Thursday, April 17, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G15: Astros v. Royals

Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.55) vs Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.75)

Happy #SpringerDay! Of course the arrival of George Springer in Houston meant that the Astros were going to go 148-0 for the rest of the season, sweep the World Series, and get baseball reinstated to the Olympics. Of course that didn't happen, either. Even Springer (shockingly) couldn't carry the entire team by himself, and Houston fell to Kansas City 6-4 in 11 innings. The Astros drop to 5-10 on the season.

On the Mound:

*The trend of solid starts by Astros not named Harrell continued, as Dallas Keuchel was on again. Six solid innings, and he left with a 4-2 lead, so no complaints. Line: 6 IP / 6 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 5 K.

*Unfortunately the bullpen couldn't hold that lead, and the trouble started with Brad Peacock in the 7th. Two hits in two thirds of an inning led to two runs charged to his ledger after he left.

*Kevin Chapman got his second scoreless appearance of the season... but faced only one batter and walked him.

*Then Matt Albers' very first pitch resulted in a two-run single that plated both of Peacock's runners. He also had a walk and a K over 1.1 innings, but Albers turns in an officially scoreless outing and gets tagged with a blown save, while Peacock is charged with the tying runs and gets credit for a hold. Reliever stats are stupid.

*Josh Fields at least turned in a perfect 9th, assisted by a force play at first that was originally ruled safe, but challenged and overturned.

*Jerome Williams got the call for free baseball, and allowed two singles in a scoreless 10th, but then allowed two runs in the 11th to earn the loss.

At the Plate:

*But George Springer! George earned the first of his 3000 career hits with an infield single in the 3rd, and scored Houston's first run of the night. But he was also caught stealing after a walk in the 5th, so he finished his obviously much anticipated big league debut going 1x5 with a BB, a R, and 2 K.

*Jason Castro plated Springer for that first run, and himself for the second, with a two-run bomb in the 3rd. The homer was Castro's third of the year, and he finished 2x4 with a BB and a K.

*Marc Krauss got in on the action with his own two-run dinger, going deep in the 6th for his first of the season. He finished 2x4 with a K.

*Jose Altuve is Jose Altuve, going 2x6 with a K.

*Marwin Gonzalez also had a multi-hit night, going 2x4 with a BB and a K.

*Matt Dominguez was 1x5 with Houston's other hit. Jesus Guzman was 0x4 with 2 K, but he did walk once, and scored on Krauss' home run.

Turning Point:

Both teams ended the 10th with two runners aboard, but neither scored. But then Mike Moustakas took Jerome Williams deep on a 2-1 changeup leading off the 11th. The Royals added another run thereafter on a single, steal, sac bunt, fielder's choice exchange, giving them a 6-4 lead going to the bottom of the frame. Then the Astros got two on with two out and Jose Altuve at the plate, but Alex Gordon made a sliding catch on a sinking liner to left that could have tied the score, instead ending the game.

Man of the Match:

Would typically choose a better performance, but on #SpringerDay, it's gotta be George Springer. The kid is legitimately special.

Goat of the Game:

Astros relievers besides Fields. None but Fields did well tonight, and they spoiled Keuchel's solid start and #SpringerDay.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lucas Harrell said all three of his starts were different

With all due respect to Lucas Harrell, he's kind of wrong. He told Mark Berman this morning that, "All three of my starts were way different. The ball caught here, the ball caught there. Bounce this way, bounce that way....all three of my starts were way different. Just one of those things, bad luck."

First, let's start with the inefficency. In his season debut, an 11-1 loss to the Angels, 38 of his 76 pitches were for strikes and there were only three swings and misses. That's a 50% strike-to-pitch ratio. In his second start, a 7-3 loss at Toronto, Harrell threw 107 pitches and got 59 strikes...six of them swinging. That's a 55.1% strike-to-pitch ratio. And in his third start, last night's 4-2 loss to the Royals, 56 of his 101 pitches were for strikes with seven swinging strikes - a 55.4% strike-to-pitch ratio.

In all, Harrell threw 284 pitches, and 153 of them for strikes for a 53.9% Strike rate. So far this season, starters across the other 29 MLB teams have thrown 37646 pitches with 23957 of those pitches for strikes - or a 63.6% Strike rate. In those three starts, 32% of his pitches were in the strike zone. That's not efficient.

