Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jim Crane is sometimes a man from Nantucket

CultureMap Houston has 10 things you didn't know about Jim Crane.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G38: Astros v. Mets

Bullpen does it again, and the Astros lose to the Mets 6-4.

*The Astros have now lost five of their last six games, and seven of their last nine. They're 1-3 on this current little homestand.

*They're ten games under .500 after 38 games, which is better than last year, when they were ten games under .500 after 26 (8-18), and the Astros are one game ahead of their 2010 pace (13-25 after 38 games).

*The Astros had a 4-0 lead going into the 7th, and were up 4-1 going into the 8th. They have lost an incredible six games when leading at the beginning of the 8th inning (10-6).

*The 4-run blown lead is the largest blown lead of the season.

*Bud Norris pitched well, allowing 5H/4ER, 8K:3BB in 7.1IP, but also gave up 2HR for the second time this season. He had allowed 2HR in his previous five starts (32.2IP).

*With 60K on the season, Norris is 6th in the NL.

*But one of those runs charged to Norris scored on David Wright's 2-run 8th inning homer off of Jeff Fulchino. Fulchino had not allowed a homer since G7 on April 8 against Florida - a span of 15 appearances.

*Wilton Lopez allowed a run for the first time since his return from the DL, and his 4.50 ERA consists of three appearances (out of 12) where he allowed runs. He has, though, allowed four hits in his last 3IP.

*So, the bullpen allowed 3H/2ER (technically 3ER - counting Wright's 2-run homer), in 1.2IP. Still, the bullpen as a whole is now 7-8 with a 5.31 ERA/1.67 WHIP.

*Hunter Pence's 15-game hit streak came to an end with his 0x4 performance. His OPS raised from .799 to .852 in those 15 games. He did, however, draw a walk, so there's an on-base streak still alive at 16 games.

*Carlos Lee was 2x4 and, since returning from injury, is 9x24, hitting .375/.385/.417 (with a .409 BABIP). One of the ABs where Lee did not get a hit was in the bottom of the 9th with Michael Bourn on 3rd base, and Lee grounded out to 3rd to end the game. Citizen Andrew remarked on Twitter: "Carlos fouls 2 straight hanging breaking balls and then grounds out to end the game. ML hitters just don't miss those pitches."

*Chris Johnson had his first multi-hit game since May 3, and two of his last three hits have been doubles.

*Michael Bourn was 2x5, and has had two-hit games in four of his last six games. In the last ten games, he has a 12K:4BB ratio.

*And Humberto Quintero was 0x3. Following a 1x4 game against St. Louis on April 26, Quintero was hitting .308. Following G38, he's now hitting .250.

*In the seven games since the beginning of the Pittsburgh series, Brett Wallace has hit .211/.360/.211 - but with 3K:4BB.

*Man of the Match: I'm going with Bud Norris. Problems with that?

*Goat of the Game: Humberto Quintero. 0x3, and 0x2 w/RISP.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sale price might go up

KPRC has some further reaction from Drayton on how he feels about the sale of the Astros.

What's interesting is that the reported $680 million sale price might actually be too low:

Final adjustments are being worked out and the sale price will fall between 680 and according to baseball sources as much as 692 million when final details are worked out.

Here's a link to the video interview.

Deal to sell Astros is in place

Mark Berman (aka, "The Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness") has the report that Drayton has made the agreement to sell the Astros to Jim Crane.

Transfer of ownership could begin towards the middle of next week, but McLane says the MLB approval process could take four to six weeks. While they haven't announced a price, that part has apparently been agreed upon for quite some time.

Drayton is also lobbying for Pam Gardner, Tal Smith, and Ed Wade to keep their jobs...for a while:
"I have negotiated with Jim and he has definitely not told me what his plans for management...They have great people here, but one of the things a new owner can do, he can determine what leaders he wants, but I've encouraged Jim to finish the year with the group he has, but that's his decision."

In a post this morning, Justice advised Wade not to sign a long-term lease, and that the appointment of George Postolos as CEO pretty much eliminates the need for Gardner's job.

But the Astros as we know them are in for dramatic changes. It’ll take time and millions of dollars to get them competitive on the field again, but the turnaround will begin the moment ownership of the team is transferred. And over the next year, a new franchise will take shape.

