 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April posting a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but thus far in May, the Giants bullpen possesses a 3.45 ERA. Recent individual standouts include Tyler Mizenko (1.59 ERA in his last 10 appearances), Mason McVay (no earned runs allowed in his last 17 2/3 innings), Stephen Johnson (2.70 ERA in May) and Tyler Rogers (1.65 ERA in his last 10 games). San Jose’s seven losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Payne Power
Outfielder Shawn Payne has 15 extra-base hits in his first 24 games with the Giants this season. Overall, Payne is batting .286 with 10 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 14 RBI’s. His .531 slugging percentage leads the team. Payne had just 17 extra-base hits in 73 games last year with San Jose (.229 AVG, 14 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR).

In Search Of A Winning May
San Jose is 14-14 in May with two games remaining this month. Blake Miller (.308, 4 HR, 26 RBI) and Mitch Delfino (.298, 2 HR, 16 RBI) have been the Giants’ top hitters in May. San Jose went 11-16 in April.

Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are in last place in the South Division with a 20-35 record. The 66ers are last in the league in batting average (.248) and runs scored (3.8 per game) and fourth in ERA (4.22). Since taking the first two games of their series with San Jose on May 9-10, Inland Empire has posted a 5-13 record. The 66ers are 12-15 at home this season (8-20 on the road).

Episode 34 – Inside the San Jose Giants

podcastgraphicIn the latest episode of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben review the most recent homestand that saw the club win four games in a row, discuss Hunter Strickland’s return and make some goals for the remainder of the first half. The two also project which San Jose players could be named to the California League All-Star team.

Seven-Game Road Trip Begins Tonight In Stockton

San Jose Giants (24-28) at Stockton Ports (25-27)

San_Jose_Giants157At Banner Island Ballpark
• Tuesday, May 27, 7:05 PM
• Wednesday, May 28, 7:05 PM
• Thursday, May 29, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Tuesday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (2-3, 3.74)
Stockton – Zach Neal (0-0, 0.00)

Wednesday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (2-5, 4.44)
Stockton – Seth Streich (4-4, 3.61)

Thursday

San Jose – Kendry Flores (3-3, 5.09)
Stockton – Chris Lamb (0-0, 9.00)

Broadcast Information

The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Stockton Tonight

The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. Joe Biagini (2-3, 3.74) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the series versus the Ports, San Jose travels to San Bernardino for a four-game set against the Inland Empire 66ers. Beginning tonight, the Giants will play 11 out of their next 14 games on the road.

Homestand Review

The Giants posted a 4-3 record on their homestand that concluded yesterday afternoon. After back-to-back losses to Stockton to begin the homestand, San Jose avoided the sweep versus the Ports with an 11-inning victory in the series finale. The Giants then claimed three out of four against the Visalia Rawhide. San Jose won the first three games of their series versus the Rawhide by the scores of 6-2, 3-1 and 3-2 before Visalia salvaged the finale with a 10-2 victory over the Giants yesterday. San Jose was attempting to sweep their first series of the season before falling short yesterday.

Win Streak Snapped

Yesterday’s defeat to Visalia snapped the Giants’ season-high tying four-game winning streak. During the win streak, San Jose allowed a total of just six runs. The Giants previously won four in a row from April 15-18. San Jose is 12-8 in their last 20 games dating back to May 6.

Versus The Ports
The Giants are in the midst of playing Stockton nine times over a 17-day period from May 13-29. San Jose is 3-3 versus the Ports this season. The Giants took two out of three in a series at Banner Island Ballpark from May 13-15 before Stockton won two out of three at Municipal Stadium last Tuesday-Thursday. San Jose’s 29 games against the Ports this season are their most against any opponent.

Miller Among League’s Best
Infielder Blake Miller is currently eighth in the California League in batting average (.320) and third in RBI’s (41). He leads the Giants in hitting, doubles (13) and RBI’s. Miller’s six home runs are also second on the team. Over his last 10 games, Miller is batting at a .432 clip (16-for-37) with three home runs and 14 RBI’s. He’s also batting .392 this season with runners in scoring position.

Bullpen Turnaround

San Jose relievers have allowed only one earned run over the last six games in a stretch that spans 22 1/3 innings (0.40 ERA). In the last 18 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.03 ERA (18 ER/79.2 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April posting a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but thus far in May, the Giants bullpen possesses a 3.33 ERA. San Jose’s seven losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Payne’s Power Surge

Outfielder Shawn Payne has hit four home runs in 21 games this season with the Giants (.302 AVG) after hitting just one homer in 73 games for San Jose last year (.229 AVG). Over his last nine games, Payne is batting .333 (13-for-39) with three homers and eight RBI’s.

Close Calls
The Giants are 15-11 (.579) in games decided by one or two runs this season compared to 9-17 (.346) in games decided by three runs or more.

Blair’s Hitting Streak At Eight Games
Outfielder Elliott Blair brings an eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Blair is batting .333 (11-for-33) with one home run. Blair is hitting .308 overall this season with four home runs, a team-high four triples and 13 RBI’s in 38 games. Last year with the Giants, he hit just .229 with three homers and 26 RBI’s in 69 games.

Okert Perfect In Save Chances
Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities to go with a 1.35 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .194 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 13 saves this year rank second in the league.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports

The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are in third place in the North Division with a 25-27 record. Stockton has lost four out of their last five games. The Ports are fifth in the league in batting average (.260), first in home runs (57) and seventh in ERA (4.57). Stockton is 12-12 at home this season.

Giants Continue Homestand With Four-Game Series Against Visalia

Visalia Rawhide (29-19) at San Jose Giants (21-27)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Friday, May 23, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, May 24, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, May 25, 1:00 PM
• Monday, May 26, 2:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
Visalia – Spencer Arroyo (4-1, 2.45)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-3, 5.45)

Saturday
Visalia – Aaron Blair (0-0, 4.61)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (1-1, 3.31)

Sunday
Visalia – Jesse Darrah (3-1, 4.84)
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (2-2, 6.75)

Monday
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (5-3, 4.19)
San Jose – Pat Young (3-0, 4.26)

Broadcast Information
Friday’s series opener will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Rocky Koplik providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Visalia Tonight

The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Kendry Flores (2-3, 5.45) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight.

Last Series

The Giants dropped two out of three games to the visiting Stockton Ports to begin the current homestand. Stockton won the first two games of the series by the scores of 5-3 and 2-1 on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively before the Giants avoided the sweep with a 5-1, 11-inning victory yesterday afternoon. In the series finale, Blake Miller hit a grand slam with one out in the bottom of the 11th to lift San Jose to the win. Chris Stratton started on the mound for the Giants yesterday and worked a season-high seven innings with just one run and five hits allowed. Tyler Mizenko (2 IP) and Steven Okert (2 IP) then combined for four scoreless innings of relief before Miller’s game-winning blast.

First Walk-Off Win
Yesterday marked San Jose’s first walk-off victory of the season. The Giants had lost their previous four extra-inning games at home this year.

Home Struggles
Despite yesterday’s win, San Jose is only 10-14 at Municipal Stadium this season. Only the Modesto Nuts (9-15) have a worse home record in the California League. The Giants have hit considerably better on the road this year (.270 AVG, 5.1 runs per game) compared to at home (.246 AVG, 4.0 runs per game).

Frequent Opponents
The Giants are in the midst of a 17-game stretch (May 13-29) playing only Stockton and Visalia. The Giants are 3-5 against the Rawhide this season. Visalia won three out of four at Municipal Stadium from April 21-24 before the clubs split a four-game set at Recreation Park in a series that concluded last Monday.

Miller Extends Hitting Streak To Seven Games
Infielder Blake Miller brings a seven-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Miller is batting at a .419 clip (13-for-31) with three doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI’s. Miller is currently tied for seventh in the league in batting average (.321) and tied for third in RBI’s (39). Yesterday was Miller’s second grand slam this season – tops in the league. Earlier this season, he hit safely in 15 straight games (April 16-May 3).

Bullpen Turnaround
Over the last 14 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.40 ERA (17 ER/63.2 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April posting a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but thus far in May, the Giants bullpen possesses a 3.84 ERA. San Jose’s seven losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Minicozzi Returns
Infielder Mark Minicozzi was added to San Jose’s roster from the Fresno (AAA) disabled list on May 16. Minicozzi is recovering from a separated left shoulder sustained on April 5 while playing for the Grizzlies. In seven games with San Jose, Minicozzi is 9-for-25 (.360) with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI’s. Minicozzi, 31, was originally drafted by San Francisco in 2005 and played in 144 games with San Jose during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Minicozzi was released by the Giants in 2008, spent three years (2009-11) playing independent league ball and then resigned with San Francisco as a minor league free agent in 2012. He led the Double-A Eastern League with a .309 batting average last season while playing for Richmond (30 2B, 10 HR, 66 RBI).

Payne’s Power Surge
Outfielder Shawn Payne has hit three home runs in his last six games. Payne has four home runs in 18 games overall this season with the Giants (.316 AVG) after hitting just one homer in 73 games for San Jose last year.

Series Opener Difficulties
The Giants have lost their last seven series openers. San Jose last won the first game of a series on April 25 versus the Bakersfield Blaze at Municipal Stadium.

Okert Perfect In Save Chances
Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities to go with a 1.46 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .198 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 11 saves this season rank second in the league.

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide

The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are in second place in the North Division with a 29-19 record – two games behind Bakersfield for the top spot. Visalia is 9-4 in their last 13 games. The Rawhide are fourth in the league in batting average (.270), second in home runs (54) and second in ERA (3.58). Visalia is 12-12 on the road this season (17-7 at home).

Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight Against Stockton

Stockton Ports (22-23) at San Jose Giants (20-25)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Tuesday, May 20, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, May 21, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, May 22, 11:35 AM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Tuesday
Stockton – Hunter Adkins (0-2, 4.78)
San Jose – Pat Young (3-0, 4.36)

Wednesday
Stockton – Tim Atherton (3-0, 3.89)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (2-2, 3.89)

Thursday
Stockton – TBA
San Jose – Chris Stratton (2-5, 4.97)

Broadcast Information

Wednesday’s game will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Stockton Tonight

The San Jose Giants open a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium. Pat Young (3-0, 4.36) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series versus the Ports, San Jose hosts the Visalia Rawhide for a four-game set beginning on Friday. The Giants are in the midst of a 17-game stretch (May 13-29) playing only Stockton and Visalia.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 4-3 record on their road trip that concluded yesterday. San Jose began the trip by taking two out of three in Stockton before splitting a four-game series with Visalia. The series victory against the Ports was the Giants’ first on the road since winning two out of three in Bakersfield from April 17-19.

Offense Erupts

San Jose achieved a new season-high in runs scored yesterday afternoon in their 12-8 win over Visalia at Recreation Park. It marked the second time this year that the Giants have scored at least 10 runs. San Jose’s 16 hits and three home runs also matched season-high totals. 10 of the Giants’ 16 hits yesterday went for extra bases (five doubles, two triples and three home runs). Additionally, the five runs scored by San Jose in the top of the sixth tied for their highest scoring inning of the year.

Recent Success
Since falling to a season-high eight games under .500 on May 5 (12-20), the Giants have posted an 8-5 record.

Odds And Ends
Last Saturday’s 7-6, 11-inning victory over Visalia was the Giants’ first extra-inning win this season (1-4) … Saturday was also the largest deficit overcome (five runs) by San Jose to win a game this year … The Giants are 13-9 (.591) in games decided by one or two runs this season compared to 7-16 (.304) in games decided by three runs or more.

Minicozzi Returns
Infielder Mark Minicozzi was added to San Jose’s roster from the Fresno (AAA) disabled list on Friday. Minicozzi is recovering from a separated left shoulder sustained on April 5 while playing for the Grizzlies. Minicozzi, 31, was originally drafted by San Francisco in 2005 and played in 144 games with San Jose during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Minicozzi was released by the Giants in 2008, spent three years (2009-11) playing independent league ball and then resigned with San Francisco as a minor league free agent in 2012. He led the Double-A Eastern League with a .309 batting average last season while playing for Richmond (30 2B, 10 HR, 66 RBI).

Bullpen Turnaround
Over the last 11 games, the Giants bullpen has compiled a stellar 2.38 ERA (14 ER/53.0 IP). San Jose relievers struggled throughout April posting a cumulative 5.48 ERA, but thus far in May, the Giants bullpen possesses a 4.03 ERA. San Jose’s six losses when leading after six innings and four losses when leading after seven innings are still league-high totals.

Starters Scuffling
San Jose starting pitchers have not worked past the second inning in each of the last three games. Over the last three contests, Giants starters have allowed a total of 17 runs (15 ER) in 5 1/3 innings. During the road trip, San Jose starting pitchers had an 11.57 ERA.

Delfino Delivers

Third baseman Mitch Delfino is tied for seventh in the California League in home runs (8) and tied for tenth in RBI’s (29) to go with a .313 batting average. Delfino also ranks as the second-toughest player in the league to strikeout (one strikeout every 10.4 at-bats). Delfino has hit safely in 24 out of his last 28 games.

Okert Perfect In Save Chances
Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities to go with a 1.59 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .202 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 11 saves this season rank tied for first in the league.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports

The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are in third place in the North Division with a 22-23 record. Stockton is sixth in the league in batting average (.255), first in home runs (54) and seventh in ERA (4.55). First baseman Matt Olson leads the league with 11 home runs.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Visalia

San Jose Giants (18-23) at Visalia Rawhide (26-15)

San_Jose_Giants157At Recreation Park
• Friday, May 16, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, May 17, 7:00 PM
• Sunday, May 18, 1:00 PM
• Monday, May 19, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (2-4, 5.30)
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (4-2, 3.26)

Saturday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-3, 4.26)
Visalia – Andrew Barbosa (2-1, 2.52)

Sunday
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (1-0, 1.26)
Visalia – Spencer Arroyo (3-1, 2.31)

Monday

San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-2, 9.15)
Visalia – Aaron Blair (0-0, 2.08)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and through the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Visalia

The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Recreation Park. Chris Stratton (2-4, 5.30) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. San Jose returns to Municipal Stadium on Tuesday to begin a seven-game homestand.

Last Series

San Jose began the road trip by winning two out of three games against the host Stockton Ports in a series that concluded yesterday afternoon. After the Ports posted a 10-5 win in the opener on Tuesday, the Giants earned victories of 7-5 on Wednesday and 6-4 yesterday to take the series. It marked San Jose’s first road series win since they claimed two out of three games in Bakersfield from April 17-19. In yesterday’s finale, Brett Krill (3-for-3, 2B, three runs scored) had a perfect afternoon at the plate while Mitch Delfino slugged his team-leading eighth home run of the season to lead the way. Starting pitcher Joe Biagini picked-up the win after tossing five innings with three runs (all earned) and six hits allowed. Biagini walked one and struck out four. Steven Okert surrendered one run in the bottom of the ninth, but managed to record the save.

Improved Pitching
Since falling to a season-high eight games under .500 on May 5 (12-20), the Giants have posted a 6-3 record. During the nine-game span, San Jose owns a 4.06 ERA. In their previous 16 games, the Giants had a team ERA of 6.75 (4-12 record).

