Saturday, August 14, 2010

What the heck happens when Manzella comes off the DL?

There's a big decision coming when 27-year old Tommy Manzella is eligible to return from the DL: Play him, or play 26-year old Angel Sanchez?

Let's look, shall we?




NamePAsAvg/SLG/OBPK:BBXBH-RBISB/Err
Manzella209.212/.259/.25457:106-160/8
Sanchez128.291/.331/.37622:68-140/2


Some key splits to consider:

Against RHPs:



NamePAsAvg/SLG/OBPK:BBXBH-RBIBABIP
Manzella164.168/.211/.20154:63-11.247
Sanchez84.262/.311/.36912:57-11.306


Against LHPs:



NamePAsAvg/SLG/OBPK:BBXBH-RBIBABIP
Manzella45.375/.432/.4503:43-5.405
Sanchez38.333/.351/.36110:11-3.462


w/RISP:



NamePAsAvg/SLG/OBPK:BBXBH-RBIBABIP
Manzella53.196/.245/.23914:42-14.257
Sanchez35.233/.303/.3674:23-14.269


Is this a definitive look? Hell, and no, it's not. Are we dealing with a ridiculously small sample size? Hell, and yes, we are. But at least they're comparable sample sizes. I give the edge to Sanchez, but I'm also not sure what you do with Manzella.

"Good chance" Plutko goes to UCLA

Yahoo's Kendall Rogers has a nice rundown of the status of some top-level draftees heading into the signing deadline, including 6th Round pick Adam Plutko:

The Bruins also have their eyes on high school signees Adam Plutko and Zach Weiss. Plutko was a sixth-round selection of the Astros and Weiss a 10th-round pick by Pittsburgh. There’s a good chance both players go to college but it will be a long weekend in Westwood.

On 3rd Round pick Austin Wates:
Virginia Tech has its eyes on veterans Austin Wates and Jesse Hahn. Wates was a third-round pick of the Astros and he reportedly has been to Houston for a physical. Wates is expected to sign assuming he passes the physical.

We already know that Wates passed his physical, so expect an announcement soon, I guess.

44th Round pick Garza going to college

44th Round pick Alexis Garza has decided to take his talents to the University of New Mexico, and not the Gulf Coast League.

Figueroa to start Tuesday

Nelson Figueroa had his start pushed back, due to migraine-like symptoms, to Tuesday.

Figueroa:
"Everything checked out OK. They just felt it was better to be on the safe side -- and I agree with them -- and we handled it that way. With the day off on Thursday, it wasn't going to hurt the rotation. Everybody can just jump back in their spot and I'll join the rotation on Tuesday instead."

All is not lost for Paulino's rotator cuff

Bernardo Fallas' Notes Column gives us a little more info on what Dr. James Andrews said to Paulino (after, of course, he slipped up and called him "Favre" three times).

Paulino:
"Dr. Andrews conferred with the team diagnosis. He said there is inflammation in the rotator cuff, and he also said there is improvement. I feel good after hearing that. Now it's a matter of continuing the treatment and seeing how it responds, but I have to do it carefully. The rotator cuff is what fuels a pitcher; it's the life of a pitcher."

Mills:
"The prognosis is he's going to need a lot more rest. There's no timetable yet. We're waiting to see how the shoulder responds to the rest and how quickly that strength comes back."

So will he return this season, Mills?
"I don't know about that; we're going to have to wait and see. You don't want to rush anybody back and risk injury, but definitely with him, the way he threw the ball before he got hurt was pretty special."

-

And Matt Lindstrom is structurally sound. Just not mechanically:
"(The back) is structurally sound; it's a muscular problem. They put me on some meds, and I'm already feeling much better. It's quite a relief to know that there's really nothing wrong with the spine or anything like that, so I'm just going to keep getting treatment and take it day-to-day."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eddie's Farm: August 13

Round Rock

Round Rock scored two in the 9th to make it look a little more respectable, but Tacoma pretty much ran this game for a 7-3 win. Wesley Wright allowed 8H/6ER, 1K:5BB in 4IP. Yorman Bazardo allowed 6H/1ER, 3K:2BB, and Gary Majewski threw an uneventful 8th inning. Chris Shelton was 3x5 with an RBI, Brian Bogusevic was 2x3 with an RBI and two walks, and Edwin Maysonet was 2x3 with an RBI and a walk.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic

Corpus

Tough night for Hooks pitching as the Springfield Cardinals defeat Corpus 6-1. Keuchel allowed 6H/4ER, 3K:0BB in 4IP. Bubbie Buzachero allowed 4H/1ER, 2K:1BB, Balk, HBP in 2IP, and Arcenio Leon gave up 3H/1ER, 3K:2BB, WP in 2IP. Keuchel only threw 48 pitches on the night, while Buzachero threw 32 and Leon threw 41. J.D. Martinez was 2x4 with a double, and Parejo, Sutil, Gaston, and Kirkland (RBI) all got hits.

Man of the Match: J.D. Martinez

Lancaster

BOOM, SUCKA! Lancaster scores 10 runs from the 7th inning on, including six in the 9th with Jose Altuve's walk-off grand slam for a 12-8 win. Ross Seaton threw 5IP, 10H/6ER, 3K:1BB. Shane Wolf gave up two hits and a walk in 1IP, Ashton Mowdy allowed one hit in 2IP, and Mike Modica allowed 2H/2ER, 2BB in 1IP. Okay, lots of hits. Jonathan Villar (two triples), Brandon Barnes (two homers, 3RBI), Brian Pellegrini (HR, 2RBI), John Curtis, Andy Simunic (RBI), and Altuve (2B, HR, RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve!

Lexington

The big story of the night was Ben Heath. The bigger story was how the Legends let an 8--2 lead turn into a 10-8 loss to West Virginia. Jose Cisnero allowed 6H/5ER (three of those courtesy of Colton Pitkin), 2K:3BB, HBP. Pitkin himself allowed 3H/2ER in 1IP. Mike Schurz gave up 3H/2ER, 2K:2BB, and Dan Sarisky allowed an unearned run in 1IP. Back to Ben Heath. Dude was 3x4 with a walk, three homers, and 7RBI. Jimmy Paredes was 2x5, Jake Goebbert was 2x3 with a walk and a stolen base. Grant Hogue was 1x4 with a walk and two stolen bases. Paredes also committed his 40th error of the year.

Man of the Match: Ben Heath.

Tri-City

Staten Island came to the Joe, and went back to the hotel with a 2-1 loss after Enrique Hernandez hit a walk-off homer. David Martinez threw 4.1IP, 8H/1ER, 4K:1BB; Alex Sogard threw 3.1 innings, and didn't allow a hit or a walk (but did hit two batters). Mike Ness got the win with 1.1IP. In addition to the walk-off, Hernandez also added a double, and Ben Orloff was 2x4, as well.

Man of the Match: Enrique Hernandez

Greeneville

The Gastros scored the final four runs of the game for a 6-3 win over Johnson City. Ruben Alaniz allowed 5H/3R (0ER), 2K:1BB, and Garrett Bullock struck out four over the final 3IP. Jonathan Merritt (3B, RBI), Roberto Pena (2RBI), and Emilio King (BB) had two hits each. Delino DeShields made his Greeneville debut, and went 1x4 with a double and 2RBI.

Man of the Match: What the heck, DeShields!

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros committed SIX errors in a 4-2 loss to the GCL Cardinals. Parra, Perdomo, Fernandez, Vargas, Feliz, and Redinger combined for two throwing, two pickoff, and two fielding errors. Jose Perdomo allowed 3H/2R (0ER), 6K:2BB in 5IP. Ryan Ditthardt was 2x4, while Jose Vargas and Bryce Lane provided RBIs.