Just how much impact has Carlos Lee had?

The first thing you think about when hearing the name, "Carlos Lee" is likely his huge contract. The second thing is probably about how terrible he's been over the last two seasons.

Just for some perspective, when the Astros signed him to the dreaded six-year $100m contract, they got a player who, over the course of seven seasons, was averaging a .284/.337/.488 line, getting one extra-base hit for every 10PAs, and with a 1.88 K:BB ratio. His OPS+ was 111, and he was averaging 95 RBI each year. He was a year removed from his final year in Chicago, where he hit .305/.366/.525 (4.6 WAR) - all are still career highs - before coming back to earth, and getting traded twice in 2006.

But still, he was a player with a proven track record who, the thought was, would crush the ball into the Crawford Boxes 30-35 times a year.

And for the first three years of his tenure in Houston, things were going well. He hit .305/354/.524, with 163K:131BB, 86HR, and 321 RBI - getting 100+ RBI in each of those first three seasons.

Then 2010 happened. In years where he played 150+ games, he set career lows in hits, doubles, homers, RBI, batting average, OBP, and SLG.

From Opening Day 2010 through today, Lee has averaged a .243/.287/.408 line, with an OPS+ of 90, and four fewer GIDPs (23) than he has homers (27). He has an extra-base hit for every 13PAs now. But he's still making all that money.

In games where Lee starts, the Astros are 12-21, meaning the Astros are 2-2 without him (May 3-5, May 11). That's hardly a sample size to work from, but let's see what we can.

In games where Lee is in the lineup, the Astros hit .263/.335/.375, scoring 134 runs in 33 games for 4.06 runs per game. In those four games without Lee, the Astros got 20 runs (misleading with half of those coming in the 10-4 win over Cincinnati in G29). Yet the Astros hit .237/.382/.450.

Is that indicative of anything? Well, in one game Carlos Lee played in, the Astros scored double-digit runs for just the second time this season, and in another they drew nine walks, which just so happened to be two more than they had drawn in the previous four games combined.

What about defense, you say? We've already mentioned the 134 runs scored with Lee in the lineup, but Astros pitching allowed 177 runs (of course, Lee only sort of factors into this, with eight other guys on the field). In those four games where Lee did not play, the Astros scored 20 runs, but also gave up 20 runs (allowing half of them in a 10-4 loss in G31).

The obvious limitation is the sample size. But since the beginning of 2010, BaseballProjection (who provides the formula for Baseball-Reference's stats) Lee has a WAR of -1.7 (currently at a 0.2 WAR). And that's a replacement-level player on a team with a .320 Win%. The Astros, at 14-23, have a .378 Win%.

The Astros are clearly a better team without Carlos Lee, but this is the grave they dug (digged?) by giving him the contract. It was risky, and for the first half of the deal, it worked out well enough. But over the last 199 games? Not so much.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Excellent piece on Bagwell/Oh

Pitchers and Poets has an excellent piece on Jeff Bagwell and Sadaharu Oh. Read it.

Inglett sent down for Michaels

To clear up the roster spot for Jason Michaels, the Astros have secured waivers for Joe Inglett.

This makes perfect sense, because with Bourgeois out, Bogusevic remains on the 25-Man. The Constable had ignorantly forgotten this when speculating that Bogusevic would be sent down once Michaels returned.

Also, Nelson Figueroa unsurprisingly cleared waivers and has through today to accept his minor-league assignment or declare for free agency.

DeLome injured, Carpenter up

Here's some Tranzactionz for you:

Oklahoma City
May 11: Collin DeLome placed on 7-Day DL / David Carpenter promoted to OKC from Corpus

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't look now, Bill Hall, but Jeff Keppinger is breathing down your neck

Jeff Keppinger will head out on a rehab assignment to Corpus, where he'll play 2B and DH, and then it's on to OKC, where he'll strictly play 2B.

Keppinger will be taking playing time away from Anderson Hernandez and Jose Vallejo at OKC.

Wanna hear something crazy? Bill Hall has struck out 40 times in 33G (122PAs). In 2010 Keppinger struck out 36 times in 137G (575PAs).

