Saturday, April 28, 2012

Minor League Schedule and Results

Note: I will be on the road the next few days and will be subject to the whims of the Wifi gods when it comes to posting. Results will be later than usual (and probably sketchier as well), but I will do my best to keep you up to date on everything.  Thanks!


Savannah at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD
Available on

Corpus Christi at Frisco at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Ross Seaton (0-2, 5.40) and RHP Carlos Pimental (2-0, 0.00)

Round Rock at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Neil Ramirez (2-1, 2.14) and TBD
Available on

Stockton at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Round Rock over Oklahoma City 8-3
The pitching staff in the guise of Aneury Rodriguez, Mickey Storey and Juan Abreu all went into meltdown mode. Enerio del Rosario was the only member of the pitching staff to emerge unscathed.  And when your highlights at the plate are a 2x4 night by Angel Sanchez and a home run by Carlos Corporan, perhaps the less said the better.

Frisco over Corpus Christi 12-0
Ouch. As Jarred Cosart tweeted last night, he went from missing bats in his earlier outings to missing the glove in this one as he issued six walks. Erick Abreu and Henry Villar didn't fare much better in relief. Adalberto Flores closed it out capably, but all the damage had been done at that point.  Apparently, there is a reason that the opposing pitcher, Frisco's Justin Grimm, is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA because he dominated the Corpus hitters, holding them to 4 hits.  Jonathan Singleton was the only hitter with some degree of success against him as he went 2x4.  Brandon Barnes contributed a double and T.J. Steele's single was his first hit since April 12th.

Lancaster over Stockton 10-0
Ruben Alaniz is making a statement as he earned his second win of the season at Lancaster.  He currently has a 2.90 ERA and 26SO:7BB.  It's nice to see Andrew Robinson coming around with a good bullpen performance as well.  It was a solid night for the hitters as everyone in the lineup contributed at least one hit except for George Springer who still managed two walks and two runs scored.  Ben Orloff (two doubles), Rafy Valenzuela, Jonathan Meyer and Rene Garcia each contributed two hits. Erik Castro added a three-run home run for good measure.

Lexington over Charleston 7-0

What went right:  An outstanding start by Luis Cruz and an outstanding night at the plate for just about everyone. In only his second start this season since coming out of the bullpen, Cruz found the command that eluded him in his first start. His defense was there for him as well, as he induced a lot of flyball/line drive outs in addition to his six strikeouts.  Everyone in the lineup got a hit except for Drew Muren and he still managed a walk and an RBI on a ground out, and Emilio King (who has started off slowly) got a hit and an RBI on a bases loaded walk. Zach Johnson is en fuego as he added three more RBI to his already ridiculous total.

Luis Cruz (W, 1-1) - 7IP 2H 0R 1BB 6SO
Murilo Gouvea - 2IP 1H 4SO

Jordan Scott - 1x3 2BB SO 2R
Zach Johnson - 2x5 2B HR 3RBI 2R
Matt Duffy - 2x4 2B BB SO R
Alex Todd - 1x3 2BB R
Roberto Pena - 1x4 RBI BB SO
James Howick - 2x4 HR RBI SO R

What went wrong: 3x14 with RISP, including three stranded by Delino DeShields Jr.

Luis Cruz and Ruben Alaniz share the honors as they had nearly identical pitching lines, giving up only two hits over seven innings.

Zach Johnson get the nod as he continues to rake.  His three RBI night brings him to 29 RBI's over 21 games and puts him in a tie for first place in the Sally League.

Happy Birthday - 4/28

No future Astros, only one former Astro with a birthday today ~

OF Jackie Brandt (78)
Originally signed by the Cardinals in 1953, Brandt came to Houston in 1967 as the final stop in a 11-year major league career after playing for the Cardinals, Giants, Orioles and Phillies. The one-time Gold Glove and All-Star had a .236/.296/.337 batting line in 41 games for the Astros.  It was memories, not numbers, that were really important to him, though.  From Baseball-Reference:
The .262 lifetime hitter stated, "I had over 1,000 base hits and 100 home runs in the majors, but my greatest thrills and memories are of the people I was around. Willie Mays and Brooks Robinson were my teammates. When I first came up my locker was right next to Stan Musial's and when Ted Williams homered in his last at-bat , he hit it over my head."

Bonus Tweet of the Day

Adam scott bailey

Baseball is so stress free, soothing, and relaxes your mind.....o wait.

Tweet of the Day

brandon meredith

Neiko Johnson
IT'S TOO EASY!!! I'm the king of  LOL....I knew I'd get him back in no time

Roster Moves - 4/27

RHP Kyle Weiland was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
SS Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 3-day paternity list.

