Saturday, August 9, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, August 8, 2014

Iowa 8, Oklahoma City 5

W- Dallas Beeler (8-5)
L- Nick Tropeano (7-5)
S- Blake Parker (22)

OKC home runs: None.

The difference in this one was a stretch in the 5th and 6th innings in which the Cubs scored 4 and the RedHawks scored none.

In his first rehab game, Dexter Fowler went 2-3 with an RBI single in the 3rd. He was the DH in this game. The RedHawks got on the board in the 2nd as Matt Duffy scored on a passed ball and Jio Mier hit an RBI single. Preston Tucker smacked an RBI double in the 8th and scored on an Andrew Aplin groundout later in the inning. Aplin also had 2 hits, as did Fowler's replacement at DH, Carlos Perez.

Nick Tropeano went 4.2 innings and allowed 7 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 4, and struck out 6. Anthony Bass was the first man out; he went 1.1 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2. Tommy Shirley worked around a walk to throw a scoreless 7th. Richard Rodriguez struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th, and Kevin Chapman allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in a scoreless 9th.

Game 3 of this series has Luis Cruz making his AAA debut. He'll face Dae-Eun Rhee at 7:05.

Arkansas 3, Corpus Christi 2

W- Michael Roth (10-6)
L- Jordan Jankowski (3-6)
S- Trevor Gott (1)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (4, 11 season; 2-run in 1st)

After Meredith opened the scoring with his homer in the 1st, the Hooks only had 3 men reach base the rest of the way.

The home run you see above constituted the entire Hooks offense. In fact, Brandon Meredith and Teoscar Hernandez (2 apiece) had all 4 Corpus hits. Meredith also stole his first base of the season. Delino DeShields went 0-2 with 2 walks and 2 stolen bases, giving him 46 on the year.

Jordan Jankowski had a bare minimum quality start as he allowed 5 hits (solo homer) and struck out 7. R.J. Alaniz struck out 1 over 2 perfect innings.

In the middle game of this series, Brady Rodgers will take on Tyler DeLoach at 5:30.

San Jose 2, Lancaster 1

W- Stephen Johnson (7-4)
L- Vince Velasquez (5-2)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Vince and the JetHawks walked off with a tough, tough loss. The Giants got their 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th, and in this one, a pair of errors in that 9th inning doomed Lancaster.

The lone Lancaster run came in the 2nd on a double from Tanner Mathis. Tyler White finished 2-4.

Zach Morton threw 5 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits while striking out 3. Vince Velasquez strolled through the first 3 innings after tagging in, but he was unable to finish off San Jose. He allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, issued an intentional walk, and struck out 7 in 3.1 innings of work.

In game 3 of this series, Evan Grills will take on Joe Biagini. First pitch is at 7:00.

Beloit 5, Quad Cities 2

W- Matt Stalcup (4-3)
L- Troy Scribner (0-1, 9-2 season)
S- Brendan McCurry (2)

QC home runs: Chase McDonald (13, solo in 1st)

This loss dropped the River Bandits to 2-6 in August, which does not bode well for their playoff chances.

Chase McDonald was the offense in this one; he finished 2-4 and put the Banditos on the board in the 1st with his 13th home run of the season and added an RBI single in the 3rd. J.D. Davis also went 2-4 with his 1st stolen base in the MWL (2 season).

In his Quad Cities debut, Troy Scribner went 5 and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits (2-run homer), walked 2, and struck out 8. Andrew Thurman tagged in for 3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 4. Albert Minnis struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Blaine Sims will get the start in game 3. He'll go up against Junior Mendez at 6:00.

Auburn 4, Tri-City 3 in 10 innings

W- Mario Sanchez (5-0)
L- Jordan Mills (1-2)

TC home runs: Terrell Joyce (8, solo in 1st)

The ValleyCats walked off with a series loss.

Jamie Ritchie opened up the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 1st. Joyce followed that up with his 8th homer of the year. Ritchie, who finished 2-4, added an RBI single in the 8th. Bobby Boyd was 1-3 with 2 runs scored and a steal (13), but he was caught to end the top of the 10th, and eventually got tossed. I assume he was less than satisfied with that call.

Robert Kahana went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and struck out 3. Raul Rivera was the first man out; he allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 in 1.2 scoreless. Aaron Vaughn struck out the only man he faced to end the 7th. Jordan Mills went 2+ innings and allowed the game-winning run on a single in the 10th. He allowed 3 other hits and struck out 1.

The ValleyCats will now begin a 6-game series with the Hudson Valley Renegades. The first leg of this series will be on the road. Starters are TBA.

Greeneville and Pulaski was postponed

A doubleheader is scheduled for tonight. The first game will begin at 5:00, and Reymin Guduan will get the start. Brock Dykxhoorn will start game 2.

GCL Astros 3, GCL Braves 2 in 10 inninngs

W- John Gatlin (1-1)
L- Jordan Sechler (1-1)

GCL home runs: None.

Brauly Mejia won it for the Kissimmee Stros with his 10th-inning RBI single. He finished 2-5 and hit a triple to lead off the 7th.

Dex McCall put the GCLstros on the board first with an RBI double in the 1st. Frankeny Fernandez went 3-5 with an RBI single in the 8th. He also stole his 2nd base in the GCL, giving him 32 on the season.

Justin Ferrell allowed 4 hits and struck out 5 over 4 scoreless. Junior Garcia tagged in for 4, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits, walking 1, and striking out 5. John Gatlin struck out 4 over 2 innings. He would've had a perfect outing had he not plunked a Brave.

Both of these teams are currently in a game at the Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.

DSL Dodgers 2, DSL Astros Blue 0

W- Osiris Ramirez (4-3)
L- Moreno Polanco (1-2)
S- Edward Perez (4)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team had 7 hits, but no runs to show for it. Jake Bowey went 2-4 with a double, and Rodrigo Ayarza finished 2-3.

Moreno Polanco went 4 innings and allowed an unearned run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Jose Rosario tagged in for 4 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Dariel Aquino worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out 1.

Both teams are currently playing at the Dodgers complex.

DSL Astros Orange 9, DSL Yankees2 5

W- Antonio Almonte (3-1)
L- Juan Escorcia (2-2)
S- Adonis Peña (1)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team took control of this one thanks to a 6-3 spurt to close the game. Everyone in the lineup had a hit, led by Edgar Lorenzo, who went 4-5. Juan Fuentes and Jose Benjamin had 3 apiece, and Angel De Leon was 2-6 with 2 runs scored.

Ihan Bernal opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. One batter later, Edgar Lorenzo added an RBI single of his own, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Hayden Timberlake drew a bases-loaded walk in the 3rd.

The Orange team got 4 in the 7th as De Leon scored on an error after a Timberlake single, Fuentes hit an RBI single, Benjamin scored on a double play, and Felix Lucas ripped an RBI double. In the 8th, Timberlake and Fuentes hit RBI groundouts.

Antonio Almonte went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. Adonis Peña finished it off, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, walking 2, and striking out 3.

Apparently there's a doubleheader. These two teams have a suspended game from July 17 to complete to go along with the regularly scheduled game.

Happy Birthday - 8/9

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Tyler Brunnemann (23)
Drafted out of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene in the 40th round in 2013, Brunnemann pitched in 25 games for Quad Cities before his recent promotion to Lancaster. For the season, he has a 1.80 ERA and a 0.860 WHIP. In 50 innings pitched, he has walked 10 while striking out 51.

Several former Astros mark the day as well ~

OF Roman Mejias (84)
Mejias was drafted from Pittsburgh in the 1961 expansion draft and spent the 1962 season with the Colt .45's. In 146 games, he hit .286/.326/.445 with 12 doubles, three triples and 24 home runs.

CF Tommy Agee (died January 22, 2001 at age 58)
Agee came to Houston in a November 1972 trade with the Mets and played in 83 games for the Astros before being traded to the Cardinals the following August. A two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove winner in 1966 while with the White Sox, Agee was a shadow of his former self six years later when he hit .235/.294/.397 for Houston.

LHP Claude Osteen (75)
Osteen came to Houston as a part of the December 1973 trade that sent Jimmy Wynn to the Dodgers. In 23 games for Houston (21 starts), Osteen was 9-9 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.482 WHIP. He was a three-time All-Star with Los Angeles and was a part of the 1965 Dodgers World Series championship team.

RHP Bob Scanlan (48)
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 25th round in 1984, Scanlan signed with Houston as a free agent prior to the 1998 season. In 27 games out of the bullpen, he had a 3.08 ERA and a 1.405 WHIP.

3B Mike Lamb (39)
A seventh round draft pick by the Rangers in 1997, Lamb came to Houston in a March 2004 trade with the Yankees. In 487 games over four seasons (from 2004 through 2007) for the Astros, Lamb hit .281/.342/.464.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, August 8, 2014

An Interview with Tri-City C Jamie Ritchie

When I spoke with Jamie Ritchie last week at "The Joe," I was immediately struck by his intelligence. But more than that, he is extremely well-spoken, and has obviously given the art of hitting and catching in the game of baseball a great deal of thought. And he expresses those thoughts quite well.

