Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roster Moves, Etc.

According to this piece by Zachary Levine, RHP Henry Sosa has had his rights sold to Kia of the Korean baseball organization. He had been on the temporary inactive list since May 9th.

I also neglected to post a follow up on LHP Kyle Hallock who had surgery to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. He is expected to be out 6-8 weeks before starting his rehab assignment.

Minor League Schedule and Results

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-1, 1.62) and RHP Kevin Vance (2-1, 4.02)

Corpus Christi at Midland at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (2-3, 3.65) and RHP Sonny Gray (1-2, 4.54)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Reno at 8:35 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 2.09) and RHP Joe Martinez (0-3, 5.82)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Inland Empire at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ruben Alaniz (3-1, 3.83) and RHP Baudelio Lopez (1-0, 7.23)

FRIDAY'S RESULTS

Midland over Corpus Christi 6-5
Jarred Cosart got the start pitching just 5.1 innings in which he gave up four runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts. He will need to start pitching deeper in to games if he wants a permanent callup to Oklahoma City. Kevin Chapman allowed another two runs in relief and was charged with the loss. The Hooks made it a game by scoring two in the eighth and two in the ninth but ultimately fell one run short. Jonathan Singleton had two hits and an RBI, Kody Hinze provided a clutch two RBI single, and Brandon Barnes doubled. T.J. Steele was 0x4 with four strikeouts. (Austin Wates wasn't in the lineup after being hit by a pitch and removed from the game on Thursday.)

Reno over Oklahoma City 2-1
Aneury Rodriguez (L, 1-4) got the loss despite only giving up two runs on five hits as the Redhawks bats fell silent, only managing six hits for the night. Xavier Cedeno continues to be terrific in relief; on Friday, he pitched 1.2 innings with no hits, no walks and four strikeouts to preserve his still perfect 0.00 ERA after 14 appearances. Landon Powell provided the only run via home run, and Scott Moore and Brett Wallace each had two hits for the night.

Lancaster over Inland Empire 5-3
The Jethawks have used Jorge de Leon as the fifth starter for the last couple times through the rotation while Zach Grimmett has been moved to the bullpen. The two paired up in Friday's win as de Leon pitched four innings giving up three runs on two hits and two walks, while Zach Grimmett (W, 2-3) pitching 3.1 innings giving up no runs on two hits and two walks. Andrew Robinson and Kirk Clark took it the rest of the way, with Clark recording his fifth save of the season. Rene Garcia was the only starter not to record a hit as the Jethawks recorded 13 hits for the night. George Springer was back in the lineup looking no worse for wear from being hit by a pitch earlier this week as he went 2x5 with a stolen base and scored twice. Also with two hit nights were Adam Bailey, Domingo Santana (2 RBI), Ben Heath (RBI) and Kike Hernandez (RBI). Lancaster has now won four straight, are two games over .500 and are tied for first place in their division.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lexington over Kannapolis 7-3

What went right: Ordosgoitti and Quevedo provided a good one-two punch from the pitching mound and Brandon Meredith kicked it into overdrive.

The still 19-year old Luis Ordosgoitti settled in nicely after allowing two runs in the first as he pitched four innings before handing it over to Carlos Quevedo (W, 2-1) who pitched a terrific four innings and got a much deserved win. Quevedo is proving himself to be an extremely valuable long relief pitcher, probably the most underappreciated position in all of baseball. John Hinson had a terrific night at the plate, but it was Brandon Meredith's 4x5, two RBI performance that was particularly good to see as he's struggled to get his batting average up since coming to Lexington. Delino DeShields stole his 25th bag of the season.

Luis Ordosgoitte - 4IP 6H 2R 3BB 3SO
Carlos Quevedo - 4IP 3H 1R 0BB 6SO
Murilo Gouvea - 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO

Delino DeShields -1x5 2RBI 2SO SB
John Hinson - 2x6 2-2B 3RBI 2SO R
Brandon Meredith - 4x5 2B 2RBI
Roberto Pena - 2x5 R
Chris Epps - 1x2 3BB 2R

What went wrong: I'm hard pressed to find anything other than a wild pitch by Quevedo which hardly seems worth mentioning so I won't.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
I'm sending the Pitcher of the Day love to long reliever Carlos Quevedo.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
It's a tie. Brandon Meredith (4x5) and John Hinson (3 RBI) share the honors.

Happy Birthday - 5/19

No future Astros with birthdays today, only former Astros ~

C Alan Knicely (57)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 1974, Knicely was mostly used as a backup catcher and pinch hitter throughout his career. He played in only 11 games for Houston between 1979 and 1981, and then got into 59 games for Houston in 1982.

1B Alan Zinter (44)
A first round draft pick by the Mets in 1989, Zinter only played in 67 games in the major leagues, 39 of them for Houston in 2002. He is currently a minor league hitting coordinator for the Cleveland Indians.

