Saturday, July 9, 2011

Update on Jack Armstrong

There are still a couple of emails/calls to be returned, but AC spoke with someone close to Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin about Astros 3rd-Round pick Jack Armstrong. According to the source, Corbin thought Armstrong's chances of signing were "50/50." More on this to come...

Astros might not be so easy to get along with

Jon Heyman says Ed Wade might be hard to trade with because he's trying to save his job:

One GM predicted that it will be "hard to trade with the Astros." He suggested that the Astros would try to "win trades to save their jobs," with a new owner coming in. That's too bad, because Houston is done and needs to restock at the upper levels of the minor leagues, competitors say.

The big question is, "Heyman needed to ask competitors for their assessment of the Astros' Triple-A quality?"

Larry Dierker has some thoughts on Happ

Here's a good column from Larry Dierker about J.A. Happ and what he's doing wrong.

Dierker:
If I were managing a team that was facing him, I would instruct my hitters not to swing at anything but a fastball right down the middle until he threw at least one strike. That's what the Marlins did and it worked pretty well...

...So, how do you avoid walking so many batters if you don't have good control? You stop throwing a wide variety of pitches and concentrate on two or three.

Eddie's Farm: July 8

Oklahoma City (39-50)

Chalk that up as five straight wins for the RedHawks after Tommy Manzella's sac fly scores Anderson Hernandez for a 4-3 win over Omaha. Sergio Perez threw 6IP, 6H/1ER, 4K:2BB; Ross Wolf got the BS with 2IP, 5H/2ER, 0K:1BB, and Sam Gervacio walked one in the top of the 9th, getting the win.

The RedHawks got eight hits - all singles - and one walk. Luis Durango was 1x3 with a walk, stolen base, and two runs scored; Robinson Cancel, Drew Locke, Manzella, and Brandon Barnes had your RBIs.

Man of the Match: Luis Durango

Corpus (31-53)

And Corpus gets a walk-off, with J.D. Martinez' single to right scoring Jimmy Van Ostrand for a 3-2 win over Tulsa in 10 innings. Erick Abreu threw 7IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:0BB; Arcenio Leon struck out five in 2IP, and Kyle Greenwalt got the win, throwing the 10th and allowing a hit.

Jake Goebbert had your only XBHs, going 3x4 with a triple, home run, and 2RBI. Jimmy Paredes also got three hits, and his 25th stolen base. Jose Altuve was 2x5.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert.

Lancaster (34-52)

High-scoring game in Lancaster as the JetHawks score in five straight innings for a 12-8 win over Rancho Cucamonga. Our Boy Andrew Robinson lasted just 2IP, allowing 6H/5ER, 3HR; David Berner got the win with 3IP, 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB; Wander Alvino allowed two baserunners and got one out; Shane Wolf allowed 5H/2ER, 2K:1BB, and Kirk Clark got his 15th save of the season.

Adam Bailey took advantage of his promotion, going 3x5 with a double, RBI, and an outfield assist. Austin Wates and Miguel Arrendell each got three hits with a double/RBI; and Miguel Arrendell was 3x4 with a double and an RBI. Jose Carlos Thompson was 2x3 with 7RBI - coming on two homers - a 2-run shot in the 2nd and a grand slam in the 5th (with an RBI sac fly, as well).

Man of the Match: Jose Carlos Thompson

Lexington (40-45)

Lexington was supposed to play two at Hickory, got one in, and the second was rained out. And they lost the first one 3-1. Mike Foltynewicz threw 5.1IP, 5H/2ER, 3K:3BB, and Jorge De Leon allowed 2H/1ER in 0.2IP.

The Legends got three hits, from Ben Orloff (BB), Tyler Burnett, and Roberto Pena. Telvin Nash was 0x2 with an RBI sac fly.

Man of the Match: Uh...Ben Orloff?

Tri-City (8-12)

Postponed

Greeneville (7-11)

Greeneville had a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th, Elizabethton made it interesting with four runs in the bottom half, but Greeneville stepped on the gas for a 9-4 win. Jamaine Cotton improved to 3-0 (the team has seven wins) with 5IP, 7H/4ER, 3K:2BB, and Steve Martin and Paris Shewey held Elizabethton to 0H/0ER, 4K:0BB over the final four innings.

Ariel Ovando was 2x4 with a triple and 3RBI; Darwin Rivera was 2x3 with a double and two walks. Jorge Sosa was 1x5 with a walk, two stolen bases, and 2RBI. Chase Davidson was 1x3 with a double and two walks.

