Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jim Crane, meet microscope; microscope, meet Jim Crane

The Biz of Baseball has a hard-hitting article questioning why it's taking as long as it is to sell the Astros to Jim Crane.

Brown links to an unflattering 2000 Houston Chronicle article:

Eagle President Jim Crane told his subordinates not to hire blacks because "once you hire blacks, you can never fire them." On other occasions, Crane explained the reason he wanted to keep blacks out of the company was that his top managers are bigoted and they would mistreat the minorities, "giving them no choice but to sue Eagle."


Scandal in Asheville

Appy Astros was at last night's game between Lexington and Asheville. And he's not happy (with good reason):

The umps appeared to debate calling the game with runners on the corners and 1 out in the bottom of the 5th. They should have done so. The could have resumed the game under better conditions before they started the game tomorrow. Instead, they plowed ahead and allowed the deteriorating conditions of the mound & the infield to help determine the out come of the game.

Eddie's Farm: April 15

Oklahoma City

OKC took the home opener with a 7-4 win over Albuquerque. Fernando Nieve pitched much better this time around, going 5.1IP, 6H/3ER, 8K:1BB. Sergio Escalona went 2.2IP, striking out three and allowing a solo homer, and Ross Wolf threw a perfect 9th. Robinson Cancel was 3x4 with a double, Koby Clelmens was 2x4 (2B, HR, 4RBI). Brian Bogusevic was 2x3 with a triple, walk, stolen base, and two RBI. Manzella added an RBI triple.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens

Corpus Christi

Corpus couldn't hold onto a 6-4 lead, as Tulsa scored five in the 7th, collecting 20 hits for a 9-6 win. Ross Seaton threw 5IP, 9H/4ER, 5K:1BB. Shane Wolf gets the Ugly, allowing 7H/5ER, 3K:0BB in 1.2IP. Arcenio Leon allowed 4H/2BB and one of the runs charged to Wolf. J.D. Martinez went (2x3, 2B, RBI, BB), Brandon Barnes and David Flores each added an RBI double, and Big Ross Seaton hit a 3-run homer.

Man of the Match: Ross Seaton


Nail-biter in Rancho Cucamonga, but the JetHawks hold off the Quakes for a 4-3 win. Jake Buchanan's pitch hand is strong, and he went 8IP, 5H/1ER, 5K:1BB for the win. Jose Trinidad made it interesting, giving up 2ER in 0.2IP, and Kirk Clark struck out the last batter of the game for the save. Jose Altuve (3SB) and Austin Wates had two hits and a walk each, Jody Hinze had 2RBI, and Johnathan Villar had another RBI with 2SB.

Man of the Match: Jake Buchanan

The Legends dropped the series opener at Asheville 2-1, in a rain-shortened game. Brad Dydalewicz threw well, going 4.1IP, 5H/2R (1ER), 2K:1BB. Alex Sogard got two outs. Chris Wallace was 1x1 with 2BB, and Adam Bailey hit a solo HR. The Legends committed three errors on the night (DeShields, Mier, Kvasnicka).

Man of the Match: Brad Dydalewicz

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lopez to DL

Brian McTaggart is tweeting that the Astros have placed Wilton Lopez on the DL, and called up Jose Valdez from OKC.

Know Your Enemy: Aaron Harang

Here's a guy who we've met before: Aaron Harang, who was cut loose from the Reds because he made more money than the rest of the team put together.

*Harang throws a fastball 60.3% of the time, with it sitting at an average of 89.6mph this season - almost a full mph lower than 2010. He's been throwing his slider 25.1% of the time - far more than the 18.9% he posted last season, and he has a changeup, and has barely thrown a curve this year (2.2%).

*Harang is 2-0 to start the year for the first time since 2007.

*This season, he's allowed 9H/2ER, 8K:4BB in 12IP, and hasn't needed more than 100 pitches to get through six innings in each of his two starts.

*Harang's .586 Win% (17-12) in April is the highest split over the course of a month throughout his career.

*With RISP, he's been tough, allowing a hit and a walk in 12 PAs in 2011 for a .282 OPS.

*In his last five starts against Houston, he's 3-2 with a 4.97 ERA/1.52 ERA. In two 2010 starts against Houston, he was 2-0, with 13IP, 12H/3ER, 10K:3BB.

*Harang has allowed 11 homers in Minute Maid Park, second-most among ballparks (not counting GABP, where he pitched at home). The 25 homers hit by Astros batters is the second-most he's allowed against one team.

*Current Astros have a .914 OPS against Harang, and that includes Wandy, Happ, and Norris.

*Bill Hall is the Big Bopper, hitting .362/.412/.723 in 51 PAs, while Carlos Lee is 16x40 with six XBHs and a .400/.405/.625 line. Quintero is 3x10 with a double and a homer in his career.

Imagine that! Wilton Lopez is going to get checked out!

Four days after Wilton Lopez was diagnosed with neuritis in his throwing elbow, and one day after we questioned whether or not he should be pitching with it, Wilton Lopez is going to get that elbow checked out.

Ed Wade:
"Hopefully it's nothing more than it was before, but it behooves us to take advantage of a really good medical team to find out."

Within McTaggart's piece, we also see that Hunter Pence is about ready to go medieval on the team after their first 13 games:
"It's not acceptable. We definitely have goals to get a lot better than where we are, and we've got to continue to learn from our defeats and build off what went wrong. We know we're a good team. We believe in ourselves and we have to go out here and continue to play. We're going to try to win today and move forward."