Man of the Match: Ryan Ditthardt.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G114: Astros v. Pirates

It's a slap fight! And Carlos Lee delivers the mascara-running open-handed slap. Astros win 4-1.

*Brett Myers ran his already-club-record streak of consecutive starts with 18+ outs to 24 with 7IP, 7H/1ER, 7K:0BB.

*It's the first start since July 10 (six starts), and third of the year, that Myers didn't walk anybody. Since the All-Star Break, Myers has 37K:9BB.

*Also since the All-Star Break, he has posted: 42.2IP, 31H/11ER, 58GB/52FB.

*After Wilton Lopez was in line for the win, Brandon Lyon came on for the save, upon which he promptly walked Pedro Alvarez, (who was 3x3) and allowed a single to Lastings Milledge. A wild pitch with one out brought Pedro Alvarez to third. With Delmon Young representing the tying run, Lyon induced the game-ending double play.

*Everybody, save for Michael Bourn - who drew a walk - got a hit. Oh yeah, except for Pedro Feliz, who took advantage of his pinch-hit appearance with a first-pitch groundout to third.

*Angel Sanchez got two hits, breaking out of a 2x17 snap.

*Carlos Lee hit his 15th homer of the season - his 101st as an Astro - for the game-winning shot. It took him until July 21 to hit his 15th homer in 2009.

*That homer was also Carlos Lee's 6th of the season that broke a tie. Four of his 15 homers are in the 8th inning or later.

*Michael Bourn stole his 39th base of the year, tying him for 2nd in all of baseball for steals with Carl Crawford, and five behind Juan Pierre for the ML lead.

*Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace had a hit each - Wallace got his 5th RBI of the year. Johnson has reached base safely in 25 straight games (hits in 23 of them).

*Pitch Count Hero: Sanchez (2x4) and Wallace (1x4) - 20 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Quintero (1x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Could go to Brett Myers, but it's going to Carlos Lee.

*Goat of the Game: Pedro Feliz, just because I feel like it.

Astros sign Krishawn Holley

Via Brian McTaggart, we find that the Astros have signed 39th Round pick Krishawn Holley.

He'll head to the GCL for the remaining three weeks of the season. I'm in total agreement that the signing deadline needs to be pushed up about six weeks.

LSU Head Coach "expects" Jacoby Jones to enroll

It was a long shot anyway, but the Baton Rouge Advocate's Randy Rosetta talked to LSU head coach Paul Mainieri about 19th Round pick JaCoby Jones:

Mainieri said he expects the Richton, Miss., native to be on campus next week. The probability of Jones’ signing with the Astros likely shrunk when they came to terms with first-round pick Delino DeShields, who was also an LSU commitment.

No timetable for Paulino's return

Felipe Paulino got his second opinion, and it was the same as the first: inflammed rotator cuff, and there's no timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, Brandon Lyon is your new closer, as Matt Lindstrom is day-to-day with his back problems.

Post-Trade Deadline attendance

So Richard Justice's blog post has this:

My sense is that people are encouraged at what they've seen the last couple of weeks, and they're somewhat optimistic that the people in charge get it. Drayton McLane has wanted stars. He apparently figured people wouldn't come out to see young, unproven players.

I think he's wrong about that. If fans think the team has a plan, if they see a roster with young players who are excited about being there and bust their tails, they'll tolerate some growing pains.


Let's put it to the test, as it gets the County Clerk treatment!

*53 games were played at Minute Maid Park from the season opener to July 31, the date of Brett Wallace's debut.

*Average attendance for those 53 dates was 27,925.

*The season high for attendance was Opening Day against the Giants (obviously), with 43,836 in attendance. If you take that game out, the average attendance was 27,619.

*Outside of Opening Day, the home game with the highest attendance was G69 vs. Texas, with 41,060. The game with the lowest attendance was G25, a Monday game against the Diamondbacks, drawing 20,370 as the Astros lost their 8th straight game.

*The next highest home attendance (after G69)? G103 against the Brewers. What was special about that game? It was Brett Wallace's debut, and the first home game after the Astros had traded Lance and Roy.

*Though there have only been five home games since the trading deadline, average announced attendance has gone from that 27,925 to 33,395.

*This weekend will be a bellwether on the excitement Astros fans feel, with the Pirates in town, but the average Saturday home game attendance has been 34,412 - including G19, a Saturday game against Pittsburgh that drew 30,562.

Nidiffer, Wallace promoted

Marcus Nidiffer and Chris Wallace have been promoted to Tri-City from Greeneville, according to the MiLB transactions page.

Nidiffer, an undrafted signee, has hit .303/.393/.588 (11HR) in 48 games for the Gastros, while Chris Wallace has hit .310/.390/.520 (8HR) in 47 games.

Furthermore, with those two spots cleared on the Gastros' roster, Delino Deshields Jr and Roberto Pena were sent to Greeneville from the GCL Astros.

Johnson back to 6th

Alyson Footer has your lineup for tonight's series opener against the Pirates:

1. Bourn - CF
2. Sanchez - SS
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - LF
5. Blum - 2B (!)
6. Johnson - 3B
7. Wallace - 1B
8. Quintero - C
9. Myers - P

Now, I know what you're thinking: "WTF is Humberto Quintero doing in the lineup?" Well, consider this:

With Castro behind the plate (three games), Myers has the following line: 15IP, 17H/11R, 13K:5BB, .266/.319/.594. With Quintero (7 games), Myers is: 47.2IP, 31H/13R, 33K:10BB, .183/.228/.260 against.

Koby Clemens and luck

So when you take a surface-level look at Koby Clemens' numbers, how do you feel?

He's hitting .261/.372/.516 in 104 games at Double-A, with 23 HR, 18 doubles, and three triples. He has 122 strikeouts (33.5% of his ABs), but 59 walks.

Clemens has a .905 OPS against RHPs, and an .860 OPS against LHPs - getting groundballs 37.5% of the time against lefties, compared to a 29.7% GB rate against righties. He also has enjoyed a .326 BABIP (.351 in July, and .348 so far in August). But what happens if you neutralize his numbers for luck? Thanks to Minor League Splits we can find out.

With slash lines neutralized for luck, Clemens is a .283/.391/.543 hitter. He's been particularly unlucky against LHPs, with a luck-neutralized slash line of .289/.394/.562 - or an increase of almost 100 points in the OPS category.

I'm not sure how you want to take these stats, but it's still an interesting exercise on an otherwise uneventful Friday afternoon.

The Oklahoman would prefer the Cardinals, thank you very much

Captip to Citizen Andrew, who passed along this July 18 article in The Oklahoman, in which writer Ryan Aber would much rather Oklahoma City become the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate.

The power of St. Louis radio station KMOX, whose broadcasts of Cardinals games could be heard loud and clear across the Midwest for decades, turned baseball fans far away from St. Louis into die-hard Cardinals fans.

There are certainly a good number of Cardinals fans remaining in Oklahoma. The Cardinals are still a media draw, with six radio and a pair of television affiliates in the state...

...The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, which owns both the team and the stadium, has defaulted on scheduled bond payments since March of last year. The management group was replaced at the request of bondholders...

...There are plenty of reasons why it isn't likely to happen. But there are also plenty why it should at least be explored — by both sides.


It's a well-put-together argument, but a bigger hurdle would be how the Cardinals can get themselves out of their PDC with Memphis, which doesn't expire until 2012. We'll just see. But it's pretty clear that The Oklahoman isn't all that jazzed up about the Astros' prospects coming to Oklahoma City.

