Saturday, July 3, 2010

Q&A with Vic Christopher

Building on today's theme of Ask Important People Questions Rather Than Speculate On Things Ourselves (it's a working title), we had the chance to do a little email exchange with Vic Christopher, Assistant General Manager for the Tri-City Valley Cats...

AC: Congratulations on surpassing your 1,000,000th fan at Joe Bruno Stadium. Having spent some time in the Northeast, I know how lonely it is to be an Astros fan up there. How is it that the ValleyCats are able to connect with fans in the Capital Region?

VC: The ValleyCats are the Capital Region's local team. Fans in our area usually identify with the Yankees, Mets & Red Sox as their favorite Major League teams. That's fine, because you can be a fan of those MLB teams and still be a ValleyCats fan. When a fan comes through the gates at Joseph. L. Bruno stadium in Troy, they can relate to the local concession items, micro brew beer and entertainment acts. If you grew up in the area, "The Joe" feels like home.

AC: What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

VC: Brainstorming with my co-workers to improve the operation, breaking attendance records, and helping to "create fans for life."

AC: Tri-City seems to get more of the college-age draftees each season. What is the transition like for the players as they start their pro careers, and does the organization help out in any way?

VC: The Latin players are all learning how to speak English, and that's an adjustment. The players have a very close relationship with the front office and the fans. We're always eager to assist in helping to find hotel rooms for visiting relatives and provide a clean facility and comfortable housing for the team.

AC: We're probably not shocking anybody by admitting that, for the past few years, the quality on the field hasn't been so...shall we say...readily apparent. Does that factor into how you present the team to the community?

VC: We've helped to develop 18 Major League players in 8 seasons, including two MLB All-Stars last season (Ben Zobrist & Hunter Pence). I'd call that quality.

AC: Have the Astros invited the ValleyCats staff to Houston? How much communication do you have with the Astros as an organization?

VC: A Minor League organization has a very close relationship with its Major League partners. We communicate regularly on travel, transportation and housing issues. We've developed some great friendships with the parent club and we all meet down at Spring Training in Kissimmee.

AC: Who has been your favorite player in your time with Tri-City?

VC: We like them all, but Bud Norris was probably one of my favorite guys to come through Tri-City. Bud was always hanging around the front office and he was real tight with the fans.


Big thanks to Vic for taking time to answer some questions. Follow along on his blog on the Albany Times-Union, and the ValleyCats on Twitter.

Tyler Kepner's All-Star Team

In advance of the release of the All-Star Teams tomorrow at noon (on TBS), the New York Times' Tyler Kepner posted his own All-Star selections.

Why do we care? Because, as will likely be the case, he gives the Astros one nod, and that nod is to Michael Bourn.

Altuve is short. And good.

The Lexington Herald-Leader's Mark Maloney has a nice profile on Legends 2B Jose Altuve, who is wee.

Rodney Linares:
"One thing going for him is that people see him, and he looks short. He can swing the bat. His biggest thing is that he drives the ball to right-center. He can drive the ball out of the park ... and he's a good hitter."

Ricky Bennett:
"He makes up for his stature by the way he plays the game. He's a little energizer. He plays hard, runs the bases hard, hits in the leadoff spot, and he just goes about his business every day, willing to work hard to be a better player...

...I want him to cut down on his strikeouts because, like I said, sometimes his swing gets a little too big at times. But if he can shorten his swing, put the ball in play, continue to bunt a couple times a week to use his speed that way offensively. ... And just become more consistent defensively — making the routine play, turning the double play at second base. The smaller things we're looking for out of him the second half."

Altuve has already played in a career-high 70 games this season, after hitting .302/.387/.451 between Greeneville and Tri-City, though that was brought down by his 21 games in Tri-City where he hit .250/.337/.316 (and .324/.408/.508 in Greeneville.)

His K:BB ratio is currently 1.63 - the first time in his four professional seasons that it's been higher than 1.00, and his 27.9% extra-base hit rate has dipped a touch from 32.1% coming into this season.

Ahead of him in the organization at 2B (while fluid) is Albert Cartwright at Lancaster (.303/.370/.523, .952 Fld%) and Jose Vallejo and German Duran.

It'll be interesting to see how he fares from here out, as he extends his season past the 66 games he played in during 2009.

The longer JaCoby Jones waits, the better it looks for the Astros

Randy Rosetta covers LSU baseball for the Baton Rouge Advocate, and thus is more in the know than most anybody else - outside of the Astros (but that's a reach) - about what's going on with 19th Round pick JaCoby Jones. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for Astros County.

AC: What's the latest on the Jones developments?

RR: Wish I had an answer on that, but I can’t get JaCoby or his dad, Bubba, to return calls. That’s usually an indication that the family doesn’t want to tip its hand in any way for fear of it being construed one way or another. Which leads me to believe that the Joneses are still willing to entertain an offer from the Astros.

We Astros fans feel like Jones has a solid commitment to LSU - is there any indication to think otherwise?

See the answer above. While JaCoby has spoken to some media members in Mississippi and said he’s committed to playing for LSU, his silence over here and the fact that he hasn’t made a public announcement is a strong signal that the Astros are still very much in play.

How important is Jones to (coach) Paul Mainieri and LSU baseball?

Hugely. Jones and a kid from Lake Charles, La. – Garin Cecchini are the two best position players the Tigers signed in this class and both are weighing pro offers and likely will until Aug. 16.

Jones would almost certainly be a starter from day one at either third base or first base and could be a three-hole hitter. LSU just got a late commitment from a kid named Raph Rhymes from Monroe, La., and LSU-Eunice – a prominent junior-college program. That’s an indication to me that Paul Mainieri thinks he’s not going to land both Jones and Cecchini.

The Astros apparently offered Jones in the neighborhood of $1.5 million to sign. He obviously hasn't done that yet - what can we read into that?

Not to beat a dead horse, but his conspicuous silence with the media tells me he’s seriously mulling whatever offer the Astros have come up with. The longer this drags out, the more it favors the pro team.

Big thanks to Rosetta, and if you like LSU baseball, Line Drives is a must-read.

Kvasnicka, behind the plate

33rd overall pick Mike Kvasnicka was behind the plate for the ValleyCats last night, and Citizen Kevin had a great recap of how he did, with the tease of more information to follow:

Cliff notes: Kvas looked very comfortable behind the plate. PJ Polk stole second and third off him in the same inning, but both were stolen mostly off the pitcher (Brandt Walker). He had one nice block on a ball in the dirt, but the pitchers generally made it easy for him otherwise. More on 'Cats Corner (TC ValleyCats blog) tomorrow afternoon/evening.

If you are not familiar with 'Cats Corner you are surely missing out.

What's happening at middle infield?

We don't often post rumors or speculation (much less a "wouldn't it be cool if...") from other blogs, but the (excellent) Red Sox blog Fire Brand of the American League has a post on the Red Sox' injury woes, and just what the heck the Red Sox do as they sit within striking distance of the AL East - and certainly the Wild Card, as relevant as that is on July 3 - with approximately 91 players on the DL.

They say Keppinger is a guy you can keep an eye on for the Red Sox.

Which leads us to an interesting point: What the heck is happening at middle infield for the Astros? Sure, you can never have too many options at 2B/SS, but it's been strange, to say the least. Over the last ten days, the Astros have acquired or signed the following middle-infielders:

Ramon Vazquez and Luis Maza - both of whom are at Round Rock. Angel Sanchez is quite obviously starting at shortstop for the Astros, with Oswaldo Navarro sitting on the bench. Michael Affronti is at Corpus and can play both 2B/SS.

And there's still Matt Kata, who got time in Houston last season. While currently at 3B for the Express, he can play shortstop, as well.

It's far too speculative to say that the Astros are about to make a move on Keppinger, but they sure are stocking up quick at the upper-levels of Eddie's Farm on the positions Keppinger can play.


Shake-up among the organization's catchers as Cash moves out, and dudes move up!

Lou Santangelo assigned to Round Rock from Corpus.
John Curtis assigned to Corpus from Lancaster.

And in a couple of other transactions...

10th Round pick Evan Grills assigned to GCL Astros
Edwin Maysonet assigned to GCL Astros (rehab)

Eddie's Farm: July 2

Round Rock

Despite outhitting Memphis 7-4, the Express fall 2-1. Josh Banks threw an 88-pitch, complete game 8IP, 4H/2ER, 4K:1BB (and a stolen base, apparently), and got the loss. Tommy Everidge got three hits, while Bogusevic was 1x2 with 2BB. Brian Esposito was 0x4 with 4Ks.

Man of the Match: Josh Banks.


The Hooks are mired in what you would call a "losing streak" to the tune of nine games after a 6-3 loss to Tulsa. Jeremy Johnson threw 5.2IP, 7H/3ER, 6K:1BB. Fernando Abad allowed 3H/2ER in 1IP for the loss, and Danny Meszaros gave up an unearned run in 1.1IP. Michael Affronti was 2x4, and Jon Haston was 1x3 with a 2-run triple, and Jhon Florentino added your other RBI.

Man of the Match: Jon Gaston.


Brutal loss for the JetHawks as San Jose scored three in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 win over Lancaster. Dallas Keuchel had thrown 7H/1ER, 6K:0BB until the 9th. After getting two outs, but loading the bases, Mike Modica gave up a three-run double to Juan Perez, clearing those bases. All three runs were charged to Keuchel. Andy Simunic was 2x4, while David Flores was 1x3 with an RBI and a walk. Federico Hernandez added the other RBI.

Man of the Match: Dallas Keuchel, despite the loss.


