Saturday, June 27, 2009

Men, and Goats

Man of the Match: Felipe Paulino. No doubt.

Goat of the Game: No goat tonight. Even the only guy to not get a hit - Keppinger - got two walks.

Better coverage tomorrow.

More Backe reaction

"It's extremely difficult just the way - I kind of hate to say it - just the way that I was treated," he said. "I was given a schedule of five starts in the minor leagues to get myself rehabbed and back in the rotation. Then they threw another (rehab start) on me at the end to go to Round Rock and pitch. Once that's over with they played the game, 'I don't know what's going on,' until the last minute.

"And then all of the sudden I'm in the bullpen. Mentally that's pretty frustrating. Then not only being in the bullpen but just getting, so to speak, 'scrap' work. It's difficult. I was thrown into something that was out of the norm and was expected to do well, apparently. And it was tough to just battle the mental demons inside of just being treated the way that I was."


Let's be honest here. This was on the wall a long time ago, but 2009 could have been avoided. Because Backe deserved better than this. As soon as I get a chance, we'll do a career retrospective, but there was a lot of whining on the part of Backe - some of it justified.

But the whole thing could have been avoided by simply not renewing his contract in December. Backe was moderately healthy, was coming off Tommy John surgery (from which he was rushed back too soon), and that should have been it. Instead he was put through a spring of fighting for SP5. A freak slip off the putching rubber, and it derailed his season, maybe his career.

He was mishandled for six months, and that rests squarely on Ed Wade. I wish him the best, and give him a cap tip. After all, if Cardinals fans hate him, he's alright with me.

Backe responds

And it sounds like if he can, he's gone. A little clarification first: if Backe rejects his assignment, the Astros have 10 days to trade him or release him.

"I don't know what I want to do," Backe said. "I have to talk to my agent and to be honest, hopefully, some other team picks me up, and I can get to the big leagues."

Backe designated for assignment

In order to clear room for Felipe Paulino, Brandon Backe was designated for assignment. Because Backe has five years of MLB experience, he can accept his assignment to Round Rock or get his outright release.

"We'll deal with whatever decision he makes," Wade said. "Because of the injury he had during Spring Training, it just put him in a position where other guys have moved ahead of him. We've offered him the opportunity to stay in the organization, but certainly it's his call whether he wants to do that or pursue something outside of the organization."

I'm finally getting my computer issues worked out later today, so there's more to come.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Matchup for G71 - Tigers @ Astros

The Astros welcome the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers to Minute Maid Park for a three-game set. The Tigers are 41-31, with a five game lead over the Twins, and are 18-21 on the road this season. They've won their last seven games, including sweeps of the Brewers and Cubs.

Tonight the Astros get to see one of the game's best pitchers, and send the guy who may or may not be the ace of the staff to meet him.

Wandy Rodriguez

Who knows what to expect from Wandy lately. He's turned in great performances in two of his last four outings, and stunk up the joint in the other two.

Last three starts:

6/10 vCHC75/16:28/11116/70
6/16 @TEX46/64:55/9103/55
6/21 @MIN72/18:35/8114/78

Wandy gave up only one home run in his first eleven starts of the season, and has given up nine in his last four. That's disconcerting.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 70x266, .263/.331/.410, 67K:26BB
vs Lefties: 15x72, .208/.278/.347, 20K:7BB

When swinging at the first pitch (33): .364/.364/.515, 3XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (194): .218/.260/.285, 58K:9BB
After First-Pitch Balls (150): .270/.387/.524, 29K:24BB

RISP: 24x80, .300/.348/.400, 20K:6BB
Runners on: 41x138, .297/.357/.377, 28K:12BB
2OwRISP: 12x41, .293/.370/.366, 12K:4BB

Interesting note: Through the 1st time in the order, opponents hit .268/.324/.386. 2nd time through the order: .262/.323/.434.

Justin Verlander

Verlander comes in to this game 8-3 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He's currently leading the league with 118 strikeouts, and leading the league with 10.8 K/9.

Last three starts:

6/10 @CHW96/19:111/11122/89
6/16 @STL48/54:24/1173/47
6/21 vMIL7.25/28:310/9115/74

Verlander did give up his first multi-homer game of the season last time out vs Milwaukee - both solo shots.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 32x159, .201/.264/.289, 44K:11BB
vs Lefties: 51x202, .252/.317/.406, 74K:19BB

When swinging at the first pitch (40): .351/.351/.676, 6XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (223): .216/.248/.286, 85K:7BB
After First-Pitch Balls (137): .216/.353/.378, 33K:23BB

Did you see that? That's seven walks in 223 plate appearances that Verlander gets a first-pitch strike. Or 3.1%.

RISP: 19x81, .235/.337/.309, 29K:12BB
Runners on: 34x142, .239/.314/.324, 45K:15BB
2OwRISP: 7x37, .189/.333/.324, 14K:7BB

A question I'm sure you've asked yourself a few times over the last two weeks...

In three starts over the last 14 days, Fernando Nieve is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA, defeating the Yankees, Rays, and Cardinals. So the question is, how in the world did the Astros get rid of him?

Well, they didn't, really. The Astros placed him on waivers, because he was out of options, and if you're out of options, you go on waivers. If no one claims you, then you can be sent to the minors - undoubtedly what Ed Wade wanted to have happen. Except the Mets claimed Nieve, and off he headed to Triple-A Buffalo. And when he got the spot start against the Yankees, you know.

So why did the Astros get rid of him? According to NY Baseball Digest, it's because Ed Wade thought he was a whiner (quoting CBS' Danny Knobler's tweet):
Word on Nieve is Astros tired of him because they thought he was a whiner and excuse-maker.

Quoth Silva:
I could understand the Astros possibly tiring of that kind of act, but how does a team with a farm system ranked dead last let an arm like this go? They didn’t even try to trade him. Maybe Nieve will go down as a Subway Series “flash in the pan”, but you have to wonder about the Houston decision making on this one.

Now it seems like a bad decision. But let's go back to Alyson Footer's March 14 article:
Fernando Nieve first joined the Astros' organization as a 16-year-old nearly a decade ago, but at no point did he stay healthy enough or pitch well enough to become a mainstay on the Major League level.

