Saturday, August 21, 2010

Moehler set for bullpen session

Brian Moehler will throw a bullpen session today or tomorrow in preparation for a rehab start, should his groin hold up.

Source close to Express confirms what we all expect

The Austin American-Statesman has confirmed the least surprising rumor in all of Minor League Baseball:

After 11 years as a minor-league affiliate of the Houston Astros, Round Rock will join the Texas Rangers' farm system, according to a source close to the Express. The source said Round Rock will maintain its name and its Triple-A affiliation with the Pacific Coast League in 2011. The team, however, will be the one now playing as the Oklahoma City RedHawks, which is the Texas Rangers' current Triple-A team.

And writer Avery Holton has caught the same disdain about the Express that The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber has been spreading like chlamydia:

Round Rock and Oklahoma City begin a series (Saturday) at Dell Diamond, a matchup that might appeal to beleaguered Express fans, whose team stands 20 games under .500. For the next four games, the home fans can scout the RedHawks, who have the best record in the PCL's American South Division.

LA Times: Pissed at the Dodgers? Go to Lancaster!

Nice little shoutout to the JetHawks in the LA Times today, offering beleaguered Dodgers fans who are sick of the McCourts and Matt Kemp's agent an Lancaster.

The LA Times' Chris Erskine:
That's right, Lancaster — last gas before Nevada. Basically, you drive until you start seeing trailer parks and mules. When the L.A. radio stations get all fuzzy, hang a left. That's Clear Channel Stadium, ironically enough. Locals also call it the Hangar.

It's a gem of a little stadium too, as many of these minor league parks are. For 13 bucks, you get the very best ticket and all the slices of Americana you could ever devour.

Great stat by Levine

In Zach Levine's G121 recap, he has a great stat:

In fact, with 1,756, (Carlos) Lee has played more games in his career than the rest of Friday's Astros starters combined (1,362).


Lots of transactions for you from Saturday:


Placed Kody Kirkland on the 7-Day DL, and activated Jose Vallejo from the temporarily inactive list.


Bryce Lane assigned to Lancaster from the GCL Astros.

Lane, drafted in the 41st Round this past June, was hitting .202/.232/.213 in 37 games for Greeneville before getting sent to the GCL, where he hit .333/.429/.367 in eight games. So this is curious.


Placed pitcher Yordany Ramirez and outfielder Brian Kemp on the temporarily inactive list.


2010 3rd Round pick Austin Wates was assigned to Tri-City.

Eddie's Farm: August 20

Round Rock

Look at that! Four runs scored, all in the 9th inning, and the Astros come away with the win over Portland, 3-1. Andy Van Hekken threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:2BB; Chris Sampson got the win with a hit and a walk in 1IP, and Roy Corcoran gave up 2H/1ER for the save. German Duran was 2x4, with Shuck, Bogusevic (BB), Maysonet (RBI), and Shelton getting your other hits. Van Hekken even drew two walks. And for a guy hitting .033, this is inexcusable on the Beavers' part.

Man of the Match: Andy Van Hekken.


Despite getting ten hits, the Hooks got whooped (and swept) 9-3 at the hands of Springfield. Jeremy Johnson threw 3.2IP, 5H/5R (3ER), 5K:3BB. Bubbie Buzachero, who had previously allowed 1ER in 11.1IP, gave up 5H/4ER in 1.1IP on four days rest. Arcenio Leon struck out three in 2IP, and Jose Valdez held Springfield to one hit in 2IP. Wladimir Sutil was 3x4 with two doubles, and J.D. Martinez was 2x4 with a double for your multi-hit games. Koby Clemens collected his 80th RBI of the season - fourth in the Texas League. Gaston and Federico Hernandez had the other RBIs. Albert Cartwright was 1x3 with a walk and a stolen base (and an error).

Man of the Match: Wladimir Sutil.


Old-fashioned butt-whoopin at the hands of Stockton as the Ports beat the JetHawks 13-1. Edwin Walker threw 1.2IP, 5H/7R (6ER), 1K:4BB in the start; Ashton Mowdy threw 2.1IP, 3H/3ER, 0K:3BB; Mike Modica allowed an unearned run, Kyle Godfrey let in two earned, and Jose Trinidad threw a perfect 8th. Brandon Barnes was 2x3 and Brian Pellegrini provided the lone run with a solo homer.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes


Greenville broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the 8th for a 4-3 win over Lexington. Zach Grimmett threw 6IP, 6H/3ER, 4K:2BB; Yordany Ramirez allowed two hits and a walk in 0.1IP; Mike Schurz allowed 1H/1ER, 4K:2BB, 2WP in 1.1IP. That's right, he got strikeouts in all four of his outs. Colton Pitkin closed it out with 1.1IP. Renzo Tello was 3x4 with a double, and a solo homer. Jiovanni Mier was 0x4, but with 2SBs. Jonathan Meyer also hit a solo homer, and Our Boy Bubby Williams was 1x3 with a double. Jake Goebbert was 1x4, and got an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Renzo Tello.


Come on! Aberdeen beats Tri-City in 10 innings, 1-0. David Martinez allowed just 2H/0ER, 5K:1BB in 7IP, Alex Sogard walked one in 1IP, and Brandt Walker allowed 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB in 2IP on a homer to David Anderson. Ben Orloff, Dan Adamson, Marcus Nidiffer (SB), Buck Afenir, and Adam Bailey got your hits, with Orloff and Tyler Burnett drawing walks.

Man of the Match: David Martinez - who has allowed 3ER in his last 22.1IP.


Greeneville got a double-header in!

Game 1: Greeneville was down 3-0 heading into the 3rd, and whooped up on Danville 13-5. Euris Quezada allowed 6H/4ER, 0K:1BB in 2.1IP. Garrett Bullock allowed 4H/0ER in 2.2IP, and Paul Gerrish gave up 3H/1ER in 2IP. Delino DeShields was 4x4 with two doubles, a walk, and 2RBI; Hector Rodriguez was 3x4 with 2RBI; Telvin Nash was 2x3 with a double, homer, walk, and 4RBI, and Rafael Valenzuela was 2x4 with 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash

Game 2: And it turned into a pitchers duel in Game 2, with Greeneville coming out on top, 1-0. Gabe Garcia threw 4IP, 0H/0ER, Ryan Cole threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, and Brian Streilein broke up the combined (and shortened) perfect game, and then no-hitter, with two outs in the bottom of the 7th with a walk and a hit. Jonathan Merritt was 2x2 with a triple. DeShields was 1x4 and scored the winning run on Danville's wild pitch.

Man of the Match: Delino DeShields.

Friday, August 20, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G121: Astros @ Marlins

Good grief. Astros get rocked in innings 6-8, and lose 9-0.

*The loss drops the Astros to 2-2 on the year against the Marlins. But they've lost nine of their last ten in Whatever The Hell The Name Is Of Where The Marlins Play. This name could change by tomorrow night.

*On the road, the Astros dropped to 21-35, with 222 runs scored and 309 runs against. Only the Nationals, Pirates, and Diamondbacks have fewer road wins.

*It's also the 12th time this season the Astros have been shutout. It's the sixth time the Astros have been held to three hits or less.

*Happ had a decent game, certainly not worth losing. It would be great to be able to assign wins and losses to other pitchers. More on this later.

*Happ threw 6IP, 5H/3ER, 6K:2BB, WP. That's the lowest number of walks Happ has posted in an outing this season. Including the August 4 game at St. Louis, where he lasted an inning.

*Both of those walks came in the 6th inning, and both of those runners scored. Five of his last seven unintentional walks have come around to score later in the inning.

*In his last three games, Happ has gotten 27 flyball outs, 11 groundball outs, and 17 strikeouts.

*But it was Jeff Fulchino who got his crap rocked tonight, allowing 4H/4ER, and recording two outs. This is despite throwing first-pitch strikes to five of the six batters he faced.

*Since Fulchino returned on August 3, he's allowed 9H/5ER, 8K:3BB in 8.1IP. Of course, four of those runs were tonight.

*Poor Fernando Abad. Though he made his second career appearance in as low-stress of a setting as he could (down 7-0), he still gave up back-to-back homers to Hector Luna and Brett Hayes.

