Category Archives: Crutch’s Corner

2018 All-GWL Teams Announced

By Chandler Guadagnin

On Monday, the Great West League announced the All-GWL teams of 2018. The committee of voters consisted of the team managers. Thirteen players received votes from all six managers in the GWL. The Chico Heat led the way with 13 players selected to either the first or second team. The Lincoln Potters ranked second with 7 honored players. Medford rounded out the top 3 with six honorees; while, the San Francisco Seals, Yuba-Sutter and the Gems each had two.

All-GWL First Team

All-GWL First Team

Honorable Mentions

Chico Heat: Alex Crouch (Consumnes River), Tim Frith (Texas A&M-Arkana), Cole Galvagno (Folsom Lake), Matt Kimura (Chico State), Dalton Smith (Chico State)

Klamath Falls Gems: Kyle Yamada (Hawaii-Hilo)

Lincoln Potters: Austen Swift (William Jessup)

Medford Rogues: Tommy Ahlstrom (Simpson), Blake Baumgartner (UC-San Diego), Kolby Button (Shasta College), Cole Elvis (Cal Berkeley), Gabe Smith (Everett CC)

San Francisco Seals: Jake Vincent (University of Pikeville)

The Great West League will announce the Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and the Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

Heat Scorch In GWL Championship Game 1

By Chandler Guadagnin

Game 1 of the 2018 Great West League Championship Series is in the books. On Wednesday night, the Chico Heat and Lincoln Potters met at McBean Stadium, for Game 1 of the best of 3 series. Blake Hannan manned the mound for the Chico Heat. He was opposed by Lincoln hurler, Craig Schmich.

Each team hung goose eggs on the scoreboard; until, in the top of the third inning, the Chico Heat broke through. Andrew Meggs, began the inning with a walk. The next hitter, Cole Lemmel, would also reach via a error by the third baseman. That blunder would prove crucial, as 3 batters later with the bases loaded and one out. Trenton Stowe cranked out a 2-run double. Chico would score three more times in the frame, thanks to RBI knocks from Tim Frith and Matt Kimura.

The Potters would score their only run of the contest, in the bottom half of the inning on a one out, home run off the bat of JJ Santana.

Both squads would remain scoreless, until the Heat added single runs in the 7th and 9th.

Coming into the matchup, it was a question of which would win out: Lincoln’s high-powered offense or Chico’s superb pitching and defense.

Thanks to the outstanding combination of Blake Hannan and the shutdown Heat bullpen, the Heat are one win away from claiming the GWL’s ultimate prize. In all, Heat pitching allowed just 4 hits and 4 walks; while, striking out 11. Following Hannan’s exit after 7, the Heat ‘pen threw 3 innings of no-hit ball.

The Heat bats did the job as well- going 12-34 for an average of .353; including, 4 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

The Heat will look to close out the series tomorrow night at Nettleton Stadium. Game 2 of the series comes your way at 6:35PM, with the Chico Heat Pregame Show beginning at 6:15. Catch all the action on www.kpaysports.com, the KPAY Sports App and 101.7FM The Edge.

Statistics courtesy of www.pointstreak.com

By The Numbers: 2018 Chico Heat

By Chandler Guadagnin

This season’s edition of the Chico Heat was unforgettable. This collegiate word-bat league team was record-setting. They set high marks in almost every facet of the game; beginning with their record.

In what turned out to be a 57 game season, the Heat posted an amazing 43-14 record. In fact, they never lost a series all year long, until the final set of the year, when they dropped both games in a fire-shortened, 2 game series against the Lincoln Potters. A team can only do this if they are firing on all cylinders.

In the batting category, Chico was tops in the Great West League, hitting .303, with 608 hits, 32 of which were home runs. The Heat also racked up 469 runs; 402 of them RBIs. The club did not just go up to the plate swinging wildly, they also had a discerning eye. As a team, the Heat drew 332 free passes.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chico came in first with a .963 fielding percentage. They recorded the second least amount of errors (75) with 463 assists.

On the mound, the Heat through to the tune of a league-best 4.03 ERA. The pitching staff struck out 457 batters, in 498.1 innings pitched.

The Heat drew a total of 41,852 fans to Nettleton Stadium. That gave them an average attendance of 1,443 spectators; ranking them first in both statistics for 2018.

The Heat will look to have their regular season success translate to the postseason as they will take on the winner of the Lincoln-Medford first round matchup. Chico will hit the field on the road beginning this Wednesday at 6:35PM. Pregame festivities begin at 6:15PM with the Chico Heat Pregame Show. You can catch all of the Championship Series action on the KPAY Sports App, www.kpaysports.com and 101.7FM The Edge.

Statistics courtesy of www.pointstreak.com

Sandoval Out For Season

By Chandler Guadagnin

A day after the Giants’ Johnny Cueto, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery; the club announced yesterday that backup infielder, Pablo Sandoval, will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn right hamstring.