Lyles likes the attention

Zach Levine's article on Jordan Lyles shows us a guy who likes knowing that he's The Shiz:

"It's a great feeling that people say my name and I hear my name come out of other people's mouths. At the same time, I try not to let it get to me. I try to keep a level head, stay humble and maybe in the not-so-far future, they'll get to see me pitch. Hopefully I can continue to keep it going like I've done this year."

Ed Wade:
"He certainly hasn't done anything to quell our excitement. The way he's handled himself at every level has been very encouraging."

Levine:
His absence from the 40-man roster is a small obstacle as the Astros are at 39. And even if they reach 40, if the desire or need is there when active rosters expand in September, they could find someone expendable or someone they're willing to expose to waivers.

His innings total could be a larger deal. Lyles pitched 1442⁄3 innings this year, and if he makes five more Class AAA starts, figuring six innings apiece, he'd be at 163 by the end of that season, and the Astros do not want to push him much further.

We almost had an Uncle Bobby

According to the Chronicle's David Barron, Bobby Valentine was almost an owner of the Astros:

“I was part of a group of people who were thinking about buying (the team). I don’t know if they were for sale last winter, but there was a group that was entertaining that act.”

First: It seems odd that you would be part of a consortium to buy a team without knowing if they were for sale.

Anyhow, elaborate, Bobby:
“They needed to be revitalized. It was on the shelf too long. It was the same people making the same decisions, having the same players that they held stock in. They needed a facelift. They needed to make wholesale changes, and with Oswalt and Berkman gone now, they are free to do that...

...If you’re one of them, you can do no wrong. They love their winners, and these guys helped them win and brought them great memories, and they just kept clinging to them.


What about the current Astros?
“They may have scored as many runs in the last month as anybody in baseball. They’re creating a new kind of dimension with that ballpark. They seem to be very active offensively. Some of their young pitchers will have to earn their stripes, and it’s a tough thing. You have to earn your way.”

Que interesante!

Sutil sent down

And so we find out that SS Wladimir Sutil has been sent to Corpus from Round Rock, sending Jose Vallejo to the Temporarily Inactive list.

In 45 games for Round Rock this season, Sutil has hit .237/.328/.295 with 20K:19BB.

Eddie's Farm: August 12

Round Rock

Off.

Corpus

Springfield straight brought it to Corpus, holding the Hooks to a three-hit shutout, and winning 3-0. Henry Villar threw 5.2IP, 3H/0ER, 4K:3BB; Arcenio Leon allowed 3H/3ER, WP, and Edwin Walker threw 1IP, striking out two and allowing one hit. Freddy Parejo, Kody Kirkland, and Wladimir Sutil (just sent down from Round Rock) got the three hits, with Albert Cartwright and Koby Clemens drew walks.

Man of the Match: Henry Villar

Lancaster

Off.

Lexington

The Legends briefly tied the game at 2-2 in the 6th, but West Virginia pulled away for a 4-2 win. Juan Minaya threw 6IP, 6H/2ER, 5K:1BB. Brad Dydalewicz took the loss after pitching to three batters in the 7th, in which he recorded no outs, walked one and hit two. Wander Alvino threw 2IP, 1H (and one run charged to Dydalewicz). Brenden Stines allowed 2H/1ER in 1IP. Grant Hogue and Jake Goebbert combined for four of the Legends' five hits, with Jiovanni Mier getting the other hit. Hogue, Mier, Miguel Arrendell all drew walks, while Our Boy Aaron Bray drew two walks. Ben Heath got your RBI.

Man of the Match: Juan Minaya

Tri-City

Day Game at the Joe yesterday, and Tri-City couldn't complete the sweep - Williamsport wins 5-2. Jake Buchanan allowed 6H/3R (2ER), 4K:1BB in 4.2IP. Jason Chowning allowed 1H/1ER, 0K:1BB in 1.2IP, Brandt Walker walked two and gave up a hit. John Frawley threw a perfect inning, and Adam Champion gave up two hits and two walks, leading to an earned run in 1IP. Ben Orloff, Mike Kvasnicka, Dan Adamson, Adam Bailey, and Wilton Infante had your hits. Bailey also drew a walk, and Orloff and Kvasnicka had your RBIs.

Man of the Match: Ben Orloff

Greeneville

Johnson City got some good pitching, defeating Greeneville 4-1. Gabe Garcia allowed 6H/3ER, 4K:1BB in 3.2IP; Travis Smink have up 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 3.1IP, and Phil Rorabaugh got the final three outs. Johnson City pitchers struck out 11 Gastros, walking none. Jonathan Merritt and Rafael Valenzuela had two hits each, with Jhonny Medrano and Marcus Nidiffer had your other two hits. Chris Wallace was responsible for the RBI.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Merritt

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The fallback for Houston's Triple-A affiliate just narrowed by one

Baseball America tweeted that the New Orleans Zephyrs and the Florida Marlins just extended their Player Development Contract.

Oklahoma City and Albuquerque are the two Pacific Coat League cities with PDCs expiring at the end of this season, though the Constable has candles burning 24 hours a day that they'll move to Nashville. However, I'm intrigued by one Citizen's theory (I can't remember who it was) that the Astros could turn San Antonio into their Triple-A affiliate.

Well, this isn't a good sign for Austin-area Astros fans/Rangers haters

Kirk Bohls' blog post tells us that Express President/COO Jay Miller will step down on August 30 and become an Executive Vice President with the Rangers.

Bohls:
Central Texas baseball fans can also expect the likelihood the Express will break ranks with the Astros and become the Triple-A farm club of the Rangers in 2011.

J.D. Martinez: Actually, maybe he is video-game good

Yesterday Zach Levine said that J.D. Martinez was still good, just not video game good, like he was in Lexington. But let's take a look.

*After 26 games in Corpus, he's leading the team in OPS (.351/.422/.515 for a .937 OPS), by 44 points (Clemens - .893).

*Martinez' first 16 games: .262/.318/.361, with three XBH, 15K:5BB.

*Martinez' last ten games: .500/.581/.778, with six XBH, 5K:6BB.

*Yeah, that's a 1.359 OPS in his last ten games.

*With Runners in Scoring Position (35 ABs): .314/.385/.514

Arguello placed on DL

After exiting his last start after 1IP with elbow soreness, the Hooks went ahead and placed Doug Arguello on the 7-Day DL.

Eddie's Farm: August 11

Round Rock

Check this out: Round Rock had an 11-0 lead. And lost, 13-11. Josh Banks threw 5.1IP, 11H/7R (6ER), 3K:3BB; Fernando Abad threw three scoreless outs; Jonah Bayliss allowed 2H/1ER in 0.2IP; Andy Van Hekken threw a perfect 8th. And Casey Daigle allowed 6H/5ER, 1K:1BB in the 9th. Tommy Manzella (2RBI) and Anderson Hernandez (SB, RBI) had three hits each. Brian Esposito was 2x4 with 2RBI. Drew Locke hit his 15th homer of the year - a 3-run shot.