*Happ, Fulchino, and Byrdak all threw wild pitches, as well.

*The offense was about as remarkable as the pitching. Johnson, Manzella, and Castro provided your hits. The Marlins had more hits w/RISP (four) than the Astros had all night.

*Brett Wallace was 0x3 with 3Ks. It's been eleven games since he drew a walk (14Ks).

*So what happened? The Marlins only needed 114 pitches to get through the game. 39 of them were non-contact strikes (23 called, 16 swinging). The Astros only walked one time.

*How about this - it's the 39th time this season the Astros have drawn one - or zero - walk(s).

*The Astros got to a 3-ball count one time - which led to the walk by Carlos Lee.

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

*Pitch Count Punk: Jason Castro (1x3) - Nine pitches in three PAs.

*Man of the Match: Do we have to? J.A. Happ. It's his third straight quality start, and his fourth in five starts with the Astros.

*Goat of the Game: Anyone have a problem with this going to Jeff Fulchino? It's too hard to find a Goat on offense.

Houston Press on the Feliz trade

John Royal has a post discussing the Feliz trade. Mainly, it's "Ed Wade is still an idiot."

Wade was widely and correctly mocked during the off-season for the Feliz signing as it appears that he was the only one who didn't know how to read a stat sheet, thus rendering him unable to figure out that Feliz was going to suck this season. But a guy who had trouble hitting with the Phillies and struggled to get RBI's in a lineup featuring Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth was clearly not going to be able to hack it with the Astros, especially if he was making $4.5 million.

Maybe this move is an indication that Wade is finally figuring this whole GM thing, and that's he is finally figuring out how to read and understand baseball stats. But I seriously doubt it. The saying is, after all, that a broke clock is right twice the day, and seeing as how Chris Johnson had to play in the minors most of the season because of Feliz, I'm counting this trade as one of those two times where the broken clock is right.

It is worth pointing out that CHONE predicted that Feliz would hit .256/.299/.407. Not great, but not .221/.243/.311. When the Astros signed Feliz, we said that it was entirely too much money, and apologized to Chris Johnson.

So while I don't think too many people were jazzed up about the signing, his OPS from 2001-2009 was .716. It's .555 this year. I don't think anyone foresaw an OPS-dropoff of 161 points.

The Oklahoman can't forgive the Astros for 2007

Ryan Aber must hate the Astros. The writer for the Oklahoman isn't letting it go about the Astros farm team:

While the Houston Astros were at one time considered a logical choice to move their affiliate to Oklahoma City, it now appears unlikely it will be that easy...But the Astros' player development has been less than spectacular in recent years. Poor drafts, including 2007, when Houston failed to sign any of its picks before the fifth round, have hurt the organization.

Three words: Let. It. Go.

We do find out, however, that the first day teams can negotiate with minor-league franchises is September 16.

To answer a flurry of emails

No. We won't be discussing Roger Clemens.

Middle Infield update

Bernardo Fallas' Notes Column tells us that Geoff Blum will get the majority of his time at 2B, while Sanchez will get the majority of time at SS - though could see time at 2B himself.

Mills, on Blum:
"We're going to be in a situation where it's going to be tough to get Blummer in there all the time. We don't want to kill this guy either. He's been a guy that will do a great job for us, but to put him out there every day might be asking an awful lot of him."

On Sanchez at SS:
"I think (Sanchez) has earned a shot to play there quite a bit."

Call to the Pen not so excited for the Cardinals

Here's a good breakdown of the Feliz trade from Call to the Pen:

On Carpenter:
Carpenter, 25, is a converted catcher who throws 91-94 with his heater. Like many converted players, his offspeed stuff is pretty raw. He still has managed to whiff 8.25 batters per nine this year in High-A. He has good command and keeps the ball down. Sometimes these converted guys wind up exploding onto the scene at some point. I wouldn’t go crazy projecting that for Carpenter, but he’s got some skills that could work out in the higher levels, and he’s still new to pitching, so he could make some real improvements.

On what it means for the Cardinals:
That the Astros got anything for Feliz is a miracle. As for the Cardinals…I see the whole “Tony La Russa can revive veterans” argument, and maybe he can. But when you have Ruben Gotay in AAA, there’s no excuse to acquire an inferior player in Feliz (with the additional cost of having to send a C-grade prospect away for him) to man the hot corner in St. Louis. No excuse, and it speaks to a lack of creativity in the organization that they’d rather go with the worst of retreads than one of the best players in Triple-A. The Cardinals are a great organization, and the Astros are not, but Ed Wade fleeced John Mozeliak on this one.

Nice interview with David Carpemter

David Carpenter - who was assigned to Lancaster this morning - is predictably excited about coming to Houston.

“I was surprised but then after talking with some people I am very excited. It is nice to know that the Astros look at me as a prospect and will give me opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the Major Leagues."

FanGraphs evaluates the 2010 draft

Hey, so FanGraphs has exactly what we said in the title. Here's what they said about the Astros' Top 10 picks:

There was probably more pressure on the Astros to draft well — four of the first 58 picks, bad farm system — than any other team in baseball. They went for upside and potential, so it’s definitely too early to judge their haul. Kvasnicka’s early struggles are the most disconcerting, but easily written off given the defensive demands asked of him. And, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not the best college hitter the team drafted, between Heath and Austin Wates. But the key for the draft will be the three top 60 high school guys, who come at an investment of more than $4 million.

Eddie's Farm: August 19

Round Rock

Round Rock scored four in the 1st inning, and two in the 5th, and by then it didn't matter that Portland got two in the 7th. Express win 6-2. Shane Loux allowed 8H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 6.2IP (that's 5ER in his last 23.2IP). Jonah Bayliss allowed 1H/0ER, 3K:1BB in 1.1IP and Gary Majewski struck out three and walked one in 1IP. Six of the last seven Portland batters struck out. Jack Shuck (2x5) and Brian Bogusevic (2x5, HR, 2RBI) had your multi-hit games. Bogusevic and Drew Locke hit back-to-back jacks in the first inning. Locke was 1x2 with 2RBI and three walks.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke

Corpus Christi

Corpus struck first, but Springfield struck more, and the Hooks lose to the Cardinals 4-2. Dallas Keuchel allowed 5H/4R (1ER - two fielding errors by J.D. Martinez), 4K:0BB. Arcenio Leon gave up a run charged to Keuchel, and Evan Englebrook closed out the game with 2K in 1IP. The Hooks spread out six hits over six batters, with Albert Cartwright and Jon Gaston hitting triples, and Federico Hernandez getting a double. Freddy Parejo and Koby Clemens provided the RBIs.

Man of the Match: Dallas Keuchel.


Stockton took a 3-0 lead into the 7th, where the JetHawks got two back in the top of the inning. So Stockton answered with three in the bottom half, and won 6-2. Ross Seaton allowed 9H/3ER, 7K:1BB in 6IP. Brian Wabick allowed 4H/3ER, 1K:2BB in 0.2IP, leaving the bases loaded for David Berner, who got out of the bases loaded jam. The JetHawks only got five hits - two from Mark Ori, who also had the 2RBI. Brian Pellegrini, Jordan Comadena, and Brandon Wikoff had your other hits. Jay Austin drew two walks.

Man of the Match: Mark Ori


Lexington allowed two runs in the first to Greenville, and that's how it stayed until the 7th, when the Legends scored four. Legends win 5-2. Jose Cisnero threw 6IP, allowing 4H/2ER, 6K:3BB. Colton Piktin threw two scoreless, and Wander Alvino - despite two walks - got his first save of the season. Renzo Tello got himself a three-run double, and Jimmy Paredes added an RBI. Paredes and Butera were the only Legends to get on base twice.

Man of the Match: Renzo Tello


Tri-City withstood a late Connecticut rally to hold on for the 3-2 win. Jake Buchanan allowed 4H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 6IP while a bullpen of Travis Blankenship, John Frawley, and Jorge De Leon held the Tigers to 4H/2R (1ER), 5K:1BB. Jorge De Leon has allowed one earned run this season (20.1IP) with 20K:9BB. Marcus Nidiffer hit his 3rd homer with Tri-City - a two run shot in the 4th. Orloff, Burnett, Adamson, Wallace, and Bailey added hits.