The Legends almost got more errors than hits in a 5-0 loss at Hickory. Jose Cisnero threw 6IP, 7H/4R (3ER), 5K:2BB, while Mike Schurz allowed 1ER in 3H, with 2K:0BB in 2IP. All four errors belonged to 3B Miguel Arrendell (fielding, throwing, throwing, throwing). Rene Garcia was 2x4, while Brian Kemp was 1x4 with the only extra-base hit. Jose Altuve and Jake Goebbert added the other two hits.

Man of the Match: Rene Garcia.


The ValleyCats got themselves ten hits, but were 3x14 w/RISP, and left eleven on base on their way to a 5-4 loss to Connecticut. Jake Buchanan threw 4.2IP, 5H/3ER, 6K:1BB. Adam Champion threw 1.1IP, 2H/1ER, 1K:0BB and Brandt Walker threw a 7th inning, seeing him get 2K:2BB and a run. Andrew Robinson closed out the final two innings with 1H/0ER, 3K:0BB. Ben Orloff, Daniel Adamson, and Oscar Figueroa had two hits each, with Figueroa getting 2RBI (Enrique Hernandez and Tyler Burnett providing the other RBI). Orloff also drew two walks, getting him on base four times, resulting in one run scored. Mike Kvasnicka called the game behind the plate, and was 1x5 with the pitching staff getting 12K:3BB.

Man of the Match: Goes to Ben Orloff.


A day after getting blanked by Bristol 21-0, the Gastros were defeated again, this time by a more respectable 5-1 margin. Mike Foltynewicz allowed 2H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP (an increase over his 1IP debut). Garrett Bullock gave up 5H/2ER, 0K:1BB in 3.1IP. Ryan Cole gave up 3H/1ER, 1K:0BB in 2.2IP. The Gastros did only get two hits - Chris Wallace and Telvin Nash. Ryan Humphrey scored the lone run.

Man of the Match: Ryan Cole.

GCL Astros

Nice win for the GCL Astros, 8-4 over the GCL Marlins. Mark Jones threw 4IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:4BB, and a bullpen of Rafael Feliz (0.2IP, 1ER), Juan Mojica (1.1IP, 0ER), Matison Smith (2IP, 2H/1ER) and Dieudone Paul (1IP) combined for 5IP, 4H/2ER, 3K:3BB. Brian Pellegrini - back for rehab time, Juan Monzon, and Ernesto Genoves had two hits each, with Monzon (2RBI) and Genoves (3RBI) combining in the 7-8 spot for 4x8, 5RBI. Edwin Maysonet was 1x3, RBI in a rehab start.

Man of the Match: Ernesto Genoves

From the Office of the County Clerk - G81: Astros @ Padres

The season is officially halfway over, and that makes the math easier. With the 3-0 loss to the Padres, yet again at the hands of Mat Latos, the Astros are on pace to finish 64-98.

*After 81 games, the 32 wins the Astros have recorded to date are the lowest since 2000, when they were 28-53 after G81. They haven't had a winning record at the halfway point since 2004, when they were 42-39 at the midway point.

*The Astros' offense was miserable yet again. Carlos Lee got two of the four hits (Keppinger and Angel Sanchez, in his debut, got the others.) In his last ten games, Lee is hitting 13x38 with four extra-base hits - all doubles - and three RBI. He also has 2K:6BB in that span, and has raised his average from .223 to .238.

*The Astros posted 9K:0BB as a team. Incredibly, it's the fifth time this season the Astros have been struck out 9+ times and not drawn a walk.

*The offense got to a three-ball count six times, and in those PAs went 0x6, 4K. Four strikeouts with three balls!

*This is something I'm calling out The Constable to make something of, but Mat Latos posted an 81 Game Score. This is after Latos threw an 87 at the Astros on May 7. This is the first season since 2006 that one opposing pitcher has thrown two starts in the same season with an 80+ Game Score (Carlos Zambrano: June 5 - 86; July 20 - 80).

*Pence was 0x3 on the night, and is 5x31 on this road trip. Three of those hits came on June 28 in the first game of the Milwaukee series.

*Roy threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 7K:2BB. It's his 14th quality start in 17 starts. When Roy throws a quality start, he's 5-7 with two no-decisions, thanks to the 33 runs the Astros have scored for him in those quality starts.

*Roy's 76 Game Score was the highest he's posted since May 26 at Milwaukee.

*When Roy pitches, the Astros are 6-11.

*Brandon Lyon took the loss, allowing all three runs in the 8th. It's the 5th time this season Lyon has allowed multiple runs in an outing, and the third time he's allowed three runs.

*From June 1-July 1 (so not including last night) Lyon had allowed 3ER in 13IP.

Pitch Count Hero: Keppinger (1x4) - 19 pitches in four PAs

Pitch Count Punk: Pence (0x3) - 7 pitches in three PAs

Man of the Match: Roy!

Goat of the Game: The entire offense - save Carlos Lee - is on the hook for this, but Brandon Lyon is the one guy we can point to and say, "You!"

Friday, July 2, 2010

If you were looking for a suitable analogy for the Astros' organization as a whole, this would be a good one

Geoff Blum hurt himself putting on his shirt.

"He was putting on his shirt after the game and his elbow goes 'boom.'"It popped, and it blew up on him."

Of course it did.

So here's what had to happen.

1. Blum is out.
2. Angel Sanchez - acquired for Kevin Cash - is on the 40-man roster.
3. Jason Bourgeois had to be optioned to Round Rock to make room for Sanchez.
4. Except Bourgeois is staying in his hotel room, because no one is sure if Blum will have to go on the DL.
5. If he does, they'll "recall" Bourgeois from his hotel room.

"As of right now it looks like we might not have Blum for three, four, maybe five days. It's easier to stick someone out there in the pasture than trying to stick him in the middle of the diamond."

So Oswaldo Navarro - despite his having options remaining - stays in order to have an extra infielder. Want to hear the OF5 options? I knew you did: Jeff Keppinger and...Pedro Feliz.

Ed Wade, on Bourgeois:
Jason's done a great job since he's been here and I've told him as soon as we can get him back here, we'll get him back here."

Kvasnicka to catch tonight

Got a nice little note from our friends in the Northeast with the Tri-City ValleyCats that the Astros 3rd overall selection in this year's draft, Mike Kvasnicka, will be catching for the first time tonight. Check in tomorrow morning - before Germany-Argentina - for your recap.

Dayn Perry questions Ed Wade's existence

In a haughty article on Fox Sports, Dayn Perry brings the heat about how great the American League is, because they have all the money. And all the intelligent GMs. Logic would lead us to assume that there is not an intelligent GM in the National League, or at least the good ones are screwed over by their respective owners.

As for the NL, you have an unfortunate number of hapless and semi-hapless operators who also happen to run the high-revenue clubs. In Chicago, Jim Hendry needs to be fired yesterday. In Philadelphia, Ruben Amaro has made several questionable moves since taking over for Pat Gillick.

Mets GM Omar Minaya might be in the midst of saving his job (though the grassroots Howard Megdal campaign continues to build momentum), but his leadership has been inconsistent and unfocused at best. Ditto for Ned Colletti in L.A. and Brian Sabean in San Fran, whose teams seem to tread water and occasionally succeed in spite of the front offices.

In Florida, you find the opposite problem -- Larry Beinfest, one of the most gifted execs in sports, is hamstrung by Jeff Loria, one of the worst owners in sports. And, of course, there's no excuse for the continued employ of Astros GM Ed Wade.

Of course.

Heyman correctly identifies Astros as "sellers"

As if we needed his help figuring that out.

Heyman, on Oswalt:
"The issue is that there may not be as much to gain as they'd like...One GM said he has heard the Astros would be willing to pay some of the contract, depending on the return they get.

On Berkman:
Could help someone once he drops any notion that an acquiring team would have to exercise his too-high $15-million option for next year, but as one GM said flat out of Berkman, who's hitting just .245 with only seven home runs, "he's having a bad year."

Again, stellar analysis.

On anybody else:
Word from another baseball exec is that "just about everyone but Hunter Pence" is available -- though Michael Bourn is probably also someone they want to keep. The issue for Houston remains whether they possess much that will bring the prospects they need. Carlos Lee is yet another whose contract, which includes two more guaranteed years at $37 million total, exceeds his value. "Nobody's going to take Lee." one GM said.


In addition to the Kevin Cash trade, by which I am still dumbfounded, there some notable transactions yesterday:

-Assigned Jose Vallejo to Corpus from GCL.

To say that Vallejo was expected to miss the season, this is a pretty incredible recovery.

-Andrea Lucati assigned to GCL Astros from Greeneville.
-David Cook assigned to Corpus from Round Rock
-Henry Villar placed on temporarily inactive list.

Eddie's Farm: July 1

Round Rock

Round Rock never led in this game, thus getting beat by Memphis 5-3. Wesley Wright threw 3.2IP, didn't allow a hit, but did walk four (striking out five), with two runs (none earned). Yorman Bazardo threw 3.1IP, 4H/3ER, 3K:1BB, and Brad Thompson allowed 2H in a scoreless 8th. Fresh off his rehab assignment in the GCL, Collin DeLome was 0x5 with 4Ks. Luis Maza, Brian Bogusevic, and Ramon Vazquez had two hits each, with Bogusevic hitting his 9th homer of the year - a two-run shot.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic


Tulsa enjoyed a three-run first inning, which pretty much wrapped it up for a 6-2 win over the Hooks. Tyler Lumsden went 2IP, 5H/3ER, 1K:4BB (2WP). Matt Nevarez threw two scoreless innings, allowing just a walk, while Erik Stiller matched Lumsden with 2IP, 5H/3ER, and 2HR allowed. Erick Abreu struck out five in 2IP. Jhon Florentino had two of the Hooks' four hits - both of them solo homers. Marcos Cabral and Michael Affronti each added a hit. Shuck got an outfield assist, getting Davis at 3rd from CF.

