Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beat the Streak, May 24

I'm back in the game with Domingo Santana and Matt Duffy!

Jayne got a single from Teoscar Hernandez, but Carlos Correa drew a blank. He did walk twice, though. Daniel Nelson's 6-game streak came to an end as Tony Kemp went 0-4. Andrew Aplin did have an RBI, but it was on a groundout, and he went 0-3, putting an end to pacbellpilgrim's 4-gamer. Baseball Mom got a big night from Brett Phillips, but that darn rule about a double down player getting a day off = streak over strikes again. Sorry about that.

Matt Naber and Rip Noblin saw their streaks continue with Brian Holberton and Jack Mayfield, respectively.

I'll go with Preston Tucker today. He's been in a bit of a funk, but I have a good feeling about him tonight.

Today's Games

OKC @ Memphis, 6:05
Corpus Christi @ Northwest Arkansas, 6:05
Lancaster vs. Inland Empire, 8:00
Quad Cities vs. Cedar Rapids, 6:00

Current Active Streaks

Matt Naber, Rip Noblin- tied at 3

Me- 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8


Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, May 23, 2014

Oklahoma City 12, Memphis 10

W- David Martinez (5-2)
L- Tim Cooney (4-4)

OKC home runs: Robbie Grossman (3, led off game), Domingo Santana (7, solo in 7th)

Whew. The RedHawks were on top 11-0... but that lead very nearly went up in smoke. They ended up having to hang on for dear life to escape with the victory as the Redbirds found ways to put up 10 unanswered (2 in the 7th, 8 in the 8th). Naturally, offense was abundant in this game, as both teams combined for 22 runs on 34 hits.

The RedHawks had 19 hits through 6 innings; I think my tweet pointing this out somehow disabled their bats. Please remind me to keep quiet next time. They finished with 22, and the final one was absolutely critical, as Adron Chambers stopped the bleeding with an RBI single in the 9th that gave them a 12-10 lead.

Everyone in the original starting 9+1 had multi-hit games except for Gregorio Petit, who was 0-4 with 2 walks and a run scored. Let's start off with the guys who had 2 hits.

- Austin Wates walked twice, scored 3 runs, and stole 3 bases (11).
- Max Stassi hit an RBI single in the 4th and scored a run.
- Domingo Santana hit a solo homer (7) in the 7th and scored twice.
- Jonathan Meyer had a 2-run single in the 6th.

Robbie Grossman, Jon Singleton, and Adron Chambers had 3 hits apiece. Grossman led off the game with his 3rd home run of the season. He also added a double and scored twice. Singleton hit a 2-run single in the 2nd, and Chambers also hit an RBI double in the 1st, in addition to his big 9th-inning RBI single. Ronald Torreyes became the 4th player in the system to have 5 hits in a game after Carlos Correa, Tyler White and Brian Holberton. He had an RBI single in the 6th and scored a run.

David Martinez fired 6 shutout innings to start it off; he allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Bobby Doran struggled mightily, as he allowed 6 runs (5 earned; 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits and walked 1 in 1+ inning of work. He failed to retire any of the 4 batters he faced in the 8th. Jason Stoffel came on and stopped the bleeding, but not before he gave up a 3-run homer to Oscar Taveras. He allowed 4 unearned runs (3 on Taveras' homer) on 3 hits and struck out 3 in 2 innings. Even though things were on the verge of going horribly wrong in the 7th and the 8th, Stoffel put the kibosh on any thoughts of completing the comeback when he went 1-2-3 to shut the door.

So, after a game like this, it's only appropriate that a pitcher's duel should break out, right?

In game 2 of this series, Mike Foltynewicz will face Zach Petrick. First pitch is at 6:05.

Arkansas 7, Corpus Christi 1

W- Orangel Arenas (4-1)
L- Brady Rodgers (1-6)

CC home runs: None.

The Travs ran off 7 unanswered to deny the Hooks from a sweep.

It's been tough sledding for Brady Rodgers, who dropped his 5th straight decision. He went 4.2 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 4. David Rollins tagged in and pitched 3.1 innings; he was dinged by a 3-run homer from Jett Bandy in the 8th. Rollins allowed 3 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 3.

An Andrew Aplin groundout in the 1st accounted for Corpus' only run. Delino DeShields, who scored on the play, had 2 steals (16).

The Hooks will now begin a 3-game set with Northwest Arkansas. Mike Hauschild gets the start in the series opener; he'll face Tim Melville at 6:05.

Inland Empire 8, Lancaster 3

W- Jairo Diaz (2-2)
L- Lance McCullers (2-3)
S- Chris O'Grady (2)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Down 4-0, the JetHawks clawed their way back with 3 in the 4th, but the 66ers buried them with 4 unanswered the rest of the way.

The 3 runs were all driven in by the bottom third of the order. Danry Vásquez and Jordan Scott had RBI singles, and Roberto Peña added a sac fly. Scott was the only member of the JetHawks lineup to have a multi-hit game; he went 2-4. Carlos Correa went 0-2 with 2 walks.

Lance McCullers went 3.2 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (3-run homer), walked 4, and struck out 4. Matt Heidenreich pitched the next 3.1 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Richard Rodriguez finished it out, allowing a run on 2 hits and striking out 3 in 2 innings.

In game 2 of this series, Josh Hader will face Yeiper Castillo at 6:00 Pacific.

Quad Cities 9, Cedar Rapids 0

W- Pat Christensen (2-1)
L- Ryan Eades (3-6)

QC home runs: Brett Phillips (3, 2-run in 4th)

The Quad Cities pitching staff was stellar as they held the Kernels to just 3 hits in this game. Also, for the 2nd straight game, the River Bandits massacred a Cedar Rapids starter. This time, Ryan Eades was the sacrificial lamb for the Banditos, as they got all 9 of their runs off of him. As a result, they increased Eades' ERA by 1.5 runs.

Before:



After:



The River Bandits only scored in 2 innings, but they put up plenty of runs in those 2 frames. First up was a 5-run 3rd. Brett Phillips finished a triple shy of the cycle with 4 RBI. He opened up the floodgates with a 2-run single. Brian Holberton went 2-3 and added a 2-run double later in the 3rd; he would score on a single from Ronnie Mitchell. QC added 4 more in the 4th to wrap up the scoring. Phillips smacked a 2-run homer (3), Jack Mayfield hit an RBI double, and Holberton drove him in with a single. Everyone in the starting lineup had a hit except for Jake Rodriguez. Thomas Lindauer went 2-4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored, while James Ramsay finished 2-3 with a run scored, 2 walks, and a steal (12). Jon Kemmer's single in the 4th extended his hitting streak to 6 games. 

Michael Feliz started it off with 4.1 scoreless, allowing 2 hits, walking 2, and striking out 5. Pat Christensen was the first man out of the bullpen; he struck out 2 over 2.2 perfect innings. And finally, Chris Cotton allowed a hit and struck out 1 to wrap this one up.

The Bandits will look for the sweep as they send out TBA to the mound to take on Ethan Mildren at 6:00.

Happy Birthday - 5/24

No future Astros with birthdays today, but three former Astros celebrate the day ~

RHP Hector Ambriz (30)
Originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in the fifth round in 2006, Ambriz signed with Houston as a free agent in June 2012. In 61 appearances for the Astros, he had a 5.17 ERA and a 1.599 WHIP. He signed with the Padres as a free agent in March 2014.

RHP Henry Villar (27)
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Villar spent seven seasons in the Astros minor league system from 2006 through 2012, compiling a 3.74 ERA and a 1.220 WHIP in 185 appearances (56 starts).  In 2010, he made eight appearances for the big club with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP.

2B Mike Richardt (56)
A first round draft pick by the Rangers in 1978, Richardt came to Houston in a trade in 1984. Richardt only had 15 plate appearances in 16 games for Houston in 1984 and hit .267/.267/.333.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, May 23, 2014

Prospectations........Platooning

In the Astros game last night, the consensus of opinion seems to be that a brain freeze by Tony Sipp allowed the winning run(s) to score.  That may be true.  However, Evan Drellich posted a great photo https://twitter.com/EvanDrellich/status/469705125041168384 that seemed to show Altuve was in position to field the ball and could have gotten the third out if Guzman had been at the bag instead of fielding the ball.  Were the Astros a victim of their philosophy of platooning?  Playing next to each other every day, day after day, allows the fielders to know what the guy beside them is capable of doing and what they are going to do.  This yields better defense. Not being a stat rat, I don’t have exact numbers to support this nor do I have exact numbers to support what my eyes tell me which is that all of the platooning is not generating a significant number of additional runs.  I also believe that platooning interrupts a hitter’s ability to get in a groove.  I think hitters (especially those that are new to a level) need consistent at bats to succeed.  I think that any benefit gained by sending a young player in to pinch hit based on statistical matchups is negated by the cold bat off of the bench.  Grizzly, old veterans with thousands of major league at bats are more likely to succeed as pinch hitters so my opinion might be different if that were the situation.  Like I said, I have not looked up the numbers to prove my opinion, but count me as a fan that is not fond of the platoon philosophy used by this current team.  I believe it is costing us runs on both sides of the game.  What do other great minds think? Do you agree or disagree and why?