Tweet of the Day

Nick Tropeano

Today's my graduation day. Guess I didn't get the memo.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Luis Ordosgoitti (0-1, 10.57) and LHP Scott Snodgrass (1-1, 4.29)

Corpus Christi at Midland at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jarred Cosart (2-2, 2.84) and RHP Daniel Straily (1-4, 4.37)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Reno at 8:35 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Aneury Rodriguez (1-3, 5.18) and RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, -.--)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Inland Empire at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jorge de Leon (0-3, 8.50) and LHP Ryan Crowley (0-1, 4.09)

THURSDAY'S RESULTS

Kannapolis over Lexington 5-0
Just a bad night overall for Lexington as Nick Tropeano gave up five runs in six innings. The good news is that he got 8 strikeouts with no walks and no home runs allowed. Nathan Pettus pitched the final two giving up two hits, no runs and no walks. And, unfortunately, the offense used up all their hits on Wednesday night. Delino DeShields got the only hit of the night on Thursday for Lexington, a single. Let's just put this one behind us.

San Antonio over Corpus 11-4
Jake Buchanan only lasted 3.1 innings as he got hit hard in the third inning. And Alex Sogard wasn't able to bail him out as he allowed three of Buchanan's runners to score and added on one of his own before Arcenio Leon put an end to the misery after seven runs scored in the frame. Leon and Josh Zeid allowed another three runs to score, but that was largely irrelevant as the 8-3 score after the fourth proved insurmountable. It appears that Austin Wates was hit by a pitch in his first at bat and then pulled from the game. Hopefully, it was just for precautionary measures. Jonathan Singleton, Brandon Barnes and Jake Goebbert all had two hit nights; Jose Martinez had a triple; and Ryan McCurdy and J.C. Thompson had doubles.

Oklahoma City over Reno 16-11
Paul Clemens (W, 4-3) got the win despite a shaky start where he gave up five runs in 5.1 innings pitched. Mike Hessman, among others, made sure that Clemens got plenty of run support as he went 5x5 with two home runs and four RBIs. Brian Bixler, Jimmy Paredes and Scott Moore all had three hits each, and Fernando Martinez had three RBIs. Check out the full boxscore here.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Inland Empire 9-1

What went right: Tyson Perez and a potent offense.

Tyson Perez tossed a complete game two hitter to get Lancaster one game over .500 and in a tie for first place. See the full story here. I would be much more effusive but I have an early plane to catch. The hitters had 13 hits, including six doubles, a triple and a home run.

Tyson Perez (W, 3-0) - 9IP 2H 1R 1BB 2SO 1HR

Enrique Hernandez - 2x4 2B 3B RBI R
Adam Bailey - 2x4 2-2B 3RBI BB 2R
Domingo Santana - 2x5 2B HR 2RBI SO 2R
Erik Castro - 2x4 2B 2RBI BB SO
Rafael Valenzuela - 2x3 RBI 2BB 2R SB

What went wrong: Ben Heath went 0-fer and Telvin Nash had three strikeouts.

PITCHER OF THE DAY
Tyson Perez hands down.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Mike Hessman. Jeff Luhnow is trying to make me look bad for questioning his judgment on this signing. In Luhnow we trust.

Happy Birthday - 5/18

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Carroll Hardy (79)
After coming to Houston from the Red Sox, Hardy played in 61 games for the Colt .45's in 1963 and 1964. His career numbers, as well as his numbers for Houston, are uninspiring. More interesting are these tidbits from Baseball-Reference:
He is the answer to a trivia question as the only player to pinch hit for Ted Williams; it happened on September 20, 1960, in the last weeks of Williams' career. Williams fouled a ball off his foot in the first inning, Hardy took over for him and lined into a double play. He is also the answer to an even more trivial question, as the only player to break a scoreless tie with a walkoff grand slam in the 12th inning (No-one has done this in a later inning). It happened for the Boston against Cleveland on April 11, 1962.
He is also from Sturgis, South Dakota. No word on whether or not he is a motorcycle enthusiast.

Originally drafted by the Mets in the 30th round in 1995, Figueroa pitched in 26 games for Houston in 2010 and 2011 with a 5-6 record, a 4.88 ERA and a 1.563 WHIP. Figueroa has played in nine major league seasons for six different teams. He has also played in 17 seasons for numerous minor league teams, the independent league Long Island Ducks, and the Dorados de Chihuahua in the Mexican League. And he was MVP for the Uni-President Lions in the 2007 Taiwan Series. And he's played in the Dominican Winter League and in the Mexican Pacific League. And he played for the Puerto Rican national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Figueroa is the regular United Nations of baseball.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Kirk Clark

Lancaster jethawks are in first place!

Tweet of the Day


brandon meredith@bmeezytrain
Got a free meal today.. thought he could beat me in bike race and bet a meal on it.. He's a rook job

Jordan Scott@JTScott1
your a joke You have an upgraded bike

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kyle Hallock Surgery

I have confirmed with the Astros that LHP Kyle Hallock had surgery to remove loose bodies in his left elbow. That's all I know, but I wanted to pass it on.

