Saturday, April 13, 2013

Roster Moves

RHP Jordan Jankowski was assigned from Extended Spring Training back to Quad Cities.
DH Chase Davidson (Quad Cities) was placed on the Temporary Inactive List.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games

Peoria Chiefs 4, Quad Cities River Bandits 1 (10)
Despite being K—ed 14 times on Friday night and committing three errors, Quad Cities took this game into extra innings at home and lost it in the 10th frame. Teoscar Hernandez was the only River Bandit with multiple hits, going three for five at the plate with a strike out. Hernandez's BA so far is a team leading .394. Rio Ruiz had a rough go of it Friday at the ballpark, not only committing 2 of the 3 errors for Quad Cities, but also striking out four times in five ABs. Mike Hauschild started on the mound for the River Bandits Friday and allowed just a run on three hits in five innings of work. Hauschild also struck out a pair and walked one. Colton Cain came on for the next three frames and gave up three hits of his own, walked one and K—ed three. John Neely collected his first loss of the season (0-1) after coming on in the ninth inning. Neely allowed 1 earned run in the 10th and then 2 more scored on a Ruiz fielding error. Michael Dimock faced the last batter of the 10th and whiffed him.

Lancaster JetHawks 1, Modesto Nuts 4
The JetHawks win streak was snapped at five games Friday night at John Thurman Field. Luis Cruz started the game with authority for Lancaster, striking out nine Modesto batters over his four and two thirds frames of work., allowing three hits and walking two. Cruz was charged with an earned run after Jonas Dufek, who came on for the last out of the fifth because Cruz had surpassed his pitch count, allowed a hit that scored an inherited runner. Aaron West tallied his first loss (0-1) after allowing three runs on six hits through two and two thirds frames. West also struck out three and walked one. At the plate, the JetHawks bats were set to "silent" as the team collected 4 hits all game and no extra base hits. The lone run for Lancaster came off of a Brandon Meredith bases-loaded sac-fly in the fourth that scored Nolan Fontana.

Corpus Christi Hooks 3, Springfield Cardinals 6
Corpus Christi also had their win streak snapped at five on Friday night. Matthew Heidenreich (1-1) took the loss after pitching the first two innings. Heidenreich allowed four runs on four hits, walked two and struck out one. Ruben Alaniz threw for three frames starting the fifth inning and allowed the other two runs on three hits with a strike out of his own. The Hooks tried to mount a comeback in the fifth inning and stopped one run short of tying it at four all. George Springer was two for four on the night with his fourth double of the season, two RBIs and a walk. Ben Orloff went two for three with a double, run scored and a walk as well. Big Michael Burgess had a tough night at the plate, striking out four times and collecting a walk. The Hooks struck out 12 times in the game.

Memphis Redbirds 10, Oklahoma City RedHawks 6
Friday night saw a disappointing loss for Oklahoma City's home opener. The RedHawks were down seven runs before they scored their first in the fifth inning and by that time it was too much to overcome. Brett Oberholtzer (0-1) took the loss after going the first three frames on the bump and giving up six runs (5 ER) on six hits, walking two and striking out one. Josh Zeid came on to pitch the ninth inning and struck out two in a perfect frame. The bats were hot for Oklahoma City Friday despite the loss. They out hit their opponents 16-15 and had six players with multi-hit games. Nobody swung a mightier stick than Jake Elmore, who went four for five with two doubles and two runs scored. Elmore's BA is now an even .500 on the season. Marc Krauss was another standout, batting two for five with three RBIs and a run scored on a solo homer in the eighth inning.    

Player of the Day: Jake Elmore, hands down. Not only am I giving him the nod but I'm nicknaming him too. I'm dubbing this guy Jake "The Lumberjack" Elmore because, well one, it sounds cool and two, he did things with his lumber on Saturday night that would make a beaver blush.

Pitcher of the Day: Two guys get the nod today. Of course, Luis Cruz is in the mix for his dominating performance on Friday. He basically averaged two Ks per inning of work—that's honor worthy. Josh Zeid also shares the nod for his perfect frame in the face of a 10-6 scoreboard adversity on Friday—that's just manly.

Happy Birthday - 4/13

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

RF Hunter Pence (30)
Drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round in 2004, Pence played for the Astros from 2007 to July of 2011.  In 680 games for Houston, he hit .290/.339/.479 with 145 doubles, 24 triples and 103 homeruns.  The two-time All-Star was traded to the Phillies in July of 2011 for Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana and was subsequently traded to the Giants in July 2012.

Tweet of the Day

Kevin Chapman
Tom Hanks had Wilson I have Rawly for this years baseball season
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Oklahoma City at Nashville - Postponed

Corpus Christi over Springfield 5-0
David Martinez (5IP 2H 2BB 2SO) and Asher Wojciechowski (4IP 1H 3BB 4SO) combined to pitch a dandy, shutting out Springfield and allowing only three hits between them. LF Austin Wates' solo homer in the first was all the offense Corpus Christi needed, but the Hooks played add on in the fifth via a Wates RBI triple and a SS Jio Mier RBI double. RF Domingo Santana's solo shot in the sixth, along with Mier's bases loaded walk, added to the Hooks' cushion. Wates ended the night going 3-for-4 with a triple, home run, walk, two RBI and two runs scored. DH Michael Burgess was two-for-five with two doubles and Domingo Santana stole his first base of the season. Not all was good for the Hooks team, though, as they struck out 14 times with George Springer (0-for-5 with four strikeouts) leading the pack. Corpus Christi's win streak is now at five.

Lancaster over Modesto 5-1
The JetHawks allowed one unearned run across in the first before David Rollins (5IP 4H 1BB 4SO) and Tyson Perez (4IP 0H 0BB 4SO) slammed the door shut on the Nuts (figuratively, not literally). 1B Rafy Valenzuela got the scoring started with an RBI double in the second. 3B Matt Duffy had an RBI single to go with two more hit-by-pitches. LF Preston Tucker (2-for-4 2B BB R), RF Drew Muren (2-for-4 RBI 2R) and C M.P. Cokinos (2-for-4 RBI) all had multi-hit games while Nolan Fontana was 1-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts. The JetHawks committed three errors in the game. Like Corpus, Lancaster has now won five in a row.