Eddie's Farm: April 14

Oklahoma City

A pulled groin/stomach bug sidelined The Constable from attending this game. He says the two are unrelated, but I'm not so sure. Anyhow, he missed a good one, as the RedHawks battled for a 6-5 win to earn the series split. Ryan Rowland-Smith lasted 2IP, giving up 6H/4ER, 3K:1BB, 2HR. Fernando Rodriguez struck out five batters in 3IP of relief. After Chacin gave up a run, Casey Fien came in and struck out five of the six batters he faced, but took the Blown Save/Win (giving up the run charged to Chacin), and Jose Valdez locked it down for his second save. Tommy Manzella was 3x5 with a double/2RBI, Koby Clemens was 2x4 with his first HR of the season and 4RBI, and Carlos Corporan added two hits, as well.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens - a homer, and the GWRBI.


Corpus took the opener from Tulsa in fine fashion, winning 8-2, snapping an L3 streak. Jonnathan Aristil threw 4.2IP, 3H/2R (1ER), 4K:2BB and Erick Abreu got the win. Patrick Urckfitz threw 2IP, allowing 2H, and David Carpenter continued his scoreless streak with a 1IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB performance. Jimmy Paredes was 3x4 with 3R, 2B, and 2SB. Jon Gaston (2B, 2RBI) and T.J. Steele (2B, RBI, SB) had two hits each. J.D. Martinez hit his 1st HR of the season off Christian Friedrich and finished the day 1x3, HR, 4RBI.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes


The JetHawks tried to rally in the 9th, but fell short for a 5-3 loss at Rancho Cucamonga. Robby Donovan threw 4IP, 7H/3ER, 2K:4BB for the loss, while Wander Alvino threw 3IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:2BB, and Mike Ness gave up 2H/2ER, 1K:2BB. Jay Austin was 2x4 with a walk, but was an adventure on the basepaths, stealing two bases, but getting picked off and caught stealing. Ben Heath was 0x2, but drew two walks in another appearance at DH (seriously, why isn't he behind the plate?).

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


Lexington dominated Hagerstown in the series closer, winning 7-0. Tanner Bushue did work, throwing 8IP, 5H/0ER, 4K:2BB and Brian Streilein closed it out, allowing one hit and striking out one. Jiovanni Mier was 2x3 with 2BB, while Chris Wallace (2B, RBI), Mike Kvasnicka (2B, BB, RBI), Enrique Hernandez, and Tyler Burnett (2B) had two hits each. Telvin Nash hit a two-run shot in the 4th, followed by a solo homer from Dan Adamson.

Man of the Match: Tanner Bushue

From the Office of the County Clerk - G13: Astros v. Padres

Hey! So the Astros were finally on the right side of a 1-0 game, defeating the Padres.

*The Astros were 0-2 in 1-0 games in 2010, and last won a 1-0 game on August 21, 2009, against the Di'mon'bac's.

*Astros pitching gave up just three hits to the Padres - something they did six times in 2010, and were 5-1 in those games.

*Bud Norris was a gamer, going 6IP, 2H/0ER, 7K:3BB, but needing 116 pitches to do it. The two hits tie a career low in a start.

*In his last two starts against the Padres, Bud has thrown 13IP, 5H/0ER, 12K:6BB.

*His 15 swinging strikes are a season-high, and his 33 non-contact strikes were the most since September 20, 2010.

*The Padres' Dustin Moseley got a 12-up/12-down to start the game before giving up a leadoff single to Carlos Lee.

*The Astros manufactured their run the hard way - with a Quintero lead-off single in the 6th, Norris laid down a sac bunt, Bourn singled to score him. That's all your scoring.

*But it didn't come without drama. Fernando Abad allowed a one-out bunt single to Cameron Maybin (no shame in that), and Mark Melancon came in to get Bartlett to hit into a 5-4-3 DP to end the inning. Staying out for the 8th, Eric Patterson reached 1st on Q's interference, and then stole 2nd. Chase Headley walked, and with one out, Orlando Hudson grounded out to Wallace, who threw to Quintero, who tagged out Patterson, and then Ludwick struck out swinging to end the only real threat.

*Melancon has allowed just one hit against the last 20 batters he has faced.

*Angel Sanchez was 0x4, snapping a five game hitting streak.

*Brett Wallace was 1x3 with a walk, giving him seven walks in April. This is impressive when you note that he drew eight walks in August and September 2010. He has been on base twice in each of his last four starts.

*Pence was 0x3 with a walk, but has now gone 10 ABs without a hit since his 3x5, 4RBI game against the Cubs.

*Man of the Match: Mark Melancon. All credit to Norris, but Melancon flat-out preserved that win.

*Goat of the Game: Bill Hall. 0x4, saw ten pitches, grounded out three times, and lined into a double play to end an inning.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Betting Man: April 14

Didn't pick anything last night. Lines weren't to my liking, so I held off.

But two nights ago went swimmingly. If you recall, I had the Astros at -1.5 with Myers on the mound, and that paid out $27. And I also had Soriano not getting a hit, which paid $25.50. So that $20 total paid out $52.50.

Outstanding Bets: $60
Current Total: $977.59
To Date: +$37.59

The over/under on total home runs hit is 1.5, so I'm taking the over at $20 at +105, which would pay out $41.

I'm also throwing $10 on Michael Bourn to have more hits, runs, and RBIs than Jason Bartlett at -115, paying out $18.70.

Outstanding Bets: $80
Current Total: $947.59

Johnson still out of lineup

Chris Johnson is still out of the lineup after his plunking. Matt Downs gets his start at 3B.

Backe can't sue the City of Galveston, or Galveston's Finest

The Southeast Texas Record notes that a U.S. District Judge has dismissed part of Backe's (and others') lawsuit alleging police brutality in reference to a Reception Gone Awry in October 2008.

Know Your Enemy: Dustin Moseley

The Astros try to get a win in a series opener for the first time this season tonight against Dustin Moseley and the Padres.