Beat the Streak, May 23

Well, I got half of a double down last night with James Ramsay. The other half... not so much. Domingo Santana went 0-5 with a couple of strikeouts for OKC.

Jayne got herself off the canvas with a single from Jon Singleton and a solo homer from Tony Kemp. Rip Noblin can probably breathe a sigh of relief as he's finally back on the board after what seemed to be a deep, deep slump. He got a homer from the birthday boy, Rio Ruiz, and Kiké Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 9 games. Matt Naber got himself a new streak thanks to Rio's and Kemp's solo blasts.

Picking Quad Cities players turned out to be a great decision last night, as they all had at least 1 hit. Baseball Mom had Conrad Gregor, while pacbellpilgrim also went with Gregor to go along with his double down pick of Carlos Correa.

Daniel Nelson continues to set the pace as he got a hit apiece from Singleton and Correa.

Today, I'm going to be my usual hard-headed self. I'm sticking with Domingo. And to go along with him, I'll also choose Matt Duffy.

Today's Games

OKC @ Memphis, 7:05
Corpus Christi @ Arkansas, 7:10
Lancaster vs. Inland Empire, 8:30
Quad Cities vs. Cedar Rapids, 7:00

Current Active Streaks

Daniel Nelson- 6

pacbellpilgrim- 4

Jayne, Baseball Mom, Rip Noblin, Matt Naber- tied at 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, May 22, 2014


New Orleans 3, Oklahoma City 2 in 10 innings

W- Grant Dayton (1-0)
L- Rhiner Cruz (1-1)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks had to settle for the split as they walked off with a loss in the series finale. The Zephyrs tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the 9th, then put up 2 in the bottom of the 10th after the RedHawks regained the lead in the top of the inning.

Andy Simunic hit an RBI single in the 4th to put the RedHawks on the board first. In the 10th, Max Stassi reached on a foce attempt that scored Robbie Grossman to put OKC on top 2-1. Grossman finished 3-5 and added a double. Kiké Hernandez singled in the 2nd to extend his hitting streak to 9.

Nick Tropeano had a strong start, as he allowed just 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 8 over 6.2 shutout innings. Kevin Chapman faced 1 batter; he struck out Rob Brantly to end the 7th. In his first appearance as a member of the Houston Astros organization, Alex White threw a 1-2-3 8th inning, and it took him 9 pitches (7 strikes) to do so. New Orleans finally cracked the OKC pitchers as they got all 3 of their runs off of Rhiner Cruz. 1 of those 3 runs was earned. Rhiner pitched 1.1 innings and also allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1.

The RedHawks will now begin the final leg of their Big 12 Tournament roadtrip, as they're set to begin 4 with Memphis starting tonight at 7:05. David Martinez will face Tim Cooney in game 1.

Corpus Christi 3, Arkansas 1

W- Kyle Smith (1-2; 5-2 season)
L- Brandon Sisk (0-2)
S- Michael Dimock (1)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks took this one on the strength of a 3-run 7th.

Leo Heras led off the 7th by getting plunked. He advanced to 3rd on a Tyler Heineman double, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Nolan Fontana put Corpus on top with a 2-run single, which turned out to be the difference in this game. Matt Duffy was the only player in the starting 9+1 to have a multi-hit game; he went 2-4

Kyle Smith, after a rough introduction to the Texas League, threw his 2nd straight 1-run outing. He went 6 innings and allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. The bullpen took it from there; Pat Urckfitz allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 over 2 scoreless, and Michael Dimock worked around a 2-out single to shut the door, striking out Vance Albitz to end the game.

The Hooks will look for the sweep as they send out Brady Rodgers. He'll face Orangel Arenas at 7:10.

Bakersfield 8, Lancaster 2

W- Mike Dennhardt (1-0)
L- Kent Emanuel (1-1; 1-3 season)

Lancaster home runs: Rio Ruiz (4, solo in 3rd), Tony Kemp (3, solo in 5th)

The JetHawks dropped the series as their offense was shackled, save for the 2 solo blasts you see above. Yesterday was Rio's birthday, so that was a rather nice present for himself.

Kent Emanuel pitched 5 innings and allowed 5 runs (all on home runs) on 7 hits (2-run and 3-run homers) and struck out 4. Tyson Perez went 2 innings and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 2, and fanned 2. Jamaine Cotton worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 8th.

The Hawks are back home, and they'll welcome Inland Empire to The Hangar for the weekend and Monday. Lance McCullers gets the start in the opener; he'll face Mike Clevinger at 6:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities 11, Cedar Rapids 6

W- Chris Lee (2-2)
L- Aaron Slegers (4-2)

QC home runs: Ronnie Mitchell (3, 3-run in 3rd)

Well, that was fun. The River Bandits were up by as much as 10-3 after the 4th. They did get outscored 4-1 the rest of the way, but that touchdown lead provided enough cushioning for them as they took the opener of this series.

Everyone in the starting 9+1 had a hit. The top 2/3rds of the lineup had 2 hits, while the bottom third had 1. Ronnie Mitchell, who was hitting 7th, had the big hit, though: he smacked a 3-run blast (3) in the 3rd as part of a 6-run outburst. He also brought home QC's first run of the evening on a sac fly in the 2nd. Also taking place in the 3rd inning was a 2-run double from Conrad Gregor and an RBI double by Tyler White.

The Bandits were a home run shy of the cycle in the 4th, as they got an RBI double from Brett Phillips, who scored on a triple from Chan-Jong Moon, who scored on a Gregor single. And finally, in the 7th, Thomas Lindauer brought White home for the final Bandits run of the night with an RBI single.

Chris Lee went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Andrew Thurman pitched 3, and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and fanned 5. Frederick Tiburcio finished it out as he worked around a hit to do so. He struck out 1 in a scoreless 9th.

In the middle game of this series, Michael Feliz will face Ryan Eades at 7:00.

Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Nolan Fontana, 2B/SS, Corpus Christi
Go-ahead 2-RBI single in 7th



2.


Conrad Gregor, 1B, Quad Cities
2-5, 2B, 3 RBI, R


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Tyler White, 3B, Quad Cities
2-3, 2B, RBI, 3 R



1. Happy birthday Rio!



Rio Ruiz, 3B, Lancaster
Solo HR (4)



Three Stars: Pitchers

3.



Alex White, RHP, Oklahoma City
IP; organizational debut after Tommy John surgery in 2013



2.



Kyle Smith, RHP, Corpus Christi
W (1-2), 6 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 5 K



1.



Nick Tropeano, RHP, Oklahoma City
6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K





Happy Birthday - 5/23

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

SS Ricky Gutierrez (44)
A first round draft pick by Baltimore in 1988, Gutierrez came to Houston in this megatrade:
December 28, 1994: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Pedro Martinez, Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine and Brian Williams. The Houston Astros sent Sean Fesh (minors) (May 1, 1995) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.
He played for Houston from 1995 to 1999, hitting .266/.337/.340 over 469 games.

Saarloos was drafted by Houston in the third round in 2001 and pitched for Houston in 2002 and 2003 before being traded to Oakland for Chad Harville in April of 2004. In 53 games (21 starts), Saarloos was 8-8 with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.478 WHIP.

Originally drafted by Houston in the eighth round in 1999 as a shortstop, Sampson had retired in 2000 and gone on to coach baseball for Collin College in Plano where he came to realize his potential as a pitcher. After contacting the Astros and being given a tryout, he was signed to a minor league contract in 2003. Sampson went on to pitch in 174 games (33 starts) for Houston from 2006 to 2010 with a 20-15 record, a 4.42 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beat the Streak, May 22

I'm bad luck for Andrew Aplin. Let's just say that. Rip Noblin has probably shattered the record for most half double downs, as Brian Holberton is currently 2-3 with a double and 2 runs scored, but Jobduan Morales got the day off. Mr. Rip, hang in there.

