Saturday, June 26, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G75: Astros @ Rangers

I'll be honest. I didn't watch this game. I watched the USA-Ghana game, and had to lay down for a nap after the game was over, from which I just woke up (note: no alcoholic beverages were consumed during this game. It was just that depressing.) This also means I missed the opening game of the Round Rock/Nashville series. But I'll make up for it by going to the Sunday/Monday/Tuesday games.

Luckily, though, the County Clerk was at this game.
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God have mercy. The Rangers break out of their one-game funk and hammer the Astros 7-2.

*Josh Banks' debut performance (for the Astros) by inning:
1st inning: 0x3, 2BB, ROE - left bases loaded - 25 pitches, 6 strikes
2nd inning: 1x4, BB - left runners on 1st and 3rd - 22 pitches, 5 strikes
3rd inning: 3x5 - left runner on 1st - 11 pitches, 3 strikes
4th inning: 3x6, K, BB - 25 pitches, 10 strikes
5th inning: 1x1 - 1 pitch.

*Chacin gave up a single to Elvis Andrus which later scored Nelson Cruz, to whom Banks allowed a leadoff single.

*The leadoff batter reached in four of the five innings Banks started - only getting Andrus to fly out to center to open the game.

*Fulchino and Byrdak finished out the game, allowing seven baserunners and only striking out one between them.

*This means the Rangers have officially won the Silver Boot for the 4th straight year. They tied 3-3 in the 2007 series, but the Astros were outscored 34-28.

*The Astros actually have a winning record against six teams this season: Cubs (4-2), Rockies (4-2), Marlins (2-1), Pirates (3-0), Cardinals (4-2), and Nationals (3-1). They're just 3-11 in Interleague play. And they're 9-38 against all the other teams in the Majors.

*Prior to today, the Astros had scored 5+ runs in three straight games (3-0). They had only done that once before, in the 2nd-4th games against the Nationals (3-0), June 1-3.

*The Astros got five hits on the day, four of them from non-regular starters (who maybe should see some more playing time) - two each from Bourgeois and Michaels.

*The Astros also drew six walks, the sixth time they have done so, and they are 4-2 in those games.

*Banks' Game Score of 19 was tied for 3rd-worst by an Astro starting pitcher this season. Moehler and Paulino each threw a 5 (a sea donkey could throw a 5). Wandy threw a 15 against Cincinnati on May 28, and Bud Norris threw a 19 at Atlanta.

Pitch Count Hero: Keppinger (0x3, BB) and Michaels (2x4) - 19 pitches in four PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Pence (0x3, BB), Johnson (0x4), and Castro (0x4) - 14 pitches in four PAs.

Man of the Match: Jason Michaels. 2x4, 2RBI

Goat of the Game: Josh Banks.

Levine, on Mier

Nice profile by Zach Levine on 2009 1st-Round pick Jiovanni Mier, who's having a bit of a tough time in Lexington.

Mier:
"The year's not going as I want it to be, but it's still a blast to be out here every day, and it's definitely a blessing to be out here out here every day with the opportunity to play this game. (It's been a struggle) offensively, and a lot defensively, too. It's kind of an up-and-down year, but it's still real early, and I'll continue to work and try to turn it around."

Legends manager Rodney Linares:
"Jio's going to be all right. I said it last year and I say it with my word that he's going to play in the big leagues for a long time as a shortstop."

Ricky Bennett:
"The encouraging thing is that he's not striking out, he's taking his walks, he's making consistent contact, and I think as he goes through the next month or six weeks, we'll start to see his average increase."

Levine:
The near certainty that Mier remains at shortstop leads to a near certainty that he will control his own trajectory through the organization. The position in the Astros' minor league system is relatively thin, meaning he'll ascend as fast or as slowly as his readiness allows.

Jack Shuck: Doin' work

Nice article in Jack Shuck's hometown newspaper on the job he's doing in Corpus this year.

Corpus manager Wes Clements:
"And the Texas League is a pitcher's league this year. That makes what 'Shucker' is doing even more special. He's just a throwback kid. He's a dirt-bag player and I mean that in a positive way. He plays hard and he pays attention to detail. If you are an opposing pitcher, he is a pain in the butt...

..."He led the California League in hits last year. I think he can do what he is doing here at any level. I expect to see him in Houston some day. He's just a good baseball player."


What about his one homerun, despite his corner outfield position?
"I don't think about it. I'm going to play anywhere the organization needs me to play. I've found a home in left field."

Eddie's Farm: June 25

Round Rock

Boom! Albuquerque takes a 2-1 lead, and the Express respond with a 4-run 4th. Express go on to win convincingly 9-3. Wesley Wright is, rightly, back into his role as a starter and allowed 5H/2ER, 3K:0BB over 54 pitches (2.2IP). Brad Thompson allowed 3H/1R (0ER) in 1.2IP, while Majewski (1.2IP), Corcoran (2IP), and Daigle (1IP) held the Isotopes to 2H/0ER. Drwe Locke was 4x5 with two doubles, Brian Bogusevic was 3x4 with a homer, and Kevin Cash was 3x4 with 2RBI and a walk. Tommy Everidge was 2x4. Wonder where Chris Shelton is? Facing a "long stint" on the DL. Luis Maza was also 2x5.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke.

Corpus

Hm. The Hooks got three hits, and it's hard to win with three hits. So they lost 4-0 to Frisco. Jordan Lyles gave up all four runs - all earned - allowing 10 hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts over 6IP. Erik Stiller, Nelson Payano, and Evan Englebrook threw three no-hit innings. German Duran, Jimmy Van Ostrand, and Jhon Florentino got your hits, with Shuck and Clemens drawing walks.

Man of the Match: The bullpen

Lancaster

Stockton beat up on Lancaster for a 9-4 win. David Duncan threw 2.2IP, 6H/5ER, 2K:2BB, while Edwin Walker allowed a hit and a walk in 3.1IP. Kyle Godfrey (2IP) and Brian Wabick (1IP) combined to allow 5H/4R (3ER), 2K:2BB, 1HR. Mark Ori was 2x4 with two doubles and two RBI (and a missed catch for an E3). Freddy Parejo was 2x2 with a walk and RBI.

Man of the Match: Edwin Walker

Lexington

Rome got six in the top of the first, and that was all they needed - despite being outhit 10-3 by the Legends, and committing four errors. Rome wins 6-3. All six were on Juan Minaya, who allowed 1H/3BB in 0.2IP. He got some help from Zach Grimmett, who allowed 4H/1BB in the next 2.2IP. Jose Trinidad threw 3.2 perfect IP, striking out three, and Wander Alvino allowed one hit in 2IP. Miguel Arrendell (who's hitting .400 - 14x35 - in his last ten games) was 2x5 with an RBI, and Jonathan Meyer had your other 2-hit game. Kody Hinze was 1x2 with two walks. Jose Altuve was 1x5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Man of the Match: Miguel Arrendell.

Tri-City

Jeebus. Tri-City scores a season-high seven runs and still loses 9-7. Murillo Gouvea allowed 6H/3ER, 3K:1BB in 5IP while the bullpen of Brandt Walker (1IP), Jeiler Castillo (1IP), Joan Belliard (0.2IP), Adam Champion (1.1IP), and Andrew "Jimmy" Robinson - can we get a verdict on his actual name? - (1IP) allowed 11H/6ER, 7K:2BB. Congratulations, though, to Adam Bailey and Ben Heath who hit their first professional homers. Nick Stanley was 3x4 (RBI), and Bailey ended up 3x4 (2B, HR, 3RBI).

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey.

Greeneville

Nice job of rallying by the Gastros, who were behind three times to Johnson City and still won 7-6. Ricardo Batista threw 4IP, 2H/2R (1ER), 2K:2BB; Ryan Cole allowed 4H/2ER in 2.2IP, and Brian Streilein got the blown save and the win with 2H/2R (2ER) in 1.1IP. Phil Rorabaugh got his first save of the season with a scoreless 9th. Marcus Nidiffer was 2x4 with two doubles (and is hitting .500 this week). Bubby Williams hit a two-run homer.

Man of the Match: Despite the error, it goes to Nidiffer.

GCL Astros

Mark Jones was undone by errors (six errors total in this game: three by Chan-Jong Moon, Vargas, Ditthardt, and Pena), getting charged with three unearned runs, but striking out six in 5IP. Dayan Diaz allowed 4H/2ER in 0.2IP, Austin Lucas gave up an hit and an unearned run in 1.1IP, and Jeremiah Meiners allowed 2H/2R (1ER), 2K:1BB in the final IP. GCL Mets win 9-5. Ryan Ditthardt and Roberto Pena had three hits each, while Jose Vargas and Kyle Redinger each collected two hits. Chan-Jong Moon, despite his three errors, also drew three walks.

Man of the Match: Mark Jones

Friday, June 25, 2010

Foltynewicz will pitch in Greeneville all season

Bob Sutton's Appalachian League notebook features Astros 19th overall pick Mike Foltynewicz, who better get used to eastern Tennessee.

Foltynewicz:
"I'm just going to get my feet on the ground the whole season. This is real comforting knowing what I need to do."

Manager Ed Romero:
"We're going to go slowly with him and build him up."

No kidding. Sutton says he'll make his debut Saturday night, throwing 25 pitches, and moving up from there. He should be ready for his first 100-pitch game in June 2041.

Astros' offensive rankings

And boy, are they offensive (yuk. yuk.). Let's take a look at how the Astros fare by position, vs the rest of Major League Baseball.

1B: Lance Berkman. OPS: .739.
This ranks 20th out of 25 qualifying 1Bs in the Majors. While his .244 batting average is also 20th, it's certainly not as bad as Carlos Pena's .201. His .347 OBP is tied for 19th with Mark Teixeira, and only puts him three points away from 15th, with James Loney, Adam LaRoche, and Ryan Howard between. Ah, but that slugging percentage of .392 is 22nd in the Majors among 1Bs, ahead of only Lyle Overbay, Derrek Lee, and Todd Helton. Only Todd Helton and Justin Smoak have fewer extra base hits than Berkman.