*Moseley throws a four-seam fastball 58.9% of the time, sitting at an 88.7mph average, and a slider 18.4% of the time. The curve comes in at 17.3% and he'll occasionally mix in a changeup.

*In two starts this season, Moseley has thrown 13IP, 12H/3ER, 3K:4BB, taking the loss in both games, despite a 2.08 ERA and a .250 BABIP.

*Righties have only hit .200/.259/.240 against him (5x25), while lefties are hitting .304/.360/.478 (7x23).

*In 43 games on the road (17 starts), Moseley is 2-8 with a 4.21 ERA/1.45 WHIP.

*He has only thrown one inning against the Astros, in relief, gave up 3H/2ER in that one inning - on June 19, 2007 in an inter-league game when he was with the Angels. Just because it's fun to remember old things, he gave up a single to Mike Lamb, a wild pitch that got him to 2nd, a double to Eric Munson, and a single to Orlando Palmeiro. Ha!

*Only three current Astros have ever faced him, but two of them have OPS' over 1.000. Only one of them will be playing. Jason Michaels is 2x6 with a HR, and Bill Hall is 3x5 with a HR.

Johnson hopes to be back soon

Chris Johnson was out of the lineup last night, thanks to the plunking he took on the elbow, but hopes to be back soon.

"Hopefully the swelling will be down (Thursday) just so I can get that range of motion back. It's not really too painful. I just can't extend my arm."

Ringolsby: If Drayton goes, so goes Tal

Tracy Ringolsby has a column up on Fox Sports where, for the first four sentences, he writes like Ernest Hemingway (8.25 words/sentence). But scroll down far enough, and he addresses the impending sale of the Astros.

On October 1, 2009 Ringolsby mentioned in a Fox Sports column that the Astros were for sale.

He addresses that:
Houston owner Drayton McLane has a buyer, Jim Crane, which is interesting given the strong protests that came out of the Astros' front office when it was mentioned here last season that the Astros were for sale.

That's true. AC even apologized for the mockery.

But here's an interesting note:
Talk in Houston is that former NBA Houston Rockets president George Postolos will assume a similar role with the Astros, replacing longtime baseball exec Tal Smith.

Now THAT'S something.

Eddie's Farm: April 13

Oklahoma City

OKC had an early 1-0 lead, but it fell apart late as Nashville won 6-1, assisted by FOUR RedHawks errors. Sergio Perez threw 6IP, 5H/2R (1ER), 7K:1BB, HBP. Then Wesley Wright happened: 0IP, 1H/3ER, 0K:2BB. All those runs were charged to Ross Wolf, who threw 2IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB on his own. RedHawks hitters only got four hits, but walked six times, and were 0x8 w/RISP. Brian Bogusevic was 1x2 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Sergio Perez




Kody Hinze got a walk-off single, scoring Jake Goebbert in what looked like an exciting game with San Jose, winning 4-3 in 12 innings - a game where the Jethawks scored the tying run in the bottom of the 8th and 11th, before winning it in the 12th. Andrew Robinson threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 4K:2BB, followed by Zach Grimmett who threw 4.2IP of relief, allowing 2H/1ER, 5K:2BB. Kirk Clark got the win, throwing 1IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:2BB. Jay Austin (SB, RBI), Jonathan Villar (3SB, BB), Ben Heath (2B), Kody Hinze (GWRBI) and Austin Wates (2B, SB) had two hits each. Jose Altuve was 1x3 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Villar


Double-header! Game 1: Legends drop a pitcher's duel, 1-0, to Hagerstown. Mike Foltynewicz threw 6IP, 5H/1ER, 3K:1BB - and still got the loss. David Martinez came on in the 7th and threw 1IP, 2H/0ER. Enrique Hernandez was 1x3 with 2BB, Delino DeShields was 0x2 with a walk and his first SB of the season. Mike Kvasnicka committed two errors, and Dan Adamson got another outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Mike Foltynewicz

Game 2: Lexington came back from a 4-0 deficit to win, 6-4. Ruben Alaniz threw 3IP, 5H/4R (3ER), 3K:2BB (and allowed Bryce Harper's first professional homer). Gabe Garcia also threw 3IP but allowed 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB, and Jorge De Leon threw a perfect 7th for his 1st save of the year. Delino DeShields hit his first professional homer and Tyler Burnett added another jack. Ben Orloff, Adam Bailey, and Burnett had your 2-hit games. Chris Wallace provided a two-run single.

Man of the Match: Tyler Burnett.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G12: Astros v. Cubs

Bad Wandy got the loss for the night, though there should be some special form of failure to mark what happened while Wilton Lopez - he with the neuritis in his right elbow - was on the mound. Astros lose, 9-5.

*We tend to think of Wandy as a great second-half pitcher, and a crap first-half pitcher. I was expecting to see his career April splits off the charts. But, incredibly, Wandy's lowest ERA and OPSa is in April.

*In three April starts, Wandy has thrown 16IP, 26H/13ER, 11K:3BB for a 7.31 ERA/1.81 WHIP.

*The five runs that Wandy gave up in the 1st inning came with two outs. Eight of the 12 runs Wandy has allowed in 2011 have been with two outs.

*Astros pitchers gave up 14 hits to the Cubs last night - the 10th time in 12 games the opponent has managed 10+ hits.

*Carlos Zambrano's homer off of Abad was the first extra-base hit by a pitcher against Houston.

*Wilton Lopez' ERA is 7.71 through seven games, but last night's 3R (2ER - though he committed the error that led to the unearned run) was just his second appearance in which he allowed a run.

*Mark Melancon threw 1IP, and got all three batters he faced, striking out two. He has retired the last seven batters, over three appearances.

