Friday, May 20, 2011

Drew Locke, on Tony DeFrancesco

OKC manager Tony DeFrancesco, who is currently experiencing a love-fest in his return to Sacramento, enjoys winning, which means he's been happy 45% of the time he's been in OKC.

Drew Locke:
"He loves to win. When we're not winning, he's not too happy, if we're doing the right things, he's good to play for. If we're not, he's not. That's the way it should be. When we're winning, he's having more fun than anybody. His big thing is no (non-talkers). Everyone should be talking, having a good time."

Raul Pedraza: Crane's not ray-cess

Mark Berman talked to Raul Pedraza, an investor in the Whooping Crane Ownership Group (name ours), and is also a consultant for Eagle Global Logistics. According to Pedraza, Crane is as clean as a preacher's sheets:

"There's not a prejudiced bone in Jim Crane's body. I'm living proof of that, being as how I'm a Cuban-American, married to an African-American. Jim has been nothing but a wonderful friend and colleague from the get-go. He acquired my company, I was just like a manager at that time, and then I grew within the company over the years to be the president of the Latin-American division...

...Pedraza said there is no way he would have invested in Crane's deal to buy the Astros if he had any concerns about the man. "Never in a million years," Pedraza said. "I would be totally against that kind of situation, for obvious reasons.

Meet the lawyer who helped sell the Astros

American Lawyer, a favorite periodical of mine, invites you to meet John Keffer, corporate partner in Houston law firm King & Spalding. He has Drayton in his phone as "Client."

He has some insight into the EEOC saga, from the lawyers' standpoint. Namely, it wasn't really a subject of discussion:
"If that is an issue, it will undoubtedly be reviewed [by MLB], but it's not something that came up a lot in our discussions--at least, not among the lawyers...We all expect that the transaction will be completed in fairly short order and Mr. Crane will have soon the opportunity to run the team."

How drawn out were the discussions?
"The negotiations were quite smooth. It only required one face-to-face negotiation during the entire process, which we held in New York."

So it's not really $680 million...

David Barron does some quick math on the price tag of the Astros:

If you were intrigued by the $680 million price tag for the Astros, consider that that figure presumably includes 60 percent of the team’s partnership with the Rockets, Houston Regional Sports Network, which controls broadcast rights for both teams. The Astros share of the partnership was valued in 2002 at $213 million, which may explain the math of the deal.

In a separate article, Barron talks about the approval process with Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co. (who represented Drayton). Greenberg, on the organization of Crane's group:
“Think of it as if it were a corporation with a board of directors and someone was asking the board to vote on a significant merger or acquisition. They would prepare a summary so the board members were informed, and if they had questions, they could ask them in an informed manner.”

According to One Person With Knowledge Of The Agreement, there are as many as 36 people involved in Crane's group.

St. Louis Fan: The food is the best thing about the Astros

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had someone at the two-game series with the Astros back in April, and she brought a carry-on full of snark with her:

I recommend feasting on Minute Maid Park's exceptional — yes, I said exceptional — ballpark originals. Clearly trading experience on the field for talent in the kitchen, the Astros recruited celebrity chef Bryan Caswell to bring his signature sliders on housemade yeast rolls to Minute Maid (our favorite was the pulled-pork slider served with Carolina-style slaw) as well as his El Real fajitas with pineapple-and-soy marinated chicken and beef served on housemade tortillas...

...As a traveling fan, I try to walk that line between insufferable zealot and gracious guest. So I refrained from gloating about the Big Puma's stunning start for the Cardinals. Nor did I join the "Let's go Cardinals" chant after a particularly ugly Astros inning. And when the friendly Astros fan next to me shared his happy memories of Busch Stadium, I did not ask, "So who's the idiot who put a mountain in your center field?"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Your 44-game comparison: 2011 to 2010

So the Astros matched their 2010 record after 44 games at 15-29. Want a comparison? Me neither. But still:




YearRecordAvg/OBP/SLGK:BBXBH-RBI
201115-29.256/.312/.375332:115118-164
201015-29.227/.274/.323266:8685-128


Pitchers




YearIPERA/WHIPK:BB
2011375.24.89/1.51297:149
20103884.15/1.41322:150

From the Office of the County Clerk: G44 - Astros @ Cardinals

Is this getting old yet? Astros lose 4-2 at Beck's Stadium.

*That's the 5th straight loss for the Astros - for the second time this season. More trends, you ask? Okay. That's six losses in seven games. They're 2-10 in their last 12 games, since winning three straight for the first time this season. With this loss, they equal their mark after 44 games in 2010.

*Citizen JRayTheGreat noted that the Astros are 40 games under .500 since the "Home Game" no-hitter at Miller Park.

*J.A. Happ got his 5th loss of the season - setting a career high - despite throwing 6IP, 4H/3ER, 8K:3BB - one of those walks were intentional. It's Happ's third straight Quality Start, and fourth in his last five starts.

*The 8Ks are the highest since Happ struck out ten Rockies on August 5, 2009.

*In his last three starts, Happ has allowed 15H/7ER, 15K:10BB in 18IP.

*Happ allowed the first two runs in the 2nd inning when Allen Craig singled to lead off the inning, Colby Rasmus walked, and Gerald Laird doubled. He had both Rasmus and Laird at 0-2 before their respective successes. The Rasmus AB was the first time this season that Happ walked a batter after getting them to an 0-2 count.

*After scoring two runs total in their last two games, the Astros doubled that! They've now scored <2 runs in four straight games, and since scoring seven runs the last time they won - on May 14 - the Astros have scored 10 runs (five games).

*The Astros got six hits on the day. It's the fourth straight game they've had single digit hits, and the 24 hits over the past four games are just one more than they got in the final two games of the series against the Mets. Between May 4-13, the Astros got single digit hits in all of those nine games. They only had seven extra-base hits in this four-game road trip.

*Hunter Pence got two hits on the day, both singles. It's been 32PAs since Pence had an extra-base hit.

*Humberto Quintero was 2x3 with a double. After getting four hits in 36 PAs from April 29 - May 16, he now has four hits in his last six PAs.

*Chris Johnson was 0x4 with 3Ks, snapping a five-game hitting streak. It's his first 3K game since all the way back on April 29. He did go 11PAs without a strikeout, his longest stretch since July 28-Aug 2, 2010, when he went 17PAs without a K.

*Hey, Clint Barmes got a double! In the #2 spot! So that means Astros' #2 hitters are 2x40 since May 7.

*Bill Hall was 0x3 with a(nother) K, seeing nine pitches in three PAs. He now has a strikeout in seven straight games. That's the longest streak he's had since May 2-10, 2008 (eight games).

*Man of the Match: J.A. Happ

*Goat of the Game: Chris Johnson, who struck out as the game-tying run to end the game, and didn't get the ball out of the infield.