Sandoval’s injury, at first thought not to be very serious, occurred on Wednesday evening when he slid home.

San Francisco has yet to make a corresponding move. It is probable that the Giants will rely on utility man, Alen Hanson, to back up Longoria as needed.

The estimated timetable for an injury of this magnitude is two months.

Cueto Headed For Tommy John

By Chandler Guadagnin

The San Francisco Giants announced, Wednesday afternoon, that right handed pitcher and ace, Johnny Cueto, will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery on Thursday; thus, ending his season.

In recent weeks, it has become clear that Cueto would likely undergo the operation. Cueto even admitted, earlier this week, that he was feeling pain with every pitch. Earlier this season, Cueto received an MRI, which revealed a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow.

As others have done, the righty, attempted to pitch through the injury and have it repaired in the offseason. Ultimately, this attempt proved unsuccessful. The recovery for this surgery, takes approximately a year to get back to 100%. Accordingly, Cueto will miss the remainder of the 2018 season and the majority, if not all, of the 2019 campaign. Assuming Cueto returns in 2019, he will have approximately two and a half years left on his current contract.

In 9 starts this season, the 11 year veteran, has posted a 3-2 record, while accumulating a 3.23 ERA.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

My HR Derby Pick

By Chandler Guadagnin

Tonight, at 5 PM PT on ESPN, the Major League Baseball universe centers around Washington D.C. as the All-Star Week kicks off with the Home Run Derby. Participants include: Jesus Aquilar, Rhys Hoskins, Alex Bregman, Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, and Javier Baez. Below are the matchups for tonight’s contest:

Seeding was based on Home Run totals before a specified date in the first half. This derby marks a historic moment in Major League Baseball, as the youngest field to ever compete in a Home Run Derby.

My favorite to win the Derby is Bryce Harper, of the Washington Nationals. While Harper has struggled for the first half of the 2018 season, I believe that the comfort of competing in his home park, coupled with the fan support will push him across the finish line as a champion of the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby. This will be Harper’s second time participating in the event; his first crack at the contest was in 2013.

Stay locked to kpaysports.com for round by round updates of this year’s derby.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

Report: Giants Make Samardzija Available

By Chandler Guadagnin

Three days after the Giants traded Austin Jackson, Cory Gaerrin, and Single-A Pitcher, Jason Bahr, to the Rangers, San Francisco has let the Yankees know that Jeff Samardzija is available for trade.

Samardzija, who is owed $46 million over the next 2 and a half years, has tallied a 1-5 record, posting a 6.42 ERA over 40.2 innings pitched. In 9 games, Samardzija has struck out 29 while walking 25 and surrendering 6 home runs. Samardzija has had an injury-plagued 2018; spending 2 separate stints on the disabled list with a pectoral strain and right shoulder tightness.

With the emergence of the Giants young arms, Samardzija has become a trade chip. Combined, San Francisco’s young starters have posted a 14-12 record over 41 games and 224.1 innings pitched. They have accumulated a 4.13 ERA, with 184 strikeouts, 66 walks and a 1.328 WHIP.

The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

Panda Pitches in 9th

By Chandler Guadagnin

A game that was other wise dismal finished with a bit of a funny flourish. With the Giants trailing the Dodgers 15-6 in game one of a day-night double header, Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen for a mop up ninth inning. However, it wasn’t a pitcher, nor was it any ordinary position player. It was Pablo Sandoval!

In game one of the double header, San Francisco leaned on their bullpen heavily, for seven and two-thirds innings. To spare the bullpen for game two of the day; manager, Bruce Bochy, called on the 268 pound, Panda to mop it up, and mop it up he did. Panda tossed 11 pitches to get through the 8, 9 and 1 hitters 1-2-3. That was the first and only time in the contest that the Dodgers were retired in order.

Game two of today’s double header comes your way at 7:05PM PT on KNBR 680 and CSN Bay Area. Johnny Cueto hits the hill for the Giants. He will be opposed by LA’s Alex Wood.

Watch the Panda’s Performance

Giants Season Off To Abysmal Start

By Chandler Guadagnin

Although it is early, there is no getting around it: the Giants are off to an abysmal start in 2018. Even with the win tonight, San Francisco is three games under .500 (7-10). Analysts and fans, alike, are beginning to wonder if this season is just a revamped repeat of 2017. In the first 17 games of 2017, San Francisco was 6 and 11; one game worse than the current pace.  The primary concern for the Giants heading into the season was the age of the roster.