Peoria at Quad Cities - Postponed

Player of the Day: Austin Wates! Come on down. Wates had a tremedous outing, missing only a double toward hitting for the cycle. Wates is currently hitting .360/.500/.600 in the first seven games of the season.

Pitcher of the Day: All four of Thursday's pitchers are worthy, but the four perfect innings from Tyson Perez give him the edge.

Weekend Recaps will be coming to you courtesy of @BucaMorris. Give him a follow on twitter if you haven't already.

Happy Birthday - 4/12

One former Astro and no future Astros with birthdays today ~

C Jerry Goff (49)
Originally drafted by the Mariners in the third round in 1986, Goff came to Houston as a free agent in 1995. He played in 13 major league games for the Astros in 1995 and 1996. Goff only had six hits for Houston, but he made the most of them. Four of Goff's hits went for extra bases - two doubles, two home runs and five RBI's.

Tweet of the Day

Brian Holmes
Do you ever flex your wrist back just to make sure you aren't Spiderman?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 7-5
Chris Devenski put up a solid start as he allowed one run (by way of a solo home run) on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Brady Rodgers allowed four runs over three and a third before giving way to Travis Ballew who extricated the JetHawks from a bases loaded jam on his way to his second save of the season. Eight of the ten JetHawks hits went for extra bases with doubles from SS Nolan Fontana (3-for-5, 2RBI), 1B Zach Johnson, LF Preston Tucker, and DH Brandon Meredith (2-for-3); triples from CF Andrew Aplin and Meredith; and home runs from Fontana and 3B Matt Duffy. The JetHawks also walked seven times, including two from Aplin. Aplin and RF Drew Muren each stole a base while 2B Delino DeShields was caught stealing for the fourth time this season.

Oklahoma City over Nashville 3-1
Jarred Cosart, Wes Musick and Jose Valdez combined for the two-hitter. Cosart allowed one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts over his five innings of work while Musick allowed a solo shot for his one hit to go with one walk and four strikeouts over his three innings. Valdez earned his second save of the season with a perfect frame. The RedHawks were held to five hits. RF Che-Hsuan Lin scored on a passed ball after singling, advancing on a throwing error and stealing third in the third, and followed up with two more in the fourth via a double from 2B Jake Elmore followed by a home run from 3B Jimmy Paredes.

Quad Cities at Burlington - Postponed due to inclement weather

Corpus Christi - Off Day (off from playing anyway)

Bobby Doran
Whose excited??!!!!! First road trip of the yr!!
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Player of the Day: Nolan Fontana's good night (3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2R) padded his rather gaudy early season batting line of .476/.586/1.000.

Pitcher of the Day: As good as the RedHawks pitching crew did, I'm going to have to go with the JetHawks' Travis Ballew who came in with one out, the bases juiced and the go-ahead run at the plate and left with his second save.

Happy Birthday - 4/11

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jose Cisnero (24)
Signed as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Cisnero first played for the DSL Astros in 2008.   He spent the bulk of his season at AA Corpus Christi before finishing the season with eight starts at AAA Oklahoma City and compiled a 13-7 record with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.409 WHIP. He has made only one appearance so far this season for the RedHawks, pitching three scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Jeff Calhoun (55)
A third round draft pick in 1980, Calhoun pitched for Houston from 1984 to 1986. In 73 appearances, he was 3-6 with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.202 WHIP before being traded to the Phillies for C Ronn Reynolds in April of 1987.

RHP Sean Bergman (43)
Originally drafted by the Tigers in the 4th round in 1991, Bergman came to Houston in January of 1998 in a trade with the Padres for OF James Mouton. In two seasons for the Astros in 1998 and 1999, he went 16-15 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.406 WHIP in 50 appearances (43 starts).

Tweet of the Day

Max Stassi
My roommate ready for duck dynasty!
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roster Moves

There have been a few Oklahoma City roster moves the last couple of days.

C Chris Wallace assigned from Extended Spring Training to Oklahoma City
RHP John Ely placed on the 7-day DL
2B Jose Martinez placed on the 7-day DL
RHP Lance Day assigned to Oklahoma City (has been at Extended Spring Training)

Lance Day is a non-drafted free agent who signed last year with the Astros and had good results in his time at Tri-City. I am assuming that this is a temporary move while John Ely is on the DL. Even as a temporary move, it's a win/win situation. By bringing Day from Extended rather than moving in one of the established starters from another level, it limits the disruption to rosters (rather than moving players up and down in a short amount of time) and gives Day the experience and the opportunity to show what he may be able to do at a higher level.

An Interview with Lancaster Play-By-Play Announcer Jason Schwartz

I didn't start listening to Jason Schwartz calling the JetHawks game action until well into the season last year, but once I did, I was hooked. Schwartz doesn't just keep you informed about the game, he paints a picture of everything from the heat lightning in the distance to a colorful description of some of the more flamboyant fans to the body language of a player victimized by a bad call. He may even drop in a Plato reference on occasion. What I like most, though, is how interactive he is with listeners who follow him on twitter. If you tweet him a question about the game, he invariably and seamlessly weaves the answer into his live broadcast. He may even drop an inside joke into the broadcast as a shout out to a listener. In short, he makes you feel as though you really are there at the game and he is personally calling the action just for you. I caught up with Jason by email to get to know him a little better.

Jason Schwartz - August 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

WTH: How did you get into broadcasting baseball play-by-play? What do you do in the off-season? How does calling baseball compare to other sports?

JS: I started broadcasting during my sophomore year at USC. My first assignment was a women's volleyball game and I knew nothing about volleyball. I had my little sister come with me to a game the day before to teach me as much as she could. I was really nervous that I'd have no idea what to say and wouldn't be able to fill the time. I ended up being surprised by how smooth the broadcast was. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to do some football, basketball and a lot of baseball. I was very fortunate to go to a school that gave its students the chance to do play-by-play on such a big stage... I was on the broadcast team for the USC/Penn St. Rose Bowl game and the USC/Ohio St. game at "The Horseshoe" in Columbus. Despite my experience at USC, I still had no clue how to get an actual play-by-play job. During my junior year, Al Michaels visited one of my classes and I introduced myself at the end of class and asked him for advice. He told me that when he was starting out, he sent letters to teams all over the country and ended up landing a job. I spent the next few days going through my games and preparing some clips of my work at USC. I ended up sending emails to about 95 college summer league teams and was pleasantly surprised by the results. About 10-15 teams expressed interest which absolutely shocked me but also gave me some confidence. I ended up taking a job with the Wenatchee (Wash.) Apple Sox in the West Coast League and everything took off from there.

