Saturday, June 29, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games
(Buca went fishing so you'll have to settle for me today.)

Oklahoma City over Nashville 5-1 in 9 innings (Game 1)
Brett Oberholtzer got the start and pitched a strong six and a third innings, allowing only one run on five hits and a walk while striking out five. Jason Stoffel and Wade LeBlanc took it the rest of the way with perfect frames. Intended to be a seven-inning game as part of the double-header, this game went to extras tied at 1-1 until a big four-run fourth put the RedHawks ahead. Jonathan Villar and Jon Singleton were both two-for-five; Brandon Laird was two-for-four; George Springer was one-for-three with an RBI double and a walk; and Carlos Perez drove in two with a bases loaded single.

Oklahoma City over Nashville 6-3 in 7 innings (Game 2)
Jake Buchanan (5IP 4H 2R 2SO) got his first start and first win at AAA under his belt. He was relieved by Rhiner Cruz (1IP 1H 1R 1BB 1SO) and Josh Zeid (1IP 1BB 1SO) who converted his seventh save of the season. Lead off home-runs in the first inning from Jonathan Villar and in the second from George Springer (his first at AAA) were complemented by a Ruben Sosa RBI single and Villar two-run double in the fourth and a Marwin Gonzalez RBI single in the seventh. Brandon Laird was two-for-three and scored a run. Sosa and Gonzalez each stole a base.

Corpus Christi over Springfield 7-6 in 10 innings
Springfield scored three off starter Matt Heidenreich (4IP 6H 3R 5SO) in the second inning and then three more in the eighth off of Jorge de Leon (one inherited run scoring off Pat Urckfitz) to tie it up. Andrew Robinson pitched a perfect 10th and was awarded the win as Max Stassi hit a walk-off RBI double to end it. Stassi also hit a solo home run in the sixth. The Hooks five-run third inning was helped in large part by two errors and a wild pitch. Preston Tucker went two-for-four with two doubles, a walk and an RBI.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 6-3
Ouch! That had to leave a mark. Lancaster went into the bottom of the ninth leading 3-1 when throwing errors from Carlos Perdomo and Travis Ballew helped to fuel a big five-run comeback as the first run scored on an error and was soon followed by four more in the form of a walk-off grand slam off Ballew. And that wasted a gem of a start from David Rollins (5IP 2H 0R 0BB 4SO). [As a side note, according to the game story from Jason Schwartz, Rollins only threw 50 pitches. Tandem pitching has come to an end at Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. I would like to see it ended at Lancaster as well. In my opinion, you aren't developing a player if you don't stretch him out at some point and find out what happens his third time through the lineup. Rollins needs to be challenged.] Rollins was followed by two and two-thirds innings from Tyson Perez. Perez allowed one run on three hits and two walks. Matt Duffy was two-for-two with a double, two walks and two runs scored, and Nolan Fontana had one of the remaining three JetHawks hits, an RBI single.

Peoria over Quad Cities 4-2
Lance McCullers (4H 2R 2BB 3SO) pitched the first four and was followed by three from Juri Perez (3H 1R 3SO). John Neely pitched the eighth and allowed the final run on three hits. Despite great outings from Jesse Wierzbicki (3x4 2B RBI R), Rio Ruiz (3x4 2-2B RBI) and Jordan Scott (3x4), the River Bandits were only able to put two runs on the board.

Tri-City - Postponed

Greeneville over Kingsport 2-1 in 15 innings
See Appy Astros Eyewitness Account here.

GCL Astros over GCL Pirates 6-5 in 8.1 innings (completed early due to rain)
Six Astros pitchers combined in this one with Francis Ramirez (1.2IP 5H 3R/2ER 1BB 1SO) getting the start and Javier Lozano (1.1IP 3H 2R 1SO) allowing the final two Pirates runs to score in the top of the ninth. Troy Scribner, Juan Santos, Kevin Ferguson and Raul Rivera all had scoreless outings. The Astros put up one in the first on Tyler White's (3x4 2RBI) first pro homer and added another five in the fourth as they batted around.

DSL Astros over DSL Rays 3-0 in 7 innings
Edwin Villarroel (6.1IP 1H 2SO) and Angel Heredia (0.2IP 1H) combined on this two-hit abbreviated shutout. Villarroel has continued to impress as he is now 2-2 through five starts with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.900 WHIP. Jean Estrella was two-for-four; Victor Tavarez was two-for-four with an RBI and a run; and Alexander Melendez was two-for-two with a walk and two stolen bases.

Player of the Day: Max Stassi not only hit a home run for the Hooks, he also had the game winner. In Stassi's last three games, he is nine-for-fifteen with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI.

Pitcher of the Day: I have to go with Greeneville's Gerardo Ramirez. He pitched four scoreless innings of relief in the 15-inning marathon and allowed only two singles while striking out nine batters, eight of them swinging. That is impressive by any measure.

Eyewitness Report: 6/28/13 Greeneville 2 Kingsport 1

Wow! What a night.  After the teams traded solo home runs in the fifth, there were no runs for nine innings.  Finally in the bottom of the 15th, Greeneville walked off without the benefit of a hit.  Tanner Mathis walked, and was moved to second on a sac bunt by Jack Mayfield.  Darwin Rivera then hit a ground ball to first which should have just moved over Mathis to third but the K-Mets first baseman booted the ball.  It rolled to the edge of the grass and Josh Bonifay took a risk and sent Mathis home.  The throw was slightly up the line and the catcher had to stretch to take Mathis as he zoomed by.  The glove appeared to hit Mathis shoulder and the ball dropped free allowing the winning run to score. 

Here are my observations from the game.

On The Mound: 
A great deal went right here.  Just one run allowed in 15 innings with a team record 25 strike outs.  Let's take a quick look at each pitcher. 

Frederick Tiburcio had a solid start to the game.  He fanned seven and gave up just two hits and walked one in five innings.  The lone damage given up was a solo home run to left by 17 year old, Ahmed Rosario, whom the Mets signed for 1.7 million in the 2012 international signing period.  It was his first professional home run.

Tiburcio threw an unofficial 67 pitches in five innings.  To have that low of a pitch count with that many strike outs is impressive.

Tyler Brunnemann pitched the next two frames.  This was my first time to see Brunnemann pitch.  He has an extreme follow through. When he finishes his pitch his glove hand (left) and his left foot are both touching the ground as he falls toward first base. It is a violent motion that I didn't see him repeating very well.  It was effective when repeated as evidenced by the four strike outs in two innings.  But he also gave up two walks, both on full counts.

Ryan Connelly pitched the eight inning.  The submarine pitcher was the only pitcher of the night not to record a strike out.

Gonzalo Sanudo came in for the next two innings.  He pitched out of a jam in the ninth.  After a lead off double and a ground ball to 2nd to move the runner over, he was faced with a runner at third and one out.  He got Michael Bernal to strike out in a seven pitch at bat for the second out of the inning.
That at bat got circled in my score book as a key out of the game. Bernal had a rough night at the plate. He accounted for 20% of the teams strike outs, going 0-5 with 5 Ks.  Sanudo ended the night with three Ks in his two innings.

