The weather norms were switched on Thursday, opening day for Minor League Baseball. In Richmond, Va., where rain delays are notoriously common, the region surrounding The Diamond wasn't clear of cloud cover, but it was certainly clear of any precipitation. While on the west coast, the Sacramento River Cats succumbed to their first home rain out since June 28, 2011 — a whopping 2110 days ago.
The Flying Squirrels took advantage of playable weather and took to the Hartford Plateau Gibbons, I mean Yard Goats, by slapping down 11 runs spread across 13 hits. The outburst was highlighted by powerful first basemen Chris Shaw's two-run shot in the first inning, which followed an RBI single from Miguel Gomez.
Overshadowed by the offensive performance was Dan Slania, who hurled six impressive innings with eight strikeouts allowing just one run on five hits and a walk. Slania picked up right where he left off the 2016 season, continuing to surprise people with his quick and productive transition from late-inning reliever to reliable workhorse starting pitcher.
Including last night's season debut, Slania has thrown 102.2 innings as a starter and posted numbers like 3.1 RA/9, 7.7 K/9, and 1.13 WHIP.
Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News made an interesting point about Slania. Considering his experience, although brief, in Triple-A, his name might be considered to replace Albert Suarez in Sacramento.
Every starter, except the pitcher Slania, recorded at least one hit on Thursday, with Slade Heathcott, Brandon Bednar, and Gomez picking up two.
— The San Jose Giants benefited from having their opening-day game in Southern California, as their game, like in Sacramento, would have surely been cancelled with the half-an-inch of rain and 30-mph wind gusts the south bay received last night. Five hours and 17 minutes after the Giants and Inland Empire 66ers began their first regular season game, lefty Caleb Smith surrendered the winning run in the 16th inning following three walks and two hits over 1.2 innings.
—Bryan Reynolds, who debuted in San Jose last season in the playoffs, got his new year off to a good start with three singles and a walk in Thursday night's loss. All hits for Reynolds came from the left side of the plate.
— Left-hander Domenic Mazza gave up a two-run, opposite-field home run to Tim Tebow in Thursday's Augusta GreenJackets season opener. He will never live that down.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Christian Arroyo: DNP
- Bryan Reynolds: 3-for-5, R, BB, SO
- Steven Duggar: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO
- Sandro Fabian: 2-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SO
- Heath Quinn: DNP
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: 1-for-7, 3 SO
- C.J. Hinojosa: DNP
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- Austin Slater: DNP
- Kelvin Beltre: 1-for-5, R, 2 SO
- Dan Slania: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K
- Cory Taylor: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jalen Miller: 1-for-6, R, 2 BB, 2 SO
- Melvin Adon: DNP
- Garrett Williams: DNP
- Dylan Davis: DNP
- Ryder Jones: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 1-for-4, R, 3B, RBI, SO