Had you ever heard this song?

I had not. But I listened to Paul Wall's "They Don't Know" (World Series Mix) four times.

Cardinals: Most-disliked team

Derrick Goold has a story up asking if the Cardinals are MLB's Most Disliked Team. This comes from Bernie Miklasz's story saying that, if the Cards are disliked, it's because everybody else is jealous of them.

So this leads to a larger question: Do you hate the Cardinals more than anybody else? It works for me. The Constable hates the Cubs. The Juvenile Court Clerk hates - at an intensity approaching "alarming" - the Mets.

We open it up to you...

The Most Memorable Astros Home Run

Back with more Calcaterra! He has a list of each team's most memorable home runs.

His choice:
Not a game-winner — in fact, they lost the game — but Billy Hatcher hit a homer in the bottom of the 14th inning to tie the score 4-4 in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. They went on to lose in the 16th, but boy howdy that was somethin’.

Yes, that was a nice one. But I'm thinking about Chris Burke's 18th-inning homer as the most memorable. Maybe July 27, 2007, when Adam Everett hit his 2nd homer of the day against Edgar Gonzalez. Just because it was so freaking shocking.

Other great moments in Astros homer history:
October 18, 2004 - Jeff Kent's walk-off in NLCS G5
October 9, 2005 - Brad Ausmus' 9th inning, game-tying HR, setting up Chris Burke's blast.

Others?

Sizing up Jordan Lyles

The Crawfish Boxes has a good comparison of Jordan Lyles' minor-league numbers with established MLB pitchers' minor-league numbers.

I had thought about doing this, but turns out I was too lazy. Glad they took it on...

Astros' #2 hitters have been worth #2

Perhaps you've noticed the revolving door of hitters from the #2 spot over the course of the last handful of games, as Brad Mills tries to find someone, anyone, who can hit.

Because it just hasn't been happening.

Over the course of the season, #2 hitters are posting a .246/.316/.311 line. The .627 OPS is 57 points lower than the #9 spot, but not as bad as the #6 spot, with a .206/.275/.300 line, and we'll do the math for you: .275 OBP + .300 SLG = Caca.

Since May 7, the Astros have trotted out Angel Sanchez, J.R. Towles, and Clint Barmes. In those ten games, here's what you've had:

Angel Sanchez: 0x10, 2BB
J.R. Towles: 0x12, 2K:2BB
Clint Barmes: 1x14, 2K:3BB, HBP

Yes, that's 1x36 with 4K:7BB and an HBP. So just to make this more quantifiable, that's a line of .027/.182/.027.

Barmes gets the start at St. Louis today, so let's see what happens.

Craig Calcaterra: Crane's EEOC thing isn't that big of a speedbump

Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra responds to Richard Sandomir's report today about MLB getting the jimmy legs over Crane's EEOC issue:

I have no idea about the merits of the actual discrimination claims, but I think this is much ado about nothing as far as Crane’s approval in the ownership group goes. Drayton McLane is a good buddy of Bud Selig’s. If Selig felt like there was going to be any kind of a problem here, he would have let McLane know about it a long time ago so as not to put him in a tough spot.

Excellent point.

NYPL Report previews the ValleyCats

It's a tough task, previewing a team whose players haven't been drafted yet, but the NYPL Report does a good job.

Although they may regress a notch, they still look to put on a show of talent which is expected to become more than just fitting for Short Season Ball. That's obviously the expectation of the Astros franchise.

Astros fan draws real pretty

Here's a cool story about Summer Anne Burton, an Astros fan from Austin who is drawing all 295 Hall of Famers in 2011.

And thanks to 56% of the jacknuts in the BBWAA, she will not be drawing Jeff Bagwell.

Here's a link to her blog.

Uh-oh. The New York Times is on the case...

The New York Times' Richard Sandomir addressed the problems that Eagle Global Logistics' discrimination case could cause for Bud Selig.

Crane might not be facing a courtroom as he seeks approval to buy the Astros. But the other 29 owners will, in effect, be jurors determining his suitability to enter their exclusive club. One thing they might explore is Crane’s workplace record since the E.E.O.C.’s investigation, and whether he fully complied with the agency’s requirement that he pay for a managerial leadership program.

Street made a good point, and we would be remiss not to include this:
Crane and his company have denied the allegations and called the E.E.O.C. investigation flawed. Only 10 percent of the claims by employees were deemed worthy of compensation, and Crane wound up getting $6 million back from the E.E.O.C.

Jerome Solomon on Jim Crane

Jerome Solomon has a pretty good column on Jim Crane, and holding him accountable:

Let's see if Crane puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to acquiring talent. He shouldn't get bonus points or be graded on a curve because so many of you grew to not like Drayton McLane.

Let's not do what many have done with Bob McNair. Anger at Bud Adams and the loss of the NFL for a few years made some of you lose your minds to the point that McNair could do no wrong and has contributed somewhat to a decade of Texans futility.

Mills had a conversation with Sanchez about bunting. Mainly when to do it.

Zach Levine has a story on Mills talking to Sanchez about when to bunt.

The other night, when Sanchez bunted with two strikes in the 8th inning to move runners over, he did it on his own.

Mills:
“There’s reasons that we want him to hit because he’s a good hitter. Sanchie takes it upon himself to do whatever he can to help this ballclub win. We’ve had some conversations about things of that nature, but at the same time, that’s the type of individual that he is.”

Ed Wade can't even speculate on Jim Crane

Stephen Goff talked to Ed Wade about Jim Crane's pending ownership and how busy he'll be come July.

"If indeed the timing is such that the deal closes before trade deadline, then certainly Mr. Crane and his group could have a significant impact on what we do and how we decide to go about it. If I were to assess the trading deadline this early, I would say we would barely be as busy as we were last year, especially since we traded two iconic players in Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, and had discussions on a number of other fronts. Obviously, a change in ownership could indicate a change in philosophy."

Hopefully Fernando Rodriguez can foretell some wins

Fernando Rodriguez had himself a premonition that he would get called up:

"I've been telling everybody, and it's kind of weird, but I had kind of a premonition. I don't want to sound cocky, but it's one of those things."

Elsewhere in McTaggart's notebook, we learn that Jason Bourgeois isn't close to returning:
"When I'm going out there and running pregame, that's when I feel it. I haven't swung a bat or tried to pick up one yet, but I feel it more when I run."

Typical Astros. One of the few guys who looks like he hustles, and he gets hurt. Somewhere Carlos Lee is saying, "See? That's what happens when you hustle."

Eddie's Farm: May 18

Oklahoma City (17-22)

Off.

Corpus (14-25)

Corpus got a run in the bottom of the 1st, San Antonio got two in the top of the 3rd, and that was all your runs. Dallas Keuchel threw 6IP, 7H/2ER, 1K:4BB, with an HBP in the hard-luck loss. Patrick Urckfitz threw 2.1IP in relief, allowing 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB. Erick Abreu got the final two outs of the game.