Man of the Match: Ariel Ovando

GCL Astros (3-11)

Off, and have lost nine straight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

From the Office of the County Clerk - G90: Astros @ Marlins

The Astros had a 2-0 lead for the briefest of times (a half-inning), and the Marlins won again 6-3.

*The Astros actually got out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st - it's just the 25th time this season that they've scored in the 1st inning, and the 10th time they've scored more than one run in the 1st. So things were going well. Then the Marlins got them back in the bottom half, and the Astros have been outscored 64-41 in the 1st inning.

*This is the first 3-game home winning streak for Florida (they got one against the Phillies before the Astros came in) since April 24-26.

*Jordan Lyles had a rough go of it - throwing 6IP, 7H/5ER, 3K:3BB, and a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in the 1st.

*Of the 24 runs Lyles has allowed in his young career, 12 of them have come with two outs.

*The 5th inning was the roughest for Lyles. After hitting Petersen, Infante singled, Sanchez bunted poorly, Ramirez singled to load the bases up. Lyles then walked Logan Morrison, scoring a run, and Mike Stanton hit a sac fly, scoring Sanchez, and putting the Marlins up 5-2. In the 5th, Lyles threw a first-pitch strike to six of the seven batters (Sanchez' bunt was on the 1st pitch) he faced. Morrison's bases-loaded walk came after Lyles was in front, 1-2.

*Fernando Rodriguez worked an inning in relief, allowing 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB. Five of the ten batters he has faced since returning to Houston have gotten on base (3H/2BB).

*The Astros' "offense" didn't do much in the way of getting on base to create runs, drawing absolutely no walks for the 10th time this season, and they saw a three-ball count just three times. And one of those was with Lyles at the plate. In their last eight games, the Astros have 52K:11BB.

*Brett Wallace was 2x4 with an RBI, snapping a 3x22 skid (June 29-July 7). In his last ten games, though, he has 11K:0BB. And he hasn't drawn a walk since June 22 (37 PAs).

*Michael Bourn also had two hits, and in his last four games is 5x18. He, also, has not drawn a walk since June 24 - and has one walk in his last 65 ABs. From your lead-off man.

*Hunter Pence was the only position player to not get a hit, going 0x4 with a strikeout, seeing just nine pitches on the night. Other Astros with 4PAs and fewer than 10 pitches: Barmes (1x4), Corporan (1x4).

*Pinch-hitters Brian Bogusevic and Jason Michaels were 0x2 with six pitches seen total.

*Man of the Match: Brett Wallace!

*Goat of the Game: Jordan Lyles

Astros claim Lucas Harrell (?)

Word is that the Astros have claimed White Sox pitcher Lucas Harrell off waivers.

Harrell is a 26-year old RHP, drafted in the 4th Round of the 2004 by the White Sox. He has thrown in three games for the Big Club, and in 5IP, allowed 11H/4ER, 5K:1BB. So let's not look at that. Let's instead look at his minor-league numbers.

He was a starter in the Sox' Triple-A team in Charlotte, and in 12 starts (13 appearances), threw 74.1IP, 67H/27ER, 56K:26BB, cutting his BB/9 rate by almost a full walk over his 2010 rate.

In three seasons at Triple-A, Harrell allowed 266H/121ER, 182K:124BB in 277.2IP, with a 3.92 ERA/1.41 WHIP.

So...pitches to contact. Starter. I'm just wondering where he's going to fit. If he goes to OKC, whose spot does he take? Or does he move to the bullpen for the Astros? Lots of questions with this one...

Jake Goebbert gets some love

We've appreciated him for quite some time, but Alyson Footer gets on board the Goebbert Wagon:

He wasn’t on my target list when I arrived to town yesterday, but it bears noting that outfielder/first baseman Jacob Goebbert is receiving rave reviews from the people who work for and cover the Hooks. The 23-year-old is hitting .308 (60-for-195) with 15 doubles, three triples and four home runs with 24 RBIs. He also was named Hooks Player of the Month after compiling a .984 fielding percentage with six outfield assists.

Greg Rajan:
Dude is a player for @cchooks, but doesn’t get enough respect from #Astros brass.”

Shortstop Johnathan Villar also gets some love in the notebook.

Andrew Friedman would "love" to be next GM?

