Saturday, April 26, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, April 25, 2014

Nashville 5, Oklahoma City 3

W- Mike Fiers (4-0)
L- Jake Buchanan (1-2)

OKC home runs: Kiké Hernandez (1, solo in 4th; 2 season)

The RedHawks offense was mowed down by Mike Fiers, who struck out 10 of them. Kiké Hernandez went 2-4 with a solo homer (1) in the 4th and scored 2 of the 3 OKC runs. They got a pair of RBI groundouts from Robbie Grossman and Ronald Torreyes in the bottom of the 9th. Gregorio Petit went 2-5, and Andy Simunic finished 3-4.

Jake Buchanan went 4 innings and allowed 3 runs (all on a homer from Hunter Morris) on 6 hits and struck out 2. 5 relievers pitched an inning each: Darin Downs (5th) gave up a run on 2 hits and struck out the side. Chia-Jen Lo (6th) worked around a hit and a walk to throw a scoreless inning. Ditto for Jason Stoffel (7th), who struck out 1. Kevin Chapman (8th) allowed a run on 2 hits and struck out 1, and Josh Zeid struck out the side in order in the 9th.

The series continues at 7:05 with Ross Seaton and Nick Tropeano taking on Brad Mills.

Corpus Christi 6, Frisco 4

W- Troy Scribner (1-0)
L- Jerad Eickhoff (1-2)
S- Jorge De Leon (1)

CC home runs: None.

With Jayne in attendance, the Hooks jumped out tot a 6-1 lead, although it got a little close for comfort at the end righ there. I don't know the exact record of all Astros affiliates when she's in attendance, but I'm pretty sure she's the good-luck charm.

The Hooks went all relievers in this one, although the guy that started has done so in the past. Jordan Jankowski got the start as the starting pitchers got an extra day of rest. He went 3 innings and gave up a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. The first man out of the bullpen was Troy Scribner, fresh from Kissimmee. Clearly not fazed from the effects of going straight to the Texas League from extended spring training, Scribner tossed 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 2, and striking out 1 in the process. The organization's top facial hair prospect, Michael Dimock, was next, and he threw 2 scoreless. He allowed a hit and struck out 1. Pat Urckfitz allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and struck out 1 as he got 2 outs in the 8th, 1 via strikeout. Jorge De Leon did allow an unearned run in the 9th, but was able to get the 4-out save, allowing a hit and striking out 1.

The Hooks got the scoring started in the 1st as Andrew Aplin scored on an error that allowed Preston Tucker to reach. After Frisco tied it with 1 in the top of the 2nd, the Hooks responded with a Tyler Heineman RBI single and a 2-run double from Nolan Fontana. Jio Mier chipped in with a 2-run double of his own in the 6th inning. Preston Tucker and Chris Epps had 2 hits apiece, while Leo Heras was 1-2 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored.

Brady Rodgers will take the mound in game 2 of this series; he'll be opposed by Luke Jackson. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 6, Rancho Cucamonga 3

W- Kyle Smith (4-0)
L- Geoff Brown (0-1)
S- Lance McCullers (2)

Lancaster home runs: Carlos Perdomo (1, solo in 5th)

The JetHawks were held in check by Clayton Kershaw for 5 innings. Let's see... the reigning Cy Young winner against a Class A Advanced lineup... that's to be expected, right?

Well, someone forgot to tell Carlos Perdomo that. On his 24th birthday, he had both of the JetHawks' hits off Kershaw, including a home run to lead off the 5th (1) that put them on the board, down 2-1. Perdomo was the only player on either side to have a multi-hit game; both teams only had 5 apiece.

After Kershaw exited, they got themselves going and finished on a 6-1 run. Rio Ruiz tied it with a double in the 6th and wound up scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Ruiz wasn't done yet; he drew a bases-loaded walk in the 7th, and Brandon Meredith provided some separation with a 2-run single. In the process, they rocked Julio Urias, the 17-year-old phenom from Mexico who was rated by Baseball America as the Dodgers' #3 prospect.

Kyle Smith fought hard against Kershaw. The result was a very solid outing for him, and he got the W to boot. In 5 innings, Smith gave up 2 runs (both on solo homers), one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 5. Lance McCullers had a bit of a scare, as he slipped on the mound and was favoring his elbow (initially leg) a little in the 9th.




At the time of this incident, there was 2 outs in the 9th. He shook it off and got that last out. McCullers went 4 innings and gave up a run on 2 hits, walked 3, and struck out 3.

Game 3 of this series has Chris Devenski and Josh Hader taking on TBA; the JetHawks game notes has Lindsey Caughel as the starter. First pitch is at 7:05.

Peoria 8, Quad Cities 4

W- Jimmy Reed (1-1)
L- Kent Emanuel (0-1)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits were victimized by the multi-run homer in this one; namely the 3-run home run and the grand slam. Peoria only scored in 2 innings, but they put up 4 in both of them.

Brian Holberton went 2-4 and put QC on the board first in the 1st with a 2-run double. James Ramsay hit an RBI single in the top of the 6th, and Conrad Gregor went 3-5 with an RBI double in the 7th. Chan-Jong Moon was 1-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 steals (6).

Kent Emanuel went 4 innings and gave up 4 unearned runs on 5 hits (3-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 3. Chris Cotton allowed a grand slam and struck out 2 in the 5th. Jandel Gustave allowed 2 hits and struck out 3 in 2 scoreless, and Tyler Brunnemann struck out the side in order in the 8th.

In the middle game of this series, Michael Feliz and Evan Grills will face Silfredo Garcia at 1:00.

Three Stars: Pitchers

3. Corpus FNGs


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Troy Scribner, RHP, Corpus Christi
W (1-0), 2 IP, H, 2 BB, K



Michael Dimock, RHP, Corpus Christi
2 IP, H, K




2. Striking out the side in order



Tyler Brunnemann, RHP, Quad Cities
IP, 3 K


Josh Zeid, RHP, Oklahoma City
IP, 3 K




1.




Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Kyle Smith, RHP, Lancaster
W (4-0), 5 IP, 3 H (2 solo HRs), 2 ER, BB, 5 K



Lance McCullers, RHP, Lancaster
Save (2), 4 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 BB, 3 K





Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Brian Holberton, C, Quad Cities
2-4, 2B, 2 RBI



2.



Enrique Hernandez, 2B/OF, Oklahoma City
2-4, solo HR (1, 2 season), 2 R



1.



Carlos Perdomo, SS, Lancaster
2-4, solo HR (1)




Happy Birthday - 4/26

No future Astros with birthdays today, but a few former 'Stros celebrate the day ~

RHP Mike Scott (59)
Originally drafted by the Mets in the second round in 1976, Scott came to Houston in a trade for OF/1B Danny Heep in December of 1982. In 263 games pitched for Houston from 1983 to 1991, he was 110-81 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.144 WHIP. But it was the magical 1986 season that made Scott a Houston folk hero as he won the Cy Young Award and went 18-10 with a 2.22 ERA and a 0.923 over 275.1 innings pitched. And there was the little matter of clinching the NL West by pitching a no-hitter.

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

Blum played for Houston during two stints, in 2002 and 2003 and again in 2008 to 2010. A seventh round draft pick by the Expos in 1994, he first came to Houston in a trade with the Expos for 3B Chris Truby before being traded away two years later to Tampa Bay for RHP Brandon Backe. The second time around Blum signed as a free agent. In a total of 580 games for Houston, he hit .259/.317/.394. Most Astros fans have a love-hate relationship with Blum. He was a very popular player in Houston, but he also hit a game-deciding home run against the Astros in the World Series in 2005 so there's that. He finished his career playing for the Diamondbacks in 2012 and is currently (allegedly) a television announcer for the Astros, reportedly broadcasting on some network called CSN Houston, but I have no way of independently verifying that since I have DirecTV.