Versus The Rawhide
This series marks San Jose’s first visit of the season to Recreation Park in Visalia. The clubs previously met at Municipal Stadium from April 21-24 with the Rawhide taking three out of four games. Visalia won the first three contests by the scores of 5-4 (13 innings), 4-2 and 12-4 before the Giants avoided the sweep with a 10-9 triumph in the finale. Jesus Galindo (.474, 9-for-19, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB) was San Jose’s top hitter during the series.

Payne’s Power Surge
Outfielder Shawn Payne became the third San Jose Giant (Mitch Delfino, Elliott Blair) to hit two home runs in a single game when he accomplished the feat in Wednesday’s victory over Stockton. Payne hit the first pitch of the game for a home run before clubbing a two-run homer in the top of the sixth. Payne has three home runs in 14 games with San Jose this season (.293 AVG) after hitting just one homer in 73 games with the Giants last year (.229 AVG).

Close Calls Favor San Jose

The Giants are 12-9 (.571) in games decided by one or two runs this season compared to 6-14 (.300) in games decided by three runs or more.

Delfino Delivers
Third baseman Mitch Delfino is fifth in the California League in batting average (.331), tied for fifth in home runs (8) and seventh in RBI’s (29) while ranking as the fourth-toughest player to strikeout (one strikeout every 9.9 at-bats). Delfino has hit safely in 21 out of his last 24 games. In 14 games this month, he’s batting at a .362 clip with two home runs and 10 RBI’s.

Trouble Holding Leads

The Giants have lost a league-high six games this year when leading after six innings (Inland Empire next-closest with four). San Jose’s four losses when leading after seven innings and three losses when ahead after eight are also tops in the league. The Giants have lost four games this season when having a lead of at least four runs while the club’s nine blown saves overall are the most in the California League. Despite the overall struggles, the San Jose bullpen has fared better in May (4.56 ERA) compared to April (5.48 ERA).

Okert Perfect In Save Chances
Steven Okert has excelled in closing games this season as the left-hander is a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities to go with a 1.74 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .208 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s 10 saves this season rank tied for first in the league.

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide

The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are in second place in the North Division with a 26-15 record – one game behind Bakersfield (27-14) for the top spot. Visalia has swept their last two series’ and has won six consecutive games overall. The Rawhide rank fourth in the league in batting average (.269), third in runs scored (5.2 per game) and first in ERA (3.29). Visalia has allowed a total of just nine runs during their current six-game win streak. Brandon Sinnery (4-2, 3.26) is expected to make the start in tonight’s series opener.

Giants Begin Seven-Game Road Trip With Series In Stockton

San Jose Giants (16-22) at Stockton Ports (19-19)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Banner Island Ballpark

• Tuesday, May 13, 7:05 PM
• Wednesday, May 14, 7:05 PM
• Thursday, May 15, 11:05 AM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Tuesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-1, 7.13)
Stockton – Seth Streich (3-2, 3.00)

Wednesday
San Jose – Pat Young (2-0, 3.86)
Stockton – Josh Bowman (0-4, 7.30)

Thursday

San Jose – Joe Biagini (1-2, 3.66)
Stockton – TBA

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and through the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Road Trip In Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. Martin Agosta (1-1, 7.13) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series against the Ports, San Jose travels to Visalia for a four-game set versus the Rawhide beginning on Friday.

Homestand Review

The Giants went 4-3 during their seven-game homestand that concluded on Sunday afternoon. It was the first time this season San Jose posted a winning record on a homestand. The Giants first won three out of four games against the Modesto Nuts before picking-up one victory in three contests versus the Inland Empire 66ers over the weekend. The series win to begin the homestand was San Jose’s first since taking two out of three games in Bakersfield from April 17-19.

First Shutout
In their most recent game last Sunday, the Giants crushed the Inland Empire 66ers by a 9-0 score – San Jose’s first shutout of the season. Prior to Sunday, the Giants had been one of two teams in the California League this year without a shutout (Modesto). The nine-run difference was also San Jose’s largest margin of victory in a game this year. The Giants’ 16 hits in the contest matched a season-high.

Who Are You?
This evening marks the first meeting of the season between North Division rivals San Jose and Stockton. Starting tonight, the Giants will play nine out of their next 17 games against the Ports. San Jose’s 29 games versus Stockton this season is their most against any opponent.

Improving Pitching
Over their last six games, San Jose owns a 3.38 ERA (4-2 record). In their previous 16 games, the Giants had a team ERA of 6.75 (4-12 record).

Roster Moves
Prior to tonight’s game, the Giants added outfielder Brett Krill to their roster from Double-A Richmond. In 21 games for the Flying Squirrels this season, Krill hit .213 with four doubles, no home runs and nine RBI’s. Krill, who spent all of last season in Richmond (.258, 2 HR, 28 RBI), was originally a 25th round draft pick in 2010 out of UCLA. Outfielder Chris Lofton (.189, 0 HR, 4 RBI) has been transferred to Class-A Augusta.

Extra-Inning Issues

With last Saturday’s 11-inning defeat to Inland Empire, San Jose is now 0-4 this season in extra-inning games. All four losses for the Giants have been at Municipal Stadium.

Hitting Leaders
Third baseman Mitch Delfino is ninth in the California League in batting average (.322), tied for fifth in home runs (7) and tied for sixth in RBI’s (27) while ranking as the fourth-toughest player to strikeout (one strikeout every 9.1 at-bats). Center fielder Jesus Galindo is tied for seventh in stolen bases (10) to go with a .315 batting average.

Trouble Holding Leads

The Giants have lost a league-high six games this year when leading after six innings (Inland Empire next-closest with four). San Jose’s four losses when leading after seven innings and three losses when ahead after eight are also tops in the league. The Giants have lost four games this season when having a lead of at least four runs.

Okert Closes It Out

While the Giants bullpen has struggled overall this season, Steven Okert has excelled in closing games. The left-hander is a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities this year to go with a 1.45 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .188 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s eight saves this year rank tied for second in the league.

Miller’s Offensive Surge
Shortstop Blake Miller is batting .363 with three home runs and 18 RBI’s in his last 23 games. Miller hit safely in 15 straight games from April 16-May 3 – tied for the longest hitting streak in the California League this season.

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are in third place in the North Division with a 19-19 record. Stockton has won five games in a row after losing six straight. The Ports are seventh in the league in batting average (.248), first in home runs (45) and seventh in ERA (4.40).

Giants Host Inland Empire In Three-Game Weekend Series

Inland Empire 66ers (13-22) at San Jose Giants (15-20)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Friday, May 9, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, May 10, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, May 11, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
Inland Empire – Nate Smith (4-3, 3.28)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.83)

Saturday
Inland Empire – Kyle McGowin (1-3, 2.29)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-3, 4.02)

Sunday
Inland Empire – Alex Keudell (1-5, 10.08)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (0-0, 2.45)

Broadcast Information
The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano on Friday and Rocky Koplik on Saturday. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Inland Empire

The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers at Municipal Stadium. Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.83) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Stratton picked-up the win in his most recent start on May 3 at Lancaster after working a season-high 6 2/3 innings with three runs allowed and three strikeouts.

Last Series
The Giants won three out of four games against the visiting Modesto Nuts to begin the homestand. After the Nuts earned a 6-1 victory in the opener on Monday, San Jose posted three straight wins by the scores of 6-4 on Tuesday, 6-5 on Wednesday and 4-1 last night to take the series. Tuesday’s triumph was the Giants’ first win this year when trailing after seven innings. In yesterday’s finale, San Jose starter Joe Biagini struck out a season-high seven and allowed just one run on five hits over six innings to pick-up the win. Mason McVay followed with two scoreless innings of relief before Tyler Rogers pitched the ninth for his first save of the year. Offensively, Brian Ragira delivered a two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth and Blake Miller connected for a two-RBI double in the eighth inning to account for all of the Giants’ runs.

Three Straight Wins
San Jose enters tonight’s contest riding a three-game winning streak. Prior to the three straight wins, the Giants had gone 4-12 in their last 16. San Jose had also lost their last four series’ before taking three out of four from Modesto to begin the current homestand. It marked the Giants’ first series win since they took two out of three games in Bakersfield from April 17-19. A victory tonight would match San Jose’s longest win streak of the season (four games, April 15-18).

Close Calls

Six out of San Jose last eight wins, including two victories in their most recent series, have been by one or two runs. The Giants are 6-4 in one-run games this season.

Hitting Leaders
Center fielder Jesus Galindo (.326) and third baseman Mitch Delfino (.321) rank sixth and eleventh respectively in the California League in batting average. Delfino is also tied for third in home runs (7) and sixth in RBI’s (26) while ranking as the fourth-toughest player in the league to strikeout (one strikeout every 9.4 at-bats). Galindo’s 10 stolen bases this year are tied for fifth in the league and his 44 hits are tied for third.

Bullpen Struggles
Despite three scoreless innings from relievers last night, over the last 16 games, the San Jose bullpen has posted a 6.99 ERA (52 ER/67.0 IP). The Giants lead the league with nine blown saves this season. San Jose has lost six games this year when leading after six innings – twice as many defeats as the next-closest team in the league.

Okert Closes It Out

While the Giants bullpen has struggled overall this season, Steven Okert has excelled in closing games. The left-hander is a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities this year to go with a 1.08 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. Okert is limiting the opposition to a .153 batting average. Prior to this year, Okert had collected just two career saves in two professional seasons. Okert’s eight saves this year rank tied for second in the league.

First Half Midpoint
After last night’s game, the Giants (15-20) reached the midpoint of the first half. San Jose had a 24-11 record after 35 games last season en route to winning the first half North Division title.

Miller’s Offensive Surge
Shortstop Blake Miller is batting .375 (30-for-80) with three home runs and 17 RBI’s in his last 20 games. Miller hit safely in 15 straight games from April 16-May 3 – tied for the longest hitting streak in the California League this season.

Excelling With Runners In Scoring Position
Blake Miller (.364), Jesus Galindo (.364), Mitch Delfino (.354), Shawn Payne (.333) and Elliott Blair (.308) all boast batting averages over .300 this season with runners in scoring position.

Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers

The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are in last place in the South Division with a 13-22 record. Inland Empire is ninth in the league in batting average (.239), last in runs scored (3.7 per game) and fourth in ERA (3.86). The 66ers snapped a five-game losing streak with a win in Bakersfield last night. San Jose won two out of three from Inland Empire in their only previous meeting (April 14-16 at Municipal Stadium).

Episode 33 – Inside the San Jose Giants

podcastgraphicIn the latest episode of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben evaluate the state of the team one month into the season. The two discuss the recent struggles of the pitching staff, Mac Williamson’s future, the club’s top hitting standouts and look ahead to the remainder of the first half.

Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight Against Modesto

Modesto Nuts (9-22) at San Jose Giants (12-19)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Monday, May 5, 7:00 PM
• Tuesday, May 6, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, May 7, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, May 8, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
Modesto – Devin Burke (0-1, 11.05)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (0-0, 7.71)

Tuesday
Modesto – Ryan Gibbard (0-4, 7.04)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-1, 7.11)

Wednesday
Modesto – Andrew Brown (1-3, 7.76)
San Jose – Pat Young (2-0, 4.18)

Thursday
Modesto – Matt Flemer (3-2, 6.07)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-2, 4.15)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Joe Kurrasch (0-0, 7.71) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series versus the Nuts, San Jose hosts the Inland Empire 66ers in a three-game set beginning on Friday.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 2-5 record during their seven-game road trip that ended yesterday. San Jose dropped three out of four to the Modesto Nuts to begin the trip before picking-up one victory in three games against the Lancaster JetHawks. In yesterday’s finale, the Giants were unable to hold a 5-1 lead as Lancaster rallied for an 8-6 win to take the series. The JetHawks took the lead for good with a six-run bottom of the seventh inning. Mitch Delfino (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) homered and drove in three runs to lead San Jose offensively in defeat.

Lost 11 Of 15
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having lost 11 out of their last 15 games. San Jose owns a 7.00 ERA (105 ER/135.0 IP) during the 15-game stretch. The Giants have lost their last four series.’ San Jose last’s series win was April 17-19 when they took two out of three games in Bakersfield.

League Leaderboard
Mitch Delfino (.336) and Jesus Galindo (.319) rank fourth and ninth in the California League respectively in batting average. Delfino’s seven home runs this season are also tied for second in the league – just one behind High Desert’s Patrick Kivlehan for the lead. Out of the bullpen, Steven Okert is tied for third with six saves while Tyler Mizenko has appeared in a league-high 15 games.

Miller’s Hit Streak Ends At 15 Games
Shortstop Blake Miller saw his hitting streak end at 15 games with an 0-for-4 yesterday in Lancaster. During the streak, Miller hit at a .400 clip (24-for-60) with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 14 RBI’s. Miller tied Rancho Cucamonga’s Adam Law (15 games, April 10-27) for the longest hitting streak in the California League this season.

Trouble Holding Leads
With yesterday’s defeat, the Giants have now lost six games this season when leading after six innings – twice as many defeats as the next-closest team in the league. The San Jose bullpen has a 5.95 ERA this season. Additionally, the Giants have lost three games when leading after eight innings this year – also tops in the California League.

Giants-Nuts Season Series
This series marks Modesto’s first trip to Municipal Stadium this season. The Giants are 1-3 against the Nuts this year after dropping three out of four games in Modesto last week. The Nuts won the first two games of the series by the scores of 11-3 and 12-9 before the Giants secured a 9-5 victory in the third contest. In the finale, Modesto rallied from an 8-0 deficit to earn a 10-8 win and take the series. To date, it is the Nuts’ only series win of the season. Blake Miller (.444, 8-for-18, HR, 8 RBI) was San Jose’s top hitter during the series. The Giants and Nuts will play each other 24 times this season.

Payne Provides Lift To Offense
In five games since joining the club from Augusta, outfielder Shawn Payne is 8-for-19 (.421) with six doubles and four RBI’s. Payne is also 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Last year, Payne played in 73 games with the Giants and hit .229 with one home run, 29 RBI’s and 21 stolen bases.

Runners In Scoring Position
Mitch Delfino is batting a team-high .400 (16-for-40) this season with runners in scoring position. Blake Miller (.357), Elliott Blair (.333) and Jesus Galindo (.316) are also batting above .300 with runners in scoring position.

Top Prospects

Six players on San Jose’s roster – all pitchers – are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America: Chris Stratton (#3), Kendry Flores (#14), Joan Gregorio (#17), Martin Agosta (#21), Steven Okert (#24) and Stephen Johnson (#28).

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are in last place in the North Division with a 9-22 record. Modesto is seventh in the league in batting average (.251), ninth in runs scored (4.2 per game) and last in ERA (5.79). The Nuts are 2-11 on the road this year. Modesto shortstop Trevor Story, a former first round draft pick, is second in the league in batting average (.343), tied for second in doubles (11) and fifth in slugging (.569).

Giants Continue Road Trip In Lancaster

San Jose Giants (11-17) at Lancaster JetHawks (16-12)

San_Jose_Giants157At The Hangar
• Friday, May 2, 6:30 PM
• Saturday, May 3, 6:00 PM
• Sunday, May 4, 2:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-1, 2.57)
Lancaster – Mike Hauschild (1-1, 4.50)

Saturday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (1-3, 5.04)
Lancaster – Kyle Westwood (1-2, 2.90)

Sunday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-3, 4.26)
Lancaster – TBA

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and through the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Lancaster
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at The Hangar. In their only previous meeting this season, Lancaster swept a three-game series against San Jose from April 7-9 at The Hangar. The JetHawks scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally for a 2-1 victory in the opener before earning victories of 4-2 and 9-4 over the next two nights. Mitch Delfino homered twice for the Giants in the series finale. This series marks San Jose’s last trip to Lancaster this season. The JetHawks’ lone visit to Municipal Stadium is for a four-game set from August 7-10.