Man of the Match: Erick Abreu


The JetHawks got two in the 8th and three in the 9th for a 5-4 win over San Jose. Ross Seaton threw 5IP, 6H/4R (3ER), 3K:4BB; Edwin Walker threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 3K:1BB, and David Berner got the win with a hit and two walks allowed in 2IP. Jay Austin and Brandon Barnes had two hits each (Austin: 2 2B, 2RBI). John Curtis and David Flores added RBIs.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


The Legends got themselves a 4-run 5th inning for a 6-3 win over Hickory. Juan Minaya allowed 5H/3ER, 4K:3BB in 4.1IP, while Jose Trinidad got the win after being perfect - with 5K - in 3.2IP. Kirk Clark nailed it down for his 15th save. Jonathan Meyer was 4x5 with two doubles and three runs scored. Jiovanni Mier was 2x3 (RBI), Our Boy Aaron Bray was 2x4, and Jake Goebbert, Jordan Comadena, and Brian Kemp added RBIs.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Meyer (though Jose Trinidad was a close candidate).


That's a run! ValleyCats win 4-2. Tommy Shirley threw 4IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:4BB while a bullpen of David Martinez, Travis Blankenship, Joan Belliard, and Jorge De Leon combined for 5IP, 2H/2R (0ER), 7K:1BB. Since being converted from SS to reliever, De Leon has yet to allow a run (3H/3BB) in 5.1IP. Enrique Hernandez was 3x5, Adam Bailey was 2x4 for your multi-hit games. Mike Kvasnicka was 1x4 with an RBI and a walk, and Wilton Infante and Ben Heath added the other two RBI. Tyler Burnett was 1x2, 2BB.

Man of the Match: Bullpen.


Just reading this will make you an accessory to murder. Bristol got a 12-run 3rd inning on their way to a 21-0 win over Greeneville. Ricardo Batista allowed 7H/9R (5ER), 1K:2BB in 2IP. Jamaine Cotton allowed 3H/5R (0ER), 2K:1BB in 1IP. B.J. Hagen allowed 5H/3ER in 2IP, and Justin Harper allowed 4H/4ER in 3IP, with 5K:1BB. That's nine unearned runs on five errors, which would have made it a more respectable 12-0 loss.

Here's your Bristol 3rd inning:
Drew Lee (single), John Spatola (single), Daniel Black (sac fly, error on Nash), former Astro prospect Tyler Saladino (single), Michael Schwartz (walk), Rangel Ravelo (reach on error), Chase Blackwood (walk). Pitching change. Qualon Millender (strikeout), Jordan Keegan (single), Drew Lee (single), John Spatola (strikeout), Daniel Black (walk), Tyler Saladino (reach on error), Michael Schwartz (grand slam), Rangel Ravelo (fly out). Bristol sent 15 men to the plate in the inning.

Jhonny Medrano got two of the Gastros' three hits, with Chris Wallace collecting the other one.

Man of the Match: Pardon me if I don't hand this one out.

GCL Astros


A lot of runs have been scored with two outs

It's an age-old maxim. In the County Clerk's G80 recap, he discovered that the Astros have scored 46.7% of their runs (133 of 285) with two outs. That seemed high to me, so I took it to the NL to see where the rest of the teams fall in for this stat.

TeamRuns ScoredR w/2 out2out%
St. Louis34314141.1%
Los Angeles36713236%
San Francisco32110332.1%
New York36211632%
San Diego33210631.9%

The rotation: June 1 - July 1

As we prepare the June Employees of the Month for the Big Club, I got curious about how the rotation did last month, with last night included:


Interesting, huh? Oswalt made five starts, while Wandy, Myers, and Moehler each made six, and Paulino made four starts. Roy had the lowest WHIP, but it was Moehler who posted the better ERA. Granted, there are a lot of external variables in ERA, but it's still a telling month for the rotation.

Lyles starting to get more respect

Minor League Ball's John Sickels has a quick hit on Jordan Lyles:

I know he doesn't have the 99 MPH fastball that attracts notice, but he throws hard enough in the low-90s, his secondary stuff is advanced for his age, he throws strikes, and his performance has been excellent. He's also a good athlete. I don't know why he doesn't get more attention, but he looks like a helluva prospect to me. At this rate he'll be a Top Ten Pitching Prospect by the end of the year. Depending on what happens with other pitchers and what his year-end numbers and scouting reports look like, he could be a Top Five guy.

I would do well as a minor-leaguer

Zach Levine's article on the problem of the minor-leaguers keeping their weight up hits home.

As major leaguers reap the benefits of the constant feeding needed to provide energy for 162 games, minor league players all over the Astros system and beyond struggle to keep weight on over the course of their own long season — 140-144 games at the full-season levels of the minor leagues, not including spring training.

J.D. Martinez:
"I've lost 10 pounds since spring training easily. You've got to constantly monitor your weight. Even if you're not hungry you have to get calories."

I'm a five-tool prospect at getting calories when I'm not hungry!

From the Office of the County Clerk - G80: Astros @ Padres

So when do they release the bees? Astros win in 10 innings, 6-3.

*Bourn and Keppinger went a combined 4x10 with 5RBI, as Lee had the night off and Berkman basically did, going 0x4 with 2K:1BB.

*Interesting play in the 2nd inning. With the Astros ahead 1-0, with two outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd, with first base open, Jon Garland intentionally walked Michael Bourn to get to Keppinger, who was 2x5 against Garland. I guess that's better - for Garland - than Bourn, who was 5x13 with a double and triple against him. Keppinger ripped a double, scoring two. It's the 3rd time this season Bourn has been intentionally walked.

*Chris Johnson was 2x4 with a walk. In his last twelve ABs, that's 1K:2BB for Johnson.

*On this road trip - currently at six games - Johnson is 11x25 with three doubles and 5RBI.

*Pence was 1x5 on the night in the #3 hole. When batting 3rd, Pence is 17x58 (.293/.339/.483). That's compared to .245/.291/.403 when batting in his customary #5 spot.

*Humberto Quintero drew three walks, after having drawn four all season - in 151 plate appearances. It's Quintero's first multi-walk game since July 30, 2009 and just the third of his career.

*The Astros scored three runs in the 10th inning to give them the 6-3 lead. All three runs (and five total) came with two outs, as walks by Quintero and Navarro led to Bourn's 2-run triple, and Keppinger scored Bourn one batter later.

*The Astros have scored 285 runs this season, 133 (46.7%) of them with two outs.

*Moehler had a good outing, allowing 4H/1ER, 2K:2BB in 5.2IP. It's his third straight outing of allowing two earned runs or less and lowers his ERA to 5.20 - which is the lowest it's been since he joined the rotation.

*Wilton Lopez was your bullpen goat. Coming in for the 7th, Nick Hundley tripled to deep right, Hairston lined out, Salazar scored Hundley on a sac fly, and Tony Gwynn Jr singled to center. Gwynn got to second on a balk, Eckstein singled, scoring Gwynn, and Eckstein was thrown out at 2nd trying to advance, and that would have brought up Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez was 0x5 on the day, but still. It's Adrian Gonzalez.

*It was the first time Lopez had allowed a run since June 22 - seven appearances between runs allowed, and ten appearances since his last earned run (June 17). This was the fourth time this season Lopez has allowed multiple runs in an outing.

Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (2x5, 1BB) - 28 pitches in six PAs.

Pitch Count Punk: Geoff Blum (0x3, BB) - 14 pitches in four PAs.

Man of the Match: Michael Bourn. Came up with the big hit when it mattered.

Goat of the Game: Wilton Lopez.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Astros actually trade Kevin Cash

So pardon my outrage from yesterday. It seems as though I was able to witness the last game Kevin Cash ever played for the Astros' organization.

Because the Astros traded him to the Red Sox for infielder Angel Sanchez.

In order to make room for Sanchez on the 40-man roster, the Astros designated Yordany Ramirez for assignment.

Ed Wade:
"We feel with Tommy Manzella out, to get a little bit more backup and support defensively in the middle of the infield made sense for us."

Sanchez will be 27 in September, and was drafted in the 11th Round of the 2001 June draft. Sanchez has played the last two seasons in Triple-A - with the Las Vegas 51s (Toronto), and hit .305/.363/.428 in 126 games. In 62 games this season for Pawtucket, he has hit .274/.348/.327, with 30K:24BB.

Sanchez has played mostly shortstop, but also got a little time at 2B and 3B.

He was a 2010 Caribbean Series All-Star for Puerto Rico.

A couple of things about this:
1. The fact that the Astros got a Triple-A guy for Kevin Cash is amazing.
2. Oswaldo Navarro: You're on notice.
3. Ramon Vazquez: What the heck was that signing?

Yeah, because Josh Hamilton should get something else for his 156-yard drive

So Josh Hamilton hits a 468-foot homer off Oswalt. Yeah, he needs some golf clubs.

Josh Hamilton's home run Sunday off Roy Oswalt has now provided him the equipment to pick up golf is he wants too. Hamilton's blast, which was estimated at 468 feet by the ballpark, was an estimated 485 feet by one stat service. That's enough to get Hamilton a set of clubs from Callaway.

For the remainder of the season, Callaway is giving an major leaguer who hits a homer at least 470 feet a set of Callaway Diablo Edge clubs. Hamilton is the fourth major leaguer to garner a set of sticks so far this season, joining Atlanta's Jason Heyward, Washington's Adam Dunn and St. Louis' Colby Rasmus.