2B: Jeff Keppinger - OPS: 711
13th out of 20 qualifying second basemen in the Majors. While Keppinger's .285 average is 6th among 2Bs, his .336 OBP is 11th, and his .375 SLG is 13th. Still, two qualifying 2Bs - Chone Figgins and Gordon Beckham - are both slugging below .300. However, Keppinger is just one of three 2Bs with a 1:1 or an upside-down K:BB ratio. Keppinger has struck out 19 times, and walked 20. Dustin Pedroia has 35K:35BB and David Eckstein has 11K:14BB this season.

3B: Pedro Feliz - OPS: .531
Now this is ugly, and also why Chris Johnson was promoted. Because even a blind manatee could get a .531 OPS. Feliz' OPS is easily last among 24 qualifying 3Bs, 58 points behind Seattle's Jose Lopez. If it wasn't for Mark Reynolds' .215 average, his batting average (.216), OBP (.241), and SLG (.290) would be dead last. There are six 3Bs who have as many homers as Feliz has extra-base hits, and Feliz is the only qualifying 3B who has drawn fewer than ten walks.

LF: Carlos Lee - OPS: .650
Lee's .650 OPS ranks 19th among 20 qualifying left fielders, and thankfully Juan Pierre is there to cushion El Caballo's fall, although Pierre's average is 20 points higher than Lee's last-place .228. Lee's .268 OBP is also last in the Majors among LFs - the only LF to get on base in less than 30% of his ABs. Only Delmon Young has fewer walks than Lee's 15. Luckily for Lee, his SLG is 16th out of 20, because of his 10 homers and 21 extra-base hits.

CF: Michael Bourn - OPS: .670.
Similarly, Michael Bourn's .670 OPS is 21st out of 22 qualifying CFs. Only Nyjer Morgan and his .628 are worse. For comparison, Vernon Wells' .573 SLG is within 100 points of Bourn's OPS. His .259 average is 18th out of 22 (Victorino, Morgan, Stubbs, and Upton are worse), while his .338 OBP is good enough for 11th. It's that darn slugging. His .332 average is only higher than Morgan's .320 (Bourn and Morgan are the only CFs to not have a homer yet). Bourn's stolen bases are third in the Majors among CFs, and best in the NL, though.

RF: Hunter Pence - OPS: .756
Pence's OPS ranks 20th out of 24 qualifying RFs, with Carlos Quentin, Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Sweeney, and Jeff Francoeur behind him. Pence's .268 average is 18th in the Majors, while his .314 OBP ties him with Jeff Francoeur for lowest (though Pence nudges him in the 4th decimal place) in the Majors among RFs. Pence's 18 walks are only ahead of Francoeur's 17. Good news for Pence is that his .442 SLG is 15th out of 24. While it would be interesting to see how this re-calculates from June 1-present, it's still important to see the drawbacks of a miserable start.

Steroids, girl jokes led to fight in Akron bar

We promise not to keep dragging this up, but for the time being, it's interesting reading. Details are emerging as to how exactly three Indians prospects - including Brad Mills' son, Beau - sent the bouncer of an Akron bar to the hospital:

Police were called to a bar on West Exchange Street around closing time, after witnesses reported an off-duty bouncer had been beaten by a group of men who had taunted him about using steroids, and taunted his girlfriend for dating him.

Akron Public Information Officer, Lt. Rick Edwards:
"It just got physical, I mean they got into an argument led into you know, kicks, punches. Our victim basically was knocked to the ground after being punched and kicked, he was kicked in the side, a couple of broken ribs and a punctured lung, was transported by local paramedics here to the hospital where he spent a couple of days in the hospital recovering from those injuries."

Punishment is anything from probation to eight years in prison.

ValleyCats organizational philosophy paying off

The Tri-City ValleyCats are seven games into their season, and like most other Astros' teams, the pitching has dominated, but the W-L isn't there. Despite a 1.81 team ERA, the ValleyCats are 3-4. Vermont is 5-2, with a 1.97 ERA, and Brooklyn is 5-2 with a 3.10 team ERA.

But what stands out to us is the K:BB ratio. The ValleyCats pitching staff has struck out 73 batters, and walked 24 for a 3.04 K:BB ratio. Here's how the other teams match up:

Vermont - 63K:19BB (3.37)
Brooklyn - 46K:18BB (2.56)
Connecticut - 56K:23BB (2.43)
Auburn - 60K:25BB (2.40)
Williamsport - 57K:24BB (2.38)
Jamestown - 58K:25BB (2.32)
Batavia - 54K:25BB (2.16)
Mahoning Valley - 56K:30BB (1.87)
Staten Island - 44K:24BB (1.83)
Hudson Valley - 35K:20BB (1.75)
Lowell - 46K:37BB (1.24)
Aberdeen - 39K:32BB (1.22)
State College - 31K:28BB (1.11)

So only Vermont, Washington's NYPL affiliate, has a better K:BB ratio, but Tri-City has struck out more batters.

Why bring this up? Because Bobby Doran threw first-pitch strikes to the first 16 batters he faced last night.

Manager Jim Pankovits:
"It's an organizational philosophy. We want (our pitchers) to be aggressive early in the count, make (the hitter) put it into play, not be afraid of contact."

I know we're talking about a ridiculously small sample size in seven games for Tri-City, but to compare whether or not this is true top to bottom, let's regard the affiliates;

DSL Astros (20 games): 137K:109BB (1.26)
Lexington (71 games): 538K:267BB (2.01)
Lancaster (71 games): 468K:224BB (2.09)
Corpus (72 games): 462K:252BB (1.83)
Round Rock (75 games): 423K:206BB (2.05)
Houston (73 games): 520K:255BB (2.04)

With the exception of Corpus and the DSL Astros - who have only played 20 games - all of the minor-league affiliates whose seasons did not start this past week have a K:BB ratio above 2.00.

Tranzactionz!

Got a few transactions for you from yesterday:

Round Rock

Sent Lee Cruz and Brandon Wikoff back to Lancaster (as predicted by Farmstros).

Signed free agent 2B Luis Maza and SS Ramon Vazquez.

Luis Maza is a just-turned 30-year old from Venezuela. In 12 minor-league seasons, Maza has hit .282/.345/.411, and had spent 2010 with the Phillies' Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley. After hitting .378 in 2008 for Las Vegas, and .300 for Albuquerque (both Dodgers Triple-A teams), Maza was hitting .222/.290/.263 for Lehigh Valley. He has a career .980 Fld% at 2B.

Matt Kata had the lion's share of games at 2B (73), while Navarro had 44 games.

Big-leaguer SS Ramon Vazquez comes to the Express from the Seattle system, after spending 2009 with the Pirates, where he hit .230/.335/.279 in 101 games. In 35 games with Seattle's Triple-A team in Tacoma, he had hit .216/.279/.320.

I really hope he's not the Oswaldo Navarro Plan C at shortstop.

Corpus

Assigned Evan Englebrook to Corpus from Round Rock.
Placed Erick Abreu on the temporarily inactive list.

Eddie's Farm: June 24

Round Rock

Albuquerque took a 3-0 lead, Round Rock got two back, and that was all they could get in a 4-2 loss. Shane Loux took the loss despite a quality start of 6IP, 7H/3ER, 5K:1BB. Yorman Bazardo threw 2IP, 3H/1R (0ER), 0K:1BB, and Jonah Bayliss closed it out with 1IP, 2K. The Express only got six hits all night - and newcomer Tommy Everidge, playing 1B going 3x4 with a run. David Cook hit a two-run double, and Drew Meyer and Drew Locke added the other two hits.

Man of the Match: Tommy Everidge

Corpus

The Hooks committed four errors, and got only five hits, so San Antonio wins 5-0. Tyler Lumsden was victimized by errors, giving up two unearned runs in a 7IP, 4H/4R (2ER), 3K:1BB performance. Erik Stiller gave up a solo homer in the 8th. The errors came courtesy of Lumsden, German Duran, and two from Jhon Florentino. Shuck, Florentino, Gaston, Van Ostrand, and Santangelo got the five hits.

Man of the Match: Jon Gaston (1x3, BB)

Lancaster

Brutal. Lancaster gave up seven runs in the top of the first, tied it up by the end of the 3rd, gave up two in the fifth, and tied it up with two outs in the bottom of the 9th on David Flores RBI single. But a sac fly from Stockton scored Grant Green for the game-winning run, and Stockton wins 10-9. Kyle Greenwalt allowed 3H/7R (3ER), 2K:3BB in 0.2IP. Leandro Cespedes gave up 5H/2ER, 4K:0BB in 4.1IP, and Patrick Urckfitz threw 3.1IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:2BB. David Berner took the loss, allowing 1H/1ER, in 1.2IP. Predictably, lots of hits. Albert Cartwight was 3x6 (2B, HR), Jay Austin (2x6, HR, RBI), Brandon Barnes was 2x5 (2B, HR, 3RBI), Lee Cruz was 2x5 (2 2B), David Flores was 2x4 (2B, 2RBI), and Brandon Wikoff (2x4, BB) all had multi-hit games. 1-4 in the lineup went a combined 7x17, with two doubles, three homers, and 5RBI.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes

Lexington

Just an old-fashioned butt-whoopin. Lexington had a 10-0 lead after three and cruised to a a 13-2 win over Rome. Despite two wild pitches, Tanner Bushue got the win with 5H/2ER, 5K:2BB in 5IP. Mike Schurz threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB, and Colton Pitkin gave up 3H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 2IP. Miguel Arrendell was 4x5 with four runs, Kody Hinze was 3x4 with a walk and an RBI. Jake Goebbert (2x3, BB) and Jiovanni Mier (2B, 2BB, 2RBI, 2 errors) had your other multi-hit games. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 1x4 with a walk and 3RBI.

Man of the Match: Miguel Arrendell

Tri-City

A four-run 2nd was what Tri-City needed to beat Vermont 5-2. Bobby Doran threw 5H/2ER, 3K:1BB in 4IP, and a bullpen of Blazek, Martinez, Sogard, De Leon, and Ness held the Lake Monsters to 2H/0ER, 8K:2BB in 5IP. Renzo Tello hit a three-run homer and was 2x4, and Frank Almonte and Oscar Figueroa (2RBI) were both 2x4. Mike Kvasnicka was 1x3 with a walk, and Ben Heath (1x2), and Daniel Adamson (0x2, 2R) drew two walks each.