Gerado Ramirez came in and may have had the outing of his life time.  He pitched a career high four innings allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out nine K-Mets.

The final pitcher of the night was Christian Garcia.  Garcia pitched the 14th and 15th innings fanning two batters in each inning.  In each inning the lead off runner reached but never made it past first base.

At The Plate: 
Tanner Mathis reached base in five of his six plate appearances: E1, single, and three walks.  This is exactly what you want out of a lead off batter.  Also my 13 year old son observed he has the best walk up music this season.  He is going old school with some Run DMC - It's Tricky.

Wallace Gonzalez hit a towering home run in the fifth.  They had success pitching him away but they left that pitch over the inner half of the plate and he made them pay. Gonzalez appears to be pulling out when he swings so outside pitches are going to be an issue for him. Gonzalez added a single later in the game.

Ariel Ovando and Jack Mayfield also had two hits. 

In The Field:
Parker Hipp made a great play snagging a soft liner to start the game.  I was sure that ball was going to fall for a hit.

Wallace Gonzalez had a nice outfield assist on a shallow fly ball to left.  The runner was moving on the play and Gonzalez throw beat the runner back to first for a double play. 

Jack Mayfield made an outstanding diving stop on a ball in the hole at shortstop.  He popped up and made a good throw to first that Angel Ibanez made a nice stretch to complete the put out.

The defensive star of the night was Cristian Moronta. He was three for three in throwing out runners stealing second.  Two of those were on balls that he blocked and runners broke when he had trouble locating them.  Those three outs were huge in a ballgame this tight.  One ended an inning and two were to nab the hitter who had reached to start the inning.

Final Thought: After the 25 game strike out performance, the G-Stros now lead the Appy League with 104 strikeouts in just nine games. That puts them 16 Ks above second place Johnson City.  

Happy Birthday - 6/29

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Tony McKnight (36)
A first round pick by the Astros in 1995, McKnight only started nine games for Houston from 2000 to 2001 before being traded to the Pirates for RHP Mike Williams. In his limited time with Houston, he was quite successful as he went 5-1 with one complete game, a 3.91 ERA and a 1.283 WHIP. After 12 starts for Pittsburgh in 2001, he never pitched in the major leagues again.

2B/OF Joe Inglett (35)
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the eighth round in 2000, Inglett came to Houston from Tampa Bay in March 2011 for cash. Expected to be a left-handed utility bench player, he had little success at the plate in 20 games and, after a demotion to AAA, was released exactly two months after he arrived. In 2008 for Toronto, he hit .297/.355/.407 in 109 games.

Tweet of the Day

Macey Bright
First professional home run!
Embedded image permalink

Friday, June 28, 2013

An Interview with 3B Matt Duffy

I was first intrigued by Matt Duffy during his short season with Tri-City in 2011 because of one thing ... his consistency. Month after month, road and home, righties and lefties -- he was always so consistent at the plate. And that is still the case. Through the first 67 games of 2013 at Lancaster, Duffy is hitting .315 at home and .301 on  the road; .307 against righties and .308 against lefties; .324 in April, .284 in May, .318 in June. Consistently consistent.

As Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson put it, "Outstanding ballplayer. Incredible talent. He's a hard worker. He uses the entire field and I really like that, especially being able to go the other way at his age ... to be able to use the opposite field, that's a big plus. It opens up the field for you. It's going to give you the opportunity to be a better hitter. And that's what he does really well."

But the one thing I was concerned about was his defense. When I saw Matt in Lexington in April of 2012, I saw a big guy with questionable footwork who just didn't look comfortable at third. Fast forward a year plus and that guy was gone. When I first saw Matt in Lancaster last month, I first noticed how much he had changed physically. He looked leaner and stronger. But the biggest change for me was what I saw as smooth, effortless fielding at third base.

Lancaster Manager Rodney Linares has been impressed with Duffy as well, "He came in to Spring Training in [great] shape. He came ready to play and I've been really impressed with the way he plays defense. He moves well, accurate with his throws. For a big guy ... he doesn't look like he could move like he can move. He's sneaky. He'll get you."

Matt Duffy - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Duffy regarding his defensive improvements among other things. Here is what he had to say this past weekend, edited for brevity and clarity ~

On his defensive improvements: My defense, I think, has taken strides mostly because of Morgan [Ensberg] and his help from a positioning standpoint. He moved me about two steps further to my left, more toward the six hole off the line. We're really just focusing on taking the balls in the six hole away, and to be honest, a lot more balls get hit there so maybe it allows me to make plays that look easier, making people in the stands think, 'Oh, he's better.' So I'd have to give a lot of credit to him. He works with me every single day and stays on us. It's been a pleasure working with him. [Is he more comfortable at third?] Yeah, definitely. When you do all the reps, you get it down. The more you do it in practice, the more comfortable you're going to be in the game. It does feel a little bit better. Two steps to my left, it just seems like the balls, they just take better hops for some reason, so I'm just going to stick with it."

[Ensberg appreciated the credit from Duffy, but underplays his role, "I didn't do anything except help him be more consistent with his approach on defense. What's really happened here is that he's been positioned in a good spot and he understands the concepts of taking a ground ball. He's really taken to it."]

On the differences in fielding at Lexington and Lancaster: "The ball definitely gets on you pretty quick here. It's a fast infield and it dries up a lot. The wind blows and the surface will dry and you can get some bad hops, and the balls come at you really hot at third base. The infield is definitely slower in Lexington, but this is a good field. It's obviously a hitter-friendly park. I don't mind playing here. I heard some horror stories, but it hasn't been that bad at all and I enjoy the guys that we're with, so that makes it great."

On hitting adjustments from Low A to High A: "Obviously, the pitching gets a little better every time you move up, so you just kind of adjust to that, however they pitch you. Some are major adjustments, some are minor ... throughout the season as different teams find different tendencies on you. I think that's what I've done a pretty good job at. [I] just kind of watch the game, try to figure out what the pitcher is trying to do to me and the other guys. I just try to pay attention to the game and kind of just go with it."

On his recent All-Star experience: "It was really good. My Dad flew out so I got to spend the three days with him. It was really fun. We got to go on the field before [the Giants/Padres game]. Free food, free drinks, all that good stuff. And having my Dad there was really cool, just to have a family member in town. We all had a good time. It was a good experience. [Did he miss getting three day's rest?] The rest is always good, [but] whether I was off for three days or did that [the All-Star game], it always feels like you have no time off any way. It's just one of those things. You just grind through it."

Why does he get hit by pitches so much?: "I still don't have an answer for that. Knock on wood, it feels like I haven't been hit in a while. [Naturally, Duffy got hit by a pitch later that day. I think I jinxed him.] I don't know. I still don't have an answer. I wish I did so I could get out of the way or something. I got hurt earlier when I got hit on the elbow and I've worn an elbow pad, and I don't think I've been hit since then. It's funny. A lot of the guys laugh about that. It's fine unless I get hurt because I'm getting on base and the guys behind me can hopefully hit a double and I can score."