Jon Singleton owes Jayne big time!

pacbellpilgrim got back on the board with hits from the Vanderbilt duo of Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor. Baseball Mom also began a new streak as Brett Phillips ripped an RBI double in Quad Cities' suspended game. Matt Naber's streak came to a close as Carlos Perdomo went 0-4 in Bakersfield.

Today, I'll go with Domingo Santana and James Ramsay.

Today's Games

OKC @ New Orleans, 7:00
Corpus Christi @ Arkansas, 7:10
Lancaster @ Bakersfield, 9:30
Quad Cities vs. Cedar Rapids, 7:00

Current Active Streaks

Daniel Nelson- 4

pacbellpilgrim- 2

Baseball Mom- 1

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Snapshot

The minor league season is now seven weeks old. Let's take a look at where things stand.

OKLAHOMA CITY

1st   26-21   .553   -.-GB   W2

The RedHawks are in first place place in the American Northern Division, one game in front of the Iowa Cubs. Tonight will be their final game of a 4-game series with New Orleans; they lead the series 2-1. They will then head to play Southern Division third place Memphis for four games. The 'Hawks lead the season series with Memphis 5-3. They will then return home on Tuesday to host a 4-game series with fourth place division rival Omaha. The RedHawks lead Omaha by five games in the standings and are tied with them 2-2 for the season series.

CORPUS CHRISTI

3rd   24-21   .533   3.0GB   W2

In the South Division, the Hooks trail Frisco by three games and Midland by one. The Hooks are one game in to a 12 game stretch in which they will be playing the two North Division Arkansas teams, six on the road followed by six at home. Corpus Christi won the first game against the Arkansas Travelers who are 21-23 and in second place in their division and will play two more before heading to Springdale, Arkansas to take on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The Naturals currently have a 16-28 record and are in last place in their division.

LANCASTER

T1st    27-20   .574   -.-GB   L1

Lancaster is yet again tied with Lake Elsinore for first place in the South Division, and High Desert is yet again only trailing by one game. Lancaster will face off against the North Division first place Bakersfield team tonight in the rubber game of the series before heading back to The Caster to host four against Inland Empire. Lancaster is 2-2 in the season series against the 66ers who currently occupy the basement in the South Division with a 17-30 record. On Tuesday, they will head to Lake Elsinore for three games; the 'Hawks lead that season series 8-4.

QUAD CITIES

5th    21-23   .477   8.0GB   W1

Quad Cities is currently in fifth place in the 8-team division, eight games out of first. They are a .001 percentage point behind fourth place Cedar Rapids who they will be hosting for three games starting tonight. The River Bandits are 2-1 in the season series with that team. They will then head out to play seventh place Burlington (20-23) on the road for three starting Sunday. Quad Cities and Burlington are tied 1-1 in the season series with a 4-4 suspended game in the offing. The Bandits will then return home next Wednesday for three against last place Beloit (20-25) against whom they are 4-2 on the season.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Oklahoma City 6, New Orleans 1

W- Paul Clemens (2-0)
L- Bryan Evans (4-3)

OKC home runs: None.

OKC Matinee Magic is real, guys. Asher Wojciechowski made his return to baseball after spending the first 7 weeks of the season on the shelf. He had been in Kissimmee, working his way back from a lat strain he suffered in February.

Wojo went 4 innings in his season debut and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Despite issuing 8 walks on the afternoon, the RedHawks still managed to hold New Orleans to 1 run.

Bobby Doran tagged in for the 5th, and he worked around a single and 2 walks to throw a scoreless frame. The bases were not loaded on Doran; Jordany Valdespin, who walked to begin the inning, was caught stealing 2nd. Paul Clemens got 2 quick outs in the 6th, but all of a sudden, a double from Jake Marisnick, a "plunking" of Matt Angle (even Angle thought he wasn't hit by that pitch), and a Valdespin walk loaded the bases. Clemens was able to escape unscathed when he struck out Josh Rodriguez to end the inning. The 7th turned out to be less harrowing for Clemens; he did walk Kyle Jensen, but got an inning-ending double play. Clemens allowed a hit, walked 2, and struck out 3 in those 2 innings. Chia-Jen Lo also had to extricate himself from a bases-loaded situation in the 8th. He worked around a single, 2 walks, and a wild pitch to put up a zero on the scoreboard, and struck out Juan Diaz for the first out of the inning. Kevin Chapman walked Mark Canha to open the 9th, but nothing happened. He retired the next 3, even with Canha moving to 2nd on defensive indifference.

OKC kicked off the scoring with a pair in the 3rd. Adron Chambers laid down a bunt single and on the ensuing error, Andy Simunic scored the first run of the day. Domingo Santana added an RBI groundout later in the inning. Simunic added an RBI single in the 4th. In the 5th, Ronald Torreyes reached on an error that allowed Jon Singleton to score; Torreyes was credited with an RBI on the play. Santana scored on a wild pitch, and Jonathan Meyer brought home the final run of the day with a sac fly. Kiké Hernandez went 1-3 with 2 runs scored; he's now on an 8-game hitting streak. Meyer was the only RedHawk with a multi-hit day, going 2-3 with a double. Santana and Erik Castro drew 2 walks apiece.

The series finale features Nick Tropeano on the mound for OKC. He'll be taking on Andrew Heaney, the 9th overall pick in 2012 who will be making his AAA debut. First pitch is at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 7, Arkansas 2

W- Tommy Shirley (5-2)
L- Kramer Sneed (4-4)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (10, solo in 9th), René Garcia (3, 2-run in 2nd)

The Hooks kicked off the series with a dominating victory; Tommy Shirley rendered the Travelers offense useless, and the Hooks offense backed him up with a big 5th inning.

Shirley, whose 1.51 ERA and 47 strikeouts both rank 2nd in the Texas League, threw 6 shutout innings and allowed a hit and struck out 5. He didn't issue a walk, but he did hit a batter. Alex Sogard was the first man out; he threw 2 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 2. Andrew Robinson brought it home as he worked around 2 hits to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out 2.

The Hooks only scored in 3 innings, but they put up a crooked number in 2 of them. René Garcia finished 2-5 and opened the scoring with his 2-run shot (3) in the 2nd inning. They put up 4 in the 5th, which proved to be the decisive inning. Nolan Fontana ripped a 2-run double, and Preston Tucker and M.P. Cokinos chipped in with RBI singles. Tucker provided the cherry with a solo shot (10) in the 9th, his 4th blast in his last 5 games.

In game 2 of this series, Kyle Smith will face Drew Rucinski at 7:10.

Bakersfield 5, Lancaster 4 in 10 innings

W- Carlos Gonzalez (2-0)
L- Juan Minaya (0-1)

Lancaster home runs: Carlos Correa (3, solo in 1st)

The JetHawks walked off with the loss after Seth Mejias-Brean took Juan Minaya deep with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th. Lancaster had a 3-1 lead after the 3rd inning, but they were outscored 4-1 the rest of the way.

Correa's blast in the 1st was his first homer since April 16. In the 3rd, Tony Kemp drew a walk, then stole 2nd (19). He'd come home on a Teoscar Hernandez triple, and Correa brought Hernandez home with a single. Jordan Scott broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double in the 7th. Correa and Hernandez both finished 2-5 with a run scored.

Kyle Westwood pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4. Gonzalo Sañudo allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1 over 4 innings. Juan Minaya struck out Kyle Waldrop to begin the 10th, but Mejias-Brean took him deep to win it for Bako.

In the series finale, Kent Emanuel will face Mike Dennhardt. First pitch is at 7:30 Pacific. And, that'll be the last time that the JetHawks will start at 9:30 here in Houston. The next trip to Bakersfield has 3 9:15 games with a 2:00 game sandwiched in between.

Quad Cities 4, Burlington 4 in the 7th inning

This game was suspended when Modern Woodmen Park lost power before the 7th inning. It will be completed at a later date. The next meeting between these two teams will be a 3-game series beginning on Sunday in Burlington.

What's happened so far?

The Bandits have rallied from a 4-0 deficit by scoring 4 unanswered. Ronnie Mitchell went deep (2) to begin the bottom of the 3rd, which put QC on the board, down 4-1. After Brian Holberton hit a 2-out double in the 4th, he came home on a Brett Phillips double. Phillips brought Holberton home again on a sac fly in the 6th, and later in the inning, Thomas Lindauer tied the game with an RBI single. Holberton and Lindauer are currently 2-3.