Man of the Match: Renzo Tello.

Greeneville

Greeneville got a run in the 3rd and 4th, and that was enough for a 2-1 win over Burlington. Ruben Alaniz threw 4IP, 1R (0ER), 3K:0BB, and a bullpen of Bullock, Hagen, and Smink allowed 2H/0ER, 4K:0BB in 4IP. Jhonny Medrano (2x4), Marcus Nidiffer (2x3, 2B), and Pedro Feliz (2x3, BB) had your multi-hit games, while Jonathan Merritt hit his first homer of the season and Bryce Lane added an RBI.

Man of the Match: Ruben Alaniz.

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros got two in the third, and threw a shutout for a 2-0 win over the GCL Cardinals. Luis Ordosgoitti threw 4IP, 6H/0ER, 3K:0BB while Dieudone Paul got the win, throwing 4IP, 1H/0ER, 6K:2BB. Matison Smith hammered down the save with a perfect 9th. Jose Fernandez was 2x3 with a double and 2RBI to provide all the offense, with Suniaga, Magee, Ditthardt, and Valenzuela adding hits.

Man of the Match: Dieudone Paul

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brutal. Mills didn't know about lil' Beau

Earlier today it was reported that Beau Mills, son of Brad Mills, had been arrested and charged with felonious assault.

An Astros' spokeswoman had to tell him before the game. Whomever the guy was who got beat up by Beau Mills and two other Indians' minor-leaguers ended up with a fractured rib and a punctured lung.

Mills:
“I did not know anything about it, to be honest with you. I’d be remiss if I were to make any other comment because I don’t know anything. I really don’t.”

I'm guessing a father-son chat is in order.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G73: Astros v. Giants

Hey, you know, we got this guy from Round Rock - what when Manzella went down with his broken finger - named Oswaldo Navarro. He's been playing shortstop for quite some time. Maybe he should get a look at the position. The Astros commit three more errors (six in last two games, seven in the series), but manage to hold on for a 7-5 win.

*This was the first series win since taking three of four from Colorado (three series), and finish the homestand 2-4.

*The Astros' three errors (Feliz and two from Blum) led to four unearned runs. That's the most unearned runs allowed in a game since the Astros allowed eight uneanred runs on May 25, 2009 at Cincinnati.

*The last time Cain was touched up for seven runs in less than three innings was September 22, 2009 at Arizona, when he allowed 8H/7ER in 2.1IP in a 10-8 loss.

*Wandy, while he may not be in danger of losing his job in 2010, is certainly pitching for his contract in 2011 and did quite well: 6IP, 4H/2R (0ER), 3K:1BB. It's the first time this season he hasn't given up an earned run, having allowed 14ER in his previous 8IP. His ERA dropped from 6.09 to 5.64.

*Yeah, so Byrdak allowed two hits and got two outs. He has allowed five hits in his last three outings (four outs). In 24 appearances of any length, he has retired all batters faced in just six of those appearances.

*So while the Astros committed three errors, they also turned four double plays, holding the Giants to 4x15 w/RISP.

*Jason Castro hit his first career home run, measuring 427 feet (according to ESPN). It's the third longest home run for the Astros this season (Pence has the two longest - 438 feet at Busch Stadium, and 428 feet at Yankee Stadium). It was the 7th longest homer at Minute Maid, with Chris Synder hitting a 457-foot homer off Paulino on May 3.

*In his second AB, Castro got himself a double, and is now slugging .600 in his young career, and later walked.

*Pence hit his 11th homer of the season in the first inning. In games in which Pence hits a jack, the Astros are 5-6. It's his second 3RBI game of the season. When Pence get multiple RBIs in a game, the Astros are 5-4.

*Bourn only played in two games this series, but was 4x8 with a walk.

Pitch Count Hero: Keppinger (1x3, 2BB) - 27 pitches in five PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Feliz (0x4) - 14 pitches in four PAs.

Man of the Match: Gotta give it Castro again.

Goat of the Game: Can't decide between Feliz or Blum. Blum was 1x3 with a walk, but committed two errors. Feliz was 0x4 with an error. So I'm leaning towards Feliz.

Jim Reeves is optimistic about the Rangers getting all this resolved before the trade deadline

It's a really long article, but ESPN Dallas' Jim Reeves thinks the Rangers just may get their crap resolved. And that's good news for us:

For all the doom and gloom that spread rampantly this week after Judge Lynn's ruling that the team's creditors were impaired, Rangers executives came away with a sense that the Judge is cognizant of the time element involved with the fast-approaching trade deadline and how important that could be to the franchise. One of his jobs is to maximize the value of the franchise and what better way to do that than to clear the decks so that the Rangers can be a player in trade talks by the end of next month?

How often, by the way, has baseball's trading deadline been brought up by a judge in court?

It's also important to note that Judge Lynn installed William Snyder as the chief restructuring officer, meaning Snyder has the ball right now and the judge can take his long-planned vacation cruise as scheduled. One other point: Those who understand all the legal gobbledygook say Judge Lynn's plan, if followed strictly by Greenberg and Ryan, will be virtually appeal-proof...

...Throw in the fact that Houston owner Drayton McLane said this week that the Astros would be willing to eat some of Oswalt's contract and that Ryan is already on record as saying he'd love to have Oswalt ... well, it may come down to what the Rangers would have to give up in prospects to get one of these two prime-time pitchers.


I do believe the Rangers wouldn't need to give up as much to the Astros as they would the Mariners for the half-season of Cliff Lee (and his much-lower salary). If the Mets or Twins move on Cliff Lee early - which it seems like they may do - that will only increase the Roy-to-Arlington chances.

Paulino to the DL

Yep, Felipe Paulino is headed to the DL with tendinitis in his shoulder. Josh Banks' contract has been purchased from Round Rock, and he has been placed on the 40-man roster, and will start on Saturday at Arlington. No word yet as to who has been optioned off the 40-man roster to make room for him.

Update: McTaggart responded to The Crawfish Boxes on the 40-man roster space:
Astros DFA'ed three guys on Sunday and purchased only 2 contracts, so there was a 40-man spot open.

Norris to start Monday

(Captip to John Royal for the heads-up). Bud Norris will be starting Monday, between Oswalt and Myers. Monday night is the beginning of a series at Milwaukee, and Myers will get the extra day of rest.

Plutko "likely" headed to UCLA

6th Round pick Adam Plutko is probably headed to UCLA, says the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

Plutko finished the season 10-1 with a 1.36 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 67 innings, was named the CIF-SS Division 2 player of the year and was drafted in the sixth round (183rd overall) by the Houston Astros in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft, though the 6-foot-2 180- pounder will likely head to UCLA on a full baseball scholarship.

Beau Mills needs a lawyer

Not necessarily Astros-related, but Brad Mills' son, Beau (a minor-leaguer in the Indians' system) is in some trouble, facing assault charges.

Beau Mills, Jerad Head and Josh Tomlin were each charged with felonious assault after an incident June 3 at 1 W. Exchange St. Apt. 102. The victim suffered serious injuries due to the assault.

The criminal case was filed June 22 in the Akron Municipal Court. Mills and Head appeared in court this morning.

Eddie's Farm: June 23

Round Rock

Round Rock blows a 3-run lead in the 4th, but then scores the final four runs for a 7-3 win. Andy Van Hekken threw a complete game 9IP, 8H/3ER, 2K:1BB, needing just 104 pitches to give the bullpen the night off. Of the eight hits Van Hekken gave up, four were to Prentice Redman. The Express used only nine players on offense, and got two-hit games out of Meyer, Kata (2x5, 2B), Locke (2x5, 2R, 2B, 3B, 2RBI), Cook (2x3, 2RBI, BB), and Ramirez (2x4, RBI). Drew Meyer hit a two-run homer in the 6th. Sutil and Van Hekken were the only Express...ers to not get a hit, but Sutil drew two walks.

Man of the Match: Drew Meyer

Corpus

San Antonio scored two runs in the 8th for the go-ahead 3-2 win over Corpus. Doug Arguello threw 6IP, 5H/1R (0ER), 3K:1BB. Fernando Abad - in his triumphant return from the DL - threw 1IP, 1H/0ER, 0K:1BB. Matt Nevarez blew the save and took the loss, allowing 2H/2ER, 1BB. Two-hit games came from Barry Butera (2x4, R) and Lou Santangelo (2x4, R, 2B). Jack Shuck and German Duran had the RBI.

Man of the Match: Doug Arguello.

Lancaster

Off.

Lexington

Off.

Tri-City

Tri-City had a 1-0 lead going into the 8th, and then gave it up, and then gave up the game-winner in the 11th for a 2-1 loss to Vermont. Carlos Quevedo threw 6IP, 3H/0ER, 3K:0BB. Joan Belliard and Travis Blankenship held Vermont, though Blankenship allowed the baserunner who later scored on Brendan Stines, giving him the loss. Tri-City managed five hits (two from Daniel Adamson), and none for extra-bases. Tyler Burnett was 1x3 with a run, and drew two walks. Catcher Buck Afenir was 0x4 and left four ValleyCats in scoring position with two outs.

Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo

Greeneville

Greeneville scored two in the top of the first, and then allowed nine of the next ten runs for a 9-3 loss to Burlington. Angel Gonzalez threw 3IP, 3H/5ER, 1K:2BB for the loss. Andrea Lucati threw 2IP, 3H/1ER, 1K:2BB; Ryan Cole and Brian Streilein threw perfect innings; Justin Harper allowed 3ER, 1K:2BB in 0.1IP, and Jamaine Cotton gave up a hit in 0.2IP. Burlington stole six bases off the catching platoon of Bubby Williams and Ryan McCurdy (three each). Ricardo Garcia (2x5, RBI), Emilio King (2x4, 2B), and Bubby Wililams (2x4, 2B, HR, 2RBI) had the multi-hit games. Jonathan Merritt, Jhonny Medrano, Ryan Humphrey, and Hector Rodriguez added hits.

Man of the Match: Bubby Williams, despite the three SBs.