IF Brian Bixler was recalled to the Astros.
LHP Fernando Abad was recalled to the Astros.

Jordan Lyles will be called up to start the game on Sunday in place of Weiland. An additional roster move will have to be made then to make room for Lyles on the 25-Man Roster.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baseball and My Father

I grew to love baseball because of my father.  And not just any baseball.  Astros baseball.  When I was a young girl in northeast Texas, we always listened to the games on the radio on Sunday afternoons after church and a huge dinner.  There was often napping involved, and I remember that whole time through a pleasant haze.

We made a couple of pilgrimages to Houston back then to see some baseball, but I'll admit that the Astrodome scoreboard made more of an impression on me than the games did at that particular point in my life.

We kept following the Astros pretty closely even after we moved away from Texas for a few years.  When I moved back to Texas as a young woman, it was Houston that I chose to be my new home and I have never looked back.

Any time my parents visited during baseball season, we always caught a game or two in person (and watched the rest on TV), and we built more and more memories over the years.

After my mother died and my father moved back to South Dakota, I called Dad often and we would talk for hours.  I always loved to talk to him during the summer because we often ran out of things to say during the winter.  But not during baseball season.  We never ran out of things to say during baseball season.

In October of 2005, we were in constant contact by phone or email.  I printed out three of those emails and I'm so glad I did.  After the Astros took a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, there was this one ~
On the night that Pujols "broke" Lidge and forced a game 6, there was this one ~
I get nervous when Opie or the Beaver get in trouble. Can you imagine what those Astros are doing to me?
And finally, on the night that the Astros won the NLCS and we knew we were going to the World Series, there was this one ~
Thank goodness---------I was running low on heart medicine. I'll get refills before Saturday.
My father passed away four years ago today. I still miss him, but I miss him the most during baseball season. He would have approved of my crazy little blogging hobby.  He would be reading this site everyday and bragging to anyone who would listen about it and about me.

Baseball isn't about wins or losses or big bloated contracts or new stadium deals or television rights.  Baseball is about family and love and wonderful memories. Baseball is about taking a nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the sound of a baseball game playing in the background. May you always cherish your memories as much as I do mine.

Minor League Schedule and Results

Note: I will be on the road the next few days and will be subject to the whims of the Wifi gods when it comes to posting. Results will be later than usual (and probably sketchier as well), but I will do my best to keep you up to date on everything.  Thanks!


Charleston at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Oliver Williams (1-1, 1.69) and LHP Luis Cruz (0-1, 6.23)
Available on

Corpus Christi at Frisco at 7:00 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0, 0.00) and RHP Justin Grimm (3-1, 2.01)

Round Rock at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  LHP Martin Perez (1-2, 4.03) and RHP Aneury Rodriguez (1-2, 5.19)
Available on

Stockton at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Lexington over Charleston 5-2
Mike Foltynewicz didn't dominate in this one, but put up a quality start nonetheless.  Jason Chowning earned his first win in relief and Dayan Diaz got his second save. Matt Duffy and Drew Muren had two hit nights, with Duffy and Zach Johnson getting doubles.  Johnson's two RBI's give him 26 over just 20 games.

Corpus Christi over Midland 5-4
Jake Buchanan gave up eight hits and four runs (three earned) in the start, Kevin Chapman got the win in relief and Jason Stoffel earned his second save.  Austin Wates had a 3x5 night, raising his average to .346. Kody Hinze was 2x5 with a double, a home run and two RBI. Jake Goebbert and Jonathan Singleton added doubles, and Jonathan Villar went 2x4.  As a matter of fact, everyone got in the hit column except for the recently torrid Brandon Barnes.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 5-4
Jorge de Leon made a spot start in place of the injured David Martinez and it took six pitchers to get through this one. Brad Dydalewicz and Kirk Clark were both charged with blown saves. No one really let it get out of control, but Pat Urckfitz was the only pitcher putting up a clean outing.  Kike Hernandez had a terrific night with a triple and a home run. Erik Castro also homered, George Springer and Domingo Santana had doubles and Rafy Valenzuela was 2x4.

Oklahoma City over Round Rock 11-5

What went right:  Offense, Offense, Offense. Henry Sosa got the win despite giving up five runs on eight hits.  But it was the offense on this one -- three doubles and three home runs, including a grand slam from Mike Hessman, that put this one out of reach for Round Rock as OKC scored eight runs in the third inning.

Henry Sosa (W, 2-0) - 6.2IP 8H 5R 2BB 4SO 1HR
Sergio Perez - 1.1IP 1H 2SO
Xavier Cedeno - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB

Brian Bixler - 1x3 2B BB SO 2R
Fernando Martinez - 3x5 HR 2RBI 2SO 2R
Scott Moore - 2x5 2B 2RBI 2SO R
Justin Ruggiano - 2x4 2B RBI R
Brad Snyder - 3x3 HR RBI BB 2R
Mike Hessman - 1x4 HR 4RBI 2SO R

What went wrong: Landon Powell was the only starter not to get a hit, Brian Bixler had a throwing error and Justin Ruggiano had a caught stealing, but who am I to nitpick?