Even less efficient is his pitch per out ratio. Harrell needed 284 pitches to record 37 outs, or 7.68 pitches per out, and he faced 66 batters - 4.3 pitches per batter. If we use the total pitch data from the previous paragraph, the other 29 teams' starters needed 37646 pitches in 2313.1IP - or 6940 outs, which works out to be 5.42 pitches per out. Also, the other 29 teams' starters have faced 9821 batters, working out to 3.83 pitches per batter. So Harrell was throwing an extra pitch to every second batter, and needed an extra 2.26 pitches per out. And we're not just talking about every other team's ace.

Now was Lucas Harrell unlucky, as he mentioned? The Astros are shifting far more than any other team in baseball and the problems he's had with the shift are well-documented. And, despite the hell that (Not Hank) Aaron has caught for mentioning BABIP, it's worth noting that Harrell's BABIP is .370, where the rest of MLB's starters are averaging a .295 BABIP. It's also worth mentioning that Harrell generated a groundball rate right at 50%. And 18.2% of the flyballs he's giving up are leaving the yard. Considering that the Astros - as a team, including Harrell - have an 8.2% HR/FB rate, he's the outlier.

In short Harrell threw too many pitches and the pitches that did cross the plate were getting tattooed.  Opposing hitters had a 100% contact rate on pitches thrown inside the strike zone. If they hit a fly ball, there was a higher-than-average chance that it would leave the yard.

Nope, Lucas Harrell's starts were pretty much the same.

Happy George Springer Day!

A running post of George Springeralia:

3:08pm: George Springer will hit 2nd tonight.

12:32pm: Luhnow wants to see Singleton establish a track record of success at OKC before bringing him up. Chris Carter breathes a sigh of relief.

12:31pm: Morgan Ensberg would like everyone to chill out about Springer.

11:45am: The rest of you Astros are on notice. "Guys that don't produce aren't going to stick around." - Jeff Luhnow

11:40am: Baseball America on what to expect from Springer.

11:39am: Jerome Williams or Brad Peacock will likely take Harrell's rotation spot.

10:44am: "We've got a lot of good guys in the system, hopefully this is the first of many really good ones to come." - Jim Crane

10:39am: Lucas Harrell told Mark Berman, "All three of my starts were way different. The ball caught here, the ball caught there. Bounce this way, bounce that way....all three of my starts were way different. Just one of those things, bad luck."

10:18am: Scott Feldman has been reinstated from the Bereavement List, so there's your corresponding Harrell move.

10:11am: Crawfish Boxes has What To Expect from Springer

10:10am: The Astros still have one 40-Man roster spot.

10:08am: Mike Acosta posted this beautiful picture:

9:15am: "Excited for my boy (George Springer) debut! Couldn't have happened to a better teammate! #bestplayeriveeverplayedwith" - OKC's Erik Castro

9:11am: "Good seats available for tonight in case you aren't doing anything." - Jeff Luhnow

9:06am: "Good job by astros to call up future star George Springer without a longterm deal in place. And there is no long deal yet." - Jon Heyman.

8:56am: Check out a special edition of the Astros County Morning Drive (thanks to Tim & the Crawfish Boxes for hooking me up)

8:52am: Exclusive photo of George Springer getting off the plane:

8:28am: "Good to see astros calling up multialented OF george springer. some scouts say ss carlos correa, 19, is ready for bigs too." - Jon Heyman

8:24am: Brian McTaggart has a list of notable Astros debuts.

8:16am: Check out David Coleman's thoughts on the last 12 hours, as well.

8:15am: Jayne at What The Heck, Bobby has some good thoughts about what this means.

7:52am: Springer will wear #4 - formerly worn by Craig Biggio.

7:26am: "Happy first day of Springer!" - Keith Law

Springer up, Harrell/Grossman down


Lucas Harrell - fresh off a 5IP, 5H/4ER, 4K:3BB loss last night to drop his ERA to 9.49 - has been designated for assignment and Robbie Grossman - who was 0x4 with three strikeouts, and a misplayed Harrell ball that allowed a run to score - was optioned to Oklahoma City last night.

Harrell - who actually did strike out the side in the 2nd, and was hurt by a couple of defensive mistakes:
Things happen. No matter what happens you got to make pitches. Sometimes bad luck is really not bad luck. It's making bad pitches.