According to Richard Justice, current Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman would be interested in being the new Ed Wade:

Andrew Friedman has left some of his friends with the clear impression that he would love to be the next GM of the Astros.

Well, well.

Adam Bailey promoted

Subber10 is reporting that Adam Bailey has been promoted from Lexington to Lancaster.

Bailey hit .282/.329/.494 with 16 homers, 56K:19BB for Lexington.

The shoe that's dropping is Jay Austin, who has been assigned to Lexington. Austin was hitting .257/.318/.365 for Lancaster.

Also:

Pitcher Adam Champion was promoted to Lexington from Tri-City
SS Jose Vallejo was placed on the 7-Day DL by Corpus
Pitcher Brian Streilein was placed on the 7-Day DL

The logistics didn't quite work out for Quintero

Humberto Quintero's wife is racking up the frequent-flyer miles.

Quintero:
“I flew my wife yesterday to Oklahoma. Then they tell me I have to go here.”

THE NERVE!

More Q:
“We’re going to change. I promise that. We’re going to come back to doing the things we did last year (during a second-half surge). We’re going to help each other.”

Pellegrini hopes to return from injury

Good article on former Eddie's Farmhand Brian Pellegrini today.

Pellegrini:
"I came off a good year and go into spring training (in 2010), hoping to even break camp with the Double-A squad. Then in my first intrasquad game (with Houston's minor-leaguers), I hit a home run and I was rounding first base and hurt my hernia...

Then he had microfracture knee surgery:

"I asked for my release from the Astros because I would have had to stay down in Florida to continue to rehab all summer. I had microfracture knee surgery, and that can take up until a year until you are fine. I was trying to play on it three months after. I tried to play four or five times in games (this past spring), and I just couldn't do it with my knee...I'm just taking it easy, getting my knee ready to go. If any offers come calling, I'd be glad to come out. But it's tough for a team to sign me. I only played 50, 60 games last year."

From the Office of the County Clerk - G89: Astros @ Marlins

*Astros lose 5-0, getting three-hit by Brad Hand, who was making his 5th career start, and was coming off an outing where he allowed four hits and three walks in 3.1IP.

*Don't have it in me today. The Astros didn't show up. Why should I?

/drops mic

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Look at Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 Prospects list

You can find it here. Or, actually, don't. There aren't any Astros on it, anyway.

Carlos Lee makes the highest percentage of one team's payroll

With a captip to AliceAnna57, we find the following:

Carlos Lee makes 26.9% of the Astros' total payroll. This is the largest chunk of payroll that one player takes up in all of baseball.

If you went on other payrolls, Carlos Lee would make 38.6% of the Indians' payroll, 52.6% of the Royals' payroll, or 9.4% of the Yankees' payroll.

Brett Myers is apparently the best available pitcher

According to Troy Renck, the Rockies don't plan to be sellers at the deadline. But they also don't quite expect to be buyers:

The pitching market is limited, with Houston's Brett Myers arguably the best available. His price tag makes him unappealing to the Rockies. Though finding a starter is a priority, general manager Dan O'Dowd said last week after acquiring infielder Mark Ellis that he would continue looking for another bat.

Off the charts on the unintentional comedy scale

Kansas University fan blogger "chrisbosh" (not kidding) has some remarkable insights regarding (presumably) Burt Hooton and the Astros:

Whether or not it has been this common adjust connected with panorama and even Bagwell moved by means of them numerous sensational brand new awareness, Astros players have been better right after the All-Star rest rather than just before. Batting ordinary much better via .238 that will .259, OBP improved 14 factors (.296 to help .311) and even keeps going in every match resolved to go from three.3 to be able to 4.A couple.

This current year, certainly another modify would help, this occassion during advertising mentor. Doug Brocail changed Kaira Arnsberg a couple of weeks spine and also, while he is actually an outstanding guitar tutor since perceived within the later time as being a person, could possibly be an answer: Burt Hooton.


Read fine examples of Bosh's other work here, and here.

Hoke Granger probably won't sign

With a captip to the Crawfish Boxes' Subber10, we find that 42nd Round pick Hoke Granger probably won't sign with the Astros.

In his only season at Northside Methodist, Granger hit .615 with 19 home runs and 100 r.b.i. Granger says he'll probably pass on a contract offer from the Astros, and play at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City next year.

On that team meeting...

Alright, some reactions to the Astros Team Meeting yesterday afternoon:

Mills:
“We’ve got a good group of guys out there. We just had to get some things off the table and out there. Any time you have something like that where you have a lot of input from guys and they do speak up, good things come out of it. Good things came out of this one.”