Funny, because if Ed Wade can't deal Roy, he'll need the golf clubs way before Josh Hamilton will.

Bogusevic named to PCL All-Star Team

Brian Bogusevic has been named to the PCL All-Star Team for the July 14 All-Star Game against the International League.

Bogusevic is Round Rock's lone representative on the 30-man squad. The Astros 2005 first-round pick out of Tulane is hitting .289 with eight homers, 36 RBI and six stolen bases. He leads the PCL with 61 runs scored and ranks sixth in the league with 89 hits. Bogusevic leads the Express with 28 multiple-hit games and ranks second on the squad with eight multiple-RBI outings.

Eddie's Farm Employees of the Month: June

Another month has come and gone for Eddie's Farm. So who are the Employees of the Month?

Round Rock

Position Player: Drew Locke. Locke followed up a strong May with another strong month, earning the honor of the Eddie's Farm Employee of the Month. Locke was 32x101 (.317/.343/.525) with 14 extra-base hits.

Pitcher: His one brutal outing for the Astros notwithstanding, this goes to Josh Banks. He was 3-1 (7-2 since April), allowing 23H/8BB in 30IP for the Express in June, for a 1.50 ERA. Hitters managed a .219 line against him.

Honorable mention: Jonah Bayliss. In eight appearances (11IP) in June, Bayliss allowed 4H/1ER, 14K:0BB.


Position Player: Jack Shuck. Hit .347/.426/.376 in 25 games in June with 13K:14BB.

Honorable Mention: German Duran. Hit .342/.398/.425, with 8K:8BB.

Pitcher: Jordan Lyles (though you could insert Doug Arguello in here, too). Allowed 29H/7ER in 30IP, with 33K:9BB, and was rewarded with a 1-2 record.


Position Player: Initially had a hard time giving it to a 27-year old in the California League, but Lee Cruz hit .400/.429/.650 in June, so that took care of that.

Pitcher: Wasn't even close. Dallas Keuchel was 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in four starts, allowing 25H/6ER in 27.1IP, with 23K:6BB. Looking forward to seeing him in Corpus.


Position Player: Our Boy Aaron Bray followed up an April in which his OPS was .440 with a May in which his OPS was .470. June, however, saw him post a .391/.451/.516 line, for a .966 OPS. J.D. Martinez posted a .994 OPS in June, but since Bray is Our Boy, and hit .391, he's our winner.

Pitcher: Zach Grimmett. In seven appearances (20IP), Grimmett allowed 12 hits and five walks for a 1.80 ERA.

We'll pick up with Tri-City, Greeneville, and the GCL Astros when they've had a chance to play more than 10 games.

Mets: The Astros are just being ridiculous

As the Cliff Lee sweepstakes heat up (with the Yankees rumored to be involved, after Lee beat the piss out of them), Roy remains a number of teams' Plan B, including, possibly, the Mets:

If a deal for Lee does not happen, Houston ace Roy Oswalt remains an intriguing backup plan. The Mets believe that Oswalt is imminently available, but consider the Astros' current demands of top prospects and payment of the approximately $25 million left on the pitcher's contract far too steep.

I'll agree with a few of the Citizens who have left comments regarding Wade's stance on this trade: He's starting with a high-price as the basis of a negotiating where a happy medium is ultimately reached. Hopefully.

1B Koby Clemens is an interesting development

There's a Nocturnal Emissions-worthy story from Richard Justice this morning on the Ballad of Roger & Koby, but there are some glowing quotes out of The Apparatus that would indicate the Astros getting comfortable with the idea of Koby advancing as 1B, maybe after Lance?

Now about Koby. It would be impossible to underestimate how much the Astros love this kid. They aren't convinced he'll have a long big league career, but they know it'd be a mistake to underestimate him.

Corpus manager Wes Clements:
"Koby just loves the game. No matter what facet of the game you're talking about, you only have to tell him once. He has worked his butt off."

What about his 1B ability?
"He's done great. Better than anyone thought he would. He's starting to learn the intricacies of the position."

Ricky Bennett:
"He's so solid,. He's one of the most mature players in our system."

Clemens will be 24 in December, and since 2009 is hitting .310 with 102 extra-base hits (38 homers) in 700 ABs.

For whatever reason, the Astros signed Tommy Everidge (who is fine, I suppose. I did see him hit a very long homerun Tuesday night against the Sounds.) But right now he's the only 1B between Clemens and Berkman (not counting Blum or Feliz). Could Clemens make that jump from Double-A? Presuming the Astros don't pick up Berkman's option - I'd rather see the Astros give Clemens a shot than running Blum out there in 2011.

Angels may be interested in Berkman, but maybe not's Lyle Spencer notes that the Angels aren't afraid to pull the trigger on a major move at the trade deadline, and that could include an interest in Berkman. Of course, his price tag "could be exorbitant."

Having dealt premium prospects Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney to the Rays last Aug. 28 in a waiver deal for Kazmir, the Angels don't have a surplus of young talent to offer. This makes a potential blockbuster deal less likely than it was at this time last year, when Roy Halladay was in their sights before zeroing in on Kazmir.

Wade talks trade philosophy

McTaggart has an article about July being the month for trades and dealing.

"We'll obviously pay attention to what's taking place to see if there's opportunities to improve the club. Being a buyer or seller or those types of things -- those are words or phrases that really don't mean anything. We will go about our business the way we always do. If anything looks like it has legs to it, we'll follow through on it."

Easy Eddie won't say much - he rarely does regarding trades - but he does acknowledge having preliminary conversations with teams about some deals.

For his part, Roy is going out of his way to show he's healthy:
"This is the best I've ever felt, as far as the first half of a season."

Does he feel great because of his health, or because he's possibly leaving the Astros...?

Eddie's Farm: June 30

Round Rock



Off. But it was the Texas League All-Star Game, and the Hooks were well represented. Jordan Lyles threw a scoreless 4th inning, and got the win. Koby Clemens was 0x4 with 2Ks, Lou Santangelo was 0x1 with a K, and Jack Shuck was 0x3. Still, Shuck stole the spotlight with his glove:

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the South clinging to a one-run lead, Midland RockHounds closer Jared Lansford gave up consecutive hits to the Wilin Rosario of the Tulsa Drillers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals teammates Clint Robinson and Tim Smith.

When Smith singled to shallow left field, Rosario was waved around third and headed for home. Shuck fielded the ball on one hop and fired a strike to Hooks catcher Lou Santangelo who easily applied the tag to end the late-inning drama.

"I didn't expect him to be headed home, actually," Shuck said. "I knew I was playing shallow and I knew I had a shot at him when I saw him take off. I just let it go."


Jeez. The JetHawks were dominated by Modesto in an 8-1 loss. David Duncan threw 5IP, 9H/4ER, 3K:1BB, with a wild pitch and an HBP. Kyle Godfrey threw a perfect 6th inning, while Ashton Mowdy allowed 2H/2ER, 1BB in 1IP, and Mike Modica allowed 2H/2ER, 2BB in 1IP. The JetHawks only collected three hits (Barnes, Cruz, Parejo). Brandon Barnes also drew the only walk, and thus became the only JetHawk to get on base twice.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes.


Four in the 4th and two in the 5th led Hickory to a 7-4 win over the Legends. Tanner Bushue dropped to 4-4 after allowing 8H/7ER, 4K:1BB in 4.1IP, allowing two homers totaling five runs. Colton Pitkin closed it down with an impressive 3.2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 2x4 with a double and an RBI, and Jake Goebbert also collected two hits, and an outfield assist. Jonathan Meyer was 1x4 with the other RBI. Jiovanni Mier was 1x4 with a double, but also committed his 22nd error of the season.

Man of the Match: Colton Pitkin.


The ValleyCats wrapped up a three-game set at Vermont, and managed to not score a single run. Vermont wins 8-0. Murillo Gouvea allowed 4H/6ER, 1K:3BB for the loss. Blakez, Sogard, and Stines threw scoreless outings, while Mike Ness gave up a 2-run homer in the 8th. Tri-City only got four hits on the night (Orloff, Heath, Tello, Burnett), with Tello hitting a double, and Heath also drawing the only walk of the night.

Man of the Match: Ben Heath.


Pitching battle in Kingsport as the Gastros defeat the Mets 2-0. Ruben Alaniz threw 5IP, 3H/0ER, 4K:1BB, while Brian Streilein, Phil Rorabaugh, and Travis Smink combined for 4IP, 5H/0ER, 4K:1BB. Telvin Nash was 2x4, and Bubby Williams hit a solo homer, with Jonathan Merritt adding an RBI double.

Man of the Match: Bubby Williams

GCL Astros

Brutal game for the bullpen, as the GCL Mets and GCL Astros were locked up 6-6 going into the 9th. But the Mets scored four in the top of the 9th for the 10-6 win. Luis Ordosgoitti allowed 6H/3R (1ER), 5K:2BB; Austin Lucas gave up 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB in 1.1IP, and Pedro Gomez allowed 6H/6R (2ER), 1K:1BB in 2IP. That's six unearned runs, thanks to errors from Monzon, Gomez, and Fernandez. Continuing his rehab assignment, Collin DeLome was 2x4, and Jose Fernandez, Jose Vargas, and Roberto Pena each added two hits. Kyle Redinger was 1x3 with 3RBI.

Man of the Match: Kyle Redinger.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paulino may return after the Break

Although he's eligible to come off the DL next week, Felipe Paulino may not return until after the All-Star Break.