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

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

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

Tweet of the Day

Friday, April 25, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

Plenty of moves coming in over the last couple of days. The big piece of news from today was that Mark Appel is on his way to Kissimmee from Lancaster.

In addition, 2B Yoel Silfa was released on April 17. Silfa, 20, played in 24 games with the GCL Astros last season.

April 24 Moves

OKLAHOMA CITY REDHAWKS

C Ryan McCurdy placed on the temporarily inactive list.
RHP Chia-Jen Lo activated from the temporarily inactive list.

CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS

LHP Colton Cain placed on the 7-day DL.
RHP Troy Scribner promoted from extended spring training.

QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

LHP Chris Lee assigned to extended spring training.
LHP Chris Cotton promoted from extended spring training.

April 25 Moves

OKLAHOMA CITY REDHAWKS

RHP Jose Cisnero recalled to Houston.

LANCASTER JETHAWKS

RHP Mark Appel assigned to extended spring training.
1B Bobby Borchering activated from the 7-day DL.
RHP Kyle Smith activated from the temporarily inactive list.
OF Jordan Scott placed on the temporarily inactive list.



Beat the Streak, April 25

Well, it seems that we've got a new leader. It's not me. Jon Singleton went hitless, and Andrew Aplin got the night off. I originally chose Quad Cities 1B Conrad Gregor, but the River Bandits were rained out. And so, I'm still at 0.

Jayne saw her 7-game hitting streak end as Roberto Peña and the Lancaster offense was shackled by Inland Empire.

pacbellpilgrim got off the canvas with Tony Kemp and Preston Tucker coming through.

I was obviously suffering from the no-sleep headache yesterday, because I forgot that Matt Naber picked Preston Tucker on Wednesday, who was 0-3 that night. No matter, he still got himself going again with a Rio Ruiz single.

Thomas Marr is back at the start as Enrique Hernandez went 0-4.

And your new leader is..... Rip Noblin, who got hits from Gregorio Petit and Jio Mier for a successful double down. He's now at 3.

Today, I'll be sticking with Jon Singleton as one-half of my double down; the other half will be Brett Phillips.

Today's Schedule

OKC vs. Nashville, 7:05
Corpus Christi vs. Frisco, 7:10
Lancaster @ Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05
Quad Cities @ Peoria, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Rip Noblin- 3

pacbellpilgrim- 2

Matt Naber- 1

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, April 24

Oklahoma City 6, Nashville 1

W- Mike Foltynewicz (2-1)
L- Ariel Peña (0-1)
S- Rudy Owens (1)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks were up 2-1 at stretch time, but they put this game away with 4 in the bottom of the 7th inning.

Mike Foltynewicz went 5 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. He also induced 9 groundouts, against 1 flyout. Rudy Owens brought it home by firing 4 scoreless frames, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3.

Domingo Santana went 3-4 and kicked things off with an RBI triple in the 2nd. He's now on a 6-game hitting streak. He would score on a Kiké Hernandez groundout later in the inning. Ronald Torreyes went 2-4 and socked a 2-run double in the bottom of the 7th to double OKC's lead. Gregorio Petit followed with an RBI single, and Jon Singleton brought home Torreyes for the RedHawks' final run with a groundout.

Jose Cisnero and Jake Buchanan will be tonight's pairing; they'll face Mike Fiers in game 2 of this series. First pitch is at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 9, Midland 3

W- Tommy Shirley (2-2)
L- Andrew Werner (0-2)
S- Matt Heidenreich (1)

CC home runs: Matt Duffy (2, 2-run in 1st)

The Hooks took the series as Tommy Shirley shined once again. Scoring the game's first 6 runs through the first 6 innings helps as well.

Shirley threw 6 shutout innings and allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6, while lowering his ERA to 1.16, which is good for 4th in the Texas League. Matt Heidenreich went 3 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 4 to finish it off.

Matt Duffy got it started in the 1st with a 2-run blast. Tyler Heineman went 1-3 with an RBI single in the 2nd. Chris Epps, who was the only player in the lineup without a hit, walked twice and stole home as part of a double steal in the 5th inning. The Hooks got a pair of sac flies in the 6th from Jio Mier and Heineman. M.P. Cokinos was 2-4 with a double and an RBI single in the 7th, and Jio, who went 2-3, brought home Corpus' final runs with a 2-run single. Nolan Fontana was 2-4 with a double and a run scored.

With Colton Cain on the DL, it looks like Jordan Jankowski has stepped in to become Brady Rodgers' new partner. They'll be the pairing for tonight as the Hooks are set to begin a 4-game weekend (and Monday) series with Frisco. Jankowski will go first, and he'll face Jerad Eickhoff at 7:10.

Inland Empire 6, Lancaster 0

W- Nate Smith (3-2)
L- Kyle Westwood (1-1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks had to settle for a split as the offense was grounded, and the wheels fell off late as 5 of the 66ers' 6 runs came in the 7th (3) and 8th (2).

Lancaster could only manage 4 singles: one each from Tony Kemp, Carlos Correa, Rio Ruiz, and Danry Vasquez. Kemp also drew the JetHawks' only walk.

Kyle Westwood was the tough-luck loser in this one despite having another solid start. He went 5 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Vince Velasquez had a rough go of it, as he gave up 5 runs on 8 hits (2 2-run homers), walked 1, and struck out 3 in 2 innings. Dan Minor allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in a scoreless 8th. Minor's walk loaded the bases, but he was able to get himself out of there unharmed.

The JetHawks will now begin a weekend set in Rancho Cucamonga. The series opener will be a tag team match, with Kyle Smith and Lance McCullers answering the bell for the JetHawks. They'll be taking on a pair of lefties: a rehabbing Clayton Kershaw and the teen phenom, Julio Urias. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Quad Cities and Clinton was postponed

Due to rain. As this was the only time that the River Bandits will visit Clinton in the 1st half, this game will be made up when the LumberKings visit the Quad Cities. The doubleheader is scheduled for Monday, April 28.

The River Bandits will play in Peoria this weekend; Kent Emanuel and Jandel Gustave were scheduled to start yesterday; instead, they'll take on Jimmy Reed tonight. First pitch is at 6:30.

Three Stars

3.

photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Ronald Torreyes, 2B, Oklahoma City
2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R



Domingo Santana, LF, Oklahoma City
3-4, 3B, RBI, R


2. OKC tandem.



Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Oklahoma City
W (2-1), 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, K



Rudy Owens, LHP, Oklahoma City
Save (1), 4 IP, 2 H, 3 K


1.




Tommy Shirley, LHP, Corpus Christi
W (2-2), 6 IP, 4 H, BB, 6 K




Honorable Mentions: Jio Mier, Kyle Westwood


Happy Birthday - 4/25

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Carlos Perdomo (24)
Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela by the Phillies in 2007, Perdomo signed with Houston as a minor league free agent prior to the 2013 season. Perdomo spent the vast majority of last season at Lancaster, hitting .294/.374/.377 for the season. In the first 11 games of the 2014 campaign, he is hitting .355/.421/.452 for the JetHawks.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

1B Chuck Harrison (73)
Harrison was the first major league player to have come out of Texas Tech University. He played for the Astros from 1965 to 1967. Although quite a slugger in the minor leagues where he hit 40 home runs in one season in 1964, he was never able to even come close to that kind of power in the Astrodome. He was traded to Atlanta along with Sonny Jackson in 1967 for Denny Lemaster and Dennis Menke.