Jason Chowning for getting his first win of the season (on top of three saves) and for still maintaining his 0.00 ERA after seven appearances.

I'm not a fan of Mike Hessman, but I suppose you have to give it to the guy that hits the grand slam. So be it.

Happy Birthday - 4/27

C Chris Wallace (24)
Drafted by Houston in the 16th round in 2010 out of the University of Houston, Wallace split the 2011 season between Lexington and Corpus Christi and hit .271/.343/.507.  He has started off a little slowly in Corpus Christi in 2012 (.222/.317/.417), but through 10 games, he already has 8 RBI. Wallace wears an unusual face mask for protection.  He was hit in the face by a fastball during the College Classic at Minute Maid Park in 2009 and suffered extensive damage.  He wears the mask because any further damage would likely be career ending.

Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green
March 2012

C Raul Antonio Bare "Tony" Eusebio (45)
Eusebio was signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1985.  He played in 598 games for the Astros in 1991 and 1994 through 2001, and was used mostly as a back-up catcher except in 1995 and 1999.  And 1995 was his best year at the plate as he hit .299/.354/.410 over 113 games.  He hit a home run in the last game played at the Astrodome.

Runelvys Hernandez (34)
Originally signed by the Royals as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1997, Hernandez came to Houston as a free agent in 1998.  He only appeared in four games for the Astros that season.

3B Pedro Feliz (37)
Feliz was signed by the Giants as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1994 and came to Houston as a free agent in December of 2009. A .258/.288/.410 career hitter, he only managed to hit .221/.243/.311 in 97 games for Houston before being traded to the Cardinals in August 2010 for RHP David Carpenter.

Tweet of the Day

Lancaster JetHawks

You ain't cool unless you have a sleeved blanket. Right, ? 1st 1000 fans thru gates on Sat will get one! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

League Leaders

Astros minor league players ranking in the top 5 in their leagues (through 4/25) ~

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Scott Moore
#1 OPS 1.273
#2 OBP .552
#2 SLG .721
#5(T) BB 12

Brian Bixler
#1 BA .429
#3 OBP .481
#4(T) SB 6

Aneury Rodriguez
#2(T) SO 26

Juan Abreu
#2(T) SV 4

Paul Clemens
#4 ERA 1.59

Dallas Keuchel
#4 WHIP 0.89
#5(T) ERA 1.67

Texas League (AA)

Brandon Barnes
#1 BA .394
#1 SLG .773
#1 OPS 1.195
#1 RBI 19
#1 2B 13
#1 H 26
#2 R 16
#5(T) HR 4

Jon Singleton
#2 BA .375
#2 OBP .459
#2 OPS 1.131
#2(T) H 24
#3 SLG .672
#3(T) R 15

Austin Wates
#2(T) H 24

Jonathan Villar
#1 SB 10

Jose Martinez
#4(T) RBI 14

Jose Cisnero
#3 SO 28
#5 ERA 1.83

California League (HiA)

Telvin Nash
#1 HR 9
#2 SLG .667
#5(T) RBI 15

George Springer
#2(T) 3B 3
#3(T) RBI 16

Jonathan Meyer
#4(T) 3B 2

Jio Mier
#4(T) BB 12

South Atlantic League (LoA)

Zach Johnson
#2 RBI 24

Jordan Scott
#2(T) BB 15

Delino DeShields Jr
#1(T) SB 11

Nick Tropeano
#3 SO 32

Jason Chowning
#2(T) SV 3

Minor League Schedule and Results


Charleston at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 1.66)
Available on

Midland at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Gary Daley (2-1, 3.31) and RHP Jake Buchanan (1-0, 4.15)
Available on

Round Rock at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Michael Kirkman (0-0, 7.27) and RHP Henry Sosa (1-0, 1.69)
Available on

Rancho Cucamonga at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Zach Lee (1-1, 2.95) and TBD


Charleston over Lexington 9-4
Kyle Hallock (L, 1-1) had a tough second inning, but it was his fourth (and last) inning that got ugly, thanks in part to two throwing errors from teammates Alex Todd and Mike Kvasnicka. Three home runs from the bullpen (including two back-to-back homers from Bushue) didn't help matters. Nor did the fact that they were outhit 15 to 6.  But it's the errors, three more today, that are killing this team. They already have 24 errors this season and it seems to be killing any momentum that they get.  Good day at the plate for Delino DeShields Jr (2x4, 2B) and Alex Todd (1x4, 2B, 3RBI).