Team Leaders - Pitching

The following are team leaders in pitching categories for each of the Astros affiliates. In addition, if they are in the top 10 in their respective leagues, I have indicated that in parentheses after the entry (except for Reliever ERA and WHIP). All stats are through Wednesday's games.

Wins
5 - Jordan Lyles OKC (T3)
4 - Mike Foltynewicz & Dayan Diaz LEX (T2)
4 - Erick Abreu CC (T3)
4 - Bobby Doran LAN (T4)

Innings Pitched
56 - Dallas Keuchel OKC (1)
51.2 - Ruben Alaniz LAN (1)
44.1 - Mike Foltynewicz LEX (2)
41.2 - Jake Buchanan CC

*Starter ERA (7 min. starts)
1.62 - Mike Foltynewicz LEX (1)
2.09 - Dallas Keuchel OKC (1)
3.35 - Bobby Doran LAN
3.65 - Ross Seaton CC

Reliever ERA (15 min. IP)
0.00 - Xavier Cedeno OKC
0.81 - Dayan Diaz LEX
1.59 - Jason Stoffel CC
2.75 - Jose Trinidad LAN

Starter WHIP (7 min. starts)
0.967 - Nick Tropeano LEX (4)
0.982 - Dallas Keuchel OKC (2)
1.181 - Ruben Alaniz LAN
1.351 - Ross Seaton CC

Reliever WHIP (15 min. IP)
0.882 - Jason Stoffel CC
0.896 - Dayan Diaz LEX
1.020 - Jose Valdez OKC
1.169 - Jose Trinidad LAN

Saves
8 - Jose Valdez OKC (T3)
6 - Jason Chowning LEX (T2)
4 - Jason Stoffel CC (T8)
4 - Kirk Clark LAN (T8)

Strikeouts
47 - Nick Tropeano LEX (T4)
40 - Jose Cisnero CC (T10)
37 - Aneury Rodriguez OKC
35 - Ruben Alaniz LAN

*Jarred Cosart has five starts at Corpus with 2.84 ERA. Wes Musick had a 2.51 ERA in five starts at Lancaster.

Team Leaders - Hitting

The following are team leaders in hitting categories for each of the Astros affiliates. In addition, if they are in the top 10 in their respective leagues, I have indicated that in parentheses after the entry. All stats are through Wednesday's games.

BA (90 min. AB)
.347 - Brian Bixler OKC (8)
.325 - Erik Castro LAN
.318 - Brandon Barnes CC (5)
.315 - Matt Duffy LEX

OBP (90 min. AB)
.421 - Brian Bixler OKC (9)
.414 - Jio Mier LAN (3)
.403 - Jon Singleton CC (8)
.382 - Jordan Scott LEX

SLG% (90 min. AB)
.593 - Scott Moore OKC (5)
.571 - George Springer LAN (T5)
.543 - Brandon Barnes CC (5)
.507 - Matt Duffy LEX

Runs Scored
27 - Delino DeShields Jr. LEX (T7)
26 - Fernando Martinez OKC
26 - George Springer LAN
25 - Austin Wates CC (5)

Hits
48 - Austin Wates CC (1)
46 - Matt Duffy LEX (T4)
46 - George Springer LAN (T10)
45 - Fernando Martinez OKC

Doubles
17 - Brandon Barnes CC (1)
14 - Scott Moore OKC (T1)
13 - Zach Johnson LEX (T2)
10 - Kike Hernandez LAN (T10)

Triples
4 - Jake Goebbert CC (T2)
4 - George Springer LAN (T2)
2 - Brad Snyder & J.B. Shuck OKC
LEX - 6 tied with 1

Home Runs
12 - Telvin Nash LAN (1)
7 - Mike Hessman OKC (T8)
6 - Zach Johnson & Matt Duffy LEX (T9)
5 - Jon Singleton CC

RBI
42 - Zach Johnson LEX (1)
32 - George Springer LAN (3)
27 - Fernando Martinez OKC (T9)
25 - Brandon Barnes CC (T6)

Total Bases
84 - George Springer LAN (7)
74 - Matt Duffy LEX (T5)
72 - Fernando Martinez OKC
70 - Brandon Barnes CC (9)

Walks
25 - Jordan Scott LEX (4)
24 - Jon Singleton CC (7)
18 - Justin Ruggiano OKC
16 - Jio Mier LAN

Stolen Bases
24 - Delino DeShields Jr. LEX (1)
16 - Jonathan Villar CC (1)
9 - Jimmy Paredes OKC (T8)
8 - George Springer LAN (T6)

I hope to bring you Team Pitching Leaders either later today or tomorrow.