Man of the Match: Jake Buchanan.


It wouldn't be a normal day without a Greeneville game getting rained out.

Anderson Hernandez called up

The Astros have called up Anderson Hernandez this morning, according to the MiLB's transactions page. I need to look at the 40-man roster to see how this shakes out with Manzella's activation, Abad's call-up, Feliz' trade, and now Hernandez.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G120: Astros v. Mets

Apparently The Constable said Carlos Lee would hit that home run before it happened. You can believe him if you want, but, um, I don't. Astros win 3-2, and split the series with the lowly Mets.

*Bud Norris pitched very well, but was inefficient. 123 pitches in seven innings, and he was at 108 after six innings. The 123 pitches are a season-high, and the 26 batters faced were his lowest in three starts.

*That said, Norris has thrown 6+ innings in eight of his last nine innings, and is 4-1 since the All-Star Break.

*Norris has thrown 1876 pitches (62% of them for strikes) this season to 469 batters. This is an average of exactly 4.00 pitches per batter faced, but 5.86 pitches per out.

*Norris' 5.23 ERA is the lowest it's been since it was 4.26 on April 21.

*Wilton Lopez continues to impress. It's now been 17 appearances since he's allowed a run, and in those 17 games, he's got an 0.68 WHIP, striking out 16 and walking just one.

*There wasn't much going on offensively until the 7th inning. Consider innings 1-6, the Astros were 1x19 against Pat Misch. Pence doubled in the first, and then Misch got the next 16 consecutive batters. In the 7th, though, Sanchez singled to center, Pence singled to left, and then Carlos Lee took the first pitch he saw to left (and I don't care what ESPN says, that was not a 381' home run). 3-2. Ball game.

*McTaggart noted that last night's game was the 9th come-from-behind win in a row for the Astros.

*The Astros' 1-4 hitters (Bourn, Sanchez, Pence, Lee): 4x14, 3RBI. 5-8 hitters: 1x12.

*Chris Johnson is 0x(his last) 13. He last got on base in the 8th inning with an intentional walk in the 7th of the first game of the Mets series.

*Hunter Pence's double was his 25th of the season - he has at least 25 doubles in all four seasons he's played.

*On June 28, Michael Bourn went 4x6 at Milwaukee. Since then he's hit .217/.292/.283 with 32K:15BB, and a .275 BABIP.

*Since June 1, the Astros are 36-33.

*Pitch Count Hero: Sanchez (1x4) and Chris Johnson (0x3) - 17 pitches in three PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Geoff Blum (0x3) - 7 pitches in three PAs.

*Man of the Match: Carlos Lee!

*Goat of the Game: It's hard to have a lead-off man who can't get on base. Michael Bourn, this Goat's for you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manzella activated

Tommy Manzella has been activated from the DL, and will likely make the trip to Florida to start the road trip.

Feliz traded

The experiment that was Pedro Feliz is now over as the Astros have traded him - not Blum - to St. Louis for RHP David Carpenter.

Carpenter is a 25-year old reliever, drafted in the 12th Round by the Cardinals in 2006. He's 5-3 in High-A Palm Beach of the Florida State League, where has posted a 2.36 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 49 games.

You're probably thinking that this isn't much of a return, but if Pedro Feliz is the missing piece as the Cardinals try to catch the Reds, then the Cardinals are playing with the wrong puzzle.

Cardinals interested in Blum

Jon Paul Morosi says there's "nothing serious at the moment," but the Cardinals are interested in Geoff Blum.

Now this trade to the Cardinals I could get on board with.

Minor League Ball's 2010 prospect list in review

John Sickels has an interesting read this morning - his annotated 2010 Top 20 Astros prospect list in review.

I'm not going to pull a whole lot, but here are some interesting thoughts on Eddie's Farm:

On Jiovanni Mier:
Has drawn some walks, stolen 12 bases, but has also made 31 errors and not shown nearly the pop he demonstrated last year in rookie ball. Still interesting due to youth and athleticism, but yet another example that rookie ball stats (and scouting reports) have to be taken with a grain of salt.

On Ross Seaton:
Incredible home/road split: 8.82 ERA with 29/19 K/BB and 89 hits in 51 innings at home, 4.42 ERA with 42/22 K/BB in 77 innings on the road, 78 hits. Road stats are more his genuine talent level I'd say.

On Chris Johnson:
I saw him play Double-A and Triple-A in '08 and '09, and while he had bat speed, his approach was poor, both in person and on paper. His BB/K is still lousy this year (18/63 overall) but there he is with the gaudy numbers. I think it is a fluke and that he's really a .250-.270 hitter, but I could be wrong. Other analysts have seen him as a breakout guy even when I was skeptical.

On J.D. Martinez:
I had him rated as a sleeper in the book and he's definitely woken up. He's got decent physical tools and it is hard to believe he lasted until the 20th round last year.

Lindstrom to DL, Fernando Abad up

Predictably, and thankfully, the Astros have placed Matt Lindstrom on the DL with a sore back.

I don’t want to cost my team any more games. The good news is my arm feels great, and that’s why it is so frustrating for me right now. I can’t get on the same page with my back.”

Fernando Abad has been recalled to take his roster spot.
We also find out within the linked Notes Column that Jeff Keppinger has a bone in his toe that is SPLIT IN HALF.

"It's a little bone that's split in half (with cartilage in between them), something I was born with."


Eddie's Farm: August 18

Round Rock

Boom, sucka! Round Rock scores all the runs they need on one swing of the bat and the Express beat Portland, 4-2. Yorman Bazardo threw 6IP, 4H/0ER, 3K:1BB; Roy Corcoran struck out three in 2IP, and Casey Daigle allowed 2H/2R (1ER), 2K:1BB in 1IP. Jack Shuck was 2x5 (now hitting .300 at Triple-A), Brian Bogusevic was 2x3 with a double and a walk, and Matt Kata was 2x4. But it was Collin DeLome who hit a grand slam in the 6th for what the Express needed.

Man of the Match: Come on. Collin DeLome.


Corpus learned a thing or two from the Astros, after tying Springfield in the 9th at 5-5, and then allowing a run in the top of the 11th for a 6-5 loss. Henry Villar threw 6IP, 8H/4ER, 3K:3BB and allowed 2HR to Peter Kozma. Matt Nevarez and Jose Valdez threw scoreless innings, and Jeilen Peguero allowed 2H/2ER, 5K:3BB, 2WP in 3IP for the loss. J.D. Martinez was 3x5 with an RBI, and Lou Santangelo was 2x3 with a homer, 2RBI, and two walks. Martinez is hitting .433/.493/.617 in August (36x60, 7XBH).

Man of the Match: Lou Santangelo.


Lancaster took an early 1-0 lead, and then didn't get much after that in a 3-1 loss at Stockton. Leandro Cespedes allowed 3H/3R (1ER), 4K:3BB in 5IP. Shane Wolf, Kyle Godfrey, and Mike Modica each threw scoreless innings. Jonathan Villar was 2x4, but also committed the error leading to the difference in the runs column on the scoreboard. Jay Austin, Brandon Barnes, and Jose Altuve got your other hits.

Man of the Match: Leandro Cespedes, I guess.


Strange scoring line between Greenville and Lexington, with Lexington getting fewer hits and committing more errors, but scoring more runs than Greenville. Legends win 4-3, with Grant Hogue scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 8th on a throwing error. Juan Minaya allowed 4H/3R (2ER), 1K:2BB in 6IP. Dan Sarisky got the win with 2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB, and Kirk Clark struck out the side for his 26th save of the season. Jiovanni Mier was 2x4 with his 2nd homer of the season (ouch), yet committed his 32nd error of the year. Jimmy Paredes and Our Boy Aaron Bray got the other two hits. Grant Hogue scored two runs despite not getting a hit (walk and HBP).

Man of the Match: It's going to Hogue.