GCL Astros

An 8-run inning is hard to overcome. And following that up with a 3-run inning is even harded. GCL Astros lose to the GCL Nationals 12-1. Danilo Del Rio gave up 4H/3R (2ER), 1K:3BB in 4IP. Jeremiah Meiners had a rough pro debut, allowing 6H/6ER and not recording an out, while Rafael Feliz gave up 2H/3ER, 1K:3BB in 3IP. Emmanuel Cedano was the only reliever to not give up a run with a scoreless 8th. Geber Suniaga (2x4, SB) had two of the GCL Astros' five hits, while Jose Vallejo (1x3, 3B, BB), Jose Vargas, and Garen Wright (1x4, SB) provided the other three hits.

Man of the Match: Geber Suniaga.

Velasquez, Grills, Kiilsgaard sign

A couple of signings to report (these broke yesterday, but I was too busy celebrating the USA win):

2nd Round pick Vincent Velasquez. Interestingly enough, he signed yesterday, will head to Houston today where he will get his physical, and learn what signing bonus he'll get.

Velasquez:
"We haven't even talked about that yet."

Astros area scout Tim Costic:
Costic described Velasquez as having an "above average fastball, 92 to 94 mph. He's got an above average changeup. And he's got an average curveball that's only going to get better...

..."I'd like to see him have some good control and have a good strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's used to pitching every seven days. It will be a change, but I know he'll be able to handle it."


We also find out that the Astros have also signed 10th Round pick Evan Grills, and 30th Round pick Kellen Kiilsgaard.

Velasquez will head to Greeneville once signed.

Norris will soon be back in Houston

McTaggart notes that Bud Norris' next start will not be for the Express, but for the Astros. When he'll start is still up in the air.

Mills:
"We want to talk to some people who saw him pitch and talk to some of our starters first."

Since Norris started Tuesday night, that would put him in line for a Sunday start. Sunday is when Oswalt is scheduled to start against Texas, so that's out. And since Moehler is scheduled to pitch tomorrow (God help us all), Norris certainly won't be available. Ideally Norris would take Moehler's spot in the rotation, which means the earliest he's in line to start would be Wednesday at Milwaukee. Unless, of course, Wandy gets bumped from the rotation - and I look at tonight as a make-or-break start for him. Not that I think the Astros would get rid of him, but he's going to have to put together a strong second half in order to convince the Astros to offer him a contract in 2011. Since he's arbitration eligible, I would imagine he's in line for a $7-8 million deal next year, and there's no way he's pitching like that.

Ryan still confident the Rangers will be his...ALL HIS (bwa ha ha)

There's an AP article this morning getting Nolan Ryan's reaction to the judge's ruling that the Rangers will have to change their bankruptcy plan before giving ownership to the Ryan-Greenberg group (which of course has an effect on Roy's trade chances in Arlington).

Ryan:
"We're still confident that we're going to get the deal done. We're still in the process, so we'll just have to wait and see, but we've been kind of in this position for quite a while now. It's just part of the process, and it's out of our control. So we just basically deal with what we deal with on a day-to-day basis of running the ballclub and just wait and see what actually happens. I don't look at anything as being a setback unless something else comes up that we're unaware of...

...I know the judge doesn't want the bankruptcy to encumber us anymore than it absolutely has to, so I think he's quite aware of what goes on in baseball. So I think he's going to try and do what he can to make sure that we're not penalized."

From the Office of the County Clerk - G72: Astros v. Giants

Wha? The Astros can beat the Giants? Excellent! Astros win 6-3.

*Big congratualations to Jason Bourgeois, who was 1x3 with a walk, batting in the leadoff spot, and getting his first start since September 6, 2009, and his first hit since September 25, 2009, against Philadelphia. It was just the seventh game he has started.

*There were a slew of multi-hit games: Keppinger (2x4, 3RBI), Lee (2x4, RBI), Johnson (2x4, RBI), and Myers (2x3, RBI).

*The Astros got eleven hits on the night - tied for 4th most of the season - and their 15th game with 10+ hits. They're 11-4 in those games.

*Chris Johnson got two hits with a double and a stolen base, the second time in his ten games this season that he's done it. In the seven games that Johnson has started, he's 7x28.

*Johnson is also operating on a 1:1 hit/error ratio in these last two games.

*Brett Myers threw 7IP, 6H/3R (1ER), 4K:3BB for his 5th win. It was his first quality start in two starts, and the first time he had allowed one earned run since June 1 vs. Washington. He also had three unearned runs in that game, bringing his unearned run total to eight.

*The Astros are 8-7 in games that Myers starts, the only starter with a winning record in games they start.

*My favorite AB of the night: Andres Torres vs. Brandon Lyon. 2 out, top 8th, 2 on. Lyon throws three straight balls, 4th pitch looking, 5th and 6th pitches swinging for the inning-ending K with the tying run at the plate. It was the fourth time Lyon had gotten out to a 3-0 count, and the first time he had come back to get an out - let alone a strikeout.

*Matt Lindstrom struck out two batters in the 9th for his 16th save. It was the first time he had done so since May 27 at Milwaukee (1.2IP, and a blown save). It was the first time he struck out multiple batters in a three-out save opportunity since April 18 (@ Chicago).

Pitch Count Hero: Hunter Pence (1x3, BB) - 23 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Keppinger (2x4) - 13 pitches in four PAs

Man of the Match: Jeff Keppinger.
Goat of the Game: I'm afraid this one's going to Castro. 0x3 (0x2 w/RISP), and a passed ball.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Manzella out for six weeks

Hm. Tommy Manzella is out for six weeks with a broken finger, and Oswaldo Navarro has been recalled from Round Rock.

Within that linked article, we see that Kevin Cash and Casey Daigle cleared waivers and have accepted their assignment to Round Rock, while Cory Sullivan cleared waivers and has elected to go the route of this "Free Agency" thing.

Astros trade for Tommy Everidge, but who did they send?

According to the Round Rock Transactions page, the Tacoma Rainiers sent 1B Tommy Everidge to Round Rock. But who did Round Rock send to Tacoma? That's undetermined as of yet. Turns out, the question should be "What.". Geoff Baker says the Astros are sending cash considerations to the Mariners.

If Everidge plays 1B, doesn't that kind of block Koby Clemens?

Everidge, in seven minor-league seasons, has hit .276/.351/.463 in 3272 plate appearances, with 632K:324BB.

Says Lookout Landing:
There's no word yet on the return, but given that this is the Astros, we're probably best off not getting anyone.

At one point, people liked Tommy Everidge and entertained the possibility of his serving as part of a first base platoon. Then he went and hit .229 as Tacoma's DH, thus demonstrating an inability to do either part of what people had been considering. Disappointed, the Mariners accordingly delivered today's stern punishment. Bad Tommy, bad.

Eddie's Farm: June 22

Round Rock

The Express got two in the first, and just allowed one in the 7th for a 2-1 win over Albuquerque in Bud Norris' 2nd rehab start. Norris threw 6IP, 6H/0ER, 6K:1BB, while Brad Thompson gave up 2H/1ER in the 7th. Majewski was perfect in the 8th, and Roy Corcoran allowed three baserunners - and no runs - in the 9th. Drew Meyer (2x4, 2B) had your lone multi-hit game, while Sutil (1x3) and Cruz (1x1) added doubles.

Man of the Match: Bud Norris

Corpus

The Hooks only allowed runs in one inning, but when you don't score any yourself, it doesn't matter. San Antonio wins 3-0 after a 3-run 3rd. Jared Wells allowed 5H/3ER, 5K:5BB in 4IP for the loss, while Erick Abreu threw three scoreless innings and Jeilen Peguero threw a perfect 8th. Shuck, Duran, Gaston, Fixler, and Butera had your hits on the night. Clemens was 0x3 with 2K and is hitting .219 (7x32) in his last ten games.

Man of the Match: Erick Abreu

Lancaster

No game, but the California League defeated the Carolina League in the 2010 All-Star Game. Jay Austin was 0x1 with a strikeout.

Lexington

Same thing. No game, but the SAL North and SAL South played to a Selig (5-5 tie). Jose Altuve was 0x3 with a strikeout. J.D. Martinez was 1x4 with 3Ks. Kody Hinze was 1x5 with 2Ks. Kirk Clark threw 1IP, 2H/0ER.

Tri-City

Lowell's Felix Sanchez scored on a walk-off single to defeat Tri-City 3-2. Jake Buchanan threw 2.1IP, 4H/2ER; Jeiler Castillo - 2.2IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB; Alex Sogard - 1.2IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:2BB; Mike Ness - 1.1IP, 1H/1R (0ER), 2K:1BB; Jorge De Leon - 0.2IP, 1H, 1K and gave up the hit that charged Ness with the loss. Renzo Tello was 2x3 with an RBI, and Wilton Infante provided your other RBI. Daniel Adamson was 1x2 with a double and two walks.

Man of the Match: Daniel Adamson.

Greeneville

The Gastros started their season off right with a 7-3 win over Burlington. Euris Quezada threw 4IP, 7H/3ER, 1K:0BB. John Frawley got the win with 2.2IP, 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB. Garrett Bullock threw 0.1IP, and Phil Rorabaugh threw two perfect innings. Jhonny Medrano was 3x4 with a homer, Telvin Nash was 2x3 with a walk and two doubles. Ricardo Garcia was 2x5 with an RBI. Chris Wallace hit a two-run homer (and committed two errors). Marcus Nidiffer and Ricardo Heredia also added RBI.

Man of the Match: Jhonny Medrano

GCL Astros

I've never seen the "Completed Early" line as to why a game was called in the middle of the 9th, but when the score is 4-3 GCL Astros, we'll take it. Francis Ramirez threw 5IP, 2H/2ER, 4K:2BB, while Pedro Gomez threw 2IP, 3H/1R (0ER) and Dayan Diaz got two outs despite allowing two walks. Roberto Pena was 1x2 with a double and 2RBI. Josh Magee, Jose Fernandez, and Kyle Redinger added hits. Big surprise was the presence of Jose Vallejo - who cut his hand in a freak, meat-carving accident was supposed to be out until 2011. He went 0x4 at 2B.

Man of the Match: Roberto Pena

Deferring to the experts on the potential sale of the Rangers

Hardball Talk read the judge's decision regarding the sale of the Rangers last night, and decides maybe it's not as bad as it seems.