The corresponding move? George Herman Babe Springer has been called up. Springer was hitting .353/.459/.647 after scoring four runs and hitting a grand slam in last night's win at Colorado Springs. In 75 Triple-A games (327 PAs) dating back to last season, Springer hit .319/.431/.630 with 21 homers, 26 stolen bases, 80K:50BB.

Springer's reaction:
It's just an indescribable feeling. I'm speechless right now.

Same, George Springer. Same.

PreStros Morning Report: April 15


*Astros affiliates end up going 2-3 on the day.
*Former RedHawk George Springer hit a grand slam as OKC wins their 6th straight road game.
*Matt Heidenreich threw three perfect innings with five strikeouts, but Corpus dropped their 2nd straight 2-1 game to Springfield.
*Teoscar Hernandez knocked in Tony Kemp in the top of the 9th for a 5-4 win at High Desert
*Quad Cities split last night's double-header with West Michigan on Austin Elkins' Game 2 walk-off.

Oklahoma City (9-4)

The RedHawks have now won six straight road games after jumping out to a 7-0 lead at Colorado Springs, and then having to hold on to win 11-9. Mike Foltynewicz had a nice bounceback start, allowing 4H/1ER, 6K:2BB in 5IP; Rudy Owens got lit up for 6H/5R (4ER), 1K:0BB in 1.1IP; Chia-Jen Lo allowed two homers for two runs (plus one of Owens'); Jason Stoffel gave up two hits but no runs, and Josh Zeid recorded his first save of the season despite allowing a 9th inning homer.

George Springer - more on him in the next post - went 3x4 with a grand slam - and four runs scored; Jon Singleton and Max Stassi (2RBI) were each 2x5 with a double. Austin Wates and Carlos Perez each had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: George Springer

Corpus (8-4)

Corpus dropped their second straight 2-1 game at home to Springfield Tuesday night. Tommy Shirley allowed 5H/2ER with 6K:1BB in 4.1IP to take the hard-luck loss. Andrew Robinson allowed a hit in 0.2IP...and that was it for Springfield hits. Matt Heidenreich threw three perfect innings with five strikeouts and Theron Geith and Jorge De Leon finished out the 9th with no hits allowed.

Preston Tucker was 2x4 with a double and an outfield assist; Leo Heras was 1x2 with a walk and the lone RBI, driving in Enrique Hernandez who was 1x4 witha double.

Man of the Match: Matt Heidenreich

Lancaster (9-4)

With Lancaster and High Desert tied 4-4 in the top of the 9th, Tony Kemp drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Teoscar Hernandez did what Teoscar Hernandez does, doubling in Kemp for the game-winning go-ahead run. Kyle Westwood threw 5IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:1BB with 10 groundball outs to three flyball outs. Vince Velasquez allowed 3H/2ER, 3K:1BB in 3IP, and Jamaine Cotton got his 2nd save of the year.

Teoscar Hernandez (2B, RBI) and Carlos Correa (3B, RBI, SB) were each 2x5. Dan Gulbransen was 2x4, and Tony Kemp (RBI), Rio Ruiz, and Roberto Pena each had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Carlos Correa

Quad Cities (6-6)

Double-header to make up the 4/14 game canceled by snow.

Game 1: Quad Cities had a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the 4th, but West Michigan scored six of the next seven runs in a 6-4 win. Kent Emanuel allowed 7H/4R (3ER), 3K:1BB (and picked off two runners at first base) and Chris Cotton allowed 6H/2ER, 1K:0BB in 3IP. James Ramsay was 2x3 with a double, triple, and a walk. Brian Holberton hit his first homer of the season, and Jon Kemmer had an RBI double. Conrad Gregor was 1x2 with a walk, RBI, and run scored.