Fresh off the All-Star Break, Tri-City picked up where they left off with a solid 6-0 win over Connecticut. Bobby Doran allowed 4H/0ER, 6K:1BB in 7IP for his 4th win of the year, while Alex Sogard and Mike Ness threw perfect innings themselves. Enrique Hernandez was 4x5 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. Dan Adamson and Tyler Burnett each hit homers, and Mike Kvasnicka - back from his tender forearm issue - was 1x5 with an RBI double.

Man of the Match: Enrique Hernandez (though Doran is equally qualified).


Off. The Gastros now have not played since August 15.

GCL Astros

Despite committing four errors, the GCL Astros beat the GCL Cardinals 5-4. Mark Jones threw 4IP, 5H/4R (3ER), 3K:3BB; Pedro Gomez got the win with 2H/0ER, 4K:0BB in 3IP, and Ebert Rosario collected his first save - ever - with 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 2IP. Jordan Scott, Jose Vargas, and Kyle Redinger had two hits each. Jose Fernandez had a bases clearing triple in the 6th.

Man of the Match: Ebert Rosario!

From the Office of the County Clerk - G119: Astros v. Mets

This is getting silly. Three games in this series so far, and they've been decided by a total of four runs. In tonight's instance, it was also decided in the 14th inning, and the Astros lose 3-2.

*The Mets took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 8th, and with one out, Angel Sanchez singled home Castro, who was running for Quintero. Jason Michaels was on 3rd base, with Pence up. Pence struck out, and Carlos Lee grounded out to end the inning, with Michaels still on 3rd.

*Still, the drama continued in the 9th when Geoff Blum homered off R.A. Dickey to tie the game up at 2-2. It was Dickey's 8th homer allowed in 119.1IP.

*Things heated up for the Mets in the 10th, when they had the bases loaded with one out. Brandon Lyon got Ike Davis to ground into a fielder's choice, which Brett Wallace correctly chose to throw home, getting Jose Reyes, and Jeff Francoeur lined out to right field to end the threat.

*The Astros managed to get nine retired in a row between the 10th and the end of the 12th before Jason Bourgeois singled to center off Elmer Dessens. And then was promptly caught stealing.

*Gustavo Chacin allowed the winning run by walking two unintentionally, walking two intentionally, and allowing two sac flies. So his unremarkable line was 1IP, 0H/1ER, 0K:4BB.

*Yes, and so the Astros in extra-innings tonight were 2x17.

*Brett Myers continued his 18+ out streak to 25 games, which was nice. He also threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 30 batters he faced. Amazingly, the Mets swung and missed at just five of his 110 pitches.

*Actually, of the 237 pitches the Mets saw tonight, they swung and missed at just nine of them. To compare, of the 187 pitches the Astros saw, they came up empty on 20 of them.

*Angel Sanchez, Geoff Blum, and Carlos Lee had two hits each - coming up with six of the eleven hits the Astros collected. Brett Myers and two pinch-hitters (Michaels and Bourgeois) had three.

*Chris Johnson (0x6, K) and Brett Wallace (0x5, 3K) were a combined 0x11 with 4Ks.

*Blum's 9th inning homer was the 96th home run of his career, and the 9th 9th-inning homer he's hit. It's the 3rd homer he's hit in the 9th with one out (or two, for that matter).

*Michael Bourn's 1x5 night dropped his OBP to .325. Which is the same number as his SLG.

*So let's recap the Astros' evening: 51 plate appearances. One walk. One extra-base hit. That's the fewest extra-base hits in a game with 50+ plate appearances since July 3, 2007 vs. Philadelphia (56 PAs, 1HR) - a 5-4 win.

*Tonight's game was the first four-hour game (4:18) of 2010 for the Astros, and just the fourth since the beginning of 2009.

*Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (1x5) - 29 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Humberto Quintero (1x3) - six pitches in three PAs. Also not averaging 3+ pitches/PA tonight: Angel Sanchez, Carlos Lee.

*Man of the Match: Geoff Blum. Got the big hit. Maybe his first BH of the season.

*Goat of the Game: Lots of candidates here, but it goes to Gustavo Chacin, whose early inning troubles earned him the L.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

David Duncan placed on DL


(Aug 17) - David Duncan placed on 7-Day DL

Bagwell for the HOF? Yahoo takes a look

Random, spotty updates abound until later tonight, but here Yahoo takes a gander at Bagwell's HOF candidacy.

To sum up:
During his career, Bagwell was never the best first baseman in baseball: First it was Frank Thomas, then briefly it was Mark McGwire, and then it was Albert Pujols. All have strong cases for the Hall, and Bagwell will have to hope he isn't penalized by voters for having too many talented colleagues. Fortunately, he retired before most of his peers, so he'll have a few years' head start. So he will have to hope that he can get voted in before their names start to appear on the ballot.

We'll have more on this when the time is right.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ed Wade might look into Barret Loux

Zach Levine is reporting that Ed Wade just might look into the new, bizarrely-minted free agent Loux out of A&M after Arizona pulled out of the contract due to concerns about his shoulder.

"We'll look into it. We'll do our due diligence and decide if he's someone who's in our best interest."

Why JaCoby Jones kind of screwed up.

Let's get one thing straight, before we go off on this: JaCoby Jones forgoing a $1m+ payoff to skip college and pursue his higher education is an admirable, nay, downright impressive choice. He stared down a life-changing amount of money from the Astros to play baseball, and said, "No, thanks." That's pretty impressive. That said, he may have screwed up.

Because it seems like things are going to change by the time he's eligible again in 2013. Nationals President Stan Kasten said this about the current version of the MLB June Draft:

"I'm confident it will only be in place one more year. Because it is just silly, to think the industry operates this way. There's no reason for it. And the worst part? The worst part is we've now institutionalized taking young talent at their prime development age, and now we say, 'Go sit on the shelf for this season.' That's the worst thing of all. It doesn't help the talent. It doesn't help the teams. If nothing else, that law needs to be fixed."

This is in reference to the late deadline, but there was this at the bottom:
According to The Washington Post, there is a belief that the next collective bargaining agreement -- which will take effect in 2012 -- will include new rules concerning the draft. Baseball is said to favor a system similar to the NBA's, where a slotting system is in place for draft picks.

It's reasonable to assume that JaCoby Jones was offered approximately $1.5m. This year's #15 draft pick - the Rangers' Jake Skole - signed for $1.557 million. Let's just say, for giggles, that MLB implements a hard-slotting system, and freezes picks at their current signing bonus. This would mean that, in 2013, JaCoby Jones would need to be a Top-15 pick. That's a big gamble. Because if he's not, he will likely not be getting money close to that amount.

We do beg your pardon if this is somewhat obvious - but it seems like a fairly short-sighted move. Unless JaCoby Jones just really wanted to go to college and, for once, it's not about the money. Then he should be applauded.

So who didn't sign?

So as we recover from 2010 draft coverage, we can look back at who didn't sign:

6th Round - RHP Adam Plutko
13th Round - 2B Davis Duren
19th Round - SS Jacoby Jones
21st Round - RHP Aaron Blair
22nd Round - C Zach Dygert
29th Round - CF Broughan Jantz
32nd Round - RHP Austin Chrismon
35th Round - 1B Esteban Gomez
36th Round - RHP Ryan Halstead
38th Round - 1B Ryan Ford
43rd Round - SS DeMarcus Henderson
44th Round - RHP Alexis Garza
45th Round - SS Ian Vazquez
46th Round - LHP Lawrence Pardo
47th Round - SS Joe Carcone
48th Round - RHP T.J. Pecoraro
50th Round - CF David Donald

Chris Johnson: Somewhat emotional

Interesting story in Chris Johnson's hometown paper today, in which his high school coach speculates on what has turned him into Roy Hobbs:

Bishop Verot Coach Tom LoSauro:
“Things get to him. He’s a very emotional person. Now, having known what’s happened to his sister, this certainly makes his accomplishments even greater. Somewhere the switch flipped where he could take that competitive nature and make a positive out of it.”

His sister was injured in a horseback riding/car accident two weeks ago.

Bagwell, deflecting credit to Johnson:
“(His success) has nothing to do with me. He’s in the batter’s box, not me. We have certain things we’re trying to do, he’s made the adjustment and it’s been great.”