Would firing Ed Wade be popular?

Richard Justice's new offering says that (presumable) new owner Jim Crane's first decision has to be about Ed Wade, and that firing him would be "popular," but might not be the right thing to do, and then makes a case for why Wade should stay:

Regardless of whether Wade is around the next few years or not, someone is going to benefit from the unseen good work he has done. If he’s gone by then, here’s hoping someone remembers he did his part.

I'm not so sure it would be a popular move. I don't know how the mind of the casual fan works, but it's pretty clear that there are some exciting things about the farm system that had been sorely lacking for some years. Maybe the casual fan doesn't see that. Who knows? I'm not a casual fan. And I'm guessing you aren't, either, or you wouldn't be here.

But it's important to note that Wade has a contract through 2012, and getting rid of him would cost some money. Of course, if you're about to drop $680m, what's another couple of million to get the guy you want?

Meat Wagon Update

While we wait to see what will happen with Jeff Keppinger, here are some Meat Wagon updates for you:

From the Chronicle:
Brandon Lyon has a partial tear in his rotator cuff (which I kind of thought was established back on May 5), and his shoulder apparently has about half its strength. Which means, once he gets back, he should be able to throw a 176mph fastball.

From McTaggart:
Jason Bourgeois got a plasma replacement therapy injection in his strained left oblique, and got some advice from Laynce Nix (of course he did):
"He told me to take it easy. He said, 'Whatever you do, don't move.' He told me by next week I'm going to be hitting in the cage and thinking I'm ready, and I'm going to step out on the field and take a swing like I was in a game -- a 110-percent swing -- and it's going to hurt big time."

Jason Michaels will likely be activated on Friday, meaning that Brian Bogusevic is probably heading back to OKC (speculation mine).

Keppinger's rehab assignment could span up to three weeks.

Eddie's Farm: May 10

Oklahoma City (15-17)

Tommy Manzella did most of the work, and OKC defeated Tacoma 10-5. Sergio Perez allowed 13 baserunners (9H/4BB), but limited the damage to 3ER in 5.1IP. Andy Van Hekken allowed 3H but 3K:0BB in 1.2IP. Erick Abreu had a rough one, giving up 1H/2ER, 1K:3BB in 0.1IP.

Manzella got himself a cycle, hitting the homer in the 8th, and ending up 4x4 with 3RBI. Anderson Hernandez (2x4, BB) and Brandon Barnes (2BB) also hit homers. Jason Michaels was 2x4 with two doubles, a walk, and an RBI. Matter of fact, eight different RedHawks had RBIs, despite going 3x12 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella

Corpus (12-20)

That's a six-game losing streak for the Hooks - which just so happens to coincide with when J.D. Martinez went down with a hamstring injury - as they get swept at San Antonio with a 7-3 loss. Jonnathan Aristil allowed 3H/4ER, 8K:5BB, WP in 5IP, while Patrick Urckfitz allowed 2H/3ER, 0K:3BB, WP in 0.2IP. Matt Nevarez allowed a hit and walked two, with another WP in 1.1IP, and David Carpenter threw a hitless 8th. Yes. 10BBs, 3WPs, and an HBP by the Hooks' pitching.

T.J. Steele went 3x3 with a double and 2RBI, and Jimmy Van Ostrand was 2x3 with a double and a walk. Jimmy Paredes was 1x4 with his 13th SB. Wladimir Sutil was 0x5 on the night.

Man of the Match: T.J. Steele

Lancaster (15-17)

Lancaster had a 4-3 lead, but a 5-run 6th by San Jose led to a 9-6 win over the JetHawks. Luis Cruz got his 2nd start of the season, and it wasn't pretty: 4IP, 5H/3ER, 2K:1BB, WP, 2HBP. Wes Musick took the loss, however, with 5H/5ER, 1K:1BB in 1.1IP. Mike Ness allowed 2H/1ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP, and Wander Alvino allowed one of Ness' runs with 1H in 0.2IP. The JetHawks pitching also allowed 8SB by San Jose.