On the changes in the Astros organization: "It's obvious the Astros organization has taken huge strides. I'm just really happy to be a part of this organization. They do everything the right way and I'm very grateful for the opportunity, that I get to be a player for the organization. That's all I can really ask for. But I really like the way they do things and hopefully I can stick around for a while."

Linares went on to say of Duffy, "He's been a pleasure not only to work with, but he's a great kid. He works extremely hard trying to get better. He plays as hard as anybody and never gives you an excuse. He's got the talent. It's now a matter of refining it and see[ing] where it takes him."


One of the true revelations of the 2013 Astros season for me has been the emergence of Matt Dominguez at third base. There was never a question about his defense, but now that his bat is evolving, he has rapidly become a fan favorite, and the ubiquitous #MattyD hashtag has become a common sight on twitter during the games. Similarly, seeing how Matt Duffy's defense is evolving to go with an already consistent bat has been a great revelation for me as well. Watch out #MattyD ... there's another #MattyD on the rise!

Thank you for your time, Matt, and best of luck as the season continues to unfold.

Jandel Gustave Making A Name For Himself

Over at my home blog, there is a post up on Jandel Gustave.  I look deeper in to  Gustave's six inning no hit performance last night and then give a little back ground on the power armed right handed pitcher.  He appears to be a candidate for one of the break out players in the Astros system this year. I also give some things to be watching from him the rest of the season. 

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Nashville over Oklahoma City 5-2
Starter Asher Wojciechowski allowed four runs (three via the long ball) on five hits and four walks while striking out five in five and two-thirds innings. Eric Berger allowed the final run across in his one and a third innings and was followed by a scoreless frame from Kevin Chapman. The RedHawks only managed to scatter a few singles over the first seven innings and didn't get a run across until a Carlos Perez RBI single in the eighth and a Jimmy Paredes solo home run in the ninth. Brandon Laird was two-for-three with a double and Marwin Gonzalez went two-for-three as well. Jonathan Villar went two-for-four but struck out twice. And speaking of strikeouts, both Jon Singleton and George Springer were bupkes-for-four with three strikeouts each, so let's all just take a deep breath, have a little patience, temper our expectations and let them adjust to the AAA level before asking that they be promoted to Houston.

Springfield over Corpus Christi 6-5
Kyle Hallock worked around four free passes, allowing only one run on one hit in his AA debut, with that one run coming across on reliever Andrew Robinson's watch. Robinson pitched one and two-thirds scoreless and was followed by a scoreless inning from Jorge de Leon. Pat Urckfitz had a rare hiccup in his relief outing, allowing four runs on five hits while recording only two outs. The final run was charged to Carlos Quevedo. After the bullpen turned a 4-1 lead into a 6-4 deficit, the Hooks came back with one in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately fell short. Jonathan Meyer went two-for-four with two doubles, a walk, an RBI and a run scored; Max Stassi was three-for-five; and Zach Johnson was two-for-five with a double, RBI and run. Michael Burgess hit a two-run home run in the sixth, his 11th of the season.

Rancho Cucamonga over Lancaster 12-6
Brady Rodgers (2.1IP 6H 4R HR), T.J. Geith (1.2IP 3H 2R 1BB 1SO) and Chris Devenski (2IP 4H 6R/5ER 2BB) all struggled in this one. Cameron Lamb (2IP 1H 2SO) was the only JetHawks pitcher to emerge unscathed. Andrew Aplin was three-for-three with a walk, two RBI and two runs scored; M.P. Cokinos was three-for-five with a double and a run; and Joe Sclafani drove in three runs via a two-run home run and a sac fly.

Peoria over Quad Cities 5-4
Jamaine Cotton took the loss as he allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks in three and two-thirds innings. Mitch Lambson (1.1IP 1H 2SO) and Colton Cain (3IP 2H 2SO) took it the rest of the way with scoreless outings. Carlos Correa was two-for-four. A solo home run from Roberto Pena, an RBI triple from Teoscar Hernandez and an RBI double from Terrell Joyce accounted for most of the scoring. Jesse Wierzbicki doubled as well.

Tri-City over Lowell 9-4
Evan Grills (5IP 4H 3R 1BB 2SO HR) and Kevin Comer (4IP 1H 1R 1BB 2SO) split the duties in this one. James Ramsay (3x5 HR 2RBI) got things started with a solo home run in the first. The 'Cats then added on a four-spot in the third with Tony Kemp making things happen on the base paths and RBI singles from Ramsay, Dan Gulbransen (3x5 RBI 3R) and Ronnie Mitchell (3x4 2B BB 3RBI SB). Two more came across in the fourth on a Ryan Dineen double and the final two came in the eighth on a Michael Martinez RBI single and a Mitchell RBI double. Conrad Gregor was two-for-three with two walks and three runs scored.

Greeneville over Kingsport 8-0
Jandel Gustave (6IP 3BB 7SO) and Sebastian Kessay (1IP 2SO) combined for seven no-hit innings. J.D. Osborne took the no-hitter two outs further before allowing one single in the eighth and one in the ninth. Greeneville got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Juan Santana (1x4 2RBI) sac fly driving in Tanner Mathis, but the Astros went on to score another in the seventh on a Mathis sac fly before putting up a big six-run eighth inning. Edwin Gomez (2x5 2B R) and Alfredo Gonzalez (3x4 2B 2RBI 2R) both had good nights at the plate. Darwin Rivera hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the eighth.

GCL Yankees2 over GCL Astros 5-4
Agapito Barrios got the start and allowed two runs on four hits over five innings while striking out six, and was followed by a scoreless inning from Jorge Perez. Kevin Ferguson allowed one run on one hit in the seventh before giving way to a scoreless frame from Juan Santos. Erick Gonzalez was charged with a blown save and a loss as he gave up two runs on two hits in the ninth. Jason Martin went three-for-five with an RBI and scored two runs; Alex Gonzalez was two-for-five with a double, stolen base and run; Tyler White was one-for-three with a walk and two RBI; and Javaris Reynolds went two-for-four with two stolen bases and scored a run.

DSL Rays at DSL Astros - Results not posted

Player of the Day: Ronnie Mitchell not only had a great evening at the plate, he is having a terrific start to his professional career, hitting .357/.419/.607 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and nine RBI over his first nine games.

Pitcher of the Day: Jandel Gustave gets the nod for his six no-hit innings. Astros Scouting Director Mike Elias reported that Gustave was hitting 99 on the radar gun.

Happy Birthday - 6/28

No future Astros, but several former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Joe Sambito (61)
A 17th round draft pick by Houston in 1973, Sambito was a fixture in the Houston bullpen from 1976 until an arm injury sidelined his career in 1982. He pitched for Houston again in 1984 after his recovery but was released in April of 1985. In 353 games for Houston over eight seasons, Sambito had a 2.42 ERA and a 1.112 WHIP. In his All-Star season of 1979, he sported a 1.71 ERA in 91.1 innings ... not bad at all.