Ritchie was drafted this year as a Junior out of Belmont University in the 13th round and has hit the ground running for the ValleyCats. Despite a thumb injury that kept him out of the line-up for a couple of days (and kept him from catching while I was in attendance), he has still managed to put up a very impressive batting line in his first 28 games, hitting .403/.525/.519 with nine doubles. Even more impressive (to me) is that he has walked 17 times while striking out only 12 times.

I spoke with Tri-City Manager Ed Romero about Ritchie, and he had this to say,"Jamie Ritchie has been very good. He’s a great kid. Very intelligent. He’s done a great job catching, receiving, blocking, throwing and at the plate also. He’s been very good for the team. He does a great job receiving. He calls a great game. These pitchers, they love to pitch to him." The one improvement that Romero would like to see Ritchie make is to clean up his mechanics in throwing to the bases. He emphasized that Ritchie has a good arm, but it is just his mechanics that need tweaking in order to make him more effective in throwing out runners.

Jamie Ritchie - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

My first question for Ritchie was regarding his college experience. "I’m actually from Atlanta. I got recruited by Belmont University between my junior year and senior year of high school. I had a couple schools looking at me but the scholarship for Belmont was really good, so I couldn’t turn it down. I really enjoyed Nashville. It was fun times, cool city. The baseball team was awesome. It was a great group of guys in the three years I was there. I think my catching has always been pretty consistent. I think in college, it was pretty much the same. My hitting, though … freshman year, I didn’t hit very well at all. I was pretty bad. But then my sophomore year I improved and last year, I really got a lot of help hitting, and I [hit around] .302 in my junior year. I really enjoyed college, but I’m happy to be here now."

Ritchie told me about his draft experience as well, "It was kind of funny because I had four or five teams that were interested and the Astros were at the bottom of the list as far as who had talked to me the most. I’d only gotten a questionnaire from the Astros. I’d never talked to the scout before until a few days before the draft. The Cubs had been the main ones interested. I’d actually had a couple meetings with an area scout there and I’d talked to Cincinnati and the Mets. And the Astros, I’d just gotten a medical questionnaire from them. I was in Wisconsin the day of the draft. I was playing with the North Woods League. I thought I was going to get drafted the second day. I got a call that they were going to draft me in the 10th round and it ended up that it didn’t work out, but the next day, it was like 20 minutes after the draft started, they told me that they were going to draft me in the next couple rounds. When it finally happened, it was a huge relief. I knew that Houston’s minor league system was really good so I was happy to be part of a really good minor league system. It’s an organization where I think you can move up quickly so I’m excited about that. Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity."

In response to my question about the adjustments he’d had to make as a professional ballplayer, Ritchie told me, "I guess I’d have to say the playing every single day. It does wear on your body. The pitching’s gotten tougher. I noticed that as far as guys spotting up with their higher velocity and being able to command their off-speed pitches in any count, for the most part. In college, you can pretty much sit on a 2-0 fastball if you want a fastball, but [here] in the back of your mind, you’re [thinking] he could throw a change up here or a curveball. I guess the pitching’s been a pretty big adjustment. As far as catching goes, I think it’s almost become a bit easier because these pitchers here, you don’t have to worry about blocking a lot of balls. For the most part, they’re in the zone where you want them to throw it. It’s not been that hard of an adjustment, but it’s been somewhat of an adjustment."

What has he accomplished so far this season? "I think hitting has been the biggest thing. I knew the pitching was going to be a lot tougher. I wanted to get off to a hot start which I did, fortunately. I guess I feel more relaxed going to the plate knowing that in previous games I’ve done well. It gives you a lot of confidence. I think that’s the main thing I wanted to establish."

What does he feel he needs to work on improving? "I would say just some stuff behind the plate. I could polish up some of my catching stuff right now. I guess working with pitchers and making sure that we’re on the same page."

Since I hadn’t seen him play yet when I interviewed him, I asked him to characterize himself at the plate and behind it. "I try to, when I’m behind the plate, just try and be a bulldog back there. It’s only a three-hour game so I make sure I’m giving it 110%. When I’m at the plate hitting, I kind of like to picture me and the pitcher in a battle, and I’ve got to win every single time no matter if it’s just having a long 12-pitch at-bat or just smoking the ball somewhere. That’s my goal every time, just to make it as hard as I can on the pitcher."

Ritchie has definitely demonstrated doubles power in his time with the 'Cats. "The mindset coming in here has changed. The hitting mentality. Coach Steinhorn always talks about seeing the ball up and making sure you’re swinging at strikes. You know, pitchers at this level work low in the zone and want to get you out. You’ve got to be disciplined enough to take those pitches and I think that’s what I’ve actually done a really good job of, the balls I’ve been hitting well, doubles, have been fastballs up in the zone that I’ve been able to get my bat out and get the barrel on. I think I’ve been fortunate to find the gaps and the foul lines as far as where the hits have been. Some of them have not been squared up but they’ve snuck inside the right field line so I’ve had a little bit of luck there."

I asked Ritchie about his patience at the plate and he responded, "I guess that’s something I’ve always been good at is to draw a lot of walks. I don’t think I swing at a lot of pitches out of the zone. Sometimes I take a lot of first pitches, maybe more than I should, which sometimes gets you ahead in the count. I think that’s always been one of my strong points is fighting off pitches that are borderline, making the pitcher work as hard as he possibly can so maybe he can’t find the zone and I can draw a walk."

Is there one player that he likes to just sit back and watch? "I like watching [Troy] Scribner pitch. [Scribner has since been promoted to Quad Cities.] I catch him a lot, but since I’ve been injured, I think he’s pitched a couple times and I haven’t been behind the plate. His stuff isn’t necessarily overpowering, but he knows how to pitch, change the hitter’s eye. He knows when to throw inside. He knows when to throw outside. He knows what a hitter’s sitting on. If they’re sitting on a fastball, he can execute his pitches in a lot of counts, especially his change up. And it’s really impressive to watch a guy who maybe doesn’t throw 97, but he has such a low ERA and he knows how to get guys out, and that’s really fun to watch."

Which pitcher on the team has been the most challenging to catch so far? According to Ritchie, "I’d say Bryan Radziewski. He likes to pitch backwards and I’m not used to catching a backwards game. I’m pretty traditional in the pitches I call. If it’s a 2-0 count, I’ll, for the most part, call a fastball, but he shakes off a lot, and I’ve had to get used to that. He also throws a slider. Sometimes it’s a 3-0 count and he’s shaking. I’ve put down a fastball, a change up, traditional pitches that you throw in those counts and he’s shaking me off and we’ll have to call time. I’m still trying to get on the same page as him so he’s probably been the most challenging."

I also asked him if he’d had the opportunity to catch lefty knuckleballer Blaine Sims during the short time that he was with the ValleyCats. "I caught Sims a couple times. I was honestly very nervous catching him because in the bullpen, he doesn’t throw his knuckleball nearly as hard as he does in the game. I remember I caught him at Lowell and the wind was blowing in his face. When the wind is blowing against him, the ball’s moving even more. I think I had one passed ball that game, but there would be sometimes I would be [thinking], ‘Oh my goodness, I have no idea where this pitch is going to be,’ and there’s a guy on base and that puts more pressure on you to catch the ball. I think one time there was a ball that I would have completely missed. It might have hit the umpire right in the face, but fortunately the guy swung and fouled it off. I was [thankful that] he fouled that off because I was not going to catch that. Definitely, his knuckleball when the wind is blowing in his face is tough to catch."

What would he do if he couldn’t play baseball? "I guess I’d be in college somewhere in Georgia right now. I wouldn’t have had a scholarship to Belmont so I probably would be at UGA or Kennesaw State, one of those schools, probably pursuing a Science degree or something like that. I think my other sport would have been football. I played football when I was younger. I was a pretty good receiver at the time until I just decided I wanted to play baseball so I’d probably be doing one of those two things. [What was his major?] It was biology. I was planning on maybe going to Physical Therapy school or Optometry school."

Which pitcher on the team would he least like to face? "I don’t think I’d fare well against [Joe] Musgrove. His slider’s pretty dirty. It’s on the same plane as his fastball and it’s hard to recognize as a hitter, and he throws pretty hard too. I probably wouldn’t want to face him. I don’t know how I’d fare against him. If I had to choose somebody, it would be him."

I also asked Ritchie to tell me something about himself that most people might not know. "I’m half Scottish. My Dad’s from Scotland. He speaks with an accent. I’ve been over there. My grandmother lives over there and my uncle lives there so we usually go over there once every three years for Christmas. I think we might go back there again this Christmas."

Since I didn’t have the opportunity to see the trio of A.J. Reed, Ryan Bottger and J.D. Davis because of their promotions to Quad Cities, I asked Ritchie for his take on the three. He said, “A.J., obviously, he’s a big power guy. He has a really good eye at the plate for a power guy. A lot of times you’ll see those guys who hit a lot of home runs strike out a lot, but I think his walk to strikeout ratio is pretty even. [It's currently 25 walks to 31 strikeouts.] That’s going to be a good key for him moving up in the future.

"Same with Ryan. He’s kind of like me. I think he walked more than he struck out and he hit for some power too. I think he hit three home runs in three games while he was here at one point and he had a few doubles at the same time. Switch hitter too. So I think those things combined will help both those move up.

"And J.D obviously, as an outfielder in college moving to third base, I think that’s been one of the biggest adjustments for him. He’s got one of the best approaches on the team while he was here. He could hit for power to any part of the field. He wasn’t just a pull hitter and at any given time, he could put the ball over the fence so I think that’s a dangerous combination right there."