Man of the Match: James Ramsay

Game 2: Jon Kemmer doubled to lead off the 8th (extra-innings, remember) and Austin Elkins drove him home for the walk-off. Jandel Gustave gave up 5H/1R (0ER), 6K:2BB in 4.2IP; Pat Christensen threw 1.1IP, allowing a hit and two strikeouts. Andrew Walter got the win with 2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB. Austin Elkins had the game-winning hit; Conrad Gregor and Jon Kemmer both had doubles, and Tyler White had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Jandel Gustave

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Diagnosing the Astros Offense

We've all been seeing a lot of weeping and gnashing of the teeth after this weekend saw the Astros lose 1-0 twice and score in only 2 of the 31 innings during the three game set against the Rangers. A lot has been made of the teams' abysmal .189 batting average. That's really bad. So bad, its actually impressive the Astros have managed to score a hair under 3 runs a game on the young season.

So what's the culprit for the putrid offense? Its easy to blame the strikeouts. The Astros struck out in 24.5% of their AB's. That's a high number, but not the leagues worst. (Just for fun, if you take out Kris Karter, its a much more reasonable 23%, which would be middle of the pack.) The walk rate is roughly league average as well, and much better than last year. The batted ball numbers, such as line drive rate, groundball rate and flyball rate all seem fairly normal, though they could be hitting a few more line drives. Nothing there that would explain the incredibly low batting average, worst in the majors by 30 percentage points.

The real culprit is the .218 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). That number excludes all strikeouts and homeruns, and calculates the remaining batting average on everything put in play. .218 is ridiculously low, trailing the second to last place Blue Jays by over 30 percentage points. It would be the lowest in baseball history, besting the 1968 Yankees by over 20 percentage points. Its even rare for an individual player to have a BABIP this low, let alone an entire team. In fact, the .218 team BABIP would place the Astros in the bottom 30 for an individual player, since 1920.

Believe it or not, this is actually really good news. The .218 BABIP does not represent some fatal flaw in the Astros approach or roster construction. It is nothing more than bad luck, stemming from small sample size, and nothing more. BABIP hovers between .280 and .320, and anything different than that, especially to the extreme found here, is due for a regression. The 2013 Marlins had one of the worst offenses of all time last year and had a .280 BABIP. The Astros' BABIP last year was a healthy .304. On an individual player level, every player struggling right now is battling an absurdly low BABIP. Dominguez, Villar, Castro, Krauss and Grossman are all sporting BABIPs below .200. The exception is Carter, who is doing fine on the balls put in play, but is just not doing that very often.

A century plus of baseball history tells us these numbers will regress back to the normal range. Base hits will start to fall. Balls will find the gaps for doubles and triples. The solo homeruns the Astros have been hitting will start to be two and three runs shots. This will all happen without the help of Springer and Singelton, who will hopefully help the offense even more, when those moves are made.

None of that is to say the offense will be good. That remains to be seen. But right now the offense is being weighed down by a ridiculously low BABIP. Once that weight is, inevitably, lifted, we will get a sense of what this offense can really accomplish. In fact, we can expect that regression to start to happen tonight.

More scouting reports out of Lancaster

Yesterday I gave you the skinny on a couple scouting reports for Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel. Well, Baseball Prospectus was holding out on us, and posted a few more this morning. In this post, they look at Teoscar Hernandez (who has 5 triples already this season,) Tony Kemp, Rio Ruiz, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Appel again. There's a lot of good info in their reports, but let's look at the bottom line for each player.

Teoscar Hernandez - "I like the bat and I like his glove; I'd put a 5-plus on his ceiling, with a fourth outfielder as the most likely."

Tony Kemp - "ceiling to me is a utility guy who can play second and all the outfield spots; Skip Schumaker–type player."

Rio Ruiz - "young for the level, let's see if he makes some adjustments....not going to write him off after two subpar games."

Carlos Correa - "Man, I'm in love with this guy...just give it some time"

Lance McCullers - "delivery routinely gets out of whack...Had no clue where the ball was going...eighth-inning guy long-term"

Mark Appel - "much more athletic than I thought going 2 starter ceiling with a workhorse no. 3 as the floor."

As much as I pulled for those quotes, there's so much more in their fairly detailed scouting reports. Definitely worth checking out.

PreStros Morning Report: April 14


*Astros affiliates get their first 0-3.
*George Springer homers but OKC pitching blows it open in a 14-8 OKC loss to New Orleans.
*Luis Cruz and Ross Seaton hold Springfield to three hits, but lose 2-1.
*Rio Ruiz and Teoscar Hernandez combined for a 7x10 night with four doubles, a homer, and 9RBI, but the High Desert moonscape ballpark leads to an 11-10 JetHawks loss.
*Quad Cities' game with West Michigan postponed due to snow.