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella

Corpus

Springfield took a 3-0 lead, and Corpus scored the next six runs on their way to an 8-4 win. Erick Abreu threw 4IP, 5H/3ER, 2K:0BB, Matt Nevarez allowed a hit and two walks in 1IP, Edwin Walker allowed 2H/0ER in 0.1IP. Jailen Peguero allowed 4H/1ER, but struck out five in 2.2IP, and Jose Valdez threw a perfect 9th in his first game since coming up from the GCL Astros. J.D. Martinez was 4x5 with a double and 2RBI (now hitting .351 for the year - .500/.581/.778 over his last ten games). Koby Clemens was 3x5 with a double and his 23rd homer, and 4RBI. Albert Cartwright was 2x5, and Kody Kirkland hit a two-run homer.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens

Lancaster

Back and forth game as San Jose takes a 7-0 lead, then Lancaster takes an 8-7 lead, then 8-8, Lancaster 9-8 (after the 8th), San Jose gets one back in the top of the 9th, and Lancaster walks off with an 11-9 win after Jay Austin's 2-run walkoff homer. Leandro Cespedes threw 1.1IP, and allowed 7H/7ER, 3K:2BB. Kyle Godfrey allowed 1H, 1BB (3K) in 2.2IP. Jose Trinidad allowed 2H/0ER, 2K:3BB in 2.2IP. Brian Wabick recorded the final out in the 7th, and David Berner got the blown save and the win with 3H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 2IP. Mark Ori was 4x5 (2RBI), while Jay Austin was a single short of the cycle with 4RBI. Jonathan Villar was 3x5 with 2RBI, and Andy Simunic was 2x4 with a walk and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin

Lexington

Off

Tri-City

The ValleyCats were all over Williamsport for a 6-1 win. Bobby Doran threw 6IP, 5H/0ER, 5K:0BB, HBP, and got 10 groundouts and one flyout. Murillo Gouvea walked one in 1IP, Travis Blankenship allowed a hit, and Jorge De Leon allowed 1H/1R (0ER), 0K:1BB. Dan Adamson was 2x4 with a 3-run homer, Tyler Burnett was 0x2 with 2BB, Ben Orloff, Adam Bailey, and Jacke Healey got on base twice with a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Bobby Doran

Greeneville

Greeneville took a 4-0 lead, then a 5-1 lead, and Elizabethton scored the next four runs, sending the 5-5 game to extra innings. That is, until Emilio King jacked a walk-off homer for the 6-5 win. Mike Foltynewicz threw 5IP, 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB. Jeiler Castillo gave up 5H/3ER, 0K:1BB in 1IP. Brian Streilein allowed 3H/2ER in 2IP, and Ryan Cole got the win with 3H/0ER in 2IP. Emilio King had two other hits for a 3x5 (2RBI) day. Jonathan Merritt was 2x4 with a triple and 2RBI. Telvin Nash and Rafael Valenzuela had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Emilio King, with a captip to Mike Foltynewicz.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brian Kemp: Living the Dream

Nice article in the Long Island Herald today about Lexington's Brian Kemp.

While a sprained ankle cost him a month of 2010, Kemp says:
“I’ve been more comfortable at the plate, and hopefully I’ll stay hot. I just want to play every day and contribute.”

Urgent help needed

Somebody please tell me that you know Bo the Bailer personally. And email me immediately.

Paulino to see James Andrews tomorrow

Felipe Paulino will see Dr. James Andrews tomorrow to get a second opinion on his shoulder.

Paulino:
"I can play catch and I feel better, but at the same time I'm being careful with myself. I've played catch for six or seven days. I wanted a second opinion, because I wanted to hear something, because it takes too long to recover. I've tried to do everything step-by-step, and I want to know what's going on with my shoulder, because I've done everything right to get better."

This is very disconcerting, especially if it's not getting any better despite Paulino and the medical staff's best efforts.

Rodney Quintero signing is official

Courtesy of McTaggart's Notebook, we see that the signing of 25th Round pick RHP Rodney Quintero has been made official.

Bobby Heck:
"He had an up-and-down year, but we saw more good than bad. We saw power stuff and a guy that needed to develop innings. He has a chance to be a middle- and maybe a back-end-of-the-rotation starter."

Quintero will head to Greeneville.

Eddie's Farm: 2009 to 2010

Deputy Jason brought up an interesting question on Twitter today: How are the minor league teams doing this year, when compared to 2009?

Well, let's take a look. One note, though. Due to the number of postponements, reschedules, etc., I can say with 100% accuracy that these records are 85% correct. It's a snapshot of records from year to year.

Round Rock

2009 record, through August 10: 51-65
2010 record, through August 10: 49-69

Round Rock is three games back of where they were at this point last year.

Corpus Christi

2009 record, through August 10: 50-64
2010 record, through August 10: 54-60

Not bad for a team that lost 42 games in a row (approx) this year. The Hooks are four games up on the 2009 Hooks.

Lancaster

2009 record, through August 10: 45-71
2010 record, through August 10: 44-71

Lancaster is half a game back of 2009.

Lexington

2009 record, through August 10: 56-56
2010 record, through August 10: 58-57

1 1/2 games up on last year

Tri-City

2009 record, through August 10: 14-34
2010 record, through August 10: 24-27

This is, obviously, the most dramatic improvement of all the farm teams.

Greeneville

2009 record, through August 10: 19-27
2010 record, through August 10: 22-26

Two games up.

A better way of looking at it is from an organizational standpoint, top-to-bottom ("bottom" meaning Greeneville - I didn't look at the GCL or DSL Astros):

2009 composite minor-league record: 235-317 (.360)
2010 composite minor-league record: 251-310 (.447)

I haven't looked at all other organizations, but the Astros have a pretty substantial increase in Win% from 2009 to 2010.

Keppinger, Johnson moved up

Brian McTaggart has your lineup for G113 against the Braves this afternoon, and we see some interesting things!

1. Bourn - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - LF
5. Johnson - 3B
6. Wallace - 1B
7. Sanchez - SS
8. Castro - C
9. Wandy - P

Lindstrom's job safe, as long as he finds his control

In last night's game recap, Zach Levine got some quotes. Like this one, from Brad Mills on whether he'd consider moving Lindstrom out of the closer role:

“Not yet. Not at all. He’s the guy we want.”

Lindstrom:
“I don’t even know what to say except that I take responsibility for this and I look forward to getting back here and working on what’s going on with my mechanics so I can get my location back."

Burt Hooton, and the reaction to Lyles' first start

The Austin American-Statesman has some reaction to Jordan Lyles' first start in Round Rock.

Writer David Robb:
If Lyles (0-1) debuts with Houston this season - a scenario neither Astros manager Brad Mills nor Express pitching coach Burt Hooton has dismissed - he would be the first teenager to pitch in the National League since Dwight Gooden in 1984.

Round Rock pitching coach Burt Hooton:
"I don't think it would surprise me at all. He's got life to all his pitches. Overall he pitched a pretty good game."

Manager Marc Bombard, on the possibility of shutting Lyles down:
"I wouldn't think so. He still looks strong."

The events leading up to the Berkman trade

I wish Richard Justice would write more like this, because it's excellent.

Justice has some detail on the events leading up to Berkman's trade with the Yankees:

Lance Berkman was still trying to wrap his mind around the Roy Oswalt trade when the telephone rang at his ranch house in Mason a day later.

"This is going to sound a little callous," he remembers Astros general manager Ed Wade saying. "This isn't the way I want to do it, but we've got a time crunch."...

...Two days before the July 31 trading deadline, Wade told him there were eight teams interested in trading for him, and he needed to know which ones he'd consider going to.

Wade went down the list. Berkman said yes to the Yankees, Padres, Rays and Rangers, and no to the Giants, Angels, White Sox and Tigers.

Berkman hung up the phone and looked at his dad, Larry.

"I think I'm getting traded," he said...

...Wade telephoned him twice the next morning, once to say he had a deal pending with the Yankees and then to say it was done.