Jamie Ritchie is obviously a very intelligent player, thoughtful, self-aware and very talented both at the plate and behind it. I think that could prove to be a dangerous combination as well.

Thank you for your time, Jamie. It was a pleasure getting to know you just a little bit better. Best of luck as the season continues.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, August 7, 2014 

Oklahoma City 16, Iowa 4

W- Rudy Owens (6-5)
L- Carlos Pimentel (3-8)

OKC home runs: Preston Tucker (6, 23 season; 2-run in 8th)

The RedHawks opened up their biggest series of the season with a bang as they scored in all but 2 innings and pounded out 19 hits an a complete mauling of the Cubs.

Joe Sclafani kicked things off with an RBI double in the 1st. He'd score on a Preston Tucker single, then Andrew Aplin and Carlos Perez followed that up with a 2-run double and a sac fly, respectively. OKC got a pair in the 2nd as Tucker hit his 2nd RBI single of the night and Matt Duffy added a sac fly. Jonathan Villar finished 2-3 with 2 runs scored, a steal (16, 30 season), and had a 2-run single in the 5th. In the 6th, Max Stassi hit an RBI single, Ruben Sosa had an RBI double, and Villar added a sac fly to his ledger. Duffy hit another sac fly in the 7th, and then in the 8th, Ronald Torreyes hit an RBI single, and Tucker capped off the night with his 23rd home run of the season. Torreyes finished 4-5 with a triple and 4 runs scored. Tucker and Stassi both went 3-5, while Villar, Sclafani, Duffy, and Sosa had 2 hits apiece.

Rudy Owens went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs, all of which came on a pair of 2-run homers from Manny Ramirez and Kris Bryant, 3 other hits, walked 2, and struck out 6. Jorge De Leon was the first man out and threw a 1-2-3 7th. Pat Urckfitz walked 1 and fanned 1 in a scoreless 8th, and Richard Rodriguez struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th inning.

In game 2 of this series, Nick Tropeano will take on Dallas Beeler at 7:05.

Corpus Christi 7, Northwest Arkansas 2

W- Chris Devenski (3-3, 8-8 season)
L- Christian Binford (3-2, 8-6 season)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (3, 10 season; 3-run in 6th), Delino DeShields (8, 2-run in 7th)

The two blasts you see above put the momentum firmly in the hands of the Hooks as they left Springdale, Arkansas with a series win.

The other 2 Hooks runs came in the 3rd as DeShields hit an RBI bunt single and Leo Heras hit a regular ol' RBI single. DeShields finished 3-5 with 2 runs scored, while Tony Kemp went 2-5 and also scored 2 runs and Carlos Perdomo was 2-4 with a run scored. Everyone in the lineup had a hit.

Chris Devenski started it off with 5 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 3, and striking out 3. Josh Hader, in his AA debut, went 3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4. Tyson Perez wrapped it up with a 1-2-3 9th.

The Hooks' tour of Arkansas continues with 3 against the Travelers. In the opener, Jordan Jankowski will take on Michael Roth at 7:05.

San Jose 2, Lancaster 1

W- Nick Vander Tuig (2-0)
L- Matt Heidenreich (3-4, 4-4 season)
S- Bryce Bandilla (8)

Lancaster home runs: Brett Phillips (1, 14 season; solo in 5th)

The JetHawks pounded out 11 hits, but unfortunately, Phillips' blast was their lone tally. That was also their only extra-base hit of the evening. Phillips finished 4-5, while Danry Vásquez went 3-4.

Missed opportunities absolutely haunted Lancaster in this game, as they went 0-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 on base. They had the bases loaded with nobody out in the 1st and failed to score. Danry was stranded at 3rd to end the 4th inning, as was Chan-Jong Moon to end the 5th. They also had the bases loaded with 1 out in the 9th, but Danry was forced out at home, and Jobduan Morales struck out to end the game.

Matt Heidenreich went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 4. Gonzalo Sañudo pitched the final 3 innings, allowing a hit and striking out 3.

Zach Morton will get the start in game 2 of this series. He'll face Matt Lujan at 9:00.

Beloit 4, Quad Cities 1

W- Lou Trivino (6-8)
L- Adrian Houser (5-5)
S- Sam Bragg (6)

QC home runs: None.

The Bandits were held in check as they dropped the opener.

Chase McDonald's RBI double in the 3rd constituted the lone QC run. Marc Wik (2 2B, R) and J.D. Davis (2B) both finished 2-4.

Adrian Houser got dinged by a 2-run homer from B.J. Boyd in the top of the 3rd. He went 5 innings and allowed 3 other hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. Kevin Comer pitched the final 4 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs in the 6th, 2 hits, and struck out 5.

In game 2 of this series, Troy Scribner will make his River Bandits debut. He'll be facing Matt Stalcup at 7:00.

Auburn 11, Tri-City 4

W- Austen Williams (2-2)
L- Luis Ordosgoitti (2-4)

TC home runs: Terrell Joyce (7, 2-run in 8th)

The ValleyCats were buried by a 9-1 spurt between the 6th and the 7th innings that gave Auburn an 11-2 lead.

Bobby Boyd and Juan Santana both went 3-5 with a run scored. Santana opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 1st. Alfredo Gonzalez hit an RBI single in the 7th, and Joyce clubbed his 7th homer of the season in the 8th inning to extend his hitting streak to 6 games. Jose Solano went 2-4 with 2 doubles and a run scored.

Luis Ordosgoitti went 5.2 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned, 2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 6. Kevin Ferguson allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and walked 2 while failing to record the final out of the 6th. Jay Gause got the final out of the 6th and the first out of the 7th, but allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Vince Wheeland brought some order back to this one, as he allowed a hit over 1.2 scoreless.

In the series finale, Robert Kahana will take on Drew Van Orden at 6:05.

Greeneville 4, Pulaski 1

W- Jorge Perez (2-1)
L- Luis Pina (1-2)
S- Eric Peterson (4)

Greeneville home runs: Jake Nottingham (3, solo in 2nd)

The Appy Astros took the opener as they broke a 1-1 tie with 3 in the top of the 8th.

The Sherriff's 3rd homer of the season opened up the scoring. In the 8th, Hector Roa smacked a 2-run triple and proceeded to steal home (1, 3 season) as part of a double steal with Nottingham (3). Ydarqui Marte finished 2-4.

Austin Nicely allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4 in 5 innings of work. Juan Carlos Santos allowed a hit and struck out 2 in a scoreless 6th. Jorge Perez followed that up with 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 4, and Eric Peterson closed it out by striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In the middle game of this series, Reymin Guduan will get the start at 6:00.

GCL Astros 7, GCL Blue Jays 4

W- Christian Perdomo (2-0)
L- Daniel Rodriguez (1-4)
S- Travis Ballew (1, 5 season)

GCL home runs: Luis Payano (2, solo in 6th)

The Astros' 7-0 stretch from the 4th-7th innings was the difference here.

Brauly Mejia scored the first GCLstros run on an error in the 4th. In the 5th, they got an RBI single from Jean Estrella, a 2-run triple from Mejia, and an RBI triple from Dex McCall, who finished 3-4. Payano's homer led off the 6th, and Nestor Tejada grounded into a force out that scored Marlon Avea in the 7th. Mejia went 3-5, while Arturo Michelena finished 2-5.

Joselo Pinales went 3 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Christian Perdomo struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 4th. Ditto for J.D. Osborne in the 5th. Cris (OK, I've gotten tired of typing out his full name) Santamaria allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 2.1 innings, and Travis Ballew got a 5-out save, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1.

The Kissimmee Stros are currently playing the Braves.

DSL Astros Blue 4, DSL Athletics 3

W- Luis Ramirez (1-2)
L- Gerardo Vilchez (1-2)

Blue home runs: None.

The Blue team walked off with the win thanks to Marcos Almonte's RBI single with 2 outs in the 9th.

Almonte scored the first run of the day on a double from Jonathan Matute in the 1st. Bryan De La Cruz added an RBI single in the 6th, and Almonte scored on a wild pitch in the 7th. De La Cruz, who scored the winning run, reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances as he went 2-2 with 2 walks.

Carlos Hiraldo allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 3. Lachlan Madden tagged in to throw a 1-2-3 6th. Luis Ramirez walked 2 and struck out 5 over 3 scoreless.

The Blue team is currently in a game against the Dodgers.

DSL Rangers1 14, DSL Astros Orange 4

W- Samuel Zazueta (4-0)
L- Gerald Benzant (0-3)

Orange home runs: None.

Well, an 8-0 deficit after 4 innings doesn't bode well for a team's chances of winning.

The Orange team got 3 in the 5th thanks to an RBI double from Edgar Lorenzo, a Jose Benjamin force out that scored Ihan Bernal, and an RBI bunt single from Wilson Amador. Lorenzo added another RBI double in the 6th. He and Bernal both finished 2-4, while Reiny Beltre was 3-4 with 2 runs scored.

The pitchers struggled and I'll leave it at that.

The Orange team is currently at the Yankees complex for a game against the Yankees 2.