RHP Bill Greif (64)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 1968, Greif only pitched in seven games for the Astros in 1971 before being shipped to San Diego as part of a trade for LHP Dave Roberts. His first major league victory came when he went in to pitch in relief in the 20th inning of a 21 inning affair against the Padres.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beat the Streak, April 24

My streak was short-lived, as Chase McDonald's 2-4 night for Quad Cities was cancelled by Tony Kemp's 0-3, 2 BB night for Lancaster. 

Jayne stood pat at 7 as Tyler White was off. 

Rip Noblin got a hit from Matt Duffy, but Dan Gulbransen was off. Per MLB.com's rules, his streak stays at 1. 

hooksfan and pacbellpilgrim were sent back to the start, as Preston Tucker was 0-3 with a walk. Nance also saw her streak end with Andrew Aplin's 0-fer, as well. Chris doubled down with Teoscar Hernandez and Aplin, and their hitless nights will keep him at square one, at least for now. 

Matt Naber of House of Houston got 2 hits from Rio Ruiz to extend his streak to 2. 

Today, I'll be doubling down again with a pair of first basemen in Jon Singleton and Conrad Gregor. 

Today's Schedule

OKC vs. Nashville, 7:05
Corpus Christi vs. Midland, 7:10
Lancaster @ Inland Empire, 9:05
Quad Cities @ Clinton, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Jayne- 7

Matt Naber- 2 

Rip Noblin, Thomas Marr- 1

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, April 23


Oklahoma City was off

As part of a league-wide off day in the Pacific Coast League. Tonight, they'll begin a 4-game series at home against Nashville at 7:05. Mike Foltynewicz and Rudy Owens will start the opener against Ariel Peña.

Midland 3, Corpus Christi 1

W- Chris Jensen (2-0)
L- Luis Cruz (2-2)
S- Murphy Smith (1)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks were held in check as they couldn't muster up anything in support of Luis Cruz, who had a nice outing. He went 6 innings and the only blemish on his line was a solo homer from Jefry Marte in the 5th. Cruz gave up 3 other hits and struck out 3 in his outing. R.J. Alaniz, who was making his season debut, pitched the final 3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 2.

Nolan Fontana's RBI double in the 8th accounted for the lone Hooks run and the lone Hooks extra-base hit. Leo Heras went 2-4.

Tommy Shirley and Matt Heidenreich will be the pairing for the series finale, and they will face Andrew Werner at 7:10.

Inland Empire 4, Lancaster 3 in 12 innings

W- Eduard Santos (1-0)
L- Tyson Perez (0-1)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks walked off with a loss a half-inning after they spoiled a situation with 2 runners in scoring position and no outs.

Mark Appel, who is well below-form at the moment, labored through 2.1 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Juan Minaya was the first reliever out of the bullpen and struck out 2 over 1.2 perfect innings. Mitch Lambson worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 5th. Mike Hauschild came in to piggyback and threw 4 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 3. Tyson Perez was next up, and he went 2.1 innings and allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 3. He got the loss, as J.D. Osborne allowed one of the 2 runners he inherited to score, as Sherman Johnson delivered the game-winning single with 1 out in the 12th. Osborne faced 2 66ers and did not retire either of them.

Brandon Meredith drew a 1-out walk in the 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a Danry Vasquez single, and scored Lancaster's first run on a sac fly from Carlos Perdomo. The JetHawks tied the game with a pair of RBI singles from Meredith and Carlos Correa in the 6th. Roberto Peña went 3-4 with a double, and Rio Ruiz was 2-6 with a double.

In the series finale, Kyle Westwood and Vince Velasquez will take on Nate Smith at 7:05 Pacific.

Quad Cities 7, Clinton 1

W- Andrew Thurman (2-1)
L- Carlos Misell (3-1)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits have put up 15, 11, and now 16 hits in the first 3 games of this series. The game was tied at 1 after the 1st inning, but QC scored the final 6 runs to win handily. Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Jon Kemmer, who went 0-5 with a K.

Tanner Mathis led off the game with a triple and Chan-Jong Moon opened the scoring with an RBI single one batter later. Moon, who finished 4-5, hit a triple of his own in the 3rd and wound up scoring on the play, thanks to an error. Jobduan Morales went 3-3, and all of his hits were doubles. 2 of those (in the 4th and 7th) resulted in an RBI, and he also walked twice. Moon added a 2-run single in the 6th, and Chase McDonald finished 2-4 with an RBI single in the 8th. Conrad Gregor also had a nice night at the plate as he went 3-5 with a double. 3 straight multi-hit games for Gregor has raised his average to an even .300.

Chris Lee went 4 innings and allowed a run on 5 hits and struck out 2. Andrew Thurman also went 4 innings as he got the victory; he allowed a hit and struck out 5. And finally, Albert Minnis struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th. Thurman has really turned it up as of late; this was another outstanding stint on the mound after two rough ones to open the season.

In the series finale, Kent Emanuel and Jandel Gustave will take on Jake Zokan. First pitch is at 6:30.

Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Carlos Correa, SS, Lancaster
1-4, RBI, R, 2 BB, 2 SB (4)



2. And I want Korean food, all of a sudden.



Chan-Jong Moon, SS, Quad Cities
4-5, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R




1.



Jobduan Morales, C, Quad Cities
3-3, 3 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB



Three Stars: Pitchers

3.


Mike Hauschild's Twitter: @MikeHauschild3

Mike Hauschild, RHP, Lancaster
4 IP, H, BB, 3 K



2.



Luis Cruz, LHP, Corpus Christi
L (2-2), 6 IP, 4 H (solo HR), ER, 3 K



1.




Andrew Thurman, RHP, Quad Cities
W (2-1), 4 IP, H, 5 K

Andrew Thurman's last 3 appearances:  2-0, 0.68 ERA, 13.1 IP, 9 H, ER, BB, 18 K




Astros Minor League Snapshot

Another week under the Astros minor leaguers belts ... let's see how they're doing at the end of Week Three of the season.

OKLAHOMA CITY REDHAWKS

1st   12-8   .600   0.0GB   W1

After yesterday's off day, the RedHawks remain in first place in their division, holding a one and a half game lead over the Iowa Cubs and the Omaha Storm Chasers. The 'Hawks will not face Iowa until July 3rd, but have a series coming up in Omaha the first weekend in May. In the interim, they will have an 8-game home stand against Nashville (9-10) and Round Rock (10-9). OKC hasn't faced Nashville yet this season, but they went 2-2 against Round Rock in the opening series of the season.

Jon Singleton ranks at or among the top of the league in several offensive categories, including most home runs (8) and most RBI (25). Austin Wates still leads in stolen bases (8) despite his current disabled list stint. Domingo Santana is tied for second in the league in doubles (8). Rudy Owens (0.931) and David Martinez (1.000) are in the top 10 in the league in terms of WHIP.

CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS

3rd   11-8   .579   2.0GB   L1

The Hooks are currently in third place in their division, two games behind Frisco and a half a game in back of Midland. Corpus Christi is 2-1 in their current series with Midland and could take second place back from the RockHounds with a win tonight. That will be followed by a four-game home series against Frisco, against whom the Hooks are 1-3 this season. After that, it's off to Midland for a road series. The Hooks' fate over the next nine games in is their own hands. It will be interesting to see where they stand a week from now.

