Saturday, August 17, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Friday's Games

Greeneville Astros 1, Pulaski Mariners 14
Greeneville gave up three four-run innings, 17 hits and committed 3 errors in their loss on Friday—their fourth loss in a row (the Astros still have a one-and-a-half game lead in their division). Five of the runs scored against them in the game were unearned. Jandel Gustave (2-3) worked the first three innings and picked up his third loss of the season. Gustave was charged with five runs (1ER), eight hits (HR) and struck out four. Raul Rivera, the fourth and final Greeneville pitcher of the game, allowed just a hit in his two and a third on the mound, striking out three. Rivera recorded an unearned run though on that hit, when a runner, who was on because of a throwing error, scored. Mark Wik (2X4 RBI BB) singled to drive in the Astros only run in the fifth, scoring Thomas Lindauer from second. Lindauer (2X3 R 2-2B BB) hit a double in the previous at bat and had two doubles on the day. Lindauer and Wik were two of only four Greeneville players with hits in the game and the only two with more than one.

GCL Astros 0, GCL Pirates 7
The Astros managed just three hits and were shut out on Friday. Starter Agapito Barrios took the loss, working just two and a third innings. In that time Barrios (3-5) allowed four runs on five hits (HR), walked three and struck out one. The Astros used five pitchers in the game and none lasted longer than two and a third. Justin Hess (1K) and Javier Lozano, who split the final two frames, didn't allow any hits. Although, Lozano did walk three in the final inning.

DSL Rays 4, DSL Astros 3
The DSL Astros were leading into the eighth inning when they allowed three runs. Unable to score outside of the third inning Friday, the Astros went on to lose for the first time in their last five games. The Astros one and two hitters, Luis Payano and Kristian Trompiz, both collected two hits in the game. Payano went two-for-four and scored a run. Trompiz knocked in two of his team's three runs with a triple in the third and also hit a double in the game, finishing at two-for-four as well. Starlyng Sanchez started on the mound and worked five innings, allowing just a hit, a walk and striking out six. Beginning with the last batter of the first frame, Sanchez retired nine in order before walking one in the fourth. He then retired the final four he faced in order.  Yonquelys Martinez (1-3), who pitched the final two innings, took the blown save (1) and the loss. Martinez entered the eighth with two runners aboard and gave up a homer to the first batter he faced. That was the only hit and run Martinez recorded in his outing.

Tri-City Valley Cats 4, Staten Island Yankees 1
The Valley Cats waited until the eighth inning to begin scoring, but seeing as how they only allowed the Yankees to score a single run in the fifth, that was fine for the win on Friday. Conrad Gregor (1X3 RBI SO) began the scoring in the eighth with a sacrifice fly to bring Jon Kemmer home (0X1 R BB). Tyler White (0X2 R 2BB) was still on base at that point, having drawn a walk earlier in the inning. The next batter, Michael Martinez (1X3 R HR 2RBI BB), then hit a home run to left field to put Tri-City ahead, 3-1. In the ninth, Chan Moon (1X3 R 3B BB SO)hit a triple and then promptly scored on a balk. The only Valley Cat with more than one hit in the game was Ernesto Genoves, who finished two-for-four at the plate with a double. Michael Feliz pitched the first five and two-thirds, giving up a run, three hits (HR), two walks and striking out seven. The win went to Richard Rodriguez (4-0), who followed Feliz, pitching into the eighth and allowing two hits while striking out a pair. J.D. Osbourne picked up his second save with the Valley Cats after taking the mound for the final two innings. Osbourne tallied a hit and three Ks.       

Quad Cities River Bandits 1, Clinton LumberKings 6
Quad Cities blanked their opponents in every inning except for the sixth when they allowed six runs, resulting in their fourth loss in a row, Friday. Chris Devenski started on the hill and through the first five allowed just a hit and a couple walks while striking out two. In the sixth inning however, Devenski (2-3) would be charged with five runs after giving up three doubles, a single and sac' bunt-hit while recording just an out, earning the loss. No River Bandit recorded multiple hits or extra-base hits in the game. The lone run came in the second inning when Rio Ruiz (1X4 RBI 2SO) singled, the third batter to do so in succession in the inning, bringing home Danny Vasquez (1X3 R BB).

High Desert Mavericks 11, Lancaster JetHawks 14
The JetHawks dropped eight runs on High Desert in the eighth inning and then rode Travis's Ballew's 20th save, second best in the California League, to the win. Besides the eight runs in eighth inning, Lancaster also had a five-run third inning. Four players had multi-hit performances and Andrew Aplin topped them all, going three-for-four, with two runs scored, two triples and four RBI. Luis Alvarez hit just one-for four in the game, but picked up four RBI of his own after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning. Dan Gulbransen hit a three-RBI double in the third inning, finishing at two-for-five with a run scored. Kyle Smith had the start for the JetHawks and threw five and two-thirds, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking a trio and K-ing six along the way. Michael Dimock (4-0) came on to face the last batter of the seventh and stayed until the ninth, facing the minimum of four and striking out one before collecting the win. Here's a peak at the rest of the offense (it wouldn't all fit in here):  

Corpus Christi Hooks 8, Arkansas Travelers 2 (11)
Corpus Christi saw Arkansas tie this game in the ninth to force extras. In the 11th the Hooks scored six runs and Andrew Robinson shut Arkansas down for the win. Robinson (5-2) entered to pitch at the start of the 10th frame and faced seven batters through the final two innings, striking out two while allowing just a hit. David Rollins pitched the first six innings, recording a run, six hits, two walks and eight Ks. In the 11th Matt Duffy (2X4 2R 2HR 3RBI SO) hit his second homer of the night, scoring Domingo Santana to put Corpus Christi ahead. Four batters later and two outs into the inning, Max Stassi (2X5 R HR 4RBI SO) hit a grand slam to virtually seal the win. Domingo Santana (2X5 2R 2B HR RBI SO) also hit a home run in the game, in the fifth inning, breaking a scoring stalemate between the teams until that point. Drew Muren had a pair of hits in the game too, going two-for-four with a run scored, a double and a strikeout.

Albuquerque Isotopes 2, Oklahoma City RedHawks 3
The RedHawks came back to tie the game in the sixth and then scored what would be the winning run in the eighth on Friday. Eric Berger and Jorge Deleon combined to retire the final eight batters of the game and secure the win for the RedHawks. Berger (5-3) entered an out into the seventh and went on retire all five he faced, striking out two while picking up the win. Jorge De Leon earned his second save as a RedHawk, forcing all three he faced in the ninth into groundouts. David Martinez started and worked five and two-thirds, tallying two runs (1 ER) on a pair of hits, walking four and striking out six. Oklahoma City had just three hits in the game and George Springer (1X2 R HR RBI 2BB SO) used his only hit to get them on the board in the third frame, hitting home run number 34 (Corpus Christi and OKC combined) of the season. In the sixth, Jonathan Singleton (1X3 2B RBI BB) doubled, bringing Brandon Laird around to score after he drew a walk. Laird would (1X3 R RBI BB) single in the eighth, scoring Trevor Crowe (0X3 R SO), who was on board with a lead off walk, putting his team ahead.