"He said he appreciated everything I'd done, and he was sorry we are where we are," Berkman said. "I said, 'I'm a big part of the reason why we're in this position. I haven't done my job."


There's more to the article, including more on why Berkman has been in a slump (left leg injury), and the possibility of his retiring. It's an excellent read.

Sayonara B.J. Hagen

The Frontier League's Southern Illinois Miners have acquired the rights to erstwhile reliever B.J. Hagen.

The Astros signed Hagen at the end of January, and he pitched for Greeneville and the GCL Astros, and posted a 5.95 ERA / 1.83 WHIP in 12 games.

2010 Draft update

According to Zach Levine, the Astros are trying to sign more draft picks, including continuing to negotiate with 3rd Round pick Austin Wates, who has apparently returned to Virginia after passing his physical, and 6th Round pick Adam Plutko.

Bobby Heck:
"We're going to feel very good if we get three (of the four) signed. If we get all four, we'll probably be doing cartwheels."

Brian McTaggart has a further note from Heck on 19th Round pick JaCoby Jones:
"We have a high value on him, but it's not close to where it's going to take for him to forgo LSU."

Tranzactionz!

Got some tranzactionz that we promised yesterday:

Round Rock

-Polin Trinidad sent to Corpus Christi, from Round Rock

Corpus

-Jhon Florentino placed on 7-day DL
-Jose Vallejo activated from Temporarily Inactive list

Lexington

-Rene Garcia placed on 7-Day DL with Elbow Soreness (clearing way for Ben Heath)

GCL Astros

-Evan Grills and Bryce Lane assigned to GCL Astros from Greeneville.

Eddie's Farm: August 10

Round Rock

It's the Triple-A debut of Jordan Lyles! Everything else was secondary. Like the fact that the Express lost to Sacramento 5-1. In 6IP, Lyles allowed 8H/4ER, 9K:1BB, 2HR, 1HBP. 70 of his 96 pitches were for strikes. Otherwise, Fernando Abad allowed a hit, walk, and strikeout before Chris Sampson came in for 2.2IP, 3H/1ER, 0K:1BB. Tommy Manzella was 2x4 in his rehab start, while Brian Bogusevic was 1x2 with 2BB (the only walks the Express drew all night). Chris Shelton provided the RBI for the lone run. Drew Locke was 1x4, but got an outfield assist nailing Buck at home.

Man of the Match: How do we not give it to Lyles, with his 9K in 6IP?

Corpus

Off.

Lancaster

Brian Wabick gave up a homer in the top of the 10th, and the JetHawks lose to San Jose 5-4. Pat Urckfitz allowed 9H/4R (3ER), 3K:1BB in 4IP; Ashton Mowdy struck out four in 2IP; Mike Modica gave up two hits and two walks - but no runs - in 3IP; and Wabick allowed the game-winner. Brandon Barnes (RBI), Brian Pellegrini (HR, RBI), David Flores (HR, RBI, BB), and Jose Altuve (RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Brian Pellegrini

Lexington

The Legends climbed all over Delmarva, helped along with five runs in the 9th, for a 10-3 win. Tanner Bushue allowed 6H/1R (0ER), 3K:3BB in 6IP and Mike Schurz allowed 2H/2ER, 5K:1BB in 3IP. Jiovanni Mier (2B, 3B, 2RBI), Jake Goebbert (2B, RBI, BB), and Ben Heath (3B, RBI) had three hits each. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 2x5 with 3RBI, and Brian Kemp had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert

Tri-City

Homers galore in the ValleyCats' 8-3 win over Williamsport. Carlos Quevedo threw 6IP, 5H/2R (1ER), 1K:0BB; Alex Sogard threw two perfect innings of relief and Joan Belliard allowed 4H/1ER in 1IP. Homers: Dan Adamson (5th), Frank Almonte (2nd), Mike Kvasnicka (4th), Tyler Burnett (4th). Adamson was 3x4, while Enrique Hernandez was 2x4 with 2RBI, and Adam Bailey was 2x4.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson.

Greeneville

Elizabethton committed four errors, but the Gastros only got three hits. Gastros lose 2-0. Vincent Velasquez threw 4.2IP, 4H/2ER, 5K:1BB, 1HBP. Garrett Bullock allowed 2H/0ER in 2.2IP, and Paul Gerrish threw 1.2 scoreless innings. Jhonny Medrano, Emilio King, and Hector Rodriguez got your hits, with Medrano stealing his 7th base of the season. Telvin Nash drew the only walk.

Man of the Match: Jhonny Medrano.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G112: Astros v. Braves

Late start this morning, and we sincerely apologize for not having anything for you to read while you watch the Reds take over the Astros for Best Cardinals Rivalry. Oh yeah, and Matt Lindstrom nutted it last night - Astros lose 4-2 to Atlanta, despite the Braves - and Alex Gonzalez in particular - trying to give the game away in the 8th. The Braves were outhit 7-5, and committed three errors. And won.

*The loss marks the 4th time the Astros have had the lead to start the 9th inning, and lost. It's the second time in the last four games.

*We got Dr. J.A. Happ (and not Mr. Hyde) last night. Happ allowed only 2H/1ER, 6K:4BB in 6.1IP. 14 of his 64 strikes were put in play.

*Wilton Lopez and Brandon Lyon combined for 1.2IP of perfect relief, before Matt Lindstrom came in and served up a homer to Brooks Conrad that landed in Navasota.

*Lindstrom has had a rough go of it. In his first 39 appearances (Opening Day to July 30), Lindstrom held hitters to a .278/.337/.348 line, with 35K:14BB and one homer allowed. 65% of his pitches were for strikes. Since August 1 (and we're dealing with a very small sample, but work with it), Lindstrom has allowed hitters post a .438/.500/1.000 line, with three homers - two last night. He had blown four saves until July 30, and has blown two since.

*Which begs the question, if Brandon Lyon had only thrown 11 pitches - nine for strikes - why couldn't he have run out there for a second inning? Granted, Lindstrom's the closer, and it's easy to question the decision now, but it's worth wondering.

*The Astros only got seven hits on the night, and three of them came courtesy of Chris Johnson. We don't have to go into the tear he's on since the All-Star Break, because it feels like I do that after every game.

*Brett Wallace continued hitting, with a 1x3 night, as did Castro. The means that 1-5 in the lineup went 2x20 (Bourn's triple, Sanchez' single), and 6-8 went 5x10. The Astros were 0x9 w/RISP, with Sanchez and Keppinger combining for 0x4.

*The stunner of the night was when Hunter Pence took off running for 3rd in the 8th, and was thrown out. Where he was out is a decent question, it looked like his leg bounced up off the bag. A better question is, why was he running in the first place? Runners were on 1st and 2nd with one out. Chris Johnson was up. A single would have scored him - and that single came.

*Congratulations should go to Michael Bourn - who got his 3rd triple of the season. He played in his 400th game as an Astro last night. In those 400 games, he has a .259/.327/.344 line.

*Pitch Count Hero: Carlos Lee (0x4) - 19 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (0x3, BB) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: J.A. Happ.

*Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom. Again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lots o' moves

We hear a few things, though a full Tranzactionz post will come later:

Tommy Manzella will join Round Rock to continue his rehab.

Mark Melancon - who came over in the Berkman trade - has been called up, while Wesley Wright has been sent down.

Nelson Figueroa will get the start:
"I enjoy starting. When I first got here I discussed it with Brad (Mills) that if I had a preference I would be a starter."

Later today, we'll sift through some thoughts on the demotion of Wesley Wright, and post them accordingly. Meanwhile, feel free to post your own.