The Hooks only got six hits, from Wladimir Sutil, Jimmy Paredes (2SB), Jimmy Van Ostrand, Brandon Wikoff, Brian Esposito, and Dallas Keuchel. And they're 2-11 without J.D. Martinez in the lineup.

Man of the Match: Dallas Keuchel

Lancaster (17-23)

The JetHawks had a 4-1 lead after two, and the game was tied 8-8 after five. High Desert got two in the top of the 6th for a 10-8 win, as JetHawks pitchers allowed 4HR. Bobby Doran allowed 10H/8R (6ER), 5K:1BB, 2HR, WP in 4.2IP. Our Boy Andrew Robinson allowed 4H/2ER, 1K:1BB, 2HR in 0.2IP to get the loss. Mike Ness struck out five batters in 3.2IP, allowing 1H.

Jose Altuve was 4x4 with an RBI, while Jose Carlos Thompson (BB, RBI), Kody Hinze (BB, RBI), Ben Heath (2RBI), Erik Castro (BB), and Jordan Comadena (3B, 2RBI) had two hits each. Jay Austin stole two bases. The JetHawks were 4x15 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Lexington (19-21)

Game 1: Lexington got the 4-2 win off of Jameson Taillon. More importantly, Mike Foltynewicz got the first win of his career, throwing 5IP, with 1H/2R (1ER), 5K:4BB, WP/HBP. Jorge De Leon and Alex Sogard threw two hitless innings in relief.

Chris Wallace and Emilio King (SB, RBI) were each 2x3, with Tyler Burnett (SB) and Adam Bailey (HR) providing the other RBIs. All this despite the Legends going 1x12 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Mike Foltynewicz!

Game 2: And then West Virginia jumped out to a 9-0 lead, going on to a 9-3 win. Brian Streilein, who had been in the closer role, got the start, and it did not go well. He threw 2.1IP, allowing 9H/8ER, 1K:0BB and 2HR. In 14.1IP prior, he had allowed 10H/2ER. Murilo Gouvea allowed 4H/1ER, 4K:1BB in 3.2IP of relief, and Gabe Garcia closed it out with 1H/0ER in 1IP.

Delino DeShields was 2x4 with a double, Adam Bailey was 1x2 with a walk, homer, stolen base, and an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G43 - Astros @ Cardinals

A 4-run 3rd inning was all the Cardinals needed to get the best of Bud Norris. Astros lose 5-1.

*The Astros have lost four straight for the 3rd time this season. Current losing trends are: five losses in six games and nine of eleven games. Since winning three straight games from April 27-29, the Astros are 3-11.

*With the Twins winning two in a row, the Astros are one game up on the Twins for the worst record in baseball.

*The Astros are now 6-15 on the road - the worst record in the NL. Only the Royals have fewer losses (5), but have only played 16 road games.

*Norris threw 5IP, giving up 7H/5ER, 4K:3BB, breaking a seven start stretch of 18+ outs. The 4Ks were the fewest he's had since August 24, 2010, when he struck out four Phillies.

*Norris hit Tyler Greene with a pitch, for his first HBP since August 19, 2010 against the Mets - a span of 102IP.

*The bullpen actually got a job done, allowed 3H/0ER, 2K:1BB in 3IP. Jose Valdez has allowed 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB in his last 5IP - since giving up 3ER in 0.2IP on May 7.

*The Astros got six hits on the night. In the last two games against New York, they got 23 hits, combined, obviously. In the three games since, the Astros have 18 hits.

*Two of those hits were from Humberto Quintero, breaking an 0x11 stretch dating back to May 10.

*Two other hits came from Michael Bourn, who was 2x4. It was Bourn's 600th game played, and he got his 1900th AB, also getting his 500th hit. His career line is .263/.332/.348, with 187 SB.

*Carlos Lee got the only extra-base hit, a double, in the top of the 7th.

*Chris Johnson knocked Lee in with a single later in the inning, and was then doubled off first for your routine, inning-ending 8-6-3 double play. Johnson did draw a walk, giving him a walk in back-to-back games for just the 3rd time in his career (140 games). Brett Wallace has done that three times this season.

*Man of the Match: Jeez. Chris Johnson, I guess.

*Goat of the Game: Everybody!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anyone know Kevin Crabtree?

If you know Kevin Crabtree, SFA grad, let us know with an email at astroscounty (at) gmail.com. Why? He's the Spider Man who climbed Tal's Hill in a way not seen since the days of Carlos Beltran...

The more the Red Sox and Yankees deal with rotation injuries, the better chance Houston has of getting national media to look here

Buster Olney's (Insider-only) post mentions that, with Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey going on the DL for Boston, and the Yankees just being who they are, may look to Houston for help.

Speculation among unnamed talent scouts list Brett Myers and Wandy as potential targets come the trade deadline.

J.D. Martinez "two to three days" away

Greg Rajan says that Hooks manager Tom Lawless reported J.D. Martinez is "two to three days" away from returning from that hamstring injury.

Which is good for them, since Corpus is 2-10 since Martinez left after 1AB on May 5.

Eddie's Farm: May 17

Oklahoma City (17-22)

OKC was held to five hits and no runs in a 3-0 loss to Salt Lake. Doug Arguello gave up 6H/3ER, 3K:4BB in 4IP for the loss. Henry Villar walked three in 2IP, Wesley Wright gave up two hits in 2IP, and Gustavo Chacin allowed 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB, WP, in 1IP.

Of the five hits the RedHawks got, Jeff Keppinger got three of them, with Robinson Cancel and Tommy Manzella getting the others. Drew Locke was 0x4, but had an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Jeff Keppinger

Corpus (14-24)

Despite San Antonio only getting one more hit (11) than Corpus (10), it was an 8-1 win for the Missions. Ross Seaton allowed 6H/6ER, 2K:3BB, 2HR in 4IP. Matt Nevarez gave up 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB in 2.1IP, and Shane Wolf allowed 3H/1ER, 2K:0BB in 2.2IP.

T.J. Steele, Brandon Wikoff (2B), Jimmy Paredes (RBI), and Jimmy Van Ostrand had two hits each as your 1-4 hitters. 5-6-7-8 went for a combined 1x16 with 9Ks.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

Lancaster (17-22)

The bullpen thwarted the rally the JetHawks' offense had going in a 9-8 loss to High Desert. Down 6-0, Lancaster scored the next seven runs, but allowed three in the final two innings for the loss. Jake Buchanan allowed 9H/6R (5ER), 5K:3BB in 4IP. Colton Pitkin threw three scoreless innings, with 3K:1BB; Yordany Ramirez took the BS/L with 1H/2ER, 0K:2BB, 1HR in 1.1IP, and Kirk Clark allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB, giving Ramirez the loss.