Last Series
The Giants dropped three out of four to the host Modesto Nuts in a series that concluded last night. The Nuts earned victories of 11-3 on Monday and 12-9 on Tuesday before San Jose secured a 9-5 win on Wednesday. In yesterday’s finale, the Giants jumped out to an 8-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings before Modesto scored 10 unanswered runs to come-from-behind and win by a 10-8 margin. The Nuts plated four runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the contest before taking the lead with a two-run eighth inning. Blake Miller (1-for-5, HR, 4 RBI) hit San Jose’s first grand slam of the season in the loss last night.

Lost 9 Of 12
San Jose has lost nine out of their last 12 games. The Giants dropped a season-high tying four in a row from April 19-23 and following two straight wins, lost four straight again from April 26-29. San Jose has suffered three separate four-game losing streaks this season.

Miller Extends Hit Streak To 13 Games

Shortstop Blake Miller brings a 13-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Miller is batting at a .396 clip (21-for-53) with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 13 RBI’s. Miller is 7-for-15 (.467) with a home run over his last three games. He’s raised his season batting average from .138 to .305 during the streak. Miller owns the longest active hitting streak in the California League.

Pitching Struggles
The Giants own an 8.10 team ERA (72 ER/80.0 IP) over their last nine games (3-6 record). San Jose has allowed 78 runs over the nine-game stretch. The Giants have surrendered 10+ runs in four out of their last five games. San Jose is currently ninth in the league with a 5.21 team ERA.

Roster Moves
San Jose has made a flurry of roster moves this week. Pitchers Tyler Rogers and Joe Kurrasch have joined the team from Augusta (A) and Extended Spring Training respectively. Rogers previously played for the Giants during the 2013 postseason. Outfielder Shawn Payne was also added to the roster from Augusta. Payne played in 73 games with San Jose last year hitting .229 with one home run, 29 RBI’s and 21 stolen bases. Pitchers Ryan Bradley, Ian Gardeck and Joan Gregorio have been placed on the disabled list.

League Leaderboard
Center fielder Jesus Galindo is tied for sixth in the California League with a .330 batting average. Galindo is also tied for fifth in the league in hits (35) and tied for sixth in stolen bases (8) with teammate Rando Moreno. Third baseman Mitch Delfino has clubbed a team-high six home runs this season to rank tied for third in the league. Additionally, Steven Okert’s five saves are fifth in the California League.

Offensive Surge
Over the last three games, San Jose has scored 26 runs (8.7 per game) and is batting .348 as a team.

Trouble Holding Leads
The Giants have lost four games this season when leading after seven innings – twice as many defeats as the next-closest team in the league. The San Jose bullpen has a 5.79 ERA this season. Additionally, the Giants have lost three games when leading after eight innings this year – also tops in the California League.

Top Prospects
Six players on San Jose’s roster – all pitchers – are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America: Chris Stratton (#3), Kendry Flores (#14), Joan Gregorio (#17), Martin Agosta (#21), Steven Okert (#24) and Stephen Johnson (#28).

Opponent Notes: Lancaster JetHawks
The Lancaster JetHawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, are tied for second in the South Division with a 16-12 record – one game behind Lake Elsinore (17-11) for the top spot. Lancaster is fourth in the league in batting average (.263), fourth in runs scored (5.0 per game) and sixth in ERA (4.12). The JetHawks have lost six out of their last nine games.

Giants Begin Seven-Game Road Trip Tonight In Modesto

San Jose Giants (10-14) at Modesto Nuts (6-18)

San_Jose_Giants157At John Thurman Field
• Monday, April 28, 7:05 PM
• Tuesday, April 29, 7:05 PM
• Wednesday, April 30, 3:30 PM
• Thursday, May 1, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-2, 4.03)
Modesto – Matt Flemer (2-1, 5.60)

Tuesday
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (2-1, 4.66)
Modesto – Ben Alsup (0-3, 6.23)

Wednesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-1, 4.66)
Modesto – Devin Burke (0-1, 13.50)

Thursday

San Jose – Pat Young (2-0, 3.38)
Modesto – Ryan Gibbard (0-4, 5.85)

Broadcast Information

The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and through the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Road Trip In Modesto Tonight

The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field. Kendry Flores (2-2, 4.03) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series against the Nuts, San Jose travels to Lancaster for a three-game set versus the JetHawks beginning on Friday.

Last Series
The Giants dropped two out of three games to the visiting Bakersfield Blaze in a series that ended yesterday afternoon. San Jose rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat the Blaze by a 5-3 score last Friday before Bakersfield responded with a 6-3, 11-inning win on Saturday and a 10-2 blowout of the Giants yesterday. In the finale, Blaze starter Ben Lively won his fifth straight start to begin the year after tossing six scoreless innings with five hits allowed, no walks and seven strikeouts. Bakersfield then blew the game open with a six-run top of the eighth. San Jose’s lone offense came on Mitch Delfino’s two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. The Giants finished their seven-game homestand with a 2-5 record.

Lost In Six Of Eight
San Jose enters tonight’s contest having lost six out of their last eight games. The Giants (10-14) are a season-high tying four games under .500. The last time a San Jose team was five games under .500 was early in the 2005 season (2-7 record on 4/16/05).

Trouble Holding Leads

After failing to hold a ninth-inning lead on Saturday, the Giants have now suffered a league-high three losses this season when ahead after eight innings. The other nine teams in the California League have combined to lose only five games when taking a lead into the ninth. Additionally, San Jose has now lost four games this year when leading after seven innings – also tops in the league. By comparison, the Giants are one of only three teams (Rancho Cucamonga and Visalia) that has yet to win a game this season when trailing after seven innings.

Williamson Departs

DH Mac Williamson was transferred to Extended Spring Training yesterday. Williamson, who started at designated hitter in San Jose’s first 23 games, has yet to play in the field this season due to a right elbow injury. He was hitting .318 with seven doubles, three home runs, 11 RBI’s and six stolen bases for the Giants this year. Last season, Williamson led San Jose in home runs (25), RBI’s (89), runs scored (94), hits (152) and games played (136) to go with a .292 batting average.

Losing Month

Yesterday’s defeat guaranteed the Giants a losing record for the month of April. It marks San Jose’s first losing month since July 2012 (13-15).

Galindo’s Power Surge
Center fielder Jesus Galindo homered in back-to-back games for the Giants last Wednesday and Thursday against Visalia – his first two home runs of the season. The switch-hitter clubbed a homer batting right-handed on Wednesday before going deep as a left-handed batter the next night. Prior to the game five days ago, Galindo had hit just three career home runs in 1,226 at-bats over 5+ professional seasons. Over his last eight games, Galindo is 15-for-34 (.441) with three doubles, two home runs and four RBI’s. His .355 batting average this season leads the team and is third in the California League.

Score First

The Giants are 8-3 this season when scoring the games first run, but just 2-11 when their opponent scores first.

Miller Extends Hit Streak To Nine Games

Shortstop Blake Miller brings a nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Miller is batting .371 (13-for-35) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and five RBI’s. He’s raised his season batting average from .138 to .266 over the last nine games. The hit streak is the second-longest by a Giants player this season (Galindo, 10 games, April 6-17).

Top Prospects

Six players on San Jose’s roster – all pitchers – are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America: Chris Stratton (#3), Kendry Flores (#14), Joan Gregorio (#17), Martin Agosta (#21), Steven Okert (#24) and Stephen Johnson (#28).

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, own the worst record in the league at 6-18. This series marks the first meeting of the season between the Giants and the Nuts. Modesto is eighth in the California League in batting average (.233), last in runs scored (3.2 per game) and last in ERA (5.63). The Nuts are 4-7 at home this season (2-11 on the road).

Giants Host Bakersfield In Three-Game Weekend Series

Bakersfield Blaze (15-6) at San Jose Giants (9-12)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Friday, April 25, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, April 26, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, April 27, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday
Bakersfield – Drew Cisco (1-1, 6.10)
San Jose – Pat Young (2-0, 3.00)

Saturday

Bakersfield – Mike Dennhardt (0-1, 4.50)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-1, 2.93)

Sunday
Bakersfield – Ben Lively (4-0, 0.39)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.95)

Broadcast Information

The games on Friday and Sunday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo and Rocky Koplik handling the play-by-play and color commentary duties respectively. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Pat Young (2-0, 3.00) is slated to make the start for the Giants in Friday's series opener against the Blaze

Pat Young (2-0, 3.00) is slated to make the start for the Giants in Friday’s series opener against the Blaze

Giants Continue Homestand Against Bakersfield
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze at Municipal Stadium. Pat Young (2-0, 3.00) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Young, a 13th round draft pick in 2013, will be making his third consecutive start versus the Blaze.

Last Series
San Jose lost three out of four games to the visiting Visalia Rawhide in a series that concluded last night. Visalia won the first three games of the series earning victories of 5-4 in 13 innings on Monday, 4-2 on Tuesday and 12-4 on Wednesday. The Giants avoided the sweep with a 10-9 win over the Rawhide last night. In yesterday’s finale, San Jose jumped out to a 10-1 lead after three innings and then held off Visalia late to secure the victory. The Giants’ 10 runs were a season-high.

Streaks Of Four
The Giants (9-12) snapped a season-high tying four-game losing streak with last night’s victory over Visalia. Prior to the losing skid, San Jose won a season-high four straight games from April 15-18 after also losing four in a row from April 11-14.

Galindo’s Power Surge
Center fielder Jesus Galindo has homered in back-to-back games for the Giants – his first two home runs of the season. The switch-hitter clubbed a homer batting right-handed on Wednesday before going deep as a left-handed batter last night. Prior to the game two nights ago, Galindo had hit just three career home runs in 1,226 at-bats over 5+ professional seasons. During his current five-game hitting streak, Galindo is 12-for-24 (.500) with three doubles, two home runs and three RBI’s. His .361 batting average this season leads the team and is fourth in the California League.

Familiar Opponent
San Jose and Bakersfield will play each other 10 times over an 18-day period from April 10-27. The Blaze won three out of four games at Municipal Stadium from April 10-13 before the Giants took two out of three at Sam Lynn Ballpark from April 17-19. San Jose enters tonight’s contest with a 3-4 record against Bakersfield this season. After the current series, the two clubs won’t meet again until July 8-10 at Municipal Stadium.

Williamson Matches Team Record
DH Mac Williamson tied a San Jose Giants single-game record with five hits last night. Williamson finished the contest 5-for-5 with three singles, two doubles and two RBI’s. He became the 31st player in the 27-year history of the club to record five hits in a game. Since beginning the season 1-for-19, Williamson has hit at a .397 clip (23-for-58) with seven doubles, three home runs and nine RBI’s over 15 games. Last year in 136 games with San Jose, Williamson hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI’s.

Starting Pitching Struggles
Through the first four games of the current homestand, Giants starting pitchers have allowed 19 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings (9.33 ERA).

Score First
The Giants are 8-3 this season when scoring the games first run, but just 1-9 when their opponent scores first.

Miller Extends Hit Streak To Six Games
Shortstop Blake Miller brings a six-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Miller is batting .400 (10-for-25) with two doubles, two triples, one home run and two RBI’s. He’s raised his season batting average from .138 to .259 over the last six games.

Top Prospects

Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Okert Slams The Door
Left-hander Steven Okert has picked-up the save in four out of San Jose’s last five wins. In 10 relief appearances this year, Okert owns a 1.74 ERA with four saves and 18 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. The former fourth round pick had a total of just two saves in two career seasons entering 2014.

Opponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze

The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are tied for first in the North Division with a 15-6 record. The Blaze won three out of four games from the host Modesto Nuts in their most recent series. Bakersfield currently ranks first in the California League in batting average (.288), first in runs scored (6.6 per game) and third in ERA (3.65). The Blaze are 8-3 on the road this year.

Episode 32 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants GraphicIn the most recent podcast, Joe and Ben delve into the start of the San Jose Giants season. The two discuss overall team play as well as some early standout performers from the 2014 roster.

Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight Against Visalia

Visalia Rawhide (12-5) at San Jose Giants (8-9)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Monday, April 21, 7:00 PM
• Tuesday, April 22, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, April 24, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
Visalia – Spencer Arroyo (1-1, 3.32)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (1-2, 3.94)

Tuesday
Visalia – Hector Hernandez (1-2, 4.24)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (2-1, 3.00)

Wednesday
Visalia – Jesse Darrah (1-0, 6.08)
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (2-0, 1.88)

Thursday
Visalia – Daniel Watts (0-0, 6.75)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (0-1, 1.93)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Homestand Tonight Against Visalia
The San Jose Giants began a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Chris Stratton (1-2, 3.94) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants. Tonight marks the first of 27 meetings this season between San Jose and Visalia.

Series Win In Bakersfield

The Giants won two out of three games from the host Bakersfield Blaze in their most recent series. San Jose earned victories of 9-2 and 4-3 over the Blaze last Thursday and Friday respectively before Bakersfield rallied for a 7-6 win on Saturday to avoid the sweep. In the finale, the Giants were unable to hold a late 6-1 lead as the Blaze scored once in the bottom of the seventh before a five-run eighth inning to move in front. Jesus Galindo (3-for-5, 2 2B) had three hits, including a pair of doubles while Nick Noonan (2-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) homered in his first game of the season to lead the offense. Starting pitcher Joe Biagini limited Bakersfield to one run on four hits over the first six innings.

Won Four Of Five
The Giants (8-9) enter tonight’s contest having won four out of their last five games. Saturday’s loss to the Blaze snapped San Jose’s season-high four-game winning streak. Prior to the four straight wins, the Giants had dropped a season-high four games in a row.

Starting Strong
Through the first 17 games this season, Giants starting pitchers have combined for a 2.92 ERA (27 ER/83.1 IP). San Jose starters have given up two runs or fewer in six straight games. By comparison, Giants relievers own a 5.34 ERA (38 ER/64.0 IP) this year. San Jose has lost three games when leading after the seventh inning.

Noonan Returns
Infielder Nick Noonan returned to the California League when he was added to San Jose’s roster last Saturday. Noonan joined the club from the Fresno (AAA) disabled list and had yet to play in a game this season before Saturday due to a groin injury sustained during spring training. Noonan debuted in the major leagues last year with San Francisco batting .219 with two doubles, no home runs and five RBI’s in 105 at-bats (62 games). The 24-year old was San Jose’s primary second baseman in 2009 (.259, 7 HR, 64 RBI) and also played briefly in the Cal League late in 2011.