*Congratulations to Matt Downs, who hit his third career homer, and his first as an Astro. He's 5x12 on the year, with four extra-base hits.

*Downs' HR contributed to the biggest Astros inning of the season - a five-run 6th that began with a Michael Bourn walk, and an Angel Sanchez infield single.

*The Astros only had six ABs with RISP. They got two hits (Wallace and Lee).

*Man of the Match: Matt Downs

Goat of the Game: Wilton Lopez. We can pick on Wandy for the 5-spot he gave up in the first, but while he allowed the Cubs to go 4x7, BB in the 1st, he "rebounded" to allow 5x16, BB - getting out of a bases-loaded jam with no damage. So it goes to Wilton Lopez, who gave up three runs when the Astros had clawed back to a 6-5 deficit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh, now the Yankees are just being silly

Captip to Citizen Andrew for pointing this out: The Yankees are apparently upset that they were not in on the Roy talks.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman:
There has been so much attention focused on the Yankees failing to get Cliff Lee last July and then again in the offseason that it is easy to forget that they dabbled with the idea of obtaining Dan Haren last July, as well, and offered some frustration that Houston never made them fully aware that Roy Oswalt was available. Perhaps the Yankees should have tried harder to obtain Haren and pushed harder to keep track of what was going on with Oswalt.

Are you kidding me? (And I don't mean Joel Sherman. He's a fine writer.) The Yankees weren't sure?

Yahoo's Tim Brown said on July 19 that the Yankees liked Roy, but not nearly as much as they liked Cliff Lee.

Jayson Stark said on July 23 that the Yankees were "lurking on the fringes" of the Roy talks.

Ken Rosenthal noted on July 24 that the Yankees were backing off on Roy, and pursuing Dan Haren instead. Later that day, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi said the Yankees were scared of Roy's back problems.

On July 25, Jon Heyman said the Yankees weren't in on Roy, and were focusing on Dan Haren.

Nick Cafardo noted on July 25 that the Yankees weren't linked to Roy, but that an Astros official worried that New York was "too big time" for Roy, and that Roy was close to Pettitte - and that Clemens had told Roy how great New York is.

So either some of the best reporters in baseball were getting duped by the Media Relations Intern, or the Yankees are pissed at losing out to the Phillies on both Lee and Oswalt. Another case you could make is that the Astros weren't completely up front with the Yankees - but if the Yankees were so pissed about missing out on Roy, they may have taken a stronger stand about trading for Berkman hours after Philly completed the deal.

I've always thought that the Phillies' deal was the best deal available, because it makes no sense for Ed Wade to include such a large chunk of money to get it done. Nobody says, "Hell, I'll throw in millions, just because I can!" and then devolves into maniacal laughter.

It's the Yankees' fault for not making their desire clear, and it's the Yankees' arrogance for just assuming that they could buy whatever pitcher they wanted in the off-season.

It's certainly not Ed Wade's fault, for taking the best available deal.

Good article on Kirk Clark

Stephen Goff has an article on Kirk Clark, an undrafted free agent, who is now the closer in Lancaster.

"Well, my first years in college, I just wanted a shot. It's all I wanted and people kept telling me I wasn't good enough. So, I just worked harder and harder. I'm motivated to prove people wrong and also to keep chasing my dream.

Know Your Enemy: Carlos Zambrano

Here's a man who needs no introduction. That said, let's know our enemy.

*Zambrano's fastball so far this season has averaged 89mph - down about 1mph from 2010, and down 3mph from his career average. His split-finger fastball has sat at 81.8mph - down from 83.1mph in 2010. He also throws a cutter at 88.6mph (this season), with a slider, and a curve.

*In two 2011 starts, Zambrano is 1-0 with a 5.25 ERA/1.50 WHIP.

*In his last five starts against Houston, Zambrano is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA/1.29 WHIP, and has thrown four quality starts in those five games.

*RHBs have a .788 OPS, and though LHBs aren't getting as many hits (.240 Avg for Lefties, .333 for Righties), both of the homers Zambrano has given up have been to LHBs.

*With the batter ahead in the count, they've got a .611 OPS. When Zambrano is ahead, that's a 1.154 OPS.

*Leading off an inning is a good sign. He's allowed five hits - two of them the homers - to the leadoff batter, for a 1.378 OPS. And hitting with no outs, batters are 7x17 with three walks.

*Carlos Lee is 22x58 (.379/.446/.741) against Zambrano, with five homers and seven walks.

*Bill Hall is your opposite end of the spectrum, hitting .195/.298/.341 with 18Ks in 47 plate appearances.

*Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace are each 1x3.

Birthday Boys

Today is Hunter Pence's birthday. How do Astros batters perform on their birthday?

Carlos Lee (June 20): .599 OPS (8x45, 6K:5BB, 5RBI, 3 2Bs, 1HR)
Hunter Pence (April 13): .250 OPS (0x3, BB)
Humberto Quintero (August 2): .000 OPS - 0x5 in one game (2010)
Brett Wallace (August 26): .000 OPS - 0x4 in 2010
Chris Johnson (October 1): .000 OPS - 0x3 in 2010

McLane to sell by July?

Totally missed this from this morning, but Lance Zierlein notes that John Granato has reported (following along?) that Drayton could have the sale of the team wrapped up by the All-Star Break.

Eddie's Farm: April 12

A touch late on these, I know. The Constable got to see Lyles pitch, and hang out with Subber 10 from The Crawfish Boxes. So there's that.

Oklahoma City
Game 1: Henry Villar sucked it up, allowing 7H/6ER, 3HR in 2IP. But Fernando Rodriguez (2IP, 4K), Gustavo Chacin (2IP, 2K:2BB), Jose Valdez (1.2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:2BB), and Casey Fien (0.1IP) held it together long enough for the RedHawks to make a comeback. J.B. Shuck and Oswaldo Navarro were both 3x4, Brian Bogusevic tied up the game at 6-6 in the top of the 7th, and Tommy Manzella provided the go-ahead homer, winning 7-6 in eight innings.