Minor League Schedule and Results

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at Kannapolis at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and LHP Blair Walters (1-2, 3.38)

Corpus Christi at San Antonio at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jake Buchanan (1-2, 4.75) and LHP Robbie Erlin (2-1, 2.67)
Available on MiLB.tv

Oklahoma City at Reno at 8:35 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Inland Empire at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Tyson Perez (2-0, 1.64) and RHP Lay Batista (1-3, 4.86)

WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 11-9
I left for lunch and the Hooks had a three run lead (4-1) going in to the fourth, Oberholtzer was pretty much cruising and it looked like a good day. While I'm waiting for my food, I check again and it's a 9-2 lead after five. Even better! They've got this one in the bag. Not so fast there, Sparky. By the time I got back to the office, the score was 9-9 going into the seventh. What the what?!?!? San Antonio scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie it. Oberholtzer had given up one run, and with one out and the bases loaded, Josh Zeid came in. And it wasn't pretty. Single with a run scoring, fly out, walk to reload the bases, grand slam. Zeid exits stage right. Kevin Chapman comes in and promptly walks the first two batters before mercifully getting the final out of the inning. Wow.

But the fun wasn't over. The game was still tied and with two out in the top of the ninth, pitcher Erick Abreu drew a walk in only his second plate appearance of the season, went first to third on a single and scored what turned out to be the winning run on another single. I doubt he would even have come to bat, but since Abreu is the go to guy for long relief and it was tied in the ninth, I can see why he did. The Hooks scored another run, Erick Abreu's day was done after one inning and Jason Stoffel got Abreu the win while recording his fourth save. I guess the moral of the story is that a win is a win even if it's an ugly win.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out the 17 hits that the Hooks got (after getting only five hits in yesterday's second game). Austin Wates (2x4, 3B), Jonathan Villar (2x5, 2RBI), Jose Martinez (4x5, 2B), Jake Goebbert (solo HR), Ryan McCurdy (3x5, 3RBI), and Brett Oberholtzer (2x3, RBI) all had good days. And Josh Zeid owes Erick Abreu, Andy Simunic, Ryan McCurdy and Brandon Barnes dinner for bailing him out of that mess!

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 6-4
Bobby Doran earned his fourth win, giving up three runs over six innings pitched; Jose Trinidad pitched two scoreless frames; and Kirk Clark gave up one run, but ultimately struck out the side to earn his fourth save. Adam Bailey (2x4, two doubles), Rafy Valenzuela (2x5, RBI, SB), Alex Todd (2x4, two doubles, RBI) and Rene Garcia (1x4, 2B, 2RBI) were the stars of the night. George Springer was held out of the lineup again as he recovers from being hit in the hand by a pitch a few days ago. The win brings Lancaster back to .500.

Oklahoma City - Off Day

GAME OF THE DAY
Lexington over West Virginia 13-7

What went right: Delino DeShields Jr., Zach Johnson and Matt Duffy had monster nights.

Jonas Dufek wasn't dominating in this start, but he didn't need to be as his offense kicked it in to overdrive with seventeen hits and five stolen bases. Unfortunately, there is one correction that has to be made from what was reported last night regarding Delino DeShields, Jr. He only had four stolen bases, not five. From MiLB's story:
He was originally credited with a steal of home as part of a double steal in the first inning, which would have given him a Legends' record of five in one game, but since Jordan Scott was thrown out going from first to second before DeShields scored, DeShields was not credited with stealing home.
Four stolen bases or five, DeShields scored three times and is wreaking havoc on the basepaths. Zach Johnson reclaimed the South Atlantic League lead in RBIs with a four RBI night, including a three run home run. And Matt Duffy went 4x6 with a double, home run and two RBI. The bullpen gave up a couple of runs, but with the lead they were handed, they were free to pitch pretty aggressively. The win brings Lexington to .500 on the season.

Jonas Dufek (W, 1-0) - 6IP 7H 5R/3ER 0BB 5SO 1HR
Euris Quezada - 2IP 2H 1R 1BB 3SO
Evan Grills - 1IP 1H 1ER 0BB 1SO 1HR

Delino DeShields - 2x4 3B 2RBI BB 3R 4SB
Jordan Scott - 2x5 2B RBI BB 2R
Zach Johnson - 3x5 2B HR 4RBI BB 2R
Matt Duffy - 4x6 2B HR 2RBI R
Justin Gominsky - 2x5 2B RBI SO R

What went wrong: A Matt Duffy throwing error led to two unearned runs.


PITCHER OF THE DAY
On a day when there were no dominating pitching performances, I'm going to go with Erick Abreu for his ability to walk and his baserunning prowess. Who knew?

PLAYER OF THE DAY
I'm giving it to the entire Legends lineup. There were several overachievers on Wednesday, but every starter got at least one hit.

No Birthdays Today So ...

I would like to share an installment of Baseball Card Theatre from very funny displaced Astros fan T. Sean Shannon.  Enjoy!





Tweet of the Day


Kevin Chapman@ChapStarr
11 am kid days at the ballpark are a great form of birth control

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Anatomy of a Losing Streak

I've got a post up over at the Crawfishboxes site that looks into Corpus' recent nine game losing streak. Head over there and read it if you're so inclined.