Keppinger getting an X-Ray

So Jeff Keppinger will get an X-Ray today (likely with Chris Johnson's superhuman sight) to check on a sprained toe he suffered in the 8th going for a ball.

“I put my weight one way, and my foot inside my shoe slid. When I pushed off, I did it right there kind of on my foot and felt a sharp pain. They want me to get an X-ray just to make sure nothing’s broken, but I don’t think so. They did a bunch of tests, and everything seemed pretty fine.”

Levine's Early Returns, Shirley injured

Zach Levine has an article on the early returns from the 2010 draft class. Well worth a read for the explanations, here's the summary:

Best start (early round pick): Vincent Velasquez
Best start (late round pick): Dan Adamson
Best in flashes: Mike Foltynewicz
Most tantalizing: Tommy Shirley (who is out for the season with a bone bruise on his knee)
Most advanced: Ben Heath

Wates signs, nobody else does

So the Astros went above slot to sign Austin Wates to a reported $550,000 bonus last night.

Meanwhile, $1 million + apparently wasn't enough to draw Adam Plutko away from UCLA.

Bobby Heck, on the players who didn't sign:

"We exhausted all avenues with the players that we believed were ready to begin their respective professional careers. There were a handful of offers on the table up until the signing deadline that would be viewed as significant, but those players chose college as the next step in their baseball development."

Then Heck goes the Job Security route:

"The work of this scouting staff can not be understated as they have not only identified the talent, signed the players but our scouts also recognized and valued the character, work ethic, and desire of these prospects. Today was another step forward for the Houston Astros organization, and I cannot say enough about the continued support of our front office leadership and our owner Drayton McLane."

Wesley Wright to DL

Wesley Wright has been placed on the DL with shoulder tightness, and Sergio Perez has been activated from the DL in his place.

Eddie's Farm: August 16

Round Rock

Oof. Tacoma scores four in the 1st off Jordan Lyles (much to Deputy Street's chagrin, who drove approximately six hours total to see it), but Round Rock storms back, only to lose in 10 innings, 7-6. Lyles allowed 11H/5ER, 3K:5BB in 4.2IP. Jonah Bayliss allowed 2H/1ER, 4K:1BB in 3.1IP; and Chris Sampson took the loss, giving up a Dustin Ackley walk-off in the bottom of the 10th. Tommy Manzella was 3x4 with a double, homer, and 2RBI and Drew Locke was 3x5 with two doubles, 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella


Corpus gave up a run in the first to Arkansas, but got six runs in innings 4-6 for a 6-1 win, despite getting out-hit 10-9. Erick Abreu was sharp, allowing 7H/1ER, 5K:1BB in 6IP. Bubbie Buzachero walked two and gave up three hits in 2.1IP, but nobody scored, and his ERA is 0.79. Jared Wells recorded his second save of the season, inheriting a bases loaded jam, and getting out of it with no damage. J.D. Martinez was 2x5 with 2RBI; David Cook was 2x3 with a walk, Michael Affronti was 2x4 with a triple and an RBI, and Lou Santangelo hit a two-run homer and added a walk.

Man of the Match: Going with Erick Abreu.




Doubleheader, as the Legends try to make up games lost to rain.

Game 1: West Virginia and Lexington trade 3-run innings in the 2nd, but WV scores two for a 5-3 win. Zach Grimmett alllowed 4H/3ER, 3K:0BB in 2.1IP. Wander Alvino gave up 3H/2R (both unearned), and Colton Pitkin threw a scoreless 7th. Grant Hogue, Our Boy Bubby Williams, and Brian Kemp had your RBIs. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 1x2 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Grant Hogue.

Game 2: Lexington gets down 1-0, and then scores the next seven for a 7-1 win. Luis Cruz allowed 4H/1ER, 4K:1BB in 7IP. Jake Goebbert was 2x3 with a walk and 4RBI; Jonathan Meyer was 1x3 with a 2-run double. Jimmy Paredes was 2x3 with a walk and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert.


All-Star Break.


Postponed - doubleheader Tuesday.

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros cut the GCL Marlins deficit to 4-3 in the 7th, and then the Marlins scored four in the 7th for an 8-3 win over the GCL Astros. Danilo Del Rio allowed 4H/4R (1ER), 3K:2BB in 5IP. Pedro Gomez allowed 3H/4ER, 1K:1BB, and Matison Smith allowed 2H/0ER in 2IP. Garen Wright, Kyle Redinger, and Chan-Jong Moon had two hits each. Josh Magee and C-J Moon had your RBI.

Man of the Match: Chan-Jong Moon would get it, but he committed two errors. Kyle Redinger.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G117 - Astros v. Mets

You know that scene in the Wedding Crashers where Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson are at the funeral, and Will Ferrell is all, "Damn you! Damn you Roger!" That's what I was like last night, except with "Lindstrom" instead of "Roger." Astros lose 3-1.

*Matt Lindstrom gave up 3H/2ER, BB, WP in 0.1IP. In his 18 pitches, he only got one swinging strike.

*From May 27-June 3 (four games), Lindstrom allowed 11H/6ER, but with 5K:5BB. Now, from August 6-16 (also four games), he has allowed 9H/9ER, 2K:3BB, but also 3HR. Dude clearly shouldn't be playing right now.

*All that overshadowed Wandy's performance, in which he gets yet another no decision. He threw 7IP, 4H/1ER, 6K:3BB, allowing a solo homer to Carlos F. Beltran. He also threw 17 first-pitch strikes to 25 batters.

*Since his terrible start on June 18, when he allowed 6ER in 3IP against the Rangers, Wandy has thrown 67.1IP, 50H/13ER, 65K:14BB.

*The Astros rolled up three double plays on the Mets, and didn't hit into one themselves, extending that streak to nine games.

*Houston was 0x8 with RISP, leaving ten on base. This included three instances in which a runner was in scoring position with less than two outs, and he did not score. In the 8th, the bases were loaded for Jason Castro, and he flied out to center.

*Big bat of the game once again belongs to Chris Johnson, who was 2x3 with a walk and an RBI. In the minors, Chris Johnson struck out in 17.4% of his ABs. That's been higher in the Majors at 20.1% as of this morning. In August, that's 20.7%. There was a point to that somewhere...

*Jason Michaels got the start in CF, giving Keppinger the leadoff spot, where he went 1x4. Michaels was also 1x4 and had an adventure in CF that led to one of SportsCenter's Top 10 plays.

*Castro was 0x2 w/RISP, dropping his Avg w/RISP to .108. He's been terribly unlucky, with a .143 BABIP w/RISP before last night. But still, that's brutal.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jason Michaels (1x4) - 20 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Jason Castro (0x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Wandy Rodriguez

*Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom. Your name is starting to auto-fill in this section.

Astros sign Austin Wates

Austin Wates signed with the Astros this evening for $550,000.

It's understandable if you're a tad disappointed that there were no additional signings by the Astros today. Nevertheless, imagining this guy in an Astros throwback in a couple of years should cheer you up immensely!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Austin Wates still negotiating

Daryl Slater, the beat reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch texted with VT coach Pete Hughes, who said that Austin Wates is...

"Still negotiating," Hughes wrote in a text message.

McTaggart: Four more picks

Brian McTaggart tells us that the Astros are working to sign four more draft picks, including 3rd Round pick Austin Wates:

Bobby Heck:
"We're still working on them and seeing how they play out. There are deals out there the guys could say 'yes' to."

Negotiations between Plutko and Astros have ceased

This always means the Embassy is about to get stormed. Yahoo's Kendall Rogers is tweeting:

Negotiations have ceased between Astros 6th-rounder Adam Plutko, a UCLA signee, and the (Astros). Plutko is going to college.

Have you ever been pissed at someone for continuing their education? Now you have.

Zach Levine on Chris Johnson

Zach Levine has an excellent post on Chris Johnson's chances at the Rookie of the Year award. Good rundown of stats and the leaders to this point in the season.

Austin Wates expected to sign, Plutko not so much

ESPN's MLB Draft experts are saying that we can expect Austin Wates to sign today.