Barmes:
“There were some things Skip (Mills) needed to get off his chest, and there were some things some players needed to hear. I think those who needed to hear things heard them. I think pretty much everyone in there needed to kind of check themselves, so it was good. It was a good thing.”

Carlos Lee:
“It was kind of like everybody expressed themselves and got a lot of things out and I think we feel like we have a new start, refreshed. We went out there and we did the job. We got the guys over, we got big hits and we played good defense and had solid pitching. It was a good game overall.”

McTaggart's headline was "Did the meeting work? You bet." This is ridiculous. Sure, maybe everyone feels refreshed, but this was one game. Perhaps down the road we can look back at July 6 as the point in which this season turned around, and the Astros rallied to only lose 90 games; but to credit last night's win on a team meeting seems a little rushed to me. Because let's be honest - it took some pretty decent fielding mistakes courtesy of Andrew McCutchen for the Astros to get that big inning.

Quintero activated, Towles back to OKC

It was bound to happen. The unluckiest player in all of baseball (J.R. Towles, natch) has been optioned to OKC to make room for Humberto Quintero.

Towles had the lowest BABIP (.189) in the Majors among players with 140+ PAs, and just couldn't buy a hit.

Eddie's Farm: July 6

Oklahoma City (37-50)

OKC withstood a two-run 9th from Iowa to take the game 3-2. Andy Van Hekken improved to 3-4, throwing 6H/0ER, 5K:3BB in 6IP; Ross Wolf threw two perfect innings in relief, and Casey Fien struck out the side, but not before allowing a two-run, two-out homer in the 9th.

Luis Durango and Anderson Hernandez were both 2x4. Koby Clemens was 1x1 with a double, RBI, and three walks; J.B. Shuck and Collin DeLome had your other RBIs - with Brandon Barnes replacing DeLome for an as-yet-unknown reason.

Man of the MAtch: Koby Clemens

Corpus (30-52)

Off.

Lancaster (32-52)

Back-and-forth game with Bakersfield resulting in three lead changes, three JetHawks runs in the bottom of the 8th, two Bakersfield runs in the top of the 9th, and Lancaster wins it 7-6. Robby Donovan lasted 3.1IP, allowing 6H/4ER, 1K:3BB; Mike Ness allowed 3H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 3.2IP of relief, and Kirk Clark got the win with 3H/2ER, 1K:2BB in 2IP.

Austin Wates had the Big Game, with a 3x3 night - getting two doubles and a homer - a walk, 3RBI, and an outfield assist. Jay Austin (RBI), Jiovanni Mier (2B, RBI), and Andy Simunic (BB) had two hits each. David Flores was 1x4 with 2RBI, and Jonathan Meyer drew three walks.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (40-44)

Lexington had a 5-3 lead going into the 8th, but West Virginia scored one in the 8th and 9th to tie it up, and then got two in the 10th for a 7-5 win over the Legends. Alex Sogard went 6IP, allowing 7H/3ER, 4K:3BB, 2HR; Jason Chowning allowed 3H/1ER, 0K:1BB in 1.1IP; Jorge De Leon took the BS with 2H/1ER in 1.2IP, and David Martinez got the loss, allowing two unearned runs in the 10th.

Ben Heath (2B, BB, 2RBI) and Ben Orloff (RBI) had two hits each. Telvin Nash was 1x4 with a walk. Bryce Lane was 1x4 with an outfield assist at home.

Man of the Match: Ben Heath

Tri-City (8-11)

The ValleyCats trailed Hudson Valley 3-2 going into the 9th, and exploded for five runs in the top of the 9th for a 7-3 win. Kyle Hallock had another strong start, going 5IP and allowing 4H/3R (2ER), 5K:1BB (eight groundouts to one flyout); Mitchell Lambson got his first pro win, throwing 3IP, allowing 2H/0ER, 2K:1BB, and Ebert Rosario threw the bottom of the 9th, allowing a hit.

John Hinson, Miles Hamblin (2B, BB, RBI), Matt Duffy (2B, BB, RBI), and Zach Johnson (2B, 3RBI) had two hits each; Neiko Johnson was 1x2 with a SB and RBI, but drew three walks. His batting average is only .229, but with ten walks in 12 games, has a .391 OBP.

