Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bonus Tweet of the Day

All of the Astros minor league affiliates honored minor league coach Gordy MacKenzie last night by wearing high socks. MacKenzie passed away Tuesday at age 77.

Happy Birthday - 8/16

Happy Birthday to ~

Astros 1st round draft pick Brady Aiken. Wait. What? Never mind.

2B Delino DeShields (22)
The Astros first round draft pick from 2010 has spent this season with the Corpus Christi team, hitting .235/.343/.340 with 11 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 46 RBI and 47 stolen bases in 98 games. According to Baseball-Reference, DeShields is over three years younger than the league average.

2B Juan Santana (20)
Santana was signed by the Astros as an NDFA from the Dominican Republic at the end of 2010 and is currently playing in Tri-City following his mid-July promotion from Greeneville. Between the two venues, he is hitting .327/.353/.442 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 24 RBI in 41 games.

Two former Astros celebrate the day as well ~

RHP Xavier Hernandez (49)
Originally drafted by Toronto in the fourth round in 1986, Hernandez came to Houston via the Rule 5 draft in December 1989. Hernandez played for the Astros from 1990 to 1993 and again in 1996. In 273 games, he was 22-19 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.234 WHIP.

OF Roger Cedeno (40)
Cedeno came to Houston in a December 1999 trade with the Mets and spent one season in the Astros organization before being traded to Detroit. In 74 games with the Astros, he hit .282/.383/.398. His best season was in 1999 when he hit .313/.396/.408 for the Mets with 66 stolen bases.

Tweet of the Day

Friday, August 15, 2014

An Interview with Tri-City OF Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher, drafted 37th overall in 2014, is having a very, very nice first professional season with the Tri-City ValleyCats. In his first 29 games, he is hitting .336/.425/.400 with three doubles and two triples. His first home run has eluded him, but he is expected to provide plenty of home run highlights as he progresses through the Astros system. He has already stolen 14 bases in his short time with the 'Cats.

Tri-City Manager Ed Romero talked to me about Fisher, "Fisher is a player that's very talented offensively. He hasn't shown the power yet. I think he will. He can use the entire field. He's a gap-to-gap hitter right now with solid contact, outstanding speed. He's the guy who gets on and goes right away. He's not afraid. It doesn't matter. he goes. He has good acceleration. He steals bases easily." According to Romero, Fisher's left field defensive and throwing skills need to be honed, but overall, he likes what he sees.

Derek Fisher - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Fisher on my recent trip to Tri-City and we started with his college experience. He told me, "I went to the University of Virginia. Had the time of my life. It was the best three years of my life. Taught me a lot on the field. Even more off the field. Made me a better person and prepared me for what's at stake here."

Of the experience playing in the College World Series this year, Fisher said, "It's something I watched as a kid. When I was growing up as a kid, it was Rosenblatt [Stadium] and they changed it to TD Ameritrade [Park] which is a beautiful park. The town of Omaha is all about baseball for two weeks and everything's about the teams. You get treated so well there and, quite frankly, spoiled. They make it a great experience and obviously it's something that every kid wishes to do, and if you get a chance to do it, it's definitely going to be something you'll never forget."

This year's draft was a big event for that University of Virginia team with eight players drafted. Of the experience, Fisher told me, "I went into the draft with no expectations. Just try to have fun. Try to have fun and soak in the experience. Fortunately, there were a lot of guys on our team that got drafted, something like seven or eight guys on our college team that got drafted. To be there with them when it happened and obviously supporting them through the process the next few days was a lot of fun, something that I'm never going to forget."

I had noticed that, as a left-handed hitter, Fisher appears to be equally comfortable hitting against lefties as he does against righties. I asked him if that had always been the case for him or if it was a matter of a small sample size. He responded, "It's something that I always try to work on [from when I was] a kid and growing up and being at Virginia. Obviously, when you're growing up, you're not facing many left-handed pitchers. So when I was at Virginia that was a big thing that I worked on because you're starting to get into situations and guys are coming out of the bullpen and so on and so forth. Now, am I the same against righties and lefties? I'm not going to say I'm as comfortable against both, but there's definitely some points throughout the process and throughout the season where I do feel more comfortable against left-handed pitchers. To hit a left-handed pitcher, you've got to be seeing the ball well and swinging well. It definitely helps if you make adjustments. When you face left-handed pitchers, you've got to change some things up a little bit, and try and simplify yourself and I think it definitely helps."

What does he feel that he's accomplished so far? "Something I've really wanted to work on my whole life is to steal bases. In college, I didn't really steal many bases because it wasn't exactly the way we played which is fine. Coming here, I wanted to make that another aspect to my game. I've always liked to hit. I haven't hit for much power here, but hitting and hitting for power was always something I loved to do, [but] being able to use my speed and steal bases is just another thing I can use on the field."

As far as what Fisher needs to work on to continue in his development, that's simple. "Consistency. Consistency is always something. You've got to be more consistent at each level. You [need to] be consistent with the things you do no matter how you do it, no matter how you get it done day in and day out. Consistency is the number one thing that everybody's trying to work on."

I asked Fisher to characterize his style of play, and he responded, "I like to play hard. Just playing hard all the time. There are a lot of games. It's more games than I've ever played in my life. So, just to play hard, run balls out, play the game the right way and play as if you're not going to play the next day. That could be the case. I think just play hard and just play the game you've played your whole life, and I think that things are going to happen."

The biggest adjustment for him in playing professional ball is also something he's been looking forward to, "It was something I've been waiting to do, just playing every day. In college you play a lot of games, but they're over a span of time and you have days off every single week. The most games you play in a row is three. So playing every day is something that's different, but I like it. It's something that was a good adjustment and something that I enjoy doing. Playing every single day is something that you've got to take pride in and that's where the consistency comes in."

Which of the 'Cats pitchers would he least like to face in the batter's box? "I've got to say Jordan Mills [recently promoted to Quad Cities]. Left-handed pitcher. [He throws] from a weird 3/4 arm slot. Definitely a guy that looks like he's throwing a lot harder than he is. He looks like he's throwing mid-90's because he's so big and lanky and throws from a low 3/4 slot. As a left-handed hitter, I don't think I'd want to face him."

Fisher enjoyed watching Troy Scribner on the mound while he was with the 'Cats (before Scribner's promotion to Quad Cities). "I like to watch Scribner pitch a lot. Just talking to him, he's a kid who's made a lot of adjustments in his career, and he just knows how to pitch. He might not have the 95-mph fastball and the big league stuff, but he's able to pitch, and pitch to any kind of hitter. It's obviously shown here as [he has been] one of our best and most consistent pitchers. With the pitching staff that we have, I think that says a lot because we've got a lot of kids that can really pitch. Scribs is a kid that's going to be able to go out and battle every night. He's got four pitches and he throws them all for strikes, and he can read hitters well and that's something that's going to take him a long way."

When I asked Fisher who on the team makes him laugh, he ended up on a tangent about the team's chemistry. The first name that came to mind was Jay Gause, but according to Fisher, "I could go down the list. There's a lot of fun guys I play with. I think that's what definitely sets us apart. We're seeing each other every single day and you could think that a lot of us get sick of each other because [these are] the only people we see the entire season and that's not the case. We're always smiling. We're having fun and that's how baseball should be played when you're playing it every day."

He also got off on a bit of a tangent when I asked him what he would do if he couldn't play baseball. He wants to stay in the game and talked about the influence that a former major leaguer like Ed Romero has in the development of young players. Fisher said, "Somebody like Eddie Romero, somebody that's played in the big leagues for so long ... he doesn't have to do this if he doesn't want to. He's been around the game for so long and he could be out enjoying his time with his family and his grandsons, but he just loves the game, loves helping kids out, love teaching us. That's why they're here. It's something that we appreciate for sure."

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

I felt that I only scratched the surface in trying to get to know Fisher. He seemed much more comfortable talking about others than himself, which is not a bad thing at all. But I enjoyed speaking with him and look forward to watching him as he makes his way through the Astros system.

Thank you for your time, Derek, and best of luck as the 'Cats head toward the playoffs!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oklahoma City 7, Fresno 3

W- Luis Cruz (1-0, 8-6 season)
L- Mike Kickham (7-8)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks used a 6-1 run over the second third of the game (that's the 4th-6th innings) to take control of this one.

Andrew Aplin put OKC on the board and tied the game at 2 with a 2-run single in the 4th. Ronald Torreyes finished 2-4 and added a 2-run single of his own in the 5th. One inning later, Ruben Sosa smacked an RBI double. He finished 2-3 and ended up stealing home (4, 38 season) as part of a double steal with Joe Sclafani later on in the 6th. Sclafani, who went 2-3, hit an RBI single in the 7th and had 2 stolen bases (6, 8 season). Jesus Guzman began his rehab; he went 0-1 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored.

Luis Cruz went 5.1 innings and allowed 3 runs on 9 hits (solo homer), walked 1, and struck out 5. Paul Clemens got the final 2 outs of the 6th, allowing a hit and striking out 1. Tommy Shirley allowed a hit and struck out 1 in a scoreless 7th, and Anthony Bass threw 2 perfect innings, striking out 1.

In the series finale, Asher Wojciechowski will face Chris Heston at 9:05.

Corpus Christi 4, Northwest Arkansas 2

W- Chris Devenski (4-3, 9-8 season)
L- Tim Melville (1-10)
S- Tyson Perez (10, 11 season)

CC home runs: Carlos Perdomo (2, 3 season; 2-run in 2nd)

The Hooks took the series behind 6 solid innings from Chris Devenski, who is enjoying a great bounceback season.

