Nuts can't crack Giants in defeat

Modesto Nut's right handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin winds up during a game.
Modesto Nut's right handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin winds up during a game. Modesto Bee

If the concepts of player development and winning were placed on a pie chart according to importance, a person dining on the winning slice would leave the table hungry.

Everybody knows it's all about developing players in the low minors, yet it seldom becomes an obvious issue during a ballgame.

Modesto's 6-3 loss on Sunday to San Jose was that rare exception.

Jhoulys Chacin has become one of the prized arms in the Colorado organization. He's completely healthy, and in his first four starts with Modesto was allowed to throw 100 pitches per outing.

But the Rockies want to be so careful with his development that they've decided to limit his pitch count for the rest of the season to the lesser of a very light 75 pitches or five innings.

Chacin's 71st pitch Sunday resulted in a strikeout, the first pitch of the top of the fifth inning.

The bases were loaded, and the Nuts led 2-0, with Chacin facing his first difficult situation of the game.

Had he been allowed to work out of danger, it is likely he would have gone over his pitch limit. With the organization's decision set in stone, Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein had no choice. He turned to reliever Brandon Durden.

A ground ball off Durden's glove for an infield hit was followed by a single to left and a sacrifice fly to give the Giants had a 3-2 lead. The Nuts never caught up, and Chacin (5-1) had absorbed his first loss in the California League.

"I didn't dread that situation, because it is what it is," Nuts' manager Jerry Weinstein said. "What we're doing with Chacin is the policy. It's the plan and I totally agree with what the organization is doing."

Ideally, Durden would have been brought in to start an inning. This marked his 85th professional appearance. Of those, 65 have been as a starter, and Sunday was the first time in his career Durden had entered a game with the bases loaded.

"He's a professional player, and he's supposed to go in there and do what is necessary," Weinstein said. "That's the job description. He made good pitches. There was a comebacker that if he fields, he's out of the inning. I'm not making any excuses because those plays have to be made."

Modesto took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning against Kevin Pucetas (8-0) when Mike Paulk and Chris Nelson singled. Nelson was thrown out trying to steal second, but Victor Ferrante homered to center.

After grabbing the lead in the fifth inning, San Jose added a run in the sixth for a 4-2 lead. Matt Repec's double in the eighth plated a run, but the Nuts left the bases loaded that inning.

San Jose scored twice in the ninth off Jonathan George, a rally started when Matt Downs reached on an infield hit.

Downs appeared to trail the throw to first base but was called safe by Masaki Nonaka, and Weinstein was ejected for the first time this season after arguing the call.

Nonaka's work behind the plate Saturday provided the impetus for the ejection of a San Jose pitcher as the umpire continues to have problems throughout the California League.

"It was a combination of being frustrated with the way were playing and being frustrated with the umpiring," Weinstein said.