Nevermind that, after pitching in nine games total (due to injuries) over 2006-2007, Nieve posted a 5.72 ERA / 1.58 WHIP for Round Rock in 2008. Then in Spring Training 09, Nieve had an 11.57 ERA in two starts.

I doubt even the Mets saw these first three starts coming for Nieve. His MLB ERA is currently almost 2.5 runs lower than his ERA for Buffalo. So, yeah. I don't like it either, but it's not anywhere close to inexcusable that the Astros placed him on waivers.

Following up a post from yesterday

Yesterday we discussed the Astros' opening of a baseball facility in the Dominican for young signees.

Said Ed:
“The new complex is a huge step forward in our player development process. The facility will allow us to further the on-field development of our young Latin players along with giving us the opportunities to enhance their diets and provide them with English lessons that will allow them to function at a higher level when they move along the development chain in the United States.”

I had the good fortune a couple of years ago of meeting Tom Moore, Director of International & Professional Scouting for the Detroit Tigers, this weekend's opponent for our fair team. Obviously. Anyhow, what the Astros have done is right in Tom's wheelhouse, as the Tigers have one of MLB's strongest international presences. So I asked him about it.

AC: The Astros just announced that they’re building a baseball complex in the Dominican Republic. How does that help an organization development players coming from DR?

TM: A new facility helps an organization on a number of levels, specifically nutrition, new (and in most cases) updated baseball facilities, more living space as well as operation facilities. Organizations have different priorities when it comes to these new facilities and they will gear their construction that way, such as more emphasis on baseball facilities or more emphasis on living facilities, etc. It also provides the organization with a tool when it comes to selling the organization to the player. Obviously, a more comfortable living and playing environment would attract a player over one that is not as comfortable or did not have the same amenities. The bottom line however is that the regardless of the facility, the organization is still faced with signing and developing ballplayers. Of course a new facility makes that easier, but it is still an enormous ongoing effort to do so and that as you know is the lifeline to the success of your team at the ML level.

AC: What are some of the nutritional aspects of baseball academies? Are teams acclimating the players to hamburgers and “American food,” or are they just ramping up vitamins and general nutrition? And does that include information and knowledge on legal supplements?

TM: (It's) the real basic sense of getting 3 square meals a day. A lot of these players get bigger and stronger quickly after they sign just because they are eating more and in better quality, especially if they are coming from poor backgrounds.
The teams that own their own academies or have control over their food are able to provide their players with that proper nutrition. In addition training staffs may provide the players with protein supplements under the guidelines of MLB. MLB and the organizations take an active role in the education of the good and bad nutrients that players may be exposed to during their careers.


Thanks to Tom for taking time out of his day to answer these questions. It's going to take a while for the Astros to see the benefits of the new facility in the Dominican Republic, but being able to keep a close eye on DR prospects is going to pay off in the long run. And hopefully, unlike his tenure in Philly, Easy Eddie is going to be around to see the fruits of his labor over the last two seasons.

New poll

So I'm curious...

KHOU comes up with a matchup the Astros are sure to win...

Looking for something to do this weekend?

...The Astros will be playing the Detroit Lions at Minute Maid Park this weekend. And if you’re thinking that will cost too much for the family, think again.

Now that's a matchup I'd pay to see. I don't care how much it costs. If Wandy drills Matthew Stafford between the shoulder blades, I'll piss my pants.

Bring this guy up!

The Round Rock Express have had four pitchers start 10+ games:


Bazardo and Norris are safe, and should make a push to come up to Houston, as we all know what the Astros' rotation looks like now. Down in Corpus, Polin Trinidad has been lights out.


As previously mentioned, Trinidad has allowed 1ER in his last 31.1IP. And before you start cross-multiplying, that's a 0.28 ERA. Bring him up! Greg Rajan agrees.

“I’ve been thinking about (a promotion), but I’ve got to wait for the call and I can only go up when they tell me. I’ve had a couple good starts. I just go out there, throw my pitches and hit the target.”

Eddie's Farm: June 25

Round Rock
The Express were kept quiet, gathering only four hits in a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma City. Geoff Blum was 0x3 in his first rehab start. Yordany's RBI double in the 8th provided the lone run. Tommy Manzella's throwing error led to two unearned runs as Josh Muecke went 5IP, 5H/0ER, 2K:3BB. Capellan threw 2IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB, while Brendan Donnelly threw a scoreless 8th inning, lowering his ERA to 1.99. Donnelly has allowed two earned runs since May 25.

Corpus Christi
Los Hooks won their second straight 1-0 game over San Antonio last night, on an 8th inning error. Polin Trinidad threw 8IP, 6H/0ER, 3K:0BB (89 pitches/64 for strikes) and T.J. Burton got his 10th save of the year - Trinidad has now allowed just 1ER in his last 31.1IP. Drew Locke is going through a mini-slump - five hits in his last 29ABs.

You can't stop T.J. Steele, you can only hope to hit him. Steele was 3x5 with 2RBI (.450 over his last ten games), while Jon Gaston hit a 2-run homer and two doubles and collected four RBI in a 3x6 night as the JetHawks beat Rancho Cucamonga 14-9. Brandon Barnes got four hits, and don't look now, but Koby Clemens is hitting .315. Leandro Cespedes threw 6IP, 9H/2ER (6 runs total), 6K:1BB.

All three runs in the 2-1 win over Lowell came in the 10th inning on Ben Orloff's walk-off two-run single. Brian Kemp, Russell Dixon, and Renzo Tello had two hits each. Zach Grimmett, Mike Modica, and Brendan Stines combined for 9IP of scoreless baseball while J.B. McDonald, despite allowing the T10 run, got his first professional win.

Greeneville got out to a 3-0 lead over Bristol, and held on for a 3-2 win over Bristol last night. J.D. Martinez was 3x4 with two doubles and 2RBI to lead the offense and Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 3H/0ER, 3K:3BB for the win. Jeiler Castillo, David Martinez, and Nathan Pettus closed out the game with 4IP, 4H/1ER, 4K:1BB.

Ben Zobrist: Former Astro

It's part of my daily ritual to wake up and think "How am I going to rip the Bleacher Report today?" And most days, I'm satisfied with a job well done. But

There is an excellent article on where in the world Ben Zobrist came from. The answer, as we all know, is Houston - in a trade for Aubrey Huff, a throw-in, as writer Nathaniel Stoltz describes him, as Mitch Talbot was the real prize.