Jay Austin was 2x5 with two doubles, while Johnathan Villar (double, 2RBI) and Jose Altuve (RBI) had two hits each. The JetHawks also got RBIs from Austin Wates, Jonathan Meyer, and Ben Heath.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Villar

Lexington (16-16)

Lexington had a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th, but Kannapolis broke out for a 7-3 win. Juan Minaya allowed 7H/3ER, 1K:2BB, 2WP in 5.2IP. Alex Sogard gave up 5H/4R (3ER), 3K:0BB, HBP in 2IP. Brian Streilein got the final out with two men on.

Mike Kvasnicka was 3x4 with an RBI, and Adam Bailey and Bryce Lane (BB, RBI) had two hits each. Tyler Burnett had a triple, and Delino DeShields had an RBI double.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka

From the Office of the County Clerk - G36: Astros v. Reds

The Reds did just about all of their damage in the first two innings, and pretty much destroyed the Astros in a 7-3 win that wasn't even that close.

*The loss drops the Astros to 2-6 against Cincinnati this season.

*In the seven games since the Astros 10-4 win against Cincinnati, they've scored more than three runs just twice, and have allowed five or more runs five times.

*In the last four games, the Astros have been outscored 24-9.

*Brett Myers allowed a 1st inning homer to Jay Bruce. It's the 10th homer he's allowed this season (50.1IP). He allowed 20HR in 223.2IP in 2010.

*Myers gave up 10H/6ER. Myers struck out eight Reds, tying a season high, but he also walked four batters - a season high. He has allowed 8+ hits in a start in five of his last six starts.

*Sergio Escalona made his Astros debut, walking the only batter he faced, who later scored on an Enerio Del Rosario-allowed hit. So Escalona's ERA is the dreaded INF.

*Still, a bullpen of Escalona, Del Rosario, Lopez, and Melancon allowed 5H/1ER, 4K:2BB in 3IP.

*The Reds had the bases loaded, though, in the 7th and in the 8th for a total of four outs, and got one run.

*Humberto Quintero, Michael Bourn, and Angel Sanchez all drew walks in the 8th inning (off Aroldis Chapman, who also hit Matt Downs in the foot - which probably currently looks like an eggplant). Those three walks in one inning are as many, or more, than the Astros have drawn in 26 games this season.

*And with Sanchez on 2nd in the 8th, Carlos Lee flied out, and Wallace and Hall struck out to end the scoring.

*After one hit in his last 24PAs, Brett Wallace went 2x4.

*Hunter Pence is hitting .301/.344/.486 after these 36 games, with 33K:10BB, 30RBI - 2nd-most in the NL. In the same time frame in 2010, Pence was hitting .248/.265/.419 (.239 BABIP), with 14K:3BB 15RBI.

*Bill Hall got himself another 0x4, with 2Ks. His 40K in 111ABs are 4th in the NL - behind Dexter Fowler (43), Drew Stubbs (42), and Ryan Howard (41).

*Chris Johnson got another 0x4, and has one hit in his last 17 PAs. It's been 73 PAs (since April 16) since he drew a walk. Johnson has seen a three-ball count 20 times in 117 PAs (2BB), but has worked a 3-0 or 3-1 count just six times.

*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence, I suppose.

*Goat of the Game: Bill Hall. 0x4, 2Ks, 0x2 w/RISP, and ended two innings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You'll have to wait until next week for more details

Drayton says:

"There will be nothing happening this week" regarding the sale of the Astros.

So there won't be much to say, unless of course, we want to.

Did the Astros sign Max Ramirez?

Native Astro says that the Astros have signed catcher Max Ramirez.

Ramirez has hit .297/.394/.474 in eight minor-league seasons with the Braves, Rangers, and part of this season with the Cubs. He was hitting .235/.300/.353 with the Cubs in 2011, and was released by the Cubs on May 6.

Ramirez has had as much of a circuitous career as Brett Wallace, having been signed by the Braves as an amateur free agent in 2002, then traded to Cleveland in 2006, and traded to Texas in 2007. The Rangers tried to trade Ramirez to Boston for Mike Lowell, but Lowell failed his physical, so the deal was nullified. Then the Rangers selected him off waivers on January 5, but was instead given to the Cubs six days later. And then got released.