I just finished my third "off-season" as the play-by-play broadcaster for the USC Women's Basketball team. I'm really grateful to have been given that opportunity right out of college. It's completely different than baseball season. There are usually only two games a week so there is a lot of down time. I also lived up in Seattle for a couple months this past fall calling high school football for an online network. Basketball and football are fun but nothing compares to calling baseball. In other sports, the action carries the broadcast. In baseball, the broadcaster carries it. There is much more time to fill so you can really make it your own. Baseball season is also unlike any of the others. It's like a long book and every game is a different chapter. The story is constantly changing and there are so many opportunities to see things you've never seen before.

WTH: The JetHawks had a lot of ups and downs during the 2012 season and never dominated their league, yet they managed to scratch and claw their way to the Cali League finals and an eventual Championship. When they lost 6 of their first 7, did you ever imagine how the season would unfold? When did you know that the "Heart Attack 'Hawks" were a special team?

JS: To be completely honest, I didn't come into the season with very high expectations. I knew about the team's lack of success over the previous three years and was resigned to the fact that we might not be very good. I thought it would be a challenge and I was excited for it. In my previous three years I had broadcast for a team that won a championship, a team that finished with the league's best record and a team that lost in the championship series so I had not experienced a losing season before. When we got off to the slow start, I was ready for it. I thought it was going to help me grow as a broadcaster... so much for that. It was easy to see there was a lot of talent on the team from the start. I remember saying to some members of our front office in mid-April that despite the team's losing record at the time, they had a chance to be very competitive. Sure enough, at the end of April they started turning things around and had a winning record by mid-May. The problem was they were really plagued by inconsistency. They'd get really hot, then get really cold, then win tough games at home, then lose heart-breakers on the road. It was hard to predict how they'd perform once the playoffs came around. I realized something special was happening after Game 1 of the South Division Finals at High Desert. During the season, they had gone 3-7 at Mavericks Stadium and had given up so many late leads and chances to win. To see the team do something in the playoffs that they hadn't done all season made me realize that everything was out the window and anything could happen.

WTH: Can you tell me a couple of your favorite memories from the 2012 season?

JS: There are so many moments from the postseason run that really stand out to me. Game 1 of the South Division Finals at High Desert was one of the most intense games I've ever been a part of. Deep down, I felt like whoever won that game was going to go on to win the series ... Erik Castro's nine pitch at-bat with the team facing elimination in Game 2 of the Mini-Series against Lake Elsinore was a very dramatic moment and an incredible battle ... Tyson Perez's success after being called up from extended spring training was a great story line. Before his first start in Stockton the coaching staff didn't even know if he was a righty or a lefty (at least that's what they told me). Just a couple weeks later he throws a complete game two-hitter and starts 3-0 ... I'll never forget George Springer hitting four home runs in four consecutive at-bats. That's something I may never see again ... I'll also never forget when the JetHawks finally won in Lake Elsinore. They had lost the first 12 games they played there. That losing streak was unlike anything I've seen. They lost some of those games in the strangest ways, as if there was some sort of curse ... And obviously, winning the Championship. We fell one win short of experiencing that in 2011 with the Tri-City Dust Devils and to have the opportunity again the very next season was incredible. I feel so lucky and fortunate to have been part of that.

WTH: How do you go about preparing for the new season, particularly when you won't know until a couple of days before the season starts who will even be on the team?

JS: I read What the Heck Bobby.

Aside from that, there's really not much you can do. I had an idea of which players might get assigned to Lancaster so I read a few things here and there. I try not to kill myself with preparation right before the season begins. In my first few years of doing play-by-play I made that mistake and found that there were so many things to talk about during the first few games that I could barely get to any of the stuff I had researched until later on. Plus I don't want to use up all the good tidbits and stories on day one. The hardest part is the opposing team. This season, I didn't get High Desert's roster until the day before Opening Day. With so many things going on it made it impossible to do any preparation with such little notice. I just try to keep it simple at the start. You learn so many things once the players arrive and gather so much information as the season goes along.

WTH: I sat in the booth with you a couple of times last year and I simply marveled at how you juggled everything so seamlessly. What is your secret?

JS: I don't think it's much of a secret... practice and repetition. The first few times I called baseball games at USC, I'd get to the middle of the first inning before I'd realize I hadn't been keeping score. I learned quickly that if I was going to be successful at this, I'd have to learn how to multitask during my broadcasts. Eventually it all becomes second nature and you learn to keep score, look up stats, interact with guests in the booth and respond to your Twitter messages without skipping a beat.

The one thing I can't do well is eat during broadcasts. One time at USC, I was so hungry during a commercial break, I grabbed a handful of peanut butter pretzels that were sitting in the press box. I missed the entire first at-bat of the inning. Couldn't say a word. My hunger will get the best of me at some point each season and then I'll learn my lesson (again). When I was in Corvallis in 2010 I had the privilege of calling home games with Mike Parker, the Voice of the Oregon State Beavers. He's an extremely talented broadcaster and I learned so much working alongside him that summer. Unfortunately, his ability to eat during games did not rub off on me. I'd do the pregame show and toss it over to him just prior to the the first pitch. He'd arrive right before going on air with a hot dog and cup of coffee in hand and he'd be able to take bites and sips as he called the play-by-play. I have no idea how he did it and I don't think I ever will.

WTH: There was one occasion in which I heard dead air for a moment last season. I'm sure you remember the occasion I'm talking about. Can you tell us about the foul ball incidents?

