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4/20 Game Notes: River Cats Pitch Less Poorly Than Aces, Win 6-4

On a great Saturday evening, the Reno Aces came to Sacramento hoping to reclaim any of the dignity that they lost when the River Cats went up to Reno and scored 60 runs in just 4 games, including a 22 run shellacking in one of them. In short, they didn't, they lost again, but obviously not by a whole lot. The starter for the River Cats was Travis Banwart, who took over when Jesse Chavez (who was originally scheduled to start the game) was called up to replace Scribner. The starter for the Aces was Randall Delgado, one of the pieces in the Justin Upton trade. The lineup for the River Cats was: Jemile Weeks (SS), Grant Green (2B), Stephen Vogt (C), Michael Choice (CF), Shane Peterson (RF), Luke Montz (DH), Scott Moore (3B), Daric Barton (1B), and Conner Crumbliss (LF)

Christian Petersen

Travis Banwart: Travis Banwart was solid in the first inning, only leaving one mistake fastball to none other than Kila Ka'aihue who ripped it down the right field line for a home run. Banwart is your average two pitch guy with a fringy third pitch. He was 91-94 (according to the ballpark radar gun) without much movement on the 4 seam fastball in the 1st inning, but settled at 90-92 for innings 2-4. He repeated his mechanics well and threw from the same three quarter/slightly across the body slot each time. That made his changeup sort of effective since he would repeat those mechanics and not tip it. It came in about 7-9 MPH's slower than his fastball. His breaking ball had the velocity of a curveball but broke sort of like a slider. He didn't use it a lot, just if the batter had fouled off a bunch of fastballs/changeups or as a show-me early in the count. His problem was that he didn't have a reliable strikeout pitch. The batters got deep into the counts a lot on him, fouled off a lot of pitches, which really raised his pitch count. I was pretty surprised that the manager gave him a pretty quick hook, Banwart looked like he could go at least another inning. He was in the strikezone and more often than not hit his location. He looks like a guy who could be an average long reliever or possibly a 6th starter for a team starved of pitching depth.

Banwart's final line: 3 2/3 IP, 1 Earned Run, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HR, 5-1 groundout-flyout, 74 pitches/49 strikes

Pedro Figueroa: Figueroa came in relief of Banwart, coming out the gates at 94-98 MPHs (sitting 93-96 the rest of the way) with insane movement and like always, no idea where the ball was headed coming out of his hands. He was in the strikezone plenty, but would hit the outside corner when the catcher set up inside and vice versa....a lot. He was mostly fastball/slider, pretty much just throwing his changeup during warmups. There wasn't much hard contact off of him until the last inning that he threw, when a couple guys barreled up his fastball when he grooved it right out over the middle. Figueroa left with those two men on base, Brian Gordon came in and got a couple outs but then was hit hard, letting those two score.

Figueroa's final line: 2 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 1-2 groundout-flyout, 42 pitches/25 strikes

Stephen Vogt: not a good defensive catcher. Bad form on blocking pitches in the dirt, slow mechanics and a bad grip on his throw when Brad Snyder stole second. He had another badly gripped throw that almost went over Barton but thankfully Barton is still an amazing defensive first baseman who caught it and then kept the tag on the runner when he came off of first base. On the other hand, Vogt has a swing that's a sight for sore eyes, and on the subject of eyes, Vogt has a good set at the plate. He was able to lay off a lot of close pitches except for an early-in-the-count changeup from Delgado which fooled him pretty badly. He punished a mistake fastball that Delgado left out over the inner half of the plate for a home run. It was such a rocket hit that it might not have been a home run in the Coliseum JUST because of the double wall in right center. He's a true bat first "catcher" who will make you wish for Jaso behind the dish on defense but make you forget about it all with his next at bat.

Stephen Vogt's final line: 2-3, HR, 2 BBs

Grant Green: Green's defense at second base was interesting to say the least. He got a lot of plays there, and made a couple really nice plays ranging over to his right near second base after being shifted way over towards first base. His main problem was his throws, the same problem which carried over from when he played shortstop. For whatever reason, he kept throwing from somewhere between a 3/4 slot and sidearm, but closer to sidearm. Even on the routine stuff, he made Barton stretch to his left or right pretty far. When Green fielded the ball, he wasn't in a smooth defensive position either, he was more on his heels and a couple times looking like he was leaning back. Even with those mechanics, his hands were very sure, and after the second grounder anything that was hit over his way I was positive he would make a play on. He may not be the smoothest second baseman, but I feel like he could handle the position enough to stay there. At the plate, he wasn't fooled by Delgado's fastballs and changeups, but he had some trouble with breaking stuff from the relievers. Off of Warner Madrigal he hit a fastball out over the middle of the plate up the middle that would have been a single with a normal second baseman, but Chris Owings showed really good range throughout the game and has a very good arm. Later, he barreled up on another fastball, this one from Matt Gorgen, and hit a hard fly out to center.

Grant Green's final line: 0-3, 2 BB's, 1 K

Michael Choice: Michael didn't really get much action out in center. The only challenging play he had was a liner that was hit to left field that he didn't have a chance on. He got a really good jump right off the bat, but his route didn't look good, as he went straight to it rather than curving out and around to it. At the plate, Choice could turn on anything out over the middle (his double to left center in the first inning) or on the outer half (his home run last week) whether it was belt, thigh, or knee high. He had a hard time with anything up and in around his hands. He rolled over one and grounded into a double play, although the grounder was really hard hit, and blooped out to the right fielder after getting jammed on another one, although in that at bat he had fouled off a bunch of pitches already and worked it to a deep count. He was pretty aggressive on pitches in the strikezone leading him to be fooled on a couple of Randall Delgado's changeups, but he was also patient on stuff close but out of the strikezone.

Michael Choice's final line: 1-5, 2B, K

Jemile Weeks: Yeah, let's not talk about him at shortstop....ever....that experiment needs to end yesterday. His contact in the first inning was great but he had nothing to show for it, getting robbed once and getting beat by the shift the other time. Other than that his contact was just weak choppers right at the fielders.

Shane Peterson and Conner Crumbliss each made some hard contact but only Peterson had anything to show for it with his first inning single to right center. Crumbliss got deep into the counts and walked with the bases loaded once. He slapped a couple line drives out to the left fielder, but right at him so they were pretty routine outs. Daric Barton made some hard contact off of Delgado twice early in the counts, within the first two or three pitches, for a double down the right field line and a line drive single to the right fielder.

Non-baseball notes from the game

  • The Tri-tip sandwich from the Kinders stand was absolutely amazing, although they decided to downgrade it by adding a couple tomato slices that I had to pick off. Would've been better off with grilled onions and/or roasted bell peppers. I give it a 70, would've been an 80 had it not been for the tomatoes.
  • The crowd was awesome and in it the whole time, and the view of the pyramid glowing behind the scoreboard was great.
  • They played "Sweet Caroline" right after the 7th inning stretch, which was awesome.
  • They had a dancing field crew!!!