Oklahoma City (8-4)

Well. New Orleans jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first inning, tacked on five more in the 5th and then two in the 8th and 9th for a 14-8 whoopin' of OKC. No pitcher did all that well - David Martinez gave up 6H/5ER, 0K:2BB in 4IP; Bobby Doran allowed 4H/6ER, 2K:3BB in 3.1IP and Darin Downs allowed 4H/3ER, 1K:2BB in 1.2IP.

Still, OKC did get eight runs. George Springer was 2x3 with a solo homer, Jon Singleton (RBI) and Erik Castro (2RBI) were each 1x3 with two walks. Gregorio Petit, Max Stassi (2B), and Domingo Santana each got a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: George Springer

Corpus (8-3)

Springfield scored a run in the first and the second inning, and that was all they needed in a 2-1 win at blustery Corpus where a 24mph wind blowing in from left field. Luis Cruz threw 5IP, allowing just 2H/2R (1ER), 3K:2BB; Ross Seaton threw 4IP allowing just 1H/0ER, 5K:0BB.

Andrew Aplin was 3x4 with the lone RBI while Nolan Fontana was 2x3 with a double, triple, and a walk. Leo Heras and MP Cokinos got your only other hits on the night.

Man of the Match: Cruz and Seaton.

Lancaster (8-4)

Wild one at High Desert. In a back-and-forth game, Lancaster had a 10-9 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th, but the Mavericks got two runs and held on for an 11-10 win over Lancaster. Mark Appel threw 3IP, 5H/3ER, 4K:0BB with two of those runs coming off a homer - but he did record four groundball outs and zero flyball outs. Juan Minaya allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP; Mike Hauschild allowed 8H/5ER, 3K:3BB in 3IP; J.D. Osborne faced two batters, walked them both, and Jamaine Cotton allowed both of those go-ahead runs to score.

Rio Ruiz was 4x5 with two doubles, his first homer of the season, and 5RBI; Teoscar Hernandez was 3x5 with two doubles, a walk, 4RBI and an outfield assist. Carlos Correa and Jordan Scott (2B, 2BB) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Rio Ruiz

Quad Cities

Postponed - snow. Yep. Snow.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Awards

A couple of Nice Things today for you:

*Jon Homerton was the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. Homerton is hitting .325/.438/.725 and is the fourth Player of the Week award of his career.

*Vince Velasquez was the California League's Pitcher of the Week. Velasquez threw 13IP, allowing 3H/1ER, with 16K:3BB and damn well better be in Corpus by July.

Triple-A affiliate moving back to Round Rock?

There is a (paywalled) article in the Austin American-Statesman from over the weekend which is nicely summarized by this un-paywalled post in Ballpark Digest about the Astros potentially moving their Triple-A affiliate back to Round Rock in time for the 2015 season.

It makes perfect sense, what with the House of Ryan firmly back with Houston, to switch their affiliate to Round Rock when the Professional Development Contract with Oklahoma City expires at the end of this season. That said, the Rangers signed a PDC with Round Rock through 2016, but - as Ballpark Digest notes - those PDCs can be terminated if both sides agree to the termination of that contract.

One would have to wonder if that would put the affiliation in Montgomery County story to bed. The Astros purchased Camp Strake last summer with the idea of purchasing a Triple-A team - likely New Orleans - there. But Reid Ryan made it known last September that he would prefer to move the Astros' affiliation back to Round Rock.

Looks like Reid may be able to talk Crane into it.

The Week That Was: April 7-13

It's easy to overreact to individual games on a daily basis - I do it all the time. You probably do, too. But we can take whole weeks and examine some trends, so let's do that for the week of April 7-13 - the second full week of the season.

April 7: 9-1 loss at home to Anaheim
April 8: 5-2 loss at Toronto
April 9: 7-3 loss at Toronto
April 10: 6-4 win at Toronto
April 11: 1-0 loss at Arlington (12 innings)
April 12: 6-5 win at Arlington (10 innings)
April 13: 1-0 loss at Arlington

So that's a 2-5 week in which the Astros were outscored 32-18, but included two 1-0 losses. The Astros still haven't won a series in Arlington since June 30-July 2, 2005, but in 91 previous Astros/Rangers games before this weekend there had only been one 1-0 game, on June 27, 2004.