"We're definitely going to be cautious with him, especially since he's such a special arm. We want to make sure he's 100 percent and his strength is back where it needs to be. We need to err on the side of caution and let him get strong."

Agree. 100%.

Austin Wates apparently not close to signing

There's been some chatter on Twitter about how the Astros are not, in fact, close to signing 3rd Round pick Austin Wates. On Monday we posted a link to a Roanoke, VA report from Virginia Tech's coach, Pete Hughes, that the Astros and 3rd Round pick Austin Wates were close to an agreement.

That is apparently not the case. Someone who seems close to the report says that Coach Hughes was misquoted and is contacting the paper for clarification. Also "a lot" would have to happen for Wates to sign.

More as this gets clearer.

Berkman the White Sox Plan B?

ESPN's Rumor Central wonders if the White Sox might pursue Berkman if the Nationals do want everything in the world for Adam Dunn:

With it sounding like the Washington Nationals are going to ask for the world in return for Adam Dunn, who has drawn interest from the Chicago White Sox, we thought perhaps Berkman could serve as the backup plan for GM Ken Williams, or any other club looking for help at DH or 1B.


June 30

Carlos Mojica assigned to Lancaster from Tri-City.

Interesting, because Mojica hasn't played yet this season, and hasn't been above Greeneville yet. Although he is a catcher, and there's been a lot of shuffling at C this season.

June 29

German Duran assigned to Round Rock from Corpus.

It could be because of the All-Star Break for Corpus, because the Express already have Ramon Vazquez at 2B. Or it could be because something is about to happen.

Banks back to Round Rock, awaits next injury

Josh Banks has cleared waivers after being DFAed, and will accept his assignment to Round Rock.

Two more signings

Brian McTaggart tells us that the Astros have signed 28th Round pick Jason Chowning, from Oklahoma, and 42nd Round pick Paul Gerrish, out of TCU.

Recap of Angel Gonzalez' 6IP no-no

Nice little write-up of Greeneville pitcher Angel Gonzalez' no-hit outing this morning.

Greeneville pitching coach Dave Borkowski:
"Basically I took him in the 'pen and we worked on his fastball and getting it down on lefties and hard and in on righties...

..."He started off the game quick, got two quick outs and then got a little fine and got in a rut. From the second on, he pounded the zone, made the hitters swing at his pitch and forced the hitters to be aggressive. He did a heck of a job."

Weird tweet from Peter Gammons

Last night, as I sat at Greer Stadium for the Express/Sounds game, I saw something pop up on Twitter from the esteemed Peter Gammons:

When 'Stros wouldn't let Kevin Cash go back to Bigs, RSox are 9th team to have a Molina.

This is implying that the Red Sox were interested in Kevin Cash, but the Astros kept him in Round Rock. What the hell? Is C3/C4 so important that the Astros wouldn't let a guy - who has been with the Red Sox before - go back to the Majors and enjoy some time in Boston? We don't have near enough information to figure out what's happening here, but it's worth an explanation?

Fulchino to DL, Daigle called up

You probably saw this yesterday, but Jeff Fulchino has been placed on the DL with tendinitis in his right elbow.

"I thought I had turned the corner on this thing, and today I came in and it didn't respond. It was stiff this morning when I went to throw. It's a step in the wrong direction. We made the decision to take some time off because I've done everything I can do to get better, aside from taking time off."

"We tried to nurse it through, and he threw well last night and felt good coming out of the game, and this morning -- not to put words in his mouth -- he felt like he was back at square one. I wish I would have pressed the issue to put him on the disabled list at the time. With the All-Star break timed into this thing, that's four days right there we won't lose. Hopefully, we get him back in position to where this is a thing of the past. We know how valuable he's been to us since we claimed him off waivers."

And there was no real alternative considered, other than bringing Daigle back up:
"He throws strikes. That's probably the tipping point in Casey's favor is that they felt he was capable of coming up here and putting the ball in the strike zone. They didn't talk about alternatives."

Yep, strike zone. Right down the pipe...

Eddie's Farm: June 29

Round Rock

It really got away from Shane Loux in the seventh inning, as the Sounds scored three runs, turning a 2-2 game into a 5-2 lead, and adding one more for a 6-3 win over Round Rock. Loux threw 7IP, 9H/5ER, 8K:0BB, and allowing two solo homers. Three two-out hits in the 7th led to the difference in the game. Yordany Ramirez was plunked on the hand and added two hits, and Matt Kata was 2x4 (double, homer in the 9th, and a walk). Tommy Everidge hit one of the longest homeruns I've ever seen - certainly the longest I've seen at Greer Stadium - in the 4th.

Man of the Match: Matt Kata




Doubled up by Modesto, after allowing eight runs in the first three innings, and the JetHawks lose 10-5. Kyle Greenwalt gave up 8H/8ER, 1K:3BB, and got eight outs (how's that for symmetry?) Leandro Cespedes threw the final 5.1IP, 3H/2R (1ER), 2K:1BB. The JetHawks were 4x17 w/RISP, and left 12 on base. Freddy Parejo was 3x4 with an RBI, and Albert Cartwright was 2x5 with an RBI for your multi-hit games. Brandon Wikoff was 1x3 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Leandro Cespedes


The Legends overcame a 5-run 2nd inning by Hickory (who overcame a 4-0 Legends lead by the middle of the 2nd) for a 6-5 win over the Crawdads. Robby Donovan threw 6H/5ER, 1K:2BB in 2IP. Zach Grimmett came in with 4IP in relief, allowing 2H/0ER, 5K:1BB. Wander Alvino (2IP) and Kirk Clark (1IP) allowed a hit and a walk each, but no runs. The top of the order provided nine of the 14 hits, and five of the six runs. Jose Altuve, in the leadoff spot, was 3x4 with 2R. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 4x5 with an RBI and 2R. J.D. Martinez was 2x4 with a run and an RBI. Jiovanni Mier also added two hits on the night. Over his last ten games (12x33), Mier is hitting .364/.463/.485.

Man of the Match: I'm going with Our Boy Aaron Bray.


If you're counting at home, this 4-0 loss to Vermont is the second straight shutout, and the ValleyCats have scored two runs in their last three games (allowing 13). Bobby Doran allowed 6H/4ER, 1K:2BB. Andrew Robinson threw two scoreless innings, and Adam Champion and Jorge De Leon added one scoreless inning each. If you're in a hurry, don't worry, this won't take long. The ValleyCats got two hits - Wilton Infante (in the 4th) and Ben Orloff (in the 9th), while Hernandez, Afenir, and Orloff also added walks. Thanks to two GIDPs, the ValleyCats only got 29 plate appearances. Mike Kvasnicka got the night off.

Man of the Match: Let's give it to Andrew Robinson, eh?


Game 1: Oooh, durn pitch counts. Angel Gonzalez had a no-hitter going through 6IP, striking out four, and walking two. B.J. Hagen allowed 3H/2ER, 1K, in 1IP for the 7-2 win. Jhonny Medrano, Marcus Nidiffer, and Bubby Williams all hit homers.

Man of the Match: Angel Gonzalez

Game 2: Greeneville wins again, 9-1. Jeiler Castillo, Garrett Bullock, and Ryan Cole each threw 2IP with 2Ks, with Bullock getting the win after Castillo allowed 4H/1ER. Justin Harper threw 1IP, 1K:1BB. Chris Wallace and Marcus Nidiffer hit homers, and the Gastros spread out nine runs over seven RBIs. Hector Rodriguez was 3x5 (RBI), while Wallace and Nidiffer added an extra hit each.

Man of the Match: Marcus Nidiffer (dude hit two HRs yesterday).

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros and GCL Cardinals traded 4-run innings, but the Cardinals scored the last five runs for a 10-6 win. Danilo Del Rio allowed 4H/4ER, 3K:1BB in 5IP, while the bullpen of Emmanuel Cedano, Matison Smith, Jeremiah Meiners, and Juan Mojica combined for 3IP, 7H/6R (5ER), 4K:2BB in relief. Meiners allowed three hits and a walk for three earned runs in 0.1IP, and his ERA is currently 67.50. Kyle Redinger was 2x4 with a triple, 3RBI, and a walk. Jose Fernandez was 2x3 with a walk, and Monzon, DeLome (rehabbing), and Parra added RBIs.

Man of the Match: Kyle Redinger

From the Office of the County Clerk - G78: Astros @ Brewers

Myers got lit up and the Astros, despite scoring five runs, lost to the Brewers, 7-5.

*Myers' four home runs allowed was a career high.

*Three of the four homers were solo shots, as have been (now) 123 of the 189 HRs he's allowed.

*The first two homers came on the first pitch - the second two on the third pitch of the AB.

*The 7ER Myers allowed were a season high, and the highest since he allowed 10ER in 4IP on September 19, 2008 at Florida.

*Pedro Feliz was 2x4 with a solo homer. That's five hits in this series. It's the third time this season - and the first since April 24-25 - that Feliz has had back-to-back multi-hit games.

*Berkman was back in the lineup and in the #3-hole, responding with a 3x5, 2RBI night. It's Berkman's 5th 3-hit game of the season and his 8th 2+ RBI night.

*The Astros have scored 21 runs in the 9th inning in 13 instances. In seven games they've scored one run; two runs four times, three runs twice. Just FYI (since that what this is all about), the Astros haven't scored more than five runs in an inning, and they've scored the most runs (41) in the 1st inning.

*Bourn has a six game hit streak rolling, and is 12x28, with 3K:2BB, 4RBI in that span.

Pitch Count Hero: Jason Castro (1x3, BB) - 22 pitches in four PAs. (Bourn saw 23 pitches, but in 5 PAs)

Pitch Count Punk: Oswaldo Navarro (0x2, BB) - 13 pitches in three PAs.