JS: If I must... There were two foul ball incidents last season. The first was during a game against the Quakes. George Springer was at the plate and he hit what I thought was an ordinary foul ball. I looked down to mark my scorebook and little did I know... it was coming for me. I glanced up and (for lack of a better phrase) the ball was right in my grill. I jolted back and my chair started to tip. I tried to keep it upright but it reached the point of no return and fell backwards (taking me with it). Luckily the ball hit the glass just above the open window and not my head. It was slightly embarrassing but also extremely funny. I was laughing so hard and couldn't speak for almost a minute (hence the dead air). When I arrived at my booth the next day there was caution tape all over the door. I entered to find a white outline of a body and a headset where I had fallen. The JetHawks legendary Director of Stadium Operations John Laferney had made it look like a crime scene. It was a great joke.

The other incident was more serious. My family joined me for the 4th of July game. My grandmother, who had turned 90 just three days before, came along as well. I have two big windows in my booth and keep them open during every game. A ball had never come through the open window. See where this is going? Visalia's Jon Griffin fouled a laser straight back through the window and it hit my grandma's arm. Luckily she was fine but the impact broke her skin and there was blood, lots of blood. I was in absolute shock and had no idea what to say. It happened so fast and felt incredibly surreal. My mom was, understandably, freaking out. The paramedics arrived quickly and treated her in my booth. It was a hectic scene for about two innings but she was a trooper and had a smile on her face the whole time. After the game, Griffin signed the ball and now it sits on a shelf at her apartment.

WTH: Were there any players on the 2012 team that really stood out for you, whether it be talent, personality, work ethic, etc.?

JS: I'm glad I had the chance to watch George Springer. He was the best all around athlete I've seen on a baseball field. He's an exceptional hitter with incredible bat speed. He also amazed me with the amount of ground he was able to cover in centerfield. The Hangar has a very spacious outfield and I couldn't believe some of the plays he was able to make. I think he's going be a very solid regular in the Astros lineup some day soon ... Erik Castro had a great season and was, in my opinion, the team's most consistent hitter from beginning to end. I remember talking with him during the first road trip of the season and he expressed some frustration about not playing everyday but he took advantage of his opportunities and forced the coaching staff to make him a regular. I admired his leadership during the postseason and he came through with some very clutch hits ... Enrique Hernandez, Rafael Valenzuela and Grant Hogue were all great guys to be around. They really loosened up the clubhouse and always looked like they were having a great time ... Telvin Nash hit some of the most impressive home runs I've ever seen, both in games and batting practice, and made it look effortless ... Nick Tropeano was a bull dog on the mound. I loved the way he went after hitters and set up on the mound. He wasn't messing around ... Jonathan Meyer was fantastic defensively. He made some Major League plays at third base.

WTH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?

JS: Before I fell in love with baseball I wanted to be an actor. I was constantly going to auditions and was in a couple TV shows and commercials but never landed any big roles. Once I became serious about playing baseball I decided to put my acting career on hold (where it remains today). Focusing on baseball ended up being a good decision because I had the opportunity to play baseball in Japan (twice), Venezuela, Italy and Canada. Those trips were incredible. Interacting with baseball players my age from other countries was a special experience. In Venezuela, my team was invited to dinner at the Presidential Palace. I wasn't completely aware of Hugo Chavez's reputation at the time but it definitely gave me a different perspective when I'd hear about him on the news in the years following the trip. BUT I think the one thing that most people would be surprised to hear is that my parents are the creators and producers of the MTV show America's Best Dance Crew. They started a company called Hip Hop International which now has affiliates in over 40 countries. Each year they hold the World Hip Hop Dance Championship which is an amazing event. That's always been a big part of my life but baseball season has kept me away the last few years.


Let me leave you with one final Jason Schwartz story. The night I sat in the booth with him, I was shocked by the constant activity, people in and out of the booth. The JetHawks owner came in to chat between innings. The Official Scorer was in and out numerous times between innings. The guy who handled the JetHawks twitter feed came in a couple of times. Suffice it to say, there was a dizzying amount of traffic. Another guy came in and asked Jason to interview someone the next inning. He conducted a terrific interview, never missing the call of a single play. After the gentleman left, Jason turned to me and said, "I have no idea who that guy was." Yet he never, ever missed a beat.

Thank you for your time, Jason. I look forward to visiting you in the booth again next month. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to listen to live game audio of all the JetHawks games with Jason calling the action. I also suggest you follow him on twitter @jasondschwartz.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Burlington over Quad Cities 6-4
All good things must come to an end. Quad Cities got pegged with their first loss of the season on Tuesday. Daniel Minor got the start and allowed four runs on four hits with five strikeouts over five innings. All four of Minor's runs came via the long ball as he served up three home runs. Lance McCullers allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks and was charged with the loss. Jesse Wierzbicki with the only multi-hit game went 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run scored. The team had as many walks (eight) as hits with Teoscar Hernandez walking twice to go with a double and Carlos Correa walking three times. Chase Davidson had a double and an RBI. Roberto Peña and Ryan Dineen each recorded a sacrifice bunt RBI.

Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 13-8
Starter Alex Gillingham gave up two runs in the first and then shut the door on Lake Elsinore for his next four innings, ending his outing with six hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Mike Foltynewicz allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The story of this game, though, was the offense. Zach Johnson went 5-for-5 with a double and a bases clearing triple and four RBI. Nolan Fontana only had one hit, but he made it count as he cleared the bases with a double. Fontana also racked up four RBI on the night with the first of the four coming on a sac fly. Matt Duffy was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and scored three times, while Drew Muren and Preston Tucker each added RBI doubles into the mix.

Corpus Christi over Tulsa 6-0
Bobby Doran and Nick Tropeano combined for the shut out. After one single in the first, Doran didn't allow another baserunner in his five innings while striking out four. Tropeano scattered five hits over his four innings of work. Neither pitcher walked a batter. As a matter of fact, the Corpus Christi pitching staff has allowed only seven free passes in the first six games with no pitcher allowing more than one. Corpus took the lead early on a George Springer RBI single and a Domingo Santana RBI double. Those were all the runs they would need, but Santana (3-for-4) drove in a second run with one of his three doubles for the night; Jio Mier (3-for-3, BB) drove in two via a solo homer and a sac fly; and Kiké Hernandez doubled home a run as well. Austin Wates was 2-for-5 with a double, scored two runs and stole his third base of the season.