Minor League Schedule and Results

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Corpus Christi at San Antonio at 11:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-2, 5.56) and RHP Hayden Beard (2-3, 7.39)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 12:35 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Bobby Doran (3-2, 3.19) and RHP Brandon Martinez (0-0, 3.60)

Lexington at West Virginia at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jonas Dufek (0-0, 5.06) and RHP Ryan Haffner (0-2, 6.75)

TUESDAY'S RESULTS

Oklahoma City over Tucson 7-4
Sergio Perez struggled as he got a spot start in place of Jordan Lyles, giving up four runs in only 2.2 innings pitched. Mickey Storey (W, 1-2) got the win in long relief, and Enerio del Rosario, Xavier Cedeno and Jose Valdez (S, 8) took it the rest of the way. Mike Hessman hit a three-run home run early and enjoyed it so much that he decided to add a two-run home run later in the game. Brad Snyder and Scott Moore only managed to hit home runs of the solo variety. Brian Bixler and Jimmy Paredes each had a pair of hits and Paredes swiped his ninth bag of the season.

Lexington over West Virginia 3-0
Luis Cruz (W, 3-1), Carlos Quevedo and Jason Chowning (S, 6) pitched a combined shutout to keep West Virginia Powerless. Over 6.1 innings, Cruz allowed only five hits and three walks while striking out nine. Good nights for Matt Duffy (2x4) and Mike Kvasnicka (2-run double). Jordan Scott tripled and scored and Zach Johnson notched his 38th RBI of the season.

Corpus Christi over San Antonio 5-1 in 10 innings (completion of suspended game from Monday)
I mentioned Ross Seaton's great start in yesterday's recap. Erick Abreu and Jason Stoffel pitched on Tuesday to finish the game off with Abreu getting the win. Austin Wates was 2x5 with two RBIs and Andy Simunic was 3x5.

San Antonio over Corpus Christi 6-1
It was another tough night for Jose Cisnero (L, 2-4) as he was pulled after only 2.1 innings after allowing a single and three walks while recording only one out in the bottom of the third. Wes Musick got Cisnero out of the jam, but Arcenio Leon didn't exactly pay it forward when Musick got into a jam of his own in the eighth as Leon allowed both of Musick's runners to score and added one of his own for good measure. In Musick's five innings pitched, he only allowed two baserunners through the first four and two-thirds before things went awry. The Hooks bats went silent again as they only managed five hits with no extra base hits. Andrew Simunic was 2x4 and Jake Goebbert got the only RBI for getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. T.J. Steele was 1x1 in the completion of the first game and 1x4 in the second game and is now hitting a robust .156.

GAME OF THE DAY
Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 7-3

What went right: David Martinez got his first win and Telvin Nash started hitting again.

David Martinez pitched 7.2 innings and, although he wasn't overpowering, he was mostly effective. Pat Urckfitz neglected to retire either of his batters so it was Kirk Clark to the rescue for the four out save. Telvin Nash had been in a bit of a slump, having only recorded two hits in the previous five games so it was good to see a 3x4 night for him. Nash and Erik Castro both hit two-run homers and Domingo Santana had a good night as well, going 2x4, scoring two runs and stealing a base.

David Martinez (W, 1-2) - 7.2IP 7H 3R 3BB 1SO
Pat Urckfitz - 0.0IP 1H 1BB
Kirk Clark (S, 3) - 1.1IP 2H 1SO

Domingo Santana - 2x4 2R SB
Erik Castro - 2x4 HR 2RBI 2SO 2R
Telvin Nash - 3x4 HR 3RBI SO R
Rafy Valenzuela - 1x4 3B RBI SO R

What went wrong: A Ben Orloff error and 0-fers for Adam Bailey and Ben Heath -- that's about all I can find.


PITCHER OF THE DAY
On a pitching staff with hits (Mike Foltynewicz and Nick Tropeano) and misses (Tanner Bushue and Kyle Hallock), Luis Cruz has gone largely unnoticed which is a shame as he is now 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA, a 1.172 WHIP and 44 strikeouts to only 8 walks.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
And the prize goes to Crash Davis, er, Mike Hessman for a two home run, five RBI day.

Happy Birthday - 5/16

RHP Blake Ford (24)
Originally drafted in the 44th round out of Lamar University in 2011, the big righty (6'5" 215 lb.) pitched very effectively in relief for the Gulf Coast Astros in 2011. In 18 appearances out of the bullpen, he had a 4-3 record with eight saves, a 1.90 ERA, a 1.394 WHIP and 20 strikeouts to only six walks.