Man of the Match: Michael Bourn - 2x4 with 2RBI, and a money catch in center to rob the guy every Astros fan loves to see walk back to the dugout: Jim Edmonds.

Goat of the Game: Hunter Pence - 0x5 (0x2 w/RISP).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mets "not serious" about Roy

Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tweeted this:

Mets aren't a serious player for Oswalt, I'm told.

If the Mets are out, that would seemingly indicate that the Twins and the Rangers are in play for Roy. But it would seem like the belle of the ball is Cliff Lee. Once he gets dealt, Roy would likely be next in line.

Following that up, FanGraphs sees light in Houston

Unbelievable. FanGraphs has something nice to say!

There are a couple small things that Lyles can continue to work on. His ground-ball rate is just average at 44% and better worm-burning numbers could help him when he pitches at home in Houston. His numbers against left-handed batters are not too bad – in part because of a low BABIP – but his strikeout rate drops from 9.95 against righties to 6.35 K/9. This could suggest that his change-up is not an overly effective pitch against lefties – or he’s just not using it enough...

...Another interesting stat with Lyles this year is his strikeout rate with runners in scoring position, which is just 4.38 – compared to 9.85 K/9 with the bases empty. This is basically the exact opposite of what you want to see; the more you put balls in play, the more likely you are to fall victim to bad luck (or bad fielding) because you don’t want to give base runners the chance to scamper home.

Lyles wants to hit

In the Texas League Notebook, we see that Jordan Lyles is getting antsy, what with just pitching, and all.

Lyles, on his toughest adjustment to pro baseball:
"Not hitting. Not playing football, not playing basketball. Just baseball year around."

Corpus manager Wes Clements:
"He's a natural competitor. He wants to hit more than he wants to pitch. He asks me to pinch-hit three or four times a week. I keep telling him I like my job too much. He hit a ball in San Antonio after I just told him, 'If you hit a ball and you think you can get a hit, I don't want you running 200 percent down to first base.' Of course, he did. He ran his butt off. He was coming back to the bench -- he was out, it was a close play -- keep in mind this was in the middle of a complete-game, 104-pitch win against San Antonio, and he was more concerned about the hit that he didn't get than anything else...

..."He doesn't throw 95, but his delivery is a little different. Big, tall kid, and 90 at the knees works pretty good. It works pretty good in the big leagues."

Martinez to stay in Lexington all year?

Interesting note from Zach Levine, responding to Deputy Street about the status of J.D. Martinez:

Martinez (probably) staying at (Lexington) whole year. No place, and big jump to (Corpus) and they don't see any need for (Lancaster).

I understand it, but, jeebus. How long does a guy need to hit .360 before he gets to move on? He'll be 23 in August, and even with him on the roster, the average age of a Lexington player is 21-ish. In Lancaster, the average age is 23.1, with a more appropriate 24.8 for Corpus. Hopefully he'll get up to Corpus in 2011, because there's not a reason (as Levine noted) to send him to Lancaster.

The Hooks currently are running an outfield of Shuck, Steele, and Gaston. Only Shuck has an OPS higher than .750 (.757, to be exact), while Steele's OPS is .569 and Gaston's is .658.

We're not advocating the loss of anyone's job, but what is the purpose of holding Martinez behind (age-wise) a level for a full season?

The Hunt for Roy's October, June 29

A couple of links for you today on The Hunt for Roy's October:

NY Post, following last night's loss and an injury to prospect Jenrry Mejia:
This injury, though, is even more reason for the Mets to make a deal. Last night could be a sign of things to come if the Mets don’t add reinforcements. At the least they should be paging Roy Oswalt.

The loss made the Mets 3-9 on the road against the NL East. That’s not going to get it done. Several Mets told me that management “has to step up and add a pitcher.”

Noted Manuel: “I think every club that is in the position we’re in, is looking to solidify that. Just like anybody in baseball would think, the best way to solidify that is pitching. I wouldn’t be against it.”

Joe Torre, on Lee/Oswalt:
"Those guys have proven they're top of the rotation guys. They're experienced Cy Young-type individuals, the type of pitchers that can certainly help the ballclub. I don't think there's any question about that...Somebody they can learn from, and even though it may not be a verbal learning, it may just be watching the way they go about their business, and not having to carry all that weight yourself as a young inexperienced guy."

Paulino could return July 6

Within the Chronicle's Notes Column we hear from Felipe Paulino, who is apparently pain-free.

He had been resting for three days since his cortisone shot. Paulino is on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis and hasn't started since June 20. In the interim, Brian Moehler will remain in the rotation. The righthander will start Thursday's series opener at San Diego, manager Brad Mills confirmed.

Gouvea: Brazilian, pitcher

The Albany Times-Union has a story on pitcher Murillo Gouvea, who is Brazilian, plays baseball and not soccer! (anyone else find this a little stereotypical?)

Gouvea, on being one of 12 Brazilians in the minors:
"I'm working on just throwing strikes," Gouvea said. "Throwing strikes and getting outs."

That current combination of knockout stuff and a lack of consistent command suggests Gouvea may be best suited for a relief role -- in nine appearances as a reliever for the Astros' rookie-ball affiliate in Greenville, N.C., last season, Gouvea sported a 3.77 ERA over 282/3 innings, striking out 30 and walking only eight.

But for now, he's just happy to be breaking the mold and, perhaps, blazing a trail.

"We don't have too many great players in Brazil, but there is talent," Gouvea said. "If one person born in Brazil gets to the major leagues, it could really open the doors."

Levine on Hinze

Nice profile on Lexington's Kody Hinze from Zach Levine.

Rodney Linares:
"His approach has changed so much from year one, and even last year to this year, where he's not swinging at balls. He's looking for that ball up that he can drive."

Michael Bourn, who watched a 7th-grade Hinze take BP at Nimitz:
"I knew he could always hit. He was hitting them out of our high school park when he was in the seventh grade."

32nd Round Chrismon isn't leaning one way or the other

Among the handful of players yet to sign, 32nd Round pick Austin Chrismon has no idea what he'll do:

"I'd say it's the most important decision I've had to make, by far, because it affects my future. It's very exciting, but at the same time it's very stressful. I have friends constantly asking me questions, and I just have to tell them I don't know yet. I have those who tell me it's all about getting your education, and I have those who tell me it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I have to take. But I'm not leaning either way right now. I'm right in the middle."

But make no mistake, it's about the Green:

"We're just trying to get as much out of them as possible before making a decision. For now, I'm just taking it one day at a time and focusing on the next time I throw. I probably have a better chance of signing and getting the money I want now than in the future. And if they go to a worldwide draft, it's possible I wouldn't get drafted (in '13). I'm just looking at this as a chance to show what I can really do. I have to sell myself, I guess. It all depends on how well I can do."


A lot to cover here in this edition:

June 28

Tri-City sent P Jeiler Castillo to Greeneville.

June 27

Corpus activated Erick Abreu from the temporarily inactive list, and placed Jared Wells on the 7-Day DL.

Corpus signed Michael Affronti, and sent Barry Butera to Lancaster.

Lancaster then placed 3B Ebert Rosario on the temporarily inactive list.

Michael Affronti comes to the Astros organization from Oakland's Triple-A team in Sacramento, where he was hitting .214/.245/.290 in 46 games. In five minor-league seasons, Affronti has hit .254/.300/.354 and has a career .955 Fld% at 2B/SS.

Eddie's Farm: June 28

Round Rock

Sloppy game from the Express all around as Nashville wins 11-2. Though they didn't lead to any runs, Drew Locke, Sergio Perez, and Ramon Vazquez all made errors, while Brian Esposito allowed a passed ball. Andy Van Hekken threw 6IP, 7H/6ER, 2K:0BB, and a balk. Sergio Perez game up 5H/5ER, 1K:2BB in 2IP. Matt Kata, Ramon Vazquez, and Brian Esposito all had two hits, while David Cook and Esposito drove in the runs.

Man of the Match: Brian Esposito, I guess.


Errors must have been on tap, as Frisco swept the Hooks with a 5-4 win. Errors by Florentino and Cabral led to two two unearned runs for Arguello, who threw 7IP, 5H/4R (2ER), 4K:4BB. Payano and Peguero threw 2.2IP combined, allowing 2H (both Peguero's), 2K:2BB. Danny Meszaros gave up the game-winning run in the 11th. Two-hit games came courtesy of Cabral, Van Ostrand (RBI), Florentino, Affronti (more on him in a forthcoming post), and Santangelo (2RBI). Shuck and Clemens struck out four times each. In his last ten games, Koby Clemens is hitting .121 (4x33).

Man of the Match: Doug Arguello.


Hey-o! Pat Urckfitz comes through in long relief, escapes a late jam, and the JetHawks win 7-6. Shane Wolf gave up 5H/4ER, 1K:3BB in 3.1IP and Pat Urckfitz threw 5IP, 3H/2ER, 7K:0BB. Wabick and Walker got an out each to close it out. Lee Cruz was 4x5 with 3RBI, and Andy Simunic, Brandon Barnes, Freddy Parejo, and David Flores had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Lee Cruz


Lexington cut the lead to one in the 9th, but left the tying run on second base, and the Legends lose 4-3 to Rome. Brad Dydalewicz allowed 7IP, 7H/4ER, 4K:3BB in the loss, and Arcenio Leon and Mike Schurz combined for 3K in the final two innings. The Legends got five hits on the night, including a homer from J.D. Martinez, while Goebbert (1x3, BB, RBI), Meyer, Garcia, and Kemp (RBI) added the other knocks. Jose Altuve flied out to center with Kemp on 2nd to end the game.