Good article, czech it out.

Jiovanni Mier speaks!

Article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune today, talking to 1st-round pick - and signee - Jiovanni Mier.

Some nuggets...

I'm just really excited to get going right now. The money isn't really that big of a deal. It's nice to have, but I am really excited about having a chance to play professional baseball. It's a dream come true."

I'll be shallow enough to say that I bet the money is that big of a deal. It would be to me.

Wesley Wright made things difficult

Yesterday we speculated on who goes back to Round Rock when Paulino comes off the DL today. I thought it would be Wesley Wright, who was used sparingly - and by sparingly, I mean "once" - since replacing Hampton.

But of course he came in and struck out all four Royals he faced yesterday.

“The bullpen did an outstanding job, particularly Wesley Wright. He came in and threw strikes, attacked the hitters and did a great job.”

“I was just able to locate my fastball better than in the past. My breaking stuff wasn’t as sharp as it was in Arlington, but my fastball was good, and I was sticking with it and being aggressive.”

Jon Gaston: MVP


Jon Gaston was your Cal League All-Star Game MVP with a 10th-inning walk-off homer on Tuesday night.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recap for G70 - Royals @ Astros

The Astros managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Royals today with a 5-4 win at Minute Maid Park.

Lance Berkman crack-a-lacked two homers - his first multi-homer game since April 26, 2008 (@St Louis) - and collected his 1000th/1001st/1002nd RBIs of his career today. Note the earlier post on the Astros' collection of 1000+ RBI players.

Overall, it was another sloppy defensive game - but one that went the Astros way. Moehler pitched well, only giving up 1ER, but his day could have gone a lot better. In Top 4th, Alberto Callaspo reached on an infield single, and then Jose Guillen grounded to Jeff Keppinger, who then threw the double play ball away. Runners on 1st/2nd. Then Mike Jacobs grounded to Tejada, who committed an error, allowing Callaspo to score, and reaching base safely. That's three outs if those simple plays are made. Instead, Moehler throws an extra 21 pitches to get out of the inning, and the Royals are up, 3-2.

That's pretty much how it went. Moehler left after five innings, and 91 pitches - but remember, that's 5IP and 70 pitches if those errors aren't in there (it's a hypothetical exercise, but still...). That forced the bullpen into an extended role, though they were solid this time around - 4IP, 1H, 6K. Let's gander it:

Moehler: 5IP, 5H/1ER, 3K:2BB, 13 first-pitch strikes (FPS) (56.5%), 24 non-contact strikes (NCS)
Wright: 1.1IP, 1H, 4K, 3 FPS (60%), 9 NCS
Sampson: .2IP, 1K, 1 FPS (50%), 2 NCS
LaHawk: 1IP, 1K, 2 FPS (66.7%), 3 NCS
Valverde: 1IP, 1K, 2 FPS (66.7%), 6 NCS

Give it up for Wesley Wright, who faced four batters and struck every single one of them out. Maybe he's a reader.

Offensively, we've already covered Berkman's jacks, but the Astros only got six hits (Keppinger, Lee, Berkman 3, and Quintero) all day. Bourn was 1x13 for the Royals series, and has three hits in his last 18ABs - causing an 11 point drop in his BA. Pence was also 0x4, and was 1x12 this series. Carlos Lee had a nice day, 1x2 with 2BB and three runs scored.

Man of the Match: Lance Berkman.

Goat of the Game: This is tough to call, because the Astros didn't hit well. I'm giving the Goat to the entire Astros defense. Three errors today, five in the last two games.

Lance Berkman reaches 1000 RBI

Congratulations to Lance Berkman who, with a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning of G70, collected his 1000th and 1001st RBI today in his 1,439th career game.

That means the Astros have four players on the active roster with 1000+ RBI (Lee, Pudge, Tejada), most in the Majors. The Mets and White Sox have three each, while the Braves, Yankees and Angels have two players with 1000+ RBI.

Mets: Sheffield, Delgado, Beltran
White Sox: Dye, Konerko, Thome
Braves: Garret Anderson, Chipper
Yankees: Jeter, A-Rod
Angels: Abreu, Vlad

Astros represented at Futures Game

Despite Baseball America's best efforts to tell everyone the Astros have no future, Jason Castro and Chia-Jen Lo will represent the Astros at the MLB Futures Game over All-Star Weekend, for Team America and Team Everyone Else, respectively

Paulino is your SP

Tweet from Alyson Footer:

From manager's office: paulino will start Saturday

There you have it.

Lineup for G70 - Royals @ Astros

1. Bourn CF
2. Keppinger 3B
3. Tejada SS
4. Lee LF
5. Berkman 1B
6. Pence RF
7. Matsui 2B
8. Quintero C
9. Moehler P

Hard to argue with Pence in the 6-hole:
37x94, .394/.447/.606 this season

Matchup for G70 - Royals at Astros

The Astros are going to try to avoid getting swept by the Royals today, a team that hasn't swept anybody but the Reds all season long. Think they'd enjoy the NL Central? To do this, they'll need to whoop Brian Moehler, who is 3-2 in games where the Astros are coming off a loss.

Brian Moehler

Moehler has allowed 11 ER in his last three starts - 15IP. More disturbing, he's also given up 6HR in those 15IP. Of course the Twins teed off on him for three jacks in his last outing, but still. He's 0-3 at home with a 9.13 ERA, and Bud Norris is knocking...

Last three starts:

6/9 vCHC38/53:27/670/41
6/14 @ARI66/32:24/1689/54
6/20 @MIN64/33:111/897/66

Moehler just hasn't been striking anybody out, either. 578 of his 894 pitches this season have been for strikes (64.6%), though it's been since May 29 (four starts) that he struck out more than three batters.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 42x101, .416/.449/.743, 13K:5BB
vs Lefties: 32x129, .248/.305/.442, 21K:10BB

When swinging at the first pitch (32): .469/.485/.781, 6XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (121): .307/.342/.579, 23K:5BB
After First-Pitch Balls (96): .286/.358/.488, 11K:10BB

RISP: 21x62, .339/.391/.500, 8K:6BB
Runners on: 35x104, .337/.386/.548, 14K:8BB
2OwRISP: 6x27, .222/.276/.222, 5K:2BB

Brian Bannister

After a two-game patch over May 29/June 3, Bannister allowed 15ER in 8.2IP. But since then, he's settled down and allowed just 3ER in his last 21IP.