Devenski allowed 2 runs on 5 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 6 in those 6 innings. R.J. Alaniz tagged in for 2 scoreless and allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. Tyson Perez finished it off by striking out the side in order in the 9th.

Colin Moran opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the 1st. Carlos Perdomo's 3rd homer of the year came after 2 flyouts followed a Conrad Gregor leadoff walk in the 2nd. Gregor led off the 4th with a triple and scored on a Tyler Heineman RBI single. Teoscar Hernandez went 2-3.

The Arkansas Travelers will be the Hooks' guests this weekend. Game 1 of this series has Mark Appel taking on Tyler DeLoach. First pitch is at 7:10.

Lancaster 12, High Desert 0

W- Vince Velasquez (6-2)
L- Jake Zokan (2-2)

Lancaster home runs: Austin "Catfish" Elkins (2, 2-run in 3rd), Tanner Mathis (2, solo in 3rd), Brett Phillips (2, 15 season; solo in 3rd)

The JetHawks jumped out to a 10-0 lead after 3 innings and were basically in cruise control the rest of the way because Vince Velasquez completely locked down the Mavericks offense.

Velasquez allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out a career-high 11 over 6 shutout innings. Tyler Brunnemann was the first man out; he allowed a hit and fanned 2 over 2 scoreless, and Andrew Walter struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th. Walter was making his Lancaster debut.

Everyone in the lineup:

- had a hit except for Tyler White, who went 0-3, but drew 2 walks and scored a run. Those 2 walks were the only free passes that the JetHawks received.
- In fact, every JetHawk that had a hit in this game had multi-hit games.
- scored a run except for Jack Mayfield, who went 2-5 with an RBI single in the 2nd.
- had an RBI except for White and Rio Ruiz, who was 2-5 with a double and 2 runs scored.

Mathis, who finished a double shy of the cycle, kicked things off with a 2-run triple in the 2nd. One batter later, Phillips brought him home with a double, and Mayfield added an RBI single. In the 3rd, Jon Kemmer had an RBI double. He advanced to 3rd on the throw from the outfield and scored on a Jobduan Morales groundout. Elkins, Mathis, and Phillips then hit back-to-back-to-back blasts. Kemmer hit an RBI single in the 6th, and Morales added a sac fly. Phillips was a single shy of the cycle.

The JetHawks are on the road this weekend. They have 4 with Bakersfield beginning at 9:15. In the opener, Zach Morton will face Mike Dennhardt.

Kane County 4, Quad Cities 1

W- Jasvir Rakkar (1-0)
L- Troy Scribner (0-2, 9-3 season)

QC home runs: None.

For the 2nd time this month, the River Bandits were swept out of Kane County. This latest loss came in rather painful fashion.

Troy Scribner allowed a 3-run homer to Trey Martin with 1 out in the 8th inning, which gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead. He allowed 4 other hits and struck out 10 in 7.1 innings. Jordan Mills got the final 2 outs of the 8th, but not before he allowed a run on a double. He walked 1 and struck out 1.

J.D. Davis broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the 6th inning. James Ramsay stole 2 bases, giving him 28 on the year. Bobby Boyd stole his 1st base in the Midwest League; he has 14 on the season.

The River Bandits return home for a weekend series against Burlington. Blaine Sims will start game 1; first pitch is at 7:00.

Tri-City 6, Hudson Valley 0

W- Randall Fant (1-2)
L- Trevor Dunlap (0-2)

TC home runs: Mott Hyde (2, solo in 7th), Terrell Joyce (10, 3-run in 8th)

The ValleyCats took 4 of 6 from the Renegades as 3 pitchers combined on a 1-hitter.

Francis Ramirez started it off with 5 strikeouts over 4 perfect innings. Randall Fant lost the no-no when Casey Gillaspie led off the 7th with a single. Fant walked 2 and struck out 4 over 4 innings, and Derick Velazquez struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Alfredo Gonzalez put TC on the board with an RBI single in the 7th. He got caught stealing 2nd though. No matter... Mott Hyde added to the lead with his 2nd homer of the year. In the 8th, Ricky Gingras hit an RBI single, and one batter later, Joyce hammered the final 3 nails into Hudson Valley's coffin with his 10th home run. Alex Hernandez and Ariel Ovando had 2 hits apiece.

In their final series before the NYPL All-Star break, the ValleyCats will head to Staten Island. Austin Chrismon will face Jordan Montgomery at 6:00.

Elizabethton 5, Greeneville 3

W- Michael Cederoth (5-2)
L- Austin Nicely (2-6)
S- Dereck Rodriguez (5)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros are trending the wrong way at the worst possible time. They've dropped 4 straight.

Luis Reynoso put Greeneville on the board with an RBI groundout in the 5th. One batter later, Jeffry Santos hit an RBI single. Edwin Medina walked to lead off the 6th then stole his way to 3rd. He would score on an RBI single from Yonathan Mejia. Mejia and Jake Nottingham had 2 hits apiece. Medina's 2 steals give him 26 on the year.

Austin Nicely went 2.1 innings and allowed 5 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 5 hits and walked 3. Aaron Greenwood allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 over 2.2 scoreless. Juan Carlos Santos pitched 2 innings and allowed a hit, walked 3, and struck out 4, and Eric Peterson allowed a hit in a scoreless 8th.

The Appy Astros will look to avoid the sweep as Elieser Hernandez will face Sam Gibbons at 6:00.

GCL Yankees2 7, GCL Astros 6 in 10 innings

W- Mike Noteware (3-0)
L- Alejandro Solarte (2-1)

GCL home runs: None.

The Kissimmee Stros dropped a 2nd consecutive extra-inning game. They blew a 4-0 lead by allowing 5 runs in the 7th.

Jorge Martinez grounded into a force out in the 2nd that allowed Connor Goedert to score the game's first run. Goedert scored again on a Joan Mauricio groundout in the 4th. Marlon Avea had a 2-run single in the 7th. Frankeny Fernandez went 2-3, scoring on a wild pitch in the 8th and adding a sac fly in the 9th. He also stole a base (3, 33 season). Randy Cesar went 2-5.

Junior Garcia allowed 3 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4 over 3.2 scoreless. Kyle Gehrs allowed a hit, but was able to get the final out of the 4th. Justin Ferrell bore the brunt of that 7th inning as he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits (solo and 3-run homers), walked 2, and struck out 2. Christian Perdomo walked 2 in a scoreless 7th, Travis Ballew gave up a run on 2 hits and struck out 1 in the 8th, and Alejandro Solarte allowed the game-winning run on 3 hits in 1.2 innings.

The GCLstros are back home in Kissimmee, where they'll take on the Pirates at 11:00 A.M.

DSL Astros Blue 6, DSL Royals 2

W- Moreno Polanco (2-2)
L- Junior Reyes (3-2)

Blue home runs: Bryan De La Cruz (1, 2-run in 2nd)

The Blue team put up 3 2-run innings, 2 of which were in reponse to the 2 1-run innings from the Royals.

Bryan De La Cruz's first career homer put the Blue team on top in the 2nd. He finished 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Wander Franco hit an RBI double in the 3rd and scored on a sac fly from Cristopher Luciano. In the 8th, Andy Piñeda hit an RBI single, and De La Cruz scored on a passed ball.

Moreno Polanco went 5 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, walked 4, and struck out 3. Gabriel Valdez allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 3 scoreless, and Joel Belboder struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 9th.

The Blue team just began a game with the Rays.

DSL Cubs5, DSL Astros Orange 4

W- Andri Rondon (3-2)
L- Carlos Sanabria (2-2)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team walked off with a loss.

Juan Fuentes was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 5th. Later in the inning, Anardo Peralta scored as Reiny Beltre grounded into a double play. Beltre, who went 2-5 with 2 doubles, scored on an error in the 7th after hitting the first double. His other double drove in a run in the 9th and tied the game at 4.

Adonis Peña went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Carlos Sanabria allowed the winning run with 2 outs in the 9th. He went 3.2 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1.

The Orange team is at the Pirates complex for a game that just started.

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

One Astros minor league move from yesterday and one that I somehow missed ...

LANCASTER
8/12 - RHP Andrew Walter assigned from Quad Cities to Lancaster

TRI-CITY
8/14 - RHP Angel Heredia assigned from Greeneville to Tri-City

Happy Birthday - 8/15

Happy Birthday to ~

RHP Jorge de Leon (27)
Originally signed by the Astros as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic, de Leon is in his ninth season in the Astros system, but only his fifth season as a pitcher as he was originally signed as a shortstop. De Leon started the season in Corpus Christi, but was promoted to Oklahoma City at the end of May. In a combined 39 appearances out of the bullpen in those two venues, he is 4-4 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP. De Leon did get his feet wet in the major leagues last season with 11 appearances for Houston in which he had a 5.40 ERA and a 1.900 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fresno 4, Oklahoma City 3

W- Brett Bochy (4-4)
L- Jason Stoffel (3-4)
S- Erik Cordier (3)

OKC home runs: None.

#$@$^&#%@%^#^&!!!!!!

The RedHawks coughed up a 3-1 lead as the Grizzlies scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th. They had a perfect chance to respond by putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the top of the 9th, but they couldn't come through and left those 2 runners there to end the game. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jonathan Villar hit an RBI bunt single to put OKC on the board in the 3rd, and in the 4th, an error allowed Carlos Perez to reach base safely and Andrew Aplin to score. Ronald Torreyes added an RBI single in the 8th. Villar finished 3-5 with a steal (17, 31 season), while Aplin and Jio Mier both went 2-4. Aplin also stole a base (3, 24 season).