Oklahoma City - Off Day

Midland over Corpus Christi 9-3
Not a good start for Brett Oberholtzer (L, 1-1) as he gave up 11 hits and seven runs over 5.1 innings.  Jonnathan Aristil also got touched up for a couple of runs as he pitched the rest of the way.  Home runs from Kody Hinze and Chris Wallace provided all of the Hooks runs while Jonathan Villar (two stolen bases) and Austin Wates (three stolen bases) ran wild on the base paths. T.J. Steele got his first start since Saturday and went 0-fer.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 8-2

What went right:  Good pitching and hits from all but one of the starting lineup.  Wes Musick (W, 2-1) had another very nice start, and Jose Trinidad, Pat Urkfitz and Andrew Robinson didn't allow a hit in 2.2 innings of relief. Rafy Valenzuela, Jonathan Meyer and Domingo Santana doubled and Telvin Nash hit his ninth home run of the season.

Wes Musick (W, 2-1) - 6.1IP 7H 2R 2BB 5SO 1HR (2.96 ERA)
Jose Trinidad - 0.2IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO
Pat Urkfitz - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 1SO
Andrew Robinson - 1.0IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO

Jio Mier - 1x3 RBI 2BB R
Rafy Valenzuela - 1x3 2B BB 2R
George Springer - 1x5 RBI SO
Telvin Nash - 1x5 HR RBI SO R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 2B 2RBI R
Domingo Santana - 2x3 2B BB R
Kike Hernandez - 1x3 RBI R
Rene Garcia - 1x4 RBI SO R

What went wrong: Adam Bailey was the only Jethawks player who didn't make the hit column.

Wes Musick allowed only four singles and a double through his first six innings, three of his four starts have been quality starts, and he got his first win at home.

Telvin Nash leads the California League in home runs with nine.  Several players are tied for second place with five. He also ranks second in slugging percentage.

Happy Birthday - 4/26

SS/2B Ben Orloff (25)
Drafted by Houston in the ninth round in 2009 out of UC Irvine, the California native is playing in his first season at Lancaster in 2012.  Orloff is one of those guys you kind of forget about.  He's not flashy but he gets the job done.  After having hit .284 at Lexington last season, he is off to a good start in Lancaster hitting .286 with a very, very nice .459 OBP.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Mike Scott (57)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the second round in 1976, Scott came to Houston in a trade for OF/1B Danny Heep in December of 1982.  In 263 games pitched for Houston from 1983 to 1991, he was 110-81 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.144 WHIP.  But it was the magical 1986 season that made Scott a Houston folk hero as he won the Cy Young Award and went 18-10 with a 2.22 ERA and a 0.923 over 275.1 innings pitched.  And there was the little matter of clinching the NL West by pitching a no-hitter.

In the NLCS that season, Scott was 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and a 0.500 WHIP with 19 strikeouts.  If the series had gone to seven games, Scott would have been the pitcher. Any Astros fan who was alive at the time (and most Met fans, if they're being honest) know in their hearts that it would have been the Astros facing the Red Sox in the World Series that year if Scott had gotten that opportunity.

Blum played from Houston during two stints, in 2002 and 2003 and again in 2008 to 2010.  A seventh round draft pick by the Expos in 1994, he first came to Houston in a trade with the Expos for 3B Chris Truby before being traded away two years later to Tampa Bay for RHP Brandon Backe.  The second time around Blum signed as a free agent.  In a total of 580 games for Houston, he hit .259/.317/.394. Most Astros fans have a love-hate relationship with Blum.  He was a very popular player in Houston, but he also hit a game-deciding home run against the Astros in the World Series in 2005 so there's that. He's currently playing in his 14th season in the majors for the Diamondbacks.

Originally drafted by the Twins in the ninth round in 1981, Lombardozzi played in 23 games for the Astros in 1989 and 1990, hitting .211/.302/.421.

McFadden played in 62 games for Houston over 1968 to 1970, hitting only .215/.275/.240 before being traded to the Cardinals in June 1970.

A tenth round pick by the Expos in 1997, Strickland only pitched for Houston in five games in 2005 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.