Kevin Comer made his first start of the season; he went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits while striking out 3. Albert Minnis pitched a 1-2-3 6th, getting 3 groundouts.

The River Bandits will begin a 3-game set with Cedar Rapids beginning tonight at 7:00. Hopefully, power in the park will be restored well before gametime. Chris Lee will face Aaron Slegers in the opener.

There will not be a Three Stars segment until this slate of games is completed.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

In response to a couple of questions that I've gotten recently, I would like to clarify a couple of things about minor league roster moves. The Astros have, by necessity, gotten very creative in managing their minor league rosters. The depth in the system has increased to the point that the team needs to find as many ways as possible to increase roster flexibility.

The temporary inactive list is being used increasingly. According to MiLB.com, this is how the temporary inactive list works:
TEMPORARY INACTIVE LIST- This list is used only during the season for short absences and may be used at the team's discretion for bereavement leave, family events which require a player to be away from his team, or other non-injury related reasonsPlayers placed on the temporary inactive list must remain on the list for a minimum of three consecutive days.  
Most of the Astros minor league moves to the temporary inactive list appear to fall into the "other non-injury related reasons" category. I rarely even report those any more because most of the players will be re-instated in short order.

In Quad Cities, players are sometimes assigned to Extended Spring Training. Although this removes them from the active roster, it is my understanding that the player may not physically be sent to Kissimmee in all instances. For example, Albert Minnis was assigned to Extended Spring Training on 5/19 and then back to Quad Cities on 5/21. I find it doubtful that he actually traveled to Florida and back in that time frame. However, in the case of *Jon Kemmer, he was assigned to EST on 5/1 and then back to Quad Cities on 5/18 so I'm assuming that he did actually go to Florida in the interim. Unfortunately, I have no way of actually knowing the particulars on these moves. Similar to the temporary inactive list moves, I rarely bother to report these EST assignments anymore because so many have been short-lived.

[*Kemmer was definitely in Extended Spring Training for that time period, transitioning from outfield to first base. h/t to Astros County for the link]

I fully expect to see fewer of these types of moves when the short season teams start up next month since there will be more available roster spots in which to place players.

With all of that said, I do have a few roster moves to report:

OKLAHOMA CITY
5/20 - RHP Asher Wojciechowski activated from the DL
5/20 - RHP Alex White to OKC on rehab assignment

CORPUS CHRISTI
5/18 - LHP Colton Cain placed on the 7-day DL
5/18 - RHP Troy Scribner activated from the DL

LANCASTER
5/21 - RHP Matt Heidenreich assigned from Corpus Christi to Lancaster

Also, I had missed one player release. OF Wallace Gonzalez, the 29th round draft pick from 2011, was released on 5/15.

Happy Birthday - 5/22

Happy Birthday to ~

3B Rio Ruiz (20)
Drafted by Houston in the fourth round in 2012 out of Bishop Amat High School in La Puenta, California, Ruiz got off to a great start in his first season in High A Lancaster. Through 43 games, he is hitting .298/.379/.421 with 12 doubles, three home runs and 25 RBI.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beat the Streak, May 21

Domingo Santana went 4-6, but that got canceled out by Brian Holberton getting a day off. Darn MLB.com rules. That accursed rule struck again with Rip Noblin. pacbellpilgrim chose Correa, who's apparently not with the team as he's resting. Danry Vásquez, his other pick, went 0-3 with 2 walks and a run scored.

Jayne and Baseball Mom are wondering if Jon Singleton could trade in his 4 walks for a hit or two. 

Matt Naber and Daniel Nelson got back on the board with Tony Kemp and Rio Ruiz.

Today, I'll go with Andrew Aplin.

Today's Games

OKC @ New Orleans, 11:00 A.M.
Corpus Christi @ Arkansas, 7:10
Lancaster @ Bakersfield, 9:30
Quad Cities vs. Burlington, 7:30

Current Active Streaks

Matt Naber and Daniel Nelson- tied at 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, May 20, 2014




Oklahoma City 12, New Orleans 0

W- Jake Buchanan (4-3)
L- Brian Flynn (4-3)

OKC home runs: Gregorio Petit (4, 3-run in 5th)

Well that was fun. Jake Buchanan went the distance and put up 9 zeros in the process while the RedHawks offense unleashed hell on the Zephyrs pitching staff.

It took Buchanan 97 pitches (77 strikes) to get 27 outs. He allowed 6 hits and struck out a career-high 10. This was the first time that he's recorded double-digit strikeouts as a pro. His previous career high was 9, which came last July 5 against the Zephyrs. This was also Buchanan's 2nd career complete game shutout; his 1st came on May 1, 2011, when he fired a 4-hitter for Lancaster against Inland Empire. According to OKC announcer Alex Freedman, Buchanan is currently on a 26-inning scoreless streak. That's pretty good.

The RedHawks offense was powered by a pair of 5-run innings, and they tacked on 1 in 2 other innings to complete the dozen. They also drew 10 walks. Jon Singleton was the only player in the starting 9+1 without a hit, but he drew 4 walks and scored a run. Andy Simunic drew 3, while Ronald Torreyes walked twice. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the 2nd, Robbie Grossman kicked things off by bringing in Torreyes with a single. Kiké Hernandez followed up with a sac fly, and then Domingo Santana ripped an RBI double. Max Stassi topped it off with a 2-run double. Carlos Perez added an RBI single in the 3rd.

Stassi, who finished 4-4 with a couple of doubles, added a 2-run single in the 5th, and then one batter later, Gregorio Petit, for all intents and purposes, sealed the deal with a 3-run blast (4). Simunic provided the cherry with an RBI single in the 9th. Santana also had a 4-hit night; he scored 3 times. Petit, Hernandez, and Simunic finished with 2 hits apiece.

Asher Wojciechowski, who's been on Team Rehab all year, will make his season debut later this morning. He'll take on Bryan Evans in game 3 of this 4-game set at 11:00 A.M.

Corpus Christi was off

The Hooks will begin their tour of Arkansas. Their first stop is Little Rock, where they'll play 3 with the Travelers beginning tonight. Tommy Shirley will start the opener, and he'll be opposed by Kramer Sneed. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 8, Bakersfield 4

W- Brian Holmes (1-1)
L- James Allen (2-4)
S- Dan Minor (2)

Lancaster home runs: Teoscar Hernandez 2 (8; solo in 1st, 2-run in 8th)

The JetHawks took the opener behind the bat of Mr. Hernandez. It got a bit hairy in the middle stages of the game, but they finished with 3 unanswered runs.

Teoscar swatted a pair of homers and moved into a tie for the California League RBI lead with Bakersfield 1B Marquez Smith. His first was a solo shot in the 1st that opened the scoring. After the Blaze tied it with 1 of their own in the bottom of the frame, Lancaster responded with 3 in the top of the 2nd. Carlos Perdomo finished 3-4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI double in the inning. He'd score on a Tony Kemp single, and Kemp came home on a Teoscar double. Kemp also scored on a Teoscar groundout in the 4th. After Bako scored 2 in the bottom of the 4th to get within 1, Perdomo added an RBI single in the 5th to provide a little more separation, and Hernandez gave the JetHawks the separation they needed by sending a 2-run shot into the Central Valley night in the 8th. Kemp and Jordan Scott both went 2-5 and took part in a little thievery. Scott swiped one (2), while Kemp had a couple (18).

Brian Holmes went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 4 hits (3 solo homers), walked 1, and struck out 4. J.D. Osborne was a bit erratic, as he issued 3 walks and only struck out 1 in his 2 frames, but he didn't allow a hit or a run. As long as the other team doesn't score.... whatever works. Dan Minor finished it off with 2 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 2.

In the middle game of this series, Kyle Westwood will face Drew Cisco. First pitch is at 7:30 Pacific.

Quad Cities 7, Burlington 1

W- Adrian Houser (3-1)
L- Harrison Cooney (2-3)
S- Tyler Brunnemann (1)

QC home runs: None.

After a tough extra-inning loss in the series opener, the Bandits came back and smacked the Bees around, scoring 6 unanswered runs to take this one.

Adrian Houser won his 3rd straight decision with another fine outing. He went 6 innings and allowed a run on 5 hits while striking out 4. Tyler Brunnemann pitched the final 3 innings and posted 3 zeros. He allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 for the save.