Player of the Day: Friday was another one of those days where the Astros farm shone brightly and there were several outstanding performances. First off, Max Stassi and Luis Alvarez get the honors for going Grand Salami yesterday. Mat Duffy gets a nod for hitting two homers in his game as well. Andrew Aplin could have got a nod too just for hitting two triples, but along with that he recorded 4 RBI, pushing him past the 100 mark to 102 RBI on the year.

Pitcher of the Day: The DSL Astros may have not won on Friday but Starlyng Sanchez's performance was far from losing. Sanchez simply dominated for five innings, striking out six with only two base runners in that time.

Happy Birthday - 8/17

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Chris Lee (21)
Drafted by Houston in the fourth round in 2011 and originally from Tampa, Florida, Lee is having a breakthrough season at Greeneville. In ten appearances (nine starts), he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.083 WHIP. Watch for my interview with Chris coming out next week.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP John Buzhardt (died June 15, 2008 at age 71)
Buzhardt came to Houston from the Orioles in September of 1967 and pitched in only one game in 1967 and an additional 39 games in 1968 at the end of his career. Buzhardt compiled a 4-4 record with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.281 WHIP.

RHP Chad Qualls (35)
A second round pick by Houston in 2000, Qualls pitched for Houston from 2004 to 2007. In 262 games, he was 24-12 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.236 WHIP. He appeared in 3 games in the 2005 World Series with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.938 WHIP. In December 2007 he was included in a trade with Arizona for Jose Valverde. He is currently with Miami, his seventh team since leaving the Astros organization.

RHP Brett Myers (33)
A first round pick by the Phillies in 1999, Meyers came to Houston as a free agent in January 2010 and pitched for the Astros until the July 2012 trade that sent him to the White Sox. In 102 games (66 starts), he was 21-26 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP with 19 saves. He signed with Cleveland as a free agent in January 2013.

2B/SS Tyler Greene (30)
Greene was a first round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2005 and came to Houston in August 2012 in a trade with St. Louis for a PTBNL or cash. In 39 games for Houston in 2012, Greene hit .246/.278/.460. He was released by the Astros in March 2013 and signed as a free agent with the White Sox in April.

Tweet of the Day

Field I'm playing at the next few days, downtown NYC in the background
Embedded image permalink

Friday, August 16, 2013

Foto Friday - Greeneville Astros Edition

I haven't had a chance to finish transcribing my interviews from last weekend in Greeneville yet so let me share a few of my favorite photos from the trip in the interim. More photos from my visit can be found here (but be forewarned that I haven't finished weeding through them yet and I haven't even started labeling them). Photos from previous trips can be found here. And if you're really, really bored, here are a few vacation photos from my trip to Vermont.

Cristian Moronta

Ryan Connolly

Gonzalo Sanudo

Juan Santana and Parker Hipp

Jandel Gustave 

Ariel Ovando and Company

Juan Santana

Photos by Jayne Hansen
 All Rights Reserved*

*The players featured in these photos are hereby granted permission to use these photos for personal use. All other uses require permission and acknowledgment.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Thursday's Games

Oklahoma City over Tuscon 8-2
Jake Buchanan (7.2IP 7H 2R 1BB 3SO) got the start and the win and was followed by Wade LeBlanc (who allowed one of Buchanan's runners to score before getting the last out of the eighth) and Jorge de Leon with a perfect ninth. Oklahoma City scored four in the fourth on a Jon Singleton bases loaded walk, a Jimmy Paredes two-RBI triple and a Che-Hsuan Lin sac bunt scoring Paredes. George Springer (2x3) singled in a run in the fifth and drove in two in the eighth on his 14th home run for Oklahoma City (33rd of the season). Jon Singleton scored the final run in the eighth with a solo shot. Trevor Crowe went two-for-five and scored a run; and Jose Martinez was two-for-four with a double, walk and two runs.

Corpus Christi over Northwest Arkansas 6-5
Ross Seaton went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six and was followed with a perfect inning from Carlos Quevedo. Jonas Dufek threw the last two and got the win, despite allowing his first run since his promotion to AA. The Hooks were down 4-1 going into the eighth inning with their only score coming on a Jonathan Meyer sac fly scoring Erik Castro. Preston Tucker (3x4 2B BB RBI 2R) singled in one run in the eighth and Max Stassi (3x5) took care of the rest, doubling in two runs in the eighth and two runs in the ninth. Drew Muren was three-for-four with a double and scored twice.

Inland Empire over Lancaster 8-2
Mike Hauschild (4.2IP 6H 4R 2BB 6SO) took the loss and was followed by Tyson Perez who allowed three additional runs (two earned) in his inning of work. After scoreless outings from Michael Dimock and Kenny Long, Gera Sanchez allowed the final run to score in the eighth. The good news is that the bullpen managed to strand 10 inherited runners. The bad news is that the bullpen kept re-loading the bases with those runners. The 'Hawks only managed two runs in the sixth on a Tyler Heineman (2x4 2B 3B) RBI triple. Delino DeShields and Nolan Fontana were both two-for-four in the game and each stole a base. Brandon Meredith hit his 21st double of the season.

Clinton over Quad Cities 6-5
Lance McCullers got roughed up to the tune of five runs over four innings. He was followed by three scoreless innings from Andrew Walter in his Quad Cities debut. Juan Minaya allowed the last run across in the ninth and was charged with the loss. Quad Cities got an early lead with a two-run Bobby Borchering homer in the first, but soon fell behind. Borchering drove in two more in the fifth on a single and Teoscar Hernandez knotted things up in the seventh as he reach base on a hit by pitch and advanced base by base on three wild pitches.

Tri-City over Connecticut 3-1
Adrian Houser (4H 1BB 2SO) pitched an effective five innings, allowing only one run in the first before giving way to Andrew Thurman (2.1IP 2H 2BB 3SO) for the win and Gonzalo Sanudo (1.2IP 3SO) with a perfect outing for the save. It was Sanudo's first appearance since being promoted. Tri-City didn't hit the run column until a Mike Martinez sac fly scored James Ramsay in the seventh. Chan Moon tripled and scored on a Tyler White (3x4 RBI) single in the eighth and Martinez hit a solo shot in the ninth to round out the scoring.