Nick Tropeano allowed a run on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7 over 7 solid innings of work. However, the bullpen was unable to hold that 3-1 lead. Pat Urckfitz faced one batter to begin the 8th and allowed a single to him. That runner would eventually score. Jason Stoffel got the first out of the 8th and allowed 2 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 3 hits. Kevin Chapman got the final 2 outs of the inning, but not before he allowed the go-ahead run that was charged to Stoffel.

The series continues at 9:05. Luis Cruz will face Mike Kickham.

Corpus Christi 6, Northwest Arkansas 5

W- David Rollins (3-4)
L- Brandon Finnegan (0-1)
S- Tyson Perez (9, 10 season)

CC home runs: Carlos Perdomo (1, 2 season; solo in 6th), Telvin Nash (19, solo in 7th), Colin Moran (2, 7 season; 3-run in 8th)

On the other hand, a big 8th inning turned out well for a team in the Astros organization. The Hooks scored 4 in the bottom of the 8th; 3 of those 4 runs came off the bat of one Colin Moran, who tied the game at 5 with his 2nd blast as a member of the Hooks.

All the scoring in this game was done between the 6th-8th innings. Perdomo's 2nd homer of the year led off the bottom of the 6th. Nash's came with 1 out in the bottom of the 7th. Perdomo reached on an error to lead off the 8th, and Delino DeShields grounded into a botched force out attempt, resulting in him and Perdomo being safe. After Leo Heras struck out for the 2nd out, Moran crushed a 1-0 pitch from Brandon Finnegan to tie the game. Two batters later, Brandon Meredith put Corpus on top with an RBI double. Meredith finished 2-4, while Nash and Perdomo both went 1-3 with 2 runs scored. Delino DeShields stole his 47th base of the season.

In his first AA start, Josh Hader went 5.2 innings and allowed 4 runs on 3 hits (2-run homer), walked 3, and struck out 6. He started off with 5 no-hit innings, but ran into trouble in the 6th. Mitch Lambson got the final out of the 6th. In his AA debut, Juan Minaya allowed a run on 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 in 1.2 innings. David Rollins got the final out of the 8th, and Tyson Perez struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th to close it out.

Chris Devenski will get the start in the rubber game. He'll take on Tim Melville at 7:10.

High Desert 13, Lancaster 2

W- Oliver Garcia (2-0)
L- Kent Emanuel (7-4, 7-6 season)

Lancaster home runs: None.

Not much to report here; the JetHawks fell behind 6-0, got 2 of those runs back, and ended up getting buried. They went 1-12 with runners in scoring position and their pitchers were under siege all night.

The 2 JetHawks runs came in the bottom of the 5th and were the result of an error. Jobduan Morales and Danry Vásquez both scored on an error that allowed Tyler White to reach. White finished 2-4 with a double, while Chan-Jong Moon was 3-5 with a steal (9, 34 season).

Kent Emanuel allowed 6 runs (3 earned, 1 inherited runner charged to him) on 7 hits (2-run homer) and struck out 1 in 4.1 innings. Pat Christensen got the final 2 outs of the 5th, but he did allow the runner he inherited from Emanuel to score. Matt Heidenreich went 3 innings and allowed 5 runs on 9 hits (3-run homer) and struck out 3. Gonzalo Sañudo allowed 2 runs on a sac fly and a groundout, a double, and struck out 1 in the 9th.

The JetHawks will look to avoid the sweep as Vince Velasquez takes on Jake Zokan at 8:30.

Kane County 6, Quad Cities 3

W- Michael Heesch (3-1)
L- Andrew Thurman (5-8)
S- Francisco Carrillo (2)

QC home runs: Brett Booth (5, solo in 3rd)

The River Bandits took a 3-2 lead in the 3rd, only to see the Cougars fire back with 4 in the bottom of the 3rd.

All 3 QC runs came in the 3rd, beginning with Booth's blast. A.J. Reed and J.D. Davis added RBI singles. James Ramsay went 2-4 with 2 steals (26) and a run scored.

Andrew Thurman allowed 6 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 3 hits (2-run homer), walked 4, and struck out 4. Keegan Yuhl allowed 2 hits and struck out 3 over 3.1 innings; 2 of the 3 runners he inherited from Thurman scored. Chris Cotton allowed a hit and fanned 2 over 2 scoreless.

The River Bandits will look to avoid getting swept out of Kane County for the 2nd time this month. Troy Scribner will face off against Duane Underwood at 6:30.

Hudson Valley 6, Tri-City 2

W- Hunter Wood (3-3)
L- Robert Kahana (0-1, 1-2 season)

TC home runs: Terrell Joyce (9, solo in 6th)

The Renegades had 3 2-run innings which trounced the ValleyCats' 2 1-run innings. For one night, at least, the ValleyCats are one game behind Hudson Valley for the NYPL's best record.

Terrell Joyce was the offense. He went 2-4 with an RBI double in the 4th and his 9th homer of the season in the 6th. Nick Tanielu went 2-4 with a double.

Robert Kahana went 4 innings, allowing 4 runs (2 inherited runners charged to him) on 4 hits, walking 3, and striking out 2. Kevin Ferguson allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2 in the 5th. Raul Rivera allowed a 2-run homer to Casey Gillaspie in the 7th. He went 3 innings and allowed one other hit and struck out 5. Vince Wheeland threw a 1-2-3 9th.

In the series finale, Francis Ramirez will face Jose Alonzo at 6:30.

Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 0

W- John Curtiss (2-1)
L- Josh James (1-3)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros' bats were rendered useless against the Twins as they were blanked for the 2nd straight game.

Ydarqui Marte doubled, and Luis Reynoso singled. That was it.

Josh James went 5 and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5. Jorge Perez tagged in for 3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7.

Since Josh James started last night, I highly doubt he'll be starting tonight. He's listed as the starter for the middle game of the series. His opponent will be Michael Cederoth. First pitch is at 6:00.

GCL Yankees2 6, GCL Astros 5 in 12 innings

W- Felix Santiago (2-0)
L- John Gatlin (1-2)

The Kissimmee Stros were down 4-0, then tied the game at 4, then saw the Yankees take the lead with a run in the 10th, and then they re-tied the game with 1 of their own in the bottom half. The Yankees responded with 1 in the 12th to take the lead again, and the GCLstros had no answer.

Dex McCall put the Kissimmee Stros on the board with an RBI double in the 6th. In the 7th, Arturo Michelena hit an RBI single, and Jean Estrella and Brauly Mejia drew bases-loaded walks. Nestor Tejada added an RBI single in the 10th. Michelena finished 2-6.

Cris Santamaria went 2.2 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 1. Joselo Pinales allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3 over 3.1 scoreless. J.D. Osborne struck out 1 in a 1-2-3 7th. Starlying Sanchez was next up; he walked 2 and struck out 1 over 2 innings. Samil De Los Santos allowed an unearned run on 2 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4 in 2 innings, and John Gatlin allowed the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk, a single, walked another batter, and struck out 1 in the 12th.

The GCLstros are in Tampa taking on the Yankees 2.

DSL Royals 2, DSL Astros Blue 1

W- Jorge Rodriguez (2-1)
L- Josue Uribe (2-2)

Blue home runs: Luis Vasquez (2, solo in 2nd)

The Blue team walked off with the loss as Josue Uribe couldn't close it out. Vasquez's homer in the 2nd was the lone Blue run. Jonathan Matute hit a double.

Carlos Hiraldo allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1 over 5 shutout innings. Jose Rosario pitched 3 innings and had an inherited runner charged to him. He allowed 2 hits and struck out 1. Josue Uribe only got 1 out in the 9th as he allowed the game-tying RBI triple and and error from Wander Franco allowed the Royals to score the winning run.

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

DSL Astros Orange 4, DSL Cubs 2

W- Gerald Benzant (1-3)
L- Pedro Silverio (3-2)
S- Jose Ramos (5)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team's 4-run 2nd was good enough to get the win.

Jose Benjamin opened the scoring with an RBI single. Wilson Amador added a sac fly, and then Juan Fuentes followed with an RBI single of his own. Reiny Beltre grounded into a force out that scored Anardo Peralta. Benjamin finished 2-3.

Gerald Benzant allowed a run on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 8. Bryan Abreu tagged in for 3 innings and allowed an unearned run on 2 hits and struck out 4. Jose Ramos allowed a hit and struck out 2 to close out the game.

These two teams are at it once more. This tilt is at the Astros complex.

Astros Minor League Snapshot with Playoff Pictures

We are now 19 weeks in to the minor league season (only two and a half weeks until the minor league regular season concludes). Let's take a look at where things stand.

OKLAHOMA CITY

3rd    63-63    .500    3.0GB    L1

Playoff Picture - 18 games left; elimination number is 16

The RedHawks are still in third place in the American Southern Division, and they are still only three games behind Iowa and Omaha who are in a virtual tie for first place. A post-season berth is still possible, but NOT if they have another 3-4 week like last week. The only thing that they can do to improve their odds is to win. They won't see Omaha again this season and they won't see Iowa again until the last series of the season by which time their fate will likely be sealed unless they start getting a nice win streak going.