Oklahoma City over Nashville 5-3
Starter Ross Seaton pitched a strong five innings and allowed one run via a solo home run on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts. Jordan Lyles followed and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits with one strikeout in three and two-thirds innings. Kevin Chapman recorded the final out for the save. 1B Brandon Laird was 2-for-4 with two RBI doubles for a three RBI night. (He also struck out four fewer times than a certain unnamed major league first baseman.) Trevor Crowe and Jake Elmore were each 2-for-3 with an RBI single. Jonathan Villar got his first hit of the season and scored a run.

Pitcher of the Day: Bobby Doran gets the nod for his five innings of one-hit ball. And no walks!

Player of the Day: Zach Johnson not only won the coveted Morgan Ensberg "You're a Really Good Player" Award, he also wins the WTHB Player of the Day for his tremendous 5-for-5, four RBI outing.

Note: I have the Astros Minor League standings available on a sidebar on the front page of the blog for quick reference.

Happy Birthday - 4/10

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

LF/1B Bob Watson (67)
Watson was first signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent in January of 1965 and spent the majority of the next 15 years in the Astros system. A two-time All-Star, Watson compiled a batting line of .297/.364/.444 in 1381 games spread over 14 seasons. After retiring as a player, he coached before becoming Assistant General Manager of the Astros from 1989 to 1993. In 1994 and 1995, he was the General Manager of the team. He later became a Vice President of Major League Baseball until his retirement at the end of 2010. For more on Bob Watson, read this excellent Baseball-Reference article.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
Thanks to yoga Dan for a great yoga class today and quitter

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Quad Cities over Burlington 12-2
The River Bandits put a hurtin' on Burlington early with 11 runs in the first three innings to remain undefeated for the season. So much for my theory that the QC team might struggle early in the season! Starter Joe Bircher allowed two runs on three hits in his first inning of work before settling in to shutout the Bees over the next four innings and was rewarded with the win. Vincent Velasquez faced the minimum number of batters over the last four innings while striking out six. CF Teoscar Hernandez went 4-for-6 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored; DH Chase Davidson was 3-for-5 with three RBI singles; and 1B Jesse Wierzbicki was 2-for-4 with five RBI, including an RBI double and a three-run home run. 2B Joe Sclafani contributed a two RBI double toward the effort to go with his three walks.

Lake Elsinore at Lancaster - Postponed due to dust. Really.

Jonas Dufek
The difference 5 minutes can make in Lancaster CA...
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Corpus Christi over Tulsa 4-3
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, CF George Springer drew a bases-loaded walk to tie it and was followed with a walk-off single from DH Michael Burgess to seal the deal and get the Hooks their third straight victory. Jake Buchanan had a strong start, allowing two runs on three hits. He recorded nine ground outs and six strikeouts -- I like it! In Carlos Quevedo's first action since his promotion to Corpus, he allowed three hits (including a two-out homer) and struck out three over one and two-thirds innings. Pat Urckfitz closed it out with two and a third scoreless frames for the win. Springer was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two walks, a run scored and a stolen base; Burgess was 3-for-5 with an RBI single; and 2B Kiké Hernandez recorded two walks, an RBI single and a stolen base. LF Austin Wates also swiped a bag. Although the Hooks only managed six hits in the game, they walked nine times including two walks each from Wates and RF Domingo Santana.

Nashville over Oklahoma City 1-0
Really great pitching from both sides as the two teams combined for only nine hits and three walks. Rudy Owens got his first start of the season and was rewarded with a loss despite allowing only one unearned run on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in five innings. Jose Cisnero allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out three in the final three frames. My man 2B Jake Elmore was 2-for-4 with a double and stole a base. The only other RedHawks hits were singles from CF Robbie Grossman and LF Trevor Crowe.

Player of the Day: Teoscar Hernandez and Chase Davidson both had terrific games for Quad Cities, but I have to send a little extra love to Jesse Wierzbicki. Wierzbicki started out a little slow this season, but really busted out on Monday with his five RBI game.

Pitcher of the Day: Vincent Velasquez simply dominated in four no-hit innings. I really expect him to start moving up the prospect rankings this season.

Happy Birthday - 4/9

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

OF Nate Colbert (67)
Obtained by Houston from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft in 1965, Colbert was drafted from Houston by the Padres in the 1968 expansion draft. In the interim, he played in 39 games for Houston in 1966 and 1968.    He went on to be a three-time All-Star for the Padres. For more on some of his more memorable accomplishments with the Padres, read this Baseball-Reference piece.

IF Mike Brumley (50)
Originally drafted by Boston in the 2nd round of the 1983 draft, Brumley came to Houston as a free agent in 1993. He had a total of 29 plate appearances in 26 major league games for Houston in 1993 and 1995 (spending 1994 in Oakland). His minor league numbers in 1993 were quite impressive as he hit .353/.419/.471 in 96 games, but his composite batting average for the big league club was less than inspiring.  He is currently the first base coach for the Mariners.

RHP Dennis Sarfate (32)
Sarfate, a 2001 ninth round draft pick by Milwaukee, was purchased by Houston in September 2007 and was an Astro for a total of eight and a third innings before being traded away to Baltimore as part of the Miguel Tejada deal. In 7 games for Houston, he was 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA and a 0.720 WHIP. After three seasons in the Baltimore organization, Sarfate took his career to Japan. After two seasons for the Hiroshima Carp, he started the 2013 season as a member of the Seibu Lions bullpen.

Tweet of the Day

Brian Holmes
And we have a caterpillar sighting on the Banditos bus..
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Tales from the Press Box (with Apologies to Terri)

The Astros have been kind enough (and brave enough) to allow members of the blogging community to infiltrate the back row of the Minute Maid Park press box. The wonderful Kelly George arranged for some of us lowly bloggers, the great unwashed of the writing community, to get credentials periodically for Astros games and to sit alongside those who are paid for their efforts.

Terri Schlather (from Tales from the Juice Box) and I picked Saturday night as the night to get our feet wet. After picking up credentials, we made our way to the press box and walked in like we belonged there and promptly plopped our posteriors down in two of the unreserved seats in the back of the box. That was fine with me. I wanted to draw as little attention as possible so that I may be given the opportunity to come back later in the season. Because, frankly, with my focus on prospects and the minor leagues, it will make more sense for me to take advantage of press access later in the season when the likes of Jon Singleton and Jarred Cosart get to Houston. At least that's the plan.