J.D. Martinez: Good. Not Video Game Good.

Or so says Zach Levine, in his Minor League Notebook.

Hooks manager Wes Clemens, on J.D. Martinez:
"He's made it known that he belongs here. Obviously, he's young in the game, so I can't see him not getting better. He's pretty good right now."

Bobby Heck, on Martinez:
"He was a smaller-school guy (Nova Southeastern in Florida); he just wasn't a consensus guy on most draft boards."
-
We also hear from J.R. Towles, who still loves Houston (though he has absolutely no reason to feel any love for the Astros):
"I'm just going to wait until the season is over and then hopefully when the offseason starts, I'm just going to start working out and continue to do what I do for the year. Hopefully I'll get to stay with Houston, but if not, I guess other doors open up somewhere else. I want to be here."

Evan Grills is injured

10th Round pick Evan Grills, who left Greeneville to pitch for Team Canada, was named to the Canada Cup - an event for 16- and 17-year olds. But he can't participate, because he's injured. No further explanation was given.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G111: Astros v. Braves

Well, well. This was a see-saw game that ended up with the Braves on their butts. Astros win 10-4.

*The Astros won thanks to a 6-run 7th inning. It's only the second time this season the Astros have scored 6+ runs in an inning.

*With the win, it marks the 15th time the Astros have won a series opener, going 15-22.

*Chris Johnson crept up in the lineup, hitting 6th, and responded with a 2x4, 2-run, 3RBI night. With those hits, his hit streak runs to seven games. Since the All-Star Break, Johnson is hitting .423/.453/.718 (helped along by a .475 BABIP).

*Michael Bourn, Jeff Keppinger, Carlos Lee, and Brett Wallace also had two hits each. The Astros got seven RBI on the night - four of them between Johnson and Wallace.

*Jason Castro was your rally killer - going 0x4, striking out three times, ending two innings. That runs Castro's K:BB ratio to 2.25. In the minors, his K:BB ratio was 1.30.

*Hunter Pence drew two walks on the night. It was the first time since July 16 that Pence had walked - 91 plate appearances.

*Bud Norris, the heir apparent to Roy Oswalt's vacant King of the No Decision crown, threw 6.2IP, 7H/4ER, 3K:2BB. Tim Byrdak, who got the final out in the 7th, got the win. Norris threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 28 batters, and 31 of his 63 strikes were non-contact strikes (20 called, 11 swinging).

*Good news: It's the fourth start in a row - and sixth in his last seven - that Norris has gone 6+ innings. In five of those seven starts, however, he's allowed 4+ earned runs.

*That said, the Astros have ended up winning the last three games Norris has started, scoring 36 runs in those three games (total, not just while Norris has been in). They scored 33 runs his first 14 starts this season.

*Pitch Count Hero: Chris Johnson (2x4) - 23 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Carlos Lee (2x4) - 13 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Chris Johnson

*Goat of the Game: Jason Castro, called a decent game, but the .186 average hurts. But to be clear, it's not like I want anybody else behind the plate.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finally! Brett Myers starting to get some love

I guess you need to make 23 18+ out starts in a row before you start to get some love. Bloomberg Sports has a new post in which they implore you to trust Brett Myers.

Myers should appreciate the fact that he's no longer in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, traditionally one of the most friendliest to sluggers. Last season, Myers gave up an astronomical 2.29 HRs every nine innings. This season, he's only giving up 0.80 HRs per nine innings. The massive improvement has been aided by a slightly low 8.9% HR/FB, but also a better home environment, more induced grounders, and regression from a ridiculously unlucky HR/FB of 23.4% last year - which can't possibly all be attributed to the Phillies' home park.

Just as impressively, Myers seems to be getting better month-to-month. He's no longer the strikeout master that he was five years ago, but his K-rate has been steadily rising: 6.27 K/9 in April, 6.88 in May, 7.36 in June, and 7.41 in July...

...Added up, Myers has a 3.87 xFIP this year, which indicates some good luck compared to his 3.21 ERA, but still very solid. Only 25 starters this season have a better xFIP than Myers.


There are a lot of points in here that we brought up in discussing his extension. Will he be worth the extension two years from now?

K:BB ratio - starter edition

So what with seeing Carlos Quevedo's ridiculous K:BB ratio, we thought we might drop some knowledge on you about the starters in the organization, listed from best-to-worst, by K:BB Ratio. We'll also listed the number of HBPs, just to get an idea of any control issues. Note: the pitcher must have made at least ten starts to be considered.






















NameTeamK:BBRatioHBP
QuevedoTC35:311.671
DoranTC28:74.002
KeuchelLAN/CC114:293.932
LouxRR49:133.774
CruzLEX64:193.373
LylesCC115:353.295
BushueLEX93:362.582
WolfLAN62:242.581
TrinidadRR68:302.276
ArguelloCC100:472.129
Van HekkenRR88:432.055
CisneroLEX107:541.9813
GreenwaltLAN65:361.819
SeatonLAN68:401.707
JohnsonCC60:371.621
BanksRR47:291.622
DonovanLEX/LAN76:501.525
WrightRR40:281.434
MinayaLEX76:651.1721
DydalewiczLAN40:510.7812

Is Austin Wates about to sign?

3rd Round pick - and the highest draft pick to not yet sign - Austin Wates just might be about to start his professional career.

Wates:
Just landed in Houston! Let's pray for a productive next 12 hours!

25th Rounder Quintero signs

Captip to Citizen Steve for the link, the Astros have signed 25th Round pick pitcher Rodney Quintero.

Quintero:
“I had two options. I could come back to Chipola, or take the offer. I signed because you don’t know what happens in the future. I just wanted to start playing pro baseball. That’s it.”

Chipola CC Coach Jeff Johnson:
“It is disappointing any time you lose a guy and you lose him late. I felt like Rodney had a chance to be a first rounder next year. I’ve had two first rounders, and I’ve worked with a couple other guys who went in the first round, and (Quintero) is in the same category with those guys.

I try to tell guys to not get in a situation of taking less than they’re worth, but he’s ready to start that process, and I wish him the best...

...“I wouldn’t (be) surprised to see him in big leagues in a few years. He’s got the arm strength. He’s an explosive, athletic pitcher, which you don’t see very often. He’s got explosive legs, a quick arm, and his fastball sneaks up on you. He can get it up to 95 (mph), but he could be guy you see throwing 97 or 98 at some point. It’s there, it’s just a matter of him developing secondary pitches, gaining some confidence, and having some more success. But he’s got a chance to be a real guy.”


Quintero will head to Greeneville.

Eddie's Farm: August 8

Round Rock

Round Rock showed some fight last night in an 11-4 win over Sacramento. Sacramento scored runs in four separate innings, and Round Rock answered in three of those innings. Yorman Bazardo threw 6.1IP, 7H/4ER, 7K:2BB, Fernando Abad allowed 2H (2K) in 1IP, and Jonah Bayliss got tagged with 3H/3ER, 1K:1BB in 1.2IP. Drew Locke was 2x4 with a three-run homer and 4RBI, Collin DeLome was 2x5 with a homer - both hitting their 13th homers of the season. Matt Kata was 3x3, and Jack Shuck (RBI, BB), Wladimir Sutil (RBI), and Oswaldo Navarro had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke

Corpus

Corpus answered from 1-0 down to take a 3-1 lead, and held on to beat Midland 3-2. Dallas Keuchel is starting to find his rhythm, throwing 7.2IP, 8H/2ER, 7K:1BB. Jeilen Peguero walked two in 1.1IP, but got his 3rd save of the season. Koby Clemens was 3x3, Jon Gaston hit his 9th homer of the year, and Tommy Manzella was 2x3 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Dallas Keuchel

Lancaster

Lancaster took a 2-0 lead into the 7th, but ended up dropping to Lake Elsinore 5-2. Robby Donovan allowed 3H/0ER, 9K:5BB in 6IP. Mike Modical allowed 3H/3R (2ER), 1K:1BB in 0.1IP, and Kyle Godfrey allowed 1H/2R (1ER), 1K:1BB in 1.2UP. First of all on offense, big props to Jay Austin, who was 1x3 with a triple - his 11th - and a stolen base - his 50th. Lee Cruz was 1x4 with a triple and an RBI, and John Curtis hit his 2nd homer of the season.