Pulaski over Greeneville 5-4
Chris Lee was mostly on cruise control, allowing only two singles through five and a third innings, but was taken out with two runners on in the sixth inning in favor of Sebastian Kessay. Kessay allowed both of those runners to score, plus two more of his own and was charged with a blown save. Chris Munnelly (2.1IP 0H 1R/0ER 2BB 4SO) got the hard luck loss as the winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth on a throwing error. Three of the Astros runs came in the second inning on a Brian Holberton three-run long ball and the other courtesy of a Wallace Gonzalez RBI double in the fourth. Juan Santana also doubled in the game.

GCL Astros over GCL Yankees2 14-5
Jose Montero allowed three runs (two earned) in his five innings and was followed by three scoreless frames from Joe Musgrove. Matt Heidenreich allowed two runs on three hits in his inning of work. The Astros banged out 14 runs on 22 hits and had four three-run innings. Jean Batista (3x5 3B HR RBI 4R) hit a solo home run in the first, and Jose Solano did so in the third. Solano also doubled FOUR TIMES in the game and drove in a total of five runs. Ydarqui Marte went four-for-four with two doubles, two RBI and two runs; Pedro Coa was three-for-three with a double, two RBI and a run; and Brett Clements was two-for-two with an RBI.

DSL Astros over DSL Dodgers 5-4
Elieser Hernandez pitched five shutout innings to earn his fifth win of the season. Joselo Pinales allowed the first Dodgers run in the sixth. Victor Mesa cruised through his first two innings, but struggled to get out of the ninth, allowing three runs in the frame before Angel Heredia came in to get the final out and convert his 11th save of the season. An RBI single from Jarico Reynoso in the second, a Brauly Mejia (2x2) RBI double in the third, a Kristian Trompiz home run in the seventh (his first) and a Jean Carlos Cortorreal (2x3) RBI double in the eighth highlighted the Astros scoring. Hector Roa was two-for-four with a double and scored a run.

Player of the Day:  Five-for-five with four doubles, a home run, five RBI and four runs scored? Yeah, Jose Solano is quite definitely my player of the day with those gaudy numbers. Honorable mention goes to Max Stassi for his four RBI night.

Pitcher of the Day: Jake Buchanan gets my love today not only for a good performance, but also for getting Oklahoma City back in the win column. Elieser Hernandez gets honorable mention for his terrific performance.

Happy Birthday - 8/16

RHP Justin Hess (23)
Hess is one of our newer Astros, having only signed with Houston as a non-drafted free agent at the end of July. He has only made one appearance for the GCL team since then. For more on the college career of the former George Southern Eagle, go here.

2B Delino DeShields (21)
The Astros first round draft pick from 2010 has had a very good season with Lancaster, despite scuffling with injuries early on in the year. In 97 games, he has hit .309/.392/.448 with 23 doubles, ten triples, four home runs and 44 stolen bases.

2B Juan Santana (19)
Santana was signed by the Astros as an NDFA from the Dominican Republic at the end of 2010 and is currently playing in his first season in Greeneville, having graduated from playing in the GCL last season. In 47 games, he has compiled a .241/.292/.335 batting line.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

RHP Xavier Hernandez (48)
Originally drafted by Toronto in the fourth round in 1986, Hernandez came to Houston via the Rule 5 draft in December 1989. Hernandez played for the Astros from 1990 to 1993 and again in 1996. In 273 games, he was 22-19 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.234 WHIP.

OF Roger Cedeno (39)
Cedeno came to Houston in a December 1999 trade with the Mets and spent one season in the Astros organization before being traded to Detroit. In 74 games with the Astros, he hit .282/.383/.398. His best season was in 1999 when he hit .313/.396/.408 for the Mets with 66 stolen bases.

Tweet of the Day

The Banditos bus is trying to set the Guinness record for most consecutive sports movies shown circa 1995 or before

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

Corpus Christi
LHP Luis Cruz assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi

RHP Vincent Velasquez assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

Quad Cities
RHP Andrew Walter assigned from Tri-City to Quad Cities

RHP Gonzalo Sanudo assigned from Greeneville to Tri-City

Greeneville Astros
RHP Francis Ramirez assigned from the GCL Astros to Greeneville

Gulf Coast League
RHP Alan Abreu assigned from Greeneville to the GCL

An Interview with LHP Sebastian Kessay

I'll admit that often the biggest challenge for me in interviewing players is talking to those who are new to professional baseball. If they come from a D1 or Ivy League college, they may be more used to the interviewing process, but others like Sebastian Kessay who attended a community college in Arizona prior to the draft don't have that much experience with it. And Kessay is a naturally quiet person. As Manager Josh Bonifay put it, "He's a quiet kid. I'm still trying to get to know him. There's a lot of interaction, but there's not a lot of words being said."

Sebastian Kessay - August 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I tried to get to know Sebastian, nicknamed Sea Bass, at least a little bit better, and I think I succeeded. Here's what we talked about last weekend when I was in Greeneville, edited for brevity and clarity.

WTHB: Can you tell me a little about your college experience?

SK: My first year was kind of mediocre. Going into my sophomore year, I decided to work on my physical attributes, just working out, lost a little weight and that got me the ability to throw harder. It made me successful for my sophomore year.

WTHB: Tell me bit about your draft experience (drafted in the 22nd round out of Scottsdale Community College)? Did you know that the Astros were interested?

SK: At first, it was other teams I was pretty sure were going to pick me up. I [filled out] a questionnaire at the beginning of the year, but [the Astros] hadn't talked to me until probably like a week before the draft. A scout called me and asked me if I was interested, just getting basic information on me. I guess they kind of crept up. I was kind of surprised to get called by the Astros.

WTHB: Can you tell me about your pitch repertoire, best pitch, velocity, etc.?

SK: My best pitch is probably my fastball, but I'd say right now, it's been my change up. That's been helping me a lot. I didn't throw a change up at all through high school. I finally learned the change up the middle of my freshman year in college and it's been my pitch since. Velo wise, I guess I'm mid to high 80's average, touch 90.

WTHB: What are you working on?

SK: What I'm working on now is just basically my control. I'm not really worried about velo, but it would help out a lot if I could gain just two or three miles an hour on my fastball. Mainly just [working on] good command, going after guys. My couple of starts, I haven't [had good command], but that's just mechanical issues. I decided to change my mechanics just a little bit to see if I could get a little more speed on my fastball.

WTHB: What do you consider your strengths as a pitcher?

SK: A positive attitude. I'm there to compete no matter what. If I'm down, if I give up seven runs in a game, I'm still going to give it my all. I'm going to keep bringing it. I'd say I'm a competitor.

WTHB: What Astros hitter that you've seen would you least like to face?

SK: I'd say, before he got moved up, [Tyler] White.

WTHB: What Astros pitcher has a pitch you'd like to steal?

SK: I'd say [Gonzalo] Sanudo's change up. He's got a really good change up.

WTHB: Who on the team makes you laugh?

SK: Chris Lee. He's a character. He's a fun guy. He's a great teammate.

WTHB: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?

