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D-backs Farm Rumblings: Jackson’s pitching off to a great start

As the Arizona Diamondbacks were opening up the home portion of their schedule against the Boston Red Sox, their top four minor league affiliates were lifting the lid on their 2019 seasons.

The Reno Aces opened on the road in Fresno, dropping three of four games to the Grizzlies. The Double-A Jackson Generals split a four-game series with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (yes, that’s really their name) despite some lights-out pitching. The High-A Visalia Rawhide got off to a great start winning three out of four over the San Jose Giants, while the Single-A Kane County Cougars split a four-game home-and-home set with the Clinton LumberKings.

All season long, we’ll keep you up to date on everything happening in the D-backs’ farm system here on ArizonaSports.com.

Shutout season: Jackson and Kane County opened the season in style, with dominant pitching performances. The Generals were nearly unhittable on Thursday. Justin Donatella, a 24-year-old right-hander, pitched five shutout innings — allowing just a leadoff single in the second inning — in a 5-0 win over Jacksonville. The bullpen trio of Ryan Atkinson, Lucas Luetge and Kevin Ginkel kept the shutout intact over the last four innings, and also didn’t allow a hit while racking up seven strikeouts. Meanwhile, Jackson Goddard, Andy Toelken and Ethan Larrison combined on a six-hit shutout in a 2-0 triumph over Clinton.

Runs at a premium: Jackson’s pitching staff has been ridiculous through four games, posting a team ERA of 0.76 in 35.1 innings of action. Unfortunately, Jackson’s offense has struggled thus far, hitting just .146 as a team and managing a total of four runs over the last three games of the series.

Welcome to the organization: Andy Young, a 24-year-old infielder acquired from St. Louis in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, is enjoying his new Southern League surroundings. Young hit .400 (6-for-15) in his first week with Jackson. Young led off Sunday’s 2-0 win over Jacksonville with a home run off of Jordan Yamamoto. In the third, Young singled to left field and was later knocked in on an RBI double from Jamie Westbrook. Young is rated as the D-backs’ 11th-best prospect by MLB.com.

Extending his own record: Reno right-hander Jimmie Sherfy worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning Friday night, picking up a save in a 7-5 win over Fresno. The save was Sherfy’s 48th for the Aces, extending his own team record.

Reno debut: Right-hander Taylor Widener, the D-backs’ third-best prospect according to MLB.com, made his Triple-A debut Friday night against Fresno. The 24-year-old allowed three runs and six hits over five innings while striking out five. Widener is coming off a decent 2018 season during which he went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 137.1 innings for Double-A Jackson.

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