Preston Tucker is among the league leaders in slugging percentage, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI, while Andrew Aplin ranks highly in on-base percentage and RBI, and leads the league in walks with 18. Matt Duffy and Nolan Fontana are tied atop the leader board with seven doubles each (and Duffy is also in the top 10 in RBI). Delino DeShields is tied for second with his six stolen bases.

On the pitching side, there are several standouts but no one stands out quite so much as lefty Tommy Shirley at this point. He is fourth in the league in ERA (1.56), third in WHIP (0.865) and tied for second in strikeouts with 22. Fellow lefty Luis Cruz is also in the top 10 in ERA (1.99) and WHIP (1.059). Brady Rodgers (1.61 ERA) and Aaron West (1.110 WHIP) also have top 10 numbers. Ross Seaton with his 12th place ERA of 2.65 was just promoted to Oklahoma City yesterday.

LANCASTER JETHAWKS

2nd   13-7   .650   1.0GB   L1

The JetHawks dropped a game behind High Desert with an extra-inning loss to Inland Empire last night. The 'Hawks have one more game against Inland Empire who they are leading 2-1 in the series before heading out to Rancho Cucamonga (5-15) for three over the weekend. They will then face High Desert (against whom they are 3-3 this season) at home starting Monday.

Tony Kemp is all over the leader board with top 10 rankings in average, on-base percentage, hits, doubles, walks, stolen bases and a league-leading 27 runs scored. Teoscar Hernandez' six triples lead the league, and he also ranks in the top 10 in slugging percentage, runs, hits, RBI and stolen bases. Others ranking in the top 10 offensively are Rio Ruiz (doubles), Carlos Correa (RBI) and Brandon Meredith (home runs).

Vincent Velasquez (1.29 ERA and 0.667 WHIP), Kyle Westwood (2.05 ERA and 0.864 WHIP) and Kyle Smith (2.37 ERA and 1.053 WHIP) are all in the top 10 of the league in those categories. Josh Hader has the second most strikeouts in the league (29); Vincent Velasquez and Mike Hauschild also rank in the top 10 in strikeouts.

QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

T6th   9-10   .474   4.0GB  W2

The River Bandits are currently tied for sixth place in the division (out of eight teams), trailing the Kane County Cougars by four games. The Bandits are only a half game behind Clinton who they will be playing tonight for the final game of a series which they lead 2-1. That will be followed by three road games against third place Peoria before hosting Clinton at home starting Monday.

Bandits who are among the league leaders in offensive categories are Tyler White (OBP), Conrad Gregor (hits), Brett Phillips (hits) and James Ramsay (BB, SB). On the pitching side, only Andrew Thurman's strikeouts rank in the top 10, but that is because Gonzalo Sanudo (0.00 ERA and 0.846 WHIP) hasn't pitched enough innings to qualify as a league leader; similarly, Kent Emanuel's 0.933 WHIP would rank highly had he pitched a couple more innings. The terrific relief performances from Tyler Brunnemann (0.79 ERA & 0.529 WHIP) and Patrick Christensen (1.29 ERA & 1.000 WHIP) would also rank in the top 10 if they qualified.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

The following moves were effective April 23rd:

OKLAHOMA CITY
RHP Ross Seaton assigned from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City

CORPUS CHRISTI
RHP Michael Dimock assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
RHP R.J. Alaniz assigned to Corpus Christi
1B Telvin Nash placed on the temporary inactive list

LANCASTER
RHP Kyle Smith placed on the temporary inactive list

Also, in case you missed it from yesterday, I saw that OF Drew Muren, who had played with the Hooks last year, has signed to play Independent League ball with the Sioux Falls Canaries this season. I had heard that he was released by the Astros, but had never seen any confirmation.

Happy Birthday - 4/24

Happy Birthday to ~

OKC Manager Tony DeFrancesco (51)
Drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round in 1984, Tony spent several years in the Boston and Cincinnati minor league systems, but never made it to the bigs. After coaching in the Oakland system for several years, DeFrancesco helmed the Redhawks team for the first time in 2011. After spending the bulk of the 2012 season with OKC, he took over as Manager for the Astros for the final 41 games of the season going 16-25. DeFrancesco is currently on medical leave, but we are all hoping to see him return to the field soon.

Former Astros with birthdays today ~

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

RHP Todd Jones (46)
A first round draft pick by Houston in 1989, Jones played for the Astros from 1993 to 1996 before being included in this trade to Detroit (according to Baseball-Reference):
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Orlando Miller and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.
He went on to play in 16 seasons for eight different teams. While with Houston, he was 18-12 with 39 saves in 194 games, and had a 3.27 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP. He was the AL saves leader and an All-Star in 2000 for Detroit.

CF Carlos Beltran (37)
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 1995, Beltran came to Houston in this trade:
June 24, 2004: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sent Mark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.
In 90 regular season games for Houston in 2004, he hit .258/.368/.559 with 17 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs and 58 RBI. In post-season play for Houston, he hit .435 in 12 games with eight home runs and 14 RBI.

There are many awards and superlatives associated with Beltran's career, but because of the way he left Houston, one of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking of him is a sign I saw in the stands during the 2005 World Series reading "How's the view from your couch, Beltran?"

Beltran is in his first season with the Yankees.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beat the Streak, April 23

Yes! With Jon Singleton and Teoscar Hernandez going deep, my slump was busted.

So, what happened in Tuesday's games?

- Jayne still leads the pack as Domingo Santana delivered an RBI single early on in Memphis to move up to 7.
- Nance got a perfect day from Robbie Grossman to extend her streak to 2. Matt Naber got off the canvas with Grossman.
- pacbellpilgrim's double down paid off with Ronald Torreyes and Carlos Correa, moving him into 2nd place.
- hooksfan got a triple from Brett Phillips as QC blasted Clinton.
- Thomas Marr got back in the game with Andrew Aplin's RBI single.
- Chris (@BullpenBoxes) also got a homer from Teoscar, but Preston Tucker was 0-4.
- Rip Noblin also began a new streak with Rio Ruiz.

Today, I'll go with a couple of 2013 draftees: Tony Kemp and Chase McDonald.

Today's Games

OKC is off.
CC vs. Midland, 7:10
Lancaster @ Inland Empire, 9:05
Quad Cities @ Clinton, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Jayne- 7

pacbellpilgrim- 4

Daniel Nelson (hooksfan)- 3

Nance, Me- tied at 2

Rip Noblin, Matt Naber, Thomas Marr- tied at 1

Former Astros Playing in Independent League Baseball

With Atlantic League Independent baseball (including the local Sugar Land Skeeters) getting started up this week, I looked around to see what former Astros and/or former Astro minor leaguers are currently on Independent League rosters. Here are a few that I've found:

ATLANTIC LEAGUE - Season starts 4/24

Bridgeport Bluefish
Drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 2004
Played in 155 games for the Astros from 2007 to 2011, hitting .187/.267/.315
Since played in Twins, Cardinals and Dodgers minor league systems

Camden Riversharks
Originally signed by the Phillies out of Venezuela in 2004
Signed with Houston as a free agent in November 2012
Played in 49 games for Houston with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.295 WHIP in 2011
Missed 2012 after a freak injury and played for AA Corpus Christi in 2013

Long Island Ducks
Drafted by Houston in the 23rd round in 2010
Played three seasons in the Astros minor league system from 2010 to 2012
Played for the Ducks in 2013, hitting .254/.292/.402 with 24 doubles, five triples and 15 home runs

Somerset Patriots
Drafted by Houston in the 19th round in 2003
Played in 46 games for Houston in 2008 and 2009, hitting .276/.317/.342
Played with the Brewers and Cubs organizations in 2012 and 2013