OF Richard Hidalgo (38)
Hidalgo was signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent out of his native Venezuela in 1991 and made his Astros debut six years later. In 813 games for Houston from 1997 to 2004, Hidalgo hit .278/.356/.501 with his best season being 2000 when he hit .314/.391/.636 with 42 doubles, three triples, 44 home runs, 122 RBIs and 118 runs scored. Who let the dogs out, indeed.

RHP Fred Gladding (78)
Gladding came to Houston in a November 1967 trade with Detroit for Eddie Matthews and spent the next six years (and remainder of his career) pitching out of the bullpen for the Astros. From 1968 to 1973, Gladding was 22-23 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP. He led the National League in saves in 1969 with 29.

LF Greg Sims (67)
Picked up in the Rule 5 draft in November of 1965, Sims appeared in seven games for the Astros which also happened to be the entirety of his major league career. Unlike some, Sims can say he did get that one hit in the majors.

Tweet of the Day

Mike Martinez
Wins on wins on wins

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Oklahoma City - Off Day

Corpus Christi over Springfield 13-1
R.J. Alaniz got his first "post-piggyback" win, pitching six scoreless innings and allowing only five hits and two walks. Kenny Long allowed the sole Springfield run in his two innings of work, and Carlos Quevedo pitched the final frame, allowing only one hit. Every Hooks starter got at least one hit as the team banged out 17 of them in this lopsided victory. Jonathan Meyer (HR 2RBI BB), Zach Johnson, Michael Burgess (2B HR), Jio Mier and Drew Muren had two hits a piece, but it was Max Stassi who went crazy in this one, going four-for-five with a double, two home runs (including a grand slam) and EIGHT RBI. Preston Tucker was one-for-five in his AA debut.

Lancaster over Bakersfield 11-7
Tommy Shirley got the start and pitched four scoreless, allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out five. Cameron Lamb was touched for two runs in the fifth without recording an out before being bailed out with a perfect frame from T.J. Geith. Aaron West gave up five runs, including a three-run home run in the ninth, an inning in which he was unable to record an out. Michael Dimock replaced West in the ninth to end the threat. Lancaster held a thin margin until they broke things open with a five-run eighth, powered in large part by a two-RBI double from Joe Sclafani and a two-RBI single from Tyler Heineman. In addition to the big single from Heineman, he also hit two home runs in the game and drove in a total of five runs. Andrew Aplin was two-for-four with a walk and scored a run; Telvin Nash was two-for-three with a double, a solo home run and three runs scored; and Chris Epps was two-for-four with a home run and two RBI. Epps replaced Tucker in right field and M.P. Cokinos was pressed into service to play left field in the game as Brandon Meredith is still on the DL.

Peoria over Quad Cities 3-1
All good things must come to an end and such is the case with the Quad Cities' six-game win streak. Only one of the three runs allowed by Jordan Jankowski (5IP 3H 2R/1ER 5SO) and Mike Hauschild (2IP 3H 1R/0ER 1BB 3SO) was earned as two of the three Quad Cities' errors took their toll. Gera Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth. The lone River Bandit's run came in the sixth as Jordan Scott scored on a Teoscar Hernandez ground out. The team only managed six singles in the game; no player had more than one.

Tri-City over Lowell 9-4
Randall Fant allowed one run on five hits over four innings and Zach Morton allowed three in his one and a third innings. Although Richard Rodriguez allowed one of Morton's runs to score, he settled in for two and two-thirds scoreless with three strikeouts. Chia-Jen Lo pitched the ninth and has not allowed a run in five outings thus far this season. The two-run home run from Dan Gulbransen (2x4 2B) in the third, the two RBI double from Ronnie Mitchell (2x4) in the fifth, and the three-run bomb from James Ramsay (2x4 BB 3R) in the eighth accounted for most of the offense.

Greeneville over Kingsport 5-3
Christopher Lee gave up all three Kingsport runs in his four and two-thirds innings before giving way to scoreless outings from Krishawn Holley, Tyler Brunneman and Gonzalo Sanudo. Greeneville got on the board in the third on Jack Mayfield's first home run of the season and then tied it up in the bottom of the eighth. An Ariel Ovando two-run walk-off home run in the ninth kept the game from extras. Alfredo Gonzalez went two-for-three with a stolen base, and Juan Santana was one-for-four with an RBI double.

GCL Astros over GCL Yankees 5-4 in 10 innings
Joe Bircher got his first rehab start and allowed two runs on four hits in one and two-thirds innings and was followed by Ambiorix de Leon who allowed another the remaining two runs in his four and a third innings. Raul Rivera and Jose Montero each pitched two scoreless innings and Montero earned his first win of the season. The Astros were behind the entire game until a three-run inning in the eighth tied things up. Javaris Reynolds (1x5 2RBI) drove in the winning run in the 10th with an RBI single. Jason Martin was two-for-five with an RBI; Tyler White was two-for-five with a double; Yonathan Mejia was two-for-five and scored two runs; and Jacob Nottingham was two-for-four with a double, walk, stolen base and two runs scored.

DSL Dodgers over DSL Astros 9-2
Starter Junior Garcia only lasted two and two-thirds innings in which he allowed five runs on six hits. Juan Hernandez (2H 3BB 5SO) fared better in his five and a third innings, but let two more runs across (one earned). The final two runs (both unearned) came in the ninth off Robert Corniel. The lone Astros runs scored in the sixth on a passed ball and a Brauly Mejia (2x3 2B) sac fly. Jean Estrella went three-for-four and scored a run.

Player of the Day: Is there any doubt? Max Stassi was in beast mode last night. A single, a grand slam, a two-run double and a two-run home run ... four hits and eight RBI in the first five innings. Honorable mention goes to Tyler Heineman for his two homer, five RBI night.

Pitcher of the Day: It was R.J. Alaniz' first chance to get stretched out and he did it in style with six scoreless innings.

Happy Birthday - 6/27

OF Tanner Mathis (22)
Recently signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Ole Miss, the lefty-hitting Lake Charles, Louisiana native has played in seven games for the Greeneville Astros, hitting .250/.400/.250.

LHP T.J. Geith (24)
Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the 39th round in 2011 out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Geith came into the Houston organization as the PTBNL in the Ben Francisco trade in August 2012. In 23 appearances with Lancaster so far in 2013, he is 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.295 WHIP. Geith was the Astros Pitcher of the Month for May for the Lancaster team.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

LF/1B Daryle Ward (38)
Originally drafted by the Tigers in the 15th round in 1994, Ward came to Houston in a December 1996 trade. In 418 games for the Astros from 1998 to 2002, he hit .269/.316/.465. Ward was the first player to hit a home run on the fly into the Allegheny River at PNC Park in Pittsburgh when he accomplished that feat for Houston in July 2002. He and his father Gary Ward are the only father-son major league combo to have both hit for the cycle. Although Ward hasn't played in the major leagues since 2008, he is still toiling away in Independent League Ball and is currently playing for the Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers in the Atlantic League.

IF Eddie Kasko (81)
Kasko came to the Colt .45's in a January 1964 trade with the Reds, where he had been an All-Star in 1961.  His best season, however, was the 1960 season when he hit .292/.359/.378 for the Reds. In 201 games for the Astros and the Colt .45's in 1964 and 1965, Kasko hit .244/.300/.290. After his playing days were over, he went on to manage the Red Sox from 1970 to 1973.