But while my initial reaction was a bit overheated, it would probably be wrong to swing the pendulum too far back the other way as well. This decision, while not as devastating as initial reports first made it seem, does occasion delay and at least a possibility that more bumps could form in the road ahead. After all, if you give lawyers enough time to talk about something, they're likely to come up with seven problems no one ever considered in the first place. And of course delay and uncertainly was exactly what the team's bankruptcy filing was designed to avoid in the first place.

HBT links to the following within its post, but Baseball Time in Arlington has a breakdown of the media's reaction to the events of yesterday afternoon.

Phil Disher has retired

Article in the Aiken (SC) Standard this morning tells us that Phil Disher, former 15th Round pick, has retired.

Battling different injuries to his hip since he had a tumor removed from his leg in college, Disher, who missed a good portion of the 2008 season after having his hip almost completely reconstructed, was faced with a decision when the pain came back in spring training. Either he could undergo yet another surgery on his hip -- this time a complete replacement -- or he could put an end to his MLB dreams.

Disher:
"I decided it was time to be done. I didn't want to have it completely replaced...

..."I think everything happens for a reason. Nobody ever wants to get hurt or be done playing, but its panned out pretty nice, and I can't really complain at all. I had a great time playing, and I thank the Astros for giving me a chance. It's just the circle of life."


Best of luck to him.

Nocturnal Emissions, Vol. 7

A series in which members of the media gush over an Astro.

Richard Justice brings us the latest edition of Nocturnal Emissions on what Jason Castro means to the Astros, and in some respect, to the universe.

On the night he was selected, he celebrated late into the night by finishing a term paper for one of his classes at Stanford.

When Castro played in baseball's Futures Game of minor league stars last summer, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith said he had one of the best throwing arms he'd ever seen on a catcher...

...Here's hoping that Tuesday represented the beginning of a new era, that the Astros have gotten it right enough times these last three drafts to build something that will last.

Roy Oswalt almost certainly will be traded in the weeks ahead, and Brett Myers might, too. Wade almost certainly is gauging Berkman's value. No matter what happens with them, the Astros finally seem to see themselves for what they are instead of what they hope to be. And that's what Castro represents.

Sampson up, Wright down

Also taking place before the game last night was a transaction, in which Chris Sampson was activated from the DL, and Wesley Wright was optioned back to Round Rock.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G71: Astros v. Giants

The Astros fell to the Giants for the seventh straight time as Lincecum outdueled Oswalt yet again. Astros lose 3-1.

*You need to go ALL THE WAY BACK to 2009 to find a time when the Astros lost seven straight games to an opponent in a season: when the Reds took nine straight from the Astros over the course of April, May, and September.

*The Astros have blown 21 leads this season, taking a 1-0 lead into the 7th. With a lead going into the 7th, the Astros are 17-6.

*Roy threw 7IP, 6H/2ER, 5K:1BB, throwing 76 of his 100 pitches for strikes. It's the third straight game he has thrown 70+ pitches for strikes.

*He has allowed six earned runs in his last three starts (21IP), with 21K:4BB.

*Meanwhile, Wilton Lopez threw 2IP in relief, allowing a hit and an unearned run, thanks to Chris Johnson's throwing error in the top of the 9th, allowing Freddy Sanchez to get to 2nd, and later scored on a Nate Schierholtz single.

*Michael Bourn had two hits on the night, snapping a 1x19 skid, and it was his first multi-hit game since June 9. From June 10-June 20, Bourn was 3x38 with 14K:2BB.

*This was Tim Lincecum's first start without allowing an earned run since the third start of the season (April 17).

*Lincecum has faced the Astros three times, and is 3-0, with an 0.39 ERA/0.96 WHIP. In 23IP, he's allowed 15H/1ER, 19K:7BB.

*In his career, Lincecum is 5-0 against the Astros with a 1.14 ERA/0.85 WHIP, and 59K:16BB in 55.1IP. His 1.14 ERA is the lowest he's posted against any team in the Majors, and only the Cardinals have managed to go 0-5 against him.

*Still, everyone got a hit against Lincecum last night except for Keppinger (0x3) and Manzella (0x3). Big story of the night was obviously Jason Castro, who took the second pitch he saw from Timothy LeRoy (that's actually his middle name. Go look it up.) for his first major-league hit.

*Of the 15 pitches Castro saw:
--6 fouls
--3 balls
--3 strikes looking
--2 strikes swinging
--1 groundout
--1 hit

So we can be encouraged that Castro at least made contact in 10 of the fifteen pitches, and put the ball in play twice.

*The Giants also tried to steal two bases on Castro, and got nailed twice.

Pitch Count Hero: Chris Johnson (1x4) - 21 pitches in four PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Jeff Keppinger (0x3, BB) - 9 pitches in four PAs.

Man of the Match: I'd like to give this one to Jason Castro. Any objections?

Goat of the Game: Can't decide. Any takers?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lyles to play in MLB Futures Game

Congratulations to Jordan Lyles, who will be on Team USA in the MLB Futures Game in Anaheim during the All-Star Game festivities.

Jason Castro was on the team in 2009.

Roy's chances of getting traded to the Rangers just took a hit

We're not ones to root for the financial stability of the in-state rival Rangers, but this kind of sucks.

Maury Brown, who dominates this sort of thing at the Biz of Baseball (link above), sums it up as such:

The bankruptcy judge in the voluntary bankruptcy case of the Texas Rangers may have dealt a blow to the prospective ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan by ruling that secured creditors of the Texas Rangers are “impaired” and therefore are allowed to vote whether to accept or reject a “prepackaged plan” designed by the Rangers to exit the club from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and complete the sale. The creditors have said repeatedly that they would reject the prepackaged plan. In doing so, the bidding could be opened back up to allow Houston businessman Jim Crane to bid on the club. Major League Baseball has said that they are focused solely on the Greenberg/Ryan bid.

The way Tom Hicks ran the Rangers into the ground should bring us delight, but not so fast. Because this likely means the Rangers won't be sold before the trade deadline, it significantly hampers the Rangers' ability to add payroll. And in order to add Roy, they need to get their ownership's money in place, which doesn't look like it will be happening any time soon.

Buster Olney said this (continued here):
(One) club exec said: "The Rangers can forget about Roy Oswalt, and maybe just about any other major player." Rivals don't want them spending dollars at a time when they owe MLB a lot of money.

Buyers and sellers.

A couple of notes within ESPN's kudzu-like network of blogs regarding potential trade partners.

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago:
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, assistant GM Rick Hahn and their staff are looking at their team much differently now than they did two weeks ago when they trailed by as much as 9 1/2 games. The most likely scenario now is to add players rather than subtract...Productive left-handed RBI men like Washington's Adam Dunn and Houston's Lance Berkman are names that will be out there over the next 40 days before baseball's trading deadline on July 31. Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott, a big-time fly ball hitter, will be on the radar for teams like the White Sox who are desperate for left-handed run production.

Or from ESPN New York:
With the New York Mets a half-game up in the wild-card race as the season nears the halfway point, the team's pitchers say they want general manager Omar Minaya to deal for another ace.

"We have enough as it is right now, but there's nothing wrong with improving what we have," top starter Johan Santana told the New York Daily News at his charity bowling event on Monday night in midtown Manhattan.

Joel Roza writes a one-million word manifesto on Castro

The Caller Times' Joel Roza (one of our favorites), went off about the call-up of Jason Castro, calling it the biggest move since the Beltran trade. It's a very worthwhile read.

Hunter Pence was big; Castro is bigger because of what rides on his immediate impact. When Pence found his way into Houston, the Astros were in the dumpster and were all about riding the Craig Biggio 3,000 hits train. Fans love Pence because he hustles, works hard and is always enthusiastic. Those are great attributes, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to save any seasons or jobs...

...Scouting reports mostly agree on Castro being an average defender at the big league level with fringe power (10-15 homer range) and an ability to hit for average. I got the chance to see plenty of him last season here in Corpus and I was impressed with his ability to call games and his natural instinct for when and when not to approach the pitcher. My only concern was his ability to throw out base runners. In more than a couple instances, a routine throw to second could become anything but. But that was my six-game sample and he was still in Double-A – land of the errors.

Bat speed? Check.

In the wake of yesterday's post in which Jason Grey blasts Jason Castro's bat speed and Stanford's baseball program in general, Zach Levine offers a rebuttal:

“I made a little adjustment in my swing, and it really helped me get real efficient with the fastball,” Castro said.

The change was in his back elbow, which aided his approach to the fastball on the inner half of the plate. “He was much quicker to the ball and is now able to drive the ball to all parts of the field,” assistant general manager for player development Ricky Bennett said in an e-mail.


Castro started out April hitting .226/.388/.245 (one extra base hit in 53 ABs), and then in May, jumped up to .293/.364/.391 (five XBHs in 99 ABs). He's cooled off a little bit, mainly by going 5x29 on a 7-game road trip in the last ten days, but still. Once Sean Berry gets his hooks into him...wait. Crap.

Anyhow, Castro's pitch recognition should help him. According to his MiLB page, when he's ahead in the count (68 ABs), his OPS is 1.075, and in the 63 ABs in which he falls behind, that plummets to a .492 OPS.

Wade to Bogusevic: You're doing great, stay where you are

Ed Wade was asked about the possibility of making more moves as the Astros' calendar now reads "2011."

"We like the progress that some of the guys down in AAA are making, specifically Brian Bogusevic. Realistically, Brian at this time needs a lot of at-bats with him making the transition to the outfield."

It's a fair point, I suppose. But since switching to the outfield from the mound in 2008, Bogusevic has compiled 1,055 plate appearances, with 2009 coming as his first full season at the plate. Still, in those plate appearances he's hitting .288/.356/.414 for his career (after blasting Corpus for .371/.447/.556). Just for comparison, Berkman had 1,224 plate appearances in the minors before getting called up (but didn't hit lower than .293 over a minor-league season).

-
Chris Sampson is expected to be reinstated from the DL today, but a corresponding roster move has not yet been identified.

Drayton might actually be getting it.

Great news from Zach Levine yesterday, regarding what Drayton is willing to do to get maximum value from Roy.