Man of the Match: Zach Johnson

Greeneville (6-10)

Game 1: Greeneville rallied from 3-1 down, taking a 4-3 lead into the top of the 7th, allowing a go-ahead run in the top half, and getting the walk-off in the bottom half for a 5-4 win over Danville. Tyson Perez threw 5IP, 4H/3R (1ER), 4K:0BB; Zach Dando threw a hitless inning; Scott Zuloaga got the first out of the 7th, Matison Smith got the BS/W with 2H/1R (0ER) in 0.2IP.

Ernesto Genoves was 3x3 with 2RBI, including the game-winning RBI; Jorge Sosa and Ariel Ovando (2B) were each 2x4. Jose Vargas and David Rivera had your other RBIs.

Man of the Match: Ernesto Genoves

Game 2: Didn't go as well, with Danville winning 6-1. Jose Perdomo threw 5IP, 5H/3R (2ER), 5K:2BB; Rodney Quintero allowed 3H/3R (2ER), 1K:0BB in 1IP; Mark Jones and Steve Martin got the final three outs without incident.

Cristian Moronta was 2x3, while Jose Monzon, Josh Magee (RBI), and Chan-Jong Moon (BB) each got hits. Jorge Sosa was 0x2 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Cristian Moronta.

GCL Astros (3-11)

The Astros had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 7th, but the Cardinals put up a 6-run 7th on their way to a 10-5 win over the Astros. Enderson Franco threw 3.1IP, 4H/3R (2ER), 1K:3BB; Pedro Gomez allowed 1H/4ER, 0K:4BB in 2.2IP; Justin Gill gave up 1H/2R (1ER), 2K:2BB in 0.2IP; and Steve Dennison allowed 3H/1ER in 1.1IP

Jarrod McKinney and Chris Epps (3B, BB, RBI) had two hits each; Jean Carlos Batista hit a three-run homer - his first of the season. Jose Fernandez had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Chris Epps

From the Office of the County Clerk - G88: Astros @ Pirates

WINZ! Astros score only in two innings, but that's enough for an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.

*The eight runs by the Astros are the highest since they managed to lose that football game against the Rays (14-10) on June 26.

*Enough about the X losses in X games, let's just enjoy this rare win over the Pirates. And then cry over that last statement.

*I think it was Brett Dolan who mentioned this last night, but the Astros haven't had a save since the Astros beat the Cardinals on June 8.

*Bud Norris was The Man, throwing 7IP with 7H/2ER, 3K:2BB. In his career, he's 3-4 against the Pirates, with 52K:13BB - his highest K:BB ratio against any team he's faced.

*In five June starts and two July starts, Norris has thrown 45IP, 31H/15ER, 40K:19BB.

*Give it up to Wilton Lopez - who struck out the side on 14 pitches, and David Carpenter, who has made four appearances in the Majors (3.1IP) and has yet to allow a run, and just one hit.

*And the Astros' 14 hits is the most they've had since that game against the Rays. They had managed 14 hits in the previous two games of the Pirates series.

*Here's something weird - the Astros struck out 10 times last night for the 4th time. When that happens, the Astros are 3-1. They've had double-digit Ks 14 times this season and are 5-9 in those games.

*Hunter Pence was 3x5 with 2RBI - it's his 10th 3-hit game of the year. He had 11 3+ hit games in all of 2010.

*Carlos Lee had a couple of hits and drew the only walk of the night for Houston. It's the 26th time this season the Astros have 0/1 walk.

*Clint Barmes was 2x4 with an RBI - and in the last seven days, Barmes is 10x26 with four extra-base hits and 2BB. He got on base in six of twelve plate appearances (4H/2BB) in this Pirates series, and his .698 OPS is the highest since June 5 (.711).

*Carlos Corporan got a hit - going 1x4. It was the first hit by an Astros catcher since June 29 against Texas (23 PAs).

*Man of the Match: Bud Norris!

*Goat of the Game: No Goat today.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#AstrosTeamMeeting

So the Astros are seven minutes into a closed-door team meeting. What are they talking about? Play along with the #AstrosTeamMeeting hashtag.

Some of our favorites:

HOVG: "You leave me no choice, gentleman. Brett...consider the team 'Mrs. Myers' and get to work beating them into shape."

Deputy Street: "Boys, we're putting the band back together: Pedro Feliz, Kaz Matsui, Bill Hall, Sean Chacon, Cecil Cooper."

Braggers41: "Put. the coffee. Down. Coffee is for closers, and giving you leads is like throwing them away."