Week Ahead

The 'Hawks are currently on the left coast and split the first two of four against Fresno (60-65), the last place team in the Pacific Northern Division. They will then take on the first place Pacific Northern Sacramento River Cats for four games starting on Saturday. Wednesday will see them back home for four against the El Paso Chihuahuas. The annoying yippy little rat dog team [full disclosure: I'm a dog lover except for chihuahuas] is currently in second place in the Pacific Southern Division with a 60-65 record. It is the first time Oklahoma City has faced any of these teams this season.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 4th (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 4th
SLG - 9th
ERA - 6th
WHIP - 5th

CORPUS CHRISTI

For the season:
4th    56-66    .459    14.5GB    W1

For the second half:
4th     22-30     .423     8.0GB     W1

Playoff picture - 18 games left; elimination number is 11

The Hooks aren't completely out of it, but they cannot afford another 2-4 week like the last one. They will be playing their final 14 games of the season against division rivals, four against first place Frisco (70-51), four against second place Midland (67-55) and six against third place San Antonio (60-62). Corpus Christi will have to play very well against those team PLUS get a lot of cooperation from the other teams playing against those teams to avoid elimination. Miracles sometimes happen, but don't bet the house on this one.

Week Ahead

The Hooks will play the rubber game at home against Northwest Arkansas (50-71 for season; 25-26 for second half), against whom they are 6-5 this season. They will then host Arkansas (65-56 for season; 31-20 for second half) for three games. The Hooks are 3-6 against Arkansas this season. Monday will be an off day/travel day as they travel to Midland (67-55 for season; 29-23 for second half) for four games starting on Tuesday. Corpus Christi has not fared well against Midland this season as they are 10-18 against the Oakland farm team.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 5th (out of 8 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 3rd
ERA - 6th
WHIP - 2nd

LANCASTER

For the season:
1st    71-51    .582    -.-GB    L2

For the second half:
T1st     27-25     .519     -.-GB     L2

Playoff Picture - 18 games left; elimination number is N/A

The 'Hawks clinched their playoff berth by winning the first half. All that remains at this point is to see whether or not they can win the second half as well. They are currently in a tie with Rancho Cucamonga for first place in the second half standings. Since Lancaster doesn't play Rancho again in the regular season, they simply need to concentrate on winning, something that didn't come easily this past week as they went 1-5. Only one and a half games separate all five teams in the division in the second half standings so it's not just Rancho that they will need to keep an eye on.

Week ahead

The JetHawks will try to salvage a win in their current home series with High Desert (59-62 for season; 25-26 for second half) before heading to Bakersfield (68-54 for season; 23-29 for second half) for four games starting Friday. Tuesday finds the team back home for three more with High Desert. Lancaster has split the season series with each of these teams and has a 9-9 record against High Desert and a 3-3 record against Bakersfield.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 2nd (out of 10 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 3rd
ERA - 7th
WHIP - 3rd

QUAD CITIES

For the season:
6th    60-60    .500    15.5GB    L2

For the second half:
5th     25-26     .490     6.0GB     L2

Playoff Picture - 19 games left; elimination number is 15

The Bandits took another hit in the standings this week, their 2-4 record for the week dropping them another two games behind in the second half standings. The good news is that a second place finish in the second half would get them into the playoffs. The bad news is that they will still need to get past three teams to get there and they only have four head-to-head games left with the four teams ahead of them. They have their work cut out for them.

Week Ahead

Quad Cities will try to salvage their final game of the season with first place Kane County (76-45 for the season; 31-20 for second half) tonight before returning home to face sixth place Burlington (61-59 for season; 23-28 for second half) for three. The Banditos are 5-11 and 5-7 in their season series against those teams. On Monday, they will hit the road for three against second place Cedar Rapids (61-60 for season; 30-21 for second half). Quad Cities is 6-3 vs. the Kernels for the season.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 3rd (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 1st
ERA - 9th
WHIP - 10th

TRI-CITY

1st     39-20     .661     -.-GB     L1

Playoff Picture - 17 games left; elimination number is N/A

The ValleyCats are in comfortable position with an eight game lead despite going 3-4 for the week. The only team within their division that they will face the rest of the way will be Vermont, who they will see in seven of their final 13 games. Vermont is currently in last place, 13.5 games back.

Week Ahead

Tri-City will get its last regular season look at Hudson Valley (40-19; 1st place in McNamara Division) tonight. They are assured of at least a split on the season series as they have a 3-2 record against that team. The 'Cats will then head to Staten Island for a 3-game weekend series starting Friday which will take them to their *All-Star break. They will host Vermont for a quick two-game series starting next Wednesday. The ValleyCats are 5-2 against Vermont this season.

*I have been remiss in reporting that 3B Nick Tanielu, C Jamie Ritchie, OF Bobby Boyd (since promoted to Quad Cities) and RHP Ryan Thompson were named to the All-Star squad for next Tuesday's game in Brooklyn.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 1st (out of 14 teams)
OBP - 1st
SLG - 1st
ERA - 7th
WHIP - 5th

GREENEVILLE

3rd     26-25     .510     3.5GB     L3

Playoff picture - 15 games left; elimination number is 15

Greeneville dropped to third place after their 2-3 week, but are only a half game behind the second place team. Both first and second place teams advance to the playoffs. It is a tight race as three teams are within three and half games of the leader, Elizabethton (30-22). The Appy Astros will play nine of their final 15 games against the contending teams in their division so it looks to be an exciting couple of weeks ahead.

Week Ahead

Greeneville dropped the first game of a three-game road series against Elizabethton who they are now 3-4 against this season. They will then play Kingsport (who trails Greeneville by .001 percent in the standings) for four games, one on the road, one at home and then two more on the road starting Saturday. Kingsport is 27-26 for the season and the Astros lead the season series against them 4-3. Next Wednesday will be an off day.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 8th (out of 10 teams)
OBP - 7th
SLG - 7th
ERA - 4th
WHIP - 6th

GCL ASTROS

3rd     23-24     .489     4.0GB     L4

Playoff picture - 13 games left; elimination number is 10

Despite going 2-4 for the week, the GCL Astros didn't fall any further back in the standings as they remain four games out of first. Seven of their remaining 13 games are within the division.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 7th (out of 16 teams)
OBP - 7th
SLG - 7th
ERA - 11th
WHIP - 11th

DSL ASTROS ORANGE

7th     27-36     .429     21.0GB     W5

Playoff picture - Eliminated

Although the Orange team was eliminated from playoff contention a while back, they are making a late surge for respectability, having won five in a row and having gone from 10th place (in a 10-team division) to 7th place in the last week.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 19th (out of 36 teams)
OBP - 4th
SLG - 13th
ERA - 35th
WHIP - 35th

DSL ASTROS BLUE

4th     29-32      .475     7.5GB      L1

Playoff picture - 10 games left; elimination number is 4

The Blue team is hanging on by the skin of their teeth. All remaining games are within the division.

Here is how the team stacks up within the league in selected categories:

BA - 25th (out of 36 teams)
OBP - 9th
SLG - 22nd
ERA - 18th
WHIP - 9th

Happy Birthday - 8/14

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one former Astro celebrates the day ~

IF Mark Loretta (43)
A seventh round pick by the Brewers in 1993, Loretta came to Houston the first time in an August 2002 trade with the Brewers. He played in only 21 games for the Astros in 2002. He came back to Houston in January 2007 as a free agent and spent the next two seasons in the organization. In all, he played in 255 games for the Astros, hitting .296/.363/.393. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he was often used as a pinch hitter and batted .333 in those situations. Loretta was an All-Star for San Diego in 2004 and for Boston in 2006. He also earned a Silver Slugger in 2004. In 2013, he was a coach under Brad Ausmus for the Israeli team in the World Baseball Classic qualifying rounds. He is currently a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations in the Padres organization.

Tweet of the Day

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Interview with Astros RHP Troy Scribner

When I saw RHP Troy Scribner at Tri-City at the end of July, I knew that I had lucked out in getting the opportunity to talk with him. The way he was pitching for the 'Cats to that point (0.77 ERA/0.788 WHIP and 12BB:57K in 47IP) told me that he wouldn't be there much longer. Indeed, after just one more start for Tri-City and he was promoted to Quad Cities.

If you've read my other interviews from my Tri-City trip, you will have noted that everyone I spoke with raved about what Scribner did there. Manager Ed Romero was no different in his praise, "Scribner has been outstanding. He's got good control and good command. He's got the good curveball and changeup. And he can throw for strikes. He's got good poise on the mound. He's very polished." Romero repeated, "He's been outstanding."

I had met Scribner very briefly earlier this season when he was called upon to help out the Corpus Christi pitching staff back in April. After seeing how quiet and reserved he was at the AA club, I was a little bit surprised by his very outgoing demeanor in Tri-City. He is a very confident young man with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Scribner was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2013 after graduating from Sacred Heart. When I asked if he had been injured or if there were other factors involved in his not having been drafted, he bristled at the question somewhat and left me with the impression of someone who has something to prove and will use the fact that he wasn't drafted as motivation to succeed.

Troy Scribner - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

It turns out that he was very successful at Sacred Heart and ended up being just another senior sign with no leverage. Of his college experience he told me, "It was really great. I loved college. The baseball part of college was really successful (2.59 ERA and 1.000 WHIP, 17BB:90K in 83.1IP his senior year). I had a really good career there and I pitched a ton, pitched really well and had a great time for four years. Got to graduate and go to school. Did everything I planned on doing."

I asked Scribner what he had been told about that assignment to Corpus in April, "They told me they had some sore arms so I was just going to go and help to give some of the guys some rest because there were some injuries up there." He assumed that the assignment was temporary, "You don't usually have a guy go from rookie ball straight to Corpus Christi so I knew it wasn't going to be permanent." When I mentioned that he definitely held his own at the AA level, he responded, "I had to. Get the opportunity so I had to take advantage of it."