Mac Williamson is batting .366 over his last 11 games

Mac Williamson is batting .366 over his last 11 games

Williamson Recovers From Slow Start
Since beginning the season 1-for-19, DH Mac Williamson has hit at a .366 clip (15-for-41) with five doubles, two home runs and six RBI’s over 11 games. Last year in 136 games with San Jose, Williamson hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI’s.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

Blair Swings Hot Bat
Left fielder Elliott Blair is off to an excellent start at the plate this season. Through his first 12 games, Blair is batting a team-leading .348 (16-for-46) with two doubles, one triple, three home runs and nine RBI’s. Blair is sixth in the league in batting average and has six multi-hit games already this season. Last Thursday marked Blair’s first multi-homer game of his career. Last year in 69 games with the Giants, Blair hit .229 with three home runs and 26 RBI’s.

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Okert Slams The Door
Left-hander Steven Okert picked-up three saves for the Giants last week. In eight relief appearances this year, Okert owns a 1.08 ERA with three saves and 16 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. The former fourth round pick had a total of just two saves in two career seasons entering 2014.

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are tied for first place in the North Division with a 12-5 record. Visalia is 4-3 on the road this season. The Rawhide rank third in the California League in batting average (.269), tied for second in runs scored (5.5 per game) and second in ERA (3.23).

Giants Travel To Bakersfield For Three-Game Series

San Jose Giants (6-8) at Bakersfield Blaze (11-3)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Sam Lynn Ballpark

• Thursday, April 17, 7:15 PM
• Friday, April 18, 7:15 PM
• Saturday, April 19, 7:15 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Thursday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (0-1, 3.00)
Bakersfield – Wandy Peralta (0-1, 5.19)

Friday
San Jose – Pat Young (1-0, 2.70)
Bakersfield – James Allen (2-0, 5.17)

Saturday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-1, 3.86)
Bakersfield – Drew Cisco (1-1, 6.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and through the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Bakersfield Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze this evening at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Martin Agosta (0-1, 3.00) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. After the current series versus the Blaze and an off day on Sunday, San Jose returns to Municipal Stadium for a seven-game homestand against Visalia and Bakersfield starting on Monday night.

Last Game
Four Giants pitchers combined to strikeout 19 Inland Empire batters in a 4-3 victory over the 66ers yesterday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. San Jose jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings and then held off Inland Empire late to secure the win and take two out of three games in the series. Joan Gregorio picked-up the win for the Giants after setting a career-high with 11 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Gregorio allowed two runs (both earned) on five hits and issued two walks. Steven Okert surrendered a run in the top of the ninth, but struck out the side in the frame to record the save. Offensively, Brian Ragira (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) smacked a two-run home run, Chris Lofton (2-for-3) contributed two singles and Ben Turner (0-for-2, 2 RBI) hit a pair of sacrifice flies to lead the way.

Two In A Row
The Giants (6-8) have won back-to-back games for the first time since the opening two days of the season (April 3-4). Prior to the consecutive wins, San Jose had dropped a season-high four games in a row. A victory tonight would give the Giants their first three-game win streak this year.

Familiar Opponent
San Jose and Bakersfield will play each other 10 times over an 18-day period from April 10-27. The Blaze won three out of four games at Municipal Stadium last Thursday-Sunday. After the Giants took the opener 5-2, Bakersfield earned victories of 5-2, 11-7 (10 innings) and 10-4 to claim the series. This series marks San Jose’s first visit of the year to Sam Lynn Ballpark. The Blaze return to Municipal Stadium for a three-game set beginning next Friday, April 25.

Galindo’s Hitting Streak At Nine Games
Center fielder Jesus Galindo brings a nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Galindo is batting .289 (11-for-38) with three RBI’s. Galindo’s hit streak is the third-longest in the California League this season.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

Blair’s Hot Start
Left fielder Elliott Blair is off to an excellent start at the plate this season. Through his first 10 games, Blair is batting a team-leading .351 (13-for-37) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBI’s. Blair is fifth in the league in batting average and has five multi-hit games already this season. Last year in 69 games with the Giants, Blair hit .229 with three home runs and 26 RBI’s.

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Lenn Sakata Back In Orange & Black
Lenn Sakata, the winningest manager in California League history, has returned to the San Jose Giants this season. 2014 marks Sakata’s 10th year in the San Francisco Giants organization (first since 2007) and his seventh season as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Entering this year, Sakata has compiled a 466-374 record as the Giants skipper having directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. Sakata has won 684 games in 10 seasons as a manager in the California League. After leaving the Giants, Sakata managed two seasons in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization in Japan before spending three years in the Colorado Rockies organization as a minor league manager and hitting coach.

Opponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are in first place in the North Division with an 11-3 record. Bakersfield is 6-1 at home this season. The Blaze rank first in the league in batting average (.305), runs scored (7.6 per game) and stolen bases (26) while they’re fifth in ERA (3.73).

Giants Continue Homestand Against Inland Empire

Inland Empire 66ers (3-8) at San Jose Giants (4-7)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Monday, April 14, 7:00 PM
• Tuesday, April 15, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, April 16, 12:35 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
Inland Empire – Kyle McGowin (0-0, 1.80)
San Jose – Chris Stratton (1-1, 4.50)

Tuesday

Inland Empire – Ryan Crowley (0-2, 10.00)
San Jose – Kendry Flores (1-1, 4.50)

Wednesday
Inland Empire – Alex Keudell (0-1, 3.52)
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (1-0, 1.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Inland Empire Tonight

The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers at Municipal Stadium. Chris Stratton (1-1, 4.50) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. San Jose began the homestand by dropping three out of four games to the Bakersfield Blaze in a series that concluded yesterday.

Last Game
Bakersfield secured a series victory over the Giants with a 10-4 win yesterday afternoon. The Blaze took the lead for good with a three-run top of the third before blowing the game open with four runs in the eighth inning. Bakersfield finished the contest with 15 hits and was led by first baseman Marquez Smith, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI’s. San Jose starter Joe Biagini suffered the loss after yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. Brian Ragira (2-for-4, RBI) and Elliott Blair (2-for-4) had two hits apiece for the Giants in the loss. All nine San Jose starters had at least one hit.

Lost Six Of Seven
Since a 3-1 start, the Giants have lost six out of seven games. San Jose enters tonight’s contest on a season-high tying three-game losing streak. Giants pitchers have allowed a total of 21 runs over the last two games after just 27 runs surrendered in the first nine games of the season.

Championship Series Rematch

This series marks the first meeting between San Jose and Inland Empire since last September’s California League Championship Series. The 66ers swept the Giants last year earning victories of 4-0 and 9-1 in Games One and Two respectively down in San Bernardino before a 3-1 win over San Jose in Game Three at Municipal Stadium. It was the first time since 1999 that the Giants lost the Championship Series (won titles in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).

Galindo Extends Hitting Streak To Seven Games
Center fielder Jesus Galindo brings a seven-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, Galindo is 9-for-30 (.300) with three RBI’s. Galindo’s four stolen bases this season are tied for the team-lead (Rando Moreno) and tied for fifth in the California League.

Three Under .500
The Giants are three games under .500 for the first time since the 2005 season (4-7 on April 18, 2005).

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Delfino Supplies The Power

Third baseman Mitch Delfino has hit three of San Jose’s five home runs this season. His three homers are tied for third in the California League. Delfino had a two-homer game last Wednesday in Lancaster – the first multi-home run game of his professional career. Last year, Delfino led Augusta (A) with 13 home runs.

Lenn Sakata Back In Orange & Black

Lenn Sakata, the winningest manager in California League history, has returned to the San Jose Giants this season. 2014 marks Sakata’s 10th year in the San Francisco Giants organization (first since 2007) and his seventh season as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Entering this year, Sakata has compiled a 466-374 record as the Giants skipper having directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. Sakata has won 684 games in 10 seasons as a manager in the California League. After leaving the Giants, Sakata managed two seasons in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization in Japan before spending three years in the Colorado Rockies organization as a minor league manager and hitting coach.

Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers

The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, are in last place in the South Division with a 3-8 record. The 66ers are ninth in the California League in batting average (.215), tied for eighth in runs scored (3.5 per game) and fourth in ERA (3.31). Inland Empire is scheduled to play 10 games against San Jose this season, including six at Municipal Stadium.

Giants Host Bakersfield In Home Opener Tonight

Bakersfield Blaze (6-1) at San Jose Giants (3-4)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Municipal Stadium

• Thursday, April 10, 7:00 PM
• Friday, April 11, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, April 12, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, April 13, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Thursday
Bakersfield – Mike Dennhardt (0-0, 6.75)
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (0-0, 0.00)

Friday
Bakersfield – Ben Lively (1-0, 1.50)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (0-0, —)

Saturday

Bakersfield – Wandy Peralta (0-1, 4.50)
San Jose – Pat Young (1-0, 0.00)

Sunday
Bakersfield – James Allen (1-0, 5.59)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-0, 0.00)

Broadcast Information
The games on Thursday and Friday will be televised on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Both games will be on a tape-delayed basis. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Scott Armstrong on Thursday and Joe Castellano on Friday. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Host Bakersfield In Home Opener Tonight

The San Jose Giants host the Bakersfield Blaze in their home opener this evening at Municipal Stadium. Tonight marks the first of four straight games for the Giants against the Blaze in this series before the homestand continues with a three-game set versus the Inland Empire 66ers beginning on Monday. Joan Gregorio (0-0, 0.00) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants this evening.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 3-4 record during their season-opening road trip that concluded yesterday. San Jose began the year by taking three out of four from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes before suffering a three-game sweep to the Lancaster JetHawks. The Giants suffered losses to Lancaster of 2-1 on Monday, 4-2 on Tuesday and 9-4 last night. Mitch Delfino hit two homers and drove home all four of San Jose’s runs in yesterday’s defeat. The JetHawks broke the game open with a six-run bottom of the sixth.

Stellar Pitching
Despite losses the last three nights, San Jose is off to an outstanding start on the mound as the Giants rank second in the California League with a 2.69 ERA.

Under .500
With yesterday’s defeat, the Giants fell to under .500 for the first time since the opening week of the 2010 season.

Offensive Report

Catcher Ben Turner (.368, 7-for-19, 2B, 4 RBI), third baseman Mitch Delfino (.345, 10-for-29, 3 HR, 8 RBI) and outfielder Jesus Galindo (.320, 8-for-25, 2B, 4 SB) have been San Jose’s top hitters through the first seven games this season. Delfino has hit three of the Giants’ five home runs. San Jose is hitting .227 as a team overall and has scored a total of only 10 runs over their last five games (1-4 record).

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Williamson Highlights Returnees
Mac Williamson highlights 10 returning players on the Giants opening day roster. Williamson, a third round draft pick in 2012 and a non-roster invitee to major league spring training this year, hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI’s over 136 games for San Jose last season. He led the team in home runs, RBI’s, runs scored (94), hits (152), walks (51), games played, was second in doubles (31) and third in batting average. His 25 home runs ranked tied for third on San Jose’s single-season list. Williamson hit .331 with 16 home runs after the All-Star break last year. Other returning players from last year’s team are pitchers Jorge Bucardo, Jeff Soptic and Pat Young, catcher/infielder Trevor Brown, infielder Mitch Delfino and outfielders Elliott Blair, Jesus Galindo and Chris Lofton. Young, Delfino and Galindo were added to San Jose’s roster last season at the start of the playoffs. Pitcher Ryan Bradley, a member of San Jose’s 2012 team, has also returned.

Lenn Sakata Back In Orange & Black

Lenn Sakata, the winningest manager in California League history, has returned to the San Jose Giants this season. 2014 marks Sakata’s 10th year in the San Francisco Giants organization (first since 2007) and his seventh season as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Entering this year, Sakata has compiled a 466-374 record as the Giants skipper having directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. Sakata has won 684 games in 10 seasons as a manager in the California League. After leaving the Giants, Sakata managed two seasons in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization in Japan before spending three years in the Colorado Rockies organization as a minor league manager and hitting coach.

Opponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are off to a 6-1 start this season. Bakersfield swept a four-game series from Modesto to open the year before taking two out of three against Stockton. The Blaze currently lead the league in team batting average (.314) and runs scored (8.0 per game). Tonight marks the first of 16 meetings this season between San Jose and Bakersfield.

Giants Continue Road Trip With Three-Game Series In Lancaster

San Jose Giants (3-1) at Lancaster JetHawks (2-2)

San_Jose_Giants157At The Hangar
• Monday, April 7, 6:30 PM
• Tuesday, April 8, 6:30 PM
• Wednesday, April 9, 6:30 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (0-0, —)
Lancaster – Kyle Westwood (1-0, 2.25)

Tuesday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (1-0, 1.80)
Lancaster – Kyle Smith (0-0, 4.50)

Wednesday

San Jose – Kendry Flores (1-0, 1.29)
Lancaster – Chris Devenski (0-1, 12.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website. Every broadcast is also streamed live on your mobile phone through the San Jose Giants App.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Lancaster Monday

The San Jose Giants continue their road trip Monday evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at The Hangar. Joe Biagini (0-0, —) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants on Monday. San Jose opened the season by taking three out of four games from the host Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in a series that concluded Sunday afternoon.

Last Game
The Giants secured a series win over Rancho Cucamonga with a 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon. Pat Young picked-up the win after limiting the Quakes to one unearned run over the first five innings. Young allowed five hits, walked two and struck out four during his outing. Ryan Bradley (2 IP), Steven Okert (1 IP) and Tyler Mizenko (1 IP) then combined for four hitless innings of relief to seal the victory. Mizenko was credited with his second save of the season. Offensively, Ben Turner (3-for-4) had three hits while Blake Miller (1-for-4, 2 RBI) drove home a pair of runs to lead the way. The Giants took the lead for good with a two-run top of the second inning.

Stellar Pitching
San Jose is off to an outstanding start on the mound as the Giants allowed only five runs during their season-opening four-game series at Rancho Cucamonga. San Jose’s team ERA for the series was 0.76 while the Giants held the Quakes to a .160 batting average. San Jose starting pitchers (Chris Stratton, Kendry Flores, Joan Gregorio and Pat Young) combined to allow just two earned runs over 21 innings during the four-game set.

Offensive Report
Catcher Ben Turner (.500, 6-for-12, 2B, 3 RBI), outfielder Elliott Blair (.444, 4-for-9, 3B, HR, 2 RBI), outfielder Jesus Galindo (.333, 6-for-18, 2B, 2 SB) and third baseman Mitch Delfino (.313, 5-for-16, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) were San Jose’s top hitters during the opening series. The Giants hit .259 as a team over the four-game set. San Jose endured an 18 inning scoreless streak offensively that ended in the top of the second yesterday.

San Francisco Affiliation

This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

2013 Review

The Giants posted the top overall record in the California League last season at 83-57 and won their eighth first half North Division crown in the last nine years. After a first round bye in the playoffs, San Jose defeated the Visalia Rawhide three-games-to-two to claim the North Division title – the Giants’ first since 2010. San Jose was then swept by the Inland Empire 66ers in the best-of-five California League Championship Series. Individually, the Giants had a league-high eight players named to the midseason All-Star team (C Jeff Arnold, LHP Ty Blach, INF Ryan Cavan, LHP Edwin Escobar, OF Devin Harris, LHP Josh Osich, RHP Hunter Strickland and INF Angel Villalona). Blach also received postseason All-Star honors after leading the league with a 2.90 ERA and ranking tied second in wins (12). Blach and outfielder Mac Williamson shared the club’s MVP award. Williamson (T3rd, 25) and Harris (5th, 23) both ranked among the top five in the league in home runs. San Jose finished the year first in the California League in ERA (3.66) and seventh in batting average (.259) and runs scored (690).