Happy Birthday - 8/8

Several former Astros with birthdays today ~

LF Jose Cruz (67)
Cheo originally signed with the Cardinals in 1966 and played five seasons in St. Louis before coming to Houston in October 1974. In 1870 games for the Astros from 1975 to 1987, he hit .292/.359/.429 with 335 doubles, 80 triples, 138 home runs, 942 RBI, 288 stolen bases and 730 walks. He was a two-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner while with the Astros. He will always be remembered by those of us lucky enough to have see him for his Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzz introduction, for always running out from under his hat as he fielded balls in left field and for never refusing an autograph request.

OF Ray Montgomery (45)
Drafted by Houston in the 13th round in 1990, Montgomery played for the Astros in a total of 47 games from 1996 to 1998 hitting .241/.281/.356. Once his playing days were over, Montgomery went into scouting for the Brewers organization and signed Rickie Weeks.

RHP Jack Cassel (34)
A 25th round pick by the Padres in 2000, Cassel signed as a free agent with Houston in December 2007. In nine games (three starts) for the Astros in 2008, he was 1-1 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.516 WHIP.

2B Johnny Temple (died January 9, 1994)
Temple came from Baltimore to Houston in August 1962 and played for the Colt .45's for two seasons. In 131 games, he hit .264/.339/.314. Temple was a four time All-Star during his years with the Reds and Indians.

1B Mike Ivie (62)
Drafted by San Diego in the first round in 1970, Ivie came to Houston in a trade with the Giants in April of 1981. In 26 games for the Astros in 1981 and 1982, he hit .250/.288/.313.

RHP Mark Ross (60)
Drafted by the Astros in the seventh round in 1979, Ross pitched in only 14 games for Houston scattered over 1982, 1984 and 1985. In those games, he was 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.844 WHIP. After his playing days, Ross became a scout for the Astros.

RHP John Hudek (48)
Originally drafted by the White Sox in the tenth round in 1988, Hudek was claimed by Houston off waivers in July of 1993. In 116 games for Houston from 1994 to 1997, Hudek was 5-7 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP. In 1994, he was second in voting for Rookie of the Year to Raul Mondesi and made his only All-Star appearance.

Tweets of the Day

Thursday, August 7, 2014

WTHB Makes it through the Terrible Twos

Today marks three years since the inception of "What the Heck, Bobby?" I'm not sure that I had a clue what I was doing (sometimes I still don't) or where I was going (ditto), but I forged ahead regardless. This thing seems to have taken on a life of its own and evolved in ways that I didn't necessarily envision. Sometimes I feel as though I'm just along for the ride.

The past year has been a very difficult one for me personally and, at times, that has kept me from doing some of the things I would like to have done with the blog, this season in particular. I have far more ideas than I have time to bring them to fruition. I do, after all, have that pesky "real job" that pays the bills while I follow my passion. I would much prefer to do this all day long, but a couple hundred dollars a year in ad revenue doesn't exactly pay the mortgage.

But I digress, as is often the case. When I started the blog, I quickly recognized that there were some very talented players in the organization, but that they were few and far between. For example, when I looked at minor league depth at the end of the 2011 minor league season, the depth chart for lefty starters at AA and above included only Dallas Keuchel, the recently acquired Brett Oberholtzer, Xavier Cedeno who had since been converted to relief, 28-year old Ryan Rowland-Smith and 31-year old Andy Van Hekken who pitched about half of his games in relief. That was it at the higher levels.

Fast forward to 2014. Keuchel and Oberholtzer have graduated. Rudy Owens is in the mix. Luis Cruz, Tommy Shirley, David Rollins, Josh Hader and Colton Cain populate the upper rungs of lefty starter depth with other pitchers such as Kent Emanual, Evan Grills and Brian Holmes nipping at their heels. The lower rungs of the system have interesting lefties such as Reymin Guduan, Chris Lee, Salvador Montano, Cristopher Santamaria, Austin Nicely and knuckleballer Blaine Sims in their midst. Before, we were hoping and praying that Keuchel and Oberholtzer could take the reins from Wandy and Happ because there was no one else in the system even close to being ready. That is, thankfully, no longer the case. The Astros have options.

Which brings me to this thought. Fall in love with a minor league player in the Astros system (or a major league player for that matter) at your own risk. There are still so many changes to come before the perennially contending Astros of the future are more or less in place. Look at the outfield. Who will be on that team in 3 to 5 years? Will Dexter Fowler, L.J. Hoes and Alex Presley be long gone? Will Marisnick and Grossman stick? We all assume that Springer and Santana will be on that future team. But where does that leave Aplin, Tucker, DeShields and Teoscar Hernandez? What about the next wave of players, including Brett Phillips and Danry Vasquez? And don't forget about Derek Fisher, Jason Martin and others that are still on short season teams. Where will they be at this point next year?

I've alluded to this before, but I'll mention it again. Last May after my trip to Lancaster, I ran into Jeff Luhnow at Minute Maid Park. He asked me about my trip, and I gushed over Andrew Aplin. In my enthusiasm for Aplin, I asked Luhnow, "Can we keep him?" He laughed, but he knew what I meant. The Astros are not going to carry 8 outfielders. Springer, Santana, Teoscar Hernandez, Aplin, Tucker, Phillips, DeShields and Vasquez aren't all going to stick with the team. Minor league fans will lose favorite players, just like we did last week losing Austin Wates and Kiké Hernandez, as well as Jarred Cosart. There just aren't enough spots for all the players we want to see in an Astros uniform.

The good news is that these players aren't being blocked. They are being given the opportunity to succeed with other teams. I will miss some of them dreadfully, but at the same time, I am so very happy for the opportunity that they have been given.

There will be regrets at times. I'm hoping that the Astros don't lose another Johan Santana, but the reality is that it could happen. Because knowing who will succeed at the major league level is an inexact science that even the best of the Decision Scientists will not be able to predict with 100% accuracy. But it is a good problem to have. When I spoke with Lancaster Manager Rodney Linares two years ago about Kiké, he predicted that there would be some tough decisions ahead for the Astros when it came to players like Kiké. He called it "a good mess."

And that's what's happened over the last three years that I've been following these young men. The Astros system has gone from simply being a mess to being "a good mess." And I'm happy to have witnessed the transformation.

I'd be lying if I told you that I know what the next year will bring for the Astros, for this blog or for me personally, but I hope that you will continue to join me for the ride. Thank you for reading. And thank you for your support.

Best of luck to those friends of WTHB to whom we've had to say goodbye this season. Thanks for sharing your time and your stories with me. Godspeed.

Kiké Hernandez

Bobby Doran

Andy Simunic

Austin Wates

Alex Sogard

Michael Dimock

Andrew Robinson

Chris Epps

Dan Gulbransen

Erik Castro

Jarred Cosart

Justin Gomiskey

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oklahoma City was off

The RedHawks will begin a 5-game series with the Iowa Cubs beginning tonight at 7:05. Rudy Owens will take on Carlos Pimentel in the opener.

Northwest Arkansas 9, Corpus Christi 8

W- Ali Williams (5-2)
L- Kyle Smith (4-5, 8-5 season)
S- Mark Peterson (1)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks allowed a pair of 4-run innings, but a Mitch Maier homer in the 7th turned out to be the difference for the Naturals. Corpus attempted a comeback that fell just short.

Jonathan Meyer opened up the scoring with an RBI double in the 4th. Colin Moran, who scored on that play, added an RBI double of his own in the 5th. A 3-run 6th gave the Hooks a 5-4 lead, as they got an RBI single from Conrad Gregor, an RBI double from Delino DeShields, and a sac fly from Tony Kemp. Unfortunately, that lead was short-lived, as the Naturals answered with 5 unanswered. However, the Hooks didn't go away. DeShields grounded into a force out that scored M.P. Cokinos, Kemp added an RBI groundout that scored Gregor, and Teoscar Hernandez added an RBI single. In the 9th, Leo Heras ripped a triple with 1 out. A Cokinos groundout followed for out #2, and then Gregor drew a walk. With Brandon Meredith at the plate, Heras bolted for home on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, but unfortunately, he was thwarted by the pitcher, Mark Peterson.

DeShields finished 2-5 with 2 runs scored. Moran also went 2-5. Heras was 2-4, and Gregor reached in all 5 of his plate appearances, going 2-2 with 2 runs scored and 3 walks.

Jordan Jankowski went 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and struck out 3. Kyle Smith just didn't have it, as he allowed 4 runs in 2 innings. 3 came on a bases-clearing double (the only hit he allowed) and the other run scored on a HBP with the bases loaded. Smith also walked 3 and struck out 2. Kyle Weiland allowed a solo homer to Mitch Maier in the 7th. He allowed 2 other hits in the inning. Tyson Perez fanned out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In the series finale, Chris Devenski will take on Christian Binford at 7:05.

Lancaster 3, Modesto 2

W- Kent Emanuel (7-3, 7-5 season)
L- Mike Piazza (0-1)
S- Jamaine Cotton (12)

Lancaster home runs: None.

The JetHawks hung on to take the series behind a strong performance from the lefty, Kent Emanuel.

Emanuel went 8 innings and allowed a run, scattered 6 hits, and struck out 1. Jamaine Cotton allowed a solo homer to Francisco Sosa with 2 outs in the 9th. That was the only bump in the road for him, as he was able to finish the game off. He struck out 2 in the inning.