Last three starts:

6/9 @CLE54/15:38/697/56
6/14 vCIN84/04:114/10108/69
6/20 vSTL86/24:011/1486/58

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 33x134, .246/.311/.373, 22K:11BB
vs Lefties: 39x144, .271/.327/.340, 22K:12BB

When swinging at the first pitch (46): .333/.333/.467, 4XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (128): .229/.281/.288, 27K:6BB
After First-Pitch Balls (134): .261/.351/.383, 17K:17BB

RISP: 18x67, .269/.325/.373, 11K:7BB
Runners on: 36x127, .283/.319/.394, 16K:8BB
2OwRISP: 8x30, .267/.353/.433, 5K:4BB

Wherefore art thou: Ezequiel Astacio

Everyone's least favorite starter in HD...

Ezequiel Astacio! Remember him? He of the 5-6 career mark with the Astros, including the 14-inning 2005 WS G3 loser, in which he allowed 4H/2ER, with 2BB in .2IP? Let's revisit that 14th inning, with the game tied 5-5 (all five White Sox runs coming in the 5th)...

Dye: Singles to right
Konerko: GIDP
Blum: Home Run
Rowand: Single to third
Crede: Single to third
Uribe: Walk
Widger: Walk (Rowand scores)

That's it. Wandy came in to close out the 14th with a strikeout.

So Ezequiel, wherefore art thou? He's in San Angelo, pitching for the San Angelo Colts of the United League.

After being waived by the Astros following the '06 season, the Rangers picked him up and sent him to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he pitched in 2007 and 2008. The Rangers released him after he had surgery on a bone spur, and now you can see him pitch about 90 miles south of Abilene.

Hope? Where we're going we don't need hope

Not like we're all giddy about this team, anyway, but the Houston Press takes that a step further - albeit with some pretty good points:

The team has a couple of big problems that need to be solved before any hope of the playoffs can even begin being discussed. The team needs to start winning at home. After last night, the Astros are 16-20 at Minute Maid Park, and teams that don't have winning records at home don't make the playoffs. Their 16-17 record on the road is actually pretty damn good, but if they don't figure out how to win at home, forget about the playoffs.

Then there's the fact that dead weight like Kazuo Matsui and Jason Michaels are getting consistent playing time. Edwin Maysonet may be nothing more than a career minor-leaguer who will ultimately prove to be nothing, but Maysonet is currently hitting better than Matsui, and he plays a better defense, all without the fear that the guy's going to sneeze and go back on the disabled list for the next month.

Read the whole thing.

7th Round pick Dallas Keuchel is "50-50"

In a Q&A with the Examiner, Arkansas RHP Dallas Keuchel may/may not sign with the Astros.

Right now, I'm 50-50 on my decision. I really like the Astros, and I would like nothing more than to sign with them. However, I do have some unfinished business at Arkansas. Before the College World Series, I was set on signing. Now, after the special experience, I need to take some time to make the best decision for myself and family...

...My goal was to win 20 career games. Currently, I have 19 wins. I really want to reach 20. Also, we have several guys from this World Series team coming back next year, combined with a solid recruiting class. If I return to Arkansas for my senior year, we have a chance to make it back to Omaha. Also, I might be able to improve my draft status...

...(The Astros) have definitely been persistent. Jim (Stevenson) called and informed me that the Astros are prepared to make me an offer this week. He's going to stop by the house in Tulsa. All he said was I'll be happy with the offer, and it's above the slotted system for being a seventh-round pick....

...It's going to come down to the offer. I believe I've earned a fair signing bonus. Like I said, I'm 50-50 on my decision, but if they make me an offer I can't refuse, I'm going to lean toward signing with the Astros.

Might the Marlins have LaHawk on their radar?

Buster Olney certainly seems to think so.

He speculates that, with Matt Lindstrom going down for several weeks, the Marlins are on the prowl for a late-inning reliever.

Sources say that right now, Florida's top priority is to add a proven reliever, and given that most of the bodies lost by the Marlins this season have been right-handers, adding someone like a LaTroy Hawkins or Danys Baez would make some sense.

When Paulino comes up, who goes down?

So Felipe Paulino is scheduled to come off the DL tomorrow, so who is going to get sent down to accomodate his roster spot? Unless Easy Eddie goes into the clubhouse and starts some crap to get someone inactive, they're going to have to send someone down.

So who's it going to be?
Will it be a position player, like Matt Kata? Probably not. Blum is scheduled to come off the DL soon, too.
So probably a pitcher - will it be Wesley Wright? I think so. He has only pitched in one game since June 17, when he was brought up to replace Mike Hampton. Though he pitched well vs Texas on 6/18, he's just not being used.

Justice gets in on the Mier news action

Word from Richard Justice that Mier signed for $1.358m.

Not exactly a round number, but apparently $26,000 over the recommended slot price. If you're doing the math - and methinks some of you are - the Astros went over the "recommended" slot by just under 2%. We'll see if Bud renews Drayton's smiley face on the refrigerator.

Eddie's Farm: June 24

Round Rock
A 2-run single by Brian Bogusevic provided all the offense the Express could muster, and it temporarily provided a 2-1 lead over Oklahoma City, but Jeremy Johnson gave it right back, throwing 6IP, 5H/3ER, 3K:2BB. Abercrombie, Manzella, Santangelo, and Yordany also provided a hit while Sammy Gervacio and Tyler Lumsden combined for two innings of scoreless relief in a 3-2 loss. 4-5-6 hitters John Gall, Jason Smith, and Chris Johnson were a combined 0x12 with 4Ks.

Despite getting outhit 9-5, the Hooks scraped together a 1-0 win over San Antonio. Brad James threw 6IP, 6H/0ER, 6K:2BB, as C-Lo, Abreu and Burton threw 3IP in relief. Wladimir Sutil was 2x4, but it was Jimmy Van Ostrand's pinch-hit RBI single in the 8th that won the game.