Top Prospects

Seven players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Williamson Highlights Returnees

Mac Williamson highlights 10 returning players on the Giants opening day roster. Williamson, a third round draft pick in 2012 and a non-roster invitee to major league spring training this year, hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI’s over 136 games for San Jose last season. He led the team in home runs, RBI’s, runs scored (94), hits (152), walks (51), games played, was second in doubles (31) and third in batting average. His 25 home runs ranked tied for third on San Jose’s single-season list. Williamson hit .331 with 16 home runs after the All-Star break last year. Other returning players from last year’s team are pitchers Jorge Bucardo, Jeff Soptic and Pat Young, catcher/infielder Trevor Brown, infielder Mitch Delfino and outfielders Elliott Blair, Jesus Galindo and Chris Lofton. Young, Delfino and Galindo were added to San Jose’s roster last season at the start of the playoffs. Pitcher Ryan Bradley, a member of San Jose’s 2012 team, has also returned.

Lenn Sakata Back In Orange & Black

Lenn Sakata, the winningest manager in California League history, has returned to the San Jose Giants this season. 2014 marks Sakata’s 10th year in the San Francisco Giants organization (first since 2007) and his seventh season as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Entering this year, Sakata has compiled a 466-374 record as the Giants skipper having directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. Sakata has won 684 games in 10 seasons as a manager in the California League. After leaving the Giants, Sakata managed two seasons in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization in Japan before spending three years in the Colorado Rockies organization as a minor league manager and hitting coach.

High Draft Picks
San Francisco’s top four picks from the 2012 draft are all on San Jose’s opening day roster. Chris Stratton (1st round) is slated to make the opening night start on the mound Thursday evening. Martin Agosta (2nd round) will also work in the Giants starting rotation this season. Stratton (9-3, 3.27 ERA) and Agosta (9-3, 2.06 ERA) both had stellar 2013 campaigns with Class-A Augusta. Williamson (3rd round) is expected to DH for San Jose early this season while Steven Okert (4th round) should be a key member of the bullpen. Additionally, first baseman Brian Ragira, a 4th round selection in last year’s draft, is also on the Giants roster.

Opponent Notes: Lancaster JetHawks

The Lancaster JetHawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, split a four-game series with the visiting Lake Elsinore Storm to open their season. Last year, Lancaster posted an 82-58 regular season record winning the first and second half titles in the South Division. The JetHawks were then defeated three-games-to-two by Inland Empire in the South Division Series. San Jose and Lancaster play each other 10 times this season, including six games at The Hangar.

Giants Open Regular Season Thursday At Rancho Cucamonga

San Jose Giants (0-0) at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (0-0)

San_Jose_Giants157At LoanMart Field
• Thursday, April 3, 7:05 PM
• Friday, April 4, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, April 5, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, April 6, 2:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Thursday
San Jose – Chris Stratton (0-0, —)
Rancho Cucamonga – Chris Anderson (0-0, —)

Friday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (0-0, —)
Rancho Cucamonga – Julio Urias (0-0, —)

Saturday
San Jose – Joan Gregorio (0-0, —)
Rancho Cucamonga – Lindsey Caughel (0-0, —)

Sunday
San Jose – Pat Young (0-0, —)
Rancho Cucamonga – Tom Windle (0-0, —)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website. Every broadcast is also streamed live on your mobile phone through the San Jose Giants App.

Giants Begin Regular Season At Rancho Cucamonga Thursday

The San Jose Giants begin the 2014 regular season Thursday evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at LoanMart Field. After the four games in Rancho Cucamonga, the Giants travel to Lancaster for a three-game series. San Jose’s home opener is scheduled for Thursday, April 10 against the Bakersfield Blaze.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 27th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Giants have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013) – a California League record. 163 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues, including 117 with San Francisco.

2013 Review
The Giants posted the top overall record in the California League last season at 83-57 and won their eighth first half North Division crown in the last nine years. After a first round bye in the playoffs, San Jose defeated the Visalia Rawhide three-games-to-two to claim the North Division title – the Giants’ first since 2010. San Jose was then swept by the Inland Empire 66ers in the best-of-five California League Championship Series. Individually, the Giants had a league-high eight players named to the midseason All-Star team (C Jeff Arnold, LHP Ty Blach, INF Ryan Cavan, LHP Edwin Escobar, OF Devin Harris, LHP Josh Osich, RHP Hunter Strickland and INF Angel Villalona). Blach also received postseason All-Star honors after leading the league with a 2.90 ERA and ranking tied second in wins (12). Blach and outfielder Mac Williamson shared the club’s MVP award. Williamson (T3rd, 25) and Harris (5th, 23) both ranked among the top five in the league in home runs. San Jose finished the year first in the California League in ERA (3.66) and seventh in batting average (.259) and runs scored (690).

Top Prospects

Seven players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Chris Stratton (#3), outfielder Mac Williamson (#5), pitcher Kendry Flores (#14), pitcher Joan Gregorio (#17), pitcher Martin Agosta (#21), pitcher Steven Okert (#24) and pitcher Stephen Johnson (#28).

Williamson Highlights Returnees
Mac Williamson highlights 10 returning players on the Giants opening day roster. Williamson, a third round draft pick in 2012 and a non-roster invitee to major league spring training this year, hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI’s over 136 games for San Jose last season. He led the team in home runs, RBI’s, runs scored (94), hits (152), walks (51), games played, was second in doubles (31) and third in batting average. His 25 home runs ranked tied for third on San Jose’s single-season list. Williamson hit .331 with 16 home runs after the All-Star break last year. Other returning players from last year’s team are pitchers Jorge Bucardo, Jeff Soptic and Pat Young, catcher/infielder Trevor Brown, infielder Mitch Delfino and outfielders Elliott Blair, Jesus Galindo and Chris Lofton. Young, Delfino and Galindo were added to San Jose’s roster last season at the start of the playoffs. Pitcher Ryan Bradley, a member of San Jose’s 2012 team, has also returned.

Lenn Sakata Back In Orange & Black
Lenn Sakata, the winningest manager in California League history, has returned to the San Jose Giants this season. 2014 marks Sakata’s 10th year in the San Francisco Giants organization (first since 2007) and his seventh season as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Entering this year, Sakata has compiled a 466-374 record as the Giants skipper having directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. Sakata has won 684 games in 10 seasons as a manager in the California League. After leaving the Giants, Sakata managed two seasons in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization in Japan before spending three years in the Colorado Rockies organization as a minor league manager and hitting coach.

High Draft Picks
San Francisco’s top four picks from the 2012 draft are all on San Jose’s opening day roster. Chris Stratton (1st round) is slated to make the opening night start on the mound Thursday evening. Martin Agosta (2nd round) will also work in the Giants starting rotation this season. Stratton (9-3, 3.27 ERA) and Agosta (9-3, 2.06 ERA) both had stellar 2013 campaigns with Class-A Augusta. Williamson (3rd round) is expected to DH for San Jose early this season while Steven Okert (4th round) should be a key member of the bullpen. Additionally, first baseman Brian Ragira, a 4th round selection in last year’s draft, is also on the Giants roster.

Opponent Notes: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, finished the 2013 regular season with a 65-75 record. P.J. Forbes is set to begin his first season as Rancho Cucamonga’s manager. The Giants and Quakes will play 10 games this season, including seven at LoanMart Field.

Episode 31 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Podcast graphicIn this season preview edition of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben breakdown the 2014 roster. The two discuss San Jose’s prospect-laden pitching rotation and starting lineup in advance of the season opener.

San Jose Giants Announce 2014 Roster

Pitchers
Martin Agosta
Joe Biagini
Ryan Bradley
Jorge Bucardo
Kendry Flores
Ian Gardeck
Joan Gregorio
Stephen Johnson
Mason McVay
Tyler Mizenko
Steven Okert
Jeff Soptic
Chris Stratton
Pat Young

Catchers
Trevor Brown
Jesus Navarro
Ben Turner

Infielders
Mitch Delfino
Blake Miller
Rando Moreno
Brian Ragira
Alberto Robles
Ydwin Villegas

Outfielders
Elliott Blair
Jesus Galindo
Chuckie Jones
Chris Lofton
Mac Williamson

*************************************************
San_Jose_Giants157NOTES
* Seven pitchers on the roster worked as starters last season: Agosta, Biagini, Flores, Gregorio and Stratton with Class-A Augusta, Bradley with Double-A Richmond and Young with Short-Season Salem-Keizer. Bradley (2012 season) and Young (2013 playoffs) have prior experience in San Jose. The Giants are expected to use a six-man starting rotation this year.

* Seven players on San Jose’s roster are ranked among Baseball America’s Top 30 San Francisco Giants prospects:
3. Stratton (RHP)
5. Williamson (OF)
14. Flores (RHP)
17. Gregorio (RHP)
21. Agosta (RHP)
24. Okert (LHP)
28. Johnson (RHP)

* Six players on the roster were drafted in the first five rounds: Stratton (1st round, 2012), Agosta (2nd round, 2012), Williamson (3rd round, 2012), Soptic (3rd round, 2011), Ragira (4th round, 2013) and Okert (4th round, 2012).

* Eight players were on San Jose’s team at the conclusion of the 2013 season: Blair, Brown, Delfino, Galindo, Lofton, Soptic, Williamson and Young. Williamson was San Jose’s co-MVP last year. Four others have prior experience with the Giants (Bradley – 2012, Bucardo – 2010 and 2013, Navarro – 2011 & Villegas – 2012 and 2013).

* Flores (RHP) is the only player with San Jose currently on San Francisco’s 40-man roster. Turner (C) and Williamson (OF) were non-roster invitees to big league spring training this year.

Roster Press Release

Spring Training Q&A with Lenn Sakata

Sakata-Q&AWith opening night in just over a week, final preparations for the new season are underway down at spring training. Broadcaster Joe Ritzo caught up with manager Lenn Sakata at the Giants minor league training complex in Scottsdale to get the skipper’s thoughts on the spring, his return to the organization and the expected strengths of this year’s San Jose team.

Joe Ritzo: First Lenn, how does it feel to be back in the Giants organization and specifically as the manager in San Jose?

Lenn Sakata: I’m blessed to be able to come back. A lot of times you don’t get the opportunity to come back once you leave. I was very fortunate that the organization – Dick Tidrow and Brian Sabean – were receptive to the idea of me returning, so I’m grateful to be back as a Giant. I’m equally excited to be a San Jose Giant. I know what it was like to return in 2012 and be sitting on the other side of the field (as the Modesto Nuts manager) and I almost thought I was in the wrong place. To go back now to what’s almost my second home, I’m looking forward to the experience again and I can’t wait for opening day in San Jose.

Ritzo: How did it all come together this past offseason for you to return to the organization?

Sakata:
One, I was let go by the Rockies and there were some openings here. Some other instructors made Bobby Evans and Dick Tidrow aware that I was available, the process started and it all worked out so that I was able to return in the same capacity that I was in back in 2007. I’m excited to be back and looking forward to this year’s team and seeing if we can have the same kind of success that the franchise has had for the last decade.

Ritzo: Is there an adjustment process for you in getting to know all the new players in the Giants organization?

Sakata: I’ve had to do it several times in my career. I started with the A’s and I didn’t know anyone there. Then to the Angels and the same thing. I can remember in 1999 when I started with the Giants and I really didn’t know anybody. I knew more of the coaches than the players. But getting accustomed to these players will hopefully be a very quick study for both me and my players. I try to express to them what my desires are for the way we should play. It takes time, but the sooner we get adjusted to each other, the better it will be.

Ritzo:
It’s the last week of spring training right now and there are still so many guys in camp and players moving around. With that, is it difficult to prepare for the season and implement your plan?

Sakata: Well, I’m doing the best I can. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been in the process of getting the kids accustomed to the way I’m going to give signs and the plays we’re going to have and how we’re going to use them. Everyday, I’m losing some guys to the big league games, but that’s understandable. I think the aptitude of our kids is greatly improved from when I was here last. These are good kids and I’ve enjoyed spring training because of that. I’m anxious to get out there now and have my own team and see where we fit compared to the rest of the league.

Lenn Sakata previously managed in San Jose during the 1999, 2001 and 2004-2007 seasons, winning three league championships

Lenn Sakata previously managed in San Jose during the 1999, 2001 and 2004-2007 seasons, winning three league championships

Ritzo: When you first managed in San Jose, it really got everything rolling for the great success that this franchise has enjoyed (current streak of 10 straight years with a playoff appearance, including four championships during that span). Why do you think San Jose is able to be a consistent winner and compete for championships?

Sakata: I think the ballpark lends itself to kids playing well. I think the atmosphere in our park is better than any in the entire league. The second part is that the Giants have always put good pitching in San Jose. And the tradition of winning has helped perpetuate those successful seasons.

Ritzo:
Last year in Augusta, they were known for great pitching – both starting and relieving. Are you anticipating that to be the strength of your team this season?

Sakata: I hope so. In the past in San Jose, we’ve always had good pitching, whether it was starting or the bullpen, in particular. I think we’ll probably have the same blend of starting and bullpen strength that will carry us. We’re going to have quite a few young guys that are having to make a jump from a lower level, but also some older, more experienced players. The blend should be good. It’s going to come down to pitching and I think we’ll be able to execute in that area.

Ritzo: How about offensively – what can San Jose fans expect from your team this season?

Sakata: Well, I’m still a bit unsure on that because I’m not sure who we’re going to have. I don’t think we’ll have a lot of power, but I’ve had teams in the past that didn’t have much power. We’ll have to use what we have. Knowing how to play is a big influence on the outcomes of games at this level. If you have guys that know how to play moreso than guys on the other teams then you’ll have success. That’s been stressed to them and I’ve been impressed that the kids seem to know how to do the little things. Being competitive is one thing and playing to win, of course, but the bottom line is really the development of the players.

Report from Arizona: San Jose Roster Takes Shape

By Joe Ritzo

street signI returned to minor league camp today and caught the entire “High-A” game between the Giants and A’s. Remember, rosters are far from set with final decisions coming down at the end of this week, so while many of the players mentioned here may end up in San Jose, it’s not a guarantee. With that said, to the game…

* The Giants “High-A” lineup this afternoon:
1. Jesus Galindo, CF
2. Rando Moreno, 2B
3. Mitch Delfino, 3B
4. Brian Ragira, 1B
5. Matt Chavez, DH
6. Shawn Payne, LF
7. Chuckie Jones, RF
8. Trevor Brown, C
9. Blake Miller, SS

* The game ended in a 3-3 tie (nine innings) with the Giants finishing with seven hits. Hitting stars this afternoon were Brown and Jones – two likely regulars on San Jose’s opening day roster. Brown was 2-for-3, including a three-run inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning. On the play, Brown rifled a line drive into left that saw the A’s left fielder slip, fall and then stay on the ground for an extended time. As the center fielder raced back towards the fence to retrieve the ball, Brown, and the two runners in front of him, scampered home. Brown also singled later in the contest. The home run accounted for all of the Giants’ scoring today. Meanwhile, Jones had the loudest contact of the afternoon going 2-for-3. He ripped a double into the left field corner in his first at-bat before delivering a single later in the game.