Jon Kemmer scored the game's first run when he came home while Ronnie Mitchell grounded into a double play in the 2nd. He finished 2-4 with a double and scored 2 of the 3 JetHawks runs. In the 3rd, Brett Phillips led off the inning with a triple and scored himself on the same play when the relay throw from the outfield nailed him in the back. Nuts 3B Rosell Herrera was charged with an error on the play. The Nuts got a run in the 6th to make it a 2-1 game, but the JetHawks got a big insurance run in the 9th when Kemmer scored on a Catfish Elkins groundout. Kemmer had reached on another error from Herrera to begin the inning. Phillips and Rio Ruiz also finished 2-4, while Elkins went 2-3.

The JetHawks' roadtrip continues with a 4-game stop in San Jose. In the opener, Matt Heidenreich will take on Nick Vander Tuig. First pitch is at 9:00.

Quad Cities 5, Burlington 3

W- Edison Frias (8-5)
L- Harrison Cooney (8-6)
S- Frederick Tiburcio (7)

QC home runs: None.

After dropping the opener, the River Bandits responded by taking the next 2 games to win the series. The River Bandits were down 2-0 thanks to a Bo Way 2-run homer in the 3rd for the Bees, but they responded by scoring the next 5 runs.

George Springer walked to lead off the 4th, advanced to 3rd on an A.J. Reed double, and scored on a Ryan Bottger groundout. That would be the end of his rehab stint, as he's back in Houston for re-evaluation after tweaking his strained left quad.

In the 5th, the Banditos got a pair of RBI doubles from Chase McDonald and Reed. Andrew Reed was the only player on either side with a multi-hit game with his 2 doubles.

Edison Frias went 7.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 4 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 6. Chris Cotton got the final 2 outs of the 8th, 1 via strikeout. He did uncork a wild pitch that allowed Frias' runner to score. Frederick Tiburcio finished it off with 2 strikeouts in a 1-2-3 9th.

The River Bandits will now welcome Beloit to Modern Woodmen Park for 4 beginning tonight at 7:00. In the opener, Adrian Houser will take on Lou Trivino.

Tri-City 3, Auburn 2

W- Joe Musgrove (5-1)
L- James Bourque (1-4)
S- Derick Velazquez (3)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats were able to hold off the Doubledays as they won their 5th in a row.

Jose Solano grounded into a force out that scored Terrell Joyce in the 2nd to open the scoring. Joyce was involved in all 3 ValleyCats runs, as he hit a 2-run single in the 3rd inning. Solano had 2 stolen bases (6). Bobby Boyd went 2-5 with a steal (12). Joyce and Mott Hyde both finished 2-4, and Nick Tanielu went 3-5 with a run scored.

Joe Musgrove allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 8 in 6 innings. This was the first outing in which he issued more than 1 walk. Bryan Radziewski tagged in to throw 2 scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out 1. Derick Velazquez quickly got the first 2 outs of the 9th, but all of a sudden, he found getting that last out a bit tougher than he expected. He allowed a double, and then a wild pitch moved the runner to 3rd. Velazquez then allowed an RBI infield single that cut the TC lead to 3-2. But, he buckled down and struck out Osvaldo Abreu to end the game. He also struck out Jose Marmolejos-Diaz for the first out of the inning.

In the middle game of this series, Luis Ordosgoitti will take on Austen Williams at 6:05.

Greeneville was off

The Appy Astros will kick off a 3-game series in Pulaski starting tonight at 6:00.

GCL Blue Jays 6, GCL Astros 1

W- Brandon Hinkle (1-1)
L- Francis Martes (2-3)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros were held to just 2 hits in this one: singles from Dex McCall and Ruben Castro. Nestor Tejada drove in the only run with a groundout in the 5th.

In his organizational debut, Francis Martes allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 in 3 innings. Starlyng Sanchez went 3 innings and allowed 3 runs on 2 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 3. In his US debut, Juan Hernandez allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 3, and struck out 1 in 2 innings, and Kyle Gehrs struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

The GCLstros are in Dunedin for a game against the very same Blue Jays. First pitch is at 11:00 A.M.

DSL Astros Blue and DSL Athletics was postponed

I believe that this is the first rainout of a DSL Astros game this season. I assume they're playing a doubleheader today.

DSL Rangers1 4, DSL Astros Orange 1 in 13 innings

W- Roberto Liriano (4-0)
L- Ramon Rodriguez (1-1)

Orange home runs: None.

The lone Orange run came way back in the 3rd on an RBI single from Anardo Peralta. Hayden Timberlake went 2-4.

Edgardo Sandoval allowed 3 hits and struck out 2 over 7 shutout innings. Diogenes Almengo was the first man out; he went 5 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. Ramon Rodriguez pitched 2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits.

Both teams are currently in a game at the Rangers' complex.

Astros Minor League Snapshot

We are now 18 weeks in to the minor league season. Let's take a look at where things stand.


3rd    60-59    .504    3.0GB    W4

The RedHawks stubbornly remain in third place in the American Southern Division after going 4-2 last week, trailing first place Iowa by three games and second place Omaha by a game and a half. Oklahoma City will be hosting Iowa (63-56) for five games starting tonight as they go mano a mano (teamo a teamo?) against the first place team. The 'Hawks are 4-3 against the Iowa Cubbies this season. On Tuesday they will head west to face Fresno (57-61) for four. It will be the RedHawks' first and last look of the season at the Giants affiliate.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Domingo Santana
T7th in BB

Nick Tropeano
4th in ERA
3rd in WHIP

Mike Foltynewicz
T10th in SO


For the season:
4th    54-62    .466    13.5GB    L1

For the second half:
4th     20-26     .435     8.0GB     L1

The Hooks downward spiral continues as they went 2-4 for the week and fell two games further back in the second half standings. They are currently in the midst of playing two weeks of games out of division. Corpus will try to take the rubber game tonight on the road against Northwest Arkansas (47-68) in their current series before heading down the road to face a very hot Arkansas Travelers (61-54) team for three. An off day on Monday will be followed by a repeat at home against these two Arkansas teams. The final two weeks of the season will be totally within the division.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Andrew Aplin (now in Oklahoma City)
3rd in OBP
6th in RBI
2nd in BB
7th in SB

Delino DeShields
2nd in Runs
5th in BB
2nd in SB

Nolan Fontana
T5th in 2B
3rd in BB

Leo Heras
1st in 3B
T10th in BB

Ruben Sosa (now in Oklahoma City)
T2nd in 3B
8th in SB

Tony Kemp
T5th in 3B

Telvin Nash
1st in HR

Preston Tucker (in Oklahoma City for almost 2 months)
2nd in HR

Luis Cruz (now in Oklahoma City)
10th in ERA
1st in WHIP
T10th in SO

Tyson Perez
9th in Saves


For the season:
1st    70-46    .603    -.-GB    W1

For the second half:
T1st     26-20     .565     -.-GB     W1

This is the second week in a row that the JetHawks have gone 5-2 and their winning ways have put them in a tie with Rancho Cucamonga for first place in the second half standings. The current road trip sees the 'Hawks stopping in San Jose (60-56) for four games before returning home to an off day on Monday. Starting Tuesday, they will return to division play, hosting High Desert (55-60) for three games.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Tony Kemp (now in Corpus Christi)
3rd in BA
2nd in OBP
5th in Runs
6th in SB

Rio Ruiz
9th in BA
T10th in OBP
4th in Hits
T5th in 2B
3rd in BB

Teoscar Hernandez (now in Corpus Christi)
8th in SLG
10th in Runs
3rd in 2B
T2nd in 3B
9th in BB
3rd in SB

Jordan Scott
T5th in 3B

Carlos Correa
T8th in 3B

Josh Hader (now in Corpus Christi)
1st in ERA
1st in WHIP
T3rd in SO

Kyle Westwood
8th in WHIP

Lance McCullers
T10th in SO

Jamaine Cotton
6th in Saves


For the season:
T4th    58-56    .509    13.5GB    W2

For the second half:
5th     23-22     .511     4.0GB     W2

The Bandits took a hit in the standings this week, their 2-5 record for the week dropping them three additional games behind in the second half standings. The good news is that Quad Cities will be hosting last place Beloit (45-69) for four games starting tonight; the Banditos have swept Beloit in their last three meetings. After an off day on Monday, Quad Cities will face first place Kane County (72-43) on the road for three.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Brett Phillips (now in Lancaster)
5th in BA
1st in SLG
6th in Runs
9th in Hits
T2nd in 2B

Chase McDonald
8th in SLG

James Ramsay
T10th in 2B
T4th in 3B
7th in BB

Chan Moon (now in Lancaster)
T10th in 3B


1st     36-16     .692     -.-GB     W5

After a little mini-slump, the 'Cats bounced back with a 5-1 week to further solidify their Stedler Division lead. They are now nine games in front of second place Connecticut. Tri-City won the first of three on the road against Auburn (23-28) last night. At the conclusion of that series, they will play six straight against the very hot Hudson Valley team (37-15; 1st place in the McNamara Division) starting Saturday with three on the road before returning home to host the Renegades for three. The 'Cats will have their work cut out for them as Hudson Valley has currently lost only three games at home all season.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Bobby Boyd
4th in BA
T8th in SB