The JetHawks got themselves 18 hits: Jonathan Meyer was 4x4 with a double, walk, and RBI; Miguel Arrendell was 3x4 with a homer and 2RBI, while Jay Austin, Kody Hinze (2B, 2BB), Austin Wates, Erik Castro (2B), and Grant Hogue (2B, 3RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Meyer

Lexington (18-20)

Postponed, and will play a double-header on Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abad sent down, Rodriguez up

On the heels of our earlier Fernando Abad post, he got sent down to OKC, and the Astros have brought up Fernando Rodriguez, who has a 1.29 ERA/1.05 WHIP in 13 games (21IP) for the RedHawks. He also has 29K:11BB, with 5IP.

With that, Sergio Escalona is your lone lefty reliever.

Recap for G42: Astros @ Braves

There will be a lot of Goats today, a whole herd of them. Astros lose to Brian McCann, 3-1 in 11 innings.

*As mentioned previously, the Astros are now 11-7 when leading after seven innings.

*The Astros are 1-7 against Atlanta since the beginning of 2010, and 0-5 at Turner Field. They haven't won at Turner Field since May 3, 2009.

*Hey, Wandy threw really well: 8IP, 5H/0ER, 6K:2BB, 68 of his 113 pitches for strikes, and 20 first-pitch strikes to 30 batters. Since giving up 10H at Milwaukee on April 24, Wandy has thrown 37IP, 27H/5ER, 20K:4BB.

*Mark Melancon picked a bad time to allow his first homer of the year, one strike away from picking up his 2nd save.

*And Jeff Fulchino served up his 3rd homer of the year in his 18th inning of the season. He gave up 7HR in 47.1IP in 2010. He also walked three batters, which is amazing, since he had walked two batters in his previous 11 appearances (8IP) combined.

*Brian McCann hit a homer in the 9th to tie the game, and in the 11th to win the game. He had two homers in 154 plate appearances prior to the 9th inning. The 9th inning homer was just the 5th game-tying homer he'd ever had, and his 2nd walk-off. Today was the 6th multi-HR game of his career, and the 3rd HR in extra innings.

*The offense racked up another 9Ks, giving the Braves 24K in two games. Seeing as how they struck out nine times against the Mets on Sunday, that's 33K in three games. The 24Ks are the most in back-to-back games against the same team since August 23/24, 2010 - when the Phillies struck out 26 Astros.

*The Astros were 0x5 today w/RISP, giving them a nice round 1x10 in this two-game set.

*J.R. Towles was 0x5 with a strikeout. He's now gone 28PAs without getting a hit - a double in the 3rd inning off of Travis Wood on May 4.

*Brett Wallace provided the lone RBI with a solo homer in the 7th, setting a career-high in homers with three. He last had a homer on May 3 against Cincinnati.

*Crucial moment of the game: Top 8, Astros up 1-0. Wandy singles to right, Bourn reached on a bunt single, Angel Sanchez sac'ed them over, and Not Bobby Cox intentionally walked Hunter Pence to load the bases to get to Carlos Lee. If the other manager is intentionally walking someone to get to your cleanup hitter with the bases loaded and one out, YOUR CLEANUP HITTER EATS THE MOUNTAIN OYSTERS. Carlos Lee did what Carlos Lee does, and popped up to the shortstop. Then Brett Wallace struck out swinging to end the inning.

*Crucial moment #2: Top 11, Bogusevic reached on a bunt single and stole second. Brett Wallace was intentionally walked. Downs struck out swinging, but Clint Barmes drew a walk to bring up J.R. Towles with the bases loaded and one out. Who then GIDPd on the first pitch, ending the inning.

*So yes, the Astros were 0x3 with the bases loaded today. 0x2 with the bases loaded and one out.

*Since starting his Astros career with an 0-fer in his first two games, Barmes has at least gotten on base in each game since - 13 games.

*Man of the Match: Wandy Rodriguez

*Goat of the Game: J.R. Towles

Those final six outs are apparently the hardest

...when you have a bullpen like the Astros. Thanks to Brian McCann's two homers, the Astros are 11-7 when leading after seven innings. Which may surprise you that it's actually that good, but to lose seven games in the final six outs - out of 42 - is unreal. Here's how other NL teams stack up when leading after seven:

Philadelphia: 19-0 (1.000)
Arizona: 12-0 (1.000)
San Diego: 10-0 (1.000)
Washington: 16-1 (.941)
New York: 15-1 (.938)
Los Angeles: 16-2 (.889)
San Francisco: 15-2 (.882)
Atlanta: 19-3 (.864)
St. Louis: 19-3 (.864)
Cincinnati: 18-3 (.857)
Colorado: 18-3 (.857)
Milwaukee: 17-3 (.850)
Chicago: 11-2 (.846)
Florida: 16-3 (.842)
Pittsburgh: 13-3 (.813)
Houston: 11-7 (.611)

Fernando Abad: What in the World?

Fernando Abad took his 4th loss of the season last night, walking two batters, giving up a hit, and the winning run to the Braves. His WHIP is 1.95, ranked 218th out of 244 National League pitchers. There are only ten pitchers with a worse WHIP who have thrown 10+ IPs. Of course, two of those pitchers are Nelson Figueroa and Brandon Lyon, and we see how their seasons have gone so far.

What's going on with Abad (who dominated as a starter in Winter Ball this past off-season)? A big part of it is the fact that he's just not missing any bats. Dating back to April 26, Abad has thrown 117 pitches in 10 appearances, and has generated five swings-and-misses (according to Baseball-Reference).

He hasn't been particularly unlucky - giving up a .313 BABIP. His FIP (adjusting ERA so as to make it independent of fielding) is a stout 6.53. Abad just can't find the strike zone - walking batters at a rate of 5.4 per nine innings.

According to FanGraphs, Abad is throwing just 43% of his pitches in the strike zone, 74th out of NL relievers with 10+IP (other Astros pitchers qualifying for this stat throwing their pitches for a worse percentage in the zone include Wilton Lopez - 38.6%, Enerio Del Rosario - 40.6%, and Brandon Lyon - 40.9%). Hitters are making contact with 84.2% of Abad's pitches, ranking 80th out of those 97 pitchers.

Abad just isn't fooling anybody - batters are only swinging at 42.3% of his pitches - 83rd out of 97 pitchers. And they're only missing 6.4% of the ones they swing at.

(For the record, we could have a separate post on Enerio Del Rosario, who has less favorable statistics in almost every case).

Amazingly, Abad ranks 51st - pretty high for him - in getting the first-pitch strike at 59.4% of plate appearances. The issue is holding the batter after that 0-1 count. In 37PAs following an 0-1 count, opponents are hitting .323/.405/.452. Abad only has seven PAs with a batter down 0-2. Seven of his eight walks have come with two strikes on the board.