Sugar Land Skeeters
Drafted by Houston in the 8th round in 2005
Played in the Astros minor league system from 2005 to 2011
Played in the Toronto minor league system in 2012
Played for the Skeeters in 2013, hitting .219/.336/.416 with 14 doubles and 21 home runs

Drafted by the White Sox in the 2nd round in 1998
Played in the major leagues for the Expos, Nationals and Reds from 2004 to 2008
Pitched in two games for the Astros in 2010
Pitched for the Skeeters in 2012 and 2013 (1.79 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 62 games in 2013)

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION - Exhibition Games Start 5/4

Grand Prairie Air Hogs
Signed by Houston out of Venezuela prior to the 2007 season
Played in the Astros minor league system from 2007 to 2012
Pitched for the Air Hogs in 2013 (4.98 ERA & 1.593 WHIP in 9 games/8 starts)

Lincoln Salt Dogs
RHP Danny Meszaros (28)
Drafted by Houston in the 48th round in 2008
Played in the Astros minor league system in 2008 to 2011
Sat out the 2012 season after undergoing TJ surgery
Pitched for the Salt Dogs in 2013 (5.52 ERA & 1.364 WHIP in 22 games)

Drafted by the Astros in the 7th round in 2008
Played in the Astros system from 2008 to 2011
Played briefly in the White Sox organization in 2012
Played Independent League ball for Fargo-Moorhead, Laredo & Lincoln in 2012 and 2013
Hit .260/.332/.390 with 16 doubles, two triples & three home runs in 58 games last season

Sioux Falls Canaries
LHP Adam Champion (26)  According to Kirk Clark, Adam has retired.
Drafted by Houston in the 24th round in 2010
Played in the Astros minor league system for two seasons in 2010 and 2011
Pitched for Somerset, Evansville and Sioux Falls in 2012 and 2013
Had a 6.29 ERA and a 1.632 WHIP in 24 starts for Sioux Falls in 2013

RHP Kirk Clark (25)
Signed by Houston as a NDFA out of Creighton in 2009
Pitched for Houston from 2009 to 2012
Pitched in 10 games for Schaumburg in 2012
Pitched for the Canaries in 2013 (3.86 ERA & 1.634 WHIP in 36 games)

LHP Joe Bircher (24)
Drafted by Houston in the 10th round in 2012
Pitched in the Astros system in 2012 and 2013 (3.59 ERA & 1.385 WHIP)

RHP Erick Gonzalez (22)
Drafted by Houston in the 15th round in 2012
Pitched in the Astros system in 2012 and 2013 (2.83 ERA and 1.389 WHIP)

OF Drew Muren (25)
[NOTE: I had heard that Drew had been released, but never saw it reported officially. I think we can safely say that is the case since he is now listed on the Canaries roster.]
Drafted by Houston in the 22nd round in 2011
Played in the Houston system from 2011 to 2013, hitting .270/.347/.378

Saint Paul Saints
Drafted in the 5th round in 2009 by the Astros
Played for Houston from 2009 to 2013, hitting .273/.345/.303
Missed virtually all of the 2013 season due to injuries sustained in an auto accident

Winnipeg Goldeyes
RHP Christian Garcia (22)
Drafted by Houston in the 29th round in 2012
Pitched in the Houston system from 2012 to 2013 (4.85 ERA and 1.456 WHIP)

Sioux City Explorers
LHP Kenny Long (25)
Drafted in the 22nd round in 2012 by Houston
Pitched in the Houston system from 2012 to 2013 (4.25 ERA and 1.333 WHIP)

FRONTIER LEAGUE - Season starts 5/16

Traverse City Beach Bums
Drafted by the Rockies in the 11th round in 2011
Came to the Houston system in the December 2012 Wilton Lopez trade
Only pitched in three games for Lancaster in 2013 before missing the remainder of the season due to injury

Normal Cornbelters
Signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic
Played in the Astros minor league system from 2006 through 2012
Pitched for the Cornbelters in 2013 (4.55 ERA and 1.638 WHIP in 22 games/8 starts)

Frontier Greys
Originally signed by the Giants as a NDFA out of Perth, Australia
Drafted by Houston in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December 2012
Pitched 40 games at three levels in the Houston system in 2013 (4.60 ERA & 1.517 WHIP)

Southern Illinois Miners
Drafted by Houston in the 2nd round in 2008
Played from 2008 to 2012 in the Astros minor league system, hitting .249/.312/.353
Did not play in 2013

Joliet Slammers
Signed with Houston as a NDFA out of Coastal Carolina in 2013
Pitched in 20 games for the Greeneville Astros in 2013 (5.22 ERA & 1.670 WHIP)

Drafted by the White Sox in the 11th round in 2011
Came to the Houston system in the July 2012 Brett Myers trade
Pitched for Lancaster in 2013 (1 start at Oklahoma City) with a 7.18 ERA and 1.906 WHIP

Rockford Aviators
Signed by Houston as a NDFA in 2012
Pitched in the Houston system in 2012 and 2013 (4.08 ERA & 1.413 WHIP in 46 games)

I feel certain that I've probably missed a few guys, and there will likely be a few more signing up as the various opening days get closer. If you know of a former Astro playing Independent ball this season that I missed, leave a comment and I'll add them to the list.

I think I'll post this on the sidebar of the main page of the blog so that we can keep an eye on these guys. I don't know about you, but my interest in them doesn't end when they leave the nest. Best of luck to all of the lads!



Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sweep!



Oklahoma City 8, Memphis 3

W- David Martinez (3-2)
L- Scott McGregor (0-3)

OKC home runs: Jon Singleton (8, solo in 3rd), Jonathan Meyer (1, solo in 3rd)

The RedHawks earned the split as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first third of the game, then added 3 more in the 7th to secure the victory.

David Martinez went 5 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits and walked 1. Bobby Doran tagged in for 3 innings and gave up 2 runs (both in the 8th) on 4 hits and walked 1, and Rhiner Cruz worked around a pair of 2-out hits to finish it off, striking out the side in the 9th. All 3 OKC strikeouts belonged to Cruz.

Robbie Grossman began the game with a walk and opened the scoring when he came home on a Domingo Santana single. Ronald Torreyes added an RBI single in the 2nd, and then Singleton and Meyer both hit solo blasts in the 3rd. Kiké Hernandez added to the lead in the 7th when he hit a 2-run double, and Singleton chipped in once again with a sac fly. Meyer, who finished 2-4, scored OKC's final run as he scored on a wild pitck from Nick Greenwood/Erik Castro walk in the 8th. Grossman reached safely in all 5 of his plate appearances, going 2-2 with 2 runs scored and 3 walks.

After getting today off, the RedHawks will welcome Nashville to Bricktown for a 4-game series beginning Thursday. Mike Foltynewicz and Rudy Owens are scheduled to be Thursday's pairing; they'll take on Ariel Peña at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 6, Midland 5 in 12 innings

W- Andrew Robinson (3-0)
L- Conner Crumbliss (0-1); he actually started in RF in this game.

CC home runs: Chris Epps (1, grand slam in 2nd)

The Hooks found themselves in a 5-0 hole as the RockHounds jumped on Aaron West in the first 2 innings. They responded by landing a haymaker in the 2nd in the form of Chris Epps' grand slam, and Andrew Aplin tied the game with an RBI single in the 4th. 15 zeros on the board later, Nolan Fontana finally put up a 1 in the bottom of the 12th with his 4th hit of the evening, a single to bring home Jio Mier. Aplin, Matt Duffy, and Mier all had 2 hits; Fontana finished 4-7.