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella!

Game 2: Jordan Lyles threw 65 pitches (46 for strikes) allowed 6H/2ER, 4K:0BB in 4IP, and Sergio Escalona threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB, but the RedHawks dropped the second game 2-1. OKC only got four hits - a double by Collin DeLome, Drew Locke, Oswaldo Navarro, and a pinch-hit RBI double for Shuck.

Man of the Match: Jordan Lyles


NW Arkansas put up big numbers on the Hooks in a 14-4 win. Xavier Cedeno allowed 5H/7R (4ER), 1K:2BB in 1.1IP. Then Cesar Carrillo allowed 5H/4ER, 2K:3BB in 2.2IP. David Berner allowed 8H/3ER, 1K:1BB in 2.1IP, and David Carpenter closed it out with an impressive 1.2IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:0BB. Wladimir Sutil continued his assault with a 2x5, RBI, SB day, Brandon Barnes was 3x4 with 2RBI, and Jon Gaston and Andy Simunic were both 2x4 with a double. J.D. Martinez went 1x3 with an RBI double and a walk.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes


A 5-run 8th inning pushed the JetHawks over the top for an 8-5 win over San Jose. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 3H/3ER, 11K:3BB, 2WP. Yes. Eleven of his 15 outs were strikeouts. Colton Pitkin got the Blown Save/Win with 3IP, 2H/2ER, 1K:3BB, and Kirk Clark walked a batter in the 9th. Jay Austin was 3x4 with a double, while Jake Goebbert (HR), Jonathan Meyer (RBI), and Erik Castro (2B, RBI) each had two hits. Johnathan Villar was 1x3 with a two-run homer and 3RBI total. Interesting note: the JetHawks were caught stealin' three times, including an attempted steal of home by Erik Castro in the 8th to end the inning.

Man of the Match: Jose Cisnero.


Lexington got down 4-0 early, and Hagerstown rode it out for a 5-1 win over the Legends. Juan Minaya allowed 5IP, 3H/4R (3ER), 6K:3BB in the loss. Murillo Gouvea allowed 1H/1ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP, and Jason Chowning threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB. Bryce Harper was 0x4, by the way. The Legends got five hits, and three of them were from Dan Adamson, who was a homer away from the cycle, and added a stolen base and an outfield assist. Chris Wallace and Bryce Lane added a double - so four of the Legends' five hits were for extra-bases.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson.

Here's your mid-season draft preview

Baseball America posted their mid (college) season Top 50 draft tracker.

Who do they have at #11 (it's not necessarily a mock draft)?

Taylor Guerrieri, out of Spring Valley (SC) High School
Has the most helium of any player this year after touching 98 mph with his fastball.

Astros interested in Blue Jays pitching

Good work by SB Nation Houston, picking up Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott's tweet about the Astros' interest in LHP David Purcey, who was DFA'ed earlier this week.

It's quite direct:
Houston Astros interested in LHP David Purcey.

As SBN Houston notes, that left-handed reliever spot is currently held by Fernando Abad, but the routine duck-buttering of games by Aneury Rodriguez hasn't exactly inspired confidence in limited roles.

The Jays Journal blog discussed it, and linked to an article quoting GM Alex Anthopolous, on Purcey:
With respect to David, the last few outings in the spring weren’t great, the three outings here. That’s always been the issue with him. He has always had a tremendous arm, great teammate, and the issue has always been command and the ability to throw strikes.”

Purcey has always been with the Blue Jays organization, and his first two seasons with the big league club would have overlapped with Brad Arnsberg. So maybe the Astros are looking at Purcey as another reclamation project.

What would the Blue Jays want in return? Again we turn to Jays Journal:
As for needs, the Blue Jays have little in the way of pressing needs. If anything, they may want to acquire someone who can man both 2B and SS since both Aaron Hilland Yunel Escobar could wind up on the DL at some point in time.

I think, I think, the Astros have some middle infielders they could send to Toronto. If Wade could move Clint Barmes for Purcey, I would give him a hug.

The Constable's article on Host Families

The Constable posted an article on the importance of Host Families in the minors. It's not bad.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G11: Astros v. Cubs

The Astros put this one away early, defeating the Cubs 11-2, and look for their first win streak of the season.

*If you want to make the numbers look good, the Astros are 2-1 in their last three games.

*Brett Myers threw 7IP, 8H/1ER, 5K:0BB, and got his first win of the season. It's his third straight quality start to open the season.

*More than that, it's the first start of the season where he didn't issue any walks.

*Yet, Myers did his best to let the Cubs get out early, allowing two singles to Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd. Those were the first two 1st-inning hits Myers had given up.

*Here's some craziness, opponents post a .751 OPS the first time seeing Myers. Second time around, that's a .280 OPS. Third time around, it shoots up to a .935 OPS.

*Jeff Fulchino got two Ks in 1IP, and Aneury Rodriguez allowed 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB in the 9th.

*Rodriguez has faced twenty batters this season, and retired ten of them. He has allowed at least one baserunner in all five of his appearances. He's allowed multiple baserunners in all but one, and the one (G9 v. FLA), he was lifted after walking the first batter.

*Angel Sanchez was 4x5 with 2RBI, setting a career high in hits, and extending a hitting streak to four games, in which he's 10x19 (.526/.550/.789).

*Hunter Pence was 3x5 with 4RBI, his second multi-RBI game of the season. It was his first 4RBI game since August 17, 2010 and the 6th 4+ RBI game of his career.