Brett Booth went 2-4 with a pair of RBI singles; the first one opened up the scoring in the 1st, and he had another one as part of a 3-run 5th. Conrad Gregor hit an RBI single in the 3rd, while James Ramsay ripped a pair of RBI doubles in the 4th and the 8th. Tyler White added an RBI double in the 5th and ended up scoring on a Tanner Mathis force out. Mathis, who doubled and scored in the 4th, added a stolen base (6). Chan-Jong Moon went 2-5 with 2 steals (17).

In the rubber game of this series, Kevin Comer will make his first start of the season. He'll face Ryan Etsell at 7:00.

Three Stars: Position Players

3.



James Ramsay, CF, Quad Cities
2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R



2. 4-hit nights for OKC.



Domingo Santana, LF
4-6, 2B, RBI, 3 R


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Max Stassi, C
4-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI, R



1.



Teoscar Hernandez, CF, Lancaster
3-5, 2B, 2 HR (8), 5 RBI


Honorable Mentions: Carlos Perdomo, Tony Kemp, Gregorio Petit, Andy Simunic, Brett Booth


Three Stars: Pitchers

3.


J.D. Osborne on Twitter: @jd13_osborne

J.D. Osborne, LHP, Lancaster
2 IP, 3 BB, K


Dan Minor, RHP, Lancaster
Save (2), 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K


2. Quad Cities pitchers shackled Burlington.



Adrian Houser, RHP
W (3-1), 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 4 K


Photo by John Whinery

Tyler Brunnemann, RHP
Save (1), 3 IP, H, BB, 3 K 



1. Wonder why he's got that grin on his face? Oh that's right, he just tossed a complete game shutout.



Jake Buchanan, RHP, Oklahoma City
W (4-3), CG, 6 H, 10 K



Blogger Night at Minute Maid Park, Part 2

Last Friday, the Astros invited a few members of the blogging community to participate in a Blogger Night at Minute Maid Park. I wrote about our conversation with GM Jeff Luhnow here. But I was getting ahead of myself.

We actually started off much earlier in the day, hitting the field that afternoon in anticipation of speaking with Manager Bo Porter and "a couple of players." While we were waiting, we saw a familiar face saunter onto the field.

Craig Biggio - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Soon enough, Porter came out to talk with us. The first (and longest) part of the conversation was in response to a question about the use of lefty/righty matchups. Porter assured us that he is far less interested in matching up hitters and pitchers by handedness than he is in looking at a hitter's hot and cold hitting zones versus the opposing pitchers tendencies within the strike zone. He went into a really detailed explanation of his thinking. It is not as simple as lefty vs. righty or vice versa.

Bo Porter - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Similarly, there is more to his thought process and his approach on lifting starting pitchers than we might anticipate at first glance, particularly with rookie pitchers. He doesn't just look at pitch count. He looks at how many of those pitches come in high leverage situations. He equated 75 pitches in the minors to 55 in the majors due to the different intensity level. He also described dugout conversations with pitchers nearing the end of their night in which he outlines what he needs to see from them in the next inning, challenging them to control their own fate as to whether they will stay in the game or come out.

But one of the biggest factors with rookie pitchers is helping them to believe in themselves. According to Porter, "The quickest maturation in my profession is the big C - Confidence. The more quality outings a young pitcher's putting together, the quicker the mindset sets in, 'I belong here.' Let him leave on that positive."

We talked with RHP Josh Zeid a short time later and his words echoed Porter's philosophy. Asked about being put into the fire in his first appearance with the big league club last year, Zeid said, "It makes you feel really good. It makes you feel like they feel you belong. Because when I got here, you don't always think you belong. You know you did well in the minor leagues and you know you've had success, but it's a much different animal in here. Even coming in to the stadium, it's much different. You have to trick yourself. If they believe in you, you believe in you. I think that's the way I look at it. If they didn't think I could do it, then I sure as heck wouldn't be able to do it."

Josh Zeid - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

With Porter, it's a balance of helping the young pitchers succeed and yet challenging them and letting them struggle at times in order to see how they handle those struggles. Of Keuchel, he said, "If you don't allow Keuchel to struggle and live with the struggle, we won't have what we have today." Porter wants to find out what they're made of.

The afternoon wasn't all serious discussions of managerial moves and motivations, though. With Zeid, there was talk of high socks and stirrups, his friendship with Jarred Cosart and food. When someone commented that Houston is a food town, Zeid exclaimed, "Town?! It's a Food Metropolis!"

This was a sentiment shared by OF L.J. Hoes. When I asked him what he liked about Houston, he quickly responded, "The food. I love to eat. So many great restaurants. We've got good barbecue, crawfish ... I love the food." When I complimented him on having a great sense of humor when it comes to jokes about his name, Hoes said, "Growing up with the last name Hoes really helped me out. My friend's were pretty tough on me. My family would crack jokes on each other all the time. That really helped me out a lot."

I missed most of the bloggers' conversation with LHP Dallas Keuchel while I was talking with Hoes, but Keuchel's name also came up in conversation. Alas, he has no plans to change his name to Houston so fans will have to continue yelling "Go Dallas!" from the stands (which is exceedingly difficult for some of us) or use his last name which doesn't exactly roll trippingly off the tongue.

Amanda Rykoff, the Astros new social media director, did a bang up job in coordinating the event with help from Chris Hunsaker (who I will dub Marketing Guru because I don't remember his exact title). As an editorial comment, I think people are going to love the energy, enthusiasm and ideas that Rykoff is bringing to the Astros in her role. Plus she has a great sense of humor and the good sense to keep one particular Crawfish Boxes blogger confined behind the net.

Amanda Rykoff and Chris Perry
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I will leave you with a few final words from L.J. Hoes. He spoke of the 2014 Astros team thus, "We're doing good. We're improving. We're young so that's the big thing. We're all starting to grow and mature into our own type of player at the major league level. We're excited. We're really coming together as a team and we're starting to play well."

9-19 in April. 8-10 so far in May, having won their last two series. Yep. I agree. The 2014 Astros are starting to play well. As I've said before ... baby steps.

Happy Birthday - 5/21

No future Astros with birthdays today, but a couple of former Astros celebrate ~

RHP Barry Latman (78)
Obtained in a trade with the California Angels in December of 1965, Latman pitched for Houston in 1966 and 1967 at the end of his career. In 70 games pitched, he was 5-13 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.273 WHIP. He was an All Star for Cleveland in 1961 when he went 13-5 with 5 saves in 45 games (18 starts).

LHP Tom Martin (44)
A sixth round draft pick by the Orioles in 1988, Martin came to Houston as a free agent in December 1995. He pitched in the Houston organization for two seasons before being selected by the Diamondbacks in the expansion draft in November 1997. He again signed with Houston as a free agent in April 2005 and was released in June of that same year. Martin pitched out of the bullpen in 55 games with Houston at the major league level in 1997. He was 5-3 with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.339 WHIP over 56 innings pitched.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beat the Streak, May 20

Woohoo! The double down paid off for me last night with Jon Singleton and Brett Phillips. 

Jayne's totally random selection is getting her back on track, as Conrad Gregor's double in QC's extra-inning affair with Burlington has extended her streak to 2. Baseball Mom also went with Brett Phillips. Good choice!

Daniel Nelson had half of a double down going; Delino DeShields went 3-4 as he's battling out of his San Antonio slump (he went 2-21 in those 4 games), but Tony Kemp had a rare 0-fer for Lancaster. pacbellpilgrim hit with Singleton, but missed with Ronald Torreyes.

Today, I'll go with Brian Holberton and Domingo Santana.

Today's Games

OKC @ New Orleans, 7:00
Corpus Christi is off.
Lancaster @ Bakersfield, 9:30
Quad Cities vs. Burlington, 11:00 A.M.

Current Active Streaks

Me- 4

Jayne, Baseball Mom- tied at 2

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8


Astros Minor League Game Recaps for Monday, May 19th

Results for Monday, May 19, 2014

Hi! Jayne here, subbing for the most excellent Dustin who is taking a well-deserved day off.

New Orleans 6, Oklahoma City 2

W- Alex Sanabia (1-1)
L- Brett Oberholtzer (1-1)
S- Chaz Roe (1)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks dropped their third straight and first in the series.

Starter Brett Oberholtzer struggled in this one, allowing all six of the Zephyr runs (one unearned), four of those via the long ball. Rhiner Cruz (2IP 1H 0BB) and Kevin Chapman (1IP 0H 1BB) stopped the bleeding, but the RedHawks weren't able to break through until the eighth inning in which they took advantage of a Robbie Grossman RBI double and four walks, including a bases loaded walk from Jon Singleton. Oklahoma City was held to six hits and two of those belonged to Grossman.