West went 3.1 innings and allowed 5 runs on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. The bullpen proceeded to throw 8.2 scoreless to pick him up. Alex Sogard was first up, and he allowed 2 hits and walked 1 in 2.2. The next 3 relievers threw 2 innings apiece: Jordan Jankowski allowed a hit while striking out 3. Travis Ballew allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. And finally, Andrew Robinson allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3.

Luis Cruz and Ross Seaton will take on Andrew Werner in game 3 at 7:10.

Lancaster 5, Inland Empire 1

W- Josh Hader (1-0)
L- Alex Keudell (0-3)

Lancaster home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (2, 2-run in 1st)

The JetHawks took off with 4 in the 1st... and they were never seriously threatened in this one as they won rather handily, leading 5-0 after 2 innings and holding the 66ers to 3 hits.

Tony Kemp led off with a single, and then Teoscar Hernandez opened things up with his 2-run homer. The blast extended Hernandez's hitting streak to 8 games. After Carlos Correa lined out, Rio Ruiz got on board with a single, then scored on a Brandon Meredith double. Meredith came around to score on Danry Vasquez's single. Jordan Scott led off the 2nd with a double, advanced to 3rd on a Kemp flyout, and scored on a wild pitch. Kemp, Correa, and Ruiz each had 2 hits; Correa now has 3 straight multi-hit outings.

Coming off his worst outing of the season, Josh Hader bounced back impressively. He went 5 innings and allowed a run on just 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. Chris Devenski allowed a hit and struck out 2 over 3 scoreless frames, and Jamaine Cotton struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Mark Appel, after a period of extended rest, will make his return to the JetHawks rotation. He and Mike Hauschild will face Tyler DeLoach at 7:05 Pacific.

Quad Cities 11, Clinton 2

W- Pat Christensen (1-1)
L- Eddie Campbell (1-1)

QC home runs: Thomas Lindauer 2 (2, 2-run in 3rd, 2-run in 4th)

Well, that was quick. In his 2nd game of the season, QC native Thomas Lindauer became the new clubhouse leader in home runs as he belted a couple of 2-run shots off of Clinton starter Eddie Campbell and added an RBI single in the 8th. In fact, the two new additions to the River Bandits roster wasted little time in making an impact on their club. Alex Gonzalez, who spent all of last year in the GCL, got the start at 3B and went 2-5 with a pair of run-scoring doubles in the 3rd (1 RBI) and the 9th (2). He also scored the only run that wasn't batted in when he came home on an error that allowed Jobduan Morales to reach in the 4th. Chase McDonald also had himself a pair of RBI doubles in the 3rd and the 9th.

Adrian Houser went 4 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 4, and struck out 3. Pat Christensen worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 5th. Gonzalo Sañudo tagged in for 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3. He's now on a 39-inning scoreless streak dating back to last season. Andrew Walter walked 1 and struck out 1 in a scoreless 9th to end it.

Chris Lee and Andrew Thurman will be the pairing for game 3, and they'll be taking on Carlos Misell. First pitch is at 6:30.

Three Stars: Pitchers

3.



Gonzalo Sañudo, RHP, Quad Cities
3 IP, 2 H, 3 K


2. Corpus bullpen




These are their mugshots on MiLB.com.

Combined: 8.2 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 7 K

Alex Sogard, LHP, Jordan Jankowski, RHP, Travis Ballew, RHP, and Andrew Robinson, RHP

Sogard: 2.2 IP, 2 H, BB
Jankowski: 2 IP, H, 3 K
Ballew: 2 IP, 2 H, BB, K
Robinson: W (3-0), 2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K


1.




Josh Hader, LHP, Lancaster
W (1-0), 5 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 7 K


Chris Devenski, Lancaster
3 IP, H, 2 K




Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Robbie Grossman, CF, Oklahoma City
2-2, 2 R, 3 BB



2.



Alex Gonzalez, 3B, Quad Cities
2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI


Nolan Fontana, 2B/SS, Corpus Christi
4-7, GW RBI single in 12th



1.




Thomas Lindauer, SS, Quad Cities
3-5, 2 HR (2), 5 RBI


Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beat the Streak, April 22

I'm still in the rut as James Ramsay came through with a 2-4 evening, but Matt Duffy went 0-4. 

Danry Vasquez went 2-4 to extend Jayne's streak to 6. Rip Noblin got a 3-5 night from Conrad Gregor, but an 0-5 night from Rio Ruiz, so he's back to the start. Nance got herself going again with Carlos Correa, while pacbellpilgrim kept it rolling with Correa. Baseball Mom's choice, M.P. Cokinos, didn't play last night. Matt Naber of House of Houston also went with Ruiz, and as a result, he's still stuck at zero. 

Well, at least I've got company at the bottom rung, right? I'll be picking Jon Singleton and Teoscar Hernandez today. 

Today's Games

OKC @ Memphis, 11:02 A.M.
CC vs. Midland, 7:10
Lancaster @ Inland Empire, 9:05
Quad Cities @ Clinton, 12:30

Current Active Streaks

Jayne- 6

Daniel Nelson, pacbellpilgrim- tied at 2 

Nance- 1

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, April 21, 2014

Memphis 7, Oklahoma City 4

W- Jorge Rondon (1-0)
L- Josh Zeid (2-1)
S- David Aardsma (1)

OKC home runs: Max Stassi (5, solo in 2nd), Robbie Grossman (1, solo in 8th)

Memphis has taken the last 2 since OKC took the opener. Robbie Grossman's solo homer made it a 5-4 game in the 8th, but the Redbirds scored 2 in the bottom of the inning to put the game out of reach.

Max Stassi opened the scoring with a solo homer in the 2nd; he's homered in 3 straight contests. He would add a sac fly in the 4th, and later in the inning, Domingo Santana chipped in with an RBI single. Ronald Torreyes and Gregorio Petit had 2 hits apiece.

With Collin McHugh on his way to Seattle, Nick Tropeano was flying solo in this one. He went 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits (2 solo homers), walked 2, and struck out 3. Kevin Chapman allowed a hit, walked 1, and fanned 3 over 2 scoreless. Josh Zeid allowed a 2-run homer to Greg Garcia in the 7th, and Jason Stoffel allowed a 2-run double to Randal Grichuk in the 8th.

In the series finale, David Martinez and Bobby Doran will take on Scott McGregor at 11:02 A.M.

Corpus Christi 5, Midland 2

W- Brady Rodgers (1-1)
L- Shawn Haviland (0-1)
S- Pat Urckfitz (1)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (4, 2-run in 3rd)

A 5-run 3rd proved to be all the Hooks needed on offense, while the pitching was solid across the board.

Brady Rodgers went 5 innings and allowed a run on 5 hits and struck out 4. Colton Cain allowed a run (inherited runner scored) on 4 hits and struck out 2 in 1.1; he gave way to Jorge De Leon, who did allow one of the 3 baserunners he inherited from Cain to score on a sac fly, but he was able to limit the damage in the 7th. De Leon then worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 8th. Pat Urckfitz finished it with a 1-2-3 9th.

Chris Epps began the 3rd-inning outburst with a sac fly. Joe Sclafani grounded into a force out that allowed Rene Garcia to score; he would come home on a single from Andrew Aplin, and then Tucker capped it off with his blast. The Hooks were outhit 10-6, but... that's not the column that comes into play when the win-loss record is concerned. Sclafani went 2-4 with a steal (1).