*Michael Bourn stole 2nd and 3rd in the 2nd inning, went 2x4, and has a seven-game hit streak.

*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence

*Goat of the Game: Chris Johnson. 0x4, 2Ks, 0-2 w/RISP, and his OPS is currently .484.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Betting Man: April 12

Hit on one last night (the total runs over 8.5), but was a Joe Inglett luckball away from hitting on the other, in which a pitcher other than the starter got the decision.

As of last night:
Outstanding bets: $60
Last night: +$31
Total: $945.09
Season to date: +$5.09

I'll be taking the Astros -1.5 runs at +170 for $10, which would pay out $27. And I'm throwing $10 on Alfonso Soriano NOT getting a hit at +155, which would pay out $25.50.

Outstanding bets: $80
Total: $925.09

Al Pedrique gets nine innings to show his stuff

Because Brad Mills has been suspended for tonight's game against the Cubs, and Aneury Rodriguez has been suspended for three games for the Beanball Incident against the Marlins. Rodriguez will appeal the suspension, meaning he's available to give up a few hits, walk a few guys, while he awaits a verdict. Al Pedrique will manage the game tonight.

So your Tuesday afternoon poll:

It's one of those days

Carlos Lee gets the start at 1B, while Jason Michaels starts in LF.

Your lineup for tonight:

1. Bourn - CF
2. Sanchez - SS
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - 1B
5. Michaels - LF
6. Hall - 2B
7. Johnson - 3B
8. Quintero - C
9. Myers - P

It's one of those days

Carlos Lee gets the start at 1B, while Jason Michaels starts in LF.

Your lineup for tonight:

1. Bourn - CF
2. Sanchez - SS
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - 1B
5. Michaels - LF
6. Hall - 2B
7. Johnson - 3B
8. Quintero - C
9. Myers - P

Know Your Enemy: James Russell

Who the hell is this guy? We dig deep, to find you the answers.

*Russell graduated from Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas, and pitched for University of Texas.

*He's 25, and made his Major-League debut on April 5 against Atlanta, throwing 2IP, 2H/0ER, 1K:0BB.

*In two "seasons" at Triple-A, he threw 76.2IP, 82H/32ER, 56K:23BB, throwing only 11IP in 2010. But has a 4.68 ERA/1.40 WHIP in 250IP in the minors.

*Russell throws a fastball between 84-88mph, a changeup, and a hard slurve.

*The Baseball Cube gives Russell a 78 for control, 45 for K-Rating, 57 for Efficiency, and a 26 for Power.

Mills not ready to freak out about Figueroa. Yet

Brad Mills isn't quite ready to change how they deal with Figueroa:

“That’s not vintage Figgy. We know he’s much better than that. We know that that’s not him. We know he’s going to be just fine.”

Right. If we're talking about Vintage Figgy, then it's looking like he's aging like vinegar, and not necessarily wine.

Vintage Figgy:
“He knows I’m not satisfied by any means about my performance. And the frustrating part for me is, I know I’ve got four more days until I get to go out there and right the wrongs. I’m glad I’m going to have the opportunity, and I don’t take it for granted.”

According to Brooks Baseball, Figueroa threw 34 sliders and 30 fastballs, but only got five swinging strikes out of those pitches, and his slider came in a little hotter than normal last night. He was just throwing hittable pitches.

As Campbell mentions in the post, it's not as though there's anyone screaming for the SP5 spot, so Figueroa has time to figure it out.

Barmes feeling better, much to Angel Sanchez' chagrin

McTaggart notes that Clint Barmes swung a bat for the first time since breaking his hand.

"It's not there where I could start hitting off somebody throwing a ball to me. Hopefully, that's a couple of days away. Right now, we're taking it day to day for the most part. I'm pushing it pretty good and this is one thing I was looking forward to, was grabbing a bat and seeing how it was."

In this Meat Wagon update, we also learn that Keppinger could begin taking BP this week.

If you were wondering where Reggie Abercrombie is...

He's with the Sioux Falls Pheasants.

Linares, on Jorge De Leon

Rodney Linares had some nice things to say about shortstop-turned-pitcher Jorge De Leon:

"I've had the fortune of having De Leon since he walked into the (Astros') academy in the Dominican. He's always had a great arm, but he profiled better as a shortstop. Down the road, his hitting didn't come along, but his arm was still there. ... A guy who can throw anywhere from 94 to 99 mph is a pretty special arm...He's still not there yet, but when you've got an arm like that and when you can pop your fastball at 98 mph, that helps.

Eddie's Farm: April 11

Oklahoma City

Rained out in Nashville - will play a double-header Tuesday, just for The Constable.


The Hooks dropped their 3rd straight one-run game with a 4-3 loss at Northwest Arkansas. Through five games, the Hooks are 1-4 - all of them one-run games. Kyle Greenwalt threw 4.1IP, 5H/4R (3ER), 4K:2BB for the start, Arcenio Leon threw 2.2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB, and Shane Wolf allowed a hit in 1IP. Wladimir Sutil was 3x4 with a double, making him 12x24 on the season with a 1.187 OPS, and T.J. Steele had two hits (3B). J.D. Martinez was 1x4 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Wladimir Sutil


San Jose scored five in the 8th inning to lead a 14-8 win in the series opener that featured six unearned San Jose runs. Bobby Doran threw 4.2IP, 7H/4R (3ER), 0K:3BB in the start. Wes Musick threw 2.1IP, 3H/2R (1ER), and Mike Ness got the Ugly with 0.1IP, 1H/5R (1ER), 0K:3BB. Wander Alvino allowed 3H/3ER, 0K:2BB in 1.1IP. Only Jose Trinidad emerged unscathed, getting the only batter he faced. Jose Altuve was 3x4 with his first HR of the season (and is 10x19 - 1.497 OPS), Jay Austin and Johnathan Villar had two hits each. Jake Goebbert was 1x2 with 4RBI (two SFs), and Ben Heath hit his first homer of the season.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve


Rained out against Hagerstown, will play a double-header on Tuesday.