SK: If I couldn't play baseball, I would finish college and get a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice. That's what I was studying when I was in college.

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

SK: I'm a quiet guy. I'm pretty much reserved, a reserved person. I love music, like I play guitar. I've been playing since eighth grade and it's like my second [favorite thing] besides baseball.


Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to see Kessay pitch while I was in Greeneville so I asked Bonifay to tell me a little more about him. He told me that Kessay's body type and conventional lefty arm slot should make him a durable pitcher. Right now he and the other rookie pitchers are mainly just working on getting acclimated to professional baseball, getting adjusted to the throwing program, working on fundamentals and building up arm strength. According to Bonifay, Kessay "has the potential with the arm slot, and the ability to throw the change up and the breaking ball from the left side." He added, "Anytime you have a left-handed pitcher, if they're able to command those pitches, they're going to have a chance to have some success."

Thank you for your time, Sebastian, and the best of luck as your professional career unfolds.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Wednesday's Games

Tuscon over Oklahoma City 8-6
Bobby Doran put up a solid start (6IP 3H 2R 2BB 4SO), but Jason Stoffel was victimized in the seventh to the tune of three runs on three hits. Pat Urckfitz faced two batters in the eighth and struck both of them out. Hector Ambriz, tasked with getting the final out with a 6-5 lead in the frame, instead allowed a three-run home run to Cody Decker. Sigh. Trevor Crowe doubled in two of the four Oklahoma City runs in the second inning, and Ruben Sosa (3x4 2B 2RBI 2R) singled in one run in the second and doubled in another in the fourth. Every RedHawks starter reached the hit column with George Springer, Brandon Laird, Jimmy Paredes and Rene Garcia having multi-hit games in addition to Sosa.

Northwest Arkansas over Corpus Christi 1-0
Nick Tropeano pitched a great game and came out of it with a complete game loss. He gave up six hits and two walks, struck out six and allowed the only run of the game on a solo home run. On the other side of the diamond, Northwest Arkansas used five pitchers and allowed only two Hooks hits, two Kike Hernandez singles. Sorry, Nick, sometimes life just isn't fair.

Lancaster over Inland Empire 6-5
Aaron West got the start and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits over the first four and was followed by two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief from Blair Walters. A two-run homer issued by Jordan Jankowski in the eighth inning earned him a blown save, but the 'Hawks came back and Travis Ballew was awarded a "W" in the ninth. The JetHawks did not reach the run column until the sixth inning when two of the four runs came across on a Nolan Fontana home run. They put up one more in the eighth and Joe Sclafani hit a walk-off single in the ninth scoring Brandon Meredith. Sclafani was four-for-five for the night with a triple, RBI, stolen base and two runs scored. Carlos Perdomo and Tyler Heineman each had multi-hit games as well.

Clinton over Quad Cities 9-7
Josh Hader's second start did not go quite as well as his first. After allowing back-to-back doubles to start the game, Hader issued four free passes, hit a batter and was charged with a wild pitch while only recording two outs. Daniel Minor came in to get a quick ground out to end the threat, but ultimately allowed two runs over his three and a third innings. Patrick Christensen allowed one unearned run in his two innings and Zach Morton was pegged with the loss as he gave up the final two runs in his two. Rio Ruiz (2x4 2B HR BB) got the first River Bandit run in the second on a solo homer. Four more scored in the third with help from a Terrell Joyce RBI double and three Clinton errors in the frame. Carlos Correa (3x4 BB 2RBI R) singled in the final two Bandits runs in the fourth. Tony Kemp went two-for-three with two walks and scored a run; and Bobby Borchering was two-for-four with a double and run scored.

Connecticut over Tri-City 4-2
Kyle Westwood pitched the first three and allowed one run on a hit and a walk while striking out four. Tanner Bushue followed and gave up three runs (two earned) in his two innings before giving way to scoreless outings from Tyler Brunnemann and J.D. Osborne. Mike Martinez (2x3 BB R) scored on a ground out in the second, and Tyler White singled in James Ramsay (1x4 R SB) in the third. Tri-City was limited to eight hits in the game, all singles.

Johnson City over Greeneville 9-4
Starter Enderson Franco had a no-hitter going through four innings, but ultimately allowed seven runs on seven hits and struck out six over six innings. Krishawn Holley allowed the next two runs in his inning before Gonzalo Sanudo came in to pitch a perfect ninth. Alfredo Gonzalez (2x3 HR BB 2RBI 2R) got his second home run in the last week and second of his career to start the scoring in the third. Marc Wik scored on a wild pitch in the sixth. And the final two runs scored on RBI singles from Gonzales and Tanner Mathis (2x4 BB RBI) in the ninth. Brian Holberton was two-for-four with a double. Angel Ibanez and Ariel Ovando doubled in the game as well.

GCL Yankees2 over GCL Astros 4-0
Francis Ramirez (5IP 3H 1BB 3SO) and Zach Dando (3IP 4H 2SO) pitched eight shutout innings before the wheels came off for Juan Santos inn the bottom of the ninth. Single, walk, intentional walk, grand slam, ouch. The Yankees2 team was dealing too. Jean Batista's single to lead off the second was the only Astros hit in the game.

DSL Astros over DSL Dodgers 12-0
This was a nice team effort from pitchers Gerardo Juarez (3IP 3H 1BB 5SO), Juan Hernandez (3IP 2H 1BB 2SO), Yhoan Acosta (2IP 1H 2SO) and Geronimo Franzua (1IP 1BB 1SO) as they combined in the shutout. Randy Cesar (3x4 2B HR BB RBI 3R) started the Astros offensive onslaught with a solo homer in the second and Jarico Reynoso (2x5 3RBI) ended the scoring with a two-RBI triple in the ninth. Jesus Bermejo went two-for-five with two RBI and two runs scored. Luis Payano, Brauly Mejia and Jean Carlos Cortrorreal each had multi-hit games as well.

Players of the Day: Joe Sclafani's four-for-five night was impressive enough, but now that Sclafani finally has enough at-bats to qualify as a league leader, you can see that his season as a whole has been pretty impressive. He ranks third in average in the California League, second in OBP and 11th in slugging. Randy Cesar, who lacked a triple to hit for the cycle, and scored thrice for the DSL shares the honors.

Pitchers of the Day: I've got to send some love to the Dominican Republic as the four pitchers combined in a six-hit shutout. A tip of the cap to righties Gerardo Juarez and Juan Hernandez, and lefties Yhoan Acosta and Geronimo Franzua on a great game.

Happy Birthday - 8/15

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jorge de Leon (26)
Originally signed by the Astros as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic, de Leon is in his eighth season in the Astros system, but only his fourth season as a pitcher as he was originally signed as a shortstop. De Leon started the season in Corpus Christi; in 29 appearances there, he had a 4.27 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP before being promoted to Oklahoma City where he did not allow a run in five appearances. De Leon was called up to Houston and made his major league debut on August 9th, but he was recently sent back to Oklahoma City after only two appearances out of the Houston bullpen.