Shortly after we arrived, a friendly face with a mop of familiar red curls greeted us. It's always good to see Alyson Footer, but even more so when she offers both moral support and directions to the bathroom.

I will say that the view from the press box is pretty sweet, but you can't see El Grande without being a contortionist (at least not from the back row).

On Saturday, I mostly observed. It was interesting to see what the writers around me were doing and what was up on their computers. Some kept score cards, some had Gameday going on their computers, and almost everyone seemed to be looking at their twitter feed at one point or another. One guy was engrossed in the Syracuse/Michigan game. And one guy was playing a game on Pogo before he checked his facebook page (and left early).

There is something surreal about seeing Jeff Luhnow and Steve Sparks walk past before the game, having Art Howe cross back and forth behind you during the game, literally almost running into Alan Ashby on your way to the ladies room, and then chatting with Bill Brown at the elevator after the game.

And I wasn't aware that all of the action is announced within the box ... single, 4-6-3 double play, final pitching line for so-and-so, etc., all the information coming overhead from the disembodied voice of the Official Scorer, I presume. Terri appeared to be the only one around me who kept score without audio assistance.

Shortly before the game ended, someone came by and dropped a small commemorative baseball at each workstation. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Oooh, party favors!" Although most of the hardened veterans were likely underwhelmed by the gesture, it will serve as a nice remembrance of the experience for me.

After the game, we followed the herd down to the Press Room for the post-game interview, taking care not to get (too) lost in the dark, forbidding catacombs in the belly of the beast.

Only a handful attended the post-game presser. Brian Smith of the Chronicle asked a question about Bud Norris' final inning and the thought process behind leaving him in. Another couple of questions, including one about the vastly reduced number of Astros strikeouts in the game to which Porter responded, "I couldn't tell you how many it was yesterday or how many it was today. What I do know is that we lost the game." All else aside, the man is a good quote. Another question about Bud's pitch count and it was over. Three minutes and seven seconds later, the media was off to the clubhouse.

We asked no questions and didn't presume to enter the clubhouse with the others. We know that we're under the watchful eye of the Astros powers-that-be, most likely under double secret probation or the like. We will bide our time and toe the line in getting this small bit of access in hopes that we can earn their trust. Baby steps.

But something occurred to me during our press box adventure. Bloggers have just as much business being in that press box as anyone in the traditional media does. Although we opted not to ask any, Terri had a question at the ready that was as good or better than any of the others that were asked Saturday night. We don't follow this Astros team because it is a job. We follow them because it is a passion. We will never replace the traditional media, but we are already supplementing their coverage. The world is changing as more and more people look for non-traditional sources for their information. It is a good thing for the Astros front office to recognize that fact. The relationship may be a tenuous one, but as we were reminded on Saturday, IT'S A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME!

Many thanks to Kelly George, Gene Dias and Steve Grande for your help and generosity. Let's do it again sometime!

Roster Moves

I missed this Baseball America transaction post from over the weekend. Apparently, Kyle Weiland is NOT a figment of our imagination:
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Murilo Gouvea, RHP Chia-Jen Lo, RHP Kyle Weiland, LHP Sergio Escalona, LHP Kenny Long, C Max Stassi, 3B Andy Simunic, 3B Brandon Wikoff, OF Grant Hogue, OF Telvin Nash
In addition, RHP Edgar Gonzalez was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays and 2B/LF Ruben Sosa was assigned to Oklahoma City.

Rumors have been floating about Paul Clemens coming to Houston, but nothing official has been announced by the team.


  • RHP Paul Clemens is indeed headed to Seattle to join the team as RHP Josh Fields goes on the DL with forearm tightness.
  • RHP Ross Seaton is being sent to Oklahoma City from Corpus Christi.
  • RHP Carlos Quevedo is being sent to Corpus Christi from Lancaster.
  • RHP Michael Dimock is headed from Extended Spring Training to Quad Cities.
  • According to Daniel Makarewicz (who covers the Quad Cities team), RHP Jordan Jankowski is being sent from Quad Cities back to Extended Spring Training.
  • LHP Tommy Shirley activated from the temporary inactive list for Lancaster.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Quad Cities over Kane County 3-1 in 13 innings
With Saturday's extra inning affair, that's 24 innings of baseball in less than 24 hours as Quad Cities completed a four-game sweep of Kane County to start the season. Brian Holmes got the start and allowed a very stingy two hits and no walks with one strikeout over five. He was followed by Jordan Jankowski as his tandem partner. Much as I reported yesterday about Mike Hauschild, Jankowski was used exclusively out of the bullpen last season so I wasn't necessarily expecting him to be used as a starter. Jankowski allowed the one Kane County run on four hits and a walk with one strikeout in three and two-thirds innings. John Neely and Cameron Lamb combined for scoreless relief, with Lamb getting the win. The River Bandits were held to six hits, but three of those were for extra bases including a triple from CF Teoscar Hernandez who went on to score the go-ahead run in the 13th on a wild pitch. DH Chase Davidson and C Jobduan Morales (2-for-5, RBI) both doubled in the game.

Lancaster over High Desert 10-4
This game was closer than it sounds until the JetHawks blew it open in a 5-run bottom of the eighth in which the team hit for the cycle with singles from LF Preston Tucker (2-for-4, HR, 3RBI, 2R), RF Drew Muren (2-for-4, HR, 2RBI, 2R) and SS Nolan Fontana (2-for-3, 2B, 2BB, 3R); an RBI double from CF Andrew Aplin (3-for-5, 2B, 2RBI); an RBI triple from 3B Matt Duffy; and a two-run home run from 1B Rafy Valenzuela, his first of the season. It was a wild one with the wind blowing out at 33 mph, making it an adventure for the outfielders and playing a factor in the three home runs and three triples hit in the game although Andrew Aplin and Drew Muren both managed to record outfield assists. Starter Aaron West allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five in his four and a third innings while his tandem partner Luis Cruz pitched four scoreless frames with two hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

Corpus Christi over Tulsa 3-2
Starter R.J. Alaniz allowed the only two Tulsa runs and their only walk in his three and two-thirds innings while Matt Heidenreich, his tandem partner, had an excellent two-hit, three-strikeout outing and was rewarded with the win. Heidenreich was sandwiched by perfect innings from Jorge de Leon and Jason Stoffel (S, 2). 2B Kiké Hernandez' first home run of the season barely cleared the wall, but it still counts. Kiké went 3-for-4 with two RBI, including an RBI double in the eighth that proved to be the game winner. 3B Jonathan Meyer is also having a great start to his season, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and scoring a run. CF George Springer (1-for-3, BB) and C Carlos Perez (2-for-4) also doubled.