He also benefited from working with Corpus Christi interim Pitching Coach Doug Brocail. According to Scribner, "I had a lot of fun there and he's a phenomenal coach. He made some really drastic changes in my game so I owe him a lot."

Scribner attributes some of his 2014 success to being given the opportunity to start this season, "When I came in [this season], they were wanting me to start. That's not something I've had set in stone since I've been here. I got the chance to start, have a role throughout the whole summer. Every start I just take it upon myself to do the best that I can. It's been successful as of late. I've been hitting my spots and being consistent so it's been pretty good so far."

Of his pitch repertoire, Scribner told me, "I have a fastball, a curveball and a changeup. Upper 80's 4-seam fastball. Curveball is [around] 70-75 and change up is [around] 80. Everything works off my fastball. If I don't have that, then none of my other pitches are going to be doing anything. I guess my fastball is my best pitch. Other than that, my changeup has developed into something I can use really, really effectively for strikes, for swing and misses, for weak contact. So that one's been the big difference here." When I told him that fellow Tri-City pitcher Derick Velazquez was very complimentary of his curveball, Scribner responded, "The curveball's good when it's there, but this year, it hasn't been there every game. [Recently], I found it again. I lost it for a couple starts and then I got it back. That's still something I'm trying to get to be more consistent every start. Still working on it."

What does he feel that he needs to do to get to the next level in his development as a pitcher? "Just fine-tuning all my pitches. Every game, there's been a couple of at-bats where I lose a guy, get one or two walks a game, so I'm just trying to eliminate those from my game. That's more of a focus thing. It's not getting my pitches physically better; it's just mentally focusing the whole way instead of kind of having a lapse every once in a while. [I'm just working on] honing all my skills and my talent and my pitches to where I can get success at the next level. That's the plan."

When I asked him if there was a pitcher he had seen in the organization who had a pitch he would like to steal, he didn't pick a specific pitcher, but he does know what he would like to add to his arsenal, "I don't know who throws it in the Astros organization, but I've been working on a cutter. That's something that can complement my game pretty well so I've been working on that. But it's still a long way away."

Which Astros hitter would he least like to face in the batter's box? "I heard Singleton hits pretty well. It looks like he's got a vicious swing. I know he just got called up this year and he's brand new, but he's pretty mean-looking at the plate. I'd probably be pretty scared to face him."

There are several players he enjoyed watching during his time with the ValleyCats. "There's a bunch of guys that I love watching play. I love watching Jamie [Ritchie] catch. Jamie's a really good catcher. He's fun to watch. He's very smooth. And Alex Hernandez, the infielder, he's great to watch. He makes everything look good. He's got good hands. I love watching him play. When A. J. [Reed] was here, I loved watching him hit. He could mash, but he's gone now. [Reed was promoted to Quad Cities shortly before Scribner was.] He's a good hitter."

Who on the team makes him laugh? It turns out that there are several funny guys in the bullpen, "Thompson. Ryan Thompson. He's hilarious. Jordan Mills is funny. Chris Munnelly. We've got a great team this year. It's a really, really good group of guys and they all are really good at making you laugh so a bunch of guys are really funny."

When I asked Scribner to tell me something that most people might not know about him, the baby-faced pitcher responded, "I don't have any facial hair and I'm 23 years old. That's something that not everybody knows." "That's kind of impressive, isn't it?," he joked. Pardon Scribner if he doesn't participate in growing a playoff beard anytime soon.

Personally, I loved the answer I got from Scribner when I asked him what he would do if he couldn't play baseball, "Probably be a rock star, play the drums in a band, travel the world and play music. That would be awesome." When pressed about his drum-playing abilities, he admitted, "I [played] a little bit when I was in high school. That was just to mess around. I was never any good at it. I would love to. It's a ton of fun to play music."

Since Scribner has gotten around the organization a little bit this season, I wanted to know what he thought about the Astros farm system. He replied, "We've got an incredible amount of talent at all levels from the GCL to what I've seen in Corpus. Everybody's really, really talented. A lot of competition. Especially for the pitchers. There are a lot of hard throwers and I've never been a hard thrower so I've got to step up my game to compete with these guys. It's a tough organization to play in the minors for because there's so many players, but it's exciting to see what the future holds for this organization."

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

The impression that Scribner left me with is someone who will likely defy the odds, whether it's a NDFA getting to the major leagues or an aspiring drummer making it with a rock band. And I wouldn't bet against him.

Thank you for your time, Troy, and keep dreaming big!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oklahoma City 6, Fresno 0

W- Rudy Owens (7-5)
L- Jason Berken (9-9)

OKC home runs: Carlos Perez (6, 2-run in 8th)

The RedHawks had 3 pitchers combine on a 2-hit shutout and the offense created some separation between them and the Grizzlies with some late runs.

Jonathan Villar led off the game with a double and scored the first run of the night on a Ronald Torreyes groundout. Villar had an RBI groundout of his own in the 5th. In the 7th, Joe Sclafani hit an RBI single, and OKC put the game away with 3 in the 8th, as Andrew Aplin hit a sac fly and Carlos Perez capped off the evening by hammering a 2-run homer, his 6th on the season. Sclafani, Preston Tucker, Matt Duffy, Perez, and Max Stassi all had 2 hits in this game. Duffy extended his hitting streak to 8 games, while Sclafani has a 7-game streak going.

Rudy Owens allowed 2 hits, walked 3, and struck out 5 over 7 shutout innings. Jorge De Leon and Kevin Chapman retired the 8th and 9th in order, respectively; Chapman had a strikeout.

In game 2 of this series, Nick Tropeano will face Austin Fleet at 9:05.

Northwest Arkansas 4, Corpus Christi 3

W- J.C. Sulbaran (8-8)
L- Mike Hauschild (2-8, 4-9 season)
S- Mark Peterson (2)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks got 2 in the 8th to make it a 1-run game, but their comeback bid fell just short.

Mike Hauschild went 5.1 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and struck out 4. Kyle Smith tagged for 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits, walking 2, and striking out 6. Tyson Perez allowed a hit and struck out 1 as he got the final 2 outs of the 9th.

The Hooks got on the board thanks to a Colin Moran RBI double in the 6th. In the 8th, Leo Heras smacked an RBI double and Moran added an RBI single. Moran and Heras had 2-hit games, as did Tony Kemp.

In game 2 of this series, Josh Hader will make his first AA start. He'll take on Christian Binford at 7:10.

High Desert 7, Lancaster 5 in 10 innings

W- Grady Wood (4-4)
L- Jamaine Cotton (1-2)
S- Andrew Kittredge (6)

Lancaster home runs: Tyler White (3, 10 season; solo in 5th)

The JetHawks were unable to hold a 1-run lead and the Mavericks had the advantage of having 2 crooked-numbered innings at their disposal, negating Lancaster's 5 1-run innings.

Chan-Jong Moon led off the bottom of the 1st with a single, advanced to 2nd on a Brett Phillips sac bunt, to 3rd on a Rio Ruiz groundout, and scored the first Lancaster run of the night on an errant pickoff throw. Phillips hit an RBI single in the 2nd. Moon, who finished 3-6, added an RBI single of his own in the 4th. Tyler White's 10th homer of the season led off the 5th inning. In the 6th, Moon was caught in a rundown after Phillips grounded out, but he held out long enough for Jack Mayfield, who came home with the go-ahead run at that time. Mayfield went 3-4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored at the bottom of the order, and Ronnie Mitchell was 2-5 with a run scored.

Lance McCullers pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (solo and 2-run homers), walked 2, and struck out 6. He became the 5th pitcher in the Astros system to strike out 100 this season. Kyle Westwood pitched the next 4 innings and allowed a solo homer to Bryan Brito in the 7th. He allowed one other hit and struck out 5. Jamaine Cotton allowed the 2 go-ahead runs on 4 hits in the 10th.

Game 2 of this series features Kent Emanuel, coming off his best start of the season. He'll take on Dylan Unsworth at 8:30.

Kane County 4, Quad Cities 3

W- David Garner (1-0)
L- Frederick Tiburcio (1-3)

QC home runs: None.



Sad Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers is sad that the River Bandits walked off with a loss.

The normally very reliable Frederick Tiburcio got bit in the rear by a couple of errors in a nightmare bottom of the 9th.

They broke a scoreless tie in the 6th as Marc Wik hit a sac fly and J.D. Davis drew a bases-loaded walk. Davis added an RBI single in the 8th.

Kevin Comer and Adrian Houser both threw 4 scoreless innings. Comer allowed 4 hits and fanned 3, while Houser allowed 2 hits and struck out 2. Tiburcio lost the game with 2 outs in the 9th as Danny Lockhart delivered the winner for Kane County, an RBI single. He also allowed a 2-run homer to Jacob Rogers, which suddenly made it a 1-run game. Tiburcio allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 1. Only 1 of the 4 runs he allowed was earned.

Andrew Thurman will get the start in game 2 of this series. He'll face Paul Blackburn at 6:30.

Tri-City 3, Hudson Valley 2 in 10 innings

W- Derick Velazquez (1-1)
L- Justin McCalvin (1-1)

TC home runs: Jason Martin (1, solo in 1st), Jamie Ritchie (1, solo in 9th)

The ValleyCats walked off with a victory and moved into a tie with their opponents for the best record in the New York-Penn League. Alex Presley went 0-3 with a strikeout as he began his rehab assignment.