Tweet of the Day

Phase 1 of playoff beards.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vote for Superman!

Vote for Superman, er, make that George Springer for USA Today's Minor League Player of the year. You can vote here. Voting continues through August 21st.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Tuesday's Games

Tuscon over Oklahoma City 13-6
This is the second straight start in which Asher Wojciechowski has scuffled. In five innings, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. Rhiner Cruz and Jose Cisnero were each charged with three runs out of the bullpen. George Springer's two-run inside the park home run in the first got things started for OKC. A Jose Martinez (2x4 R) sac fly RBI in the third, RBI doubles from Jon Singleton and Marwin Gonzalez in the fourth, and a Carlos Perez (2x4) RBI single in the sixth rounded out the scoring. Trevor Crowe went three-for-five with a double and scored a run, and Brandon Laird was three-for-four and scored twice.

Northwest Arkansas over Corpus Christi 10-1
This game was closer than the score would indicate, at least until the wheels fell off in the seventh inning. Mike Foltynewicz got the start and allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) and three walks while striking out two. T.J. Geith finished off the sixth and started the seventh, but left the game in favor of Cameron Lamb with one out and two on in the frame. After issuing an intentional walk, Lamb served up a grand slam to Lane Adams. It was Adams second home run of the game. After Lamb re-loaded the bases on a single, walk, and hit batter, he allowed another run on a bases loaded walk. Lamb was victimized by Lane Adams yet again in the eighth inning as Adams hit his third home run of the night, a two-run shot, to give him seven RBI. He had hit a total of eight home runs in the prior 111 games of the season. The lone Hooks run came in the fifth as Preston Tucker (2x4 2B BB R) hit a lead-off double and scored later in the inning on an Erik Castro (2x4) single. Jonathan Meyer went two-for-three with a double and a walk.

Lancaster over Inland Empire 11-5
Luis Cruz (7IP 7H 4R 1BB 8SO) had a solid start and was rewarded with the win. He was followed by two innings from Kenny Long who allowed three hits, including a solo home run. The 'Hawks got the party started in the second inning with a grand slam from Nolan Fontana. Inland Empire came back with four in the top of the fifth to tie it, but Lancaster countered with five runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-RBI single from Tyler Heineman (1x4 BB 3R) and a three-run home run from Dan Gulbransen (3x5 2B HR 4RBI 2R). Gulbransen doubled in another run in the seventh and Delino DeShields (2x5 2B) had an RBI single for the final run of the evening. Chris Epps was one-for-four with a walk and scored twice. Andrew Aplin stole his 23rd base of the season and Delino DeShields got number 43.

Quad Cities - Off Day

New York-Penn League All-Star Game
AL All-Stars over NL All-Stars 4-3
The Tri-City representatives to the All-Star game were confusingly enough on the National League roster (although that is where they belong, as well as the rest of the Houston affiliates). Michael Feliz and Andrew Walter were each perfect in their one-inning appearances; however, Chris Cotton allowed one run on one hit as a couple of wild pitches came back to bite him in his inning of work. As the starting DH, Chan Moon went one for two and scored a run.

Johnson City over Greeneville 10-3
Frederick Tiburcio and Kevin Ferguson were ambushed to the tune of ten runs on fourteen hits (three home runs) over their combined five innings. Christian Garcia and Ryan Connolly followed out of the 'pen with scoreless outings. The Astros put up two in the second as Darwin Rivera scored on a fielding error and Brian Holberton scored on a Tanner Mathis sac bunt. The only other run came across in the fifth as Thomas Lindauer scored on a Angel Ibanez sac fly. The Astros were held to five hits, but that total included doubles from Ibanez and Wallace Gonazalez.

GCL Tigers over GCL Astros 6-4
Kent Emanuel pitched two innings in his third outing with the GCL and has still not allowed a run. Austin Nicely followed and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in his three and a third innings. Devonte German gave up one run in the sixth and was charged with the blown save and the loss. Jean Batista (2x4) drove in all the runs with an RBI single in the first and a three-run home run in the third. The Astros never seriously threatened after the third. Luis Reynoso went two-for-four with a walk and scored twice.

DSL Astros over DSL Royals 2-1
Edwin Villarroel got his fourth win in a very nice start, pitching five shutout innings and allowing five hits and no walks. He struck out four. Robert Corniel, Yonquelys Martinez and Angel Heredia (S,10) all provided scoreless relief. The lone Royals run came off Starlyng Sanchez in the seventh inning. Hector Roa drove in one run in the sixth and the other came across as Randy Cesar scored from third on a double play. Kristian Trompiz went two-for-four and Arturo Michelena was two-for-three with a double, walk and a run.

Player of the Day: After playing in five road games, Dan Gulbransen got his first taste of Lancaster and seemed to like it pretty well as he drove in four and only lacked a triple for the cycle. I would be remiss if I didn't give honorable mention to Nolan Fontana for his grand salami.

Pitcher of the Day: The pitching on the DSL team has been solid all season with pitchers like Edwin Villarroel leading the way. In 12 starts, Villarroel is 4-4 with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.150 WHIP. He has walked only nine batters while striking out 38 in his 55+ innings.

Happy Birthday - 8/14

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

IF Mark Loretta (42)
A seventh round pick by the Brewers in 1993, Loretta came to Houston the first time in an August 2002 trade with the Brewers. He played in only 21 games for the Astros in 2002. He came back to Houston in January 2007 as a free agent and spent the next two seasons in the organization. In all, he played in 255 games for the Astros, hitting .296/.363/.393. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he was often used as a pinch hitter and batted .333 in those situations. Loretta was an All-Star for San Diego in 2004 and for Boston in 2006. He also earned a Silver Slugger in 2004. In 2013, he was a coach under Brad Ausmus for the Israeli team in the World Baseball Classic qualifying rounds.

Tweet of the Day

It’ll be a “shy”cle for Gulbransen tonight… 3x5, 2B, HR, 4RBI. Nice Hangar debut.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves and Transactions

Oklahoma City/Houston
RHP Philip Humber assigned from Oklahoma City to Houston
SS Marwin Gonzalez assigned from Oklahoma City to Houston
RHP Jorge de Leon assigned from Houston to Oklahoma City

Corpus Christi
The Astros acquired rights to Leo Heras, an outfielder in the Mexican League, who reports have indicated will be assigned to Corpus Christi after passing his physical. Astros County and The Crawfish Boxes have more on the 23-year old lefty hitter.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Observations on my Greeneville Trip

It will take me a while to transcribe the interviews from my Greeneville trip so let me leave you with a few random observations to tide you over.