Tweet of the Day

Michael Dimock
No need to stretch after this bus ride I'm already loose

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

All-Star Futures Game

The All-Star Futures Game rosters were announced today and Astros farmhands George Springer and Delino DeShields made the cut. There will be a final participant on the U.S. team and the World Team as voted by fans. Carlos Correa is on the ballot for this final spot for the World Team and you can vote for him here. I do not believe that there is a limit to the number of votes you can make so I encourage everyone to vote early and vote often!!! The deadline for voting is Sunday, June 30th.

Interview with Lancaster JetHawks Manager Rodney Linares

I caught up with Lancaster JetHawks Manager Rodney Linares this past Sunday to talk about his philosophy on managing in the minor leagues, the increased depth in the Astros system and the fun of managing a first place team.

Roster Moves

[UPDATES IN BOLD] I have been remiss in reporting some of the recent roster moves, but frankly, there have been so many of them that it's hard to keep up!!! I've probably missed some, but here's what I've found:

Oklahoma City
RHP Ross Seaton designated for assignment
RHP Bobby Doran assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City (for a spot start)
SS Marwin Gonzalez optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City
RHP Jake Buchanan assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
OF George Springer assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
OF/IF Ruben Sosa assigned from Quad Cities to Oklahoma City

Corpus Christi
LHP Kyle Hallock assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
OF Preston Tucker assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi

RHP Chris Devenski activated from the DL

Quad Cities
RHP Jamaine Cotton activated from the DL
1B Miles Hamblin released

RHP Richard Rodriguez assigned from Quad Cities to Tri-City
3B Adam Nelubowich assigned to Tri-City
LHP Chris Cotton assigned to Tri-City

RHP Christian Garcia assigned from Tri-City to Greeneville
OF Ariel Ovando assigned from Quad Cities to Greeneville
RHP Edison Frias assigned from Tri-City to Greeneville

IF Brandon Wikoff assigned to GCL for rehab assignment
LHP Joe Bircher assigned to GCL for rehab assignment
RHP Francis Ramirez assigned from Greeneville to the GCL

OF Alexander Melendez assigned to the DSL

1B Chase Davidson placed on the 60-day DL
RHP Euris Quezada placed on the 60-day DL
RHP Jack Armstrong placed on the 60-day DL
IF Jean Batista placed on the 7-day DL

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Many thanks to Buca for pulling extra recap duty while I was traveling over the weekend!!!

Omaha over Oklahoma City 2-0 in 7 innings (first game)
Jarred Cosart pitched the full seven innings and ended up with the loss as he allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four. (Cosart has only allowed one walk in his last two appearances; in the prior eight games, he gave up 31 of them. I hope to see this trend continue.) The RedHawks were held to two singles in the shutout, one each from Robbie Grossman and Jon Singleton. Che-Hsuan Lin walked twice.

Oklahoma City over Omaha 5-4 in 7 innings (second game)
Bobby Doran was called up from Corpus Christi to make a spot start in the double-header and worked four and two-thirds scoreless innings before giving up a three-run home run in the fifth and giving way to Alex Sogard for the final out of the inning. Jason Stoffel allowed the final run in his inning of work before handing the ball to Josh Zeid for his sixth save of the season. The RedHawks got half of their six hits in the three-run first inning, a triple from Jonathan Villar (2x3 R) and doubles from Jimmy Paredes (1x3 RBI R) and Brandon Laird (1x3 RBI 2R). Jose Martinez (1x2 RBI) drove in the final 'Hawks run in the fifth with a sac fly.

Texas League South All-Stars over Texas League North All-Stars 6-0
David Martinez (1IP 1H), Jake Buchanan (1IP 2H) and Mike Foltynewicz (1IP 0H) all contributed toward the South's shutout of the North, and starting Catcher Rene Garcia was hitless in two at-bats and scored a run. But it was George Springer who shone, driving in three runs on two home runs and being awarded MVP of the game. Springer also walked and stole a base.

Lancaster over Bakersfield 11-2
Luis Cruz (5IP 6H 1R 1BB 3SO), Blair Walters (2IP 2H 1R 1BB 2SO HR) and Jonas Dufek (2IP 1H 3SO) combined to keep Bakersfield under control while the JetHawks offense had their way with Bakersfield pitching. M.P. Cokinos was three-for-four with a walk, two RBI and a run scored; Preston Tucker (2x5 4RBI 2R) hit his 15th home run of the season, a three-run dinger; and Carlos Perdomo was two-for-five with three RBI. Nolan Fontana, in his first action in 10 days, went one-for-three with a double, two walks and scored twice. Andrew Aplin stole a base and scored three of the 'Hawks runs. They have now won six games in a row.

Quad Cities over Peoria 4-1
Quad Cities extended its winning streak to six games as well with this one. Vincent Velasquez got his sixth win of the season in a dominating performance in which he only allowed two hits and struck out eight batters in five innings. He was followed by Juan Minaya (3H 1R 1BB 4SO) for the final four innings. The River Bandits put up two in the third on a Jesse Wierzbicki sac fly and a Roberto Pena (2x4) RBI single and two more in the fourth on Jordan Scott and Jobduan Morales RBI singles. Teoscar Hernandez was two-for-four with a walk and Austin Elkins went two-for-four with a triple and a run scored.

Tri-City over Connecticut 8-6
Kyle Westwood earned his first professional win with a commanding start, allowing only one hit and striking out four in five shutout innings. Andrew Walter (1.1IP 4H 5R 2SO HR) and Albert Minnis (1.2IP 1H 1R 3SO HR) followed with Chia-Jen Lo pitching the ninth for his fourth save. Tri-City put up a four-spot in the fourth and another four in the fifth, with Dan Gulbransen (3x5 2-2B RBI 2R), Ernesto Genoves (2x4 2B Sac 2R) and Ronnie Mitchell (2x4 3B HR 3RBI 2R) in the middle of all the action.

Elizabethton over Greeneville 8-4
See Appy Astros Eyewitness Report

GCL Astros over GCL Tigers 6-1
Troy Scribner (4H 1BB 5SO) gave up the only Tigers run in his four innings of work. Samil de los Santos (3IP 1H 1BB 5SO), Jorge Perez (1IP 1H 1BB 1SO) and Javier Lozano (1IP 1BB) took it the rest of the way with De los Santos getting the win. Tyler White had a big game, going three-for-four with two RBI and a run; Jason Martin was one-for-four with a triple, walk, stolen base and two runs; and Brett Booth was two-for-three with two RBI. Alex Gonzalez and Mesac Laguna both hit doubles in the game.

DSL Astros over DSL Dodgers 5-4
Edwin Villarroel (3IP 1H 1BB 2SO) got the start, but Rayderson Chevalier (4IP 2H 2R 1BB 5SO) got the win in relief. Randy Cesar was two-for-three with two walks and two runs and Hector Roa was one-for-two with three RBI, including a two-run home run.