Fernando Abad just isn't fooling anyone. He still has options left, and he's currently an accessory to murder of the 2011 Astros season - of 22 appearances, the Astros have been worse off when he's exited the game (and this doesn't count inherited runners who have later scored) eight times.

Meanwhile, Ryan Rowland-Smith is down in Oklahoma City, where RHBs are hitting .290 against him (Abad vs. RHBs: .379, with a 1.259 OPS). Rowland-Smith is currently a starter, but he could fill a 2010 Figueroa type-role, spot-starting and appearing in relief. I know Abad's a young guy, and he's figuring things out. Maybe this season is a lost cause, anyway, so you just let him make his mistakes. But if the Astros are going to attempt some sort of comeback, it needs to happen with another lefty in the bullpen...like Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Update: Zach Levine published a post three minutes apart from this one, where Brad Mills is quoted on Abad:
We’ve had some discussions about that, and we’re still coming to that conclusion. We’ve gone over mechanical issues, we’ve gone over ‘does he need more time out there.’ Here’s a guy who’s been a strike thrower really his entire life and then all of a sudden he comes out last night during a big game and throws four straight balls. There’s all kind of things, mechanical things, mind things, game situation things that we’re discussing.”

If the NAACP will buy tickets, I bet Jim Crane is totally fine with this

The NAACP will be keeping a close eye on Jim Crane, thanks to an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

The EEOC found a number violations against Crane's company, which was fined for:

*Failing or refusing to promote African-Americans.
*Demoting females from managerial positions
*Maintaining a hostile work environment against African-Americans, Hispanics and females with respect to terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
*Failing to adequately investigate incidents of sexual and gender harassment.


The Houston chapter of the NAACP:
"We are deeply concerned that someone, that has a broad reach throughout the community and across the country regarding employment ... has such a dismal record in the area of discrimination. As such this is someone that should be monitored very closely in the area of employment discrimination as it relates to minorities and (women)."

As a friend told me in an email, "Power plus Spotlight doesn't always equal a good thing."

Jim Crane: the next Frank McCourt?

That's the question The Biz of Baseball asks:

Of the $680 million purchase, just under half ($300 million) is going to be financed with debt. According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, “In 2010 the Astros had operating income of $14 million, so if Crane parks $300 million of debt on the team the franchise would be in technical default of the league’s debt limit, which is 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.”

Morning After Ownership Round-up

Here's the short version of the new ownership group, from all over the place:

FSH's MK Bower:
Reports have surfaced that Crane already has tabbed former Houston Rockets president George Postolos as his chief executive officer, and there’s speculation that beyond infusing Postolos' business acumen, Crane also will reorganize the Astros' baseball operations currently led by president Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade.

David Stern, on new CEO-in-waiting George Postolos:
“He is a work horse. He will do whatever it takes to get a particular project done – day, night, every day, it doesn’t matter. He has a goal, he sticks to it, he gets it done. He’s also a man of great integrity and a great family man. He’s really the complete package.”

David Barron:
(McLane) would not comment on whether he retains a portion of the team as part of Crane’s ownership group.

Ed Wade, with some advice:
"The results at the big league level are always the most scrutinized pieces, so let's continue to have an open mind to the things we think we can do in the short term to make us better, but don't lose sight of the long term. I certainly would not advocate us making a play for one key acquisition that would cost us three or four top prospects, because that would put us back in a position that the organization was in four years ago."

Richard Justice:
Sometimes, I’ve thought all fans want is to know ownership has competent people in charge and a reasonable blueprint. Crane seems likely to deliver both. Here’s to a new day and a better tomorrow.

Jerome Solomon:
The fastest way for the Astros to return to the good old days of contention that had become a staple of McLane’s ownership is to allow Wade to continue the reorganization process he started.

Crane's wife, Franci:
"Jim doesn't want to be the center of attention. He doesn't feel the need to out in front all time. He wants to let others be front and center and enjoy the moment."

Eddie's Farm: May 16

Oklahoma City (17-21)

OKC had a 4-2 lead going into the top of the 9th, and promptly nutted it, losing 5-4 to Salt Lake. Ryan Rowland-Smith threw 7IP, 5H/2ER, 6K:3BB in a strong outing. Andy Van Hekken threw a one-hit inning. But Ross Wolf gets the Ugly, with 4H/3ER, 0K:1BB in 0.1IP for the BS/L. David Carpenter got the final two outs on one batter.

Brian Dopirak (2B), Brandon Barnes (HR, 2RBI), and Tommy Manzella (HR, 2RBI) had two hits each. The 2-3-4 hitters (Shuck, Keppinger, Max Ramirez) went a combined 0x12, while 7-8-9 (Barnes, Manzella, Hernandez) went 5x11 with 2HR, 4RBI).

Man of the Match: Ryan Rowland-Smith

Corpus (14-23)

Corpus scored the final four runs of the game for a 5-1 win over San Antonio. Jonnathan Aristil allowed 5H/1ER, 4K:1BB over 6IP, and Shane Wolf, Erick Abreu, and Danny Meszaros combined for 3IP, 2H/0ER, 2K:1BB.

T.J. Steele was 2x2 with two walks and an RBI, while Jake Goebbert was 2x3 with a double, walk, and 3RBI. The 3-4-5 of Steele, Van Ostrand, and Goebbert went for 5x8, 4R, 2K:4BB, and 4RBI.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert

Lancaster (17-21)

Lake Elsinore scored 12 runs before the JetHawks got their first, and that was your final score. Robby Donovan threw 3.2IP, 4H/7ER, 2K:3BB, 2WP. Zach Grimmett allowed 3H/1ER, 1K:2BB in 2.1IP. Wander Alvino took a share in the Ugly with 5H/4ER, 3K:1BB, HBP in 1.2IP. Only Mike Ness, with 1H/0ER in 1.1IP, didn't allow a run.

The JetHawks got eight hits, but were only 1x16 w/RISP. Jose Altuve (2 doubles), Ben Heath (2B, BB), and Jordan Comadena had two hits each. Kody Hinze was 1x3 with a double and a walk. Your 1-2 hitters - Austin and Hogue - went 0x10.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve.

Lexington (18-20)

Game 1: Lexington scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 5th for a 2-1 win. Juan Minaya got his first win of the season, allowing 2H/1ER, 10K:3BB. Jorge De Leon got his 2nd save of the year with 2IP, 1H/0ER, 0K:1BB.

Jiovanni Mier was 1x2 with a walk, Tyler Burnett and Emilio King were each 1x2 with an RBI. Adam Bailey was 1x3 with a double and an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Juan Minaya

Game 2: Asheville scored the lone run of the game in the top of the 7th, and the Legends get a split. David Martinez allowed 2H/0ER, 4K:1BB in 3IP, and Jason Chowning allowed 4H/1ER, 8K:1BB in 4IP of relief, getting the hard-luck loss.