In the second game of the series, Jake Buchanan (3-3, 3.19) will face off against Brian Flynn (4-2, 3.27), starting at 7:00 CST.

Corpus Christi 7, Midland 0

W- Luis Cruz (4-4)
L- Chris Jensen (2-3)

CC home runs: None

The Hooks got a pitching gem to give them a series split with Midland. 

Starter Luis Cruz pitched a beauty, going six and a third innings and allowing only one single in the third inning and two walks while striking out nine. Jordan Jankowski got the memo ... he allowed only one hit and no walks (striking out three) in the final two and two-thirds to preserve the shutout.

The Hooks got on the board early as Nolan Fontana singled, advanced on a ground out and scored from second on a Matt Duffy single in the first inning. Fontana drove in two himself with an RBI double in the third and was also part of the 4-run fourth inning in which Delino DeShields doubled in two runs and Fontana drove in one with a single. The final run of the fourth (and of the game) came as Delino DeShields scored on a ground out.

DeShields and Fontana were both 3-for-4 with a double each. Fontana drove in three and scored once. DeShields drove in two and scored twice. He also collected his 12th stolen base of the season.

The Hooks will have an off day/travel day on Tuesday as they journey to Little Rock to play three against the Arkansas Travelers. It will be the first meeting of the two teams this season.

Rancho Cucamonga 8, Lancaster 6

W- Gustavo Gomez (1-0)
L- Mitch Lambson (1-1)
S- Blake Smith (4)

Lancaster home runs: None

The JetHawks had to settle for a split in their 4-game commuter with Rancho as a big inning proved to be their undoing.

Zach Morton got a bit of a rude welcome in his California League debut, allowing four runs on eight hits in three and two-thirds innings, but he left the game with a lead. Richard Rodriguez contributed an excellent two and a third innings, allowing only one hit and striking out six. Unfortunately, Mitch Lambson had a rare bad outing and got hit hard in the seventh. He gave up a double, triple and two home runs in the frame and ended up with four earned runs on his permanent record.

The JetHawks scored six runs despite only managing six hits, and only one of those ... a seventh inning RBI double from Roberto Pena ... was for extra bases. The 'Hawks first two runs came in the second off of one hit, thanks to two errors, two stolen bases, two walks and a wild pitch. They scored another three runs in the fourth on three singles with a little help from a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. Rio Ruiz had the only multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, walk and run scored.

The 'Hawks will now head to Bakersfield for three games. Brian Holmes (0-1, 5.40) will take on James Allen (2-3, 6.20). First pitch is at 9:30 CST.

Burlington 5, Quad Cities 4 (12 innings)

W- Grant Gordon (1-1)
L- Chris Cotton (1-3)

QC home runs: None

Quad Cities dropped the first of three with Burlington, but it took them 12 innings to go down.

The Bees struck first, taking advantage of a walk and two errors to score two unearned runs in the top of the second off Quad Cities starter Edison Frias (5IP 6H 3R/1ER). The River Bandits countered in the bottom of the frame with a Jon Kemmer double, Brett Phillips RBI single and James Ramsay RBI double to tie it up. The Bees put up another run in the top of the third and once again the Bandits countered, this time as Conrad Gregor doubled, advanced on a ground out and scored on a passed ball.

And that's where things stood through eight more innings. Burlington broke the 3-3 impasse in the top of the 12th inning with two runners reaching against Chris Cotton and scoring on Andrew Walter's watch as he inherited the two. Quad Cities' half of the inning saw Ronnie Mitchell reach on a fielding error, advance on a Brett Booth pinch hit double and score on a ground out, but Ramsay struck out to end the game and the threat.

Evan Grills following Frias with four scoreless innings and allowed only 2 hits and a walk while striking out two. Chris Cotton pitched two scoreless innings before getting into trouble in the twelfth.

The series will continue with an 11:00 CST day game pitting Adrian Houser (2-1, 3.94) against TBA.

Three Stars

I'm flat out of time, so no pretty pictures like Dustin gives you, but here are the three stars from yesterday's games.

3. Nolan Fontana
2. Jordan Jankowski
1. Luis Cruz

Happy Birthday - 5/20

Happy Birthday to ~

SS Jose Fernandez (21)
A non-drafted free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic, Fernandez split his 2013 season between the GCL and Tri-City, hitting a combined .236/.299/.360 in 23 games before being suspended after testing positive for amphetamines. Fernandez is currently on the restricted list. The story is here (but his stats in the story are totally incorrect).

Tweets of the Day

Monday, May 19, 2014

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

It's time to look back at Week Seven and acknowledge some winning performances. My time is limited this week so I'll just be giving you a few honorable mentions, a runner-up and the winner in each category. These performances are from the week commencing Sunday, May 11th and continuing through Saturday, May 17th.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

First, let's hand out a few honorable mentions. Lancaster catcher Roberto Pena (4 games), Quad Cities first baseman Conrad Gregor (5 games) and Lancaster OF Jordan Scott (5 games) all had terrific weeks. More to the point, Scott had a career game on Saturday when he went 3-for-4 with two triples, a home run, five RBI and had an outfield assist on Saturday. (Quad Cities C Brian Holberton got a head start on Week Eight by hitting for the cycle on Sunday!)

My runner up for the week played in six games during the week and that, not so coincidentally, also happens to be the number of multi-hit games he had in that time frame.

IF Joe Sclafani (Corpus Christi)
.500/.517/.607
3R HR 6RBI 0BB 5SO

And our winner homered in three straight games, doubling his season home run output!

OF Domingo Santana (Oklahoma City)
.471/.591/1.000
4R 3HR 5RBI 5BB 5SO

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: OF DOMINGO SANTANA


Domingo Santana - March 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

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

STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Honorable mentions this week go to Quad Cities Adrian Houser (5IP 3H 0R 1BB 3SO) and to Oklahoma City pitchers Brett Oberholtzer (7IP 5H 0R 1BB 9SO) and Jake Buchanan (7.2IP 2H 0R 2BB 4SO). Several others excelled in shorter outings.

My runner-up gets the nod not only because he had a great outing, but also because it was his first outing since his promotion to Corpus Christi and he was perfect through his first 4.2 innings.

RHP Mike Hauschild (Corpus Christi)
0.00 ERA/0.200 WHIP
5IP (1 game) 1H 0BB 3SO

Our winner wasn't perfect as he walked four batters, but he did manage to toss the first six innings of Lancaster's second combined no-hitter in a little more than a year. And, oh, he's barely 20 years old.

LHP Josh Hader (Lancaster) - 1 win
0.00 ERA/0.667 WHIP
6IP (1 game) 0H 4BB 6SO

STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK: LHP JOSH HADER

Josh Hader
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Green

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

RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK

The honorable mentions for this week include five who pitched in multiple outings without allowing an earned run: Oklahoma City's Jason Stoffel and Kevin Chapman, Corpus Christi's Andrew Robinson, and Lancaster's Jamaine Cotton and Mitch Lambson. Also of particular note, J.D. Osborne pitched two innings of the Lancaster no-hitter. Unfortunately, his second outing of the week wasn't quite as good as his first one.

My runner-up pitched three times last week, two of those times for multiple innings, and not only did he not allow any runs, he also stranded all of the baserunners he inherited.

RHP Michael Dimock (Corpus Christi)
0.00 ERA/0.563 WHIP
5.1IP (3 games) 2H 1BB 7SO Pickoff
3 inherited runners/0 scored

My winner only pitched in two games, but one of those two happened to be a save situation in a 1-0 game. It also happened to be the ninth inning of a no-hitter.

RHP Daniel Minor (Lancaster) - 1 save
0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP
2IP (2 games) 1H 0BB 3SO

RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK: RHP DANIEL MINOR


Daniel Minor - March 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Beat the Streak, May 19

Rio Ruiz went 1-5 with a double and a run scored as my streak was extended to 2.

Jayne got back on the board with Danry Vásquez. So did Baseball Mom, who went with Carlos Perdomo. Daniel Nelson got a hit from Rio, but a day off from Tony Kemp. pacbellpilgrim's modest 4-game streak came to an end as Carlos Correa went 0-5.

Today, I got the feeling that Jon Singleton will snap out of the funk he's been in lately. I'll go with Brett Phillips, as well.