We had a couple of good ones, but we're not ones to toot our own horn. Kind of.

Excellent take on trading Wandy Rodriguez

Grant Brisbee of SB Baseball Nation has an excellent take on what the Astros should do with Wandy:

Other teams are probably aware that it it's going to take more than a #15 prospect and a Peet's gift card to pry Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros. There's no rush to deal him; Houston has all of the leverage. And if they don't find a deal to overwhelm them, they'll close up shop and open it back up next July. If that doesn't work, they'll do it again. The Astros should definitely be sellers at the deadline, but that doesn't mean they need to sell the display cases and fixtures just because they can.

Well done.

You're going to love this...

Jon Heyman says the Astros - the 29-58 Astros - might not be willing to part with Wandy:

The Astros' Wandy Rodriguez may be as good as it gets among starting pitchers on this trade market, and that's assuming Houston consents to trading him, which is no certainty. The Astros are talking to other teams, but they remain something of a wild card because they have been reluctant to sell in the past and have a new owner coming in.

Granted, it's just Heyman's speculation, and I hope Ed Wade has been working the phones since June 1. Heyman also notes that Ed Wade is probably in trouble once Crane takes over, which he fully expects to happen without issue.

A couple of draft updates

49th Round pick David Peterson will not sign, predictably, and will return to the College of Charleston for his senior year.

33rd Round pick Dominique Taylor, however, doesn't know:

"Getting drafted was truly a blessing. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do. I could sign [with the Astros] or I could go back to the Salt Lake Community College and play another year."

Gene Collier has jokes!

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gene Collier had, actually, a pretty good line about the Astros in today's column:

Somehow, at least for the moment, even this team's real problems aren't problems, really. You'd think it would be an issue when the worst team in baseball, a sorry Houston Astros edition that will soon need the Hubble Space Telescope to locate fifth place, still puts a lineup on the field that has six more home runs than Clint Hurdle's.

That's pretty good.

Felix Francisco, on Luis Reynoso

Felix Francisco - Special Assistant to the GM in Latin American Operations - talked to Brian McTaggart about international acquisition, 16-year old shortstop Luis Reynoso:

"Reynoso is a guy that we really like. We really felt strongly he's the best shortstop in Latin America that is going to stay at shortstop. Some of the other guys we really liked, we felt like they would move to third or second in the future. Reynoso can hit, and he's the best runner in the whole group."

Abad placed on DL

So with Fernando Rodriguez' return to Houston, the Astros put Fernando Abad on the DL with Suck shoulder tendinitis.

Ed Wade:
"He came in over the weekend complaining of some tightness in his elbow and shoulder, and the elbow resolved itself in short order. "He was very tentative throwing when he went out there in the afternoon today, and [head athletic trainer] Nate [Lucero] felt it would be a couple of days. It was the best thing to do, to put him on the DL and go from there."

Within that article, we read that Jason Bourgeois won't be ready until he completes a minor-league rehab assignment after the All-Star Break for that strained quad.

Eddie's Farm: July 5

Oklahoma City (36-50)

OKC scored the final three runs of the game, including a game-winning RBI by Robinson Cancel for a 7-6 win over Iowa. Nelson Figueroa threw 5.2IP, allowing 12H/6R (5ER), 2K:1BB, while Mickey Storey (1.1IP and Sam Gervacio (2IP) held Iowa hitless over the final ten outs.

Luis Durango was 2x3 with two walks and an RBI (hitting .308/.550/.308 since coming over from Tucson). Humberto Quintero was 2x4 and Robinson Cancel ended up 2x5 with 3RBI on the night. J.B. Shuck was 1x2 with 2BB, and Koby Clemens and Anderson Hernandez each had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Robinson Cancel

Corpus (30-52)

The flip-side of the OKC game is Corpus, who allowed six of the final seven runs for a 7-6 loss at NW Arkansas. Jonnathan Aristil threw well enough, allowing 5H/2ER, 4K:2BB, HBP in 5.1IP, but the bullpen nutted it. Blake King allowed 1H/2ER, 1K:2BB in 0.2IP; Kyle Greenwalt allowed 4H/3ER, 3K:1BB in 2.2IP, and Henry Villar gave up the game-winner, charged to Greenwalt.

J.D. Martinez was 1x2 with a homer and three walks; Chris Wallace, Brandon Wikoff, and Jimmy Van Ostrand (2RBI) had a hit, walk, and an RBI; Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with a double and an RBI.