Tweets of the Day

Jake Buchanan

Smoked  at a race today, better get those track shoes broke in before you challenge NASCAR randy at a foot race 0-2

Jarred Cosart
The only event NASCAR randy aka  can beat me in is drinking cold beer and the only race he can legitimitely win is NASCAR on Xbox

Roster Moves - 4/25

According to Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Jonnathan Aristil has yet again been reassigned, this time from OKC back to Corpus. For those wishing to keep score ~

OKC --> CC 4/2
CC --> OKC 4/5
OKC --> CC 4/10
CC --> OKC 4/23
OKC --> CC 4/25

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Day in the Life

I asked Neiko Johnson to describe a typical day at Extended Spring Training. This is what he had to say ~

Well Extended Spring Training is basically Spring Training all over again but for a little while longer. We do the same thing we did in Spring Training and play games also. Some days will consist of split squad games and some days it will be only one team. A typical day consists of early work in the morning, then we start practice and batting practice after that, then we go in for lunch, and come back out for the game which most days start at 1:00 p.m. We stay in the same hotel as we did for Spring Training and it's the same routine for the next two months. Not much is different in Extended Spring Training but there aren't as many people and it's mostly Latin players. With the free time we do have we usually try to go eat, or the mall, or hang out around the hotel ... sometimes playing cards, video games, or watching movies. We just try to find a way to have fun no matter what. Having great teammates and friends around makes it a lot better every day.
If you aren't already, give Neiko a follow on twitter @ThisIsNJJ.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Charleston at Lexington at 9:05 a.m. CST
Probable Pitchers: TBD and LHP Kyle Hallock (1-0, 9.28)
Available on

Midland at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Murphy Smith (2-0, 3.21) and LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 5.17)
Available on

Oklahoma City - Off Day

Rancho Cucamonga at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Angel Sanchez (1-2, 5.65) and LHP Wes Musick (1-1, 3.00)


Charleston over Lexington 4-1
Nick Tropeano (L, 1-1) only lasted two innings as he faced eight batters in the second inning giving up three runs (two earned).  He didn't look good in the second, but ended up striking out the side before all was said and done.  I am hoping that the early hook doesn't indicate an injury of some kind. Nathan Pettus and Carlos Quevedo capably shared the rest of the load in long relief.  The Lexington offense took the night off as they were only able to muster five hits for the night, with two of the hits belonging to Roberto Pena.  Throwing errors by Matt Duffy and the newly promoted Chris Epps didn't help, nor did the GIDP's by Zach Johnson and Emilio King.

Oklahoma City over Albuquerque 8-5
Jordan Lyles had a no-hitter going through 5.1 innings and a shut-out going through 7.1 innings, but then the wheels came off the bus and he ended up charged with four earned runs before all was said and done.  Scott Moore (3x3, 2B, 2RBI), Brett Wallace (2x4, 2RBI) and Brad Snyder (3x4, 2B, 3B, 2RBI) did the most damage at the plate, with Fernando Martinez contributing a double and Justin Ruggiano a triple.

Corpus Christi over Midland 8-2
Despite starting pitcher Jose Cisnero's 12 strikeouts over five innings pitched, this was not a pretty start as he saw a lot of base runners due to three hits, four walks and a fielding error, but he emerged at the end having given up only two runs (both unearned) and got the win.  On offense, it was the Jon Singleton show as he went 4x4 with a triple, two home runs and four RBI to increase his average to .377.  Also contributing were Kody Hinze (2x4), Austin Wates (1x3, 2B) and Andrew Simunic (1x2, HR, 2RBI).  Brandon Barnes showed signs of mortality as he went 0x4 with three strikeouts, but still managed to get an RBI on a ground out.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 6-3

What went right:  Stellar starting pitching and a big night for George Springer.  Bobby Doran had a terrific start marred only by a solo home run.  He didn't walk a single batter and struck out seven.  One night after getting struck out five times, Springer went 4x4 including two run scoring triples.  Jio Mier also had a great night at the plate.

Bobby Doran (W, 2-1) - 7IP 3H 1R 0BB 7SO 1HR
Gabriel Garcia - 1.1IP 4H 2R 1BB 2SO
Kirk Clark (S, 1) - 0.2IP 0H (still has a 0.00 ERA)

Jio Mier - 3x4 RBI BB R
George Springer - 4x4 2-3B 3RBI R
Adam Bailey - 2x4 2B SO R CS
Domingo Santana - 1x4 2B RBI R

What went wrong: Gabriel Garcia got roughed up in his relief appearance, and Jonathan Meyer and Telvin Nash went 0fer.

Big Bobby Doran's excellent start gets him the prize.  Doran is now 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA.  Jordan Lyles gets honorable mention for his 5.1 innings of no-hit pitching.

Who knew we would have two 4x4 nights? Jon Singleton and George Springer share the honors.

Happy Birthday - 4/25

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Chuck Harrison (71)
Harrison was the first major league player to have come out of Texas Tech University.  He played for the Astros from 1965 to 1967.  Although quite a slugger in the minor leagues where he hit 40 home runs in one season in 1964, he was never able to even come close to that kind of power in the Astrodome.  He was traded to Atlanta along with Sonny Jackson in 1967 for Denny Lemaster and Dennis Menke.