RHP and Pitching Coach Doug Brocail (45)
A first round draft pick by San Diego in 1986, Brocail was part of the Houston organization on three separate occasions as a player. The Houston trades he was a part of (from Baseball-Reference):
December 28, 1994: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Derek Bell, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine andBrian Williams. The Houston Astros sent Sean Fesh (minors) (May 1, 1995) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigersfor Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
December 11, 2000: Traded by the Detroit Tigers with Brad Ausmus and Nelson Cruz to the Houston Astros for Roger Cedeno,Chris Holt and Mitch Meluskey.
He pitched in 151 games for Houston at the major league level in 1995, 1996, 2008 and 2009 with a 15-14 record, a 4.24 ERA and a 1.422 WHIP.

After retiring from baseball, Brocail became a special assistant to the Astros General Manager until he was pressed into service as the Astros pitching coach when Brad Arnsberg was fired in June 2011.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Bob Bruce (79)
Obtained in a trade with Detroit in December of 1961, Bruce pitched in 219 games for the Colt .45's and the Astros from 1962 to 1966. He was 42-58 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP in a mostly starting role for Houston. His best season was 1964 when he went 15-9 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.107 WHIP. He pitched in the final game at Colt Stadium and in the first game at the Astrodome.

RHP Rick Rhoden (59)
Rhoden was drafted by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1971 draft and came to Houston as part of a trade  with the Yankees in January 1989. Houston was the final stop in a 16 year career in the majors that saw Rhoden earn two All Star nods and three Silver Slugger Awards. After retiring from baseball, he went on to have a second, very successful career in golf.




Tweets of the Day

Adam scott bailey

 having lunch with(the wizard) very rare I will take a pic if I can.

Rafael Valenzuela
  eating knowledge

Adam scott bailey
Eating with the wizard aka mr baseball aka Ben orloff

pic.twitter.com/oowztOsA

Alex Sogard

Rafael Valenzuela
 wonder what he's thinking about...




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Victim of His Own Success

The Houston Astros are in rebuilding mode. I know that is common knowledge, but many fans seem to have forgotten that. You see, early on in the season, the Astros were actually winning. They won their first series to get over .500 for the first time in a very long time. They swept the Mets. They took a series from the Cardinals, you know, the World Series Champion Cardinals. Pretty heady stuff. And even when they lost, it was close. A lot of one run games that could go either way.

So now the team is in a little funk. It seems that they just haven't been able to score any runs lately. So the grumbling begins in earnest. Mills is an idiot. Demote J.D. and bring up Fernando. We need to shake things up. NOW!!!! And why? Because Jeff Luhnow has put together a team that has given you a little taste of it. A taste of that elusive, seductive, enticing siren song called winning.

"To Hell with rebuilding," we say. We want to win NOW!!!! Who else was it that always wanted to win now? Who was it that yearned to BE A CHAMPION? I can't quite put my finger on it. Who cares if we totally screw up J.D. Martinez' development? He's having a little trouble hitting major league pitching right now? Well, let's demote him to AAA. He'll figure out how to hit major league pitching down there. So what if he was hitting .313 on April 25th. 108 AB's is plenty of time to figure it out.

Rebuilding mode. Let me say it again. Rebuilding mode. Jeff Luhnow is dancing a quick step on a tightrope right now. He is trying to put a product on the field that will be entertaining and competitive and will win enough to keep the average fan entertained. At the same time, he has to look to the future. He has to figure out which of his players are going to be part of the Astros' future and which players are not.

Some of the same people that are screaming for J.D. Martinez to be demoted are the same people who were screaming earlier that Brett Wallace never got a fair shot. Fernando Martinez is a year younger than J.D. He'll get his shot, but there is no need to rush it. This year is to see if J.D. and Jose Altuve and Chris Johnson and Jordan Schafer and so many others can make it, if they are a flash in the pan or a part of the future.

That's what rebuilding is. It's about seeing who you have, what they can do and what you still need. It's about playing the kids even when they struggle. It's not always going to be pretty. But at least these guys are trying. They are playing their hearts out. They're leaving it all on the field and that's worth the pain. A wise woman once said that the motto for this season should be, "It Ain't Gonna Be Pretty, But It's Gonna Be Fun!"

Just try to have fun and go with it right now. The team is in good hands. We will win some and we will lose some. And the team will get better. And then it's REALLY going to be fun.

This post is dedicated to Andy and Lady Gaga.

Minor League Schedule and Results

TUESDAY'S GAMES

Corpus Christi at San Antonio at 6:05 CST
Completion of Monday's suspended game (tied at 1-1)

Tucson at Oklahoma City at 11:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Tom Layne (0-1, 3.72) and TBD

Lexington at West Virginia at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: LHP Luis Cruz (2-1, 3.47) and RHP Matt Benedict (2-2, 2.89)

Corpus Christi at San Antonio at 7:05 CST (estimated)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jose Cisnero (2-3, 4.99) and LHP Andrew Werner (0-4, 4.59)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP David Martinez (0-2, 6.19) and RHP Garrett Gould (0-3, 4.91)

MONDAY'S RESULTS

West Virginia over Lexington 3-2
Lexington took an early lead with a two-run Matt Duffy home run in the first but they weren't able to scratch across any more runs when they needed them. Mike Foltynewicz pitched five innings, giving up one run (in the first) and two walks with six strikeouts. Nathan Pettus was charged with the blown save and the loss after giving up two runs in 1.2 innings of relief. Murilo Gouvea took it the rest of the way with another good outing. None of the Legends were able to get more than one hit in the game as they were held to six total hits.