Man of the Match: J.D. Martinez


No offense for the ValleyCats as they lose the opener of a road trip to Vermont 2-0. Carlos Quevedo threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 6K:0BB and Joan Belliard allowed one walk in 2IP. The four hits were by Enrique Hernandez, Ben Heath, Adam Bailey, and Oscar Figueroa. Mike Kvasnicka was 0x2 to drop his average to .121, but drew two walks on the night.

Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo



GCL Astros

The GCL Astros got all they needed with a 6-run 4th as they defeated the GCL Nationals 6-2. Francis Ramirez threw 5IP, 4H/2R (1ER), 4K:1BB and Dieudone Paul - I like him - threw 4IP, 5H/0ER, 3K:1BB - and has yet to allow a run so far. Roberto Pena was 3x4 with two doubles and 3RBI, while Monzon, Fernandez, and Wright added RBIs on the night.

Man of the Match: Roberto Pena

From the Office of the County Clerk - G77: Astros @ Brewers

Okay, that was nice. Astros win 9-5.

*After the 2nd inning, the Astros were down 4-0. That they came back to win marks the largest comeback win of the season.

*When starting the 3rd inning behind, the Astros are now 8-26.

*The big story on offense was Michael Bourn's 4x6 day. It's obviously the most hits he's recorded in a game this season, though this was his 19th multi-hit game of the year. But he actually did get four hits in a game at Colorado on May 14, 2009. And again against Pittsburgh as a Phillie on July 27, 2007.

*Bourn also hit his first homer of the season, his first since July 10, 2009. He has hit four homers since the beginning of 2009 - two of them against Milwaukee.

*Berkman got the night off. How much of an effect does that have on the record? When Berkman starts, the Astros are 26-35. When he doesn't, they're 4-12.

*1-4 in the lineup: 10x19, 2K:3BB, 6RBI.

*Pedro Feliz was 3x5 with a double on the night, it was his first extra-base hit since June 15 - which is also the last time he had a multi-hit game.

*Chris Johnson drew a walk!

*Okay, now let's get to Bud Norris. In his first start since May 23, Norris threw 5IP, 9H/5R (4ER), 6K:1BB. It was his 10th start of the season, and he has made it to that 16th out just once.

*Norris threw first-pitch strikes to just nine of 23 batters. In those nine PAs? 2x8, 3K (and a first-pitch homer from Braun). Regard the Brewers' second inning: The Brewers came in with a 1-0 lead, Norris threw first-pitch balls to six of seven batters, and three runs scored with two outs (on a double to shallow left and two singles).

*The story of the bullpen was Brandon Lyon, who struck out all four batters he faced.

*With the win, the Astros are 8-18 in the first games of series.

Pitch Count Hero: We might have a season-high here. Jason Castro (0x4, BB) - 32 pitches in five PAs.

Pitch Count Punk: Carlos Lee (2x4, BB) - 11 pitches in five PAs.

Man of the Match: I think this one's going to Michael Bourn - 4x6, 2R, 2RBI, HR.

Goat of the Game: Not sure what we could have expected from Norris, who was making his first start in over a month. Dude battled himself with the whole "not throwing strikes" thing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

With Manzella out, the Astros are comfortable with Navarro and Blum

It makes sense, but seriously, God help us all.

"We're comfortable giving Geoff playing time over there and as is the case with Johnson and Bourgeois and Castro, we have to find out about Ozzie. He's only about 26 years old, and if he can show the steady play he showed at [Triple-A] Round Rock at this level, then it behooves us to give him a shot instead of somebody with experience that doesn't carry the upside because of age or whatever.

Right now we're not actively looking for a shortstop. That said, if something came along we thought would make sense, we'd pursue it."

There it is...

More Signings!

We need to add to the list of undrafted free agents, and Baseball America has our back:

RHP Austin Lucas, out of Jacksonville State
1B Ryan Ditthardt, out of Troy
3B Rafael Valenzuela, out of Arizona

(Everyone all at once) Welcome!

We also find out that the Astros have released 3B Rayner Contreras.

Cash to the Red Sox?

In the wake of the Red Sox' clubhouse looking like a Civil War field hospital, and the news that Victor Martinez may miss some time after breaking a finger, the Providence Journal is curious about whether or not Kevin Cash may come back to Boston as a stopgap.

We have a verdict!

Thanks to some help from the Robinson family, we can say with confidence that James Andrew Robinson will, from now on, go by Andrew.

Astros to sign 3rd Round pick Austin Wates

Big props to Deputy Street for digging up that the Astros have agreed in principle with 3rd Round pick Austin Wates. You have to wade through a lot of the notebook to get to this:

Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes said that All-ACC outfielder Austin Wates has agreed in principle with Houston, which selected him in the third round but the Astros have not made an announcement. Hughes said that five other Tech underclassmen are on the fence.

That leaves Delino DeShields, Jr, and Adam Plutko as the only Top 10 picks to not have at least agreed in principle.

Maybe the reason the Astros sucked in Inter-league play is because the Astros suck

I've seen an article here and there about how the Astros' woes in 2010 Inter-league play is MLB's fault. The Astros wuz robbed, and whatnot. Let's keep a few things in mind here, as we reflect on their 3-12 record against AL teams.

1. The master schedule for 2010 was released in September 2009.

2. So that means the Astros were already scheduled to play the Rangers (six times), Yankees, Royals, Rays before the season started.

3. Of course, anyone who pulls the Yankees and Rays is going to scream and cry. But the Rangers are a given, and the presence of the Royals should have made it easier.

4. Using CHONE's 2010 Projected Standings (Depth Chart version), the combined record of the Astros Inter-league opponents was projected to be 349-299 (.539). Their actual W/L percentage, as of today, is .561. Once you take out their records versus the Astros, the win% drops to .549

5. So let's flesh this out a bit, among the 15 other NL teams - with the cumulative winning percentages as of today:
Atlanta: 9-6 (White Sox, Tigers, Royals, Rays) - .518
Arizona: 6-9 (Red Sox, Tigers, Yankees, Rays) - .588
Chicago: 8-10 (White Sox, Angels, A's, Mariners) - .493
Cincinnati: 8-7 (Indians, Royals, A's, Mariners) - .421
Colorado: 9-6 (Red Sox, Royals, Angels, Twins, Blue Jays) - .529
Florida: 7-8 (Orioles, White Sox, Rays, Rangers) - .508
Los Angeles: 4-11 (Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Yankees) - .579
Milwaukee: 9-6 (Angels, Twins, Mariners, Rangers) - .531
New York: 13-5 (Orioles, Indians, Tigers, Twins, Yankees) - .477
Philadelphia: 10-8 (Red Sox, Indians, Twins, Yankees, Blue Jays) - .533
Pittsburgh: 2-13 (White Sox, Indians, Tigers, A's, Rangers) - .505
San Diego: 9-6 (Orioles, Mariners, Rays, Blue Jays) - .458
San Francisco: 7-8 (Orioles, Red Sox, A's, Blue Jays) - .474
St. Louis: 9-6 (Royals, Angels, A's, Mariners, Blue Jays) - .479
Washington: 5-13 (Orioles, White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals) - .432

Now. This is a lot of information, but the main thing you can take from this chart is this: Only one team in the National League with an overall losing record had a winning record in Inter-league play, and that's the Milwaukee Brewers.

There are teams who have a bigger beef than the Astros about getting railroaded in the Inter-league section of the schedule. The Diamondbacks' opponents have a .588 Win%, but the D-Backs still won six games. The Dodgers' opponents have a .579 win%, no doubt helped by the fact that the Dodgers went 4-11 against them.

The Astros were outscored by 47 runs in 15 Inter-league games (3.13 runs) and, oh yeah, the Astros have been outscored by 129 runs in 76 games (1.70 runs) overall. It's not like this was an uncharacteristic performance, and some Wild Card chances were derailed.

Sure, the Astros drew a tough Inter-league schedule, but good teams beat other good teams. Bad teams...well, they tend to lose to good teams.

ESPN Rumor Central has a lot of questions, not a lot of answers

And following that up with ESPN's Insider-Only look at the market for Lance:

Perhaps the Angels are a fit, since they are apparently in the market for first baseman now. But more seriously, how about the San Francisco Giants? Even their best bat, Pablo Sandoval, is struggling, and the Giants might be able to spare some pitching to snag Berkman. The Yankees still don't have an everyday DH, so we can't count them out, either.

Monday Afternoon episode of "Roy and the Rangers"

So let's take a quick gander at the latest developments of the Ballad of Roy and Nolan:

ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett:
The Texas Rangers have filed an updated plan as instructed by U.S. bankruptcy judge D. Michael Lynn that includes alterations needed to gain sale approval. In the meantime, a new bidder has contacted the creditors about the club should the process start over, according to the Sports Business Journal...

...Sports Business Journal reported Monday that Jeff Beck, a Dallas businessman who was helping finance former agent Dennis Gilbert's offer last year, has been in touch with creditors about the team. The report says Houston businessman Jim Crane has also contacted creditors. Beck owns Beck Ventures, a real estate company, and is also the chief executive of Capital Senior Living Corp., which develops senior living areas.

But neither Beck nor Crane may have an opportunity to buy the team.

Obviously the Ryan-Greenberg group is pretty confident that their revised plan will satisfy the Rangers' creditors, or they wouldn't be pushing for less time to pull off the deal. It would seem that Priority One for the Rangers is to get their crap together by the trade deadline, in order to add a piece to aid them in getting to the postseason. But will it be Roy?