The ValleyCats had 2-run innings in the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 9th to beat Vermont 8-6. Jeff Hulett and Temple grad Sean Barksdale had three hits each, while Brian Kemp and Brandon Wikoff got two hits each in the win. Ben Orloff was 0x5, but got 2RBI (you read that right), as did Kemp and Barksdale. Tri-City had five errors in the game - two fielding, one pickoff attempt, one fielding, and one missed catch - though it only led to one unearned run. SP Kyle Godfrey threw 3IP, 6H/4ER, 2BB; Antonio Noguera threw 4IP of shutout baseball for the win, while Robby Donovan got his first save. Reliever Brandt Walker didn't allow a hit, but walked four batters and gave up a run.

The Greeneville Astros lost 4-3 to Bristol last night. Carlos Quevedo got the loss with 7H/4ER in 4IP, though Yuri Perez shut Bristol down over the last 3.2IP, allowing 3H/0ER. Nathan Metroka was 2x4 while catcher Bubby Williams (my favorite name of everyone in the Astros' organization) had a 2-run double in the losing effort.

If you're in the Dominican, stop in and say hello

The Astros will have a new baseball complex ready for the Dominican Summer League season in 2010.

Ed Wade:
“The new complex is a huge step forward in our player development process. The facility will allow us to further the on-field development of our young Latin players along with giving us the opportunities to enhance their diets and provide them with English lessons that will allow them to function at a higher level when they move along the development chain in the United States.”

This is one of the most important - and least understood - facets of player development. And in light of closing the Venezuelan academy over the winter, this should be encouraging to all of us.

So let me ask you, after almost two years on the job. Do you approve, or disapprove, of Ed Wade's general management?

Bud Norris will not get a start this weekend

So the Astros don't care what I think, and why should they, really? The starting job on Saturday is going to either Paulino or Backe.

And in other injury news Geoff Blum begins a two-game rehab stint in Round Rock today, while Hampton will throw a simulated game tomorrow.

Berkman: On Coop's back, while having Coop's back (kind of)

After the decision not to have Pudge bunt in the 9th inning of Tuesday's one-run loss, Berkman had some things to say:

If I was managing the team, I would have tried to bunt in that situation just because they had their closer (Joakim Soria), and it’s going to be tough to get anything done. I don’t think people should be outraged and think that it’s indefensible that we didn’t bunt. That’s the beauty of baseball; there’s no right answer. Heck, if (Rodriguez) singles and I go first-to-third, Coop’s a genius.”

I don't know. I do agree with Berkman, but I think it's more telling that Berkman came out and said something. We hear about "veterans" who don't like Coop's management style, or his communication, or his tactics (which is just about everything), but those veterans don't say anything publicly - right or wrong. Berkman just did.

Umpires: Idiots?

On the no-out call, by the guy who couldn't see the play:
“I thought I (caught it). I’m confused by the call because the third-base umpire (crew chief Mark Wegner) made the call, and he can’t see it.”

“They were correct in that call.”


Recap for G69 - Royals at Astros

Well that sucked. The Astros gave up a run in the 9th, 10th, and 11th to lose their second straight 1-run game, 5-4.

Oswalt turned in a strong start, but the bullpen - and the defense - totally nutted it, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Czech it (and the new pitching recap. What do you think? Look for the Chronicle to poach this in the coming days):

Oswalt: 6IP, 7H/1ER, 8K:2BB, 16 first-pitch strikes (FPS) (59.2%), 35 non-contact strikes (NCS)
Sampson: 1IP, 1 FPS (33.3%), 1 NCS
LaHawk: 1IP, 2 FPS (66.7%), 3 NCS
Valverde: 1IP, 2H/1ER, 1BB, 4 FPS (57.1%), 5 NCS
Byrdak: 1IP, 1H/1ER, 2K, 2 FPS (50%), 6 NCS
Fulchino: 1IP, 2H/1ER, 2K, 1 loss, 1 FPS (20%), 5 NCS

So let's recap. Oswalt throws 6IP, allowing one run. Sampson and LaHawk throw two perfect innings in relief with a 2-1 lead. Valverde comes in, gets a one-pitch out, then Maier is safe on Berkman's error, then Jacobs and DeJesus both get singles, and it's a tie game. In the 10th, it's a 2-2 game and Byrdak gives up Pena's first HR of the year. Matt Kata's pinch hit RBI single ties it up in the bottom of the 10th. With Kata on 2nd & Keppinger on 1st, Tejada strikes out swinging. Then Fulchino comes in and gives up a first-pitch homer to Miguel Olivo. Michaels/Berkman/Pence go down in order to end the game.

It was a team effort to lose this game. Tejada was 0x4 with an HBP, but ended the inning four times, including the 8th and 10th, leaving 4 on base, two in scoring position. But let's give credit to Erstad, who got a big 2-run pinch hit HR.

Man of the Match: I thought about Pudge, who scored two runs, but it's going to Roy. Threw a great game, and left in line for the win.

Goat of the Game: It's hard to say. The bullpen - outside of Sampson/LaHawk - was shaky at best, but it was Berkman's error, coupled with an 0x5 night, that gets him the Goat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Updated Mier update

Okay, so this is getting old. McTaggart confirms through Jiovanni Mier that he has signed a contract. Suck it, Chronicle. I have issues with you, which I may or may not outline. But enough about me...

Mier update

Cap Tip to Steve, who astutely posted a link to the Chronicle's article refuting Keith Law's tweet that the Astros have signed 1st Round pick Jiovanni Mier.

Keith Law tweets good news

Keith Law has tweeted that the Astros have agreed to terms with 1st Round pick Jiovanni Mier. That means 7th Round pick Dallas Keuchel is now the highest pick yet to sign.

Bud Norris gets some love

Voted "Most Likely to be Starting by the All-Star Break"

Jeff Gordon, I resent your tone.

But if you get an answer, please do let us know.

"The Astros, 2-1 losers to Kansas City Tuesday night, have scored the fourth-fewest runs in baseball. How is that possible for team with established power hitters and a bandbox home stadium?"

Decision looming on Saturday's start

With Paulino scheduled to come off the DL on Friday, Coop has a decision to make regarding Saturday's start.

He was apparently erratic in his simulated game (Paulino, not Cooper), but finished strong.