Levine:
Astros owner Drayton McLane said Monday that the team was “willing to look at anything” between now and the trade deadline and that he will not rule out absorbing a portion of a contract if it allows the Astros to get better prospects in a trade.

Drayton added that "nothing is imminent" right now.

Wait. He may not be getting it:
“We’re still in it in this year, 2010. When Ed put the team together in December and January, I thought it would be an improvement over the previous year. Lance and Carlos (Lee) and Hunter (Pence) for a time weren’t hitting well, and Pedro Feliz hasn’t been hitting the way we thought he would. We still think there’s a chance to play well the rest of this season.”

Can you think of another time - not even limiting it to sports - in which someone's refusal to give up completely infuriated you? The Astros are 26-44, 12.5GB of the NLC lead. And it's not like the team is better on paper. Their 146 extra-base hits are worst in the NL. They're the only NL team with an OBP under .300. Their .334 SLG is worst in the NL - by 27 points. And Brad Mills has outperformed the Pythagorean W-L by four wins.

I have to give it to Drayton, he won't throw in the towel. And while that's fist-pumping awesome in Rocky, it really sucks for us, because there's a pretty decent chance that Roy will just be pissed off in Houston for the next year and a half.

2nd Round pick to sign

According to Leonard Velasquez, Vincent's father, the Astros' 2nd Round pick will sign on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

Insanity in the Transactions

Who says transactions aren't exciting? I certainly don't. Captip to Citizen William for providing the link to this wackiness:

June 21
Catcher John Curtis, Outfielder Lee Cruz, Infielder Brandon Wikoff assigned to Round Rock from Lancaster.

Yeah, skipping Double-A. Wikoff was the Astros' 5th Round pick in the 2009 draft.

Eddie's Farm: June 21

Round Rock

Omaha doubled up Round Rock last night 6-3. Polin Trinidad was the hard-luck loser, throwing 7IP, 7H/6R (3ER), 4K:0BB, and 3HR allowed. Why is it a hard-luck? Because Yordany Ramirez' fielding error led to three unearned runs. Jonah Bayliss and Yorman Bazardo threw a scoreless inning. Oswaldo Navarro had your only multi-hit game (2x4, RBI), and Matt Kata (1x3, BB, RBI) also got on base twice.

Man of the Match: Matt Kata

Corpus

The Hooks did all their scoring in the 5th inning, and that was enough to hold off San Antonio for a 3-2 win. Jeremy Johnson threw 117 pitches to get 9H/2ER, 4K:1BB in 7IP. Henry Villar gave up a hit and a walk in 1IP, and Danny Meszaros allowed three hits - but both kept San Antonio off the scoreboard to preserve Johnson's win. Jack Shuck, German Duran, and - yes - Jeremy Johnson had two hits each (each also adding a walk), but it was Marcos Cabral (1x3, 2RBI, BB) and Jimmy Van Ostrand (1x3, BB, RBI) who provided the RBIs.

Huge moment in the bottom of the 9th: San Antonio has nobody out, Jesus Lopez on 1st, down 3-2. Andrew Parrino hit a fly ball to Gaston, who then fired it to Clemens, doubling off Lopez, and getting the double play.

Man of the Match: Marcos Cabral.

Lancaster

All-Star Break

Lexington

All-Star Break

Tri-City

The ValleyCats get back in the win column with a 5-0 win over Lowell. Tommy Shirley threw 3IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:1BB; David Martinez threw 4IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:2BB; Blazek - 1IP, 3K:1BB; and Robinson - 1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB. The ValleyCats' drawing of walks were the keys of the game - Tyler Burnett drew three; Oscar Figueroa drew two; Wilton Infante, Mike Kvasnicka, and Daniel Adamson all drew a walk each. Infante, Ben Heath, Adamson, and Adam Bailey all added hits, with Kvasnicka, Heath, and Adamson collecting RBIs.

Man of the Match: Daniel Adamson - 1x3 with the lone XBH (2B), BB, and RBI.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is Stanford to blame for the reason Castro doesn't hit for power?

Jason Grey's Insider-only take on Jason Castro and Chris Johnson has a very interesting note about why, despite being a pretty big guy, Castro hasn't done much slugging:

I've written before about the issues many longtime scouts have with the hitting philosophy at Stanford, which preaches a flat, contact-oriented swing. Those scouts feel that approach doesn't help players hit with authority at the next level, and they would certainly point to Castro as an example. Castro has a short swing, but his bat speed is just average, and it doesn't help that his best power is to straightaway center. He could be good for 15 homers a year eventually, but that's likely well down the road. He also must show he's not going to wear down as the season progresses, which was what happened last year.

It's a very in-depth, very well-written article on both Castro and Johnson.

I haven't heard of Stanford products having trouble translating to the Majors. So let's look.

*Since 2000, 70 players have been drafted out of Stanford.

*Of these 70, 42 have been position players.

*Only one of these players - of course until tomorrow night - drafted since 2006 has made it to a major-league roster: RHP Drew Storen. So if we look at the period between 2000-2006, we're talking about 27 position players drafted by Major League teams. 13 of them have made it to the Majors.

*The position player with the highest WAR is Carlos Quentin (5.5 WAR), drafted in 2003. But of the other 12, four of them have a career WAR above 0.0 (Ryan Garko: 2.1; Sam Fuld: 0.6; Chris Carter: 0.1; Jed Lowrie: 1.5

*This is but a quick look, and it's entirely possible that I did a count including guys drafted twice. So take this for what it's worth (meaning, "probably not much.")

/Bubble. Popped.

Over at Hardball Talk, Aaron Gleeman challenged the idea that bringing up Johnson and Castro was "exciting."

...Not all "top prospects" are created equal. Teams like the Nationals (Stephen Strasburg), Pirates (Pedro Alvarez), Indians (Carlos Santana), and Marlins (Mike Stanton) calling up their best prospect represents an "exciting youth movement" and "watershed moment in the franchise's future," but the Astros doing the same doesn't represent much of anything, really.

And then it busts up Castro ("doesn't project as a star, let alone someone whose arrival is capable of creating 'a watershed moment in the franchise's future.'") and Johnson ("giving him a chance to supplant the washed-up remains of Pedro Feliz at third base makes plenty of sense, but Johnson's upside is somewhere between role player and mediocre starter.").

And now Rob Neyer weighs in:

It must be at least moderately heartening to promote a 2008 draft pick to the majors and get him into the lineup. But I think Gleeman's right, as Castro just doesn't qualify for the pantheon of great young catchers. His .411 career slugging percentage as a professional isn't impressive, but it's actually even less impressive than that; his slugging percentage above Class A is just .370. He's young and he's a catcher and there's probably some development potential there ... but if Jason Castro is the best prospect the Astros unveil this summer, the rebuilding process will be off to a slow start.

I'm now going to bed...

Drayton is a stubborn son of...

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal's new column at FoxSports discusses the latest in the Hunt for Roy's October in Texas.

Rosenthal says there are three obstacles: The sale of the Rangers, which Roy can't control; The waiving of the no-trade clause, which Roy can control; and this:

McLane must relent on his desire to land top prospects and gain financial relief in an Oswalt trade. To this point, McLane gives no indication of budging.

Greeeeat.

Greeneville kicks it off tomorrow night

Nice article by Wayne Phillips in the Greeneville Sun about the 2010 GAstros.

Manager Ed Romero:
"We've worked out here only twice. Basically we have a group of guys that are hungry. Some have trained (in Florida) for three months. The majority have been down there. They are well-trained. Then we got some good talent from the draft."

Catcher Bubby Williams:
"They've brought older guys to Greeneville this year. The (Danville) Braves and the (Elizabethton) Twins always bring older guys to this league. I think we're stronger. I know I hit the weight room hard and I've matured some."

Outfielder Ryan Humphrey, who is returning from hip surgery in March:
"I'm not 100 percent yet, but I'm ready to get back out there. This team has good chemistry. There are more guys here out of college this year ... more maturity it seems."

All-Star Break update: Lancaster JetHawks

So it's All-Star Break time for the California League's Lancaster JetHawks. I think we can speak freely and just go ahead and admit that this has been a pretty horrible season for the JetHawks. They finished the first half of the season 23-47, 23 games behind CAL South 1st Half winner Lake Elsinore. Their OPS is 7th in the 10-team league at .734, and while their .405 SLG is 7th, the .328 OBP is 9th. The main issue - as it traditionally is in Coors Light - is the pitching. The staff's cumulative 5.10 ERA is worst in the League, as is the 1.53 WHIP. They have the fewest strikeouts (456) and have given up the 2nd-highest number of homers (64) and hits (713). Despite this, the JetHawks are averaging 2,313 fans/game, 6th in the California League. And despite this, there have been some bright spots in the offense and pitching staff - with some guys making a real push to be considered for a call-up to Corpus.

Lancaster - hitters





NameABsAvg/SLG/OBPK:BBXBH-RBISB/Err
Cruz51.451/.491/.8248:311-173/0
Cartwright258.302/.365/.52353:2334-3214/16
Barnes250.280/.336/.53662:1732-331/5


Typically, we wouldn't consider Lee Cruz as having played enough for a listing here, and 51ABs isn't significant enough to get our undergarments all twisted up about. But still, to go from an independent league to a 1.314 OPS (as a 27-year old, I get it) is at least worth recognizing.

Lancaster - pitchers






NameIPERA/WHIPK:BBHR All
Keuchel843.75/1.3341:267
Berner36.12.72/0.9941:52
Wabick24.13.70/1.1112:41
Modica23.23.42/1.2713:83


Keuchel is listed first, because he's the only JetHawk to start more than 10 games and have an ERA under 4.00 (Greenwalt has a 4.71 ERA/1.51 WHIP). David Berner is worth remarking on because of his low ERA/WHIP, but also thanks to his 8.2 K:BB ratio. It's also worth noting that Kyle Godfrey is the only JetHawk pitcher to not allow a homerun this season.

Royal: Why is Feliz still here?

John Royal asks a pretty good question: Why is Pedro Feliz still on the roster?