As I noted last year, Pioneer Park is simply beautiful. Located on the campus of Tusculum College, the park is first class all the way. One of my favorite things about the park are the concourse banners commemorating the MLB debut of players who have gone through Greeneville. Here you see the banners for Sammy Gervacio, Jose Altuve, Brandon Barnes and, if you look closely, the last one is for Izzy Hinojosa, the groundskeeper who made his Houston debut last September.

Josh Bonifay runs a tight ship in his first year as Manager. Everything is organized and everyone seems to know what is expected of them. There is virtually no wasted time or effort. Most of these players are only starting their careers and need that structure. With that said, the players also seemed relaxed and loose during practices. I liked the field dynamic that I was seeing.

One player who impressed me both on and off the field was Gonzalo Sanudo, the right-handed pitcher from Tabasco, Mexico, who came to the Astros in the Mike Kvasnicka trade. His command was impeccable the night I saw him and he easily worked around two hits over his two innings as he struck out six. And the sound his fastball made when he hit the catcher's glove was music to my ears. Off the field, he is a character with personality plus. His reaction as Kevin Ferguson came into the dugout before the game wearing a bright orange cap (on a day when the uniform called for dark caps) was priceless.

I was also very impressed by Jandel Gustave's and Chris Lee's work on the mound, and I loved watching Juan Santana, a Dominican infielder who won't turn 19 until later this week, who plays with joyful abandon. Santana's easy smile has earned him the nickname Smiley, according to Bonifay. I think it's appropriate that he currently wears Jose Altuve's number 27 because he is destined to be a fan favorite much like Altuve.

Now for a few VERY random observations. Chase McDonald is HUGE. Could there be a better cheer for someone named Parker Hipp than Hip Hip Hooray? Brett Phillips is another larger than life personality, very funny and charismatic. Here he does a deadpan imitation of Hitting Coach Cesar Cedeno.

And finally, I loved watching Tanner Mathis' great range playing centerfield and I enjoyed talking with him about our mutual college experiences in Mississippi, but the best thing about Mathis is his walk-up ritual. The toe dig, bootie wiggle, side kick and bat toe tap is repeated throughout every game. I particularly enjoyed one ardent female fan who "Wooooo'd" for every bootie wiggle. Highly entertaining.

I would like to thank Josh Bonifay for his time and generosity. I really enjoyed talking with him about his team. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious. And having met his lovely wife Tiffany as well, I can only say this. He done good!

Let me leave you with one of my favorite images from the weekend -- Angel Ibanez engaging in a deep discussion with one of his fans.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Monday's Games

Tuscon over Oklahoma City 7-5
Paul Clemens got the start and the loss as he gave up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and three walks over five and a third. Eric Berger (2.2IP 1H 1BB 3SO) took it the rest of the way with an effective relief outing. Down 7-0, the Redhawks finally managed to get on the board in the sixth with two scoring on a Jon Singleton RBI single. The final three came across in the eighth on a two-run Brandon Laird home run and a Che-Hsuan Lin RBI single. This is the RedHawks third loss in a row and their division lead over Albuquerque has dwindled to two games.

Wisconsin over Quad Cities 9-1
Mark Appel got roughed up to the tune of seven runs on nine hits over three and a third innings. He struck out two. Mitch Lambson provided three and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief before giving way to Jamaine Cotton for the final two frames. Cotton allowed two unearned runs. The offense only managed four hits with Austin Elkins getting half of them. Elkins also drove in the only River Bandits run in the eighth with an RBI double.

Johnson City over Greeneville 7-5 (completion of 7/22 suspended game)
Jandel Gustave (4IP 8H 5R/4ER 4BB 5SO HR) had started this one back on July 22nd and had faced four batters in the fifth without recording an out before he was taken out in favor of Raul Rivera. With the bases loaded, Rivera struck out one batter before the game was suspended. Fast forward three weeks and Rivera was tasked with basically starting a game with the bases loaded, one out and a one run lead. Rivera allowed one of those runners to score and two of his own in the seventh, but he gets a big old asterisk on this loss -- tough way to come in the game. It did not help that, despite doubles from Angel Ibanez and Raul Rivera, the offense wasn't able to cross the plate again after the game re-commenced.

Greeneville over Johnson City 8-4 in 7 innings
Starter Edison Frias (5IP 9H 4R 3SO) got the win and was followed by a scoreless inning apiece from Sebastian Kessay and Chris Munnelly. Greeneville was down 3-0 after the first, but came back and chipped away at that lead, and then some. Wallace Gonzalez (2x4 2-2B 2RBI R) doubled in two runners in the second. Three more scored in the third on a Marc Wik (2x2 2BB RBI 3R) RBI single and a two-run line drive single off the wall from Christian Moronta (2x4 2RBI SB). It was Darwin Rivera's (2x4 2B 2RBI) turn in the fifth as he singled in a pair. Wik scored the final run in the seventh.

GCL Astros over GCL Tigers 3-2
Luis Ordosgoitti put up a very nice start as he works his way back from injury, allowing only one unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out six. Matt Heidenreich pitched a perfect inning in his latest rehab appearance. Jorge Perez allowed the second Tigers run and was followed by Erick Gonzalez who earned the win in relief as the Astros scored the go-ahead run in the eighth. The offense took advantage of a little wildness from Tigers pitching. Yonathan Mejia doubled to start the seventh and then Jean Batista reached on a hit by pitch. Two wild pitches and a sac fly later, both had scored. Similarly, Javaris Reynolds singled to start the eighth, moved to second on a sac bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. Jason Martin also doubled in the game and Jose Solano went two-for-three.

DSL Astros over DSL Royals 3-0
Harold Arauz (W, 6IP 1H 1BB 4SO), Cristhopher Santamaria (2IP 2SO) and Angel Heredia (1IP 1SO) combined to one-hit the Royals. Arauz actually gave up a single to the first batter of the game and a walk to the second batter of the game, but then settled in the rest of the way. The only other baserunners in the game were in the fifth and seventh as Arauz and Santamaria each hit a batter. Hector Roa (2x4 2B RBI R) doubled in the first Astros run in the fourth. Marlon Avea drove in one in the sixth and Randy Cesar had an RBI double in the seventh. Luis Payano was two-for-three and scored a run, and Brauly Mejia went three-for-four with a double and a run.

Player of the Day: Marc Wik got on base every time up last night, drove in one and scored three times. You can't do much more than that to help your team win. In his last 10 games, Wik is hitting .345/.513/.414).

Pitcher of the Day: Harold Arauz, Cristhopher Santamaria and Angel Heredia share the honors today for their combined one-hitter. Nice job guys!!!

Happy Birthday - 8/13

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

3B Gary Cooper (49)
A seventh round draft pick by Houston in 1986, Cooper played in only nine games in the majors. In 1991, he hit .250/.368/.313 over those nine games. He hit .305/.402/.500 in 120 minor league games that season, but some guy named Caminiti was in his way.

