Brett Pill had 31 RBIs entering the week, an RBI number held in envy by the rest of the PCL as he was atop the leaderboard. Six games later, and Pill increased his RBI total to 47 RBIs after driving in 16 runs over the week. That is over 2.5 RBIs per game. If Pill only had his RBIs from this past week, he still would rank third on the Grizzlies.
Instead, Pill is leading all of baseball in RBIs, drawing affiliated baseball to drool over his gaudy RBI count. That includes Minors and Majors. The highest total in the MLB (though May 12) is Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers with 40. Pill had 40 midway through last Thursday’s (May 9) game.
Kensuke Tanaka had six stolen bases entering the week, which were tied for the most on the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies second baseman then went on to steal 5 bases (in as many chances) to bump his season total to 11. His 11 stolen bases are tied for the third-most in the PCL (through May 12).
Tanaka has already nearly matched the Grizzlies’ 2012 stolen base leader, Skyler Stromsmoe and his 13 steals.
Tanaka also had 13 stolen bases in all of 2012 with the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan. The infielder has stolen as many as 34 stolen bases in a season (2010) during his career. He did have his 2011 season cut short due to a fracture in his left foot, which affected his 2012 campaign and ability to steal bases.
Heath Hembree entered the week tied for second in the PCL in saves, and he left the week as the league lead dog. The right-hander was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities, although some of those saves were easier than others.
On May 10 at Nashville, Hembree entered the bottom of the 12th inning of an already long game (there was a one hour, 13 minute delay in the first pitch). The Grizzlies took the lead in the top half of the inning, but Hembree promptly allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom half followed by a walk to load the bases. With the pressure turned up, Hembree locked in by striking out two and inducing a fly out to end the game unscathed.
In his other three outings during the week, Hembree did not allow a hit over 2 2/3 innings. (He did allow an inherited runner to score on May 7, but the run crossed home plate via a sacrifice fly. One cannot blame Hembree completely for doing what he was asked to do: get an out).
The Grizzlies finished the week on a three-game winning streak, and those three wins were not automatic wins either.
Each win in the three-game winning streak was of the come-from-behind nature. On May 10 at Nashville, the Grizzlies scored two runs in the top of the first — only to have that advantage evaporate when the Sounds tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the first and later score one run in each the fourth and sixth innings. No fear, though, as the Grizzlies scored two runs in the seventh that forced extra-innings. The game turned out to be the longest for Fresno this season, but the wait was worth it as they walked away with a 5-4 win in 12 innings.
In the first game of the Memphis series on May 11, the Grizzlies shook off an early-game offensive slumber by breaking out for six runs in the sixth-inning. Pinch-hitter Chris Dominguez capped the frame with a three-run home run.
The next day, on May 12, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. For the second time in three days, however, the Grizzlies allowed their opponent to flip the Grizzlies’ advantage into a 4-2 lead of their own. The Grizzlies rallied by scoring two runs in the seventh to force extra innings (as they did two days earlier). The only difference in the May 12 game compared to May 10: the Grizzlies scored more than one run in extra-innings. On May 12, the Grizzlies made sure there was no hope for their opponent as Fresno scored three runs in the 11th inning of an eventual 7-4 win.
Chris Heston went 2-0 in his two starts this past week despite posting a 6.55 ERA (8er, 11.0ip). Welcome to the PCL. He did strike out 13 and walk two. The right-hander is fifth in the PCL in strikeouts with 42 through May 12.
The Grizzlies did something they have not done for 1,759 games: win without registering a strikeout. On May 2, Shane Loux, Jake Dunning, and Dan Runzler threw nine innings but did not fan one Sacramento River Cats batter. It did not matter, though, because the trio of hurlers limited Sacramento to five runs – while the Fresno offense supported them with 11 runs.
Prior to this past week, the last time the Grizzlies won a game without striking out a batter was August 21, 2000 at Tucson. Ryan Jensen (7.1 IP) and Jason Davis (1.2 IP) threw in the game.
The Grizzlies have played in a game in which their pitchers did not record a strikeout, though, before the 2000 season. The last time that happened was June 16, 2004, also against Sacramento. The Grizzlies had three games during the 2004 season in which their pitchers did not strike out any of their opponents.
Brett Pill had a hitting streak reach a baker’s dozen. His 13-game hitting streak ended on May 3, but it still matched Roger Kieschnick for the longest hitting streak by a Grizzlies batter this season. Pill had 23 hits over the 13-game stretch.
It fell one game short of tying his career-high hitting streak of 14 games set twice (Last: July 29-August 11, 2010 with Fresno).
Michael Kickham tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings on May 3 vs. Colorado Springs, which was the longest outing so far by a Fresno pitcher this season. It was Kickham’s longest outing since July 12, 2012 with Richmond.
It was the most shutout innings thrown by a Fresno pitcher since another left-hander turned in a complete game shutout on June 21, 2011 vs. Salt Lake: Giants pitcher Barry Zito.
Ok, Zito was on MLB Rehab assignment. He was an established Major League pitcher (read: Cy Young winner), so pitching against Triple-A hitters was a step below from he sees every fifth day currently in his career.