Man of the Match: Robby Donovan

Lexington

Despite the fact that Delmarva only got five hits, and committed three errors, the Legends still lost 2-1. Luis Cruz dominated with 7IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:3BB. Wander Alvino allowed a hit in 1IP, and Kirk Clark gets the blown save and the loss with 2H/2ER in 0.1IP as Delmarva walks off. Jiovanni Mier (RBI) and Jimmy Paredes were each 3x5. Jonathan Meyer drew two walks and got a hit. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 1x4. Call-up Ben Heath got the start, hitting 5th, and went 0x3 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Jiovanni Mier

Tri-City

The ValleyCats got out in front early and held on for a 4-1 win over State College. David Martinez threw 5IP, 4H/0ER, 7K:2BB for the win. Travis Blankenship allowed 3H/1ER, 3K:0BB in 1.2IP. Jason Chowning walked one in 1.1IP, and Mike Ness got his 6th save of the year. Dan Adamson (2RBI), Jacke Healey (2B), and Frank Almonte (2B, RBI) had two hits each, and Ben Orloff (2SB) added another RBI.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson

Greeneville

Down 3-0, Greeneville got two back in the sixth, but they couldn't get the tying run, and lost 3-2 to Kingsport. Ruben Alaniz allowed 6H/3ER, 5K:0BB in 6IP, and Paul Gerrish gave up 2H/0ER in 2IP. Marcus Nidiffer and Telvin Nash (RBI) had two hits each, Chris Wallace was 1x2 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash

Sunday, August 8, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G110: Astros @ Brewers

It would seem to me that the best way to show that you're for real is to not follow up a seven-game winning streak with a three-game sweep at the hands of a team you swept last week. Astros lose 11-6.

*The Astros were swept for the 10th time this season, counting the two-game series against the Dodgers in May.

*The Astros have now lost four straight, after winning a season-high seven games in a row, meaning that their six-game road trip saw them go 2-4.

*Houston actually took a 2-0 lead in this game. It's the 30th time this season the Astros have blown a lead to lose the game.

*The Brewers and Astros both got 12 hits, but the Brewers managed 11 runs. How? Six walks helped. Five of the six Brewers who walked later scored in the inning.

*This was obviously not Wesley Wright's day, and I'm not sure how the Astros will handle him. With Moehler and Paulino possibly out for the season, the Astros may rely on Josh Banks or Nelson Figueroa to take the ball. Or they could just keep running Wright out there and give him on-the-job training.

*Wright lasted 2.1IP with 5H/7ER, 1K:4BB. It's the second time in four games an Astro starter couldn't get out of the 3rd.

*Gustavo Chacin allowed 3ER in his 1IP, allowing runs in back-to-back appearances, though the last time he had pitched was August 4. Since July 1, Chacin has posted 10.1IP, 22H/12ER, 7K:4BB, sending his ERA from 2.79 to 5.52.

*Wilton Lopez, however, hasn't allowed a run since July 18, a span of 10 innings.

*Congrats to Jeff Fulchino, who made his first appearance since August 3 (second since coming back from the DL). He needed 20 pitches to get six outs, not allowing any batter to reach base.

*Michael Bourn had the big bat of the day, going 3x5 with two runs and 2RBI, collecting his 23rd double of the year.

*Jeff Keppinger was back in the #3 hole, and responded accordingly, going 2x5 with 2RBI - both hits coming with runners in scoring position.

*Carlos Lee was 2x3 with a walk and 2RBI, hitting 5th - after Pence. Most notably, however, was that, after Blum pinch-hit for Brett Wallace, Lee slid over to first base.

*1-5 in the lineup went 10x23 with 6RBI. 6-8 went 2x11.

*Chris Johnson was 1x4 on the day. In his lone hitless game since July 16, he still drew a walk, so Johnson runs his on-base streak to 21 games.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jeff Keppinger (2x5) - 23 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Chris Johnson (1x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Going with Michael Bourn on this one.

*Goat of the Game: Wesley Wright. Enough said.

Carlos Lee: Worst Everyday Player in baseball

The sad thing is that Pedro Feliz might have won this award at some point in the season. However, Joe Posnanski's blog post settles a bet for two guys wondering about the worst everyday player in baseball.

The criteria:
(1) Poor performance.
(2) Indications that the performance will never again improve and the team is trapped.
(3) All-around awfulness — just being subpar at one thing (like Carlos Quentin’s outfield defense) is not enough.


The winner?
This wasn’t too hard to predict (except, apparently, by the Houston Astros who gave Lee a six-year, $100 million contract before the 2007 season when he was turning 31).

It wasn’t hard to predict because Lee was, at his best, a one-dimensional player. He was a terrible base runner — he has scored minus-28, minus-15, minus-36 and, this year, minus-15 bases in his Houston years. He was a below average outfielder. He never did walk enough to sustain his on-base percentage. What Carlos Lee could do was swat 30 or so homers a year with good enough batting averages to put up 100-plus RBIs a year. Well, it’s no secret that players like that do not age well.

And Lee, after putting up a very good offensive year in 2008, and a good one in 2009 is now hitting .245/.292/.398. He’s 34 years old. And the Astros still have two years and $37 million left on his contract. It just doesn’t figure to get any better from here.


/Loading gun.

Myers likes the coaching staff, Mills doesn't like the umpire

So Myers threw his 23rd consecutive start of 6+ innings last night, and he'd like to thank the coaching staff:

"Credit goes to the coaching staff. They could have made any move that they needed to make at any time in any of those starts. Luckily enough for me that they stick behind me for six innings.”

Darryl Kile went 24 consecutive starts with 6+ IP in 1997, and Myers' streak is the longest since Curt Schilling went 35 starts with 18+ outs in 2002.
-

Mills ain't happy about that game-ending missed call Friday night, in which Jason Castro clearly tagged out Corey Hart.

Mills:
“That is the toughest way to argue a call, to go out there when everybody’s running around (and) the umpires want to leave. They’re trying to get off the field, and I’m trying to state my case as (the plate umpire) is walking off. It’s a bad place to be. It looked like (Hart) was out to me, and it looked like (he) was out to me last night.”

Yeah, he was out.

Elbow the reason for Arguello's early exit

Doug Arguello left his start after one inning for Corpus Friday night with concerns about his elbow.

The Hooks are unsure if he'll make his next start, scheduled for Thursday night.

Ben Heath called up to Lexington

It looks as though Tri-City catcher Ben Heath has been called up to Lexington, replacing an unnamed injured catcher. It was apparently bittersweet for Heath, who was in State College - the home of his collegiate career:

“It’s a little bit bittersweet because you’re excited to go up to the South Atlantic League. I was looking forward to (returning to Penn State), but I have to let that go and do the best with the opportunity I have.”