Jason Martin opened up the scoring with his first home run as a pro. But, the Renegades got a pair in the 3rd to take the lead. It would be 2-1 until the bottom of the 9th. D.J. Fisher and Terrell Joyce both struck out, and Jamie Ritchie was the ValleyCats' last chance. All he did was tie the game at 2 with his first pro home run.

Mott Hyde walked to begin the 10th, and then he moved to 3rd after an Ariel Ovando double. Juan Santana got a free pass to 1st to load the bases for Alex Hernandez, who promptly won the game with a single to bring Hyde home. Martin also stole his first base in the NYPL, giving him 9 on the year.

Jay Gause went 2.2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. After that, 3 pitchers combined to throw 7.1 scoreless. Luis Ordosgoitti threw 5.1 of those; he allowed 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6. Aaron Vaughn allowed a hit and walked 1 over 1.1 innings, and Derick Velazquez got the final 2 outs of the 10th.

In game 2 of this series, Robert Kahana will take on Hunter Wood at 6:00.

Burlington 3, Greeneville 0

W- Yunior Marte (2-3)
L- Devonte German (0-2)
S- Cole Way (1)

Greeneville home runs: None.

The Appy Astros dropped the series as they were held to just 3 hits.

Edwin Medina had 2 of those 3 hits. One of them was a double, and he also stole a base (6, 24 season). The other hit belonged to Sean McMullen.

Devonte German allowed 3 runs (1 inherited runner charged to him) on 4 hits (solo homer), walked 3, and struck out 2 in 4.2 innings. Agapito Barrios allowed 3 hits and struck out 4 n 3.1 innings, and Zach Davis struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 9th.

Greeneville will be in Elizabethton for their biggest series of the season. They and Johnson City are both 2.5 games behind the Twins. In the opener, Austin Nicely will face former UT standout John Curtiss at 6:00.

GCL Tigers 3, GCL Astros 2

W- Confesor Lara (1-0)
L- Juan Hernandez (0-1)
S- Tyler Ford (3)

GCL home runs: None.

The Tigers took the lead thanks to a 3-run 6th, which was the difference in this one.

Marlon Avea opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 4th. He scored on a Connor Goedert groundout in the 7th.

Making his season debut, Ambiorix De Leon allowed a hit and struck out 2 in the 1st. Dan Mengden made his pro debut with 2 strikeouts in a 1-2-3 2nd. Francis Martes walked 2 and fanned 4 over 3 scoreless. Juan Hernandez went 2 innings and allowed those 3 6th-inning runs on 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Travis Ballew allowed a hit and struck out 3 over 2 scoreless.

The Astros are set to host the Yankees 2 in a little bit.

DSL Astros Blue 5, DSL Indians 2

W- Albert Abreu (3-2)
L- Luis Jimenez (3-3)
S- Luis Ramirez (1)

Blue home runs: None.

Marcos Almonte had 2 RBI singles in the 3rd and the 6th. On the one in the 3rd, an error occurred, which allowed Oliver Toribio to score. Another error occurred on Almonte's 2nd RBI single in the 6th; that one scored Bryan De La Cruz. Jonathan Matute had an RBI single in the 5th. Almonte, De La Cruz, and Matute had 2 hits apiece; they had all 6 hits for the Blue team.

Albert Abreu allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2 over 5 shutout innings. Enrique Chave went 2.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and walked 1. Luis Ramirez finished with 1.2 scoreless, allowing a hit and striking out 2.

The Blue team is currently in a game at the Royals complex.

DSL Astros Orange 3, DSL Mets2 1

W- Diogenes Almengo (1-0)
L- Jorge Celis (3-4)

Orange home runs: None.

The Orange team scored in just 1 inning, but it gave them the lead and the win in the end.

Juan Fuentes put them on the board in the 7th with a bases-loaded walk. One batter later, Reiny Beltre smacked a 2-run double. Fuentes finished 2-4.

Edgardo Sandoval went 5 innings and allowed an unearned run on 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3. Diogenes Almengo pitched the final 4 innings and allowed 2 hits and walked 2.

The Orange team is currently at home taking on the Cubs.

Happy Birthday - 8/13

No future Astros with birthdays today, but one former Astro celebrates the day ~

3B Gary Cooper (50)
A seventh round draft pick by Houston in 1986, Cooper played in only nine games in the majors. In 1991, he hit .250/.368/.313 over those nine games. He hit .305/.402/.500 in 120 minor league games that season, but some guy named Caminiti was in his way.

Tweet of the Day

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Astros Minor League Roster Moves/Transactions

A few more moves in the Astros minor league system over the last couple of days ~

CORPUS CHRISTI
RHP Juan Minaya assigned from Lancaster to Corpus Christi (per CC Caller Times Greg Rajan)

QUAD CITIES
LHP Jordan Mills assigned from Tri-City to Quad Cities

TRI-CITY
OF Alex Presley assigned to Tri-City on a rehab assignment

GULF COAST LEAGUE
RHP Daniel Mengden (7th round pick) assigned to the GCL
LHP Ambiorix de Leon (out all season to date) assigned to the GCL

Also, one of the JetHawks boosters is reporting that OF Jordan Scott is having surgery on left thumb injury that had sidelined him. I haven't seen confirmation on that, but the Astros usually don't report on minor league medical issues.

An Interview with Tri-City RHP Derick Velazquez

Since being drafted by the Astros in the 7th round in 2014 out of California State University Fresno, RHP Derick Velazquez has been one of the key relief pitchers for the Tri-City bullpen. In his first 12 games, he has three saves, a 2.45 ERA and a 0955 WHIP. He has walked only two batters while striking out 17 in his 14.2 innings of work.

Tri-City Manager Ed Romero told me, "Velazquez is a very interesting guy. He has a very good arm. Hard throwing guy. He's just got to get used to the professional every day grind that these guys go through. He's got good size." Romero sees potential in Velazquez as he's a pitcher with "good stuff" who throws strikes.

As fate would have it, I wasn't able to see Velazquez pitch during my recent visit to Tri-City since he had been shut down for a couple of weeks for undisclosed reasons, but he is now back in the bullpen and, if his effectiveness is any indication, fully healthy. I was, however, able to talk with him briefly in an attempt to get to know him just a little bit better.

Derick Velazquez - July 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Of his college experience, Velazquez told me, "I went to Merced Junior College out of high school. I wasn't highly recruited. I didn't get any offers, actually, so I went to junior college and did good. I was a two-way player there. I pitched, went 11-0 and hit. I got drafted after that year in the 15th round by the Orioles. And it just didn't work out so I made it to Fresno State, played there two years, didn't play as well as I wanted to, but I'm just glad I got to impress a professional team and keep playing after college." When I pointed out that he must have played pretty well to merit being picked in one of the higher rounds, he simply noted "I was happy I went that high."

He knew that the Astros had some interest in him, but he hadn't been in contact with the area scout very much. The day of the draft, "My adviser let me know that I could possibly get picked by the Astros coming up soon, and then it happened, so I was happy."

What has been the biggest surprise for Velazquez in playing professional baseball? "It's not a surprise because I knew coming in that everybody in the lineup was going to be good, but probably just how athletic everybody is and everybody knows how to play. They come from all over the world, just the best players from the whole world. It makes me learn that I can't take anybody easily. You have to play hard [against everybody]."

Since I didn't get the opportunity to see him pitch, I asked him what I could expect to see when I did get that opportunity. He responded, "I do a lot of closing so later in the games, just hopefully get a lot of ground balls. I'm not a big strikeout guy so hopefully get a lot of ground balls, a quick inning and just close out some ballgames."

I asked Velazquez what he felt like he had accomplished thus far during his season. "I changed my delivery in college a lot and it wasn't as comfortable as it used to be before I got there so here I've worked a lot with the pitching coach and the coordinators and gotten back to the way I used to be when I was the most comfortable. Just learning how to pitch to these pro guys and just getting better every day."

In answer as to what he needs to work on improving, he told me, "Probably just more consistency, throwing strikes with all of my pitches because you can't come in with just one pitch. You've got to at least have two. I'm working on my changeup a lot right now and being able to throw it low in the zone for strikes and just getting people off balance and stuff like that. Just refining my pitches."

What pitches does Velazquez have in his arsenal? "I throw a 4-seam fastball and a 2-seam. I'd say 2-seam is my favorite pitch and then I throw a changeup and a slider, but right now it's more of a cutter because I'm trying to work on getting it back to where it used to be." His fastball sits in the low 90's and he'll hit 95 occasionally. He's working on slowing down his low 80's change up, "trying to get it a little slower with the same arm speed. It's getting there."

Which hitters on the Tri-City team would he least like to face in the batter's box? "Probably A.J. [Reed, who had recently been promoted to Quad Cities] and I'd say [Nick] Tanielu. I see him stroke balls pretty hard. [Jamie] Ritchie also. Ritchie and [Ryan] Bottger [also promoted to Quad Cities]. Those guys are just always putting the ball in play solid and are hard to get out so those would probably be the guys."

Whose pitch would he like to have in his arsenal? "Probably [Troy] Scribner's curveball. He just freezes guys and that's why he's leading the league in strikeouts. It's a good pitch. That's what I'd like to have."

He also pointed to Scribner as a player he enjoys watching, "He knows what he's doing. He commands his pitches. I'd say he's one guy I'm surprised he's still here. Especially with the numbers he's putting up." Scribner was promoted a few days after this interview. Velazquez also likes to watch Francis Ramirez pitch, "He's a big body and that's the way I feel like I can be, and he's fun to watch. He's a big power pitcher." Velazquez told me that he will be focusing on putting on weight and building up his legs in the off-season to start filling out what might be characterized as a thin, but projectable frame."