Today's Games

OKC @ New Orleans, 7:00
Corpus Christi vs. Midland, 7:10
Lancaster @ Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05
Quad Cities vs. Burlington, 7:00

Current Active Streaks

Me- 2

Jayne and Baseball Mom- tied at 1

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nashville 2, Oklahoma City 1

W- Jimmy Nelson (5-1)
L- Mike Foltynewicz (3-3)
S- Donovan Hand (8)

OKC home runs: None.

Both teams had 4 hits, but Nashville had one more in the column that counts. Domingo Santana's RBI groundout in the 6th represented the lone RedHawks run. Kiké Hernandez went 2-3 with a double.

Mike Foltynewicz pitched solidly, even though he got saddled with the loss. He went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7. Jason Stoffel threw 2 scoreless and allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1.

The RedHawks will now begin the 2nd leg of this long roadtrip: 4 games in New Orleans. Brett Oberholtzer gets the start in the opener against TBA. First pitch is at 7:00.

Midland 8, Corpus Christi 2

W- Ryan Doolittle (2-2)
L- Travis Ballew (0-1)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (9, solo in 2nd), Telvin Nash (4, solo in 6th)


Yep, the wheels fell off for Corpus in the 8th as Midland scored a touchdown in the inning. 

The blasts from Tucker and Nash represented the Hooks' 2 runs. Tucker has homered in 3 straight. Andrew Aplin was the only player in the starting 9+1 with a multi-hit day as he went 2-4. Joe Sclafani's 6-game multi-hit streak is over, but his overall hitting streak was extended to 8 games. 

Mike Hauschild dazzled yet again; he went 7 innings and gave up a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 8. Travis Ballew and Jorge De Leon both struggled. Let's.... let's just leave it at that.

In the series finale, Luis Cruz will face Chris Jensen at 7:10.

Rancho Cucamonga 9, Lancaster 8 in 10 innings

W- Rob Rogers (2-1)
L- Tyson Perez (0-3)

Lancaster home runs: Teoscar Hernandez (6, 3-run in 5th)

The JetHawks erased a 7-1 deficit by scoring 7 unanswered to take the lead, only to see Rancho walk off with the win.

Teoscar Hernandez, who was in the leadoff spot for the 1st time this season, opened up the scoring by coming home on a balk from Tom Windle in the 1st. He then sparked the comeback with his 3-run shot in the 5th. Carlos Perdomo finished 2-4 with an RBI single in the 7th.

Rio Ruiz kicked things off in the 8th with a double and scored on a single from Danry Vásquez. He took 2nd on the throw home, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on Jordan Scott's double. Scott reached in all 4 of his plate appearances (3 hits and a HBP) and had a 3-hit game for the 2nd day in a row. Jobduan Morales, who was at bat when Vásquez went to 3rd on a wild pitch, ended up walking. He moved to 3rd on Scott's double and scored the go-ahead run on another wild pitch. Morales went 0-4 in his Lancaster debut, but scored twice.

Chris Devenski went 3 innings and allowed 5 runs on 5 hits (3-run homer) walked 1, and struck out 5. Juan Minaya got dinged by a 2-run homer by Corey Seager in the 4th. He allowed 1 other hit and struck out 1 in 2 innings. Josh Hader tagged in and was excellent once again. He allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 9 in 4 innings of work. Tyson Perez did not retire either of the 2 hitters he faced (2 hits) in the 10th and was charged with the winning run for the Quakes, which was unearned.

Zach Morton will make his JetHawks debut in the series finale. He'll take on Fabio Martinez at 7:05 Pacific.

Quad Cities 10, Kane County 3

W- Jandel Gustave (3-2)
L- Daury Torrez (4-2)

QC home runs: Brian Holberton (3, 2-run in 4th)

One day after getting no-hit, the River Bandits got the split as they led by as much as 10-1 and pounded out 17 hits. Everyone had one except for Tanner Mathis.

Brian Holberton was dominant at the plate, as he became the first Quad Cities player to hit for the cycle since April 19, 2005, when Brandon Yarbrough did it. At that time, the franchise was known as the Swing of the Quad Cities. Yarbrough's cycle also occurred in Kane County, so I thought that was interesting.

Holberton, who ultimately finished 5-5 with 5 RBI, doubled in the 2nd, smacked a 2-run homer in the 4th, added an RBI single in the 5th, and completed the cycle with a 2-run triple in the 7th. He topped it off with another single in the 9th inning.

The 2 River Bandits runs that weren't batted in came in the 4th. Brett Booth was credited with a bunt single, but 2 errors on the play allowed both Jack Mayfield and Conrad Gregor to score. Mayfield and Gregor both finished 3-5 with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Gregor's RBI came on a single in the 5th, while Mayfield's was a groundout in the 1st that put the first run of the day on the board. After Holberton finished his cycle in the 7th inning, he scored on a Tyler White sac fly.

Jandel Gustave went 5 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits. Michael Feliz tagged in for 3.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits (solo homer) while striking out 2. Albert Minnis got the final 2 outs of the game.

The Banditos will head home to kick off a 3-game set with Burlington. Edison Frias will start the opener against Elliot Morris. First pitch is at 7:00.

Three Stars

3.




Jack Mayfield, 2B/SS, and Conrad Gregor, 1B, Quad Cities
Both went 3-5 with an RBI and 3 runs scored.

2.



Teoscar Hernandez, CF, Lancaster
2-5, 3-R HR (6), 2 R


1.


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Brian Holberton, C, Quad Cities
5-5, Cycle, 5 RBI, 2 R


Three Stars: Pitchers

3.



Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Oklahoma City
L (3-3), 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K


2.



Josh Hader, LHP, Lancaster
4 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 9 K


1.


Mike Hauschild, RHP, Corpus Christi
7 IP, 3 H, BB, 8 K


Blogger Night at Minute Maid Park - Part 1

The Astros were kind enough (and brave enough) to host another Blogger Night this past Friday night. We were able to talk with Bo Porter and a few players on the field prior to the game and I'll be posting something on that probably tomorrow. First I want to tell you about the very generous 35 minutes and 34 seconds (according to my tape recorder) that we were given with General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Assistant Director of Player Development Allen Rowin. They spoke with us right up until first pitch!

Jeff Luhnow - May 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

The ever gracious Luhnow started by telling the assembled group, "I do appreciate the passion and the enthusiasm and obviously the desire for good Astros baseball." He went on to say that the blogging community represents the pulse of Astros fandom and assured us that the front office does pay attention to what we have to say.

Luhnow is always affable and calm and even-keeled. None of that has changed, but there was a distinct edge to him that I hadn't seen before. And one word crept into his conversation with us several times ... frustration.

He is not so much frustrated by the Astros slow start to the season as he is by people overreacting to small sample sizes from various players. He is, however, somewhat frustrated by the unforeseen bullpen injuries, but knows that he can only control what he can control. His addition of bullpen pitchers Tony Sipp and Kyle Farnsworth show that he is not content with the status quo and is doing his best to buy some time until Jesse Crain and Matt Albers are once again healthy and ready to contribute.

But his main source of frustration is the lack of journalistic ethics by some of the traditional media, those who in the desire to be first often report as fact things that are incorrect. He mocked the whole "a source close to" meme, saying exasperatedly, "These unnamed sources know everything!"

Luhnow went on to say, "When I see comments like 'They don't care,' that's probably the most hard to deal with. We watch every pitch. How could we not care? Nobody likes to lose. We do care a lot. It's frustrating because no matter how much you plan, they're going to play the game on the field and things are going to happen and you can never control the outcome.

"Would I prefer to get out of the gate fast and have everything clicking? Yeah, I would. I think this team is much better than their record has been so far."

The discussion then ranged from injuries to the status of Mark Appel to Tommy John theories to interesting prospects. I asked him about the injury that sent Vincent Velasquez to Extended Spring Training. Luhnow indicated that it was a hip injury and that he had an MRI on Friday. He hoped that a short rehab would get Velasquez back on the mound, but wanted to play it conservatively since a problem with a pitcher's lower body can result in an arm injury by throwing off his mechanics and delivery. He also told us that Asher Wojciechowski is very close to being assigned to Oklahoma City.

Of Mark Appel, Luhnow told us that he had pitched Thursday ... 40 pitches up to 98 and averaging 95. He anticipated one more outing for Appel before assigning him to a club, likely back to Lancaster. Luhnow re-emphasized that Appel had never been hurt but that he just needed to adjust to the tandem routine and indicated that Appel was very positive about the adjustment.