Bonus Tweet of the Day

We can do this?
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Tweet of the Day

'Cats All-Stars heading to Connecticut! Andrew Walter, and Michael Feliz
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Astros Minor League Recaps

Sunday's Games

Las Vegas over Oklahoma City 4-3
David Martinez didn't exactly receive a warm welcome to AAA. In four and a third innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out three. One of those runs came across on Wade LeBlanc's watch who otherwise provided scoreless relief, as did Jose Cisnero and Pat Urckfitz who followed him out of the bullpen. The RedHawks scored all three of their runs in the fourth inning. Jimmy Paredes doubled, advanced on a sac fly and scored on a ground out, with the other two coming across on back-to-back RBI doubles from Jon Singleton and Jose Martinez. Marwin Gonzalez was two-for-four and scored a run.

Arkansas over Corpus Christi 7-4
Kyle Hallock took the loss as he gave up four runs (three earned) in his four innings of work. Alex Sogard pitched an uneventful fifth but gave up a three-run homer in the sixth and was followed by three scoreless innings from Carlos Quevedo. The Hooks scored their runs one at a time with Domingo Santana singling in Ronald Torreyes in the first, Erik Castro scoring on a ground out in the second, Santana hitting a solo shot in the third and Castro also connecting on a long one in the eighth.

Lancaster over High Desert 9-8
Colton Cain got the win despite allowing six run (five earned) in his six innings of work. He was followed by two scoreless from Gera Sanchez in his Lancaster debut. Travis Ballew came in to pitch the ninth and allowed the final two runs, but ultimately converted his 19th save. The JetHawks wasted no time in starting the scoring as Delino DeShields doubled and scored on a Carlos Perdomo (3x5 HR 4RBI 3R) line drive in the first; Perdomo scored later in the frame on a Chris Epps sac fly. Dan Gulbransen took one deep in the second for his first 'Hawks home run. Perdomo took his turn knocking one out in the fourth and scoring three in the process. Perdomo was in on the scoring in the sixth inning as well, scoring the first of three 'Hawks runs in that frame. Jesse Wierzbicki was three-for-five with a double and scored a run; Tyler Heineman went two-for-three with a double, walk and RBI; and Joe Sclafani tripled, walked and scored a run.

Quad Cities over Wisconsin 5-0
See Ben Henningan's Eyewitness Account here.

Tri-City over Jamestown 11-5
Evan Grills allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in five innings to get his fifth win of the season. Charles Basford and Kevin Comer each allowed a run across in their outings. Andrew Walter pitched a scoreless ninth. The 'Cats put up a three-spot in the first on a Conrad Gregor RBI single and a Mike Martinez two-run home run and three more in the second as Adam Nelubowich (2x4 2B 2R) scored on a wild pitch and Tyler White (2x5) singled in a pair. That would be all the runs the 'Cats needed, but they went on to score two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Ronnie Mitchell (2x3 BB) and Jake Rodriguez. The final three scored in the eighth courtesy of two wild pitches and a throwing error. James Ramsay went two-for-three with a double, walk and two runs scored.

Kingsport over Greeneville 7-2
The bad weather and ominous sky before this game seemed to foreshadow the coming events. Austin Chrismon, who had only walked three batters in his prior seven appearances, walked the first two batters of the game. Both of those runners came across in the first and Chrismon allowed another two runs in the fourth, victimizing himself with a wild pitch and two hit batters in the inning. He was followed by a scoreless fifth from Christian Garcia. It was then Jordan Mills' turn. Mills allowed three runs (two via the long ball) on five hits and a walk while striking out two in his four innings of work. The offense only mustered six hits in the game, with Alfredo Gonzalez' fifth inning double. The Astros were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and ended four innings with men on third. It was not their finest hour, but I'm sure that they will bounce back today when they head to Johnson City.

Player of the Day: If anyone has been paying the slightest attention over the last two years, you will know that I routinely drool over Teoscar Hernandez. His two home run, five RBI night for Quad Cities does nothing to change that. Carlos Perdomo gets honorable mention for his great night in Lancaster.

Pitcher of the Day: Brian Holmes (6IP 3H 1BB 7SO) flirted with no-hitters on more than one occasion last year. Now that he is getting back healthy, he is starting to look like that guy again.

Quad Cities Recap from Guest Writer Ben Henningan

Ben Henningan from Lake Charles, Louisiana, was at the Quad Cities game yesterday and sent me several tweets from the game. When he said that he couldn't wait to read my recap, I challenged him to write it and he complied! If anyone else would like to write an eyewitness guest recap for me, just say the word. Buca and I could use a break! So here is Ben's take on the game, plus a little bit about him.

Quad Cities over Wisconsin 5-0
Brian Holmes started the game with a crisp 3 pitch strikeout of Brewers' top prospect Tyrone Taylor, then set the cruise. Offensively, the River Bandits started Sunday with the same story as Saturday. Things changed in the the 3rd, after back to back, two-out singles by "Catfish" Elkins and Tony Kemp, Teoscar Hernandez drove them in with a laser of a homerun. Brian Holmes (W, 4-3, 0R, 6IP, 3H, 1BB, 7K) who pitched a gem, gave way to Zach Morton in the top of the 7th. The 7th started off scary with a groundball to Rio Ruiz in which he came up in obvious pain. I'm not positive, but the injury seemed to be something with his throwing arm and in any case I wish him a quick recovery. Meanwhile, Morton recovered and kept the T-Rats scoreless. In the bottom of the 8th Teoscar Hernandez struck once again, this time with a two run moon shot. Juan Minaya threw a solid 9th to seal the shutout for Quad Cities.

Since you asked for some info about me:
I love my Astros of course
I believe I'm the biggest Astros fan in Louisiana (really anywhere but you Texas people love saying you're the biggest)
I coached high school baseball (and football) for 2 years
I'm 23 so I "grew up" during the golden days
I have a relatively good understanding of sabermetrics
I love Bill Brown, Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond
My favorite player growing up was Jeff Bagwell
I want to be Brad Ausmus
I've tried to do Moises Alou "manicures"
I probably only have 4-5 followers that are Astros fans
For fun I scout amateur baseball players
I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 scouting reports on players for no apparent reason
I could piss a lot of Astros fans off with my scouting reports
I thoroughly enjoy reading bloggers, columnists and everyone else.

Thanks for stepping up, Ben! Great job.

Happy Birthday - 8/12

No future Astros, only former Astros with birthdays today ~

LHP Dean Hartgraves (47)
A 20th round pick by Houston in 1987, Hartgraves pitched in 59 games for the Astros in 1995 and 1996 before being selected off waivers by Atlanta. He had a 2-0 record with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.446 WHIP.