The Astros were 3-2 in 1-0 games in 2012, but haven't lost two 1-0 games to the same team in a season since the Cubs got them twice in 2006. The Astros hadn't lost two 1-0 games in the same series since the Dodgers beat the Astros 1-0 on September 10, 1966 and again in the second game of a double-header on September 11, 1966.

Now, on to the WEEK. IN. PERFORMANCES.:

Batting Overall: 252 Plate Apperances, .180/.246/.316, 60K:19BB

Robbie Grossman: .182/.308/.500, 6K:4BB
Jose Altuve: .276/.290/.379, 3K:1BB
Matt Dominguez: .250/.269/.333, 5K:1BB
Jason Castro: .174/.269/.391, 7K:2BB

Chris Carter: .167/.259/.292, 10K:3BB
Jonathan Villar: .083/.154/.208, 9K:2BB
Dexter Fowler: .091/.167/.091, 7K:2BB
Alex Presley: .095/.095/.238, 5K:0BB

Pitching Overall: 63.2IP, 53H/30ER, 55K:34BB, 4.24 ERA/1.37 WHIP

Brett Oberholtzer: 12.1IP, 8H/4ER, 10K:3BB
Jarred Cosart: 13IP, 9H/8ER, 12K:6BB

Scott Feldman: 7IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:4BB
Dallas Keuchel: 7IP, 5H/1ER, 6K:2BB
Lucas Harrell: 4.1IP, 7H/4ER, 2K:3BB

Brad Peacock: 5.2IP, 8H/5ER, 6K:5BB
Kevin Chapman: 2.2IP, 4H/3ER, 6K:3BB

Hitter of the Week: Uh. No.

Pitcher of the Week: Scott Feldman.

Scouting reports on Velasquez and Appel

The staff at Baseball Prospectus took a look at Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel recently and turned in some good reports.

For Velasquez they noted that he touched 96 with his fastball while sitting more comfortably at 92-94 with the makings of an average Major League curve. BP projects him as a mid-rotation starter, though his velocity could play up better as a relief arm.

With Appel, they noted that his first three fastballs the night they were watching were 96, 97, and 98 mph, though he settled in at the same 92-94 as Velasquez with good command and some arm-side run that gave right handed hitters a hard time. He didn't throw any changeups during BP's look at him, but they noted that his slider should be a very good pitch for him at the major league level. They also said that he's almost major-league ready, has the "raw tools to be a monster on the mound," and profiles as a number 2 starter, depending on if he can pitch with "that extra edge."

There are some good notes on the mechanics of each, as well.

PreStros Morning Report: April 13


*Astros affiliates go 2-2 on the day
*Domingo Santana hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the 9th and got the walkoff hit in the 10th in an OKC win over New Orleans
*When David Rollins leaves the game with an apparent oblique injury after facing one batter, Jordan Jankowski and Aaron West combine to throw 8IP, 2H/0ER, and Corpus rocked Springfield 9-1 behind homers by Delino DeShields, Preston Tucker, and Jio Mier.
*Josh Hader and Chris Devenski combined for 9IP, 6H/2R (0ER), 6K:1BB but the JetHawks go 2x15 w/RISP in a 3-2 extra-inning loss at Lake Elsinore.
*Brett Phillips was 2x4 with a triple and 3RBI but Quad Cities loses on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th.

Oklahoma City (8-3)

OKC got out in front of New Orleans with a run in the bottom of the first, followed by four scoreless frames. When New Orleans got it back in the top half of the 6th inning, OKC answered to make it a 2-1 game in the bottom half. The Zephyrs got two runs in the top of the 8th for a 3-2 lead before Domingo Santana hit a game-tying leadoff homer in the 9th inning, and then got the walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 OKC win.

Nick Tropeano threw 5IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:1BB (42 of 60 pitches for strikes). Collin McHugh allowed 2H/1ER in 2IP; Jason Stoffel got the Ugly with 2H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP; Josh Zeid gave up 1H/0ER, 2K:2BB in 2IP.