The primary field at the Giants minor league facility

The primary field at the Giants minor league facility

* Today’s lineup (as opposed to yesterday’s) will probably be much closer to the one fans will see next week when the regular season opens. After not playing yesterday, Delfino was back in at third base, going 0-for-2 before he was pulled halfway through the game. Delfino led Augusta in home runs (13) and RBI’s (76) a season ago before joining San Jose for the playoffs. Jones was called up to the big league game yesterday, but was back today and as mentioned above, had a solid performance offensively. Jones ranked second on the GreenJackets in homers (10) last year coming on strong offensively late in the year. Jones has good size and runs pretty well. Brown was also back with the “High-A” team this afternoon after a day with the big league club. Drafted as a catcher, Brown played mainly second base in 2013, including late in the season when he was promoted to the California League. This year may see him split time between catcher and second. Meanwhile, the speedsters Galindo and Payne started in center field and left field respectively for a second straight day. If he returns to San Jose, Payne will be looking for a bounce back season after hitting just .229 in 73 games with the Giants last year. Payne was Augusta’s top hitter in 2012 when he batted .303 with an organizational-leading 53 stolen bases. Last year, it was Galindo who led the Giants system in steals (48). A Payne-Galindo-Jones outfield would have to be one of the fastest in the California League this year if it comes to fruition.

* Ragira and Miller seem like the most likely position player candidates to jump from Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) to San Jose for the start of the year. Ragira has started at first base and hit fourth in each of the last two exhibition games. He was a combined 0-for-5 with a walk over the two contests, but it appears like he’ll be a key element of San Jose’s lineup this season. Miller was up with the big league team yesterday, but returned today to play shortstop. With last year’s two starting shortstops (Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson) both currently working out with the Double-A team, that may leave an opening for someone new to play the position in San Jose. If it’s Miller, that would be an aggressive promotion after his 25th round draft selection last June out of Western Oregon University. Miller hit .309 with three home runs in 25 games with Salem-Keizer last summer, playing only third and first base. He was, however, a full-time shortstop in college (earning Division II All-American honors) and made a spectacular diving stop today going up the middle to start a 6-4-3 double play. John Polonius, who played for both San Jose and Salem-Keizer last season, started at shortstop for the “High-A” team yesterday.

* There was also a Mac Williamson sighting today in the “High-A” game. Williamson, San Jose’s co-MVP last year after slugging 25 home runs and 31 doubles to go with a .292 batting average, hit in each of the first three innings this afternoon (was inserted into the lineup to bat third in each frame). Williamson flied out to right, lined out sharply to second and then drew a walk in his three plate appearances. Whether today was simply a chance to get Williamson some at-bats in a controlled environment at home or something more remains to be seen.

* Finally, Chavez made his second straight start at DH. Signed out of independent league ball this offseason, Chavez has good size and reportedly can catch, in addition to playing some first base. He was a combined 0-for-5 over the last two exhibition games.

Joan Gregorio allowed one earned run over four innings on Tuesday for the "High-A" team

Joan Gregorio allowed one earned run over four innings on Tuesday for the “High-A” team

* On the mound, prospect Joan Gregorio made the start for the “High-A” team today. Gregorio wasn’t quite as efficient as Chris Stratton yesterday, but still effective. The 6’7″ right-hander, who fashioned a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts with Augusta last season, tossed four innings this afternoon yielding two runs (one earned) on three hits. He walked two (both in his last inning) and struck out two. Gregorio looked to be featuring an impressive fastball that he mainly kept low in the zone. His slider wasn’t nearly as sharp, but he battled through it and stranded multiple runners on base (working through an error) in a lengthy final inning of work.

* Jason Forjet, Steven Okert and Tyler Rogers saw action in relief for the Giants today. Forjet is a familiar name having spent most of last season in a San Jose uniform, working as both an occasional starter and long reliever. This afternoon, Forjet breezed through two scoreless innings allowing just one hit with no walks and one strikeout. If he returns to San Jose this season, Forjet could fill the role of long reliever once again. Okert is expected to be an important part of the Giants bullpen, likely working in the seventh and eighth innings, as he did today. Over his two frames this afternoon, Okert surrendered one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The left-hander is a former fourth round draft pick and posted a 2.97 ERA in 44 appearances out of the Augusta bullpen a season ago. Rogers then worked the top of the ninth needing minimal pitches to toss a 1-2-3 inning. With his unique submarine-style delivery from the right side, Rogers would certainly give the San Jose bullpen a different look if he makes the club. Rogers was a 10th round draft pick last June and compiled a 3.10 ERA in Salem-Keizer before moving up to the Giants for the California League playoffs in September.

* To review, the seven relievers who pitched for the “High-A” team over the last two days: Ian Gardeck, Ray Black, Jorge Bucardo, Tyler Mizenko, Forjet, Okert and Rogers. Stephen Johnson and Mason McVay, two key members of last year’s Augusta bullpen, also appear to be playing for the “High-A” team right now.

Steven Okert delivers a pitch to an A's hitter in the seventh inning

Steven Okert delivers a pitch to an A’s hitter in the seventh inning

2014 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Relief Pitchers

By Joe Ritzo

2014-Season-PreviewOur season preview series concludes this week with a look at some of the arms that could make up the San Jose Giants bullpen. The Giants possessed several standout relief pitchers in 2013, including lights-out closers Derek Law and Hunter Strickland along with Bryce Bandilla, Cody Hall and Josh Osich. Now looking ahead to this season, the bullpen should once again be a strength of the club as a new crop of talented relievers are likely headed to San Jose.

The 2013 Augusta GreenJackets (Class-A) featured a prospect-laden starting rotation and many, if not all, of those hurlers expected to open this season in San Jose. However, it wasn’t just the starting staff that excelled in Augusta a year ago. An exciting group of relievers helped propel the GreenJackets to numerous close victories en route to the team posting the top regular season record in the South Atlantic League. Augusta’s strength in 2013 could now be San Jose’s strength this year.

Headlining the list of GreenJackets relievers expected to make the jump to the California League is right-handed closer Tyler Mizenko. Mizenko, a former 28th round draft pick, led the South Atlantic League with 25 saves last season. He owned an impressive 2.75 ERA over 48 relief appearances while striking out 50 batters in 52 1/3 innings. Armed with a heavy low-to-mid 90’s sinker and power slider, Mizenko had the highest groundout-to-flyout ratio on the Augusta staff – a trait that should serve him well in the hitter-friendly California League.

In 27 games before the All-Star break last year, Mizenko boasted a remarkable 0.61 ERA yielding just two earned runs in 29 2/3 innings while going 15-for-16 in save opportunities. A rocky stretch in July, which reportedly could be attributed to fatigue and some bad luck inflated Mizenko’s ERA somewhat, but he recovered in August to finish the year strong. Over the first two seasons of his professional career, Mizenko has collected 38 saves and owns a stellar 2.46 ERA.

Mizenko though wasn’t the only one who enjoyed success in the late-innings out of GreenJackets bullpen last season. Right-hander Stephen Johnson, a former sixth round draft pick, was the most dominant arm among the Augusta relief corps down the stretch and almost certainly is ticketed for San Jose this spring. Over his final 15 appearances last year dating back to July, Johnson fired 19 scoreless innings with just six hits allowed and a whopping 28 strikeouts. He spent most of the year as a set-up man before sharing the closing duties with Mizenko late in the campaign.

Johnson features an electric mid 90’s fastball and a plus-slider that helped him log 71 strikeouts in just 52 1/3 innings last season. He recovered from a difficult middle portion of the season to post an overall ERA of 3.61 while limiting the opposition to a .215 batting average and going 8-for-8 in save chances. Of note, Johnson did walk 30 batters (over five per nine innings on average), so improving his control will be a point of emphasis this year.

Fellow right-handed relievers Jorge Bucardo and Ian Gardeck were also key members of the Augusta bullpen last season and should be headed to San Jose. Bucardo has previous California League experience having pitched as a starter with the Giants late in 2010 before battling significant arm injuries the next two years. He returned as a reliever and opened last season in the San Jose bullpen, but quickly found himself on the DL after just five appearances. Once healthy again, Bucardo was sent to Augusta, where he pitched for the remainder of the season.

Bucardo gives the hitter a unique look with a low 3/4 arm slot resulting in significant movement on everything he throws. The veteran was spectacular in Augusta last season posting a 1.84 ERA in 27 games with six saves and a .197 opponents batting average. Bucardo thrived both in middle relief and in the late innings and that versatility should only help the Giants this season.

Meanwhile, Gardeck is another reliever with an overpowering mid 90’s fastball. He averaged well over a strikeout per inning (66 K’s in 56 IP) while logging a solid 3.21 ERA. Gardeck, like Johnson, can struggle with his control (almost 6 1/2 walks per nine innings last year), but when in the strike zone, he’s awfully tough to hit. Gardeck, while working primarily as a sixth-to-eighth inning guy, had a 0.63 ERA in August last season and is poised for a promotion to the California League.

From the left side, the GreenJackets possessed two quality arms last year in Steven Okert and Mason McVay and both could be headed to San Jose this spring. Okert was the highest draft pick in the Augusta bullpen as the southpaw was selected in the fourth round two years ago out of Oklahoma. Using a low 90’s fastball and excellent secondary stuff, Okert compiled a 2.97 ERA in 44 games last season. He struck out 59 batters in 60 2/3 innings and was especially tough on left-handed batters holding them to a paltry .189 average and just one extra-base hit for the entire season. Projecting ahead to this season, Okert could be lockdown left-handed specialist in the late innings for the Giants. He also has the ability to go multiple frames having pitched at least two innings on 15 occasions last year.

McVay led the South Atlantic League with 51 appearances last season, often pitching in longer relief. An imposing presence on the mound at 6’7” and 230 lbs., McVay fashioned a 4.12 ERA and recorded an excellent 75-to-18 strikeout to walk ratio over 67 innings.

The core of Augusta’s bullpen last season was terrific and most, if not all, of those key arms should be headed to San Jose in 2014. The most successful Giants teams over the last decade have all featured outstanding bullpens and this year’s edition has a chance to be right up there with some of the best.

Looking further, potential relievers from last summer’s Salem-Keizer team that could skip over Augusta and jump to San Jose this season include Dan Slania, Tyler Rogers and Eduardo Encinosa. Slania was the first reliever taken by San Francisco in last year’s draft when he was selected in the fifth round. The all-time saves leader at Notre Dame, Slania is a jumbo-sized right-hander at 6’5”, 275 lbs. with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and two quality offspeed pitches. With only 13 2/3 innings of professional experience, Slania may just head to Augusta to start the year. However, a promotion to the California League could be in the cards giving San Jose yet another impressive late-inning reliever.

Rogers, a submarine-style right-hander would give the Giants bullpen a unique look if he ends up in San Jose. A 10th round pick last June, Rogers logged a 3.10 ERA out of the Salem-Keizer bullpen before joining the Giants for the playoffs (he pitched in just one postseason game with SJ last September). Encinosa, a seventh rounder two years ago out of Miami, throws hard and is tough to hit. Last summer in Salem, he notched a 3.12 ERA and limited the opposition to a meager .143 batting average. It remains to be seen whether Rogers and Encinosa, like Slania, merely move up one level or are tested with an aggressive promotion to San Jose.

Ray Black is another intriguing possibility as he prepares to make his professional debut. Black was selected in the seventh round way back in 2011, but shoulder surgery and a longer-than-expected recovery have resulted in Black having not yet pitched in a pro game. Finally healthy, Black possesses one of the best fastballs in the organization and is a candidate for either the San Jose or Augusta bullpen this spring.

Finally, it’s not unreasonable to expect a pitcher or two to return from last year’s Giants bullpen. Possible returnees could include right-hander Chris Marlowe (3.97 ERA), who thrived as a starter early in the year, but struggled in the second half in relief after a long stint on the DL. Jeff Soptic (6.26 ERA) has a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball, but struggled with his control all year in San Jose. Jason Forjet (4.52 ERA) could also return after pitching as both a long reliever and as a starter in 2013. With so many arms still in minor league camp, several personnel decisions still need to be made and thus the Giants bullpen situation likely won’t be solidified until just before the roster is announced in the coming days.

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Report from Arizona: SJ Giants Spring Training Update

By Joe Ritzo

Greetings from Arizona!

It’s crunch-time here at minor league camp as today marked the beginning of the final week of spring exhibition games. By the weekend, the San Jose Giants roster should be set before the 2014 club breaks camp on Sunday. Then of course, next Monday, March 31 is your first opportunity to meet the new team with FanFest at Municipal Stadium set to begin at 5:00 PM.

This afternoon, the Giants “High-A” and “Low-A” clubs hosted exhibition games against the Colorado Rockies’ “High-A” and “Low-A” teams at the Giants baseball complex in Scottsdale. I spent the majority of my time watching the “High-A” team as several of the players who suited up today will likely be heading to San Jose at the end of the week.

Some observations from the “High-A” game, which ended in a 1-1 tie (nine innings).

* The Giants starting lineup:
1. Jesus Galindo, CF
2. Shilo McCall, RF
3. Shawn Payne, LF
4. Brian Ragira, 1B
5. Matt Chavez, DH
6. Ben Turner, C
7. Leo Rojas, 3B
8. Alberto Robles, 2B
9. John Polonius, SS
P – Chris Stratton

* If you’ve been reading my position-by-position previews or listening to recent podcast episodes, some of these names should be familiar. After his postseason call-up last September, Galindo is the expected starting center fielder and leadoff man for San Jose this season. Payne spent most of last year with the Giants before a demotion to Augusta in July. He could very well receive another opportunity in the California League, likely again seeing significant action in left field. Ragira has been the projected starting first baseman after his fourth-round selection in last year’s draft out of Stanford and subsequent solid pro debut over the summer with Salem-Keizer. And finally, Turner handled the bulk of the catching duties during the second half of last season in Augusta and is poised to make the jump to San Jose.

* As for the other starters today, it’ll be interesting to see whether any of them can work themselves up to San Jose this season, whether on the opening day roster or later in the year. Polonius, a middle infielder, played 26 games with the Giants during the middle portion of last season (.221 AVG) before seeing regular time in the Salem-Keizer starting lineup. Robles, another middle infielder, hit .304 in 62 games in Augusta last year, mainly as a part-time player. McCall has intriguing potential as an outfielder, but is only 19 years old and hit just .235 in Salem-Keizer last season. A jump all the way to the California League is probably unlikely. Rojas is primarily a catcher, but played the entire game today at third base. He hit .306 in limited action with the Volcanoes last summer. Finally, Chavez, a catcher/first baseman, was signed out of the independent Freedom Professional Baseball League last offseason. Chavez is a Bay Area native who played in college at the University of San Francisco.

* Second baseman/catcher Trevor Brown, outfielder Chuckie Jones and infielder Blake Miller – three potential regulars for San Jose this season – were called up to the big league team for their exhibition game this afternoon and thus didn’t play today. Mitch Delfino, San Jose’s projected starting third baseman, was present, but not in the lineup and also did not play. Bottom line, today’s “High-A” lineup was almost certainly not an accurate representation of what San Jose’s will look like when the season begins next week.

* Offensively, the Giants were shutdown this afternoon managing just two hits (singles from Robles and Eric Sim, who came off the bench) and one run.