And with a captip to Deputy Street, we find that:
According to a trusted source, UCLA recruit Adam Plutko will not sign and head to Westwood.

Interview with Greg Brown

So late last week Greg Brown was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Who is Greg Brown, you ask? Greg Brown is the head baseball coach at Nova Southeastern University. He was also a scout for the Astros for two seasons, and is the man responsible for scouting - and signing - J.D. Martinez, out of Nova Southeastern.

AC: As a former scout for the Astros, beginning in the fall 2008, when did you first notice Martinez?

GB: In the Fall of 2006 I would come out to Nova Southeastern University to prepare for the upcoming Spring Training and would hit with the players. The first day out I saw this young lanky kid take BP and showed juice and some feel to hit. JD and I struck up a friendship and would talk hitting and about pro ball. We would talk about approach and was really impressed with his aptitude for hitting at such a young age.

AC: We know how great players can slide in the draft (Roy Oswalt and Albert Pujols come to mind). But after Martinez' year and a half in the system, why do you think he slid to the 20th Round?

GB: Having seen the past two drafts from the inside really changed my perspective on how it works. It is a living animal that is very hard to predict due to the magnitude of its reach. As an area scout I would evaluate my territory and rank them according to our process as a scouting department as laid out by Bobby Heck. It is very subjective because the toughest thing to do is to know what the player has on the inside and predict that he is going to get to his tools. I believe that I had an inside edge with JD against the competing teams due to my familiarity and the relationship that I built with him over a three year period. That is not say that other scouts did not like him or identify his talents. He was drafted out of high school and he was a three year performer at the collegiate level. I think the question with JD was if he was going to get to his tools consistently. He does not have “classic” hitting mechanics and his defensive capabilities did not always come to play. It is easy to pick apart players for their deficiencies, because they all have them. The hard part in scouting is to find those separators that will allow a player to achieve at the highest level. The bottom line for me was that he consistently put himself in position to hit, used the whole field with power, and had the ability to make adjustments when pitchers would try to double-up on him. Combine that with his makeup and I was able to put my stamp of approval on him that he could succeed as a productive Major Leaguer. I give Bobby a lot of credit for trusting in my gut on JD and knowing where we would be able to take him.

AC: It seems like, anytime we try to build him up as the next Roy Hobbs, someone talks about his defense. What were your thoughts about his defense?

GB: I had seen JD over his three years at NSU play all three outfield positions. There were times where he made plays look easy and then there were times where he struggled. The tools were that he was a better runner under way and there were days he would show you an above average arm in pregame. The tools played down in the game, but they were there. For me he was a offensive leftfielder that was going to drive in runs. As long as he continues to drive in more than he lets in, he has value. For me it is all about the bat and as long as a player is not a liability they can be a productive player.

AC: Are you surprised by his rapid promotion through the Astros' system?

GB: His rapid ascension is a credit to the professionalism he has exhibited on the field. I felt that he was a big leaguer when I signed him and that he was a prospect. However, his production has exceeded my expectations at this point in his career. A hitter's maturation usually takes time to develop because they need at-bats. His ability to adjust to professional pitching, especially coming from a Division II program, indicates that the work he put in while at Nova Southeastern University and their staff prepared him for the next level. I thought he was a top of the draft type talent and I had him stuffed. I would take every opportunity to have our cross checkers and even Bobby Heck see him when they were in town and at the end of the day, I think that Bobby knew that JD was my guy and he trusted in my evaluation. Fortunately, JD has exceeded even my thoughts, which is why I am happy to say that I might have been light.

AC: What kind of rapport, if any, do you build with the players you scout/sign? And are you still in touch with Martinez?

GB: JD and I have had many conversations during the evaluation and signing process about what will make him have a successful career. Sometimes the draft disappoints a player due to his expectations of where he should go in a given year. I believe that JD’s success is partly fueled by his intentions of proving the teams wrong that passed on him and that chip on his shoulder has served him well thus far. By not being considered a bonus baby, he knew that he was going to have to grind it out and continue to produce on a daily basis. In the end, I believe that the Astros got a better player because he is on a mission. We continue to speak throughout the season, but I feel like it is important to allow players to go out and play. He knows that I am always here for him and our bond has only grown stronger with my transition from the Astros to taking over as the new Head Coach at Nova Southeastern University. I try to keep him grounded and continue to mentor him through the relationship that we formed 4 years ago.

AC: You were named head coach at Nova Southeastern for the upcoming season - what are you most looking forward to?

GB: Leaving the Astros was a difficult decision due to my respect for the organization and the direction we were headed. In the end, becoming a head coach of such a promising program at the age of 30 was an opportunity that I could not pass up on. The ability to recruit and coach the players for me was the getting the best of both worlds. My passion for the game is rooted in developing players as ballplayers and as young men. I feel very fortunate to be taking over the NSU baseball program due to potential that it has moving forward. The resources and dedication from the university to the development of athletics provide an opportunity to build a powerhouse. Additionally, the student-athletes have a tradition of success in the classroom as well as on the field which is important to me. Being from the area, I have watched this program's growth over the last ten years under the direction of Michael Mominey and his staff and feel that he has put this program in position to be a perennial contender at the national level. Although my time with the Astros was brief, I feel that any future successes will be directly influenced by what I learned from Bobby and his staff. Scouting is the grassroots of all of baseball. I believe the same principles apply to building a program and have already implemented a system to evaluate and recruit the players that our foundation will be built upon. I feel I owe a lot to the Astros, Bobby, and David Post and am forever grateful for the opportunity.

Big thanks to Greg, and best wishes for the 2011 season. Follow the Sharks here.

The New York Times needs to calm down

So Joe Laponte has an article in the New York Times discussing the Mets, and their upcoming road trip, which starts with four games in Houston tonight.

Their road foes, the Astros and the Pirates, are among the weakest teams in baseball. Manager Jerry Manuel, perhaps anticipating those matchups, had said before Sunday’s game that it was “such a big game for us.”

Okay. We certainly don't expect anyone (besides Nick Cafardo) in the East Coast media to take a look at, you know, statistics when examining the Astros beyond the W-L record. So we'll help - let's compare the Astros and Mets.

vs. NL Central
Mets: 9-10
Astros: 33-24

Against sub-.500 teams
Mets: 23-24
Astros: 31-19

Last 20 games
Mets: 8-12
Astros: 8-12

Last 30 games
Mets: 11-19
Astros: 16-14

Since July 1
Mets: 14-25, .223/.284/.337, 116 runs (3.0/game); 3.9 against, 3.43 ERA/1.35 WHIP
Astros: 20-17, .266/.327/.405, 174 runs (4.7/game); 4.2 against, 3.83 ERA/1.27 WHIP

So obviously you can make any statistic fit your motive, but while the Astros don't have a good overall record, they're at least as good as the Mets since July 1. And the only assault going on in the Astros' clubhouse is between Carlos Lee and Shipley Donuts.

Kvasnicka injured

Ed Weaver of the Troy Record has a new article in which we find out a number of things. Namely, Mike Kvasnicka is injured.

Kvasnicka hasn't played since August 12, and here we find that the culprit is a tender forearm.

We also learn from the first linked article that the Astros and ValleyCats have begun discussing extending their Player Development Contract:
Negotiations with the Astros to renew the working agreement with the ValleyCats have opened but are in the preliminary stage, says ValleyCats general manager Rick Murphy. The talks likely won't intensify until after the New York-Penn League season is over.

Kirk Bohls: Oklahoma City isn't a slam dunk for the New Express

The Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls' Sunday night column is up, and we find out that we shouldn't just assume that the Rangers and Astros will trade Triple-A affiliates:

Once the Express sign on with the Texas Rangers as their Triple-A affiliate sometime next month, bet on this: The Astros may have trouble trying to win the rights to put their Triple-A farm club in the Rangers’ old base, Oklahoma City. The Marlins just re-upped for another two seasons with New Orleans, leaving the Astros few choices. The Brewers may be looking to pull their Triple-A team out of Nashville.

So we asked Bohls:
How likely is Nashville for the Astros' AAA affiliate?

And he replied:
I think pretty likely. Not sure how many options Astros will have.