RHP Bill Greif (62)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 1968, Greif only pitched in seven games for the Astros in 1971 before being shipped to San Diego as part of a trade for LHP Dave Roberts. His first major league victory came when he went in to pitch in relief in the 20th inning of a 21 inning affair against the Padres.

Tweet of the Day

Neiko Johnson

 Learn from your mistakes and make the most out of your opportunities in life

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roster Moves - 4/24

RHP David Martinez has been placed on the 7-day disabled list.  According to Franklin Leon (one of the Jethawks regulars), Martinez has a blister on his hand so we can hope that the DL stay will be short.
LHP Brad Dydalewicz has been assigned to Lancaster from extended spring training (we already knew this based on a tweet from Brad, but it is now official)

LHP Scott Zuloaga has been placed on the temporary inactive list.
2B John Hinson has been assigned to Lexington from extended spring training.
OF Chris Epps has been assigned to Lexington from extended spring training.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Charleston at Lexington at 6:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Caleb Cotham (1-0, 2.08) and Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.47)
Available on

Midland at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 3.50) and RHP Jose Cisnero (1-1, 2.45)
Available on

Albuquerque at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP John Ely (1-1, 6.19) and RHP Jordan Lyles (3-0, 2.89)
Available on

Rancho Cucamonga at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  TBD


Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 3-2
Dallas Keuchel (L, 3-1) just didn't look as sharp as usual in this one and ended up with his first loss, but he did still put up a quality start (even though his ERA skyrocketed all the way up to 1.67).  Jimmy Paredes was 3x4 with a double and Brett Wallace hit a solo home run, but the OKC hitters just weren't able to string together much of anything.

Corpus Christi over Midland 9-3
Erick Abreu pitched well in his first start of the season, a spot start.  Henry Villar pitched four somewhat rocky innings in relief and Kevin Chapman pitched a solid final inning.  Austin Wates, Jake Goebbert, Jonathan Singleton, Jordan Kreke and Andrew Simunic all had two hit nights, and both of Singleton's hits were doubles.  Brandon Barnes only had one hit, but it happened to be a three-run home run.  The home run plus a sac fly netted him four RBI's on the night.  This line-up is really starting to put up some gaudy offensive numbers.

Lancaster over Rancho Cucamonga 8-4

What went right:  Just enough pitching plus two doubles, three triples and a home run ended Lancaster's four game skid.  Grimmett struggled early and late, but in between he pitched very well, and Brian Streilein worked around some trouble as he worked 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.  A Telvin Nash home run, an RBI single by Rene Garcia (one of four hits for him), and a three-RBI bases clearing triple by Jio Mier in the second gave Lancaster a lead that they never gave back.  And Adam Bailey rewarded my confidence in him (see Monday's T.J. Steele post) by going 3x4 with an outfield assist.

Zachary Grimmett (W, 1-1) - 5.1IP 7H 4R 2BB 7SO
Brian Streilein - 2.2IP 1H 1BB 3SO
Kirk Clark - 1IP 1H (still has a 0.00 ERA)

Jio Mier - 1x5 3B 3RBI SO
Telvin Nash - 1x2 HR RBI 3BB SO R
Erik Castro - 1x4 3B BB 2R
Jonathan Meyer - 2x4 3B RBI SO R SB
Adam Bailey - 3x4 RBI R
Rene Garcia - 4x4 2B RBI 2R

What went wrong: George Springer went 0x5 with five strikeouts.

Brian Streilein got Grimmett out of one jam and got himself out of another to keep Lancaster's lead intact.  Lancaster needed this win and Streilein made sure that they got it.

Rene Garcia has been in a funk at the plate. Let's hope that going 4x4 with a double and an RBI will help get that turned around.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.

Happy Birthday - 4/24

RHP Javier Lozano (19)
Lozano was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of El Salvador in 2010 and first played for the DSL Astros in 2011.  In five innings pitched over 4 games, he was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.400 WHIP.

OKC Manager Tony DeFrancesco (49)
Drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round in 1984, Tony spent several years in the Boston and Cincinnati minor league systems, but never made it to the bigs.  After coaching in the Oakland system for several years, DeFrancesco helmed the Redhawks team for the first time in 2011 with a 68-75 record.  The team has gotten off to a good start in his second season.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Ivan Murrell (died October 8, 2006 at 63)
Signed by the Colt 45's in 1963 out of Panama, Murrell played in 54 games for the 45's and the Astros in 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1968 before being selected by San Diego in the 1968 expansion draft.