Adam Bailey was 3x3, while Dan Adamson was 1x1 with 2BB. Bryce Lane and Tyler Burnett provided the other hits.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G41: Astros @ Braves

Unbelievable. The #2 spot gets another 0-fer, and the bullpen gets another loss. Astros lose 3-2 at Atlanta.

*On the bright side, Brett Myers threw well - 6IP, 8H/2ER, 6K:3BB. It's the fewest number of earned runs Myers allowed in a start since G11 - his 3rd start of the season - when he threw 7IP, 8H/1ER against the Cubs.

*Myers did walk three batters, giving him 3+ walks in four straight starts (26K:13BB).

*All eight hits he allowed were singles, only the second time this season that he didn't allow an extra-base hit.

*Though Myers didn't get the loss, his .286 win% (4-10) against Atlanta is the lowest of opponent he has faced more than three times.

*Okay, it's time to do something about Fernando Abad. He appeared in his third straight game, got one out, and allowed a hit, two walks, and an earned run. Abad dropped to 1-4 on the season. He did get his first swinging strike since five appearances (three swinging strikes in his last 79 pitches).

*Wilton Lopez threw 1.2IP of hitless relief, giving him back-to-back hitless outings for the third time this season.

*Offensively, either the Astros were that bad, or Tommy Hanson was that good. The Braves' pitching staff: 9IP, 4H/2R (1ER), 15K:1BB. Hanson struck out 10 Astros himself, and five of the last six outs (O'Flaherty and Kimbrel) were strikeouts.

*Tommy Hanson's 74 Game Score was the 2nd-highest against the Astros this season (Shawn Marcum, 75, in G26).

*It's the eighth time this season the Astros have struck out 10+ times, and the 15Ks are a season high. They struck out 15 times against the Phillies in August 2010, the Cubs in August 2009, the Reds in August 2008 - but unbelievably won all of those games. On May 17, 2007, they struck out 16 times against the Giants, and lost 2-1.

*The four hits the Astros got - coming from Carlos Lee and Matt Downs - tie a season low.

*Matt Downs hit his third homer of the year in the 5th inning to take a 1-0 lead. It's the 3rd straight game with an Astros homer, tying a season-high. Downs has two homers in his last five ABs, and a four-game RBI streak. Four of his last five hits have been for extra-bases.

*Carlos Lee also had two hits. That extends his hit streak to 10 games, where he has hit .400/.405/.600, and raised his OPS 120 points (.561 to .681).

*Clint Barmes was 0x3 with a walk in the 2-spot. In 2011, the Astros are getting a .256/.324/.325 line out of their #2 hitter. NL Average is actually .258/.325/.367 in the #2 hole.

*Man of the Match: Matt Downs

*Goat of the Game: Everybody splits the Goat!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Patterson and Williams: Tobacco Lawyers

At some point, we'll get tired of Googling things. But not yet. Part-owners Cary Patterson and John Eddie Williams made a ton of money suing tobacco companies.

Thanks to Forbes, we see this, on John Eddie Williams:
A member of the team of Texas tobacco lawyers, Williams, 46, also represented the family of a man killed in a Phillips Petroleum plant explosion and last year won a $117 million verdict. Aside from his firm's annual take of the tobacco fees (19% of Texas' $3.3 billion fee award), Williams recovered more than $150 million in asbestos litigation last year. Raised in a union family-his father and grandfather were both longshoremen-he's a staunch Democrat; he gave $1.6 million to candidates in the last election.

And Cary Patterson (while talking about his equal partner, and not in that sense, Harold Nix:
Five years ago Nix pocketed $27 million from companies he alleged infected 3,300 Texas factory workers with "chemical AIDS." The cases petered out in time for Nix, 62, to take on tobacco, bolstering a liability and negligence legal franchise in the plaintiff-friendly east Texas town of Daingerfield. Nix's firm, Nix Patterson & Roach, contributed $850,000 to Democratic candidates last year. He and equal partner Cary Patterson shared 80% of $20 million more in nontobacco fees last year.

Isn't this interesting?

Back in June 2009, Jim Crane and part-owner Neil Kelley got in a pretty bad car wreck, where Kelley wrecked Crane's 2003 Ferrari 575M Maranello in California, and needed the jaws of life to get out, was lifeflighted to San Jose and treated for "major injuries."

California Highway Patrol public information officer Brian Wiest:
“They were driving southbound on Alva Lane in the Pebble Beach area and were just north of 17 Mile Drive when they approached a curve in the road at what appeared to be an unsafe speed,” he said, describing the accident that occurred just before 6 p.m. June 12. “The driver lost control, and the vehicle ran off the road on the right side and struck a tree on the driver’s side.”

Wiest confirmed alcohol was not involved.

Jonathan Fixler retires

Via our buddy Greg Rajan, we learn that catcher Jonathan Fixler has retired.

Fixler, the Astros' 19th Round pick in 2007, hit .229/.308/.402 in five minor-league seasons, including five games in 2011. Fixler was suspended on August 4, 2010 for use of PEDs.

Brian Esposito has returned to Corpus to take his spot, and Jeff Keppinger has moved up to OKC.

Other owners coming into focus

(Note: This post has been revamped, following today's press conference)

The official Astros press release has the partners listed in buying the Astros. If you run into them, make them buy you a drink:

John Havens, Bill Morgan, Doug Bauer, John Hauck & TSI Holding Company, Greg Allen & family, Neil Kelley & Partners, Will Galtney & Jeff Hines, John Eddie Williams & Cary Patterson and Milton Carroll & Partners.

Who are these guys (from a quick search)?

John Havens

John Havens is the President of Seismic Exchange, a company that provides seismic data to oil and gas companies.

John Hauck (& TSI Holding)

Hauck is the President/CEO of TSI Holding, an investment group, with revenues over $500m.

Neil Kelley

Neil Kelley is a founding partner of Genesis Park, and was the founding partner/CEO of Saracen Park, a group of hedge funds specializing in a lot of things that sound boring, but probably make you richer than God.

Will Galtney and Jeff Hines

Galtney could be a few guys. Hold, please.

Jeff Hines is the President/CEO of Hines Real Estate group and went to Williams College.

John Eddie Williams

Williams is the Managing Partner of the Williams Kherkher law firm, and is a Baylor grad.

Cary Patterson and Milton Carroll (and partners)

Patterson is an attorney from Texarakana, and Milton Carroll is the chairman of Centerpoint Energy, and is a director at Halliburton.

Tread Carefully

Today - at some unknown time - the Astros will hold a press conference announcing the official sale of the franchise to businessman Jim Crane.