And manager Jim Pankovits doesn't agree 100% with the decision:
“I think he’s right on course. He probably would have been best served if he stayed down here, but it’s not going to hurt him to go up there and see that level of play also and see what’s at stake maybe for next year. He may be back, he may not.”

Pankovits, on Heath:
“Defensively he was making a lot of progress. Offensively he was kind of hot and cold, but you’re going to have that with a power hitter like he is. I think he’ll improve as he gets more comfortable. I think he’s got the type of personality where he is laid back and quiet. I think as soon as he sees that he belongs — wherever he’s playing — he’ll improve.”

Berkman's slow NY start allows writers to make fun of the Astros

So this is getting old. Bob Klapisch is the latest writer to use Houston as the foundation for Berkman's rough start as a Yankee:

Failing in front of 50,000 fans every night forces those kind of look-in-the-mirror reckonings. Maybe back home in Houston, Berkman’s non-production would’ve been ignored forever. After all, his mediocrity fit in perfectly with the dreadful Astros.

Eddie's Farm: August 7

Round Rock

Look at that! Round Rock takes a 4-0 lead (three runs in the first) and rides it out for a 4-1 win. Shane Loux improved to 3-11 after 6IP, 4H/1ER, 3K:1BB. Chris Sampson (who is the Express' seventh-inning guy, apparently), Roy Corcoran, and Casey Daigle allowed 6H/0ER, 1K:0BB in 3IP of relief. Jack Shuck was 2x4 with a double and a triple, and Oswaldo Navarro was 2x4. Chris Shelton hit a three-run bomb in the 1st, and Brian Bogusevic provided the other RBI.

Man of the Match: Chris Shelton

Corpus

Corpus played a tight game until the 7th, when they broke out for five runs through the end of the game, beating Midland 7-1. Henry Villar threw 7IP, 5H/1ER, 2K:3BB, and Jared Wells (1H, 2BB) and Arcenio Leon (1BB) closed it out. Lots of hits for the Hooks last night, and each of the top four spots in the lineup had two hits each (Parejo - BB, 2RBI; Cartwright - 2RBI; Martinez; Clemens) as did Jimmy Van Ostrand (RBI) and Federico Hernandez. In his last ten games, J.D. Martinez has hit .387/.525/.548.

Man of the Match: All the offense, and Henry Villar

Lancaster

The JetHawks got seven in the 6th and thus won 7-3 over Lake Elsinore. Ross Seaton - the human yo-yo - allowed 4H/2ER, 3K:1BB in 7IP, with three groundouts and fifteen flyouts. Brian Wabick allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:3BB in 2IP. John Curtis continued his recent streak of domination, going 3x4 with two doubles and 2RBI. Andy Simunic was 2x4 with a double and an RBI. Brandon Barnes hit his 22nd homer - a three-run shot.

Man of the Match: John Curtis (11x15 in his last three games)

Lexington

Rough night for the bullpen, as Delmarva scored eight runs in innings 6-8, turning a 1-1 game into a 9-1 win. Jose Cisnero threw 6IP, 3H/3ER, 7K:1BB. Brad Dydalewicz allowed 2H/4R (1ER), 2K:1BB in 1IP, and Mike Schurz gave up 2H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 1IP. The Legends also only had three hits - Grant Hogue, Jimmy Paredes, and Jonathan Meyer, with Paredes and Jiovanni Mier drawing walks.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

Tri-City

Tri-City had a 1-0 lead, but State College edged out the ValleyCats 2-1. Jake Buchanan allowed both runs on 5H in 5.1IP; Alex Sogard threw 2.1IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB. Murillo Gouvea struck out the final batter of the game. The ValleyCats only got four hits on the night - two from Oscar Figueroa and one from Adam Bailey, and a triple from Dan Adamson. Ben Orloff drew two walks.

Man of the Match: Ben Orloff (two walks + SB)

Greeneville

Greeneville was up 4-1 going into the bottom of the eight, and Princeton managed to send it into extra innings. Chris Wallace got the game-winner with an RBI single by Chris Wallace, scoring Jhonny Medrano - who led off the inning with a walk. Gastros win 5-4. Euris Quezada threw 7IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:3BB, Travis Smink gave up 2H/1ER without recording an out, leaving the bases loaded for Ryan Cole in the 8th, who got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam before getting into his own trouble, and giving up the two runs in the 9th (aided by Brian Streilein). Streilein threw the final 4IP, giving up 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB. The Gastros were 3x18 w/RISP, but pounded out 15 hits. Hector Rodriguez was 3x5, and Pedro Feliz, Ryan Humphrey, Jhonny Medrano, Chris Wallace, and Emilio King had two hits each. Chris Wallace hit his 10th homer of the year, and added another RBI on a sac fly.

Man of the Match: Marcus Nidiffer.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G109: Astros @ Brewers

Brett Myers' streak continues, and so does this losing thing. Astros lose 5-2.

*Things didn't start off so well, what with Rickie Weeks taking the third pitch for an inside-the-park home run, and then a Corey Hart double to left center, who later scored on Prince Fielder's groundout.

*Earlier in the season we had talked about Myers' struggles in the first inning. Lately he had not struggled, really at all, but with those two runs last night in the first, it became the inning in which Myers has allowed the most earned runs - with 12.

*Myers in the 1st: 26H/12ER, 11K:13BB - 4.70 ERA, .779 OPSa
Myers in the 2nd: 19H/6ER, 17K:5BB - 2.35 ERA, .576 OPSa
3rd inning: 21H/8ER, 22K:4BB - 3.13 ERA, .658 OPSa
4th inning: 24H/10ER, 20K:9BB - 3.91 ERA, .806 OPSa
5th inning: 19H/5ER, 15K:10BB - 1.96 ERA, .622 OPSa
6th inning: 18H/7ER, 19K:4BB - 2.74 ERA, .609 OPSa

*This game did, however, go much better than Myers' last start in Milwaukee on June 29, when he allowed 9H/7ER, 5K:2BB. From that start through last night, Myers threw 49.2IP, 33H/13ER, 37K:10BB, .506 OPSa - and a .217 BABIP.

*Well, of course Pedro Feliz got the start at 1B. Many were ready to bring their pitchforks down to Minute Maid and just wait for Brad Mills to get back. However, Feliz has hit Randy Wolf to a .318/.360/.727 line for his career - second highest OPS against Wolf for the Astros with at least ten plate appearances.

*Following an 0x4 game at San Diego on July 4, Hunter Pence's batting average was .254, the lowest it had been since May 25 (.252). Since July 4, however, Pence has hit .340/.372/.528, with 11 extra-base hits.

*Along with Pence, Angel Sanchez and Chris Johnson got multi-hit games. It's Chris Johnson's 17th multi-hit game of the season, only eleven behind Carlos Lee.

*The Astros had a pretty good chance in the 5th inning. Sanchez and Pence singled (Sanchez took the extra base at third) with one out. Carlos Lee flied out, but not deep enough to score Sanchez, and Keppinger flied out, as well. And the Astros were 2x11 w/RISP.

*Since July 1, Humberto Quintero is hitting .122/.200/.146 (5x41, 8K:3BB).

*What does history tell us about the third game of the series, after the Astros lose the first two games of the series? The Astros are 4-9 in the third game.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jason Bourgeois (1x5) - 26 pitches in five PAs

*Pitch Count Punk: Humberto Quintero (0x3) - 5 pitches in three PAs

*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence - 2x5, RBI

*Goat of the Game: Going with Jeff Keppinger. He got a hit, but was 0x2 w/RISP and ended two innings.