Who on the team makes him laugh? "Probably my roommate Ryan Thompson. He knows when to be serious and then he knows when to just goof around and keep it free and stuff like that. I'm glad he's my roommate. It's fun at home. It keeps things fun."

I asked Velazquez to tell me something about himself that people might not know. He responded, "I'm very quiet. I don't go up to people and have a conversation. I'm kind of in the back of a crowd. Once I get to know people, then I'll be talkative, but I'm very quiet. I was an only child growing up. I didn't have siblings [to be] hanging around with so I keep to myself a lot."

If he couldn't play baseball, "I'd be a pilot. My mom was a flight attendant so I've been around airports since I was little and I always loved watching planes take off. I want to be a pilot after baseball. That's my second love."

I asked Velazquez if he had any final words about the Tri-City team. He said, "It's a good team. It's discouraging that we have so many good guys that are starting to move up. Hopefully guys can just step up and we can keep winning and hopefully win the whole thing again." The 'Cats lost that night, but then went on a five-game winning streak and have won seven of their last ten. So it appears that "the guys" are indeed stepping up, including this quiet young man who lets his pitching speak for him.

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Thank you for your time, Derick. I look forward to seeing you in the playoffs and, hopefully, the finals. Best of luck!

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, August 11, 2014

Iowa 3, Oklahoma City 0

W- Dan Straily (7-6)
L- Alex White (2-5)
S- Blake Parker (23)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks were held to 4 hits as they were blanked and dropped the series 3-2.

The 4 singles were hit by Ronald Torreyes, Matt Duffy, Andrew Aplin, and Joe Sclafani. Duffy and Sclafani extended their hitting streaks to 7 games each, while Aplin has a 6-game streak and Torreyes has a 5-game streak going. Dexter Fowler went 0-2 with a walk.

Alex White allowed 2 runs, both in the 1st, on 5 hits and struck out 5 in 6 innings. Richard Rodriguez walked 2 and struck out 1 over 2 scoreless, and Jason Stoffel allowed a run on 2 hits and walked 1 in the 9th.

The RedHawks' penultimate road trip will be on the West Coast. They'll begin with 4 in Fresno beginning tonight at at 9:05. Rudy Owens will start game 1.

Corpus Christi was off

The Hooks will begin a 3-game series with Northwest Arkansas tonight at 7:10. Mike Hauschild will get the start in game 1.

Lancaster was off

The JetHawks are set to kick off a 3-game set against High Desert at 8:30. They have not announced starters for this series yet.

Quad Cities was off

The River Bandits are in Kane County to begin a 3-game series. Kevin Comer will start in the opener, which will begin at 6:30.

Tri-City 2, Hudson Valley 0

W- Bryan Radziewski (2-0)
L- Edwin Fierro (0-1)
S- Ryan Thompson (8)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats took 2 of 3 in the first leg of a 6-game series featuring the NYPL's best teams. 4 pitchers combined on a 4-hitter.

The difference here was a 2-run double from Nick Tanielu in the 8th. Everyone in the lineup had 1 hit. D.J. Fisher went 1-4 in his return to the lineup. He missed the past 9 games after colliding with a pole on August 31.

Joe Musgrove continued his fine season as he allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 over 6.2 shutout innings. Bryan Radziewski threw an inning (final out of the 7th and first 2 outs of the 8th) and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2. Jordan Mills struck out the only batter he faced to end the 8th, and The Closer, Ryan Thompson, allowed a hit and struck out 2 to finish it off.

These two teams will begin another series. The next 3 will take place in Troy, and all of them will start at 6:00. Both teams have yet to announce starters.

Burlington 4, Greeneville 2

W- Niklas Stephenson (2-3)
L- Brock Dykxhoorn (2-3)
S- Estarlin Cordero (3)

Greeneville home runs: None.

Burlington owned the lone crooked-numbered scoring inning.

Tony Nuñez scored the first run of the evening on an error in the 1st that also allowed Sean McMullen to reach. Jeffry Santos hit an RBI groundout in the 4th. Luis Reynoso went 2-4 with a run scored.

Brock Dykxhoorn went 3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 3. Dean Deetz also allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 3 innings; he walked 1 and struck out 6. Juan Delis threw 2 scoreless, allowing a hit, walking 1, and striking out 1, and Angel Heredia allowed 2 hits and struck out 1 in a scoreless 9th.

In the series finale, Devonte German will face Yunior Marte at 6:00.

GCL Tigers 3, GCL Astros 2

W- Micah Kellogg (3-1)
L- Yhoan Acosta (0-2)

GCL home runs: Brauly Mejia (2, solo in 3rd)

The Tigers pulled ahead with a run in the 8th and held off the GCLstros for the win.

Mejia's 2-run shot was the entire offense for the Kissimmee Stros. He finished 2-4.

Ross Seaton went 4 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 1. J.D. Osborne allowed a hit and walked 1 in a scoreless 5th. Yhoan Acosta allowed the eventual game-winning run in the 8th; it was unearned. He also allowed 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 3.

These two teams will play once more later this morning. First pitch is at 11:00 A.M.

DSL Astros Blue 1, DSL Indians 0 in 10.5 innings

W- Lachlan Madden (2-1)
L- Jose Nina (0-2)

Blue home runs: None.

This game was called due to rain after the top of the 11th.

Cristopher Luciano finished 3-5 and broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the 11th inning. Jake Bowey went 2-4.

Erasmo Pinales threw 5 shutout innings and allowed 3 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. Juan Cuevas tagged in for 3 scoreless, allowing 2 hits and striking out 4, and Lachlan Madden allowed a hit, walked 3, and struck out 1 over 2 scoreless.

Both teams are set to play another game later. First pitch, as always, is at 9:30 A.M.

DSL Astros Orange 15, DSL Mets2 3

W- Abdiel Saldaña (3-1)
L- Richard Reina (3-3)
S- Edwin Villarroel (1)

Orange home runs: Edgar Lorenzo (2, solo in 6th)

The Orange team took full control of this game with 8 runs in the 5th.

Wilson Amador finished a home run shy of the cycle in 5 at-bats, drove in 4, and scored 3 runs. He put the Orange team on the board with an RBI double in the 3rd. Later in the inning, Reiny Beltre and Felix Lucas added RBI singles, and Ihan Bernal added an RBI groundout.

The Orange team really busted it open once Juan Fuentes scored on a passed ball in the 5th. Edgar Lorenzo then drew a bases-loaded walk, Jose Benjamin and Anardo Peralta hit RBI singles, Angel De Leon grounded into a force out that scored Lorenzo, and then Amador smacked a 2-run triple. Amador scored the final run of the inning after a single from Fuentes. Lorenzo led off the 6th with a homer, then in the 7th, Lucas drew a bases-loaded walk, and in the 8th, Amador brought home the final run of the day with a sac fly. Fuentes, Beltre, and Peralta had 2 hits apiece.

Abdiel Saldaña allowed a solo homer to Luis Carpio in the 1st. He went 6 innings and allowed 2 other hits and struck out 4. Edwin Villarroel pitched the final 3 innings and allowed a 2-run homer to Junior Carrion in the 8th. He allowed 2 other hits and fanned 2.

The Orange team is set to begin the 2nd leg of this series at the Mets' complex.

Happy Birthday - 8/12

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

LHP Dean Hartgraves (48)
A 20th round pick by Houston in 1987, Hartgraves pitched in 59 games for the Astros in 1995 and 1996 before being selected off waivers by Atlanta. He had a 2-0 record with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.446 WHIP.

RHP Reggie Harris (46)
Originally drafted by Boston in the first round in 1987, Harris signed with Houston as a free agent in January of 1998. He only pitched in six games for Houston that season compiling a 6.00 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP.

Tweet of the Day

Monday, August 11, 2014

Astros Minor League Player and Pitchers of the Week

It's time to look back at Week 19 and acknowledge some winning performances for the week commencing Sunday, August 3rd and continuing through Saturday, August 9th.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

I'm going to keep it short this week. Honorable mentions go to Oklahoma City's Ronald Torreyes (.538/.571/.654) and Preston Tucker (.346/.393/.846); Corpus Christi's Brandon Meredith (.313/.476/.875) and Delino DeShields (.333/.464/.524); Lancaster's Brett Phillips (.458/.519/.708); Quad Cities' Chase McDonald (.333/.364/.857); the GCL's Brauly Mejia (.310/.440/.650); and Edgar Lorenzo (.444/.524/.611) in the DSL.

Tucker and Torreyes were tied for the most runs scored during the week, with eight. In the extra-base hit sweepstakes, it was Tucker with four doubles, Mejia with three triples and four players were tied with three home runs for the week, including Tucker, Meredith, McDonald and our winner. Tucker also led the way with 10 RBI for the week. DSL Catcher Ihan Bernal drew seven walks last week.

My winner had strong numbers across the board in average, OBP and slugging. He also struck out just a little bit less and walked just a little bit more than a couple of those listed above, edging those players out by a razor-thin margin.

OF Terrell Joyce (Tri-City)
.381/.458/.905 in 6 games
6R 2B 3HR 9RBI 3BB 7SO

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: OF TERRELL JOYCE

Terrell Joyce - August 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

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STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK

There were several performances that are in need of honorable mention, including Corpus Christi's Chris Devenski; Lancaster's Kent Emanuel and Zach Morton; Tri-City's Joe Musgrove; Greeneville's Agapito Barrios; and Erasmo Pinales and Edgardo Sandoval in the DSL.