Corpus Christi and San Antonio 1-1 suspended after 8 innings
This rain-interrupted game will resume in the top of the ninth at 6:05 this evening followed by the regularly scheduled game. I watched a bit of this one and Ross Seaton looked good despite some shaky defense behind him (one play in particular deserved an error but I guess the official scorer couldn't decide which of the three Hooks involved to charge it to). The big knock on Seaton is that he's not a big strikeout pitcher, but not everyone has to be. The pitcher I saw last night was very effective at pitching to contact. He is showing improvement this year, despite a couple of shaky starts and now has his ERA down to 3.65 with a 1.351 WHIP. If he can limit the long ball, I think he'll be just fine as a contact pitcher. I will post a full recap of this game tomorrow after it has been completed.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 5-1
Ruben Alaniz (L, 3-1) got his first loss of the season. He didn't allow any big innings or any walks, but he didn't strike out a single batter either. Andrew Robinson allowed one run in 1.1 innings of relief. Domingo Santana was 2x4 with a double and a home run, but none of the other Hawks hitters managed more than one single for the night.

GAME OF THE DAY
Oklahoma City over Tucson 4-3

What went right: A good start by Keuchel and timely hitting.

Dallas Keuchel gave up one run in the first and then cruised until the top of the eighth. He ended the night with three runs over 7.1 innings pitched. Juan Abreu was pulled after allowing one of Keuchel's runners to score and issuing two walks without recording an out. Adalberto Flores took it the rest of the way and earned the win as Jimmy Paredes hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to tie it and Brad Snyder hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Dallas Keuchel - 7.1IP 6H 3R 1BB 5SO
Juan Abreu - 0.0IP 2BB
Adalberto Flores (W, 2-0) - 1.2IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO

Jimmy Paredes - 2x4 HR 2RBI 2R SB
Brett Wallace - 1x4 RBI 3SO
Brad Snyder - 2x3 2B HR RBI BB R CS

What went wrong: Juan Abreu has yet to show any consistency out of the pen this season and tonight wasn't any different.


PITCHER OF THE DAY
Despite good starts by both Foltynewicz and Keuchel, I'm going to go with Ross Seaton. I enjoyed watching him pitch last night and I hope that he is turning the corner in his development.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
I'll send Brad Snyder a little love for his walk-off home run.

Happy Birthday - 5/15

CF Brandon Barnes (26)
(Some of the following was taken from my January 31, 2012 email interview with Brandon. Read the full interview for more.)

Brandon Barnes was the 6th round pick for the Astros in 2005. In 2011, he split his time between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City. In 54 games at Corpus, he batted .286/.335/.453/.788 and in 71 games at Oklahoma City, he batted .197/.294/.402/.696. He had a total of 26 doubles, five triples and 15 home runs for the season.

Playing for Sydney in the Australian Baseball League this winter, Barnes seemed to find his groove. In 29 games, he hit .322/.382/.534/.916 with seven doubles, six home runs and 30 RBI’s. Interestingly enough, he only hit .250 with the bases empty, but .379 with runners on and .389 with RISP. He came back to the U.S. before the ABL finals to get ready for Spring Training.

In 34 games for Corpus Christi in 2012, he is hitting .315/.385/.543 with a league leading 17 doubles, as well as four home runs and 24 RBI's. He's also in the top ten in the league for batting average and slugging percentage. In the interview from January, Barnes said, "Wherever I end up this year I will make sure people know who I am." Mission accomplished.

Tweet of the Day

Jiovanni Mier

My walkout song is on repeat. I think I miss playing a little too much. Cant wait to get back out there with the guys  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Roster Moves - Missed One!

Baseball America is showing that RHP Hector Corpas, a free agent signing over the winter, has been released by Houston.

An Interview with Nick Tropeano

I posted a profile on Nick Tropeano last week on The Futurists blog that focused on what others, including Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski, had to say about him. But unless you've talked to Nick himself, you won't understand what a big, vibrant personality he has. He is well-spoken, funny, good-natured, able to laugh at himself and very comfortable in his own skin. What did Nick have to say for himself? I'm glad you asked. Here's what he had to say during the short time we talked.

On his pitches: "My best pitch would probably be my change up. That would be my out pitch. I've got obviously a fastball. Fastball, change up, curveball, splitter. My fastball's been like 92-94, change up probably like 10-11 miles per hour difference and same thing with my curveball. Splitter comes in a little bit harder, like 83-84, but pretty much the same."

[Note: I followed up with Nick via email because all of the scouting reports I had read said that he was working on a slider. According to Nick, that isn't the case, and he's sticking with his current arsenal for now.]