DSL Astros over DSL Dodgers 5-1 in 7 innings
Elieser Hernandez (6IP 4H 1R 2BB 6SO) earned his third win of the season. Brian Pena was three-for-four with a double and two RBI; Arturo Michelina was two-for-four with a triple, RBI and run; and Brauly Mejia was two-for-three with a double, RBI and run.

Player of the Day: There were several good appearances at the plate on Tuesday, but there was only one MVP. George Springer, you're my MVP of the day too!

Pitchers of the Day: Vincent Velasquez and Kyle Westwood get to share the honors - five shutout innings from each and no walks ... I'll take it!

Eyewitness Report: 6/25/13 Greeneville 4, Elizabethon 8

Finally made it to Pioneer Park for my first game of the season.  What was a pretty good game for six innings dissolved in the seventh into a rout.  Here are some of my observations from the game:

On The Mound:

Starter Enderson Franco did not get off to a great start.  A four pitch walk to the lead off batter is not the way to start a game.  After a stolen base and a ground out, the runner scored on a two out single to give the E-Twins an early lead.  Lead off walks will kill you every time.

The second inning was when Franco impressed me the most.  After the third baseman booted the first batter's attempt.  The next batter hit a tailor made 5-4-3 double play ball that was dropped by the second baseman.  So instead of two outs. It was runners at first and second with no outs.  Franco induced a 3-1 ground out before walking a batter to load the bases.  He then got a pop to third in foul territory and a strike out to avoid any damage.  However the side effect of giving a team two extra outs in the inning is Franco threw 18 pitches that inning instead of just seven.

In the third, he only faced three batters but threw 20 pitches.  The inning went three pitch strike out looking, eight pitch F8 and nine pitch strike out swinging.

In the fourth, Franco got a lead off strikeout and then allowed three straight singles to the bottom of the line up.  He still got out of the inning with just one run scoring. His night was done after four innings.  By my count, he threw 71 pitches, with 50 of the going for strikes.  He fanned five batters and allowed four hits and two walks.

Franco needs to work on keeping base runners closer. In the first inning both runners who reached stole second and the throw never had a chance.  He has a pretty good size leg kick in his stretch and it allows runners to get a good jump on him.

He was relieved by  Edison Frias.  Frias didn't pitch badly, he just doesn't have an out pitch.  He faced five batters who fouled off at least one ball after a two strike count.  None of those at bats ended in a strike out.  Most of them ended up in base hits.  His breaking pitch was in the dirt and the E-Twins were not swinging at it.  He needs an out pitch.  He threw 74 pitches in 3 2/3 innings with 49 of the pitches for strikes.  He struck out two batters and walked one.  He allowed nine hits with five going for extra bases.

Ryan Connolly got the last four outs for the G-Stros.  He is an extreme side arm pitcher. No balls got out of the infield off him.  One was hit well but a nice play by Borchering at first took care of it.

At The Plate: 

Tanner Mathis did what you want a lead off to do.  He got on base.  He went 1-3 but also reached on a walk and a HBP.

Edwin Gomez had the two big hits for the night for Greeneville.  A RBI triple in the 4th and a two run homer in the 8th.  The home came on the seventh pitch of the at bat with a full count. Both hits were to right center.

Ricky Gingras had two hits, including a double to lead off the fourth.

Juan Santana added two singles.

Ariel Ovando looked very off balance at the plate.  He has a big step in the load of his swing and I believe it makes it hard for him to adjust to off speed pitches.  He was getting a heavy diet of breaking balls. He struck out swinging twice and hit two grounders to first.  The only good contact was on a couple of foul balls.

Bobby Borchering looked out of sorts as well.  He had one good hit that was smothered by the E-Twins 6'7" first baseman.  But otherwise, it was strikeouts and a pop out to short.

In The Field:

Other than the nice snag by Borchering on a line drive at first, there weren't too many stand out plays.  Gingras did a nice job behind the plate keeping the ball in front of him on several balls in dirt from Frias.

For the second straight night defense at third was an issue.  Angel Ibanez made two errors at third.  One on a well hit but routine grounder that got in on him.  The other was a throw on a tough play coming in.  The throw sailed on him and ended up in the seats.

The other error came on a missed catch by second baseman Parker Hipp.  The throw was low to start the 5-4-3 double play but it appeared to catch him in the palm of the glove and he couldn't squeeze it.

The outfield got lots of practice chasing after balls over their head.  Cut off throws were pretty effective and defensive position of cut off men looked sound.

I hope to make it out to another game this week if life doesn't get in the way. 

Tweet of the Day

Jason Schwartz
I’ll never question this team’s resolve and determination. They just sang “99 bottles of beer on the wall” on bus. The whole thing. All 99.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Elizabethton Twins 7, Greeneville Astros 2
Greeneville was shutout until the seventh inning on Monday. Darwin Rivera put them on the board in the seventh with a two-run homer, scoring Bobby Borchering who singled in the previous at bat. Rivera (2X4 R 2B HR 2RBI) and Borchering (2X4 R SO) collected four of the five hits the Astros had in this game. Jordan Mills (0-1) threw the first two innings and took the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits, walking two and striking out three. Gerardo Ramirez faced nine batters in the sixth, allowing another four runs on five hits, walking one and striking out two.

GCL Astros 5, GCL Tigers 4
Closing pitcher Erick Gonzalez picked up his first save after working the ninth, but not before letting things get a little interesting. Gonzalez (2R 3H BB SO) allowed two runs in the inning, cutting his team’s lead to one run before recording the final out. Brandon Culbreth (1-0) pitched the first five and recorded the win with a run on four hits, a walk and seven Ks. At the plate, Tyler White went two-for-three with a double and a couple of walks.

DSL Astros 3, DSL Tigers 2

Jesus Bermejo (1X3 R HR 3RBI SO) hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to put his team ahead and the DSL Astros never looked back. Solid pitching kept them in the lead, giving up just two hits after the third inning. Geronimo Franzua started and threw for four frames, allowing two runs (1ER) on four hits, walking two and striking out six. Carlos Vasquez (1-0) pitched the next two innings and earned the win after giving up a hit, walking one and K-ing one. Hector Roa went three-for-five batting with two runs scored, a double and a strikeout. Jean Estrella went two-for-three with a walk and strikeout.

Tri-City Valley Cats 0, Connecticut Tigers 4
The Valley Cats were four-hit shut out in this game. Starter Michael Feliz (1-1) took the loss. Feliz pitched five innings and in that time he allowed two unearned runs on three hits and struck out four. D'Andre Toney went one-for-four, picking up his first double of the season and struck out once. Jon Kemmer (0X2) drew the only walk of the game for either team.

Lancaster JetHawks 6, Bakersfield Blaze 3

The JetHawks scored in pairs all the way to the win in this one. M.P. Cokinos was responsible for knocking in four of those runs. Cokinos (2X3) tallied two RBI on a double in the first to get Lancaster on the board and then one more in both the sixth and eight innings. Carlos Perdomo was busy at the plate too, hitting three-for-five with an RBI, strikeout and three runs scored. Michael Dimock (1-0) pitched an inning and two thirds, exiting before the sixth and took the win, allowing two hits and a walk in his shift. David Rollins recorded his third save after working the last four innings on the mound. Rollins gave up a run on two hits (HR), a walk and struck out seven.