Nick Tanielu
6th in BA
T7th in Hits
T3rd in RBI

A.J. Reed (now in Quad Cities)
9th in BA
T10th in HR
T7th in RBI
T6th in BB

Mott Hyde
T5th in 2B

Terrell Joyce
T7th in HR

J.D. Davis (now in Quad Cities)
T10th in HR

Alex Hernandez
T9th in BB

Derek Fisher
T5th in SB

Troy Scribner (now in Quad Cities)
2nd in ERA
3rd in WHIP
1st in SO

Austin Chrismon
10th in WHIP

Joe Musgrove
3rd in SO

Ryan Thompson
3rd in Saves

Chris Munnelly
T8th in Saves


2nd     24-22     .522     2.0GB     L1

Greeneville remains in second place after their 3-3 week, but managed to creep up a half game in the standings. The Appy Astros next six, three on the road against Pulaski (26-19) and three at home versus Burlington (20-24) will be outside the division. They will return to division play next Wednesday as they take on first place Elizabethton (26-20) on the road. Greeneville is currently 3-3 in the season series with that team.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Antonio Nunez
8th in OBP
2nd in BB

Jason Martin
T3rd in Runs
T6th in Hits
T4th in 2B
T1st in 3B
3rd in BB
T10th in SB

Sean McMullen
T10th in RBI

Jacob Nottingham
T10th in RBI

Agapito Barrios
6th in ERA
7th in WHIP

Austin Nicely
10th in ERA

Reymin Guduan
T9th in SO


3rd     21-20     .512     4.0GB     L1

A 2-4 week saw the GCL Astros fall from second place to third place and from one game out of first to four games out of first.

Here are a few top ten league leaders in selected categories:

Alexander Melendez (now in Quad Cities)
3rd in BA
5th in OBP
2nd in SB

Hector Roa (now in Greeneville)
T3rd in 2B
T10th in HR

Brauly Mejia
T4th in 3B
T3rd in BB

Edwin Media (now in Greeneville)
1st in SB

Harold Arauz
2nd in ERA
6th in WHIP
1st in SO

Elieser Hernandez
10th in ERA
3rd in WHIP
9th in SO

Francis Martes
5th in SO

Juan Delis
T3rd in Saves


10th     21-35     .375     23.5GB     L2


5th     26-30      .464     8.0GB      L1

The Astros Blue team's elimination number is now in the single digits at nine.

Here are a few top 20 league leaders in selected categories:

Connor MacDonald
12th in BA
10th in OBP

Frankeny Fernandez (now in the GCL)
18th in BA
14th in OBP
T11th in Runs
T18th in BB
3rd in SB

Cristopher Luciano
19th in OBP
T13th in RBI
T2nd in BB

Oliver Toribio
20th in OBP

Wilson Amador
T15th in Runs
5th in SB

Marcos Almonte
T11th in 2B
T20th in SB

Joan Mauricio (now in the GCL)
4th in 3B

Nestor Tejada (now in the GCL)
T10th in 2B

Vicente Sanchez
T10th in 3B

Rodrigo Ayarza
T7th in RBI
T18th in BB

Ihan Bernal
1st in BB

Wander Franco
4th in BB

Jonathan Matute
5th in BB

Andy Pineda
T16th in SB

Erasmo Pinales
20th in WHIP

Salvador Montana
T3rd in SO

Happy Birthday - 8/7

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Ambiorix de Leon (23)
A NDFA out of the Dominican Republic, de Leon has not played in 2014.

MGR Rodney Linares (37)
Linares is in his eighth season managing in the Astros minor league system. He managed the Greeneville Astros from 2007 to 2009, Lexington from 2010 to 2011 and is now in his third season managing the Hi-A Lancaster club in the California League. He guided the team to its first California League Championship in 2012, returned to the playoffs in 2013, and has already assured another return to the playoffs in 2014.

One former Astro with a birthday today ~

RHP Don Larsen (85)
Larsen came to Houston from the Giants and pitched in 30 games for the Colt .45's in 1964 and in one game for the Astros in 1965 before being traded to Baltimore. In those 31 games (11 starts), he was 4-8 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP. In 1956, he pitched a perfect game in the World Series for the Yankees, an accomplishment that I personally find to be one of the greatest single accomplishments in the history of baseball.

LHP Wade LeBlanc (30)
If you were on vacation in June 2013, you might have missed this guy completely. Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the second round in 2006, LeBlanc was claimed off waivers from Miami on June 8th, pitched in three games (3.2IP with a 9.82 ERA and a 1.909 WHIP) and was DFA'd on June 24th. He is currently plying his wares in Salt Lake City for the Angels AAA club.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An Interview with Tri-City CF Bobby Boyd

I spoke with with Tri-City Manager Ed Romero about Bobby Boyd, and he had this to say, "Bobby's been very good. He's an outfielder with speed, covers a lot of ground. He's a tough out at the plate. He's a perfect lead off guy." He would, however, like to see Boyd bunt more and wants to see him show more aggressiveness on the base paths, "He's got to utilize his speed and when he gets on base, he's got to go. You want to steal bases, you've got to go."

Boyd is a petite outfielder (generously listed as 5'9" on the roster) drafted this year in the eighth round out of West Virginia University. In his first 38 games for Tri-City, he is hitting .329/.396/.371 with six doubles and 11 stolen bases.

Boyd was the first of several players that I interviewed last week in Tri-City. He appears to be a little bit on the quiet side, but that could also be a by-product of sleep deprivation. The day we spoke followed a bus trip that ended around 4:30 a.m.

Bobby Boyd - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Boyd was born and raised in Silver Springs, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C., and has lived in the same house his whole life. He attended high school in D.C. When asked about his college experience, he told me, "I chose West Virginia because of the atmosphere, the sports atmosphere. It seems like everywhere around the country, everywhere you go, there's always Mountaineer fans there. When we went out to California last year for baseball, we had more fans there than some of the other teams had there that were from the area, so it was just a really great experience from that aspect."

His team didn't qualify for the regionals, but after WVU joined the Big 12, Boyd starting seeing a lot better competition and according to him, "We actually competed really well. We finished third my sophomore year and I think last year we finished fifth and everyone expected us to finish last so we were kind of the underdogs."

Did he know that the Astros were interested in drafting him? "That's funny because I had a lot of teams calling me up until the draft. The Astros, I filled out a questionnaire for them, but I guess I put the wrong phone number or something. My area scout said he was trying to get a hold of me for a week or two and he didn't have the right phone number. The day before the draft, he called me and said that we'd be in contact so I knew that the Astros were one of the teams who were interested."

I asked him what the biggest surprise or adjustment was in playing professional baseball. He responded, "I would just say playing every day. In college, you play the weekends and one day during the week and the rest of the days, your body's resting and stuff, so my body's still getting used to the travel." Boyd went on to say that he felt he was getting stronger from the travel and playing every day and was enjoying it all so far.

Since I hadn't seen Boyd play yet when I interviewed him, I asked him to characterize himself as a player, "Just a spark plug. I get things started for the team. I'm the lead off hitter. I get on base, get myself in scoring position so the guys after me can hit me in. Play good defense and kind of just show off my speed."

Which pitcher on the Tri-City team would he least like to face in the batter's box? "I would probably say Troy Scribner [since promoted] just because he pitches, he locates, he mixes it up and doesn't try to be too fancy, but gets guys off balance and gets them out."

Who does he enjoy watching play or pitch? "I like fielding behind [Joe] Musgrove and Scribner just because they throw strikes and go right after guys. I know I'm not going to be in the outfield, just standing around."

In response to my query as to what improvements he's trying to make, Boyd told me, "I'm working on getting on base more and swinging at good pitches. In college, I was kind of a free swinger, and here, they're trying to teach me to have a better pitch selection so I can get on base and score runs for the team."

What would he do if he couldn't play baseball? "During the summer, I'd definitely be at the beach all summer. I guess I'd probably try to be an engineer like my parents are engineers."

Who on the team makes him laugh? "Jay Gause. I think he makes everyone on the team laugh. Everyone thinks he's annoying, but he's the funniest guy on the team. It's hilarious to listen to him talk."

I also asked Boyd if he could tell me something about himself that most people didn't know. His answer showed his competitive streak. "I beat up on the guys in ping pong in the clubhouse."


Thank you for your time, Bobby. I really enjoyed getting to know you just a little bit better. Best of luck as you head toward the playoffs.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, August 6, 2014

Oklahoma City 7, Colorado Springs 3

W- Alex White (2-4)
L- Dan Houston (2-4)
S- Jason Stoffel (10)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks earned the sweep as they dug themselves out of a 3-0 hole after a half-inning, hitting back with 5 of their own in the bottom of the 1st.

Alex White got roughed up in that 1st inning, but he rebounded to throw a quality start, even if it was of the bare minimum variety (6 IP, 3 ER). He allowed 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6. Tommy Shirley tagged in for 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out 2. Jason Stoffel came on and got the save. He allowed a hit and all 4 of his outs were strikeouts.

Jonathan Villar walked to lead off the 1st, advanced to 3rd on a Joe Sclafani double, and scored the first OKC run on a wild pitch. Sclafani wound up moving to 3rd, and Preston Tucker, who walked, advanced to 2nd. Matt Duffy, who was at the plate at the time, tied the game with a 2-run single. An Andrew Aplin walk brought up Carlos Perez, who ripped a 2-run double to give the RedHawks the lead. In the 3rd, Ruben Sosa hit an RBI single that scored Duffy. He got caught stealing 2nd, but Perez took advantage of the Sky Sox having all of their attention focused on Sosa and scored on the play. Perez went 2-4 with a stolen base (3), while Duffy scored 2 runs.