RHP Todd Jones (44)

A first round draft pick by Houston in 1989, Jones played for the Astros from 1993 to 1996 before being included in this trade to Detroit (according to Baseball-Reference):
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigersfor Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
He went on to play in 16 seasons for eight different teams. While with Houston, he was 18-12 with 39 saves in 194 games, and had a 3.27 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP. He was the AL saves leader and an All-Star in 2000 for Detroit.

CF Carlos Beltran (35)
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 1995, Beltran came to Houston in this trade:
June 24, 2004: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sentMark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. TheHouston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.
In 90 regular season games for Houston in 2004, he hit .258/.368/.559 with 17 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs and 58 RBI. In post-season play for Houston, he hit .435 in 12 games with eight home runs and 14 RBI.

There are many awards and superlatives associated with Beltran's career, but I won't be listing them because of the way he left Houston (thanks to his agent Scott Boras).  But I will leave you with the one enduring image etched in my mind that I always think of when I think of Carlos Beltran - a sign in the stands during the 2005 World Series reading "How's the view from your couch Beltran?"

Tweet of the Day

Brian McTaggart

Lexington right-hander Nick Tropeano has been named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the period of April 16-22

Roster Moves - 4/23

RHP Jonnathan Aristil was assigned to OKC from CC.
RHP Ross Seaton was assigned from CC to OKC.

1B Tyler Burnett was released.

LHP Brad Dydalewicz was assigned to LAN from extended spring training. (This info came from a tweet from Brad that he was headed to Lancaster.)

I was told that some other "moves are pending."  I would imagine that one of those moves will be replacing Burnett on the Lexington staff. I will post information when I receive it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Curious Case of T.J. Steele

Back before the season started, I was listening to the radio broadcast of the Corpus Christi Hooks/Houston Astros exhibition game and one of the guests was Fred Nelson, the Director of Player Development for the Houston organization.  Nelson was effusive in his praise of T.J. Steele, talking about what a great spring he'd had and how Steele was poised to do great things in 2012.  Didn't I read something last year about the same time in which Nelson said basically the same thing?  It appears that I did.

Nelson blamed Steele's lack of production in 2010 in Corpus Christi on injuries that had limited his playing time.  Yet in 2011, despite playing in 118 games (51 more than in 2010), he was actually worse at the plate except for a somewhat improved slugging percentage. So how exactly is this "five-tool player" doing in 2012?  In 11 games, he is hitting .143/.225/.314.  As of Saturday night, he was hitless in his last six games, had zero stolen bases, one outfield assist and one error.  To make matters worse, Steele had a fly out and a strikeout in two separate bases-loaded opportunities on Saturday.

Yes, I realize that it is a small sample size, but Steele will be 26 in September and has shown nothing to even remotely convince me that he is a five-tool player.  Last season, the Astros blogosphere perceived that Steele was blocking Austin Wates from being promoted to Corpus Christi and were, in my opinion, justifiably upset by that perception.  How has Wates done so far this season since his long-awaited promotion? He's hitting .339/.403/.446 over 14 games.  I think it's safe to say that he is handling AA pitching just fine so far and would likely have handled it fine last season as well.

How long do you give Steele before you have the "it's not you, it's me" conversation and admit that the relationship is just not working?  I don't know the answer to that one because I'm not privy to any super-secret black magic Decision Science juju. Presumably the juju that is responsible for Steele getting another chance is the same juju that sent Adam Bailey from the Corpus Christi opening day roster down to Lancaster without getting a single at bat.  Despite Bailey's slow start, which of the two would you rather see roaming the outfield at Whataburger field?

2010 Steele (CC)
67G  .228/.259/.315  9-2B  3-3B  2HR  18RBI  6.7SO/BB  9SB  3A  0E
2010 Bailey (TCV)
66G  .235/.273/.359 15-2B 1-3B  4HR  33RBI  3.9SO/BB  3SB  7A  0E

2011 Steele (CC)
118G  .214/.249/.354  17-2B  4-3B  11HR  55RBI  7.1SO/BB  20SB  9A  4E
2011 Bailey (LEX/LAN/CC*)
132G  .291/.327/.478  24-2B  2-3B  24HR  95RBI  3.8SO/BB  2SB  21A  6E

*Played 79 games at Lexington, 30 games at Lancaster and ended the season with 23 games at Corpus Christi.

2012 Steele (CC)
11G  .143/.225/.314  1-2B  1-3B  1HR  6RBI  3.8SO/BB  0SB  1A  1E
2012 Bailey (LAN)
14G  .236/.276/.364  4-2B  0-3B  1HR  3RBI  5.3SO/BB  1SB  1A  0E

Even though Adam Bailey has had a slow start in 2012, he is about 18 months younger than Steele, was listed as the #31 Astros prospect by Baseball America in the off-season and just came off a 95 RBI season in which he hit successfully at three separate levels, including AA. Perhaps his slow start justifies the demotion to Hi-A, or perhaps the last minute demotion rattled his confidence (somehow I doubt the latter because he's a very composed and confident young man). But in any event, I would personally prefer seeing Adam Bailey get the chance, even if he struggles initially, than to keep giving chance after chance to Steele.

