Blackburn shuts down Sky Sox, Slater hits two homers

BOX SCORES: SAC / RIC / SJ / AUG

Clayton Blackburn needed a start like Wednesday afternoon's. The right-hander had not thrown a dominant-type start this season, a year removed from leading the Pacific Coast League in ERA. Blackburn entered the game with a 5.56 ERA and a 12.67 hits-per-nine-innings average. He faced the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and went six scoreless innings, striking out five and throwing just 68 pitches, while allowing four baserunners (two hits, one walk, one HBP). It dropped his ERA almost an entire point to 4.66. The low pitch count was likely due to him going 17 days since making a start and the organization needing to get another rehab inning in for Sergio Romo.

The start came at home, where he has been far better in 2016 — away from the sinker-destroying, thin-aired parks of the PCL. His four road starts came at an average elevation of 3,941 feet, where he averaged 14.1 hits per nine innings with a 6.19 ERA. At home, at basically sea level, where his sinker can actually sink, he is averaging 9.1 hits per nine innings with a 3.57 ERA. 

Out on the east coast, Austin Slater built upon his torrid May, punishing Eastern League pitching with contact and power. He cleared the fence twice, his fourth and fifth home runs of the season, to raise his season slugging percentage to .516. At age 23, Slater is fifth in the league with the mark, just behind known powers like Pittsburgh's Bradley Zimmer and Cleveland's Clint Frazier. Slater's slash line in 68 May plate appearances is now .437/.500/.737. He is also seeing the ball extremely well right now, striking out just three times in his last 33 plate appearances.

OTHER NOTES

Andrew Suarez rebounded from a tough second Double-A start, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. His eight hits and three walks are slightly higher than what we were used to seeing from him in High-A ball, but he worked them to allow just the one run. At the moment, I can't think of one recent Giants' starting pitching prospect who has smoothly transitioned from the California League to the Eastern League. Stay tuned for an analysis of this.

— Two more hits for Miguel Gomez, his 11th multi-hit game in 24 tries, as the switch-hitting Dominican increased his average to .355. He's roughly 10 at-bats short of qualifying for batting average leaders, of which he would second in the South Atlantic League. He would also be eighth in slugging percentage, and seventh in OPS.

TOMORROW'S STARTERS


TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

  1. Christian Arroyo: 1-for-5, 2 R, RBI, BB
  2. Tyler Beede: DNP
  3. Phil Bickford: DNP
  4. Lucius Fox: 0-for-4, RBI, 2 SO
  5. Chris Shaw: 1-for-5, 2B, SO
  6. Sam Coonrod: DNP
  7. Mac Williamson: 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, SO
  8. Aramis Garcia: DNP
  9. Andrew Suarez: 7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
  10. Adalberto Mejia: DNP
  11. Clayton Blackburn: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
  12. Jalen Miller: 1-for-5, R, RBI, SO
  13. Ray Black: DNP
  14. Chase Johnson: DNP
  15. Jordan Johnson: DNP
  16. Steven Okert: DNP
  17. Kyle Crick: DNP
  18. Jarrett Parker: DNP
  19. Hunter Cole: 1-for-4, RBI
  20. Austin Slater: 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
  21. Joan Gregorio: DNP
  22. Michael Santos: DNP
  23. Ty Blach: DNP
  24. Mac Marshall: DNP
  25. Ronnie Jebavy: 2-for-5, SB
  26. Derek Law: DNP
  27. Chris Stratton: DNP
  28. Ian Gardeck: DNP
  29. Jake Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  30. Dylan Davis: DNP

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