There was a long and very interesting discussion about the seeming rash of Tommy John surgeries and how all of the clubs are desperately trying to figure out a way to address and prevent those injuries. There appears to be a definite connection to how high school pitchers are currently being used and Luhnow thinks that eventually parents and coaches will force a change in how young pitchers are handled. In the meantime, Luhnow and Company have been conducting studies and meeting with medical experts, including the famed Dr. Andrews, in an effort to create a model that they hope will preclude some of these injuries.

Finally, Allen Rowin answered questions about some of the prospects in the system, focusing on Quad Cities C Brian Holberton (who just happened to hit for the cycle yesterday), Domingo Santana, Tony Kemp, Roberto Pena (major-league ready defensively), and possible future relievers.

Rowin specifically mentioned Corpus Christi reliever Travis Ballew with his plus/plus slider, saying that fine-tuning his fastball command is his current task at hand. And he also mentioned that current Quad Cities starter Jandel Gustave could be a future reliever. Tyler Brunnemann's name also came up in the discussion for the great season he's had thus far (and for his total remake over the off-season).

For more immediate bullpen help coming from the farm system, Luhnow indicated that Jake Buchanan and Nick Tropeano would be possibilities for call-ups later this season; if so, they would be called up for relief roles.

It was an interesting night. There might not have been any ground-breaking news involved, but one thing was clear. Jeff Luhnow wants to win, he expects to win and he does not suffer gladly the fools who believe otherwise.

Happy Birthday - 5/19

No future Astros with birthdays today, but a couple of former Astros are celebrating ~

C Alan Knicely (59)
Drafted by Houston in the third round in 1974, Knicely was mostly used as a backup catcher and pinch hitter throughout his career. He played in only 11 games for Houston between 1979 and 1981, and then got into 59 games for Houston in 1982.

1B Alan Zinter (46)
A first round draft pick by the Mets in 1989, Zinter only played in 67 games in the major leagues, 39 of them for Houston in 2002. He is currently a minor league hitting coordinator for the Cleveland Indians.

Tweet of the Day

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Beat the Streak, May 18

My stay on the schneid was short-lived as Teoscar Hernandez was 2-4 with an RBI single and 2 runs scored for Lancaster. 

I'm in a bit of a hurry today, so I won't be doing much elaboration on what happened yesterday.

Jayne: No streak (Delino DeShields no)
Daniel Nelson: Streak ended at 2 (Tony Kemp no, Kiké Hernandez day off)
Matt Naber: Streak ended at 2 (Kemp no, Carlos Correa yes)
pacbellpilgrim: Streak extended to 4 (Robbie Grossman yes)
Baseball Mom: No streak (Brett Phillips no)
Rip Noblin: No streak (Jobduan Morales day off, Tyler Heineman no)

Today, I'm going with Rio Ruiz.

Today's Games

OKC @ Nashville, 2:05
Corpus Christi vs. Midland, 1:10
Lancaster @ Rancho Cucamonga, 4:05
Quad Cities @ Kane County, 1:00

Current Active Streaks

pacbellpilgrim- 4

Me- 1

Streak to Beat

Rip Noblin, 8

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nashville 10, Oklahoma City 4

W- Alfredo Figaro (1-1)
L- Rudy Owens (2-3)

OKC home runs: None.

Welp.

The Sounds opened the scoring with 5 in the 3rd. OKC put up 3 in the top of the 4th, but Nashville responded with 4 more in the bottom of the inning to doom the RedHawks.

OKC's 3 in the 3rd came on RBI singles from Andy Simunic and Adron Chambers and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Domingo Santana. Gregorio Petit went 2-5 with an RBI single in the 7th. Chambers and Jonathan Meyer also had 2-hit nights.

Rudy Owens pitched just 3 innings and allowed 8 runs on 9 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Raúl Valdés came on and pitched 4 in relief, allowing a run on 3 hits while striking out 4. Chia-Jen Lo pitched the 8th and allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1.

In the series finale, Mike Foltynewicz will take on Jimmy Nelson at 2:05.

Corpus Christi 5, Midland 4

W- Andrew Robinson (4-0)
L- Ryan Dull (3-2)

CC home runs: Preston Tucker (8, 3-run in 3rd)

The Hooks walked off with a pair in the bottom of the 9th. This came after they squelched a Midland threat in the top of the inning that kept it a 1-run game.

After Kent Matthes hit a 3-run shot off Matt Heidenreich in the top of the 3rd which made it 4-0 RockHounds, Preston Tucker answered with a 3-run shot of his own (8) in the bottom of the inning to put Corpus on the board and make it a 1-run game. That's how it stood until the bottom of the 9th.

Nolan Fontana led off with a single, and then before you knew it, Andrew Aplin joined him on the bases with a walk. They would both advance on a sac bunt from Matt Duffy, and then Tucker was intentionally walked to set up a double play possibility at any base. Well, that turned out to work in the Hooks' favor, as a pair of singles from Joe Sclafani and Leo Heras tied the game, and won it, respectively. Fontana posted his 4th consecutive multi-walk game as he went 2-3 with a run scored and 2 walks. Aplin went 1-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 walks. In addition to his blast, Tucker also drew 2 walks. Sclafani went 2-5 to log his 6th straight multi-hit game, and Heras finished 4-5 with the game-winner.

Matt Heidenreich went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits (3-run homer), walked 4, and struck out 3. The bullpen picked him up as 2 relievers combined to throw 5 scoreless. Michael Dimock allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 3 scoreless. Dimock has made 7 appearances and has posted zeros in 6 of those 7. Andrew Robinson tagged in for 2 scoreless and gave up 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3.

In game 3, Mike Hauschild and Luis Cruz will face Nate Long at 1:10.

Lancaster 10, Rancho Cucamonga 3

W- Lance McCullers (2-2)
L- Jharel Cotton (0-2)
S- Kent Emanuel (1)

Lancaster home runs: Jordan Scott (1, 3-run in 2nd)

The Quakes got 2 in the 1st off Lance McCullers, but Lancaster seized control of this one with a 10-1 run the rest of the way.

The JetHawks offense was powered by Jordan Scott, who at one point was their offense. He answered Corey Seager's 2-run shot off McCullers in the 1st with a 3-run homer in the 2nd, then added a 2-run triple in the 4th and, one batter later, scored on Roberto Peña's single. He also hit another triple in the 6th, but was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice.

Rio Ruiz was 2-4 with a 2-run single in the 5th and 2 runs scored. Lancaster got a pair in the 6th on an RBI single from Teoscar Hernandez, who scored on a Carlos Correa double. Correa's 2 hits were both doubles, while Hernandez and Scott also scored 2 runs.

Outside of the 2-run homer from Seager, McCullers was rather good in his 5 innings. He allowed just 2 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 9. Kent Emanuel tagged in to finish it out; he allowed a consolation solo homer to Chris Jacobs in the bottom of the 9th. In his 4 innings, Emanuel allowed one other hit, walked 1, and struck out 3.

Game 3 of this series features Chris Devenski on the mound as he takes on Tom Windle. First pitch is at 2:05 Pacific.

Kane County 3, Quad Cities 0

W- Tyler Skulina (2-1)
L- Andrew Thurman (2-3)
S- Nathan Dorris (2)

QC home runs: None.

The River Bandits did not have a hit, and they only had 3 baserunners: Chan-Jong Moon and Conrad Gregor walked, and Gregor also reached base after getting hit by Skulina.

Andrew Thurman went 4.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4. Pat Christensen was the first man out and pitched 1.2 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1. And, in his season debut, Frederick Tiburcio struck out 4 over 2 perfect innings.

In the series finale, Jandel Gustave will face Daury Torrez at 1:00.

Three Stars: Position Players

3.



Preston Tucker, OF, Corpus Christi
1-3, 3-R HR (8), 2 BB as the DH



2.



Leo Heras, LF, Corpus Christi
4-5, GW RBI single



1.



Jordan Scott, LF, Lancaster
3-4, 2 3B, 3-R HR (1), 5 RBI, 2 R




Three Stars: Pitchers

3.



Lance McCullers, RHP, Lancaster
W (2-2), 5 IP, 3 H (2-run HR), 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K


Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Kent Emanuel, LHP, Lancaster
Save (1), 4 IP, 2 H (solo HR), ER, BB, 3 K



2.



Michael Dimock, RHP, Corpus Christi 
3 IP, H, BB, 3 K



Andrew Robinson, RHP, Corpus Christi
W (4-0), 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K



1.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Green

Frederick Tiburcio, RHP, Quad Cities
2 IP, 4 K