Chris Stratton threw five scoreless innings for the Giants "High-A" team in a minor league exhibition game on Monday

Chris Stratton threw five scoreless innings for the Giants “High-A” team in a minor league exhibition game on Monday

* On the mound, Stratton was the star of the day. San Francisco’s first round draft pick two years ago, Stratton had a solid 2013 campaign in Augusta (9-3, 3.27 ERA in 22 starts) and is expected to make the jump to San Jose this season. On this afternoon, the right-hander twirled five shutout innings with just two hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts. Stratton faced only one batter over the minimum and recorded several groundball outs.

* Four relievers saw action out of the Giants bullpen today in right-handers Ian Gardeck, Ray Black, Jorge Bucardo and Tyler Mizenko. The quartet all figure to be candidates to make the San Jose opening day roster. Gardeck, who had a 3.21 ERA in 44 games out of the Augusta ‘pen last year, breezed through a scoreless sixth inning. Black featured an electric fastball, but often struggled with his control today. He yielded one run on two hits with a pair of walks, but registered an impressive swinging strikeout on a 3-2 fastball with the bases loaded to end the inning. Black was a seventh-round draft pick two years ago, but has yet to pitch in a professional game due to injury. Bucardo is a familiar face having began last season in the San Jose bullpen before an arm injury forced him to the DL in mid-April. When he returned, Bucardo was sent to Augusta where he dominated during the second half of the season as a set-up man (1.84 ERA in 27 games). Bucardo worked a scoreless eighth inning this afternoon pitching around a leadoff single. Finally, Mizenko was dominant in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Mizenko led the South Atlantic League with 25 saves a season ago (2.75 ERA) and is a candidate for the San Jose closing duties this year.

* It’s important to mention that none of these players are guaranteed to open the season in San Jose. These are merely the players who suited up for the “High-A” club this afternoon. As always, the roster situations in minor league camp are fluid, even during the final week of spring training. Several changes will likely occur between now and when players break camp this weekend as the organization makes a bevy of personnel decisions. I’ll have more from minor league camp tomorrow.

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San Jose Giants TV Schedule Announced

CHNThe San Jose Giants and Comcast have joined forces to bring fans a schedule of 20 live television broadcasts during the 2014 season. The games can be viewed live on Comcast Hometown Network (Digital Channel 104) throughout most Northern California regions. After the live broadcast of each contest, all 20 games will be available for cable customers to view through Comcast On Demand Channel 1.

San Jose Giants television broadcasts will feature the play-by-play of “The Voice of the Giants,” Joe Ritzo and the color commentary of Joe Castellano. Ritzo has been calling San Jose Giants games since 2003 while Castellano, a 20-year veteran of the industry, has broadcasted a variety of sports for networks such as NBC, MLB Network and Comcast. Rocky Koplik will also serve as a fill-in color commentator this season.

Highlights of the schedule include San Jose’s home opener on April 10, matchups against the 2013 California League Champion Inland Empire 66ers as well as special Independence Day telecasts on July 4 and July 5 against the rival Stockton Ports. In total, fans will have the opportunity to watch 14 matchups this season against San Jose Giants’ North Division opponents.

The following is Comcast Hometown Network’s San Jose Giants telecast schedule for the 2014 season:

Thursday, April 10: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Friday, April 11: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Friday, April 25: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Sunday, April 27: 1:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Friday, May 9: 7:00 PM vs. Inland Empire 66ers
Saturday, May 10: 5:00 PM vs. Inland Empire 66ers
Wednesday, May 21: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Friday, May 23: 7:00 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Wednesday, June 25: 7:00 PM vs. Modesto Nuts
Friday, June 27: 7:00 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Saturday, June 28: 6:00 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Friday, July 4: 6:30 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Saturday, July 5: 6:30 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Monday, July 7: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Friday, July 18: 7:00 PM vs. Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Saturday, July 19: 5:00 PM vs. Lake Elsinore Storm
Friday, August 1: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Saturday, August 2: 6:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Friday, August 8: 7:00 PM vs. Lancaster JetHawks
Saturday, August 9: 5:00 PM vs. Lancaster JetHawks

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

All San Jose Giants home games are also streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV. For more details and to sign up for a subscription, log onto sjgiants.com and click on MiLB.TV.

Episode 30 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants GraphicIn the final podcast before the team arrives at Municipal Stadium, Joe and Ben make starting lineup projections for the 2014 San Jose Giants. The two provide a detailed breakdown of the potential lineup, including top prospects expected to begin the season in San Jose and which position players may return from last year.

2014 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Catcher

By Joe Ritzo

2014-Season-PreviewThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the catching position. After achieving career-high totals in doubles (26), home runs (13) and RBI’s (61) while doing a stellar job of handling San Jose’s talented pitching staff, last year’s starting catcher Jeff Arnold is almost certainly headed to Double-A Richmond this season. In 2014, the San Jose catching position could be filled from a group of four players who saw time behind the dish in Augusta last season, three of which already have experience in the California League.

Ben Turner is the most likely candidate for the starting catching position in San Jose to begin this season. Turner was a 21st round draft pick in 2012 out of Missouri, where he was a two-time Big 12 All-Academic selection. He spent all of last year in Augusta seeing significant time at both catcher and first base. In 100 games overall, Turner hit .249 with 19 doubles, two home runs and 38 RBI’s. After splitting time between the two positions in the first half, Turner was almost exclusively a catcher after the All-Star break as he settled into a regular role on the team.

Turner is unique in that he’s taller than most catchers (listed at 6’5″). While he didn’t produce much power a season ago, Turner is an excellent defender. In fact, he didn’t commit an error the entire year from behind the plate while also throwing out an impressive 35 percent of attempted basestealers.

Another strength of Turner’s game is that he’ll put the ball in play. Turner finished the 2013 campaign as the toughest player to strikeout in the entire South Atlantic League (one strikeout ever 17.2 at-bats). There was even a stretch over the middle portion of the season that saw Turner go a remarkable 90 consecutive at-bats without a strikeout.

Turner was a non-roster invitee to big league camp this spring, but he’ll need a big year in 2014 to achieve top prospect status. In all likelihood, Turner will bring his top-flight defensive game and contact skills to the California League where he’ll bat in the bottom portion of the lineup and handle another excellent pitching staff.

Two players who served as San Jose’s back-up catcher last year in Eric Sim and Eliezer Zambrano are candidates to return this season. Sim began 2013 in Augusta splitting time behind the dish with Turner throughout the first half. Despite batting just .193 in 63 games with the GreenJackets, Sim received a promotion to the Giants in July. He performed much better offensively in the California League (albeit in a more part-time role as Arnold’s back-up) posting a .276 batting average with 10 RBI’s in 17 games. Sim, who was born in South Korea and spent most of his youth in Canada, was a 27th round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010. He hit .352 with six home runs in the Arizona Rookie League during the 2011 season.

Zambrano played in 28 games with San Jose last season serving as Arnold’s back-up through July before switching teams with Sim. Zambrano, now 27 years old and entering his ninth professional season, notched a .242 batting average with one home run over 95 at-bats in a Giants uniform last year. He then hit .230 in 20 games with Augusta.

It’s unlikely that both Sim and Zambrano would find themselves on San Jose’s opening day active roster as Turner’s back-up, but the possibility certainly exists that one could return to the California League this year.

The fourth catcher on Augusta’s team a season ago was Trevor Brown, who was profiled in detail on our middle infield preview. A 10th round pick two years ago out of UCLA, Brown was drafted as a catcher by the Giants. He caught in his first pro season with Salem-Keizer, but saw substantially more playing time at second base in 2013, first with Augusta and then down the stretch in San Jose. Brown almost certainly is headed back to the California League, where he could return to the role he filled during the playoffs last year as the club’s primary second baseman. But given his history at the catching position (he caught 14 games overall in 2013), it would not be a surprise if he continued to work some at that spot. If nothing else, Brown’s inclusion on San Jose’s roster would give manager Lenn Sakata added flexibility.

Other catching candidates for San Jose this season including the organization’s top two catching draft picks last June: 12th rounder Ty Ross and 15th rounder Geno Escalante. Ross, out of collegiate powerhouse LSU, hit .243 with 11 doubles in 31 games last summer for Salem-Keizer (Short-Season). Escalante, who was drafted out of Mount Olive College where he was the 2013 Division II National Defensive Player of the Year, split time with Ross in Salem-Keizer batting .300 with eight doubles and one homer in 39 games. Catcher Leonardo Rojas, a 15th round pick in 2012 out of Miami-Dade CC, could also jump to San Jose after batting .306 in 17 games with Salem-Keizer last summer, mainly as a DH.

2014 San Jose Giants Catching Candidates
(2013 regular season statistics are listed)

Trevor Brown, 2B/C
- San Jose: .172 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB
- Augusta: .250 AVG, 3 HR, 40 RBI, 10 SB

Geno Escalante, C
- Salem-Keizer: .300 AVG, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 0 SB

Leonardo Rojas, C

- Salem-Keizer: .306 AVG, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB

Ty Ross, C
- Salem-Keizer: .243 AVG, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB

Eric Sim, C
- San Jose: .276 AVG, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB
- Augusta: .193 AVG, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB

Ben Turner, C
- Augusta: .249 AVG, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 4 SB

Eliezer Zambrano, C
- San Jose: .242 AVG, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB
- Augusta: .230 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB

The 2014 San Jose Giants preview series will conclude next week with a look at the bullpen.

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Spring Training Updates

By Joe Ritzo

cactus-leagueWith only two weeks until San Francisco’s opening day, here are several player updates on the former San Jose Giants at spring training:

Last week saw multiple players sent down to minor league camp as the organization continues to move closer to solidifying the opening day roster. The former SJ Giants reassigned included infielders Chris Dominguez, Adam Duvall and Nick Noonan, outfielders Gary Brown and Roger Kieschnick, catcher Andrew Susac and pitchers Mitch Lively and Hunter Strickland. Noonan and Kieschnick were the only members of the group that were serious contenders for spots on the opening day roster. Noonan, who made the team coming out of camp last year, is 6-for-23 (.261) this spring with two doubles and an RBI. The former first round draft pick has played exclusively second and third base this spring and will likely see significant time at both positions in Fresno to open the season. Meanwhile, Kieschnick has struggled to a .172 batting average this spring. He’s struck out 13 times in 29 at-bats and has yet to produce an extra-base hit. Like Noonan, Kieschnick made his major league debut last season, but will open the 2014 campaign in Fresno.

Among the other reassigned hitters, Brown and Susac received the most playing time. Brown is 5-for-18 (.278) with two RBI’s and two stolen bases this spring. Look for the speedy center fielder to once again play everyday in Fresno as he attempts to bounce back this season. Susac made a positive impression in big league camp going 4-for-15 (.267) with two doubles, a home run, five RBI’s while also drawing four walks. The former San Jose catcher clubbed a home run last Thursday against Texas as part of a 2-for-2 day at the plate. After a solid 2013 campaign in Richmond followed by an impressive performance in the Arizona Fall League, Susac enters this year with high expectations as he likely heads to Triple-A.

Dominguez (3-for-10. 2 RBI), Duvall (2-for-8, HR, RBI) and Lively (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R) received sparse playing time in big league spring games before going down. Strickland, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has not appeared in a game this spring.

Entering this week, San Francisco has 42 players still in camp, 18 of which are former San Jose Giants. The core group of 10 former San Jose players (Belt, Bumgarner, Cain, Crawford, Lincecum, Posey, Romo, Sanchez, Sandoval, Vogelsong), of course, will be on the opening day roster in two weeks. Eight other former SJ Giants remain in big league camp with hopes of beginning the season in San Francisco:

* Ehire Adrianza: .214 AVG (6-28), 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
- The shortstop has had some big extra-base hits this spring, including his second home run last Tuesday against Cincinnati. Adrianza though has just two hits in his last 14 at-bats spanning six games. The competition for the final infield spot (with Tony Abreu and perhaps Brandon Hicks) could go down to the final days of camp.

* Jake Dunning: 6 G, 1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 SO
- The former San Jose closer has allowed just one run over 6 1/3 innings this spring spanning six relief appearances. Dunning, who pitched in 29 games with San Francisco last season (2.84 ERA), remains a serious contender for one of the open bullpen spots.

* Edwin Escobar:
4 G, 3 GS, 5.19 ERA, 8.2 IP, 5 R, 8 BB, 3 SO
- Escobar’s third start of the spring came last Saturday against the Mariners and the left-hander struggled a bit yielding four runs (all earned) on five hits over 2 2/3 innings. Prior to that outing, Escobar had surrendered just one hit in his first six innings. A spot in Fresno’s starting rotation to open the season seems probable for Escobar with the opportunity to debut in “The Show” later in the year.

* Heath Hembree: 5 G, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
- Hembree has now worked three straight hitless outings, retiring all nine batters he’s faced in the process. Overall this spring, Hembree has allowed just one hit in four innings. Along with Dunning, Hembree is a leading candidate for the final couple of bullpen spots on the roster.

* Derek Law:
4 G, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
- Last year’s San Jose closer has made a positive impression this spring after his breakout 2013 season. Law did give up a run in his lone inning last Saturday versus the A’s, but has still allowed only one hit in four innings overall. Law and Escobar are the only remaining 2013 San Jose Giants still in big league camp.

* Mark Minicozzi: .226 AVG (7-31), 2 HR, 2 RBI
- The feel-good story of camp this year after his two early home runs, Minicozzi has slumped of late with just one hit in his last 17 at-bats. Minicozzi has played exclusively first base this spring – perhaps a sign of his role in Fresno to begin the season.

* Juan Perez: .325 AVG (13-40), 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB
- Perez continues to impress in his bid to win the fifth outfielder job coming out of camp. Last Saturday against the Mariners, he was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and a stolen base.

* Dan Runzler:
5 G, 2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 SO
- A non-roster invitee, but with substantial big league experience, Runzler is looking for a bounce back 2014 after struggling in Triple-A a season ago. The hard-throwing lefty has not allowed a run in four out of his five relief appearances.

Entering Monday, the Giants are 11-7-1 through 19 Cactus League games.

2014 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Outfield

By Joe Ritzo

2014-Season-PreviewThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the outfield. The possibilities are exciting for the Giants this year with several new faces expected to play central roles. One of the fastest players in the system is presumed to take over in center while a handful of power hitters are competing for the corner outfield spots.

In all likelihood, the speedy Jesus Galindo will assume the role of everyday center fielder for San Jose this year. Galindo spent the entire 2013 regular season with Augusta (Class-A) before joining the Giants for the Cal League playoffs. Galindo’s strengths are his speed, his switch-hitting capabilities and defensive prowess in center.

In 89 games with the GreenJackets last year, Galindo hit .273 with an organizational-leading 48 stolen bases (in 54 attempts). In fact, Galindo has stolen at least 40 bases in his last four professional seasons (despite having never played more than 90 games). The 23-year old Venezuelan possesses very little power, having connected for just 12 extra-base hits last year and only three home runs for his entire pro career. However, with the ability to draw a walk combined with plus-speed and excellent base stealing skills, Galindo is a logical candidate to bat leadoff this season in San Jose if he finds himself on the Giants opening day roster. Galindo can still improve defensively in center, but features a strong arm while his speed allows him to get great jumps on fly balls.

In seven California League playoff games last September, Galindo was 6-for-23 (.261) with a triple and three RBI’s.