UPDATE: Yes, they have. Ramirez will report to Oklahoma City, while Carlos Corporan is on the DL.

Fred Nelson:
“With Corporan being on the DL, we thought he’d be a good sign. If anything should happen in the big leagues, we want to see if he’s a candidate or not.”

Just because it's done, doesn't necessarily mean it's done done

Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball says not to get all crazy about this sale, just yet. It can take some time to cross that final "i."

For those thinking that the deal is imminent due to the MLB owners meetings taking place this week, think again. According to a league source, there is nothing on the agenda for the meetings that are tied to the Astros sale.

Crossed Ts? Check. Dotted Is?

KTRK says that the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane is pretty much done.

All that's left to do is just a little fine-tuning before the sale of the Astros to Crane and his group is announced. In fact, it was late last week that all the major points were concluded.

KTRK also says the sale price will be around $680 million.

Back in March, Forbes valued the Astros at $474m, which means that Crane is buying the Astros for about 43.5% more than what they're worth (not counting the new tv deal, supposedly).

This is a huge deal for Drayton, whose purchase price at a touch over $100m, turned a nice profit - but also because, if the numbers are at least close to what KTRK is reporting, the Astros will sell about $90m more than what the Rangers sold for last August.

More reaction later once details come in...

Eddie's Farm: May 9

Oklahoma City (14-17)

Jordan Lyles didn't pitch all that well, but OKC scored the last five runs of the game for a come-from-behind 8-5 win over Omaha to earn the split. Lyles allowed 6H/5ER, 3K:6BB in 5.1IP, throwing just 59 of his 106 pitches for strikes. Ross Wolf, Fernando Rodriguez, and Sergio Escalona allowed 2H/0ER, 4K:2BB in 3.2IP of relief.

Drew Locke hit his 3rd homer of the season in addition to a triple, a stolen base and an outfield assist, and Robinson Cancel added his first homer and a double. Anderson Hernandez (2B), Jason Michaels, and Koby Clemens (2B, SB, 2RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke

Corpus (12-19)

Corpus dropped their fifth straight game, losing 5-2 at San Antonio. Xavier Cedeno threw 7IP, 7H/3ER, 7K:2BB in the loss, while Danny Meszaros suddenly looks human again, allowing 3H/2ER in 1IP. Cedeno got 10 groundouts to two flyouts.

The Hooks only got five hits on the night, with two coming from Jon Gaston (RBI). Wladimir Sutil got an RBI double, Jimmy Van Ostrand (2B, BB), and Federico Hernandez added hits. David Flores drew two walks on the night.

Man of the Match: Xavier Cedeno

Lancaster (15-16)


Lexington (16-15)

Lexington took a 2-0 lead, then allowed the next nine runs, and got four back in the 9th, but lost at Kannapolis, 9-6. Carlos Quevedo had an Ugly, allowing 12H/8R (7ER), 2K:0BB, WP, and Ruben Alaniz allowed 5H/1ER, 3K:1BB over the final 4.1IP.

Adam Bailey was 3x3 with two doubles and two walks. Ben Orloff was 2x5 with a stolen base, and Jiovanni Mier (3BB), Mike Kvasnicka (2BB), and Tyler Burnett (2BB) all added walks, as well. The Legends were 2x15 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey.

Don't expect Lyon back anytime soon

We hear from Brad Mills that bringing Lyon back when his 15-Day DL stint is up is unlikely.

Mills via Campbell:
Closer Brandon Lyon is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list as early as May 24, but don’t look for him that soon. Before Lyon can return, he needs to get rid of the inflammation in his shoulder, build up his strength and start a throwing program.

“When you look at all those things,” manager Brad Mills said. “I think 15 days is really too optimistic.”

Screw Jim Crane, Kenny Friedman is still interested in the Astros

Stephen Goff talked to Kenny Friedman about his interest in the Astros, even while Drayton and Jim Crane are engaged in an exclusive negotiating window.

"We'll sit here and play the waiting game. I wish Mr. Crane well. He would be a great owner, an asset to the city and to Major League Baseball. I don't know Mr. Crane personally. I just know of his good reputation and we'll just wait and see. It ain't over 'til it's over as Yogi Berra used to say. If it doesn't work out between McLane and Crane, we'll jump in and try to buy the team."