Omaha Storm Chasers 3, Oklahoma City RedHawks 2

The RedHawks didn’t score outside of the third inning on Monday when Jimmy Paredes (1X4 R HR 2RBI SO) hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the year. Phillip Humber (0-3) picked up the loss after going the first seven innings. Humber allowed three runs (1ER), six hits, walked one and struck out three. Brett Wallace and Jake Elmore both hit two-for-four with a strikeout. Wallace also hit his 16th double in the game.

Player of the Day:
M.P. Cokinos steals the show today. Cokinos hit two singles, a double and sac’ fly to bring four runs across the plate. Well done.

Pitcher of the Day:
Brandon Culbreth gets the nod today for his first win of the season. Culbreth gave up three hits and a run in the first inning but settled down after that to only allow one more hit during his shift. Not only that, he struck out seven in five innings (six outside of the first). Nice game.

Happy Birthday - 6/25

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

OF Luke Scott (35)
Originally drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in 2001, Scott came to Houston in a March 2004 trade with the Indians for LHP Jeriome Robertson. In 231 games for the Astros from 2005 to 2007, Scott hit .273/.366/.516 before being included in the Miguel Tejada trade in December 2007. After four seasons with Baltimore, he signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.

Tweet of the Day

Kenny Long
Pretty cool that the BlackHawks won the Stanley Cup but how much better would it feel if the Astros won the Word Series!?!?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Elizabethton Twins 5, Greeneville Astros 3 (10)

The Astros were ahead in a shutout until giving up the tying runs in the eighth inning and ultimately went on to lose in extras. Frederick Tiburcio (4IP BB 5SO) and Krishawn Holley (3IP BB 2 SO) combined to throw the first seven innings and allowed just a hit apiece while striking out seven. Gonzalo Sanudo (0-1) took the loss and the blown save after giving up a pair of runs in the 10th. Sanudo finished with four hits, a walk and a strikeout in one a two thirds innings of work. Darwin Rivera and Tanner Mathis both had multi-hit games, going two-for-four. Rivera scored a run, hit a double and struck out once too.

Tri-City Valley Cats 5, Connecticut Tigers 2 (10)

This game was a good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel and neither team scored until the 10th inning. Tri-City emerged victorious after allowing just four hits all game. Adrian Houser took the start and pitched the first five frames, giving up a pair of hits, two walks and K-ing six. Tanner Bushue (1-0) took over for the rest of regulation and kept his time on the mound perfect. Bushue faced the minimum through four and struck out six of his own, picking up his first win. In the 10th, the Valley Cats drew three walks, strung together four singles and took advantage of three errors and a wild pitch to notch their five runs. Dan Gulbransen, Anthony Kemp (0X4 R BB SO) and Jose Fernandez (1X3 RBI 2BB SO) all stole a base in the game as well. Gulbransen was the only player with more than one hit, batting two-for-five with a run scored and two RBI.

Kane County Cougars 1, Quad Cities River Bandits 6

The River Bandits jumped out early in this one and never looked back. Starting pitcher Lance McCullers (4-4) notched his fourth win of the season after pitching the first five innings. McCullers retired the first eight batters he faced in order and allowed just one hit overall, finishing with two walks and seven Ks. Teoscar Hernandez hit homerun number five with two outs in the fourth inning. Hernandez batted three-for-five on the day with two runs scored, that homer and two RBI. Carlos Correa also had a three-hit performance while Jesse Wierzbicki (2X5 R), Rio Ruiz (2X5 R 2RBI SO) and Ruben Sosa (2X3 R 2RBI BB) all had two-hit games. Wierzbicki and Sosa each also stole a base in the game. Ruiz stole two.

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 6, Lancaster JetHawks 12

Lancaster scored seven runs in the first two innings and hit four homers in the game. Preston Tucker (2X4 2R 2HR 6RBI) hit a pair of three-run blasts that essentially negated the opposing score. Joe Sclafani (1X3 2R HR RBI 2BB) and Carlos Perdomo (2X4 3R 2B HR RBI BB) each hit a homer of their own Sunday as well. Andrew Aplin hit three-for-four with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Jonas Dufek (1-2) picked up the win, his first, after entering in the fifth and working two innings. Dufek gave up two hits and struck out four during his shift.

Corpus Christi Hooks 6, Frisco Rough Riders 3

David Martinez and Mike Foltynewicz worked three innings apiece in this win for the Hooks (their shortened outings are due to the upcoming All-Star game). Folty’ (3-0) tallied the win as the Hooks picked up their second victory in a row. Martinez started and allowed a run on two hits (HR), walked one and struck out three. Folty’ took the hill next and recorded an unearned run on five hits as he walked one and struck out one. Pat Urckfitz entered to close out the eighth and finished the game, allowing one hit and picking up his fifth save. Rene Garcia hit three-for-five, scored a run and tallied his 24th RBI of the season. Jonathan Meyer (2X5 R 2B RBI) and Zach Johnson (2X5 R 2B SO) both had two hit games. George Springer only hit one-for-five with three strikeouts, but made his hit count, swatting a two-run homer in the third that left the ballpark.

Omaha Storm Chasers 5, Oklahoma City RedHawks 6 (10) - Game 1

Oklahoma City rallied from four runs behind to tie this game and eventually won it in extras. Brad Peacock started on the mound and through six innings allowed all five runs (2ER) on seven hits (HR), walked six and struck out one. Josh Zeid (4-0), who came on to pitch the 10th, gave up a hit and picked up the win. Brandon Laird hit a two-run shot in the sixth to pull the RedHawks within one and hit two-for-five in the game. Laird also hit a double, tallied three RBI and struck out once. Jose Martinez had the only other multi-hit performance, going two-for-four with an RBI.

Omaha Storm Chasers 4, Oklahoma City RedHawks 3 - Game 2

The RedHawks jumped out to an early lead, but ultimately fell in this game to split the double-header on Sunday. Starting pitcher Brady Rodgers allowed one hit in the first three innings and left with a run scored on five hits and 4 Ks. Rhiner Cruz (0-1) checked in to close out the sixth inning and completed the game, picking up the loss after giving up a run on two hits, a walk and striking out one. Oklahoma City had seven hits in this game and Robbie Grossman (2X4 2RBI SO) and Cody Clark (2X3) split four of them. Grossman also stole two bases in the game.

Player of the Day: Preston Tucker is the man today. Two three-run homers in one nine-inning game? You have got to be kidding. That’s insane. Great game.

Pitcher of the Day:
First, we have Tanner Bushue and his perfect four innings on Sunday. This guy stepped into an ongoing pitchers’ duel, faced the minimum of twelve and struck out half of them. That’s is one hell of a performance under pressure. Also, there is Lance McCullers. McCullers gets a nod today too for the five innings of spectacular work he put in on Sunday. He set his team up for success and they capitalized on it.