So the last non-MLB-Rehab-assignment Grizzlies pitcher to throw more than 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball before Kickham? Another left-hander familiar to Grizzlies and Giants fans: Madison Bumgarner, on May 28, 2010 vs. Salt Lake.
Carter Jurica delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Grizzlies’ their first walk-off win of the season as they beat the Sacramento River Cats 8-7 on April 29.
The Grizzlies had 9 walk-off wins in 2012.
The second Farm Grown Friday of the 2013 season is a big one. With a former U.S. Representative as a guest speaker, a former City of Fresno mayor hosting a forum, local farmers and vendors selling fresh products to fans, and a post-game firework show, the night will have something for every fan. Here is a breakdown of what to expect at Chukchansi Park on Friday, May 3rd.
The first Farm Forum of the season will feature George Radanovich, former U.S. Representative of California’s 19th District. Radanovich will be on hand to discuss his experience in Washington, D.C. as a Representative for the Central San Joaquin Valley as well as his background in the wine industry.
Each Farm Forum is hosted by former mayor of Fresno Alan Autry and is held in The CRU Club before the game.
There will be 15 vendors located along the Chukchansi Park concourse selling their products to Grizzlies fans. Which ones in particular? Here’s the list:
Wild West Eggs: free range chicken and duck eggs
Blossom Bluff Orchards: organic dried stone fruit
Pepichile: fruit and vegetable seasoning
Adams Olives: bottled olives, olive oil
Simonian Farming Company: pomegranate jelly
Friar’s Choice: honey
National Hmong American Farmers: Asian fruits and vegetables
Lanna Coffee: 12 oz. bags ground and whole bean coffee
Gary’s Organic Raisin and Herb Vinaigrette: vinaigrette
Hamada Farms: wide range of fruits
Yurosek Farms: pistachios, cherries
Vintage Cheese: varieties of cheese
Tesche Pecans: pecans
Ferrer Farms: strawberries and other fruit
Ortiz Farms: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Farm Grown Theme Jersey
The Grizzlies will be wearing special Farm Grown theme jerseys during their game against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Fans will be able to bid on the game-worn jerseys through a silent auction. Winners will receive the jerseys right off the Grizzlies backs after the game along with a photo with the player.
The Farm Grown jersey proceeds will benefit the Carolee Boele Memorial Scholarship.
A Friday night staple at Grizzlies games, fans will be able to watch the Downtown Fresno skyline be lit up a spectacular fireworks show, presented by Ag Safe.
First pitch is at 7:05 pm, but gates open at 6:05 pm. Be sure to stop by early to take in all the Friday night action.
It’s simple to be a maker. All you need is a few household items and you can make a fun, interactive project, enjoyed by children and adults.
Watch the video above to learn how to make a water bottle submarine (Grizzlies mascot Parker is not included).
Then, come out to Fresno’s first Mini Maker Faire ever on Sunday, April 21st. The event is from 12-5 pm at Chukchansi Park, which is before and during the Grizzlies game.
Back by popular demand, here is a list of walk-up songs for the 2013 Fresno Grizzlies. Some players have very unexpected choices while others seem to enjoy slight humor in their song choice.
Not all players choose a song. This is a matter of personal preference. As you can see, though, sometimes players that don’t choose their song have their tunes chosen by teammates.
Boof Bonser – “The Animal” by Disturbed
Gary Brown – “What Up” by Drake ft. Bun B.
Juan Ciriaco – “Voy Delante” Ridimidz
Chris Dominguez – “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Jake Dunning – “Neck of the Woods” by Birdman ft. lil Wayne
Cole Gillespie – “Da Rockwilder” by Method Man
Heath Hembree – “Top Gun Anthem” – Harold Fahermeyer
Chris Heston – “Can I Live” by Jay-Z
Michael Kickham – “Sill D.R.E. (Instrumental)” by Dr. Dre
Roger Kieschnick – “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins
Todd Linden – “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
Jean Machi – “Este es Confiar” by Nancy Amancio
Johnny Monell – “Straight Like That” by Meek Mill
Ramon Ramirez – “Nuevo Manana” by Ramon Ramirez
Sandy Rosario – “Esto es perreo” by Jowelly Randy
Dan Runzler – “Big Poppa” by Notorious B.I.G.
Kensuke Tanaka – “Shoulda Been A Cowboy” by Toby Keith
Mason Tobin – “When the levee breaks” by Led Zeppelin
Jackson Williams – “Coming Undone” by Korn
The Fresno Grizzlies held their first Farm Grown Friday on April 5th, and Chukchansi Park was buzzing with all things farming.
Several vendors were stationed along the concourse as part of the Farmer’s Market. Vendors and what they sold included:
- Vintage Cheese – cheese
- Wild West Eggs – free range chicken and duck eggs
- Blossom Bluff Orchards – organic drive stone fruit and persimmons, fresh peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots, apriums
- Bill Ferry Ranches – fresh orange juice
- Pepichile – fruit and vegetable seasoning
- Adams Olives – bottled olives, olive oil
- Simonian Farming Company – pomegranate jelly
- Friar’s Choice – honey
The Grizzlies Community Fund was also selling broccoli to raise money for its many community programs. Stamoules Produce Company, a Farm Grown founding partner, donated the broccoli.
