Modesto: W 6-5 (Nuts ahead 1 game to none)
Jhoulys Chacin was obviously not at his best for the playoff opener at Stockton, you could probably forgive me for thinking that this result would be a little closer to the one we saw in the Asheville contest given his season to date performance. Although, you might notice that until he came in to pitch the sixth inning, something that the Rockies haven't allowed him to do since late July, he was just fine. Still, the good news is that the Nuts snuck away with the victory in yesterday's first contest thanks largely to some shoddy defense form Stockton. Daniel Mayora had the game's first RBI, hitting in Austin Jackson in the first, and scored the game's last run after walking and sccoring on a throwing error in the bottom of the tenth.
Asheville: L 0-1 (Tourists down 1 game to none)
The difference between Connor Graham and Madison Bumgarner wasn't much last night, it might not be that much going forward. Bumgarner's fastball is special, and his dominant season at Augusta will get him plenty of offseason accolades, but remember that the Giants as an organization usually aren't shy when it comes to pushing their players through their system if they are showing a clear readiness for the next level. Keeping Bumgarner at Augusta all season despite his dominance tells me that the Giants internally are at least a little wary that his continued lack of secondary stuff won't play as well at higher levels. The upside for Bumgarner is very high still, but there's also still a pretty high chance that his impact for the Giants at the MLB level winds up confined to the bullpen, where he would be a Billy Wagner/top of the line closer which is nothing to sneeze at, but it also isn't the sure fire ace that Giants fans and some prospect pundits might lead you to believe. Graham mixes two pitches, a hard slider and a fastball that lacks the command and velocity of Bumgarner's, but last night's results show that even that can look dominant against a top flight SAL club. The fact that Graham has two plus pitches rather than just the one alows him to make up a lot of ground on the Giants' Mad Bum. I'd like to see him start approaching the command that Bumgarner shows next season, and as always, I want to see more use of his changeup or maybe a cut fastball in Modesto.
Tomorrow I'm taking a roadtrip to Asheville to see game two which I'll report on Saturday.