Here's what I'll find interesting: if Friedman's confirmed interest and, if you read the article you'll see this, his investment group will affect the negotiations between McLane and Crane. If Drayton is still upset, or has any questions about Crane's reputation, his financing, his history, then Drayton can hold out until the negotiating window expires, and sell to The Landlord (we hope everyone embraces this name bestowed upon Friedman - because of his role in the Sports Authority) and his group.

If McLane sells to Crane, then either McLane just wants out as quickly as possible, or he really has put that whole 2008 Handshake agreement behind him. But things have become a little more dicey for Crane, regardless.

They are major league pitchers, by name only

Jerome Solomon discusses just how terrible the bullpen is in 2011, and disparages the crowd last night (3rd-smallest in MMP history), and the chances of the Astros doing anything this season (bad, getting worse).

But there's a curious closing quote from Brad Mills on the bullpen:
“They’re here for a reason. They are good. They’re major league pitchers.”

I'm beginning to wonder if they're Major Leaguers in name only. If you saw anyone trot out from the bullpen, would you have any confidence whatsoever that, either they'll hold a lead or at least not turn a 2-run deficit into a 7-run deficit? The only pitchers that currently don't make me turn to a paper bag for respiratory assistance are Melancon and, to an extent, Fulchino.

If you call me up and offer me a job as a Park Ranger, then I'm a park ranger. But in name only.

DeShields has gotten "100% better"

In Zach Levine's minor-league notebook, he takes a look at Delino DeShields - who has struggled somewhat in his first full season.

But don't worry! says manager Rodney Linares:
"This kid was just put into second base, and he was hurt in all of instructional league, so he’s a little bit behind. But at the same time, I would say that he’s 100 percent better than when he got here. He’s more confident out there.”

Figueroa designated for assignment

Well, that finally happened. Having a guaranteed contract may have just proven too much for Nelson Figueroa, and he was designated for assignment following another rough outing, calling up Sergio Escalona from Oklahoma City.

Figueroa had appeared in eight games for the Astros - the first five out of the rotation - and allowed earned runs in all but one of those appearances. Even in relief, Figueroa allowed 8H/5ER, 3K:3BB in 4IP.

The Astros have ten days to trade him, reassign him to the minors, or just flat-out release him.

"Any time a guy does what he did for us last year, he was able to really stabilize that rotation for us last year and threw the ball extremely well. Hopefully, there's some way he can get it back. I don't know exactly what's going to happen with him. That will be his decision."

By calling up Sergio Escalona (whom the Astros acquired from the Phillies for minor-league 2B Albert Cartwright this off-season), Mills has another LHP in the bullpen - giving him another option beyond Fernando Abad, who has also struggled. Abad has allowed 17H/10ER in 12IP, with 8K:6BB.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G35: Astros v Reds

Anuery's second start didn't go as well as his first, and the Astros made Travis Wood look like Smokey Joe Wood, losing 6-1 to Cincinnati.

*The Astros are 11-27 against the Reds since the beginning of 2009.

*They've been outscored 15-32 since the 10-4 win against Cincinnati in G29.

*Travis Wood held the Astros to 6H/0ER, 6K:1BB in 6.2IP - and he hit a three-run homer. Wood's 67 Game Score is his highest since his first start of the season, when he threw a 72 against the Brewers. So in two starts against Houston this season, he has thrown 12.2IP, 11H/2ER, 13K:5BB.

*It was the 2nd homer of Wood's career, and Zach Levine retweeted a follower who noted that the Astros have given up three of the five homers hit by a pitcher this season.

*The Aneurysm gave up two more homers, giving him four HR allowed in 18IP. That puts him one behind Wandy (45IP), Norris (42.2IP), and Happ (40.2IP).

*Nelson Figueroa gave up 3H/1ER, 3K:2BB in 2IP - and we'll have more notes about him later this morning. In 29IP, he's allowed 45H/28ER, 17K:16BB. That's an 8.69 ERA/2.10 WHIP. Coming into last night's game, FanGraphs listed him with a 4.90 FIP.