"We'll sit and talk today and see how he is."

I still vote Bud.

Mike Hampton will throw a side session today, before a couple of simulated games in his rehab.

Recap for G68 - Royals @ Astros

The Astros helped Zack Greinke find his Cy Young form again last night in a 2-1 loss to the Royals, wasting a great effort by Russ Ortiz in the process.

Ortiz got a season-high 21 outs - his third straight season-high, and second straight quality start, allowing 5H/2ER, with 4K:2BB. He allowed a monster homer to left to Billy Butler, but limited the damage by getting a double play to the previous batter.

The Astros didn't get any extra-base hits, but their best chance came in the 9th. With Berkman on 1st, Tejada on 2nd, and nobody out, Pudge and Matsui struck out swinging and Michaels grounded out to the pitcher.

All in all: 10 hits, 10 singles, 1 run, 1 winnable game lost.

Man of the Match: Russ Ortiz, come on down!

Goat of the Game: There are a few possibilities here, but it goes to Erstad. Starting for Berkman (and congrats to Los Berkmans on the birth of a daughter), Erstad was 0x3 with a GIDP and is now hitting .135

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bud Norris: Pitcher of the Week

Congrats to you, Bud Norris! Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week.

Devon Torrence: No More Baseball

Word from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that 2007 draft pick Devon Torrence will try to be a cornerback, not a baseball player.

It looks like the Buckeyes' Devon Torrence will give up his love for baseball to concentrate on football. Torrence was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2007, but he hasn't exactly had a stellar minor leauge career. Torrence hit .150 combined over those short seasons, striking out 101 times in 206 at-bats.

Reporter Ken Gordon of The Columbus Dispatch writes:

So the bottom line is Torrence appears to have chosen football over baseball, which probably is the right move, considering he already is a junior, and he is pushing Andre Amos for a starting cornerback job. Missing workouts might have allowed Amos to solidify the spot.

Sayonara, Devon Torrence!

Matchup for G68 - Royals @ Astros

The Astros come home after going 5-4 on a nine-game road trip to Arizona, Texas, and Minnesota. The Royals have lost five straight, giving up 10+ earned runs in four of those five losses, and are 10-19 on the road this season.

Russ Ortiz

In what, on paper anyway, looks like the most uneven pitching matchup of the season, the Astros will send a rejuventaed Russ Ortiz to the mound.

Last three appearances:

6/7 vPIT4.14/03:17/564/43
6/11 vCHC5.13/05:39/392/58
6/17 @TEX67/35:18/1181/55

Ortiz regained the starting job after coming in for Paulino in relief in that 6/7 Pittsburgh game. Since 6/4, Ortiz has the following line:
15.2IP, 14H/3ER, 13K:5BB, 1.72 ERA.

He has posted season highs in IP in each of his last two starts.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 28x91, .308/.414/.418, 14K:16BB
vs Lefties: 22x97, .227/.324/.371, 24K:14BB

When swinging at the first pitch (16): .429/.467/1.214, 5XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (103): .250/.324/.326, 26K:10BB
After First-Pitch Balls (105): .256/.400/.329, 12K:20BB

RISP: 10x44, .227/.280/.295, 11K:2BB
Runners on: 22x88, .250/.333/.375, 21K:10BB
2OwRISP: 5x21, .238/.333/.381, 7K:2BB

Zack Greinke

Early-season phenom Zack Greinke has struggled a bit of late, after going 8-1 in his first eleven starts. That said, his 1.02 WHIP leads the AL. His one rough start of the season was on June 5 at Toronto: 5IP/5ER.

Last three starts:

6/5 @TOR59/53:13/19101/61
6/11 @CLE7.16/36:311/10116/66
6/17 vARI6.28/49:28/12115/70

Greinke has thrown 100+ pitches in every game this season except Opening Day, when he threw 95 pitches.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 41x191, .215/.252/.293, 48K:9BB
vs Lefties: 44x182, .242/.276/.374, 58K:9BB

When swinging at the first pitch (47): .326/.326/.372, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (196): .174/.214/.266, 77K:9BB
After First-Pitch Balls (155): .267/.310/.404, 29K:9BB

RISP: 16x81, .198/.221/.259, 28K:3BB
Runners on: 27x156, .173/.206/.224, 48K:7BB
2OwRISP: 8x35, .229/.270/.343, 12K:2BB

Eddie's Farm: June 22

Only Corpus and Tri-City played games last night, so let's take a look:

Big time offensive game between Corpus and San Antonio last night, with the Missions scoring three runs in the 10th to win 12-10. Drew Locke did what Drew Locke does, getting three hits, including a two-run homer, while Jimmy Van Ostrand and Jason Castro also went yard. Locke, Van Ostrand, Castro, Florentino, DeLome and Moresi each had two hits in the loss. Pitcher Casey Hudspeth had a two-run single, but went 4IP, giving up 7H/6ER, 1K:3BB. Ryan McKeller threw the only perfect inning, while Van Hekken and Meszaros each gave up a run in 2IP. Chris Salamida gave up 4H/3ER, with 1BB in the 10th to suffer the loss. He has now given up 9ER in his last 4.2IP.

Tri-City endured some jitters, striking out 12 times, committing three errors in a 5-4 10-inning loss. Catcher Pedro Gonzalez was 2x4 with 2RBI, Russell Dixon was also 2x4. Hits from Barry Butera, Brandon Wikoff, and Jhonny Medrano also provided some offense that resulted in four runs in the top of the 9th. David Duncan gave up 3ER in 5.2IP, but struck out seven. Robby Donovan, with three walks and the unearned run, took the loss.

Norris awaits his turn

Almost on cue, after yesterday's posting about whether or not Norris should be called up, the Chronicle runs an article about young pitchers awaiting their turn with the Big Club.

“I heard that Norris had good stuff, and hopefully he can put it together and get here to stay. It seems like this organization was turning it around when we had a great minor league system, and everybody started getting up here, and we started winning. That’s why in ’04 and ’05 we went to the playoffs and World Series. You had talent come through your organization to get here and help.”

Pitching coach Dewey Robinson:
“If he’s going to be a starter here, it’s really difficult to do it with two pitches. Adding that third pitch is a key. And with Bud, for me it’s always been about keeping your emotions under control. We saw some of that in spring training, and that just comes with maturity, experience and being in the situation and starting to have confidence in yourself.”