Man of the Match: J.D. Martinez - on base four times and scored once.

Lancaster (31-52)

It was a scoreless duel until the 6th, when Bakersfield scored in three of the final four innings for a 3-0 win over Lancaster. Zach Grimmett allowed 6H/2ER, 5K:3BB, 2WP in 7.2IP, and Shane Wolf allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 1.1IP.

Jay Austin was 2x4, Kody Hinze got a double in what will be his final game in Lancaster. Jose Carlos Thompson, Jordan Comadena, and David Flores had your other hits as the JetHawks struck out ten times (with no walks) and were 0x6 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: Zach Grimmett.

Lexington (40-43)

The Legends scored two in the 6th, and that was all they needed for a 2-0 win over West Virginia, despite getting out-hit 5-4, and committing four errors. Carlos Quevedo allowed 3H/0ER, 3K:2BB in 7IP, and Brian Streilein got his 5th save of the season with 2H/0ER, 0K:1BB in 2IP.

Delino DeShields had two of the four hits (and one of the four errors), while it was Adam Bailey's two-run homer that provided all of the scoring. Mike Kvasnicka had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey

Tri-City (7-11)

Vermont scored four runs in back-to-back innings, and Tri-City answered with four of their own in the bottom of the 9th, but fell short 12-8. Euris Quezada allowed 7H/4ER, 2K:1BB, 2WP in 4IP; Kristian Bueno gave up 3H/4R (3ER), 0K:2BB in 1IP; Garrett Bullock allowed two runs in 1IP, Joan Belliad allowed two runs - one earned - in 0.1IP, and Travis Blankenship was the pitcher of the night with 0H in the final 2.2IP.

Brandon Meredith was 4x4 with a double and a triple, swinging the big bat. John Hinson and Matt Duffy had two hits each, while Jacke Healey hit his first homer of the year - a two-run shot.

Man of the Match: Brandon Meredith

Greeneville (5-9)

Postponed: Double-header to be played today.

GCL Astros (3-10)

The GCL Marlins scored four in the top of the 10th for a 9-6 win over the GCL Astros. Frederick Tiburcio got the start, allowing 7H/4R (3ER), 6K:1BB; Evan Grills allowed a hit in 2IP; Krishawn Holley allowed a run in 1.2IP, Blake Ford got tagged with four unearned runs in the 10th, and Zach Hardoin got the final out.

Jean Carlos Batista was 4x5 with a double, two triples, and an RBI. Joe Witkowski and Yonathan Mejia got a hit and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jean Carlos Batista

From the Office of the County Clerk - G87: Astros @ Pirates

Sweet mercy. Pirates 5, Astros 1. Can anyone else feel the life being sucked out of them?

*The Astros were trailing 3-0 at the end of the 4th inning. They've been outscored 186-136 in the first four innings this season.

*They're 6-24 in their last 30 games, dropping their Win% to .333. This isn't quite as bad as a stretch in 1962 - the inaugural season of the franchise - when the Astros went 6-30 between June 23 and August 1.

*The starting rotation has a total of 16 wins. C.C. Sabathia has 12. The bullpen has a total of ten saves. There are 28 players in MLB who have 10+ saves.

*Wandy threw 6IP, 8H/5ER, 6K:2BB, getting the loss to drop to 6-5 on the season. In his five losses, he has allowed fewer than 5ER just once. His 8H were the most he's allowed since May 11 - a 4-3 win over the Reds where he gave up 10H in 7IP.

*It was the Rodriguez show! Fernando Rodriguez gave up a hit and a walk, and Aneury Rodriguez threw a perfect 8th inning.

*The Astros got eight hits on the night, with two each coming from Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, and Clint Barmes. None of them, however, came w/RISP. In this five-game losing streak, the Astros are 9x42 w/RISP - including the 7-5 loss to Boston where they were 5x14.

*In the last seven days, Bourn is 11x30, hitting .367/.387/.533.

*J.R. Towles was 0x3 on the night, and has one hit in his last 26 PAs - with a BABIP of .050.

*Clint Barmes got the 2nd homer against the Pirates this season. And this means the Astros got their only run on a home run for the 4th time this season.

*Man of the Match: I don't even...