But one pitcher stood out for me with his complete dominance in his start last week.

RHP Michael Feliz (Quad Cities) - Win
0.00 ERA/0.375 WHIP .111 BA
8IP (1 games) 3H 0BB 9SO

Michael Feliz - June 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

STARTING (TANDEM) PITCHER OF THE WEEK: RHP MICHAEL FELIZ

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RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK

As always, the relief corps had some excellent outings. Honorable mentions go to Corpus Christi's Mitch Lambson; Lancaster's Gonzalo Sanudo; Quad Cities' Frederick Tiburcio; Tri-City's Bryan Radziewski and Vince Wheeland; Samil de Los Santos in the GCL; and Gabriel Valdez, Luis Ramirez and Juan Cuevas in the DSL.

I had four runners-up this week who pitched to perfection. Corpus Christi's Tyson Perez, Tri-City's Ryan Thompson and Greeneville's Eric Peterson each pitched two perfect innings over two appearances, and Lancaster's Daniel Minor pitched his two perfect innings in one game.

My winner outdid those four by getting one extra out.

RHP Jorge de Leon (Oklahoma City)
0.00 ERA/.0.000 WHIP/.000 BA
2.1IP (2 games) 0H 0BB 2SO

Jorge de Leon - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RELIEF PITCHER OF THE WEEK: RHP JORGE DE LEON

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Sunday, August 10, 2014

Iowa 10, Oklahoma City 2

W- Eric Jokisch (9-8)
L- Asher Wojciechowski (2-4)

OKC home runs: None.

The RedHawks were overwhelmed in this one as they trailed 5-0 after 2 and were buried by a 5-run outburst in the 8th from the I-Cubs.

Preston Tucker put the RedHawks on the board with an RBI single in the 4th. Max Stassi added another RBI single in the 7th. Matt Duffy went 3-4 with a double and a run scored, and Ronald Torreyes finished 2-4, extending his hitting streak to 4 games. In his 3rd rehab game, Dexter Fowler went 0-2 and was in the field for the first time, playing 5 innings in center field.

Asher Wojciechowski went 6 innings and allowed 5 runs on 6 hits (solo and 2-run homers), walked 2, and struck out 5. Pat Urckfitz was the first man out; he pitched a scoreless 7th and had an inherited runner charged to him in the 8th. He allowed 2 hits and struck out 1. Paul Clemens bore the brunt of Iowa's 8th-inning assault, as he allowed 4 runs (1 inherited) on 3 hits and walked 2 while only recording 1 out. Tommy Shirley got the final 2 outs of the inning, 1 via strikeout, and allowed a hit that resulted in 1 of the 2 runners he inherited from Clemens to score. Anthony Bass walked 1 and fanned 1 in a scoreless 9th.

The final game of this series features Alex White on the mound. He will face Dan Straily at 7:05.

Arkansas 8, Corpus Christi 3

W- Kramer Sneed (7-9)
L- Mark Appel (0-1, 2-6 season)

CC home runs: Leo Heras (5, solo in 1st), Teoscar Hernandez (2, 19 season; solo in 8th)

The Hooks were swept out of Little Rock as the Travs scored 8 unanswered runs after Corpus got on the board first in the 1st.

That 1st run came on Leo Heras' solo homer, which came with 2 outs in the top of the 1st. The Hooks would have to wait until the 8th to score again, as Teoscar homered with 1 out in the inning. Later on in the frame, Colin Moran hit an RBI single. Heras reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances; in addition to his blast, he walked 3 times and scored 2 of the 3 Corpus runs.

Mark Appel pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. He was knocked around in the 3rd as he gave up 3 in that frame. Appel has given up a big inning to the opposition in his last couple of starts, but he has shown that he can recover after those big innings. 

Colton Cain tagged in for 2 innings and allowed 4 runs (all in the 6th) on 5 hits (2-run homer), walked 1, and struck out 2. Mitch Lambson struck out 2 in a 1-2-3 8th. Lambson has not allowed a run in his last 6 appearances. 

After getting today off, the Hooks will welcome the Arkansas teams to Whataburger Field for the final time this season. They'll begin a 3-game set with Northwest Arkansas starting tomorrow at 7:10. Mike Hauschild will get the start.

Lancaster 6, San Jose 2

W- Brian Holmes (5-1)
L- Pat Young (9-5)

Lancaster home runs: Jon Kemmer (9, 13 season; solo in 5th)

The JetHawks avoided the sweep as they had a positive finish to a rather tough-luck series. 

They opened up the scoring with a pair in the 2nd, as Ronnie Mitchell hit an RBI groundout and Catfish Elkins added an RBI single. In the 4th, Chan-Jong Moon was plunked with the bases loaded and Rio Ruiz followed that up with a bases-loaded walk. Kemmer's 13th blast of the year led off the 5th, and Danry Vásquez scored on a wild pitch in the 7th. Kemmer and Danry had 3 hits apiece and scored 5 of the 6 JetHawks runs (Kemmer 2, Danry 3). Rio and Catfish both finished 2-4.

Brian Holmes had his finest start of the year, as he allowed a run on 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 over 8 innings of work. Dan Minor got dinged by a solo homer from Tyler Horan with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, but he finished the game without further incident. 

After a day off, the JetHawks will begin a 3-game series against High Desert on Tuesday. The JetHawks have yet to announce starters for that series.

Quad Cities 6, Beloit 1

W- Michael Feliz (8-4)
L- Joey Wagman (1-1)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos earned the split as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first third of the game and got a solid evening from their pitchers.

Michael Feliz went 5 and allowed a solo homer to Melvin Mercedes in the 4th. He allowed 2 other hits and struck out 5. Chris Lee struck out 4 over 3 perfect frames, and Chris Cotton worked around a single to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out 2.

Chase McDonald hit a single in the 1st, and the ensuing error brought James Ramsay home with the game's first run. Ryan Bottger added a sac fly in the 2nd, and the River Bandits put up 4 in the 3rd as A.J. Reed clubbed an RBI triple, and then came home on a J.D. Davis double. Jose Fernandez and Bobby Boyd added RBI singles. Boyd went 2-3 in his MWL debut, while Reed went 2-4. 

After a day off, the River Bandits will begin a 3-game set in Kane County. They'll hope for a better time in suburban Chicago, as they got swept there to begin the month. 

Tri-City 4, Hudson Valley 2

W- Austin Chrismon (5-2)
L- Nolan Gannon (5-2)
S- Jordan Mills (2)

TC home runs: None.

The ValleyCats drew even in this series featuring the NYPL's best. It got a little harrowing in the 9th, but Jordan Mills was steadfast and finished it off.

Austin Chrismon started it off by allowing 4 hits, walking 4, and striking out 1 over 5.2 shutout innings. Derick Velazquez was the first man out and fired 2.1 perfect innings, striking out 4 of the 7 batters he faced. Ryan Thompson got an out in the 9th, but ran into serious trouble as he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits. He left after hitting Hudson Valley CF Braxton Lee with the bases loaded. Jordan Mills entered with a bases-loaded situation and he kept his cool, getting Jace Conrad to pop out, and then he struck out Casey Gillaspie to finish it. 

Jason Martin, in his Tri-City debut, went 3-5 with a triple and 2 runs scored. He led off the 6th with that triple, and one batter later, he scored the first run of the game as Jamie Ritchie brought him home with a single. In the 8th, the Cats got an RBI double from Ricky Gingras and a couple of RBI singles from Nick Tanielu and Juan Santana. Everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Alfredo Gonzalez, who went 0-2, but drew 2 walks. Martin was the only player on either side to have more than 1 hit and score more than 1 run.

In the finale of the first leg of this 6-game set, Joe Musgrove will take on Oscar Armenta. First pitch is at 6:05.

Greeneville 6, Burlington 0

W- Reymin Guduan (2-3)
L- Colin Rodgers (0-2)

Greeneville home runs: Yonathan Mejia (2, solo in 8th)

The Appy Astros started off this series with a shutout. Also, the team above them (Elizabethton) and the team below them (Johnson City) both lost, so as a result, they gained ground and re-took sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Appalachian League West at the same time.

Greeneville opened things up with 3 in the 1st. Edwin Medina led off the inning with a single, stole 2nd (5, 23 season), advanced to 3rd on an infield single from Sean McMullen, and scored the game's first run on a passed ball. One batter later, Yonathan Mejia singled, and McMullen advanced to 3rd. A wild pitch allowed Mejia to move up to 2nd. Then, Jake Nottingham added an RBI single to bring in McMullen, and an error on the play also allowed Mejia to score. Medina doubled to lead off the 5th and he didn't have to wait as long as he did in the 1st to score again; McMullen brought him home with a double. After advancing to 3rd on a Mejia groundout, he would score on a sac fly from Hector Roa. Mejia capped off the scoring with his 2nd home run of the season to begin the 8th. 

The top 3 of Medina, McMullen, and Mejia scored all 6 Greeneville runs. They all had 2 hits as well; Medina was 2-3, while McMullen and Mejia both went 2-4. At the bottom of the order, Jeffry Santos finished 2-3. 

Reymin Guduan threw 5 shutout innings and allowed 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4. Elieser Hernandez tagged in for 3 and allowed a hit, walked 1, and struck out 2. Aaron Greenwood allowed a hit in a scoreless 9th. 

In game 2 of this series, Brock Dykxhoorn will take on Niklas Stephenson at 6:00.