I may end up being proven dead wrong.  T.J. Steele could start hitting like a man possessed tomorrow. And if he does, I will pull for him like any other Astros player.  However, if he is still struggling to get/stay above the Mendoza line two months from now, and better players are still being blocked by him, I will not be very happy about it.  And, come next March, if I hear Fred Nelson singing Steele's praises after another sub-par season, I will be downright angry.

Minor League Schedule and Results


Lexington - Off Day

Midland at Corpus Christi at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Daniel Straily (0-1, 1.65) and RHP Erick Abreu (2-0, 4.15)
Available on

Albuquerque at Oklahoma City at 7:05 CST
Probable Pitchers: RHP Will Savage (3-0, 2.13) and LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 0.90)
Available on

Rancho Cucamonga at Lancaster at 9:00 CST
Probable Pitchers:  RHP Garrett Gould (0-2, 3.38) and RHP Zach Grimmett (0-1, 6.60)


Corpus Christi over Frisco 5-3
Corpus Christi took three in a row and three out of four in the the series against Frisco (the current leader in the division) to pull one game behind in the division.  Jarred Cosart came back from his blister problem none the worse for wear as he pitched five innings giving up only four hits and striking out four. Adalberto Flores and Kevin Chapman struggled out of the bullpen, but Jason Stoffel came in to bail out Chapman and get his first save (and to see that Cosart got his first win). Brandon Barnes and Andrew Simunic continue to be hot hot hot and are now both hitting .417. Jonathan Singleton hit a clutch two RBI single, and Austin Wates, Kody Hinze and Brandon Barnes all contributed RBI's as well.

Lake Elsinore over Lancaster 5-4
Starting pitcher Ruben Alaniz was terrific until he got into trouble in the eighth, and Pat Urkfitz (BS, 1) and Jorge de Leon (L, 0-3) weren't able to bail out Alaniz or the team as Lake Elsinore scored five times in the eighth and ninth innings. There were good outings from Ben Orloff (3x4), George Springer (2x5), Adam Bailey (2x4, 2B, RBI) and Ben Heath (2x4, HR).  Erik Castro and Domingo Santana also contributed RBI's and Springer got his second stolen base

Albuquerque over Oklahoma City 11-10 in 14 innings
Ross Seaton got beaten up pretty badly in his introduction to AAA as he came in to spot start for Paul Clemens. But it was the four unearned runs given up by Xavier Cedeno in the eighth that sent this one spiraling out of control.  Cedeno was charged with a blown save, and Sergio Perez who pitched in the 14th inning was charged with the loss. Carlos Corporan hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to tie things up, but was unable to repeat the heroics in the bottom of the 14th as he made the last out.  Brian Bixler went 4x7, Jimmy Paredes was 4x7 with three doubles and Dallas Keuchel even got in on the act with a pinch hit single in the 13th.

Lexington over Kannapolis 11-6

What went right:  Strong bullpen performances and a small ball offense with just about everyone on the team contributing.  Luis Cruz had a rough start, but the bullpen picked him up with solid pitching by Dayan Diaz and Murilo Gouvea.  Matt Duffy and Drew Muren both had three hits and Jimmy Howick drew three walks.  But despite getting 14 hits, none of them were for extra bases so every base counted.

Luis Cruz - 5IP 10H 6R 1BB 3SO 1HR
Dayan Diaz (BS, 1) (W, 3-0) - 3IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO
Murilo Gouvea - 1IP 0H 0R 1BB 2SO

Jordan Scott - 1x4 2RBI 2BB 3SO R CS
Alex Todd - 2x5 RBI
Matt Duffy - 3x6 2SO R
Mike Kvasnicka - 2x5 SO 2R
Drew Muren - 3x4 2R
Emilio King - 2x4 RBI BB SO 3R
Jimmy Howick - 1x2 3RBI 3BB R

What went wrong: Cruz did have a rough start (and a fielding error) and they didn't get any extra base hits, but since they made it work, who am I to fault them for it?

Jarred Cosart did have a good start and did get a win, but he wouldn't have gotten that win without Jason Stoffel's terrific work in the eighth and ninth innings so Stoffel is my man of the day.

I know it was a ridiculously long game and he got a lot of extra chances, but 4x7 with three doubles and three runs scored is very good by any measure.  Jimmy Paredes with his brand new sparkly .300 batting average gets the nod.

For more information (and different perspectives), you should check out Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes for their minor league recaps.