Somehow, despite everything, Pedro Feliz still has a spot on the roster. Feliz is hitting .220 with a .242 on-base percentage, a .296 slugging percentage, and a .537 on-base plus slugging percentage. He's only hit two homers. This is the guy Wade gave 4.5 million dollars to play for the Astros. And his defense, which was advertised as being of Gold Glove caliber has been more of Golden Glove caliber, and he's been making Carlos Lee look like an above-average fielder.

This is an excellent question, because the Astros have someone else who can actually hit a little bit better than Feliz in Geoff Blum, who has primarily been playing 3B this season. So do we really need three third basemen on the roster? Blum, while not everyone's favorite option at the plate, has been spelling Manzella at short, and can play first, as well.

There's really no reason for Feliz to be on the roster. He was to be a stop-gap, and didn't stop anything. If we're ready to move on from Sullivan, Cash, and Daigle, surely Feliz has to be in there, too.

Forbes: Roy and the Rangers should be more clear tomorrow

Forbes' Kristi Dosh points out that tomorrow will be a big day for the Rangers and, in turn, Roy:

The chance of acquiring Oswalt almost fully depends on Judge Lynn's decision on Tuesday. Oswalt is due $16 million next year, not to mention what will be left of the $15 million he'll make this year. As the ESPN article quoted above states, if the ownership issue is unresolved before the July 31st trade deadline, the Rangers would either have to get approval for the expenditure from other league owners (because of the loan they have from MLB), or the Astros would have to cover a significant portion of Oswalt's salary. Both are highly unlikely.

So, the Rangers will wait with baited breath for Judge Lynn's decision on Tuesday. If Greenberg and Ryan are in control prior to July 31st, the Rangers certainly have the prospects to trade for Oswalt. The question remains, however, how many other postseason-contending teams are legitimately in the running for Oswalt, meaning they have both the need for his serives and the prospects to get it?

Eddie's Farm: June 20

As the much-needed/deserved call-ups and DFAs took effect yesterday, there were still some games being played...

Round Rock

Round Rock brought power and pitching to Omaha for an 8-3 win. Josh Banks threw 8IP, 5H/3ER, 3K:0BB to improve his record to 8-5, and Chris Sampson threw a perfect 9th, striking out one, and needing nine pitches to finish the inning. On to the power: Drew Locke hit two homers, and Meyer, the just-promoted David Cook, and Brian Bogusevic each added one homer. Matter of fact, all eight of the Express runs came by way of the long ball. Brian Esposito got the start behind the plate. (And if you're interested, Jordan Parraz - who was traded for Tyler Lumsden - was 1x3, and is hitting .259).

Man of the Match: Drew Locke.

Corpus

Jordan Lyles was The Man, and the Hooks dominated Frisco again, 7-1. Lyles threw 7IP, 4H/1ER, 8K:0BB while Henry Villar and Matt Nevarez threw scoreless innings to close it out. Jack Shuck, German Duran (RBI), Marcos Cabral, Jimmy Van Ostrand (2RBI), Jon Gaston, and Jonathan Fixler (3RBI) each added two hits. Clemens was 0x4, but did get himself an RBI. Van Ostrand is hitting .364 in June.

Man of the Match: Jordan Lyles

Lancaster

All-Star Break.

Lexington

Last game before the All-Star Break for the Legends, and they took it to Delmarva 6-3. Robby Donovan threw 5IP, 5H/3ER, 7K:5BB for the win. Zach Grimmett threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 3K:1BB, while Jose Trinidad and Kirk Clark nailed it down. Rene Garcia was 3x4 with 3RBI, Miguel Arrendell was 2x3 with 3RBI, and Jake Goebbert and Jiovanni Mier added two hits - plus a walk for Mier. Rough day on the basepaths for the Legends as Jose Altuve was caught stealing twice, Goebbert once, and Mier was picked off first. J.D. Martinez was 1x5, but added an outfield assist (RF to 3B, I love that) to provide further proof that he doesn't need to be in Lexington anymore.

Man of the Match: Rene Garcia

Tri-City

Tri-City got down 5-0 early, and tried to rally but couldn't, for a 5-3 loss. The ValleyCats used five pitchers: Murillo Gouvea (4IP, 6H/4ER, 3K:2BB), Adam Champion (1IP, 1H/1UER, 1K:1BB), Mike Ness (1IP, 0H/0BB), Joan Belliard (2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K), and Jorge De Leon (1IP, 1H/0ER). The ValleyCats offense were 1x12 w/RISP, but got two hits each from Wilton Infante, Tyler Burnett (2 doubles), and Daniel Adamson (2 doubles, RBI). After going 2x4 in his debut, Mike Kvasnicka - playing 3B - finished out the series 0x7. Enrique Hernandez and Joan Belliard committed their first errors of the season.

Man of the Match: Daniel Adamson.

Tranzactionz!

This is one that will be updated throughout the next 24 hours, as the Astros figure out what to do with three holes at Round Rock (and Daigle, Cash, Sullivan can accept a return visit to the Hill Country):

June 20:
-David Cook assigned to Round Rock from Corpus

In 59 games (169 ABs), Cook hit .243/.344/.402, with 48K:23BB, 16 XBH-18 RBI.

There may be more to it (Texas League All-Star Game perhaps), but I guess Jack Shuck's .323/.396/.393, 34K:31BB wasn't quite PCL-ready.

Sizing up the 2008 1st Round

When Jason Castro presumably starts against the Giants (that's it, start him against Lincecum) tomorrow night, he will be the 11th player from the first round of the 2008 draft to debut.

-Four of the picks are pitchers (Matusz, Cashner, Perry, Schlereth).
-Five of the picks are infielders (Alvarez, Beckham, Smoak, Davis, Gillaspie)
-Buster Posey is, of course, the first catcher from the 2008 1st round to get called up.
-The Giants have two players from the 2008 1st round debut (Posey, and Conor Gillaspie).
-Ike Davis has the highest OPS among position players, with .787
-Gordon Beckham (8th overall) has the most games under his belt, with 165.

The winner of the Jason Castro Call-Up sweepstakes...

Back on February 9 we challenged you to name the date Jason Castro would get called up. The correct date was June 20 - obviously.

BryanTSC and Farmstros both said June 5, coming the closest to nailing the correct date. There is a prize involved. More to come...

Delino DeShields Sr also thinks a deal will get done here soon

The Billings Gazette talked to Delino DeShields, Sr about his son and, you know, the Astros:

“I was on the plane the day after (high school) graduation, you know what I mean? There wasn’t any negotiating period and all that. It was sign, I’m on the plane. Now, the higher picks, they’re all kind of posturing, waiting for one another to sign. It’s just a waiting game right now. But I’m looking forward to him getting his career started. I’m hoping something will happen here in the next few days.”

One of our chief arguments has just been totally discounted

One of the reasons we think the Rangers are the likeliest destination for Roy Oswalt is because of what would be a logical reluctance to trade a ton of prospects for a half-season rental within the division. Rangers GM Jon Daniels spits at logical reluctance:

"I'm not opposed to trading in the division, if it's the best thing for our club. It all depends on the specifics of the situation. The reality is, while most teams say they don't have an issue trading within the division, few actually do."

Reaction to the call-ups

Ed Wade sent a shockwave through the fanbase yesterday when he announced that Jason Castro, Chris Johnson, and Jason Bourgeois would be called up, and Kevin Cash, Casey Daigle, and Cory Sullivan were DFA'ed (and Pedro Feliz was basically fired). Why was this such a shock? We all knew this day was coming at some point. But with the Astros there is a big difference between knowing what needs to be done, and then the Apparatus going ahead and actually doing it. This season just became important because, unlike recent years, it just may be that the team realizes there is another year beyond the present.

Ed Wade:
“They are not saviors. They are not perceived as saviors. They are not coming up here to save this ballclub. They are coming up as young players who we think can bring enthusiasm and give us a chance to see what they’re capable of doing in the midst of the season. The responsibility and ultimate accountability from a player standpoint still falls on the players who have been here for a while.”

Mills:
“We have to see what some of these guys can do, and that’s why they need to play. If they’re the ones to go further beyond this year or whatever, we need to find those answers.”

Richard Justice:
If nothing else, the Astros now have two guys who have a chance to get better. Only the Pirates and Orioles have worse record, and no matter what the Astros tell you or themselves, this season is toast. These final 92 games ought to be a tryout camp.

Zach Levine:
Yesterday, and in the generic yesterdays, they were playing to win one game, perhaps to stay above .400 or avoid a sweep. Now they're playing with a plan. To take inventory. To see whether Johnson and Bourgeois can be contributors in seasons that aren't lost. And to give Castro a chance to traverse his learning curve in a low pressure situation and get a real look (not a 2007 J.R. Towles-sized look) at what he can do.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dayum! Now it's on.

Alyson Footer's blog post shook me to my very core.

Chris Johnson, Jason Castro, and Jason Bourgeois were all called up and will be in uniform on Tuesday. That means three dudes are out of a big-league job. And those three dudes are Cory Sullivan, Casey Daigle, and Kevin Cash.

Because Humberto Quintero got popped in the coconut, but may not go to the DL, Castro will be your C1 for the time being. Chris Johnson? 3B1. Pedro Feliz? Bench player. Jason Bourgeois is now OF5.

On SportsRadio 610 this morning we discussed what it would take for the Astros to become interesting again, and this was the answer.

This season just got way more interesting.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G70: Astros v. Rangers

And that, my friends, is how you screw up a game. The Astros lose 5-4.

*The Astros were out-hit in this series 34-13. And out-scored, of course, 19-8.

*The Astros have lost three series in a row to Texas, and are 6-15 against the Rangers from 2007-this afternoon.

*Since taking three of four from the Rockies (June 7-9), the Astros are 1-8. Despite this, their nine wins in June are one away from the highest total of wins in a month this season. (Depressed yet? Keep reading).

*Our Astros are now 4-2 in extra-inning games, and are 9-9 in one-run games. Problem is, in this season, the Astros are 2-16 in games decided by 5+ runs.

*The Rangers' Josh Hamilton came into the game hitting .344/.388/.705. After his 5x6 day, that's now .388/.432*/.731 (*my math could be off. Regardless, it's disgusting.)

*From what I can tell, Hamilton is the second opposing batter to have five hits against the Astros this season - after Edgar Renteria did it on April 7.