Jon Singleton was 3x4 with a double, homer, walk, and 2RBI. In six games against New Orleans this season, Singleton is 10x21 with four doubles, three homers, 10RBI, 7K:4BB. Domingo Santana was 2x5 with the aforementioned late RBI and an outfield assist, throwing out a runner at home. Austin Wates was 2x3 with a double and two walks; Carlos Perez (2B) and Ruben Sosa (2SB) also had two hits each. George Springer was 1x5 with 2K.

Man of the Match: Split between Santana and Singleton.

Corpus (8-2)

Corpus straight up dominated Springfield on Sunday, going up 9-0 before the Cardinals got their first run in the top of the 9th on a solo homer. Corpus won, 9-1, holding Springfield to four hits. David Rollins got the start, but left the game after walking the first batter of the game with an apparent oblique injury. Jordan Jankowski then came in and proceeded to throw 3IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB; Aaron West threw 5IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB; Travis Ballew finished off the game with 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB in 1IP.

Delino DeShields (2B, HR, RBI) and Preston Tucker (HR) had three hits each; Andrew Aplin (RBI), Leo Heras (SB) and Jio Mier (HR, 3RBI) all had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Going with Jankowski and West

Lancaster (8-3)

Lake Elsinore tied up a 2-1 game in the bottom of the 8th, and then got a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th for a 3-2 win over Lancaster. Josh Hader threw 5IP, allowing 3H/1R (0ER) with 6K:1BB; Chris Devenski allowed an unearned run in 4IP, and Daniel Minor took the loss with 1IP, 2H/1ER, 2K:1BB.

Tony Kemp (2 2B, BB), Rio Ruiz (2B), Carlos Perdomo, and Danry Vasquez (2B, 2RBI) had two hits each as the JetHawks were 2x15 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Josh Hader

Quad Cities (5-5)

Quad Cities had a 3-1 lead last half an inning, with the teams trading a run in the 5th and 6th. In the bottom of the 9th with the scored tied at 4-4, Great Lakes put together a walk and two singles for the 5-4 win over Quad Cities. Chris Lee threw 4.2IP, 5H/4R (2ER), 3K:1BB; Zach Morton threw 3.1IP, allowing 2H/0ER, 1K:2BB, and Pat Christensen got the Loss with 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB in the 9th.

Brett Phillips was 2x4 with a triple and 3RBI (and has a seven-game hit streak, with a four-game multi-hit streak), and Conrad Gregor was 2x4 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Brett Phillips

Sunday, April 13, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G13: Astros @ Rangers

Brett Oberholtzer (0-2, 4.91) vs Martin Perez (1-0, 4.50)

Against the Angels last weekend, the Astros lost three of four while only scoring one run in each of the three losses. It would be difficult for any offense to take a step backwards from that, but somehow this weekend, Houston managed. For the second time in three games, the Astros fall 1-0 to the Rangers. They finish the road trip 2-4, and head into their first off day of the 2014 season at 5-8 overall.

On the Mound:

*The sputtering offense is the bad news. The good news is that the Astros starting pitchers have started rolling. Today it was Brett Oberholtzer's turn, and he turned in a dandy, becoming the fourth straight Houston starter to go 7 innings. Obie's tough luck loser line: 7 IP / 5 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K.

*Jerome Williams K'd one in a perfect 8th.

At the Plate:

*Obviously not much to say offensively, again. Five Astros had singles: Jose Altuve (1x4), Jesus Guzman (1x3), Matt Dominguez (1x3), Robbie Grossman (1x3), and Carlos Corporan (1x3).

*Three Astros had walks: Chris Carter (0x2, K), L.J. Hoes (0x2), and Jonathan Villar (0x2).

*Villar and Dominguez each attempted a steal, and both failed.

*And that was it. 8 of Houston's 9 batters reached first, but not a one of them ever reached second.

Turning Point:

With the game still scoreless midway through the 6th, Josh Wilson and Shin-Soo Choo led off the inning with back-to-back singles against Brett Oberholtzer, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Donnie Murphy plated Wilson on a sac fly to left, and Obie escaped the inning with no further damage, but unfairly to him, that was the ballgame anyway.

Man of the Match:

Brett Oberholtzer. Showcasing his brilliant best today.

Goat of the Game:

Dexter Fowler gets props for being the only Houston hitter to never reach base, but it's not like the rest of the offense did anything of significance anyway. Goat = Every Astro with a Bat.