Buster Olney:
Heard this: As Texas prepares for the trade deadline, the Rangers recently scouted Jeremy Guthrie and Ty Wigginton of the O's.

No one in Round Rock likes the Red Sox

When News 8 in Austin named Drew Locke the Athlete of the Week, they talked to him about being drafted by the Red Sox out of Boston College:

"When we watch Red Sox games in the clubhouse, no one else wants to watch it because they're always on T.V. No one else likes them."


Mets not all that interested in Roy

It could be a smokescreen, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post cites "multiple sources" that the Mets aren't real interested in dealing for Oswalt.

So it remains possible the Mets will have to lower their rotation scope. Multiple sources tell me that despite having been tied to Houston's Roy Oswalt and Cleveland's Fausto Carmona, the Mets have little interest in either righty. The Cubs' Ted Lilly, a lefty also in his walk year, is more to the Mets' liking from the not-Lee category.

But no addition of any ilk -- from Lee downward -- is on the doorstep.

Banks DFA'd, Moehler's job safe

Josh Banks was designated for assignment yesterday, to make room for Bud Norris' return tonight against Milwaukee.

This means that Brian Moehler's job is safe, at least until Felipe Paulino returns from the DL.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G76: Astros @ Rangers

Anyone else starting to take this personally? Rangers whip Astros 10-1.

*The Astros were outscored in this series 18-41. It's the largest run differential in Silver Boot history.

*This was the 8th game in which the Astros have given up 10+ runs, and the fifth time this season they've been defeated by 9+ runs.

*With the loss, Roy's record dropped to 5-10. It's just the fourth time in his career he has reached 10 losses. He first reached 10 losses on Sept 22, 2004; and then again on August 17, 2005; and September 16, 2008.

*Roy's line of 4.2IP, 7H/8R (7ER), 3K:4BB, 2WP, 2HR was uncharacteristic. He hasn't given up 7ER+ since April 11, 2008. It's also the third time this season he has allowed multiple HRs. He gave up 2+ HRs four times in all of 2009. It was also the first two wild pitches Roy had thrown this season. The two wild pitches are more than Roy had totalled in five complete seasons.

*Jason Bourgeois was 0x4 for his first hitless game in four starts with the Astros.

*In this series, Berkman was 1x8, 3BB. Carlos Lee was 4x10, 3BB. This says more about the ability of the players ahead of them to get on base, but they combined for one RBI - on Lance's solo homer.

*1-5 in the order: 1x17, 3BB. 6-9 in the order: 5x13.

*This was the 10th time this season the Astros haven't collected an extra-base hit.

*The only hitters with an average above .300 are the two who just came up: Chris Johnson (.302) and Jason Castro (.313).

*In 43 plate appearances to start the season, Chris Johnson has not yet drawn a walk. And if we take it back to 2009, Johnson has drawn one walk in his Major League career - a span of 65 plate appearances. In the 43 plate appearances, Johnson has worked the count to three balls seven times.

Pitch Count Hero: Bourn (1x4) and Lee (0x3, BB) - 18 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Jason Castro (2x2) - six pitches in two PAs

Man of the Match: Jason Castro - only batter to get multiple hits

Goat of the Game: Roy Oswalt

Sunday, June 27, 2010

41st Round pick Bryce Lane got 15th Round money

The Panama City News-Herald has an article on the signings of some local players, including 41st Round pick Bryce Lane:

Lane was rewarded for his patience in the process. His low draft slot came with a larger signing bonus, he told the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer. He didn’t divulge the bonus amount, but said the Astros signed him with a figure similar to those given to players taken in the 15th round.

Roy is Minnesota's Plan B

The Twins are looking hard at Cliff Lee. And if that doesn't work out, they're looking at Roy.

But all indications are that the Twins are willing to make such a deal. They are also willing to look at Houston righthander Roy Oswalt if they can't swing a deal for Lee -- if they don't have to give up too much.

And in this piece, Ron Gardenhire is all for it:
"Everybody wants the best pitchers in baseball. So if there are upgrades that can make your team better, I think every manager in baseball will tell you the same thing -- sure."

The Star-Tribune breaks down the cost-benefit (bringing us back to William's question/argument):
Lee can become a free agent this fall, so a team trading him now would be renting him for three months at about $4.5 million, and Seattle will expect top young talent in return. Houston might not get as much for Oswalt, but he's owed about $7.5 million for the rest of this season and $16 million next year, with an option for 2012.

It seems that, regardless, there are two top-tier pitchers available in Lee and Roy. And there are at least two teams who need that top-tier pitcher. So the math adds up for a potential deal to get done.

Thanks to Johan Santana's rape accusation, Roy may become more attractive

But not in, you know, a sexual (assault) way. Both the New York Daily News and ESPN New York wondered if Santana's start yesterday - the first since allegations broke about sexual assault during the offeason - in which the Mets lost 6-0 to the Twins will lead to the Mets pursuing even harder Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt.

Moehler awaits rotation decision

The Astros have a decision to make. Mainly, who's in the rotation, and who's not? Bud Norris will rejoin the rotation on Monday, and with Wandy's spot in the rotation tentatively locked up, Bernardo Fallas asks what will happen to Brian Moehler?

Brad Mills:
You know, the way he pitched he sure deserves another start. We’re going to wait until (today) to make that decision.”

Hm. In his last four starts, Moehler has performed as follows:

21.2IP, 22H/11ER, 14K:15BB, 56% of his pitches for strikes, and the Astros are 2-2 in his starts.

Wandy's last four starts:

21IP, 24H/17ER (7.29 ERA), 11K:12BB, 58% of his pitches for strikes, and the Astros are 1-3 in those four starts.

Who would you leave out? How long of a leash is Wandy on?

Eddie's Farm: June 26

Round Rock

Game was suspended in the 4th for rain, with the Express up 1-0. Play will be resumed this evening.


Jeez, Corpus. Gave up three in the 4th, got two back in the 8th, but it wasn't enough, and the Hooks lose 3-2. Jeremy Johnson threw 5.1IP, 6H/3ER, 6K:2BB and took the loss. Nelson Peguero struck out three, walked two, and allowed a hit in 1.2IP while Matt Nevarez allowed a hit in 1IP. Interesting line from Danny Meszaros: 1IP, 0H/0ER, 4K:1BB. Yeah, four strikeouts. How? Marcus Lemon walked. Renny Osuna struck out looking. Matthew Lawson struck out swinging, but it was "wild," and Lawson advanced to first. Taylor Teagarden struck out swinging. Andy Jenkins struck out looking. Seven hits for the Hooks - all singles. Shuck (1x3, 2BB), Cabral (1x5, RBI), Clemens (1x2, 2BB), Van Ostrand (2x4, RBI), Florentino, and Butera collecting.

Man of the Match: Danny Meszaros


Stockton was up 8-0 before the Hooks got on the board, and go on to win 13-6. Ross Seaton allowed 6H/7R (6ER), 1K:3BB in 2.1IP. Mike Modica struck out two in 1.2 perfect innings, while Ashton Mowdy (3IP) and Brian Wabick (2IP) combined for 11H/6ER, 5K:4BB in 5IP. Albert Cartwright (3SB) and Freddy Parejo had three hits each, while Brandon Wikoff was 2x4 for your other multi-hit game. 1-5 in the order (Austin-Cartwright-Barnes-Cruz-Parejo) combined to go 10x24, 4RBI.

Man of the Match: Albert Cartwright


Thriller in Lexington, as the Legends rally from 5-3 down to defeat Rome 10-6. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 3H/3ER, 5K:2BB, while Arcenio Leon allowed 2H/2ER, 2K:1BB, 3WP, in 2IP. Kirk Clark blew his 4th save, but got his third win with 2IP, 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB. Jose Altuve was 4x5, and Our Boy Aaron Bray was 2x5 with a double and 2RBI. Jake Gooebbert and Jonathan Meyer had 2RBI each, and J.D. Martinez hit his 8th homer of the season in the 1st inning. Kody Hinze was 1x2 with 3BB.

Man of the Match: Aaron Bray.


A day after scoring a season-high seven runs and losing, the ValleyCats got seven in the first inning and shutout Lowell for an 8-0 win. Tommy Shirley threw 3IP, 3H/0ER, 7K:2BB, while Alex Sogard (2IP, 3H), Mike Ness (2IP, 2H), and Travis Blankenship (2IP, 1H) closed out the shutout. The ValleyCats scored eight runs on eight hits - with only two for extra bases - and drew eight walks. Ben Orloff and Jacke Healey got two hits and an RBI each. Wilton Infante and Frank Amonte drew two walks each.

Man of the Match: Tommy Shirley.


The Gastros got the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th and defeated Johnson City 4-3. Mike Foltynewicz made his 25-pitch debut, throwing 1IP and allowing a hit.

Citizen Larry was at the game and had this report:
Mike Foltynewicz looked sharp in his debut for Greeneville tonight. He was on a strict 25 pitch count which he did confirm to me before the game. 1IP with one baserunner picked off first, one groundout and one flyout. He faced the minimum 3 batters with the single allowed erased by a nice looking pickoff.

John Frawley threw 3IP, 7H/2ER, 5K:0BB; Andrea Lucati threw 1IP, 2H/1R (0ER); Jamaine Cotton (1.1IP), 3H/0ER, 1K:1BB; B.J. Hagen (1.2IP, 1H); Travis Smink got the save with 1IP, 1K. Jonathan Merritt, Emilio King, and Jhonny Medrano (RBI) were each 2x4 with a double, and Chris Wallace and Telvin Nash added RBIs.

Man of the Match: Jhonny Medrano

GCL Astros