I've been wrestling with how to feel about this since news broke that Drayton was actually serious about selling the team. On one hand, I think it's time for Drayton to ride off into the sunset, on one of his own grocery-shipping carriages, like the Wells Fargo wagon. On the other hand, Drayton was as predictable as one of Justice's "Charge!" tweets. You knew what you were going to get. He's really the only owner that I remember. I knew of John McMullen, but I started becoming aware of something other than "Jeff Bagwell is great!" under Drayton's watch.

In high school I dated a girl for a couple of years. It was comfortable, we had a good time, nothing bad happened, etc. We broke up because I was bored, and this other girl looked pretty good. Turns out that Girl #2 was guano crazy, and I pretty much hated life for the eighteen minutes that we dated. Girl #1 and I were never going to get married, and there wasn't any way that the relationship was going to last past freshman orientation. But still. I realized then that, just because something is new and shiny (and I'm not strictly referring to Girl #2) doesn't mean it's better.

This is what I fear with Jim Crane. We got a couple of emails over the weekend about Jim Crane that, if they're true - and we're working on it - are terrifying. We've been hearing the Right Things about Crane (as you would expect): he's into data analysis, which presumably means that he wouldn't sign off on trading five players for Miguel Tejada, he's local(-ish), he's a Baseball Man. And he just might fire Tal Smith. But what in the hell do you expect to hear in the first days of knowledge of the transfer of ownership?

Crane didn't get where he is without some halfway-decent PR, and we're hearing exactly what we want to hear. While this is an exciting time in Astro-land, just be careful. Crane deserves a chance, and it's going to take some time to see his plan - or his staff's plan - start to work. Just don't be so quick to dismiss Drayton.

Eddie's Farm: May 15

Oklahoma City (17-20)

Big 4th inning for OKC, who scored four runs and rode it out for a 5-2 win over Salt Lake. Sergio Perez allowed 7H/2ER, 4K:1BB, 2WP, HBP in 6IP. Nelson Figueroa allowed 1H/0ER in 2IP, and Fernando Rodriguez struck out the side for his second save.

Tommy Manzella was 1x3 with a double, 2RBI, and successfully stole home. Oswaldo Navarro was 1x3 with an RBI. Brandon Barnes was 1x4 with a stolen base. J.B. Shuck was 1x4 with his 2nd triple of the season.

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella

Corpus (13-23)

Corpus snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Frisco in 11 innings. Xavier Cedeno allowed 6H/3ER, 5K:1BB in 6IP, Erick Abreu threw two scoreless innings of relief, as did Patrick Urckfitz, who got the win. Danny Meszaros threw a scoreless 11th to get his first save of the season.

Jimmy Paredes was 4x6 with two doubles and an RBI. Jeff Keppinger was 3x5 with a walk, and David Flores and Wladimir Sutil got two hits each. T.J. Steele was 1x4 with an RBI and a walk. Every Hook got a hit, with the exception of Andy Simunic, who was 0x3 and replaced by Jake Goebbert in LF (and went 1x2 with a double).

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

Lancaster (17-20)

Lake Elsinore jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the 1st, but a three-run 2nd inning, and a nine-run 4th helped Lancaster get a 14-6 win. Luis Cruz continued being pretty much ineffective, with 7H/5ER, 4K:2BB, 2WP in 2.2IP. Our Boy Andrew Robinson allowed 5H/1ER, 2K:0BB (getting the win) in 3.1IP of long relief. Mike Ness, Yordany Ramirez, and Colton Pitkin all threw scoreless innings.

Jose Altuve (3-run HR, 4RBI) and Rene Garcia (2RBI, BB) had three hits each. Jordan Comadena was 2x3 with a walk and 4RBI. Austin Wates and Jose Carlos Thompson had two hits each, and Kody Hinze hit his 11th HR of the season.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Lexington (17-19)

Postponed. Will play a double-header against Asheville today.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G40: Astros v. Mets

At least we don't have to blame the bullpen, this one was all on The Aneurysm. Mets win, 7-4.

*Since the April 30/May 1 games against Milwaukee, where the pitching staff allowed one run total, the Astros have allowed 5+ runs in seven of 12 games.

*The Astros are 1-6 in rubber matches this season.

*Aneury threw 5IP, 5H/7R (5ER), 2K:4BB, and got the Mets to swing and miss just six times in his 90 pitches.

*So that's three starts for The Aneurysm, and he's allowed 14H/10ER, 8K:6BB, 3HR in 15IP. Things were going pretty well - he got 12 of the first 13 batters he faced (a Josh Thole walk in the 1st was the only blemish). And then Carlos Lee made an error at 1st, and it seemed to rattle Rodriguez. Four of the next five batters reached base, and the Astros saw a 2-0 lead turn into a 4-2 deficit in the 5th, and before Aneury could get an out in the 6th, Jason Turner had hit a 3-run shot to make it a 7-2 Mets lead with Aneury's day done.

*But hey, the bullpen of Abad, Del Rosario, Escalona, and Valdez held the Mets to 0H/0ER, 2K:2BB in 4IP of relief.

*Valdez threw two scoreless IPs, with 1K:1BB. His ERA is still over 7.00, but in his last 4IP (two appearances), he's allowed 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB.

*The Astros were 2x13 w/RISP, and left ten men on base.

*Michael Bourn was 2x5 with his first CS of the season (where he just may have been safe). That's a four-game hit streak for Bourn, with him going 7x19, and two hits in five of his last ten games.

*Bill Hall was 2x4 with a double (and 2K), he's got four hits - two for extra-bases - in his last eight ABs.

*And for all the crap we talked about Jason Michaels yesterday morning, he went out and doubled his hit total, going 2x4 with two doubles and an RBI, raising his batting average from .100 to .167.

*J.R. Towles was 0x5 hitting in the #2 spot. After hitting .364 in April, Towles has just one hit in 20 ABs in May, for an .050 average - and is hitless in his last 19 PAs.

*Clint Barmes hit his 1st homer as an Astro, in the 6th inning off Taylor Buchholz. He also drew two walks on the day.

*The Astros had six extra-base hits (five doubles, one homer), which is the exact same number they had on Saturday. That's the most extra-bases in consecutive games since June 24/25, 2010, when they got 13 against the Giants and Rangers.

*Man of the Match: Clint Barmes!

*Goat of the Game: J.R. Towles. 0x5, and a bone-headed throw to 2nd with Jason Pridie on 3rd, who just kind of walked home in the 5th.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Details emerging on sale price

NESN, via Fox Sports, has some details on the sale price of the Astros:

*"Baseball Sources" confirmed that the deal is for $680m.
*However, Crane is acquiring his portion of the RSN with Comcast for $93m.

So that means that Drayton nearly got his $800m...

Carlos Beltran cried "like a baby"

The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough has an article on Carlos Beltran as he returns to Houston, where Tim Byrdak noted that we all still hate him, apparently.