“Game management is a key for me, and I’ve talked a lot with Burt about it. He sees little things that sometimes I might not see. You got to wait for when the time is right. Whenever they think the time is right for me, I’ll be more than happy to help.”

Then, this:
Paulino will throw a simulated game today, and he is a candidate to start Saturday against the Detroit Tigers if Backe doesn’t get the nod or Norris doesn’t get a call.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Who are you, Michael Weiner?

The heir to the MLBPA throne, after Don Fehr's surprising retirement, is Michael Weiner, General Counsel to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

He graduated from Williams College in 1983, having majored in political economy, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986. From 1986 to 1988, Michael served as law clerk to the Hon. H. Lee Sarokin, then United States District Court Judge, in Newark, NJ. Michael joined the Players Association in September 1988.

Michael also has served as counsel to the National Hockey League Players Association in salary arbitrations.


Weiner, 47, joined the union in 1988 and has been deeply involved in all union matters. He has been credited with helping to thaw the relationship between the owners and players in recent years, highlighted by contract agreements in 2002 and 2006 that averted work stoppages.

(Weiner) just may be the most powerful man in baseball whom America doesn't know.
"This guy is something special," says veteran baseball agent Larry Reynolds. "The guy is absolutely brilliant. And he's humble. I don't think there's anyone in the game that doesn't like Michael Weiner. "I hope he stays there forever because I don't know how he could be replaced."

"I don't know anyone who has ever worked with him, for him, or with whom he's worked in the industry that doesn't have the highest regard possible for him."

"I've always been a fan of the game," says Weiner, who played third base for his high school team. "I was a Yankee fan. I follow the game closely and still view myself as a fan."

LaHawk getting his Whataburger on

Tweet from Richard Justice:
LaTroy Hawkins will be signing autographs at the Whataburger at 6888 Gulf Freeway at Woodridge on Wednesday.

There's a gift for anyone who can get an original (i.e., not an AP photo) picture of LaHawk:
(a) eating french fries
(b) with an Astros County Proof of Citizenship
(c) fries in one hand, PoC in the other.

Alarming pitching statistics

I'm not going into the standard pitching statistics you just read from the offense. But I did just see a couple of things worth pointing out to this point in the season...

-The Astros have 19 wins among starters. That's tied for 27th in the Majors.
-Their 25 No Decisions are tied for 5th-most.
-The Astros have 3 "Tough Losses." TLs are losses in which the SP threw a quality start.
-Houston has 8 Wins Lost, tied for 2nd most in the Majors, in which the SP left in position for a win, and (obviously) lost it.
-They also have 12 Losses Saved, which is pretty self-explanatory, tied for 5th in the Majors.
-The Astros' SPs have thrown quality starts in 41% of the games started - tied for 26th in the majors. The Cubs lead the league with a quality start rate of 65%.
-The Astros' average SP outing is 5.5 innings/start. That's 29th in the majors - Baltimore is in last with 5.4 IP/start.
-The Astros have had 13 starts of fewer than 80 pitches, tied with Toronto for most in the Majors.
-Roy's 126-pitch CG was tied for 5th-highest outing, as far as pitch-count, this season.

Astros' offensive team rankings

And boy, are they offensive.

Let's take us a gander...

Batters' Average Age: 31.8 years old / Ranked 30th. That means the Astros are the oldest offensive team in the Majors.
Runs per game: 4.15 / 26th
Runs: 282 / Tied for 27th
Hits: 618 / 12th
Doubles: 120 / 18th
Triples: 17 / 3rd
Homers: 57 / 24th
RBI: 269 / 26th
Stolen Bases: 46 / 10th
Caught Stealing: 27 / 30th
Walks: 214 / 26th
Strikeouts: 391 / 2nd
Avg: .268 / 10th
OBP: .331 / 16th
SLG: .409 / 15th
GIDP: 65 / 28th

Astros All-Star balloting update

An update from MLB:

Lance Berkman: 5th place, 512,879 votes. Approx 2.4m votes behind Pujols
Miguel Tejada: 4th place, 834,754 votes. Approx 800k behind Hanley Ramirez
Ivan Rodriguez: 3rd place, 1,002,882 votes. Approx 500k behind Yadier Molina

That's it. Neither Pence, Bourn, or Lee cracked the Top 15 in OF voting.

Astros have signed 33 picks from 2009 draft

Looks like another solid draft class from Bobby Heck and Ed Wade, as the Astros announced 11 more signings, bringing the total to 33 players drafted.

Of those not yet signed, seven of them are from the first 35 rounds, and are as follows:
1st Round: SS Jiovanni Mier
7th Round: RHP Dallas Keuchel
12th Round: RHP Geoffrey Thomas
26th Round: 1B Matt Watson
28th Round: RHP Eric Anderson
30th Round: RHP Brandon Petite
32nd Round: RHP Greg Peavey

Mier looks like he'll sign before the August 17 deadline. The Examiner astutely points out that Keuchel, who had a strong College World Series, could be the most difficult to sign, as he still has his senior year ahead of him.

Anderson and Peavey look like they're leaning towards not signing, and 30th round pick Petite doesn't want 30th round money. We'll see how it plays out, but I'm impressed with the Astros for signing so many players so quickly.

Should Norris go ahead and make that first start this week?

Let's take us a gander at Bud Norris' last five starts:

6/20 v NO: 8IP, 3H/0ER, 10K:4BB
6/15 @ NSH: 8IP, 2H/0ER, 6K:2BB
6/4 @ OMA: 6IP, 7H/1ER, 4K:3BB
5/30 @ NO: 6IP, 8H/3ER, 8K:1BB
5/25 v SLC: 6.2IP, 4H/1ER, 5K:3BB

That's 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA and five quality starts.

Moehler is scheduled to pitch Thursday, and, while he has turned in two straight quality starts, maybe interleague play versus Kansas City is a good time to go ahead and let Bud Norris make his debut. He last pitched on Saturday, and a Thursday start would be on regular rest. In June, Norris is 1-0 with a 0.41 ERA, allowing one run in his last 22.1IP.