Swing and a Miss: G10 vs. Cubs

The Cubs threw 108 of 175 pitches for strikes in G10 (61.7%), and 21 of those strikes were swinging (19.4%)

Sanchez: 4
Bourn: 3
Lee: 3
Wallace: 2
Inglett: 2
Quintero: 2
Pence: 2
Figueroa: 1
Johnson: 1
Hall: 1

From the Office of the County Clerk - G10: Astros v. Cubs

First of all, it was pathetic how Cubs fans outnumbered Astros fans last night. Astros squander a bunch of late-inning chances, and the Cubs win 5-4.

*The Astros out-hit the Cubs 10-8. Incredibly, those eight hits are the second-lowest hits allowed by the Astros pitching staff this season. Opponents have had double-digit hits in eight of ten games.

*Nelson Figueroa was worth a steaming pile of crap for the second time in 2011, allowing 8H/5ER, 3K:2BB in 4IP for a 2.50 WHIP.

*In his two starts, Figueroa has thrown 9.1IP, 19H/11ER, 5K:4BB. His ERA was last over 10.00 on August 3, 2009 after giving up 10H/6ER against the Mets in his second appearance of the season (10.57).

*The Bullpen (Del Rosario, Lopez, Abad, Melancon, Lyon) allowed 0H/0ER, 4K:4BB in 5IP of relief. But the six total walks are a season high.

*Mark Melancon hasn't allowed a run this season - throwing four scoreless innings over six outings - and made his second straight appearance without allowing a baserunner. Of the last eleven batters he has faced, he has allowed one hit.

*Similarly, Brandon Lyon has allowed hits to two of the last eleven batters he has faced. Even with that, his WHIP is still 2.40 because of the G1 meltdown.

*Congratulations to Angel Sanchez, who hit the first homer of his career - a two-run shot off Dempster - in the 7th inning.

*The top third of the Cubs lineup (Castro-Barney-Byrd) were 7x13 with 3K:2BB, 3RBI, and scored all five Cubs runs.

*And yet, the Astros were 3x12 w/RISP, with Downs, Hall, and Sanchez getting the hits. Chris Johnson was 0x2 w/RISP, and Joe Inglett was 0x3, including the final AB of the game when he struck out looking with Bourgeois on second.

*Astros left on base from the 7th-9th inning...
7th: 2 (Wallace flied out, and Johnson grounded out)
8th: 2 (Bourn struck out, Sanchez struck out)
9th: 2 (Inglett struck out looking)

*Yes, that's six left on base, and the Astros were 0x5 with the tying run in scoring position in the last three innings.

*Despite going 0x3 with a walk, Pence has been on base in every game this season.

*Brett Wallace was 1x3 with two walks, and he has a five-game hitting streak (7x18), and has been on base in nine of the ten games the Astros have played.

*Wallace has walked five times in 41 PAs (12.2%). In 2010, he walked eight times in 159 PAs (5.0%).

*Man of the Match: Angel Sanchez - congrats on your first homer.

*Goat of the Game: Was going to go with Figueroa, but instead will go with Joe Inglett. Struck out with two on in the 2nd, grounded out with the bases loaded in the 6th, struck out looking to end the game with two on in the 9th.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Betting Man: April 11

I spent the weekend sweating the Masters which, thanks to that shanking nutbag of a leprechaun, did not go so well. But it didn't affect the bottom line for the Astros season (I threw some extra green in the account to cover it).

Anyhow, the last bet I placed that matters for this series was on the Astros winning on Thursday afternoon, which happened.

So let's reset:
Outstanding Bets: $60
Last Time Around: $45
Total: $944.09

With the Cubs in town, and Dempster/Figueroa on the mound, I feel pretty comfortable putting $20 on the OVER of 8.5 runs. This would pay $41.

I'm also putting $10 on a pitcher other than either starter actually recording the win, which would pay out $33.50.

To business:
Outstanding bets: $90
Total: $914.09
Season to date: +$4.09


Some tranzactionz from Eddie's Farm to note over the weekend:

Oklahoma City
Apr 10: Placed Doug Arguello (strained calf) on the 7-Day DL
Apr 7: Assigned Sam Gervacio to Oklahoma City

Apr 7: Placed Telvin Nash (groin) on 7-Day DL

Know Your Enemy: Ryan Dempster

The Astros are coming off the win yesterday, and look to Nelson Figueroa to put together the first win streak of the season. But they'll be facing Ryan Dempster. Here's what you need to know:

*Dempster is one of 15 Canadians to play in the Majors this season.

*Dempster throws a four-seam fastball at 90.3mph (so far this season), that's off from his 2010 average of 91mph - but obviously not by much. He mixes in a slider 30.4% of the time that has been sitting at about 85mph, and a split-fingered fastball at about 82mph.

*Dempster has managed to get batters to swing at 22.6% of his pitches outside of the zone in his two starts - that's down almost 10% from 2010.

*In Dempster's last five starts against the Astros, he's 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA/1.50 WHIP, and an average game score of 46, but three of four starts against Houston in 2010 were quality starts.

*He threw an average of 114.5 pitches in those four 2010 starts.

*Dempster is 0-2 this season with a 6.59 ERA/1.46 WHIP, with lefties posting a .972 OPS (.800 OPS for RHBs).

*Interesting little split here: when Dempster is ahead in the count, opponents are hitting .308/.308/.538 (.846 OPS), but with the batter ahead, that's .176/.333/.412 (.745 OPS). And with an even count, that turns into a .417/.417/.750 (1.167 OPS).