Oklahoma City over Memphis 14-10 in 11 innings
Brett Oberholtzer was his own worst enemy in his first start of the season as his two errors and hit batter came back to bite him as he gave up seven runs (three earned) in four and a third innings. Kevin Chapman allowed two of Oberholtzer's runners to score. I'm assuming that Kyle Hallock was intended to be the second half of the tandem, but he only made it through one and a third innings and was charged with two runs as Jose Valdez allowed both of Hallock's runners to score. 2B-3B Jake Elmore led the hit parade, going 5-for-6 with a walk, a two-run home run, three RBI and three runs scored. 1B Marc Krauss hit a solo shot and walked three times, and DH Trevor Crowe banged out a three-run bomb to put the game out of reach in the top of the 11th. 3B-1B Brandon Laird was 3-for-7 with a double and two RBI. CF Robbie Grossman (2-for-4, RBI, 3BB, 3R), RF Jimmy Paredes (3-6, RBI, R), and LF Che-Hsuan Lin (0-for-3, 2BB, 2RBI, 2R, 2SB) also had very good games. On a side note, Ruben Sosa, a 22-year old 2B/LF who has never played above Low A, was assigned to Oklahoma City. He came in to pinch run in the ninth in his first game at OKC, scored a run, stayed in to play second base and hit a double in his one at bat. One final note - Jonathan Villar has yet to collect his first hit of the season.

Player of the Day: How can you not award player of the day honors to a guy who goes 5-for-6 with a walk and a two-run bomb? Jake Elmore, come on down.

Pitchers of the Day: It's another tie. Brian Holmes started off the new season with an excellent outing and gets extra brownie points from me for issuing zero free passes. Luis Cruz did just that. He cruised through four innings with his six strikeouts serving as exclamation points for his outing.

Happy Birthday - 4/8

No future Astros with birthdays today, but a member of the minor league coaching staff celebrates today ~

Pitching Coach Gary Ruby (64)
Ruby started in the Astros organization as the pitching coach for the Salem Avalanche in 2007-2008, served in the same position for Tri-City from 2009-2011 and is currently coaching at Corpus Christi for his second season.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Juan Abreu (28)
Abreu came to Houston as a part of the Michael Bourn trade in July 2011. In 2011, he posted a combined 2.18 ERA and a 1.318 WHIP with 12.0 SO/9 between the Braves and Astros AAA teams. In 7 appearances for the Astros, Abreu had a 2.70 ERA and and 1.350 WHIP and struck out 12 in 6.2 innings pitched. But there was the matter of five hit batters in that time frame as well. He is currently in the Dodgers organization.

RHP Richard Joseph "Turk" Farrell (died June 10, 1977 at 43)
Ferrell came to Houston in the expansion draft in 1961 and played for the Colt 45's and Astros from 1962 to 1967. The hard-throwing and intense right-hander was 53-64 in 181 games for Houston with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.142 WHIP. A three-time All-Star for Houston, Farrell led the National League in WAR in 1962, a year in which he compiled an anemic 10-20 record due to lack of run support. Farrell died in an auto accident in England in 1977.

OF Jose Herrera (71)
Herrera, a native of Venezuela, was signed as a free agent by Houston in 1964 and made his major league debut in 1967. He only played in 32 games for Houston in 1967 and 1968 before being drafted by Montreal in the 1968 expansion draft.

Tweet of the Day

Daniel Minor
4 game sweep with 2 extra inning wins, not a bad start to the season

Sunday, April 7, 2013

First Time Through - Astros Minor League Tandems

Just a quick look at how the Astros minor league tandem pitching duos fared in their first times up:


Vincent Velasquez - 5IP 3H 2R/2ER 1BB 5SO 1HR
Joe Bircher - 4IP 2H 0R/0ER 0BB 4SO

Lance McCullers - 5IP 4H 0R/0ER 0BB 5SO
Daniel Minor - 2.1IP 5H 1R/1ER 0BB 0SO

Colton Cain - 5IP 7H 3R/3ER 0BB 2SO
Mike Hauschild - 1.1IP 5H 4R/4ER 0BB 2SO 1HR

Brian Holmes - 5IP 3H 0R/0ER 0BB 1SO
Jordan Jankowski - 3.2IP 4H 1R/1ER 1BB 1SO


Mike Foltynewicz - 2.2IP 6H 5R/5ER 4BB 4SO 2HR
Alex Gillingham - 1.2IP 5H 3R/3ER 3BB 2SO

Brady Rodgers - 3.2IP 6H 4R/4ER 3BB 5SO 1HR
Chris Devenski - 3IP 4H 1R/1ER 1BB 2SO

Tyson Perez - 4IP 5H 1R/1ER 3BB 2SO
David Rollins - 4IP 3H 0R/0ER 0BB 5SO

Aaron West - 4.1IP 8H 4R/4ER 1BB 5SO
Luis Cruz - 4IP 2H 0R/0ER 2BB 6SO


Ross Seaton - 5IP 4H 2R/2ER 1BB 2SO
Jake Buchanan 3IP 3H 0R/0ER 0BB 0SO

Nick Tropeano 5IP 3H 1R/1ER 1BB 5SO 1HR
Bobby Doran - 3IP 3H 1R/1ER 1BB 2SO

Asher Wojciechowski - 5IP 1H 0R/0ER 1BB 7SO
David Martinez - 2.2IP 4H 2R/2ER 0BB 1SO 2HR

R.J. Alaniz - 3.2IP 5H 2R/2ER 1BB 1SO
Matt Heidenreich - 3IP 2H 0R/0ER 0BB 3SO


Note: This tandem pairing is incomplete. Due to a rainout on Opening Day, the RedHawks played two 7-inning games on Day 2 and did not use the second man from the piggyback on those 2 days. Dallas Keuchel, Rudy Owens and Jose Cisnero hadn't been used for the RedHawks yet through Sunday's game. Keuchel was called up to Houston on Saturday and reports (unconfirmed) have Clemens heading to Houston as I write this so the pairings/order are already subject to change.