Before the season even began, analysts, statisticians and talk show hosts weren’t talking about the new talent on the roster, but instead were preoccupied with the several elder statesman of the club. While it is true that age is directly connected to a decline in production and the Giants are the oldest club in the Major Leagues (29.9); I did some digging and here is what I found: the second oldest club in Major League Baseball is the Washington Nationals. The average age of there roster is 29.3, just 0.6 years younger than the Giants. Yet somehow, by most estimates, Washington is projected to win the National League East by a hefty margin this season. So what is the difference? Likely it is that the Nats have made the postseason two straight years, and four times since 2012. San Francisco has made the postseason four times in 8 years. The speculation is also a result of the Giants’ horrific 2017 campaign; still fresh in the minds of so many. The main point of this one paragraph monologue, is that, though San Francisco is currently struggling, the Giants can indeed compete, even with an aging roster. That is the positive note. Here is what they need to improve to accomplish the feat.

Offensive production has been the main stumbling block of the Giants. Through 17 contests, San Francisco is hitting .234 as a team (9th in the National League). However, batting average is not the root of the issue. The true struggle, has been coming up with hits with runners in scoring position. The Orange and Black are a bulimic 19 for 120 with runners in scoring position (.158).  An illustration of this dismal scoring slump is that the Giants have been shutout 3 times in the early going. As is often the case, however, the lack of offense is not the sole reason for the Giants early dive.

The bullpen has had its part to play. Over 55.2 total innings pitched, the Giants bullpen has accumulated a 2.91 ERA. In these 53 total appearances, the Giants have surrendered 44 hits (6 for home runs), dished out 60 strikeouts and issued 25 walks as a unit. Like batting average, the ERA does not tell the whole story. What does is that most of the hits and walks are coming in the crucial moments of games. The ‘pen’s struggles coupled with the absence of timely hits has resulted in a minus 9 run differential; as the Giants have been outscored 59 to 50. What they have failed to do at the plate, they have made up for with the glove.

In 1,386 defensive innings, San Francisco has made only 9 errors, for a fielding percentage of .986, ranking them  10th in Major League Baseball. While it is nearly impossible to quantify Gold Glove caliber plays, it is safe to say that numerous sterling plays from the Giants five Gold Glove defenders, have played a starring role in the club’s defensive success.

If only the Giants could combine their Gold Glove defense with offense, it could change the tempo of the season. With 145 games remaining on the regular season resumé, there is still plenty of time to improve. However, two things are for certain: the Giants must improve, if they have any desire to compete for a playoff spot and, I will be more than happy if, 145 games from now, I can look back on this article and realize what an overreaction it was.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com and www.baseball-reference.com

McCutchen Hero as Giants Walk-Off Dodgers

By Chandler Guadagnin

Whatever rest the Giants may have accrued during their two days off came in handy Saturday afternoon.

A day after, rain shortened a series between the Giants and Dodgers, the Giants took the field for Game one of the two game series. The Giants sent Chris Stratton to the mound. He was opposed by Dodger lefty Rich Hill.

To say that this game was interesting would be an understatement. San Francisco would score first on a 1st inning RBI Double by Andrew McCutchen. That would be the only scoring until Chris Taylor singled in the first Dodger run in the 3rd. The bottom of the fifth saw two runs score for the Giants on a Buster Posey home run- his first of the year. The Dodgers would tie it an inning later via a passed and RBI groundout. The Giants answered immediately, with an RBI double from Brandon Belt in the 7th. That lead would last just 4 pitches, as on the fifth pitch of the at-bat in the bottom of the 7th, Chase Utley would take a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall to tie the game at four a piece.

Neither the Giants nor the Dodgers would score for 7 more innings. The first run of extra innings came when, with runners on first and third and nobody out-in the 14th inning, Logan Foresythe would single to put the Dodgers on top 5-4. San Francisco would tightrope out of further danger and come up to the plate in a win or go home scenario.

The last remaining pitcher from the LA bullpen was, rookie, Wilmer Font. Font would not record an out in this appearance, as he gave up back to back singles to Tomlinson and Panik. That brought up a red hot Andrew McCutchen. With nobody out and runners on first and third, Cutch got a pitch to his liking and sent it over the wall, sending the Giants faithful into a frenzy and giving the Giants their third win of the season against the Dodgers.

After his walk-off, McCutchen finished the game 6 for 7, tallying four RBIs and scoring twice.

All told, in this fourteen inning marathon, which lasted five hours and 16 minutes, there were a total of 45 players who saw action, five lead changes, 3 ties, 29 hits,  and 19 pitchers used. The two teams were a combined 4 for 30 with runners in scoring position, including a total of 26 men left on base.

With the victory, San Francisco rises to 4 and 3 and the Dodgers descend to 2-6 with the loss. The Giants will turn around and finish this short 2 game fling with the Dodgers tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05PM PT. Ty Blach will toe the rubber for the Giants, while Clayton Kershaw will pitch for Los Angeles. You can catch the series finale on CSN Bay Area or listen in on KNBR 680 AM.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com