The RedHawks have today off, but tomorrow, they'll begin what will likely be the biggest series of their season: 5 games at home with the division leaders, Iowa.

Corpus Christi 5, Northwest Arkansas 4

W- Mitch Lambson (2-0, 3-1 season)
L- Andrew Triggs (4-3)

CC home runs: Brandon Meredith (2, 9 season; 2-run in 9th)

The Hooks went ahead with 3 runs in the top of the 9th, culminating in Meredith's eventual game-winning blast.

Colin Moran put Corpus on the board first with an RBI single in the 1st. Conrad Gregor added a sac fly in the 4th and hit an RBI single in the 9th that preceded Meredith's homer. Everyone in the lineup had a hit; Gregor had 2, while Leo Heras' double was their only extra-base hit. Heras also scored twice. In his Hooks debut, Teoscar Hernandez went 1-4.

Mark Appel pitched 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. David Rollins allowed the runner that he inherited from Appel to score, but didn't allow any runs of his own over 1.2 innings. He allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Mitch Lambson allowed just 1 hit and struck out 3 over 3 scoreless.

In the middle game of this series, Jordan Jankowski will take on J.C. Sulbaran (who was scheduled to start this game). First pitch is at 7:05.

Modesto 5, Lancaster 4

W- Matt Flemer (10-8)
L- Kyle Westwood (8-7)
S- Rayan Gonzalez (9)

Lancaster home runs: Chan-Jong Moon (4, 6 season; solo in 1st)

The JetHawks came close with their rally, but no cigar.

Chan-Jong Moon put the JetHawks on the board first with his solo shot in the 1st. Lancaster would have to wait until the 8th to score again, but they got themselves to within 1. Moon grounded into a force out that scored Jack Mayfield, and Roberto Peña hit a 2-run single. However, he and Jon Kemmer were stranded in scoring position to end the threat. Mayfield was stranded at 2nd to end the game. He finished 2-4.

Kyle Westwood allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 5 innings of work. Lance McCullers is looking to rebound from a rough July. This was a good starting point; he allowed 1 hit and struck out 4 over 3 scoreless.

In the series finale, Kent Emanuel will take on Mike Piazza. No, not him, although they are second cousins. First pitch is at 9:05.

Monday: Burlington 7, Quad Cities 3

W- Alex Blackford (1-3)
L- Blaine Sims (2-4, 3-4 season)

QC home runs: J.D. Davis (1, 6 season; 3-run in 1st)

Before the Bandits and Bees could play the game that was regularly scheduled, there was the matter of Monday's game, which was suspended due to rain

J.D. Davis's 3-run homer from Monday turned out to be the only Quad Cities runs. They did not have a baserunner after play resumed.

Blaine Sims came on for the conclusion of this game and went 4 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, walking 3, and striking out 5.

Now, we return you to your regularly scheduled recaps, already in progress.

Quad Cities 4, Burlington 0

W- Michael Feliz (7-4)
L- Victor Alcantara (6-6)

QC home runs: A.J. Reed (4, 9 season; solo in 4th), Ryan Bottger (1, 5 season; solo in 7th)

Michael Feliz was absolutely dominant as he helped stop the Banditos' 6-game skid. He allowed just 3 hits and struck out 9 over 8 shutout innings. Keegan Yuhl finished it off by striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

James Ramsay opened up the scoring with an RBI single in the 3rd. Reed's blast came with 1 out in the 4th. That was his 32nd home run of 2014. In the 5th, Brett Booth scored from 2nd on an errant pickoff throw, and Bottger capped off the scoring in the 7th with his 1st homer as a River Bandit. Marc Wik was the only player on either side with a multi-hit game, finishing 2-3 with a run scored. George Springer went 0-2 before being lifted for Alex Melendez in the 6th.

In the series finale, Edison Frias will take on Harrison Cooney at 7:00.

Tri-City was off

The ValleyCats will begin a 3-game series in Auburn tonight at 6:05. Joe Musgrove will take on James Bourque.

Bristol 7, Greeneville 4

W- Dan Urbina (1-3)
L- Aaron Greenwood (3-1)
S- Michael Clemens (3)

Greeneville home runs: None.

Not a good time to drop a series, as the Appy Astros' lead over Johnson City for the 2nd playoff spot in the Appalachian League West is down to just 1 game. The bullpen was unable to hold a 4-2 lead in this one.

Tony Nuñez smacked an RBI double in the 3rd to put Greeneville on the board. Edwin Medina hit a bunt single in the 5th, and an error on the play allowed Jeffry Santos to score. Later in the inning, Cesar Carrasco added a 2-run double. Nuñez's 2 hits were both doubles. Medina walked twice, scored twice, and stole 2 bases (4, 22 season).

Josh James went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. In his Appy League debut, Elieser Hernandez worked around a double and a walk to throw a scoreless 5th. Aaron Greenwood was shelled in the 6th as he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and walked 1 while striking out 2. Zach Davis allowed a run on 3 hits and fanned 2 in 2 innings, and Angel Heredia struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

After a day off, the Appy Astros will travel to Pulaski, Virginia to begin a 3-game series against the Mariners.

GCL Astros 3, GCL Yankees1 2

W- Samil De Los Santos (1-1)
L- Matt Marsh (0-1)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros walked off with the win thanks to Arturo Michelena's 2-run double with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Luis Payano broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the 7th. Michelena finished 3-5 with a stolen base (3). Dex McCall and Ruben Castro had 2 hits apiece.

Ross Seaton started it off with 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 4. Yhoan Acosta walked 1 and struck out 6 over 4 scoreless. Travis Ballew allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and struck out 1 in the 8th. Samil De Los Santos worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out 1.

The Astros are currently hosting the Blue Jays at home.

DSL Rays 5, DSL Astros Blue 4

W- Francisco Peña (2-1)
L- Enrique Chavez (1-2)

Blue home runs: None.

The Rays scored 4 in the bottom of the 8th to take the game.

The Blue team opened up the scoring in the 1st on a pair of RBI singles from Rodrigo Ayarza and Cristopher Luciano. Ayarza added a sac fly in the 2nd, and Bryan De La Cruz clubbed an RBI triple. De La Cruz and Wander Franco both finished 2-4.

Albert Abreu allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 5 innings. Enrique Chavez went 2.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (2 earned, 3 inherited runners charged to him) on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Joel Belboder walked 1 and struck out 1 as he got the last 2 outs of the 8th. However, a bases-loaded walk, a passed ball, and an error resulted in all 3 of the runners he inherited from Chavez to score.

The Blue team is currently in a game at the A's complex.

DSL Angels 5, DSL Astros Orange 0

W- Andres Heredia (2-3)
L- Edwin Villarroel (2-4)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team was held to just 3 hits. Juan Fuentes' double was their only extra-base hit.

Edwin Villarroel went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3. Abdiel Saldaña allowed a run on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 3 in 3 innings, and Bryan Abreu allowed a run, a single, walked 3, and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The Orange team is currently in a game at home against the Rangers 1.

Happy Birthday - 8/6

Happy Birthday to ~

LHP Starlyng Sanchez (20)
An international free agent from the Dominican Republic, Sanchez started his season with the DSL where he played until his July 18th promotion to the Gulf Coast League. For the season, his is 1-4 with a 6.87 ERA and a 1.816 WHIP in 11 games (8 starts).

One former Astro celebrates the day as well ~

2B Jim Pankovits (59)
A fourth round pick by Houston in 1976, Pankovits played in 316 games for Houston from 1984 to 1988, hitting .250/.307/.349. After his playing days, he managed in the minor leagues including a stint as the manager for the 2010 New York-Penn League Champion Tri-City team in 2010.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Video Interview with Tri-City's Francis Ramirez and Alfredo Gonzalez

On my recent trip to Tri-City, I was in my last day of the trip and had concluded all of my interviews, had taken all of my photos except for that night's game and was ready to sit back and relax for a few minutes in the media room at "The Joe." The door opened and in walked Media Director Chris Chenes accompanied by a petite ball of energy by the name of Doris Gonzalez.

I had heard about Doris (in glowing terms) from Assistant Director of Player Development Allen Rowin two years ago when I interviewed him about the Astros Dominican Academy. Doris is in charge of helping the Latin players learn English and refine their language skills as a part of acclimating them into playing in the U.S. (among other things).

Doris knew that I had done a video interview with Danry Vasquez and Teoscar Hernandez when I was in Lancaster in May. Danry was eager to do the interview, but Teoscar required a little coaxing. The result was a combined interview which helped Teoscar feel more comfortable speaking with me (by the way, his English was quite good).

Doris saw that as an opportunity. She would like all of her students to be able to handle interviews and saw me as a willing partner. We briefly discussed the language skills of the Latin players on the Tri-City team and quickly settled on RHP Francis Ramirez and C Alfredo "Fredo" Gonzalez and before you know it, I was back in the clubhouse with my video recorder at the ready.