Jordan Lyles - 4.1IP 3H 4R/4ER 3BB 2SO
No second starter used

Paul Clemens - 5IP 7H 3R/3ER 0BB 3SO
No second starter used

Jarred Cosart - 4IP 3H 1R/1ER 2BB 5SO
John Ely - 4IP 2H 0R/0ER 2BB 3SO

Brett Oberholtzer - 4.1IP 7H 7R/3ER 0BB 2SO
Kyle Hallock - 1.1IP 2H 2R/2ER 0BB 0SO

Bloggers Night at Minute Maid Park

Tales from the Juice Box writer Terri (@AGirlintheSouth) and I are putting together a Bloggers Night at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, May 4th at 6:10 p.m. vs. Detroit. Many members of our blogging family live out of town, but we are hoping that we'll be able to get a representative or two from Climbing Tal's Hill, The Crawfish Boxes, Astros County and others to attend.

The Astros have given us a dedicated link for the purchase of tickets at a discount. We will be taking over the right-field corner for the evening and hope that we can persuade a few dozen of our closest friends to join us.

The link is here: . Go to the interactive map and click on Section 134, starting with Row 18. Make sure you enter the code "WTHB" for the discount.

Terri and I are kicking around some ideas for the evening and hope to have more details for you soon. We hope that you can join us!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Games

Quad Cities over Kane County 13-10 in 11 innings
11 innings, 36 hits, 23 runs, seven walks, 18 strikeouts, six doubles, two triples, three home runs, four stolen bases, four errors and three wild pitches. You'll forgive me if I just hit the highlights on this one. Lefty Colton Cain started the tandem and allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks with two strikeouts over five innings. I did not expect Mike Hauschild to be the second man of the tandem as he had worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2012. Hauschild allowed four runs on five hits and no walks with two strikeouts but only lasted one and a third innings before Mitch Lambson came in to put out the fire in a very effective outing. Gera Sanchez struggled to be effective but was rewarded with the win nevertheless. Cameron Lamb got the save.

SS Carlos Correa was certainly one of the stars of the game as he went 4-for-7 (2B, HR) with five RBI and stole a base, but there were other heroes as well. CF Teoscar Hernandez (3-for-5, 2R, 2 RBI, SB), C Roberto Pena (3-for-4, 3R, HR), DH Ryan Dineen (3-for-6, 2R, 2 RBI) and 2B Carlos Perdomo (2-for-2, 2BB, 3R, SB) all were huge factors in the win.

Lancaster over High Desert 3-1
This was one of the more successful tandems since Jeff Luhnow started this experiment. Tyson Perez pitched four innings and allowed one run on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts and was followed by a quick Carlos Quevedo, three up, three down outing. David Rollins then took it home with four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. He not only earned the win, he also earned the coveted "Your're A Really Good Player" award.

Morgan Ensberg 
Congrats to Dave Rollins the first pitcher to receive the coveted "You're a Really Good Player" Player of the game.

As to the offense, DH Matt Duffy was hit by pitches twice. He only has 39 to go before equaling his 2012 record. 2B Delino DeShields also has an eye on his 2012 record. He stole his first three bases (and was caught once) and only has 98 to go to equal his record. DeShields also went 3-for-5 and scored twice. 1B Zach Johnson got his first RBI of the season (on a double which proved to be the game winner); he only needs 107 to equal his 2012 record. And SS Nolan Fontana tripled; he has already equaled his output of triples from 2012.

Corpus Christi over Springfield 5-2
If Morgan Ensberg could be in two places at one time, surely he would have awarded Asher Wojciechowski another "You're A Really Good Player" award for his outstanding outing, five shutout innings with one hit, one walk and seven strikeouts. Wojo's tandem partner David Martinez gave up four hits in two and two-thirds innings and allowed two runs on back-to-back home runs. Alex Sogard closed it out for the save. The Corpus power was on display last night with home runs from CF George Springer and RF Domingo Santana, as well as a double from DH Michael Burgess, but it was 3B Jonathan Meyer who had the best night going 3-for-4 with a home run.

Oklahoma City over Memphis 3-1
In four innings of work, starter Jarred Cosart allowed one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts while his tandem partner, John Ely, pitched four scoreless innings with two hits, two walks and three strikeouts. In between Josh Zeid provided scoreless relief. LF Trevor Crowe went 2-for-4 and scored two runs; RF-3B Jimmy Paredes was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single; and DH Marc Krauss was 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a sac fly RBI. As a side note, Brandon Laird was 0-for-4 with two K's; Brett Wallace is safe for now.

Pitcher of the Game: I have to go with Asher Wojciechowski for this one. Five innings of one hit ball with seven strikeouts is no mean feat. A WTHB tip of the cap goes to David Rollins as well.

Player of the Game: Carlos Correa was busy showing just exactly why he was the number one overall pick in last year's draft. Very, very, very small sample size, but in three games he's hitting .400/.438/.733.

Happy Birthday - 4/7

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Chia-Jen Lo (27)
A native of Taiwan, Lo was signed by the Astros before the 2009 season. He split his first season between Lancaster and Corpus Christi with terrific results as he compiled a 2.10 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP in 64.1 innings pitched over 42 appearances. Unfortunately, due to injury issues and subsequent surgery, he only pitched in 9 games between 2010 and 2011 before coming back toward the end of the 2012 season. In 19 games in 2012, he had a 0.90 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP. It was reported that he was to be on the Corpus Christi Hooks roster to start the season, but it appears that he is still in extended spring training at this time.

Tweet of the Day

Dallas Keuchel
Thanks for the support on the call back up. Felt great to get out there and help the team out! Orange&Blue still a lil weird tho lol