*With RISP, hitters are 5x11 with a double, triple, two HRs, and three walks (1.844 OPS).

Eddie's Farm is getting younger

Baseball America posted the youngest players in each league - and the Astros are well represented:

*Jordan Lyles - youngest in the PCL
*Johnathan Villar - 5th-youngest in the California League
*Delino DeShields and Roberto Pena - 4th- and 8th-youngest in the South Atlantic League, respectively

Jose Carlos Thompson hasn't played yet, but will - in Lancaster

Zach Levine responded to someone else's question about Jose Carlos Thompson, and lets the world know that he'll be an infielder at Lancaster when he returns from a family matter.

Eddie's Farm: April 10

Oklahoma City

Fernando Nieve performed about as expected, allowing 9H/7R (5ER), 6K:1BB in 4.1IP. This was assisted by two errors (Dopirak and Cancel). Although there were a couple of bright spots in the bullpen - Ryan Rowland-Smith, who threw 2.2IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:1BB; and Wesley Wright, who threw a perfect 8th inning. The RedHawks offense had seven hits among seven different players, with Brian Dopirak providing a double, the only extra-base hit.

Man of the Match: Ryan Rowland-Smith


It took 14 innings, but Northwest Arkansas topped the Hooks 3-2. The Hooks had a 2-1 lead in the 12th, but gave the run right back on a homer allowed by Patrick Urckfitz. Dallas Keuchel was solid in his season debut, throwing 6IP, 5H/1ER, 3K:0BB. Erick Abreu contributed 4IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB in relief. Urckfitz gave up 2H/1ER, 2K:4BB in 3IP, and David Berner got the loss with 0.1IP, 2H/1ER, 0K:2BB. The Hooks were held to five hits over 14 innings, and collectively struck out 12 times to two walks. Wladimir Sutil stole two bases, while Jimmy Paredes and T.J. Steele added an SB each.

Man of the Match: Dallas Keuchel


Lancaster dropped the series finale to High Desert with a 3-1 loss. Jake Buchanan pitched well enough, going 7IP, 6H/3R (1ER), 5K:0BB - with errors by Buchanan, Goebbert, and Villar. Buchanan got 15 groundball outs and two flyball outs. Colton Pitkin allowed 1H/0ER, with 3K:0BB in 2IP. Hits were provided by Jonathan Villar, Austin Wates (RBI), Rene Garcia, and Jose Altuve (2B, BB) - who is hitting .467 on the young season.

Man of the Match: Jake Buchanan


And Lexington brought Eddie's Farm its lone win of the day with a 12-4 victory over Charleston. Carlos Quevedo threw 6IP, 7H/3ER, 3K:0BB, and Alex Sogard finished it off with 3IP, 2H/1ER, 2K:0BB. Lots of baserunners to report, including a 4x5, 3RBI day from Mike Kvasnicka. Jiovanni Mier and Chris Wallace were 1x3, with 2BB each. Roberto Pena and Jhonny Medrano were the only Legends to not get on base, as the Legends got ten hits and drew eight walks in the win.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Plenty to ponder and discuss in McTaggart's Notebook

Brian McTaggart has a lot going on in his notebook. Stuff about baserunning, Mills and Francona, Chris Johnson's sister, and Downs' first start at 3B.

But two things that should be noted involve injuries:

-Alberto Arias will throw 20-25 pitches against hitters off a mound in Kissimmee today.

-Wilton Lopez apparently won't be limited by this, but he has been diagnosed with neuritis - a nerve irritation - in his right elbow.

Eddie's Farm: April 9

Oklahoma City

OKC had the briefest of leads before Memphis rattled off six of the next seven runs in a 6-2 win. Doug Arguello got the start, but lasted 4.2IP, 2H/2ER, 4K:3BB, HBP. Gustavo Chacin followed that up with 1.1IP, 2H/1ER, WP, Balk. Casey Fien threw a perfect inning before Sergio Escalona allowed 3H/3ER, 0K:2BB. J.B. Shuck was 3x5, and Anderson Hernandez was 2x5 with a double. The RedHawks were 0x9 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: J.B. Shuck


Corpus rallied from a 6-2 deficit after two innings to take a 9-6 lead, then held on for a 9-8 win over Tulsa. Ross Seaton got rocked, throwing 2IP, 7H/6ER, 3K:0BB. Cesar Carrillo threw 4IP in relief, allowing 1H/0ER, 2K:2BB. David Carpenter picked up the save. The top third of the lineup (Sutil-Paredes-Martinez) each went 3x5 with a total of five extra-base hits, with Martinez collecting 4RBI. Jimmy Van Ostrand added two hits

Man of the Match: Cesar Carrillo


The JetHawks got three runs in the bottom of the 8th for an 8-7 win over High Desert. Robby Donovan threw 4IP, 6H/4ER, 2K:3BB, and Zach Grimmett threw 3IP, 4H/3ER, 3K:1BB. Jose Trinidad and Kirk Clark held High Desert to one hit and one walk over the final two innings. Jose Altuve and Jonathan Meyer had two hits each, but the story was the walks. Jay Austin and Austin Wates drew three each, while Kody Hinze drew two: Lancaster drew a total of eleven walks.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


Charleston and Lexington were tied up 3-3 going into the 8th before Charleston got four in the 8th for the 7-3 win. Brad Dydalewicz limited the runs but still had little ugly, going 5IP, 3H/2R (1ER), 3K:5BB with a balk. Ruben Alaniz took the worst of it growing 2.1IP, 6H/5ER, 3K:0BB. Adam Bailey was 2x4 and Mike Kvasnicka had an RBI triple.

Man of the Match: Kvasnicka