*Hunter Pence was 2x4 with a triple and a solo homer. He has a 13-game hitting streak, and is 19x54 with two doubles, a triple, and two homers in that span.

*The Astros were 1x8 w/RISP for the game.

*J.R. Towles was 0x4 for this second straight start, and Brett Wallace was 0x3, but with a walk. Wallace has one hit in his last 18ABs.

*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence

*Goat of the Game: Aneury Rodriguez

Monday, May 9, 2011

Keppinger coming along nicely

Ready for more Middle Infielder Insanity? Jeff Keppinger could begin a rehab assignment as early as Thursday.

Lineup for G35: Astros v Reds

Interesting lineup for tonight's game, in which we see:

*J.R. Towles hitting 2nd.
*Bill Hall hitting in front of Brett Wallace

I really like the first part. Kind of want to vomit at the 2nd.


With another captip to Deputy Street, we get Minor League Ball's mock draft for 2011.

Where do the Astros fall?
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Oklahoma HS: The Astros have been attracted to high school arms, and Bundy makes a lot of sense here. It comes down to him or Taylor Guerrieri, but Bundy has a bit more polish and is closer geographically.

Chris Wallace has no cheek

With a captip to both Farmstros and Deputy Street, here's a sweet article on Chris Wallace.

It's well-documented how Barret Loux shattered his face, but we get a glimpse into what makes Wallace such an exciting prospect from Rodney Linares:

"The good thing about it is that he's driving the ball out of the park, and he hasn't pulled the ball yet," Manager Rodney Linares said. "Everything's been right-center, left-center and right field. He's hitting the ball hard, and he's consistent with his approach."

Where should he be freed? Linares answers:
"My biggest thing is, if he's going to move, he probably deserves to go to Double-A."

Update: No Friends Close/Enemies Closer

Not doing a Friends Close/Enemies Closer post today, since it's the same matchup from five days ago. Sorry.

Rosenthal: Wallace is Pedroia is Wallace

In Smilin' Ken Rosenthal's new column, he compares Brett Wallace to Red Sox shortstop Dustin Pedroia:

Both...endured criticism from scouts, even ridicule, at the outsets of their careers. And Wallace, 24, seems primed to defy his critics, just as Pedroia did.

“I do believe I can hit with power, drive in runs, hit home runs. Right now, the best thing for me to do is hit the ball consistently and let myself grow into that. The more at-bats I get, the more comfortable I get, the better understanding I have of the pitchers I’m facing and the situations I’m in, I think it’ll come from there.”


Missed this from last week, but there have been some releasings:

In addition to Cesar Carrillo and Fernando Nieve, the Astros released pitcher Emmanuel Cedeno and catcher John Curtis.

Cedeno posted a rather high walk rate in 2010, and didn't make it past the GCL at 22 years old.

Curtis hit .264/.333/.342 spread out among Lancaster, Corpus, and Round Rock in 2010 (but with the vast majority of his games at Lancaster).

We also see:

May 8: Jason Bourgeois placed on DL, Joe Inglett called up from OKC.
May 8: J.D. Martinez placed on DL (hamstring), Andrew Robinson promoted to Corpus from Lancaster
May 7: Lexington pitcher Gabe Garcia placed on 7-Day DL with left elbow tendinitis. OF Emilio King assigned to Lexington from Greeneville.
May 6: Jordan Comadena promoted to Lancaster from Tri-City

The Constable joins The Crawfish Boxes

...for an hour, anyway. TCB invited The Constable to chime in for their first podcast of the season. Czech it out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eddie's Farm: May 7

Oklahoma City (13-16)

Omaha put up two runs in the 2nd, and that was pretty much all they needed to snap OKC's 5-game win streak, 3-1. Doug Arguello threw 5IP, 4H/2ER, 4K:3BB, 2HBP. Wesley Wright allowed 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB in 2IP, and Erick Abreu struck out one in 1IP in his OKC season debut.