RHP Reggie Harris (45)
Originally drafted by Boston in the first round in 1987, Harris signed with Houston as a free agent in January of 1998. He only pitched in six games for Houston that season compiling a 6.00 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Wireless Internet on a 12 hr bus ride

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Astros Minor League Roster Moves

Since I've been in Greeneville the last few days, I've been remiss in checking the transaction pages the last few days. I believe these are all the minor league moves that I've missed posting.

Oklahoma City
RHP Jose Cisnero assigned from Houston to Oklahoma City
RHP David Martinez assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
LHP Pat Urckfitz assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City

Corpus Christi
LHP Alex Sogard assigned from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi
SS Jio Mier activated from the DL
RHP R.J. Alaniz placed on the 7-day DL

RHP Brady Rodgers placed on the 7-day DL
RHP Gera Sanchez assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

Astros Minor League Recaps

Saturday's Games

Kingsport Mets 2, Greeneville Astros 5
Greeneville built momentum slowly on Saturday before rolling in for the win at home. Starter Jandel Gustave went four innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits and striking out five. The win was claimed by Ryan Connolly (1-1), who also picked up his second blown save, after he pitched the seventh. Connolly faced five batters in the inning, giving up a run on two hits and striking out one. Gonzalo Sanudo earned his 11th save on Saturday after striking out six through the eighth and ninth inning. Alfredo Gonzalez (2X3 2R HR RBI SO) hit his first homer of the season in the seventh inning and he was also the only Astro with multiple hits in the game. Ariel Ovando (1X3 2B 2RBI BB) doubled in the eighth inning to plate two runs, marking his 30th of the year (Quad Cities and Greeneville combined).

GCL Braves 6, GCL Astros 2
The Astros outhit the Braves nine to eight Saturday, but still lost by four runs for their fourth loss in the past five games. Agapito Barrios started things off from the hill, pitching for five innings and would take the loss. Barrios (3-4) gave up four runs on six hits (HR), walked one and struck out three. Reymin Guduan followed Barrios for three frames, keeping his scoreless. Other than issuing a walk and balking in the seventh, Guduan was in control, striking out seven of the 10 he faced. Ydarqui Marte batted three-for-four, with a run scored, his 10th RBI and strikeout.

DSL Red Sox 7, DSL Astros 1
The DSL Astros had just three hits and scored one run in their game Saturday. Their lone run came in the seventh when Randy Cesar (1X4 RBI 2SO) singled to drive in Oliver Toribio (0X3 R BB SO), who was on after drawing a walk. Elieser Hernandez (4-1) earned his first loss of the season after throwing the first five innings. Hernandez allowed three runs in the third inning, but outside of that had three 1-2-3 innings, giving up four hits all day and K-ing five.

Jamestown Jammers 3, Tri-City Valley Cats 2
Tri-City tied this game up in the fifth inning and then lost it in the ninth after an error, balk and sac' fly pushed across the go-ahead run, ending their five game win-streak. Only one of the runs scored against the Valley Cats on Saturday was earned. Randal Fant started on the mound and through four innings recorded two runs (1ER), six hits, two walks and 2 Ks. Troy Scribner (0-1) took the loss after tossing the final three frames, striking out five. Scribner retired the first five he faced before giving up a hit, his only one, in the eighth. In the ninth he was charged with the unearned run and a balk. James Ramsay (1X4 R HR RBI 2SO) tied the game in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his third homer. Conrad Gregor (3X3 RBI BB) was the only Valley Cat with more than one hit in the game and drove in the their first run in the third inning.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 7, Quad Cities River Bandits 0
Quad Cities was one hit, shut out on Saturday. They had five base runners all game. One by way of the lone hit, two players drew walks and two River Bandits were hit by pitches. This is the second time they have been one hit this season. Joe Bircher (3-2) started things off on the mound and through five innings gave up six runs on nine hits (2HR) and K-ed four, taking the loss. Danry Vasquez (1X4) owned the only hit of the game for the River Bandits, a single in the fourth frame.

Lancaster JetHawks 6, High Desert Mavericks 0
A night after having 30 runs scored against them, Lancaster got a little revenge in Adelanto by two-hit, shutting out the Mavericks. Kyle Smith (1-0) was at the helm for the entire game, facing just three batters over the minimum and striking out nine. Despite the six runs, no batter had more than one hit, although two JetHawks did have two RBI in the game. Nolan Fontana (1X3 2RBI 2BB) singled in the ninth, plating the final two runs of the game and Jesse Wierzbicki (1X3 R HR 2RBI BB) hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

Arkansas Travelers 2, Corpus Christi Hooks 3
This game had the same score as the day before and ended with a Hooks walk off win as well. On Saturday however, no extra inning were needed. The bottom of the ninth started with the Hooks down two runs. Erik Castro (1X3 R HR RBIBB SO) stepped to the plate first in the inning and homered to tie the game. Jonathan Meyer (1X4 R HR RBI SO) was next up and hit a homer of his own to put the Hooks ahead and win the game. David Rollins pitched the first six and two-thirds, tallying two runs (1ER) on five hits (HR) and a pair of walks while striking out five. Andrew Robinson (4-2) worked the final two and a third, taking the win. Robinson retired the final five he faced in order, allowing two hits and striking out two during his shift. Corpus Christi's first run of the game came with two outs in the third frame via a Preston Tucker (1X2 R HR RBI 2BB) long ball.

Oklahoma City RedHawks 1, Las Vegas 51s 4
George Springer hit a home run in the first inning for the RedHawks only score of the game and one of three hits they would have Saturday. Springer would finish one-for-three at the dish, with that run scored, RBI and homer with a walk and strikeout as well. Jake Buchanan (4-3), in a quality start, threw the first six innings and picked up his third loss of the season, recording three runs (HR), seven hits, two walks and four K. Jason Stoffel tossed the final two frames and gave up another run on a pair of hits while K-ing three.

Player of the Day: Erik Castro and Jonathan Meyer share the honor today for their win inducing, back-to-back homers Saturday. They stepped up in the ninth inning and took care of business. Great game, guys.

Pitcher of the Day: Two words: Kyle Smith. Smith dominated yesterday, throwing a complete game shutout while allowing just two hits. On top of that he struck out nine and helped his teammates recover from the whirlwind of a loss the night before. Well done.

Honorable mentions also go out to Gonzalo Sanudo and Reymin Guduan. Both of these guys came on and stepped right into the zone, getting their job done in support of their team on Saturday. Guduan struck out seven over three frames of relief. Sanudo struck out six in two and earned his 11th save, tying him for the lead in the Appalachian League.

No Birthdays Today ...

No Birthdays today so how about a bonus Tweet of the Day?

Jesse Wierzbifdhidsfodsjfj! 2-run homer in the 7th, his first with the JetHawks. Lancaster up 4-0.

Tweet of the Day

To understand the following exchange, you have to know that Kenny Long has an unnatural fear of, believe it or not, oranges.

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wow that's bush league!!