The Constable texted me this morning and already has, indeed, crapped his pants.

Englebrook activated, Walker down

Evan Englebrook has been activated from the DL with Corpus, and thus, Edwin Walker was assigned to Lancaster from Corpus.

Eddie's Farm: August 15

Round Rock

Round Rock had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, and of course, lost 8-5 in 10 innings. Andy Van Hekken threw 9IP, 8H/5ER, 7K:0BB, 2WP for the no-decision. Gary Majewski came in for the 10th, and gave up 2H/3ER, WP in 0.1IP. Matt Kata was 2x3 with a double, but it was Collin DeLome who hit a 5th inning grand slam. Brian Bogusevic was 0x4 with a walk and his 22nd stolen base of the year.

Man of the Match: Collin DeLome.


Jeebus. The Hooks got six hits, but committed seven errors on their way to a 7-3 loss at Arkansas. Polin Trinidad threw 5IP, 10H/6R (3ER), 4K:0BB. Jeilen Peguero allowed 2H/1ER in 1IP; Evan Englebrook allowed 1H/1BB in 1IP, and Jared Wells allowed a walk in 1IP. Jon Gaston hit his 10th homer of the year and drew a walk, while Freddy Parejo, Koby Clemens, Michael Affrontoo, Jimmy Van Ostrand and Federico Hernandez got thi other hits. Albert Cartwright drew two walks.

Man of the Match: Jon Gaston


After a six-run 5th inning tied up the game, Lancaster scored two in the bottom of the 8th for a 9-7 win over Inland Empire. Kyle Greenwalt allowed 7H/5ER, 3K:2BB in 4IP; Ashton Mowdy allowed 3H/2R (1ER), WP in 1.2IP; Shane Wolf allowed 2H/0ER in 2.1IP, and David Berner allowed 2H/0ER in 1IP for the save. Andy Simunic was 2x3 with a walk and 2RBI; Jay Austin was 1x3 with 3RBI; Jose Altuve was 1x3 with 2RBI and an SB, and Mark Ori was 1x2 with 2BB and three runs scored.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


Both games of a double-header postponed.


Tri-City got three in the bottom of the 9th to bring the game to 6-5. Adam Bailey was up with Oscar Figueroa on 3rd base...and was called out on strikes. Staten Island avoids the sweep and wins 6-5. Carlos Quevedo allowed 6H/5ER, 7K:1BB in 5.2IP, and a bullpen of Adam Champion, Murillo Gouvea, Brandt Walker, and Jason Chowning combined for 3.1IP, 3H/1ER, 5K:2BB. Dan Adamson was 3x5 with an RBI, Ben Orloff was 2x3 with 2BB, and Tyler Burnett was 2x5. Bailey finished the day 1x3 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson


Greeneville was all over Elizabethton in an 8-3 win. Vincent Velasquez threw 5.1IP, 4H/2ER, 2K:0BB, HBP and got the win. Gabe Garcia allowed 3H/1ER in 1.1IP, and Travis Smink struck out four in 2.1IP. Emilio King was 3x5 with an RBI, Rafael Valenzuela was 2x5 with a homer and 2RBI. Jhonny Medrano and Ricardo Garcia were both 2x5 with an RBI. Telvin Nash was 1x3 with two walks, and Delino DeShields was 1x5 with a stolen base.

Man of the Match: How about Vincent Velasquez?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G116: Astros v. Pirates

And the Astros sweep the Pirates for the third time this season. Astros win 8-2.

*The Astros are 10-2 against the Pirates this season, and are 20-7 against Pittsburgh since the beginning of 2009.

*J.A. Happ was strong again, throwing another quality start of 6IP, 3H/2ER, 5K:4BB. However, those walks...

*In five of Happ's seven starts this season, he has walked four or more batters. He isn't allowing many hits: 29 in 40.2IP, but he has 32K:31BB.

*Mark Melancon made his Houston debut, throwing a perfect 7th, and hitting Andrew McCutchen to lead off the 8th before getting lifted for Tim Byrdak.

*Carlos Lee led off the scoring with an RBI single to center. Maybe I was a little harsh on Carlos in G115's recap. Yeah, his OPS is still .696, but for August he's hitting .348 with a .952 OPS. So...Carlos: Sorry about that.

*Hunter Pence continued his hot streak with another 3x4 day, collecting two doubles. If that sounds familiar, it's because that was his line yesterday. He is now posting season highs in average (.285), OBP (.330), and SLG (.460).

*And congrats also go to Pence for stealing his career-high 15th base.

*It wouldn't be an Astros game if Chris Johnson didn't have three hits. And one of those was his 6th homer of the season. Pedro Feliz has four.

*Feliz did get a 2-run pinch-hit double, so there's that. But Johnson is out-homering, out RBI-ing, and completely out-hitting Feliz on every level.

*Jason Castro got his first multi-hit game since August 3, going 2x4 with an RBI. It's his first RBI since August 4. Since July 1, Castro has 5RBI.

*After getting four hits against Atlanta (and Milwaukee, for that matter), Michael Bourn was held hitless against the Pirates.

*The Astros didn't ground into a double play again - the eighth straight game without a GIDP.

*Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (0x4, BB) - 24 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Angel Sanchez (1x5) - 11 pitches in five PAs.

*Man of the Match: This one's going to Hunter Pence.

*Goat of the Game: Michael Bourn, sorry man. Gotta get on base better than that.

Lineup for G116: Astros v. Pirates

McTaggart has your lineup for today's game against Pittsburgh:

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

Buster Olney takes notice of the shift in Houston

Buster Olney's Insider-Only post takes notice of what's going on in Houston:

There is hope in Houston, in a way there hasn't been the last couple of seasons, when an aging team was dragged down by enormous contractual obligations. There is hope in the collection of young players that Oswalt and Berkman left behind.

Call it inexperience, or call it naivete, or call it necessary growth. But the new Astros are having fun, and having some success. "We don't have too many guys who have that much time in the big leagues," said Brett Wallace, who joined Houston in the flurry of trades made right before the deadline. "For a lot of us, we're all getting a chance to get our first significant playing time, our first opportunity. We play with a lot of energy; we can all buy into that."

As previously mentioned, we have an ethical problem giving you all the nuggets from a pay-article, but if you're not an Insider, it's well worth it.

Chris Carpenter: Dick

We normally wouldn't link to Troy E. Renck's article in the Denver Post on Chris Carpenter. But since I hate Chris Carpenter, and have elected Brandon Phillips as my new favorite non-Astro, we need to.

Not sure how I missed it.

But sometime in the last year, there was a baseball-related Maury Povich Show. Remember, it was the one where a DNA test confirmed that Abner Doubleday is the father of Chris Carpenter.

How else to explain Carpenter's vast knowledge of the game. He's not only the smartest player ever, but I am pretty sure you have to know a secret handshake just to say hello to him...

...He knows everything about everything. Dare I say it — he's become the next Curt Schilling....

....Then, Carpenter went nuts at Houston's Carlos Lee this season. Not because Lee hit a home run. That would be logical. No, he got hot with Lee because the Astros' slugger had the audacity to scream in disgust when he popped up. Carpenter was insulted that Lee reacted in anger. He barked at Lee. Lee stared back incredulously. This is quite possibly the lamest incident of the season — telling a hitter how to act when he makes an out. Not when he gets a hit. When he gets an out.

It's a fantastic rundown of what a ******* ********** Carpenter is.

Justice on a roll

Richard Justice's new column on Jeff Bagwell this morning is excellent. Not even going to pull anything from it, just read it.

Koby Clemens: A Gentleman and a (Baseball) Scholar

Nice article in the Springfield News-Leader this morning about Koby Clemens and his clubhouse presence/career trajectory.

Yet no one would know about his struggles these days by talking to him or seeing him in the clubhouse, where Clemens has earned a reputation as a good teammate.
Where he could keep to himself, he regularly plays cards. He had to be pulled away briefly for this interview.

Jimmy Van Ostrand:
He's got a great baseball IQ. He's not a rah-rah guy. But when you talk to him, he understands the game and is going to help you out. Early in his career, he could swing it. He just had to figure out what approach worked for him as a hitter. Now he's just doing it a little more consistently."