The RedHawks only got four hits - from Michaels (also a BB), Locke, Barnes (2B, RBI, BB, 2SB), and Esposito.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes

Corpus (12-17)

Oof. San Antonio was all over Corpus, scoring the first 10 runs of the game in a 10-1 win over Corpus. Shane Wolf allowed 9H/5R (3ER), 3K:1BB in 5IP. David Berner allowed 4H/5R (4ER), 2K:3BB in 2IP (ERA: 10.80). David Carpenter struck out two in 1IP. Since getting torched for 5ER on April 26, Carpenter has allowed 5H/1ER, 6K:0BB in his last 4.1IP.

Like their Triple-A counterparts, the Hooks only got four hits - two from Jake Goebbert (RBI) and one from Jimmy Paredes (2B) and Jon Gaston. Wladumir Sutil drew two walks and stole his 10th base of the season.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert.

Lancaster (14-16)

Lancaster scored the last four runs of the game for a 6-3 win over Inland Empire. Bobby Doran allowed 4H/3R (2ER - on a 2nd inning homer), 1K:0BB, racking up 15 groundouts to four flyouts. Jose Trinidad walked two in 0.2IP, and Colton Pitkin got his first save of the season with 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 1.1IP.

Kody Hinze was 3x4 with a double and a 2-run HR - his 10th of the season. Jonathan Meyer also hit a solo shot. Grant Hogue was 1x3 with a walk and two stolen bases, and Jonathan Villar also stole two bases.

Man of the Match: Kody Hinze

Lexington (16-13)

Lexington got out to a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th at Hagerstown, but had to hold on for an 8-6 win. Tanner Bushue improved to 5-0 with 6IP, 5H/2ER, 4K:2BB. David Martinez was the culprit, giving up 3H/4R (3ER - and one of those thanks to Alex Sogard), 1K:1BB. Jorge DeLeon struck out two in the 9th to preserve the win.

Emilio King was 3x5 with a double and a 9th inning homer, 2RBI. Jiovanni Mier (BB, RBI), Adam Bailey (2B, 2RBI), Chris Wallace (2B, HR), Tyler Burnett (RBI), and Roberto Pena (BB) all had two hits each.

Just an aside, this Bryce Harper kid was 2x5 and is 5x11 with 3XBHs against Lexington this series.

Man of the Match: Emilio King

From the Office of the County Clerk - Recap for G33: Astros @ Pirates

Well, at least the Padres lost, making them 13-20. So the Astros are tied for last in the National League, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox for worst record in baseball. Oh yes, Astros lose 6-1.

*The Astros are 3-5 at PNC Park, dating to the beginning of 2010, and are 6-11 on the road this season.

*Bud Norris threw 7IP, 7H/3ER, 9K:2BB - giving him five straight quality starts. He's 2-3 against the Pirates lifetime, but has 40K:9BB - and that 4.44 K:BB ratio is the highest against any team he's faced.

*Norris was much more economical than usual - throwing first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 28 batters he faced. The Pirates were 3x7 when swinging at the first pitch. He only needed 97 pitches to record those 21 outs. It was the first sub-100 pitch quality start since July 28, 2010 against the Cubs.

*Norris' 52Ks are 5th-best in the National League, behind Cliff Lee, Matt Garza, Roy Halladay, and Tim Lincecum.

*Norris is leading the team in ERA (3.16), ERA+ (116), WHIP (1.27), H/9 (8.4), K/9 (11.0), and K:BB ratio (3.71).

*Jose Valdez had a rough outing - allowing 1H/3ER, 1K:2BB in 0.2IP - before Del Rosario came in and got the final out.

*Astros relievers have a 6-6 record, with a 5.36 ERA/1.69 WHIP, with 65K:39BB in 90.2IP.

*Michael Bourn was 2x4 with a double, giving him hits in six of the last ten games, though had just three hits in his previous 21ABs.

*Angel Sanchez was 0x4, and after his seven game hitting streak, is hitless in his last 15PAs.

*Counting the shortened May 1 game last Sunday, Carlos Lee has five hits in his last 12PAs, and has been on base in six of those 12PAs. He's raised his OPS 62 points since the end of the April 30 game.

*The Astros only saw 110 pitches, and had 17 ABs of three pitches or fewer.

*Man of the Match: Going with Bud Norris here.

*Goat of the Game: Angel Sanchez - just hasn't done much worth mentioning.