In game 2, Aaron West will take on Nate Long. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 9, Inland Empire 4

W- Kyle Smith (3-0)
L- Jairo Diaz (0-2)

Lancaster home runs: Dan Gulbransen (1, 2-run in 9th)

The JetHawks blasted off late with an 8-1 run, highlighted by a 6-run 9th inning, to take the opener. The offense was shackled by 66ers starter Ryan Crowley for 7 innings, but when the bullpen came out, the JetHawks went on a feeding frenzy.

Danry Vasquez hit a 1-out double in the 2nd and would score Lancaster's 1st run as he came home on a Dan Gulbransen single. They would initially tie the game at 3 thanks to a pair in the 8th. Ruben Sosa drew a 1-out walk, then scored on a Tony Kemp double. Kemp, who finished a home run short of the cycle in 5 at-bats, then stole 3rd (6) and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Inland Empire briefly regained the lead in the bottom of the 8th, but Brandon Meredith ignited the huge 9th by drawing a walk to lead off the inning. He re-tied the game by scoring on a Vasquez triple, and then Roberto Peña chose a fine time for his 1st RBI of the season by ripping a double to deep left to put Lancaster up for good. Gulbransen also picked a fine time to hit his 1st home run of the season as well; the 2-run shot extended the JetHawks lead to 7-4. Kemp greeted Grant Gordon with a triple, and Teoscar Hernandez followed suit by sending Kemp home. Carlos Correa finished 2-4 and brought home Hernandez with a single for the final run of the inning. Vasquez and Gulbransen also finished 2-4.

Lance McCullers went 5 innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Kyle Smith was one out away in the 8th from throwing 3 perfect innings, but he issued a walk and paid for it when Zach Wright brought that run home with a double. That would be all the 66ers got off of Smith, who went 3 innings and struck out 3. Dan Minor finished the game by striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Game 2 of this series pits Josh Hader and Chris Devenski against Alex Keudell. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Clinton 7, Quad Cities 6

W- Blake Holovach (2-1)
L- Zach Morton (1-1)
S- Emilio Pagan (4)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits dropped a tough one; they put up 4 in the top of the 7th to take a 6-5 lead, only to see the LumberKings score 2 in the bottom of the 8th to regain the lead.

The Bandits pounded out 15 hits, but it looks like they couldn't string some of them together, otherwise they'd have a huge offensive night. They had the bases loaded right off the bat in the 1st, but could only muster a run that was scored on a double play. Brian Holberton would score on an error in the 2nd as Thomas Lindauer reached on a force attempt.

Tanner Mathis led off the 7th with a single and came all the way around to score on a James Ramsay triple. Ramsay would score on an error that allowed Tyler White to reach. Again, the River Bandits had the bases loaded with no outs in the inning, but all they got out of that was another run that scored on another double play. White scored on a Holberton GIDP, and Brett Phillips gave QC the lead with an RBI single to finish the scoring. Phillips and Conrad Gregor both went 3-5; Ramsay and Mathis had 2 hits each. Thomas Lindauer was 2-5 with a double in his season debut.

Evan Grills went 5 innings and his only blemish was serving up a 3-run homer to Marcus Littlewood in the 3rd. He allowed 1 other hit and struck out 4. Michael Feliz gave up 2 runs on 2 hits while only getting 2 outs in the 6th. Zach Morton pitched 2.1 innings and allowed 2 runs in the 8th on a wild pitch and a double. He walked 1.

Adrian Houser and Gonzalo Sanudo will take the mound for game 2 of this series; they'll be taking on Eddie Campbell. First pitch is at 12:30.

Three Stars

3.



Kyle Smith, RHP, Lancaster
3 IP, H, ER, BB, 3 K



2.



Brady Rodgers, RHP, Corpus Christi
W (1-1), 5 IP, 5 H, ER, 4 K



1.



Dan Gulbransen, OF, Lancaster
2-4, 2-R HR (1), 3 RBI




Happy Birthday - 4/22

Happy Birthday to ~

IF Joe Sclafani (24)
Drafted by Houston out of Dartmouth in the 14th round in 2012, Sclafani played his first 19 games in 2013 at Quad Cities before being promoted to Lancaster for the rest of the year, hitting a combined .302/.396/.474. Sclafani has become quite the utility player and has already played at second, third, short and a couple of innings in right field in his first six games of 2014, one in Oklahoma City and the rest in Corpus Christi.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

LHP Carlos Hernandez (34)
The Venezuelan lefty was signed by the Astros in 1997 and pitched in 35 games for Houston in 2001, 2002 and 2004. In his first three starts in the major leagues, he was 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP and was considered one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Then a jammed pitching shoulder diving back in to second base derailed his budding career. Though he continued to pitch after that injury for both the Houston and Tampa Bay organizations, he continued to suffer injuries that kept him from ever making a real comeback. He last pitched for Mexico City in the Mexican League in 2013.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beat the Streak, April 21

I'm in a bit of a slump now, as Preston Tucker came through with a 2-3 night, but Ronald Torreyes went 0-4 yesterday afternoon. Therefore, due to the double down rules, I am at zero for a 3rd straight day.

M.P. Cokinos got the day off, so Jayne stays pat at 5. Nolan Fontana also had Sunday off, so Rip Noblin's streak remains at 4. "hooksfan," who I found out is actually Daniel Nelson, HooksFanSarah's husband, extended his streak to 2, thanks to a 3-5 day from Robbie Grossman. Again, I'd like to apologize for the case of mistaken identity, Mr. Nelson. pacbellpilgrim got on the board with Max Stassi's 2-run shot, and Matt Naber got himself off the canvas with Jon Singleton's..... bunt. Single.

Today, I'll be going with Matt Duffy and James Ramsay.

Today's Schedule

OKC @ Memphis, 7:05
CC vs. Midland, 7:10
Lancaster @ Inland Empire, 9:05
Quad Cities @ Clinton, 6:30

Current Active Streaks

Jayne- 5

Rip Noblin- 4

Daniel Nelson- 2

pacbellpilgrim, Matt Naber- tied at 1


Astros Minor League Pitchers and Player of the Week: Week Three

[SIDE NOTE: OK, here's the deal. I had a really bad week last week and, among other things going wrong (like pretty much everything I touched), I screwed up some of the stats on last week's Player and Pitchers of the Week. I transposed some stats when I wrote them down and Vincent Velasquez did actually inch out David Martinez for the Pitcher of the Week last week, but since both of them had incredible weeks, I can live with granting a tie.

I apologize for the mistake. I try really hard to give you accurate information, but unfortunately I don't have an editor and things are going to slip through the cracks sometimes. Believe me, you couldn't possibly beat up on me any worse than I beat up on myself when I screw up. But I promise that when I do, I will do my best to correct any errors. Thank you for your indulgence as I publicly chastise myself.]

Now on to Week Three of my Player and Pitchers of the Week feature. The nominees and winners for the week beginning Sunday, 4/13 and running through Saturday, 4/19 are as follows:

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

I really had a hard time narrowing down the nominees this week. 2B Kike Hernandez should be acknowledged for his good week at two levels. His last two games in Corpus left him with a .325/.372/.475 batting line at AA this season, and he came in like gangbusters in his first three games in Oklahoma City, hitting .500/.571/.583 (despite going hitless in his third game at the level). Also Quad Cities 3B Tyler White made the absolute most of 13 at-bats in 5 games, hitting a robust .462/.611/.615.

Here are some of the noteworthy performances for those playing in at least 6 games over last week. Stats are for the week only and are not cumulative for the season.