Happy Birthday - 6/24

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Doug Jones (56)
Originally drafted by the Brewers in the third round in 1978, Jones was a three-time All-Star for Cleveland before signing with Houston as a free agent in January of 1992. In 151 games for Houston in 1992 and 1993, he was 15-18 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.198 WHIP. 1992 was the better of his two seasons with the Astros as his 11-8 record with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.012 led to his fourth All-Star appearance. In December of 1983, he was traded (along with RHP Jeff Juden) to the Phillies for LHP Mitch Williams. He earned one more All-Star nod for the Phillies in 1994 and would end his career in 2000 after playing 16 seasons for seven different teams.

C Jim Campbell (76)
Obtained by Houston in a trade with the Milwaukee Braves in February of 1961, Campbell played in 82 games for the Colt .45s in 1962 and 1963, hitting .222 with a 32% caught stealing percentage.

Tweet of the Day

Tyson Perez
The are Rollin! If you haven't caught a game I would ASAP. Dudes can rake!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Games

Greeneville Astros 0, Bluefield Blue Jays 5
Greeneville was shutout for the second time in their first three games on Saturday. Starting pitcher Jandel Gustave (0-1) took the loss after going five innings and allowing two runs (1 ER) on five hits while striking out five. Ryan Connolly, who followed Gustave for one inning, allowed another three runs on three hits and struck out one. At the plate, the Astros had two hits, both singles, Bobby Borchering in the first and Juan Santana in the fifth.

GCL Astros 8, GCL Braves 0
The GCL Astros bounced back in the second game of the season with a three-hit shutout. Agapito Barrios (1-0) picked up his first win after giving up all three hits and a walk while striking out two over the first five innings. Luis Reynoso went two-for-two with pair of runs scored, a triple, RBI and two walks. Luis De La Rosa hit two-for-three, scored a run, doubled and collected two RBI.

DSL Royals 3, DSL Astros 8 
The DSL Astros didn’t score first, but once they got on the board Saturday they never stopped, earning the win. Jean Estrella (3X5), Luis Payano (2X5 2R 2B HR 4RBI SO) and Marlon Avea (2X2 2B) all had multi-hit games. Payano hit a two-run homer in the fifth to start off the scoring for his team and finished with four RBI. Harold Arauz pitched the first four innings, allowing all three runs (2 ER) on five hits as he struck out two. Gerardo Juarez (1-1) picked up his first win, after entering for the next four, allowing two hits and striking out three.

Tri-City Valley Cats 6, Lowell Spinners 3
The Valley Cats struck first and struck often in this game and emerged with the win. Kevin Comer (2-0) earned his second win after throwing the first five innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out a pair. Chia-Jen Lo tallied his third save of the season after working the ninth, giving up a hit and striking out two. Chan Moon hit two-for-three with three RBI, a walk and a strikeout and Conrad Gregor hit a solo shot to lead off the fifth inning. Gregor finished at one-for-five with a strikeout.

Kane County Cougars 5, Quad Cities River Bandits 6 (11)
Quad Cities fell behind five runs in this one, but managed to come back and win it in extras. The River Bandits hit 15 times for the second night in a row and Ruben Sosa (4X5 R) and Carlos Correa (4X6 R 3B SO) combined for more than half of them. Austin Elkins (1X5 R HR 2RBI SO) hit a two run blast in the seventh to start off the comeback. Gera Sanchez (3-1) picked up his third win after closing the game out. Sanchez (1.1 IP 3SO) combined with Juri Perez (2.2 IP 3BB 4SO) for the last four innings and together they kept them hitless. Colton Cain had the start and retired the first seven in order, finishing with two runs on two hits, a pair of walks and four strikeouts.

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2, Lancaster JetHawks 4
The JetHawks had three runs on the board and five innings tucked away before they gave up a run; solid pitching helped insure the win. Aaron West recorded the win after (4-4) taking the hill for the first five and allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out seven. Travis Ballew earned his 11th save after working the ninth. Ballew walked the first batter he faced then threw a wild pitch, but settled down to strike the next three out in order. At the dish, Matt Duffy was three-for-three with a run scored and a triple. Telvin Nash homered to lead off the fourth inning and closed out his day one-for-three with a walk.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, Frisco Rough Riders 1
The Hooks scored five runs for the second night in a row and this time it earned them a decisive win. Four of their runs came by way of the longball. Michael Burgess (1X5 R HR RBI SO) hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and Jonathan Meyer (2X5 R HR 3RBO SO) followed in the fifth frame with a three-run bomb. Ruben Alaniz, the fourth pitcher for Corpus, tallied the win and was the only pitcher to allow a run. Alaniz worked the sixth and seventh, allowed one run on three hits and struck out one. Here’s a look at the rest of the pitchers for Corpus Christi on Saturday:

Omaha Storm Chasers 2, Oklahoma City RedHawks 11
The RedHawks collected 17 hits in their win at home on Saturday. They also hit seven doubles as a team and Jimmy Paredes had three of them. Jake “The Lumberjack” Elmore and Jonathan Singleton both hit two-run taters in the game and everyone recorded at least a hit at the plate. The win went to Brett Oberholtzer (5-6), who pitched the first seven and two thirds, allowing both runs (1 ER) on seven hits and a walk as he K-ed four. Here is a look at the box, enjoy it:

Player of the Day: Jimmy Paredes wins it, hands down, today. Three doubles is insane. Great game.

Pitcher of the Day: The GCL Astros Saturday pitching crew takes the honors today. Those guys three-hit shutout their opponents for a big win in their second game of the season.

Happy Birthday - 6/23

RHP Robert Corniel (18)
All that I know about Corniel is that he pitched in one game for the DSL Astros on June 18th and walked two batters without recording an out.

One former Astro celebrates today as well ~

LHP Jim Deshaies (53)
Originally drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round in 1982, Deshaies came to Houston in a September 1985 trade for Joe Niekro. In 181 games pitched for the Astros from 1985 to 1991, he was 61-59 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.255 WHIP. On September 23, 1986, he became the first pitcher in over 100 years to strike out the first eight batters he faced. He also holds another record -- the most career at-bats (373) with no extra base hits. Deshaies also campaigned for and received one Hall of Fame vote in 2001, which is one more than Howard Johnson and Andy Van Slyke. From 1997 through 2012, Deshaies was an Astros broadcaster known for his often witty retorts. Courtesy of Alyson Footer, here are just a few from the 2012 season.

Astros One Liners ‏@AstrosOneLiners
"Get this man some oxygen!" Deshaies, after Carlos Lee legged out a triple in the ninth.

"That pitch was up, but then most pitches are up for Altuve." Deshaies

"He has a high pitchability quotient. The HPQ. Don't look it up. I made it up." Deshaies, praising Jordan Lyles.

"If the Marlins hit a grand slam, Bea Arthur appears." Deshaies, on home run sculpture at Marlins Park.

"Jamie Moyer is baseball's version of Betty White." Jim Deshaies.

Ah, J.D., how we miss you!

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Aaron West
My roommate and closer hit 98 on the gun today. No big deal.