I'm really looking forward to working with Doris again and determining which players are ready for the big time a simple blog interview. Even if the questions and answers aren't exactly hard-hitting, it will help me (and my readers) get to know some of these players a little better.

First, a little background on the two. Francis Ramirez, 22, has been with the Astros since signing as an international free agent in November 2008. He is from the Dominican Republic. Fredo Gonzalez, also 22, signed with the Astros out of Venezuela in July 2008. Fredo actually stood out for me in watching the players during workouts. He is very strong and deceptively agile. His catching skills this season have been very good as well, throwing out 50% of would-be base stealers.

Without further ado, here is a brief interview with the two. Note that the sound isn't very good ... turn the volume up to high for the best results.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, August 4, 2014

Oklahoma City 5, Colorado Springs 3

W- Asher Wojciechowski (2-3)
L- Greg Burke (3-3)
S- Kevin Chapman (9)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks' 5-run 4th inning turned out to be all the offense they needed as they won the series from the Sky Sox.

Preston Tucker put OKC on the board and in the lead with a 2-run double to open up the scoring in the frame. He would score on an RBI single from Matt Duffy. Three batters later, Max Stassi added a 2-run single. The three of them, along with Jonathan Villar, all finished 2-4, while Ronald Torreyes went 2-3 with a run scored.

Asher Wojciechowski allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 6.1 innings. Pat Urckfitz pitched an inning (final 2 outs of the 7th and the 1st out of the 8th), walking 1 and striking out 2. Anthony Bass got the final 2 outs of the 8th, and Kevin Chapman finished it off by striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

The RedHawks will look for the sweep as Alex White gets the start at 7:05.

Corpus Christi was off

The Hooks will begin a 3-game series with Northwest Arkansas starting tonight at 7:05. In the opener, Mark Appel will take on J.C. Sulbaran.

Lancaster 4, Modesto 2

W- Brian Holmes (4-1)
L- Ben Alsup (2-12)
S- Evan Grills (2, 3 season)

Lancaster home runs: Jon Kemmer (8, 12 season; 2-run in 2nd)

The JetHawks' 2 2-run innings topped the Nuts' 1 2-run inning.

Jon Kemmer opened up the scoring with a 2-run homer in the 2nd, his 8th since joining the JetHawks and 12th on the season. Kemmer may be in a big hitter's environment and he's quickly taken advantage of his new surroundings, but this is a guy who was 4th in the NAIA in slugging percentage in the 2013 season, so he certainly has a bit of power to his offensive game.

Dean Espy responded for Modesto with a 2-run homer of his own to tie the game at 2 in the bottom of the 2nd, and that's where it stood until the 6th, when Jobduan Morales hit an RBI groundout to put Lancaster ahead and Kemmer added an RBI single. Kemmer finished 2-4 and was responsible for 3 of the 4 JetHawks runs. Tyler White reached in all 4 of his plate appearances, going 2-2 with 2 walks. Rio Ruiz went 2-5 with a run scored, and in his California League debut, Brett Phillips went 3-5 with a double out of the leadoff spot.

Brian Holmes went 5 innings and the only blunder he made was giving up that 2-run shot to Espy in the 2nd. He allowed 3 other hits, walked 3, and struck out 9. Evan Grills locked it down as he allowed just 1 hit and fanned 2 over 4 scoreless. He faced the minimum 12 batters in his 4 innings.

In game 2 of this series, Kyle Westwood will face Matt Flemer. First pitch is at 9:05.

Quad Cities 3, Burlington 3 through 5 innings

This game was suspended due to rain. It will resume at 5:30.

The 3 Quad Cities runs came courtesy of a 3-run homer from J.D. Davis in the 1st. This was his 1st in the Midwest League and 6th of the season. In his first rehab appearance, George Springer went 0-1 with 2 walks and a strikeout before exiting the game in the 5th.

Chris Lee went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 9 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2.

In the regularly scheduled game for tonight, which will go for the full 9 innings, Michael Feliz will take on Victor Alcantara.

Tri-City 4, Batavia 3

W- Jordan Mills (1-1)
L- Josh Hodges (0-3)
S- Ryan Thompson (7)

TC home runs: Ricky Gingras (1, 2-run in 8th)

The ValleyCats got the sweep thanks to Ricky Gingras' big day at the plate.

Gingras finished 3-4 with 2 runs scored and had all 3 RBIs for the ValleyCats. He had an RBI single in the 6th and gave TC the lead with his 2-run shot in the bottom of the 8th. Gingras also scored the only run that wasn't driven in, thanks to an error in the 2nd that also allowed Alfredo Gonzalez to reach. The other 2 runs were scored by Terrell Joyce, who went 2-3. Ariel Ovando went 2-4.

Austin Chrismon had a nice day on the mound, as he allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 7 solid innings. Aaron Vaughn only got 1 out in the 8th as he allowed a double that eventually turned into an inherited run that was charged to him. Jordan Mills got the final 2 outs of the 8th, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1. The Closer, Ryan Thompson, finished it off by striking out the Muckdogs in order in the 9th.

The ValleyCats will have today off. Tomorrow, they hit the road for 6 games. Their first stop will be in Auburn, New York, for 3 against the Doubledays.

Greeneville 12, Bristol 0

W- Agapito Barrios (4-0)
L- Jake Burnette (0-1)

Greeneville home runs: Hector Roa (1, 4 season; 3-run in 1st), Ydarqui Marte (3, 3-run in 3rd)

The Appy Astros absolutely laid waste to Bristol as everyone in the lineup got in on the act.

Everyone had a hit. Everyone scored a run except for Jeffry Santos, who hit a sac fly in the 5th. Roa's 1st Appy League homer opened up the scoring, and effectively the floodgates, in the 1st. Ydarqui Marte followed suit with a 3-run shot of his own in the 3rd.

Greeneville put up 5 in the 5th as Bryan Muniz hit an RBI single, Marte scored on a wild pitch, Santos hit a sac fly, Jason Martin legged out an RBI infield single, and Roa added an RBI single to his ledger. Martin capped off the evening with a sac fly in the 7th. He finished 2-4. Roa and Kristian Trompiz also had 2-hit nights. Jake Nottingham went 3-5 with 2 runs scored.

Agapito Barrios allowed just 3 hits and struck out 6 over 5 shutout innings. Devonte German tagged in for 3 scoreless; he allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and fanned 2. And, in his Appy League debut, Juan Delis struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

In the rubber game of this series, Josh James will take on Hector Garcia. First pitch is at 6:00.

GCL Yankees1 7, GCL Astros 5

W- Jose Mesa (2-0)
L- John Gatlin (0-1)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros squandered a 5-0 lead.

Frankeny Fernandez, making his US debut, hit an RBI double in the 3rd. Later in the inning, Richard Gonzalez was plunked with the bases loaded, and Dex McCall drew a bases-loaded walk. McCall added an RBI groundout in the 5th, and Randy Cesar scored on an errant pickoff throw in the 6th. Luis Payano went 2-4 with a run scored.

Harold Arauz started it off by allowing 2 hits, walking 1, and striking out a career-high 9 over 5.2 shutout innings. However, he had to settle for a no-decision as the bullpen suffered a meltdown. Samil De Los Santos got a strikeout to end the 6th. J.D. Osborne allowed 2 runs, a hit, and walked 2 in the 7th. Alejandro Solarte failed to record an out in the 8th as all 3 batters he faced reached on hits, including a solo homer. He also had 2 inherited runners charged to him. John Gatlin allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and struck out 2 as he finished out the 8th.

These two teams will meet at 11:00 A.M. in Kissimmee.

DSL Astros Blue 2, DSL Rays 0

W- Erasmo Pinales (3-1)
L- Cristopher Sanchez (1-1)
S- Juan Cuevas (3)

Blue home runs: None.

Erasmo Pinales and Juan Cuevas combined on a 3-hitter, and 2 runs turned out to be all the the Blue team needed.

Those 2 runs came in the bottom of the 6th, as Cristopher Luciano hit an RBI single and Wander Franco followed that up with an RBI double. Jake Bowey and Bryan De La Cruz both finished 2-4. Marcos Almonte stole 2 bases (18).

Pinales allowed 1 hit and struck out 5 over 6 shutout innings, and Cuevas allowed 2 hits while striking out 3 over the final 3 innings.

Both teams are currently in a game at the Rays complex.

DSL Astros Orange 9, DSL Angels 4

W- Carlos Pizzolato (1-2)
L- Manuel Rondon (0-5)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team held an 8-0 lead after 3.5 innings, which was a comfortable enough cushion to get them the win.

Juan Fuentes opened up the scoring in the 3rd with an RBI single. One batter later, Wilson Amador scored on a passed ball. Orlando Marquez, who was at the plate at the time, then smacked a 2-run double. He would score on an RBI single from Reiny Beltre. In the 4th, Marquez added an RBI single, and the Orange team got a pair of bases-loaded walks from Ihan Bernal and Beltre. Amador, who finished 4-5 with 3 runs scored, came home with the final run of the day on a wild pitch in the 9th. Fuentes and Marquez had 3 hits apiece.

Carlos Sanabria went 4.1 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 6 hits and struck out 4. Carlos Pizzolato allowed an unearned run, a single, walked 1, and struck out 2 in 3.2 innings, and Jose Ramos allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in the bottom of the 9th.

Both of these teams are currently in progress at the Astros complex.