OF Jon Kemmer (Quad Cities)
.333/.385/.625
4R 8H 4-2B HR 5RBI 2BB 5SO

OF Preston Tucker (Corpus Christi)
.320/.320/.640
3R 8H 2-2B 2HR 2RBI 0BB 8SO
1 outfield assist

SS Carlos Correa (Lancaster)
.346/.379/.654
7R 9H 2B 2-3B HR 4RBI 2BB 4SO SB CS SF

3B Rio Ruiz (Lancaster)
.400/.429/.680
3R 10H 4-2B HR 6RBI 2BB 7SO SB E SF

But the winner was a complete no-brainer. Three doubles, a triple, two one-run home runs, one two-run home run and one three-run home run, nine runs scored and 10 RBI. Those are some seriously gaudy numbers.

1B Jon Singleton
.419/.471/.968
9R 13H 3-2B 3B 4HR 10RBI 3BB 8SO

Jon Singleton - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: 1B Jon Singleton

>>>>>>><<<<<<<

STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Several of our tandem starters put up scoreless outings last week, including Kyle Smith, Lance McCullers, Michael Feliz and Gonzalo Sanudo. Matt Heidenreich's three-inning stint was perfect and he struck out five batters to boot. I'm going to start including Jose Cisnero in this category (rather than the relief pitcher category) since it appears that he is now in a tandem with Jake Buchanan as Paul Clemen's promotion to Houston left Buchanan without a partner. Like Heidenreich, Cisnero also put up a perfect three-inning appearance last week and he one-upped Heidenreich by getting six strikeouts.

For my nominees and winners, I chose from among those tandem starters who had two outings last week. Stats are for the week only and are not cumulative for the season.

RHP Andrew Thurman (Quad Cities) - 1 win
0.96 ERA/0.964 WHIP
9.1IP 8H 1R 1BB 13SO

RHP Nick Tropeano (Oklahoma City)
0.00 ERA/0.462 WHIP
8.2IP 3H 0R 1BB 6SO

What can top that you might ask? Well, this guy got one more out, one more strikeout and a win. Those are the ONLY differences.

RHP Aaron West (Corpus Christi) - 1 win
0.00 ERA/0.444 WHIP
9IP 3H 0R 1BB 7SO

Aaron West - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK: RHP AARON WEST

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RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK

In limiting the relief nominees, I went for those who either made two appearances or pitched multiple innings. Unfortunately, that leaves out a perfect inning from LHP Patrick Urckfitz in his first appearance of the season and two-out perfect outings from RHP Jorge de Leon and LHP Mitch Lambson. There were still several standouts. Again, stats are for the week only and are not cumulative.

RHP Jamaine Cotton (Lancaster) - 1 save
0.00 ERA/1.500 WHIP
2IP 2H 0R 1BB 1SO
2 inherited runners/2 scored

RHP Andrew Robinson (Corpus Christi)
0.00 ERA/1.500 WHIP
1.1IP 2H 0R 0BB 1SO
4 inherited runners/2 scored

RHP Zach Morton (Quad Cities) - 1 win
0.00 ERA/1.385 WHIP
4.1IP 3H 0R 3BB 2SO
1 inherited runner/0 scored

And the winner is my runner up from last week who made three relief appearances and stranded all four of his inherited runners.

RHP Tyler Brunnemann (Quad Cities)
0.00 ERA/0.429 WHIP
7IP 2H 0R 1BB 7SO
4 inherited runner/0 scored

Tyler Brunnemann
Photo courtesy of Susan Brunnemann

RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK: RHP Tyler Brunnemann

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, April 20, 2014

Upper-level clubs in action in the afternoon, while the A teams get a day off.

Memphis 5, Oklahoma City 4

W- Jose Almarante (1-0)
L- Darin Downs (0-2)

OKC home runs: Max Stassi (4, 2-run in 6th)

The RedHawks walked off with a loss in game 2 as Oscar Taveras broke a 4-4 tie by doubling home former Lamar Consolidated star Randal Grichuk.

Max Stassi put the RedHawks on the board and tied the game with his 2-run homer in the 6th. OKC then added 2 more in the 8th to take the lead; Enrique Hernandez hit an RBI single and Domingo Santana scored on an error that allowed Jonathan Meyer to reach base. Jon Singleton hit.... wait for it......... a bunt single.

Jake Buchanan got the start and went 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits (solo homer) and fanning 2. Rhiner Cruz walked the bases loaded (one intentional) in the 5th but was able to avert disaster. Jose Cisnero pitched 2.1 innings and gave up a game-tying 2-run homer to Scott Moore THE GOAT in the 8th. He allowed one other hit, walked 2, and struck out 3. Darin Downs got the final 2 outs of the 8th, one via strikeout, but failed to retire the 2 batters he faced in the 9th... Grichuk and Taveras.

In game 3 of this series, Nick Tropeano and Collin McHugh will take on Zach Petrick, who was just recently called up from Springfield. First pitch is at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 7, Frisco 5

W- Andrew Robinson (2-0)
L- Jerad Eickhoff (1-1)
S- Tommy Shirley (1)

CC home runs: Matt Duffy (1, 3-run in 1st), Leo Heras (1, solo in 1st), Telvin Nash (1, solo in 2nd)

The Hooks avoided the sweep thanks to an early home run barrage and used an outstanding effort from the bullpen to weather a 5-run 3rd from Frisco, which culminated in Tommy Shirley's perfect day. The win snapped a 5-game losing streak.

Corpus jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the top of the 1st, and all 4 runs came off of 2-out home runs. Andrew Aplin and Preston Tucker drew walks, and then Matt Duffy sent a Jerad Eickhoff pitch out to open the scoring. One batter later, Leo Heras went back-to-back with Duffy. Telvin Nash sent out his first of the year in the 2nd to extend the Hooks lead to 5-0.

Frisco got 5 in the 3rd off Matt Heidenreich, but the tie was short-lived as Joe Sclafani blooped a ball into shallow left field to bring Chris Epps home and put the Hooks back on top 6-5 in the 4th. Duffy finished 3-5; his 3rd hit was clutch, as he drove in a much-needed insurance run with a single in the 9th. Preston Tucker was 2-3 with a run scored and a couple of walks.

Matt Heidenreich opened with 2 scoreless, but the wheels fell off for him in the 3rd as Frisco tagged him for 5 runs in the inning. Heidenreich went 3 innings and gave up 6 hits (3-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 3.

The bullpen was excellent as they finished the game with 6 scoreless and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 7. Andrew Robinson threw 1.2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 1. Pat Urckfitz got the final out of the 5th to extricate Robinson from a little jam, and Tommy Shirley suffocated the life out of the Roughriders' offense, striking out 6 in 4 perfect innings to end it.

The Hooks will return home to welcome the Midland RockHounds to Whataburger Field for 4 games. In the series opener, Brady Rodgers and Colton Cain will take on Harvard alum Shawn Haviland. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks will begin a 4-game series against Inland Empire tonight at 7:05 Pacific. Lance McCullers and Kyle Smith will start the opener against Ryan Crowley.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits will make the hour-long drive up to Clinton to begin a 4-game series against the LumberKings beginning at 6:30. Evan Grills and Michael Feliz will take on Edwin Diaz in the opener.

Three Stars

3.



Max Stassi, C, Oklahoma City
1-4, 2-R HR (4)



2.



Matt Duffy, 3B, Corpus Christi
3-5, 3-R HR (1)



1. Corpus bullpen/piggybacker




Andrew Robinson, RHP, Corpus Christi
1.2 IP, H, BB, K



Pat Urckfitz, LHP, Corpus Christi
0.1 IP



Tommy Shirley, LHP, Corpus Christi
Save (1), 4 IP, 6 K