In addition to the Farmer’s Market, the Grizzlies on the field took part in the “farming” theme by representing their parent club to the entire farm system: the San Francisco Giants.
Over the last two years, the Giants wore special orange jerseys for each Friday home game. The Grizzlies have now taken on such a tradition by wearing new orange alternate jerseys themselves. These are the first new jerseys worn by the Grizzlies since the team did a complete logo overhaul in 2008. The jersey will be worn by the Grizzlies at each Friday home game in honor of Farm Grown Fridays.
During the next – and all future – Farm Grown Friday, Farm Forums will be held in The CRU Club. George Radanovich, former U.S. Representative from the Central Valley, will be the guest speaker for the first Farm Forum.
The Grizzlies look forward to the next Farm Grown Friday on May 3rd!
Nick Noonan collected three hits and two RBI in the Giants’ final Spring Training game in Arizona this year, only improving his chances to make San Francisco’s Opening Day roster.
The left-handed hitter got off to a slow start this spring, tallying only one hit in his first 19 at-bats. Since March 9th, however, Noonan has turned it up by hitting .341 (15-for-44) with eight extra-base hits.
With veteran infielder Tony Abreu sidelined with a knee injury for all but one Spring Training game, Noonan has stepped up his candidacy for a backup infielder role with the Giants.
Noonan entered last season with a .259 career average. He played in 13 games for the Grizzlies in 2011, but the 2012 campaign was Noonan’s first full experience at Triple-A. The San Diego native impressed, batting .296 over 129 games for Fresno. He paced the Grizzlies in hits and games played while also placing fourth on the squad with 62 RBI.
As former Grizzlies manager Steve Decker told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Noonan had to go back to what he knew to find success in 2012:
“I’ve known Nick from day one, so I asked him, `When we drafted you and you were considered a top prospect, what were you good at?’” said Decker, now the Giants’ organizational hitting coordinator.
Noonan replied that he was a pretty good fastball hitter, especially to his pull side gap. So Decker gave him a challenge: “If you get a fastball middle, be ready to hit it to your pull side gap.”
“He has not been late on the fastball since,” Decker said. “He finally figured out … you never come to a fight without your best weapon.”
Noonan and Giants fans alike will find out in the coming days if he cracks his first big league roster.
Twelve. Twelve days. That’s it. The Grizzlies’ 2013 season kicks off in 12 days on April 4th for Opening Day.
Tim Lincecum, who wore jersey number 12 in his brief Grizzlies career in 2007, helps us count down to the big day.
Lincecum’s Grizzlies career looks like this:
4-0 record (5 starts)
1 ER in 31 IP (0.29 ERA)
46 strikeouts and 11 walks
.119 batting average against
For Fresno, four of Lincecum’s five Grizzlies starts were at Chukchansi Park, so the opportunity for everyone in the Central San Joaquin Valley to see the two-time Cy Young winner before startdom was there.
In fact, Lincecum’s last start with Fresno (at Chukchansi Park nonetheless) was a record-setting performance. The right-hander struck out 14 in six innings, setting the Grizzlies franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game. What’s more impressive about Lincecum’s final start in Triple-A is that he didn’t walk any of the 21 batters he faced. Everybody knew on that April 29th day back in 2007 Lincecum was destined for bigger things in his career.
Lincecum is also one of the 17 of the 25 Giants on the 2012 World Series roster that have played for the Grizzlies in their careers.
Of course, as everybody has heard, Lincecum ditched the long hair for a more clean cut look. As seen in the photo above, he fared well with the shorter locks. Based on the logic of haircuts (which is probably more along the lines of illogic of haircuts), the 2013 season could be a bounce back year for Lincecum.
Two weeks away! There are 14 days until Opening Day, and Francisco Peguero helps bring us closer to the 7:05 pm against the Tacoma Rainiers at Chukchansi Park.
The outfielder made his Grizzlies debut in 2012, playing in 105 games for Fresno and batting .272/.297/.394 with 20 doubles, 10 triples, 5 home runs, and 68 RBI.
His 10 triples tied Nate Schierholtz for the second-most by a Grizzlies hitter for a single season in franchise history.
Peguero was pegged (yes, that was intentional) for another season in Triple-A to start Spring Training this year after the San Francisco Giants re-signed Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence and brought back Andres Torres after his one-year absence from the Giants organization.
Peguero, however, did not get the memo regarding the Giants’ outfield situation being all but decided. In 18 Spring Training games, Peguero is hitting .364 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 5 RBI. His .364 batting average only trails Brandon Belt for the highest clip on the Giants (min. 40 AB).
Peguero is competing with Cole Gillespie for the Giants’ fifth outfield spot. The Giants would probably not prefer to have Peguero sitting on their bench and possibly stunting his development, but sometimes roster decision-makers can’t argue with results.