Hooks hitting coach Mark Bailey:
"Last year he really learned how to hit the ball to the gaps. He's right about where he should be now."

Moehler may not be done for the season

Brian McTaggart's afternoon notebook tells us that Brian Moehler's bullpen session was positive enough that he may get some rehab starts before the minor league season ends.

Easy Eddie:
"If he stays on track, we could probably put his rehab schedule together for him. If he moves in a straight line, we'll get him out and get him pitching somewhere."

Meanwhile, Manzella looks like he's going to stay in Round Rock for as long as possible, perhaps - as I believe the Crawfish Boxes noted yesterday - until the rosters expand.

Richard Justice: Carlos Lee is the Astros' fault

Richard Justice's new blog post discusses the albatross that is Carlos Lee.

He's the same player here that he was in Chicago, Milwaukee and Texas. He's a very nice man, a gentleman, but he has never been Charlie Hustle. Just because the Astros gave him five-tool money is more a reflection of their decision-making process than him.

Anyway, he's hitting again and has for awhile. He hit .206 with five home runs during the first 49 games. Since then, he has strung together two and a half solid months, hitting .283 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs over the last 60 games. The Astros are 29-31 in this stretch. Over the course of a full season, this 60-game stretch would translate to 27 home runs and 108 RBIs. His OBP is .438 this month. In other words, after a terrible two months, he has been the same as ever, and there's no reason to think his productivity won't extend into 2011.

Whether he plays 2011 here or elsewhere, he has at least dispelled the notion that at 34 his productive days are behind him. He may yet have some gas in the tank.

Agree? Disagree?

Cafardo shares the love for Chris Johnson

Nick Cafardo's Sunday Column has a nice little shout-out to Chris Johnson:

The son of Sox first base coach Ron Johnson is developing into a very good player. With veteran Pedro Feliz on the team, the Astros took a while to commit to Johnson, but since the All-Star break, he has been at or near the top in the NL in OPS, batting average, RBIs, and slugging. “He just keeps throwing out hits and keeps getting big hits, so I bumped him up a little bit to fifth," said manager Brad Mills. “He’s making it tough to leave him in that [sixth] spot."

Except for last night, when he was dropped to 7th.

Roberto Pena promoted

We find out this morning that catcher Roberto Pena has been promoted to Greeneville from the GCL Astros.

Eddie's Farm: August 14

Round Rock

Marathon game in Tacoma last night, and Round Rock wins 2-1 in 14 innings on Oswaldo Navarro's RBI single in the top of the 14th. Shane Loux allowed 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB and exited after 4IP, despite only throwing 49 pitches - more on that when info becomes available. Roy Corcoran gave up the lone Rainiers run on 2H/1ER, 3K:0BB in 3IP. Sampson threw a perfect 8th, Fernando Abad threw three perfect innings, and Casey Daigle gave up 2H and a BB in 3IP, but got the win. Drew Locke was 4x6 and scored both runs, while Oswaldo Navarro was 3x5 and drove him in both times. Jack Shuck was 2x5 on the night.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke!


Corpus enjoyed a 4-run 4th to defeat Arkansas 8-4. Jeremy Johnson allowed 9H/4ER, 5K:2BB, and Matt Nevarez (2IP) and Jose Valdez (1IP) combined for 1H/0ER, 6K:0BB. Freddy Parejo was 3x5 with two doubles; Koby Clemens hit his 24th homer and knocked in three runs. Jimmy Van Ostrand hit his 3rd homer of the year and got 2RBI. J.D. Martinez was 1x2 with an HBP and 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens.


Lancaster was down 5-1 after three innings, but scored the next 11 runs for the 12-5 win over Inland Empire. The JetHawks are 10-2 in August. Robby Donovan allowed 6H/5ER, 2K:6BB in 2.2IP. Kyle Godfrey got the win with 3.1 scoreless innings. Jose Trinidad threw two scoreless innings (and also hit two guys), while Brian Wabick closed it down in the 9th. Mark Ori was 4x5 with a double, triple, and 2RBI. Brandon Barnes was 3x5 with two doubles. Brian Pellegrini was 2x3 (BB, 3RBI), and Andy Simunic was 2x4 with 2RBI. Brandon Wikoff also had two hits.

Man of the Match: Brian Pellegrini.


Postponed. Double-header vs. West Virginia today.


The ValleyCats gave up a run in the first, but then exploded for an 11-2 win over Staten Island. Andrew Robinson threw 5IP, 3H/1ER, 6K:1BB, and a bullpen of Travis Blankenship (2IP), Joan Belliard (1IP), and Jorge De Leon (1IP) combined for 4H/01ER, 3K:1BB. Jorge De Leon's ERA is now 0.47. Marcus Nidiffer was 3x5 with a double and two homers, knocking in five runs. Tyler Burnett was 2x4 with a walk and an RBI. Enrique Hernandez was 2x5 with a double. Dan Adamson added his 7th homer of the season - a two-run shot.

Man of the Match: Marcus Nidiffer.


Johnson City scored four in the 1st and in the 8th for a 9-6 win over Greeneville. It took six Gastros pitchers to get through the game, with Jeiler Castillo and Ryan Cole not recording an out, and the bullpen inheriting five baserunners, with four of them scoring. Emilio King was 2x4, while Rafael Valenzuela, Chris Lovett, and Ricardo Heredia added RBIs. Defense was a problem, as the Gastros committed six errors - three from Jhonny Medrano, and one each from Ryan Cole, Chris Lovett, and Delino DeShields (who was 0x5).

Man of the Match: Uhh...Emilio King?

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros got a three-run 5th to tie the game at 5-5, and the GCL Mets scored the next three runs for an 8-5 win. Francis Ramirez allowed 7H/6R (4ER), 4K:2BB, 3WP in 4.1IP. Jeremiah Meiners allowed 3H/1ER, 2K:1BB in 2.2IP, and Emmanuel Cedano allowed 1ER on a walk and 2WPs. Jose Vargas was 1x4 with RBI, Josh Magee and Ernesto Genoves were both 1x3 with a walk and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Vargas.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G115: Astros v. Pirates

Bud Norris grows up, and the Astros win 3-2.

*Of course the big story was Norris' career-high 14 strikeouts. It's the second-highest total in the Majors this season, behind Brandon Morrow and tied with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

*The first two innings were key for Norris. He left a runner in scoring position in the 1st. He left the bases loaded in the 2nd. He then retired 12 in a row, and held 15 batters without a hit before Paul Maholm singled to right.

*Wade Miller was the last pitcher to strike out 14 batters - on May 30, 2003.

*The Astros ended up striking out 17 Pirates. The last time they struck out that many batters was on July 6, 2008 - when they struck out 18 Braves in a 16-inning game. And lost.

*The last time they struck out that many batters in a nine inning game was June 15, 1987, when the Astros did it against the Reds. Mike Scott struck out 14 batters, and Dave Smith struck out three.

*Wilton Lopez threw yet another scoreless inning, striking out two without a walk. He hasn't walked a batter since July 23 - a span of 41 batters. He also hasn't allowed an earned run since July 18 - 13.2IP.

*Carlos Lee got the start at 1B for the first time since October 1999, and then went 0x4. He's hitting .246 on the year.

*Let's just do a little exercise to find out what it would take for him to hit .300 for the season. He's had 426 ABs. Last year, he got 610 PAs, and hit right at .300. For Carlos Lee to duplicate last season, he would need to hit .424 from this point forward to reach .300.

*Big Bat of the Night belonged to Hunter Pence, who homered to left in the 4th inning to make it a 2-1 game, and then doubled to left center to bring in Angel Sanchez for the go-ahead (and ultimately game-winning run). Pence is hitting .364 in the last seven days.

*Chris Johnson failed to get on base last night for the first time since the All-Star Break.

*The Astros started the 7th inning behind, 2-1. They are now 11-53 in games where they are trailing to begin the 7th.

*Pitch Count Hero: Angel Sanchez (1x4) - 18 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Chris Johnson (0x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Bud Norris!

*Goat of the Game: Carlos Lee. There's no reason to keep hitting him 4th.