While Galindo’s presence in center seems almost certain, who fills the corner outfield positions is more of a mystery as the 2014 season approaches. Among outfielders that were in Augusta last season, Chuckie Jones is the most likely candidate to move up with Galindo in 2014. Jones, a seventh round draft pick four years ago out of the high school ranks, is a physical presence on the baseball field at 6’3″ and 235 lbs. Jones has excellent raw power, can run and has experience playing all three outfield positions, although was almost exclusively a right fielder last season. As recently as two years ago, Jones was considered one of the top 20 prospects in the San Francisco farm system.

The downsides for Jones have been low batting averages and high strikeout totals. He began the 2012 season in Augusta, but his struggles were so great that he quickly found himself back in Extended Spring Training before finishing the year in Salem-Keizer (Short-Season level). He received another chance to play in Augusta last season and enjoyed modest success ranking second on the team in home runs (10), doubles (21) and hits (96) and third in RBI’s (51) and runs scored (58). However, Jones, by a large margin, led the GreenJackets in strikeouts (140 K’s in 407 AB’s) and managed just a .230 batting average. Solid power numbers (that could jump up even more in the hitter-friendly California League) and improved overall production at the plate as the season progressed last year (.275 AVG in July, .290 AVG in August) though could be enough to warrant a promotion to San Jose. Despite 2014 marking Jones’ fifth professional season, he is still only 21 years old.

Other potential newcomers to the corner outfield spots in San Jose this season include Tyler Horan and Brian Ragira, two of San Francisco’s top draft picks last June. Horan would be a much-needed left-handed bat in the middle of the San Jose lineup if he proves he’s ready for a promotion to the California League. Listed at 6’1″ and 230 lbs., Horan is big and strong and was one of the top sluggers in the ACC the past few years while playing at Virginia Tech. Horan hit 26 home runs over his last two collegiate seasons (116 games), in addition to a whopping 16 homers in just 41 games in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League after the 2012 campaign. The result of that success was his selection in the eighth round of last year’s draft by the SF Giants.

Last summer in Salem-Keizer, Horan produced solid numbers batting at a .295 clip in 44 games to go with 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 25 RBI’s. Horan finished the year strong hitting .319 in August while garnering starts in both left field and right. Now 23 years old, Horan could certainly fit into San Jose’s plans in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ragira was mentioned in last week’s preview as a potential first baseman on this year’s Giants squad. A fourth round pick last June out of Stanford, Ragira was exclusively a first baseman at the collegiate level, but saw more time in the outfield last summer with Salem-Keizer (mainly in RF). Overall in 47 games for the Volcanoes, Ragira posted a .263 batting average to go with 12 doubles, three home runs and 36 RBI’s. Ragira also drew 26 walks resulting in an impressive .371 on-base percentage.

While in college, Ragira hit at least .320 in each of his three seasons, leading Stanford in home runs (8) and RBI’s (42) as a junior. It remains to be seen whether Ragira, who was drafted as a first baseman, continues to work more at that position or if his experience in the outfield last summer in Salem-Keizer is a sign of his future role as a professional. Either way, given his draft pedigree, his success at a top collegiate program and overall solid production last year in the Northwest League, Ragira figures to be a strong contender for the San Jose roster this spring.

Potential outfield returnees to San Jose in 2014 include the versatile Elliott Blair and the speedy Shawn Payne. Blair, who saw substantial time as a center fielder last season in a Giants uniform, could be hard-pressed to earn a promotion to what’s expected to be a crowded Richmond outfield. In 69 games in the California League a year ago, Blair hit .229 with three home runs and 26 RBI’s. The former 46th round draft pick has played all three outfield positions in his pro career, in addition to occasional time at first base.

Payne entered the 2013 campaign with high expectations after leading Augusta in batting average the year prior, to go with a whopping 53 stolen bases. Unfortunately, that production did not lead to much success in the California League as Payne struggled to a .229 batting average and one home run in 73 games last season. Payne hit just .191 in May and .157 in June with the Giants before he was sent down to Augusta. Payne was able to get somewhat back on track down the stretch managing a .259 batting average with 10 doubles and four homers in 36 games for Augusta and will look for another crack at the California League this season. Payne has been exclusively a left fielder over the last two years.

One other potential 2014 San Jose outfielder worth noting is Brett Krill, a former 25th round pick out of UCLA. Krill was penciled into the Giants outfield last year after coming on strong during the second half of 2012 with Augusta. A late-switch during spring training though elevated Krill up to Double-A where he spent the entire 2013 season. In 85 games with the Flying Squirrels, mainly in a reserve outfield role, Krill hit .258 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBI’s. Krill, who can play either corner outfield position, struggled late in the year batting just .217 after the All-Star break. He could return to Richmond this season or perhaps make the first appearance of his professional career in San Jose.

2014 San Jose Giants Outfield Candidates
(2013 regular season statistics are listed)

Elliott Blair, CF
- San Jose: .229 AVG, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB

Jesus Galindo, CF
- Augusta: .273 AVG, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 48 SB

Tyler Horan, LF/RF
- Salem-Keizer: .295 AVG, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB

Chuckie Jones, RF
- Augusta: .236 AVG, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 12 SB

Brett Krill, LF/RF

- Richmond: .258 AVG, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB

Shawn Payne, LF
- San Jose: .229 AVG, 1 HR, 29 RBI, 21 SB
- Augusta: .259 AVG, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB

Brian Ragira, OF/1B

- Salem-Keizer: .263 AVG, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 1 SB

The 2014 San Jose Giants preview series will continue next week with a look at the catching position.

2014 San Jose Giants Previews

Corner Infield

Middle Infield

Starting Pitchers

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Former SJ Giants Compete For Roster Spots

By Joe Ritzo

cactus-leagueWith the start of San Francisco’s season only three weeks away, critical spring training games are ahead for the several former San Jose Giants looking to make the opening day roster. Specifically, outfielder Juan Perez and infielder Ehire Adrianza are leading contenders in fierce competitions for final roster spots while Heath Hembree, Jake Dunning and perhaps even Derek Law remain in contention to make the club as relievers.

Entering Monday’s action, San Francisco is 11 games into their spring training schedule. Among the recent former SJ Giants looking to make an opening day roster for the first time, Perez and Adrianza have impressed. Perez, who saw action in 34 games with San Francisco last season, is 7-for-23 (.304) this spring with four doubles and an RBI. The former San Jose outfielder leads the team in spring at-bats, hits and doubles as he establishes himself as a serious contender, if not the leader, for the fifth outfielder role. Fellow former SJ Giant Roger Kieschnick has struggled offensively thus far in spring action with just one hit in 15 at-bats (.067), including eight strikeouts. Tyler Colvin (2-for-9, 2B), who signed with the Giants as a minor league free agent at the start of the spring and has substantial big league experience, is probably Perez’s top competition right now.

Meanwhile, Adrianza has turned heads with his performance offensively through the first two weeks of spring action. The slick-fielding shortstop is 4-for-14 (.286) overall with a triple, a home run and four RBI’s. Adrianza even saw some action at second base last week as he looks to improve his versatility thus increasing his chances of making the roster. Unlike Perez, Adrianza is out of minor league options, so the Giants would risk losing him to another organization if he doesn’t make the team coming out of camp. Adrianza’s top competition for a reserve infield roster spot is Tony Abreu, who played 53 games with San Francisco last season and hit .268. Former SJ Giant Nick Noonan, who impressed last spring to make his first opening day roster, is 3-for-17 (.176) with three singles in exhibition games. Brandon Hicks, a minor league free agent addition last offseason, could also work his way into the competition thanks to six hits in 14 at-bats, including four doubles and a home run.

On the pitching side, Dunning and Hembree both remain in the large competition for the two, or possibly three, open bullpen spots on the opening day roster. Dunning received far more big league time among the two hurlers last year, although Hembree is considered the bigger prospect, especially after setting a Fresno team-record with 31 saves in 2013.

Both Dunning and Hembree have appeared in three games this spring. Dunning has worked a total of three innings with one run and five hits allowed. He’s walked one and struck out two. Dunning picked-up a save last Tuesday against the Rockies. Hembree has surrendered one run and one hit through two innings thus far. He’s walked two and struck out two. Hembree had a rough outing on February 28 against Oakland taking the loss when he uncorked a wild pitch in a tie game allowing the winning run to score. The former San Jose closer though bounced back in his next outing last Wednesday with a 1-2-3 ninth inning versus the Angels to record the save.

With no experience above the Class-A advanced level (although he did excel in the Arizona Fall League last year), it seemed unlikely that Law would be considered for a spot on the opening day roster. And while that’s still probably the case, last year’s San Jose closer has certainly continued his positive momentum though the first couple of weeks of spring games. In two relief appearances thus far, Law has been perfect working a total of two innings with two strikeouts. If nothing else, continued success this spring could allow Law to jump to Triple-A Fresno for the start of the season with a chance to debut in the big leagues later in 2014.

All five spots in San Francisco’s starting rotation are set, but Edwin Escobar also continues to make a name for himself this spring, perhaps setting up a big league debut later in the year. Escobar made his second start of the spring yesterday against the Dodgers tossing three solid innings. The left-hander walked four, but yielded just one hit and one run. Overall in exhibition games, Escobar has worked six innings with only one hit and one run allowed. A spot in Fresno’s starting rotation when minor league rosters are announced seems likely for Escobar.

OTHER SPRING NOTES
* Mark Minicozzi has continued his terrific spring at the plate. The 31-year old, who played in San Jose seven seasons ago before a three-year stint in independent ball, homered for the second time this spring when he went deep last Friday against the Royals. Minicozzi is the first Giant to have hit two home runs in spring action this year. Overall, he’s 6-for-15 (.400) with two homers and two RBI’s. While a spot on the opening day roster still seems unlikely, Minicozzi’s impressive showing thus far should at least garner him a spot on Fresno’s team coming out of camp. It would be Minicozzi’s first taste of Triple-A ball in his career.

* Other former San Jose hitters still in big league camp include Gary Brown (.250, 3-for-12, 2 RBI, SB), Chris Dominguez (.200, 1-for-5), Adam Duvall (.250, 2-for-8, HR, RBI) and Andrew Susac (.200, 2-for-10, 2 2B, 3 RBI). These players aren’t considered candidates to make the opening day roster and should help form the core of Fresno’s team in April.

* Former San Jose Giant Darren Ford is back in the organization. Ford, who last season played for the Pirates Triple-A team, recently signed a minor league deal with the Giants. He’s been assigned to minor league camp, but had a chance to play in yesterday’s big league spring game against the Dodgers going 0-for-2 with a walk. Ford isn’t the only 2009 San Jose outfielder back in the organization as Tyler Graham signed as a minor league free agent in January. Graham is also in minor league camp, but like Ford, was called up for the afternoon yesterday (went 1-for-2 with a double). Ford and Graham, who both have limited major league experience, should add depth to Fresno’s outfield.

* Minor league spring games are scheduled to begin on Wednesday. Here is the exhibition game schedule of the “High-A” team, or the players most likely to begin the season in San Jose.

San Jose Giants Radio Broadcast Information

By Joe Ritzo

The San Jose Giants open the 2014 season on Thursday, April 3

The San Jose Giants open the 2014 season on Thursday, April 3

With only 27 days until the season opener, here’s a reminder that fans will be able to listen to every San Jose Giants game in 2014. Behind what’s expected to be another prospect-laden pitching staff, the Giants will be looking to extend their league-record streak for consecutive playoff appearances while going in search of the franchise’s 12th California League championship.

There are several ways to listen to San Jose Giants baseball this season:

* Of course, every game is streamed live on the club’s official website, sjgiants.com. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with the Giants Pregame Show as I’ll preview the upcoming contest, take a look around the Giants farm system and bring you inside the clubhouse with an exclusive interview. The San Jose Giants broadcast page can be found here. There’s also a Listen Live link on the right side of this blog under the “Giants Links” section.

* Every broadcast is also streamed live on your mobile phone through the San Jose Giants Mobile App. The San Jose Giants Mobile App is available to download for free in the App StoreSM for your iPad or iPhone or the Android Marketplace.

* If you’re at the ballpark and want to listen to the game, tune your radio dial to 92.9 FM. The live radio broadcast is available on this FM frequency inside the main seating bowl at Municipal Stadium.

* All San Jose Giants home games are also streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV. For more details and to sign up for a subscription, log onto sjgiants.com and click on MiLB.TV in the Multimedia tab.

Details of this year’s San Jose Giants television schedule on Comcast Hometown Network are forthcoming.

2013 San Jose Standouts Among First Big League Roster Cuts

By Joe Ritzo

Kyle Crick was one of several 2013 San Jose Giants assigned to minor league camp today

Kyle Crick was one of several 2013 San Jose Giants assigned to minor league camp today

The San Francisco Giants made their first round of roster cuts today as 13 players were sent to minor league camp, including several standouts from last year’s San Jose team. 2013 SJ Giants Jeff Arnold, Ty Blach, Clayton Blackburn, Jose Casilla, Kyle Crick, Angel Villalona and Mac Williamson were among the players that have been assigned to minor league camp.

The cuts aren’t a surprise as these players weren’t in consideration to make San Francisco’s opening day roster and will now get a chance for regular playing time in minor league exhibition games, which are set to begin on Wednesday. In fact, Blach, Blackburn and Crick never appeared in an official big league spring game. Crick did make some headlines earlier this week when he appeared in a “B” game against the Cubs tossing two innings. Reportedly, Crick labored through his first inning yielding one run before striking out the side in a scoreless second inning of work.

Williamson picked-up one single over three at-bats in official spring training action while Arnold was 0-for-1 in limited action. Casilla allowed two runs in 1/3 of an inning in his lone relief appearance. Villalona is the only 40-man member among the group of cuts (the others were all non-roster invitees) and thus had to be placed on a minor league roster today upon his assignment. While it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll open the year with them, it’s notable that Villalona was placed on Triple-A Fresno’s roster today, perhaps signaling that he’ll start the 2014 campaign in the Pacific Coast League. Villalona was 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in big league spring action.

Other former San Jose Giants that were assigned to minor league camp today include infielder Joe Panik (0-for-3) and pitcher Chris Heston (2 IP, 2 R). Ben Turner (0-for-1), San Jose’s likely starting catcher this season after playing in Augusta all of 2013, was also sent down.

54 players remain in Giants big league camp. Pitchers Edwin Escobar and Derek Law are now the only active 2013 San Jose Giants still in camp. Through yesterday’s action, Escobar has worked a total of three no-hit innings spanning two appearances. Law has pitched in just one game thus far tossing a perfect inning of relief last weekend.

2012 San Jose standouts Adam Duvall and Andrew Susac are still participating in big league camp as is 2011 Giants MVP Gary Brown. Former SJ Giants Juan Perez and Roger Kieschnick continue to battle for the fifth outfield spot, Ehire Adrianza and Nick Noonan are still involved in the fight to make the team as reserve infielders while Jake Dunning and Heath Hembree remain contenders for the opening day roster out of the bullpen. Mark Minicozzi also continues to impress with five hits, including a home run, in nine spring at-bats.

Episode 29 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Podcast graphicIn this special season preview podcast episode, Joe and Ben discuss candidates for the 2014 San Jose Giants pitching staff. The two breakdown the exciting group of starting pitchers expected to fill the rotation, which top prospect from last year’s staff could return and who might serve as the club’s closer.

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