The Royals are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost five straight, and as far as establishing a confidence boost and a favorable situation in which to pitch, interleague play would eb a good place to start. The hitters wouldn't really know what to expect out of any Astro pitcher, but how about one who has been dominant over the last month, and who, along with Bazardo, has the best shot at a rotation spot in 2010?

What say you?

Eddie's Farm: June 22

Eight Installment of The Race to Replace

Note: In the coming weeks, we'll only feature three hitters/pitchers, as we'll be keeping track of six minor league teams.

Round Rock
32-38, 4th place - PCL American South, 3GB



Corpus Christi
31-37, Last - South, 6GB



Lancaster JetHawks
26-44, Last Place - South, 17GB



Lexington Legends
36-34, Third - SAL Southern, 4GB



Minor League Transaction Time

In an effort to catch up on the Minor League news, here are some transactions.

Corpus Christi
June 20: P Erick Abreu assigned to Corpus from Lancaster

June 20: Activated C Jordan Comadena from the Temporarily Inactive List

Eddie's Farm: June 21

Round Rock
Tommy Manzella had a 2-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Zephyrs 6-5 at Dell Diamond yesterday to cap a 3x6 day at the plate. Reggie Abercrombine went 3x5 with a homer and 2RBI, as Lou Santangelo was 4x4 with two doubles to raise his average to .194. Yorman Bazardo went 8IP with 8H/5ER and Daigle got the win with 2IP and 2H, 1K:1BB.

Corpus Christi
Doubleheader with Frisco yesterday! In G1, Corpus was held to five hits as the Frisco Friscoes won 6-0. Two of the five hits were doubles by Drew Meyer, with Van Ostrand, Jason Castro, and Wladimir Sutil getting the other knocks. Sergio Perez gave up 9H/3ER in 5IP while Salamida gave up the other 3ER in 1IP with 2H/2BB.
G2 was the Hooks' turn to do the shutting-out in a 2-0 win. Felix Molina had two hits and an RBI while Sutil got the other RBI on a double. The Hooks used four pitches in the seven inning game, 4IP by Erick Abreu (4H, 6K), 1IP by Danny Meszaros (who got the win), 1IP from Chia-Jen Lo, and 1IP from T.J. Burton.

Chris Hicks gave up all five of his runs in the first inning as the Modesto Nuts coasted to a 6-1 win over Lancaster. Hits by Gaston, Steele, and Comadena, as well as three hits from Weston and two from Flores provided all of the offense for the JetHawks. Hicks struggled with his control, with five hits, three walks, and two wild pitches.

The Legends got themselves - and Jordan Lyles - a win yesterday over Greenville, 4-2. Two hits each from Suttle, Austin, Hernandez, and Simunic provided eight of the Legends' 10 hits. Lyles, meanwhile, was lights out. 6IP, 2H/0ER, 11K:2BB lowered his ERA to 3.09. Ashton Mowdy was tagged for 2ER in 2IP while Patrick Urchfitz threw a scoreless ninth, getting 2Ks in the inning.

The ValleyCats were only able to play one of the three games vs Oneonta over the weekend with the Saturday/Sunday games postponed by rain. In the Friday game, however, TCVCs lost 2-0. Brandon Wikoff had two of the five hits while Colton Pitkin threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:1BB in the hard-luck loss.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If this makes sense to you, please share, so we can all know

As previously mentioned, Wandy was almost a late scratch because of getting drilled by a Darin Erstad liner in the side.

Allow me to recreate the scenario for you, courtesy of the Chronicle:

"(Rodriguez) escaped serious harm Saturday because Alberto Arias screamed at him at the last second to duck from the line drive heading to his head."
1. Arias probably screamed out of a flashback to when he got plunked in the coconut.

2. In what position do you duck to avoid getting drilled in the head, and take it in the ribs?

Post your scenarios now!

Note: Alberto Arias was awarded a Man of the Match.

Why wasn't Q in the lineup

Quintero apparently had issues with back spasms yesterday, and woke up feeling discomfort this morning. A DL stint is not expected.

Can we get a spotter during BP?

Maybe get Blum or Maysonet to do something? Alyson Footer tweets that he was hit in the ribcage by a fly ball yesterday before the game. He's officially okay ad will start as scheduled.

Lineup for G67 - Astros at Twins

Bourn - CF
Keppinger - 3B
Tejada - SS
Lee - DH
Berkman - 1B
Pence - RF
Pudge - C (I know. This is from the Astros)
Matsui - 2B
Michaels - LF


Within today's Notes, we see Quintero gets the start to catch Wandy today.

Matchup for G67 - Astros @ Twins

Brian Moehler

It'll be interesting to see if Quintero catches Wandy today. I would say yes, he will, because of the day game following the night game.

Last three starts:

6/4 vCOL510/77:210/898/63
6/10 vCHC75/16:28/11116/70
6/16 @TEX46/64:55/9103/55

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 69x251, .275/.338/.418, 60K:23BB
vs Lefties: 14x66, .212/.288/.364, 19K:7BB

When swinging at the first pitch (30): .367/.367/.433, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (180): .234/.270/.305, 52K:7BB
After First-Pitch Balls (143): .275/.392/.542, 27K:23BB

RISP: 24x80, .300/.348/.400, 20K:6BB
Runners on: 41x131, .313/.374/.397, 27K:12BB
2OwRISP: 12x41, .293/.370/.366, 12K:4BB

Glen Perkins

Perkins was dealing with some injuries last month, and after a .2IP, 7H/6ER performance at Yankee Stadium, he was placed on the DL. This is his second start since coming off the DL.

Last three starts:

5/13 vDET5.15/54:410/783/50
5/18 @NYY.27/62:03/634/21
6/16 vPIT67/24:19/1187/57

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 44x173, .254/.283/.405, 26K:7BB
vs Lefties: 13x36, .361/.465/.583, 4K:6BB

When swinging at the first pitch (27): .222/.222/.370, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (116): .263/.276/.395, 28K:2BB
After First-Pitch Balls (81): .309/.413/.529, 2K:11BB

RISP: 17x49, .347/.396/.592, 10K:4BB
Runners on: 27x85, .318/.363/.494, 17K:5BB
2OwRISP: 8x22, .364/.417/.500, 6K:2BB

Q&A with Tri-City manager (and former Astro) Jim Pankovits

Nice little article...