The interesting part is Beltran's reaction, when he got traded from Kansas City to Houston:
On June 24, 2004, the Kansas City Royals shipped Beltran to a contender, Houston, in a three-team deal. Beltran wept “like a baby” when he heard the news. Kansas City was home. The organization scooped him out of Puerto Rico when he was 18. His Class-A hitting coach, future Yankees instructor Kevin Long, taught him how to switch-hit. He won Rookie of the Year as a Royal in 1999 and finished as an MVP candidate in 2003. “That was all I knew,” Beltran said.

But don't worry! Click the link and you'll read about how Craig Biggio is still the greatest human on the face of the earth.

Want to see the video of the kerrazy Astros fan?

Here you go. It's the best scaling of Tal's Hill since Carlos Beltran...

Tranzactionz!

Lots of transactions over the course of the last couple of days.

May 11

*Lancaster placed pitcher Jose Trinidad on the 7-day DL.
*David Carpenter brought up to OKC from Corpus.

May 12

*Lexington sent Yordany Ramirez to Lancaster, bringing up catcher Ryan McCurdy from Tri-City.
*OKC activated Doug Arguello from the 7-Day DL.

May 13

*Legends place Tanner Bushue on the 7-Day DL, activating Enrique Hernandez from the same.
*Corpus activated Dallas Keuchel from the 7-Day DL.
*Oklahoma City sent Erick Abreu back to Corpus.

May 14
*Lexington sent Brad Dydalewicz to Tri-City, bringing up Garrett Bullock to take his place.
*Lancaster placed pitcher Wes Musick on the 7-Day DL, and Corpus sent Our Boy Andrew Robinson to Lancaster to take his place.

Eddie's Farm: May 14

Oklahoma City (16-20)

OKC drops their 3rd straight game with a 2-1 loss to Salt Lake. Jordan Lyles' record is now 1-3, despite 7IP, 7H/2ER, 4K:0BB, and throwing 67 of his 107 pitches for strikes. David Carpenter allowed 2H/0ER, 0K:1BB, but did not record an out. Gustavo Chacin inherited that no out bases-loaded jam in the 8th, but got out of it without issue, and ended up walking one in 2IP.

Max Ramirez was 3x4 on the night, with Locke, Dopirak, Clemens and Shuck getting the other hits. Clemens had your RBI, and Shuck provided the only XBH of the night.

Man of the Match: Jordan Lyles

Corpus (12-23)

Corpus dropped their 9th straight game with an 11-2 loss at Frisco. Kyle Greenwalt allowed 7H/7ER, 2K:1BB in 4IP, while Arcenio Leon allowed 3H/3ER, 3K:1BB in 2IP. David Berner allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB to send his ERA north of 10.00 (10.06).

The Hooks only got five hits - with Jeff Keppinger hitting a homer, Jon Gaston collecting a triple, and Jimmy Van Ostrand getting a double. Keppinger also drew a walk as the Hooks were 0x5 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: A guy on a rehab start can't get the MotM, so it goes to Jimmy Van Ostrand, who also drew a walk.

Lancaster (16-20)

Jose Cisnero was the man as Lancaster beat Lake Elsinore 5-1. Jose Cisnero allowed just 5H/0ER, 7K:2BB in 7.2IP. Wander Alvino walked one of the two batters he faced, and Kirk Clark gave up a solo homer in the 9th.

Jose Altuve (2B), Erik Castro, Jonathan Meyer (2B, RBI), and Grant Hogue (2B, 2RBI, SB) had two hits each, with Ben Heath getting a double and 2RBI. 7-8-9 hitters (Meyer, Heath, Hogue) went for a combined 5x11 with three doubles and 5RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Cisnero

Lexington (17-19)

Asheville had the lead twice (3-0, 4-3) before Lexington rallied for a 5-4 win. Carlos Quevedo had a weird game. He allowed 8H/4ER - all of his earned runs came off of solo homers - but with 13K:0BB in 6IP. So yes, of the 26 batters Quevedo faced, he struck out half of them. Garrett Bullock made his Lexington debut (more on that in the next post), walking two in 0.2IP, and Brian Streilein improved to 3-0, getting the win with 0H/0ER, 4K:1BB in 2.1IP.

Emilio King was 3x4, Adam Bailey was 2x4 (RBI), and Jiovanni Mier was 1x4 with a homer and 2RBI. Tyler Burnett was 0x2, but with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo, whose K:BB ratio is now 18.00 (36K:2BB) on the season.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G39: Astros v. Mets

That was more fun than the first game. Houston, behind a strong 1st inning, wins 7-3.

*Those seven runs mark just the 7th time the Astros have scored that many runs.

*Even with four runs in the 1st inning, the Astros have still been outscored 21-27 in the 1st.

*J.A. Happ threw 6IP, 5H/2ER, 4K:3BB, WP. That's the 3rd consecutive start that Happ has thrown 6+ innings, and marks back-to-back quality starts. In his first four starts of the season, Happ went for 23.1IP, 24H/18ER, 15K:12BB. In his last four starts, his line is 23.1IP, 24H/10ER, 17K:10BB.

*Mark Melancon came in with a 7-2 lead, and allowed 2H/1ER in 1IP. It's the first ER Melancon has allowed since transitioning to the 9th inning, and it was the first time since April 23 - eight appearances - that he had allowed two hits in an outing.

*With another walk-less appearance, Melancon has now faced 24 batters without allowing a walk.

*With home runs by Hall, Downs, and Lee, the Astros hit three homers in a game for the first time this season, and for the first time since July 30, 2010 - a span of 101 games.

*Lee was 2x4 on the day, giving him an eight-game hitting streak, and five of those have been 2-hit games. Congratulations to him, for getting his 2000th hit.

*Bill Hall was 2x4 with 2RBI, and that's the first 2RBI game since April 17 for Hall.

*Brett Wallace was also 2x4, with two doubles and a walk. That was his first XBH since May 3 - when he hit a homer at Cincinnati.

*How about a pinch-hitter alert? Brian Bogusevic reached when he got HPBed - giving him an even .800 OPS (.333/.467/.333). Matt Downs, with a pinch-hit HR (the first PH HR of his career), has an OPS of .848. Jason Michaels was 0x1, dropping his OPS to .282.

*For a bat off the bench, Michaels seems to forget his bat. He's 2x20, and both of his hits have come in starts, so he doesn't actually have any pinch-hits this season.

*Humberto Quintero got another 0x4, and his OPS dropped under .600, to .595. This is the 3rd-lowest OPS among catchers with at least 50 PAs in the NL (Brian Schneider - .545, Josh Thole - .559). Which makes you wonder why, with an .844 OPS, is J.R. Towles still only playing twice a week?

*Man of the Match: How about Brett Wallace?

*Goat of the Game: Quintero, man. Get it together.