Facing the same team twice in a row, pitchers can sometimes suffer from batters adjusting to their stuff. That was not the case Friday night for Jack Snodgrass.
After limiting the Bakersfield Blaze to one run over six innings in his last start, the Giants prospect did even better in his second turn against them, giving up one hit in six shutout innings. That was not enough for the Class A Advanced San Jose Giants, who fell, 1-0.
Snodgrass struck out four without issuing a walk in the no-decision. He excelled at keeping the ball in the infield, generating 11 ground-ball outs compared to three flyouts.
"I was pleased," Snodgrass said. "As a starter, the main goal out there is just to keep your team in the game and to give the squad a chance to win. You can take satisfaction in knowing you did your job. There are still a few things I need to work on and improve, but overall, it was a good deal."
The only hit Snodgrass allowed came with one out in the first, when Devin Lohman legged out an infield single. Shortstop Joe Panik tried to make the play but ended up overthrowing first base and allowing Lohman to take second.
"I think we evened the count at 1-1, I had gone fastball- changeup," Snodgrass said. "The pitch was a fastball in, I believe. It came back over the middle a little bit and he got good wood it. Panik tried for the extraordinary play -- if he had made it, it would've been play of the season, probably."
It was smooth sailing from that point on for the 24-year-old left-hander as he retired the final 17 batters he faced.
"I had thrown against them five days earlier," Snodgrass noted. "I was feeling them out, seeing what adjustments they were going to make. They were less aggressive, for sure, but I was able to locate my fastball. I hadn't thrown my slider much in my first outing against them, but it was one more thing to keep in the back of their head."
Drafted in the 27th round last June, Snodgrass signed early and tossed 47 2/3 innings for short-season Salem-Keizer, posting a 3.59 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 14 walks. So far in the hitter-friendly California League, he has put together a 2.20 ERA with 13 punchouts in 16 1/3 frames.
"You hear the horror stories of all the stadiums," Snodgrass said. "This park is a bandbox, make sure you keep it low here. Just stay with your strengths, keep the ball down and throw strikes. When you don't, things just compound and get worse."
Josh Osich took over for Snodgrass in the seventh and worked around two hits in a scoreless frame. Chris Wilson (0-1) took the loss after surrendering a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to Juan Duran in the ninth.
Bakersfield starter Tony Cingrani allowed four hits over seven shutout frames, striking out nine, walking one and lowering his ERA to 0.53. Pat Doyle (1-0) earned the win by limiting the Giants to one hit in two innings.
Playing for San Jose, which has made the playoffs eight straight years and won the league title four times in that span, Snodgrass has a clear idea of his goals for the season.
"Just win as many ballgames as possible," he said. "We have a great team and, historically, the San Jose Giants do well. I just want to be a part of that and win as many games as possible. Usually as teams win, good things happen. So just keep winning and everything else will take care of itself."