*The Rangers enjoyed 21 ABs w/RISP, and got seven hits. The Astros were 2x5. And it could have been worse: The Rangers left 16 on base, while the Astros hung just four out to dry.

*Paulino pitched well (6IP, 10H/2ER) - certainly well enough to get the win - but these are the Astros we're talking about, which means that the bullpen (chiefly Lindstrom and Daigle) screwed it up. Paulino's 36 non-contact strikes (22 called/14 swinging) were the highest total of non-contact strikes since May 8 against the Padres. It was Paulino's sixth quality start in his last seven games.

*Paulino still threw 101 pitches, 69 for strikes. That's 5.61 pitches per out. He has thrown 100+ pitches in 14 of 15 starts this season. How do you throw 100 pitches, get a quality start, and do it all in 6IP? Lots of balls (heh heh). The Rangers had thirteen PAs with RISP off Paulino, and only got three across. Still, he left with the lead. Ten batters saw a two-ball count.

*The Astros - and Paulino - almost got the win. But Matt Lindstrom... Lindstrom gave up four baserunners, two hits and two walks. Lindstrom had not allowed that many baserunners in an outing since June 1, when he allowed three hits and two walks, recording one out. It's the third time this season he has allowed 4+ baserunners.

*Lindstrom has entered the game with the lead 21 times, and has preserved that lead 16 times this season.

*Casey Daigle ain't done so well. He has an 8.10 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP. He has appeared in nine games this season, and has allowed a run in his last five appearances. In only two instances has he thrown a perfect outing.

*Now to the offense. Manzella enjoyed the only multi-hit game of the lineup - going 2x4, and breaking out of a 1x15 slump.

*Pence batted third for the 13th time this season. In those games, he is 14x53 (.264/.316/.453).

*Berkman batted second (1x5, 2B) for the first time since August 10, 2004 (1x2, 2BB against the Mets.)

Norris will make one more rehab start. Then we'll see what happens.

Bud Norris will start Tuesday for Round Rock, and then if the Astros fancy, they'll take their chances. Chances will be taken, that's for sure. (Name that song and get a shoutout.)

Selfishly, I hope he needs two more rehab starts for the Express. Round Rock starts a series in Nashville next weekend, and I'm attending at least three of the four games. Maybe all of them. I'll be on the second row, behind the Express dugout. Holla.

Eddie's Farm: June 19

Round Rock

It was close...for a while. The Express found themselves down 5-4 going into the 8th, and then Omaha broke it open for a 10-4 win. Shane Loux threw 6IP, 4H/5R (4ER), 1K:1BB for the loss, while Evan Englebrook gave up 3H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP and T.J. Burton allowed 1H/2BB, 2ER in 1IP. But Round Rock did some hitting. Bogusevic (RBI), Johnson (RBI), Kata, and Locke had two hits each. Jason Castro hit his 4th HR - a two-run shot - of the season in the 5th inning.

Man of the Match: Jason Castro.

Corpus

Rough start for Tyler Lumsden as Frisco scored all their runs in the first three innings on their way to a 7-3 win. Lumsden gave up 8H/7ER in 2.1IP, but Erik Stiller and Jeilen Peguero combined for 6.2IP of relief, allowing 3H/0ER (Peguero was perfect in 3IP), 4K:0BB. Fielding was an issue, as well as Florentino, Lumsden, and Clemens all committed errors. Jack Shuck and German Duran had two hits each, Gaston (RBI), Clemens (who was also HBPed twice), Cook, and Cabral (solo HR) each added a hit.

Man of the Match: Jeilen Peguero.

Lancaster

Jeez. Lancaster and High Desert actually traded 8-run innings and High Desert came out on top 16-8. Lancaster had an 8-0 lead, and then gave up 16 UNANSWERED RUNS. Let's run through this: Shane Wolf gave up 10H/6R (4ER) in 3IP. Ashton Mowdy gave up 5H/6R (2ER) in 1.2IP. Brian Wabick allowed 3H/2ER in 1IP. Mike Modica allowed 1H/2ER in 1IP. And David Berner was the only pitcher to not see a Maverick cross home plate in 1IP. Six unearned runs hurts, and can be attributed to Mark Ori and Andy Simunic's errors. Of course, the JetHawks did get 12 hits. David Flores was 3x4 with a homer. Lee Cruz was 2x4 with a grand slam. Federico Hernandez was 2x4, getting both hits - which were both homers - in the same inning. The JetHawks mercifully take a break for the All-Star Game, and won't play again until Thursday.

Man of the Match: Federico Hernandez.

Lexington

Rough game for the Legends. Dydalewicz gets torched and the Legends can only come up with two hits for a 7-1 loss. Dydalewicz allowed 6H/7ER, 3K:2BB in 2.2IP, and the bullpen of Leon, Schurz, Clark, and Pitkin held Delmarva to 2H/0ER, 10K:3BB in 5.1IP. Jiovanni Mier and Kody Hinze both had doubles, for the only Legends hits of the game, while J.D. Martinez and Grant Hogue walked. Mier also committed his 19th error of the season. Lexington will finish up the series against Delmarva today, and take a break for the All-Star Game.

Man of the Match: Kody Hinze - 1x3, double, and scored the lone run.

Tri-City

Errors by Ben Orloff and Oscar Figueroa led to four unearned runs and the ValleyCats lost 7-3. Bobby Doran threw 2.2IP, 2H/3R (0ER), 3K:0BB. The pitching staff was once again a strikeout machine (or the Connecticut Tigers are strikeout machines. We'll have to reserve judgment on that), striking out 11 Tigers, and walking three. Brendan Stines, Jeiler Castillo, Alex Sogard, Andrew/James Robinson (can we get a verdict on what his name actually is?) and Brandt Walker all made their season debuts. Tyler Burnett was 2x4, and Orloff, Figueroa, Ben Heath, and Renzo Tello had hits. Heath also allowed two passed balls.

Man of the Match: Tyler Burnett.

Norris gets closer, Fulchino may be hurt after all, and Wandy's still in the rotation

Zach Levine's Notes column touches on all aspects of the Astros pitching staff:

-Norris is nearing a return, but they're waiting on his physical, and mental, sides to come along. Mills:
"Bud broke as one of our starters, and since he's been starting, we're trying to build those innings up and get some confidence going back into how he's throwing the ball. We want to make sure that mentally he's locked in, not only his stuff but that he's able to command the fastball."

Who's spot will he take? Moehler's? Or Wandy's?

More Mills, on Wandy:
"There's some concern there. We're going to continue on his program and continue to talk to him about some things. (Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg) is going to talk to him on the side, and we might take a little bit different approach for his next outing."

Among those approaches may be switching away from catcher Humberto Quintero for Kevin Cash. Because losing 5-0 is preferable to losing 9-1.

And Fulchino may be hurt after all!
"I've been having issues with throwing breaking balls. I can't really throw my slider in there really hard, and it hurts when I throw it."

That said, shutting him down for a while doesn't seem to be an option, as the team evaluates whether or not to give him a cortisone shot after the MRI on his elbow revealed bone spurs, inflammation and bruising, according to Levine.

The Hunt For Roy's October: June 19

Daily round-up of news and rumors surrounding the impending departure of Bulldozer Roy.

Nick Cafardo:
Rangers president Nolan Ryan confirmed the team’s interest in the veteran Astros rigthander. But some in the Houston organization are skeptical that Astros owner Drayton McLane would deal with the other Texas team.

Drayton's got something of a PR problem here. Nobody thinks he's not the one calling the shots, and no matter how hard he backs off the position that he's making decisions, or no matter how often he may be out of the spotlight, Drayton will always be seen as the one screwing up the Astros. Maybe you'll feel sorry for him, but probably not.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G69: Astros v. Rangers

If Colby Lewis (or any other pitcher, for that matter) HAD thrown a perfect game agaisnt the Astros, would it be the least-surprising perfect game in baseball history? Astros lose 5-2.

*Lewis faced 28 batters last night. That's the lowest number of plate appearances since September 12, 2009 when they had the same number against the...yes, Pirates. Except they won that game, 4-2.

*Lewis' Game Score of 88 was the highest by an opposing starting pitcher this season, besting Mat Latos' 87 on May 7. It's the 14th time the opposing starter has thrown a game with a Game Score of 70 or higher.

*The Astros saw 101 pitches, for a game average of 3.61 pitches per plate appearance. The Rangers saw 154 pitches for a 3.95 P/PA average.

*Moehler actually pitched very well (6IP, 1H/2ER, 3K:4BB). In Moehler's five starts this season, he has thrown 24.2IP, 29H/19ER, 14K:14BB for a 6.93 ERA, and the Astros are 2-3 in his starts. But if you take out his first start, where he gave up 8ER in 2.2IP, he posted a 4.50 ERA and a .718 OPS against. Still, the walks have been a problem. In each of his last two starts, he has walked more batters than he struck out.

*The first four spots in the Rangers lineup didn't fare so well. Andrus/Young/Kinsler/Hamilton combined to go 2x19, 2K:0BB. 5-8 in the lineup went 5x10, 0K:5BB.

*Justin Smoak was 3x4, 3RBI. In the two games against Houston, Smoak is 5x9, 7RBI. He had five hits in his previous eight games (31ABs), and he has raised his OPS 60 points in two games.

*The damage to the game was done for the Astros by the bullpen as Lyon allowed two runs in the 8th and Daigle allowed another run in the 9th. Astros starters this season are 15-39, but with a 4.61 ERA / 1.45 WHIP. The bullpen is 11-4, but with a 5.00 ERA / 1.56 WHIP.

*The Astros didn't get a hit until Hunter Pence reached on an infield single in the 5th, and Pedro Feliz promptly grounded into a double play to end the inning. It was his 6th inning-ending GIDP of the season.

*Michael Bourn snapped a three-game hitless streak with a 7th-inning double, and later scored the lone Astro run of the game. He also struck out, something he has done in eight of his last games (13Ks in 39PAs).

Pitch Count Hero: Bourn (1x4) - 17 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Pence (1x3) and Cash (0x3) - 8 pitches in three PAs.

Man of the Match: Brian Moehler.

Goat of the Game: Pedro Feliz. Ended the inning twice.