On his success against lefties (who are only hitting .113 against him): I think just because my change up kind of fades a little bit away from lefties. I'd say that. I feel like I'm stronger, I can throw in to lefties. I can throw well to righties but later in the game if I try to go in to righties sometimes I miss arm side. I just like throwing against lefties."

On which Astros pitcher he would steal a pitch from given the chance: "I wouldn't say I would want to steal. Maybe someone who throws harder, like 98 miles an hour, like Cosart throws 97-98. I wouldn't mind borrowing a couple miles per hour."

On which Astros hitter he would least like to face: "I would probably say just for instructs [Jon] Singleton. He's a really good hitter."

On what he would do if he couldn't play baseball: "I really don't know. I went to school for physical therapy so maybe I would pursue that, but I really don't like to think about that at all."

On who on the team makes him laugh: "I would say [Matt] Duffy or [Jason] Chowning. Chowning is very funny. [After telling him that I'd heard he was pretty funny.] I'm one of those guys."

On something most people don't know about him: "I'd say that I'm a lover, not a fighter. [laughter] I'd go with that. No, I've got a niece and a nephew. One's seven, one just turned one. I'm pretty proud of that. I'm a pretty good uncle I'd like to say. That's about it."

Nick had been nominated to perform in a skit that night with Myron Noodleman between innings. As he walked back to the clubhouse, he told me, "Enjoy the game. Hopefully I don't screw up the skit!" He most assuredly didn't screw it up. He was, in fact, a hit.



Minor League Schedule and Results

MONDAY'S GAMES

Lexington at West Virginia at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: Mike Foltynewicz (4-1, 1.60) and RHP Nicholas Kingham (1-2, 7.43)

Corpus Christi at San Antonio at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (2-3, 4.35) and RHP Keyvius Sampson (2-2, 5.85)
Available on MiLB.tv

Tucson at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jorge Reyes (2-5, 5.59) and LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 1.85)
Available on MiLB.tv

Lancaster at Rancho Cucamonga at 9:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

Lexington - Cancelled due to weather

Lancaster - Off day

Oklahoma City over Tucson 6-5
Aneury Rodriguez only pitched four innings, giving up eight hits, three runs and a walk and was followed by Jonnathan Aristil, Adalberto Flores, Enerio del Rosario and Xavier Cedeno. Only Flores and Cedeno (W, 2-0) allowed no runs. The Redhawks trailed until a three-run bottom of the seventh put them ahead only to have Tucson tie it up in the top of the eighth. Carlos Corporan won it with a two-out line drive single in the ninth. Other players with good days at the plate were Fernando Martinez (3x4), Brett Wallace (3x5), and Jimmy Paredes (4x5).

GAME OF THE DAY
Corpus Christi over Frisco 7-3

What went right: Solid, if unspectacular, pitching and good hitting.

Jarred Cosart got the win and Arcenio Leon got the save as Corpus Christi led this one from the bottom of the third inning on. There were several great hitting performances as Jon Singleton hit a three-run home run, Brandon Barnes was 3x4 and Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with a triple.

Jarred Cosart (W, 2-2) - 6.1IP 7H 2R 2BB 4SO
Arcenio Leon (S, 1) - 2.2IP 3H 1R 1BB 1SO 1HR

Austin Wates - 2x5 2R
Jonathan Villar - 2x4 2B SO R
Jon Singleton - 2x3 HR 4RBI BB R
Brandon Barnes - 3x4 2B RBI SO R SB Outfield Assist
Jake Goebbert - 2x4 3B RBI 2SO

What went wrong: A couple of GIDP's, a couple of caught stealing, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and a passed ball (but no errors so you've got that going for you).


PITCHER OF THE DAY
Jarred Cosart gets the nod for a solid win.

PLAYER OF THE DAY
Jimmy Paredes went 4x5 with a double, RBI and two runs, bringing his average to .295. If that's not enough, he stole his sixth and seventh bases of the season.

Happy Birthday - 5/14

2B J.C. Thompson (25)
Signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, the Cuban native split his time in 2011 between Lancaster and Corpus Christi hitting a combined .273/.312/.414. Since it's his birthday, I won't post his 2012 stats. Click on his name for the link if you want to see them (but don't say I didn't warn you).

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

C Pat Borders (49)
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the sixth round in 1982, Borders came to Houston in an August 1995 trade with the Royals and only played in 11 games for the Astros with forgettable results. He had a 17-year major league career with nine different teams. His most notable years were with the Blue Jays where he won two World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. He was MVP in the 1992 Series as he hit .450/.500/.750 in six games. He also won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in the 2000 Sydney games.

Tweet of the Day

Kevin Chapman

Your mom is better than my mom... On opposite day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Jayne

 Any news on Springer? Any worse the wear for getting hit last night?

Jason Schwartz
 x rays negative. May miss a day or two. Nothing too serious.

Jayne
 Good answer! Thanks.