*Goat of the Game: Since there's too many to name on offense (Towles and Lee, to name two), this one is going to Wandy. Though I'm open to disagreement.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elias Rankings update

Over at MLBTR, they have done some slick engineering to determine the Type A/Type B status of various players to determine compensation for signing arbitration-eligible. Click the link for the full list, but here's what we're looking at, Astros-wise (reminder: If the Astros offer Pence arbitration, and he declines, and the Braves sign him in the off-season, the Astros get the Braves' pick. If the same scenario happens with, say, Brett Myers, the Astros get a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round).

Hunter Pence: Type A
Wilton Lopez: Type A
Michael Bourn: Type B
Brett Myers: Type B
Wandy Rodriguez: Type B

Exclusive Video of Astros' front office

We have obtained exclusive video of the Astros' front office in preparation for the Red Sox series at Minute Maid Park this past weekend.

BREAKING: Live Shot of Minute Maid Park



This just about sums it up, no?

Train-wreck Astros getting some national attention

So FoxSports' Jon Paul Morosi and Smilin' Ken Rosenthal took some time to notice the Astros, and how things are falling apart:

Frank McCourt isn't satisfied with screwing up his own franchise, as his hijinks are impacting MLB's approval of the sale of the Astros to Crane:
Numerous baseball sources, though, say that a decision is not yet near — in part because of complications arising from baseball’s ongoing dispute with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

The report goes on to say that the owners' vote - which could be taken by mail - might not even happen until mid-August.

Word from the story says that the three current untouchables - according to Sources - are Pence, Norris, and Lyles.

What about Ed Wade's future?
Most in baseball expect Crane to fire Wade, but a change in GMs is not likely to happen immediately, sources say. Instead, Crane will take time — perhaps as long as the rest of the season — evaluating Wade and the rest of the organization, then conduct a full-blown search for a new GM.

Thoughts?

Another IFA signing

The Astros signed international free agent and 16-year old shortstop Luis Reynoso to a $700,000 signing bonus.

According to Baseball America (via MLBTR), Reynoso "has an athletic, projectable body and combines solid tools with instincts and feel on both sides of the ball."

Steve Campbell got a hint as to the Corporan sac bunt

Earlier the County Clerk asked why Corporan sac bunted to let Myers hit with runners at 2nd and 3rd. Steve Campbell got some info:

Not ready to go to his beleaguered bullpen, Mills sent Myers to hit. Myers hit a fielder’s choice grounder to short, and Michael Bourn struck out.

“I know that’s unconventional, but we were short in the bullpen,” Mills said, noting closer Mark Melancon had thrown 33 pitches the previous day. “We’re trying to scratch anything across we could.”

Justice takes on McLane's legacy

Good column from Richard Justice today as he looks at Drayton's legacy. A snippet:

So why did things change so dramatically? How did a really good, really successful owner lose his way?

We might never know why McLane ran off one of baseball's best general managers after the 2004 season, but if you're looking for a turning point, that's it.


And the money close, which needs no comment, and is spot on:

Why the Astros decided to play the other team's fight song speaks volumes about the people in charge...They also served lobster rolls in the stadium club, and I wonder why they didn't honor Tip O'Neill and John Havlicek. It's not the most important thing on earth. Maybe the Astros were just thankful to have more than a few thousand people in the stadium regardless of whom they were cheering.

But it's one of those little things that serve as a reminder of how out of touch these people have become. They are out of ideas. They are out of imagination. They just need to go, and the sooner the better.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G86: Astros @ Pirates

We are now entering historic levels of awfulness for the Astros. Pirates win, 5-3.

*Someone on Twitter mentioned this date earlier, so let's go with what the NL Central has looked like since June 3, 2011:

Pit: 17-12
Mil: 14-15
Cin: 13-14
StL: 12-15
Chc: 12-19
Hou: 6-22

*The Astros are 1-6 against the Pirates this season, coming after a three-year stretch (2008-2010) where the Astros were 29-17 against Pittsburgh.

*Brett Myers had a brutal day: 13H/5R (4ER), 1K:0BB in 6IP. The 13 hits are a career high, and was his 3rd 10+H start of the year.

*Myers also allowed four extra-base hits (three doubles, triple). In his last 13IP (two starts), Myers has allowed 19 hits - eight of them for extra-bases.

*But hey, to be positive, it was the first start since May 16 that Myers didn't allow a home run.

*Jeff Keppinger and Hunter Pence had two hits each, while the rest of the team combined for a 2x22 day. In his last ten games, Keppinger is hitting 13x35 (.371). In his 130 PAs this season, Keppinger has struck out six times.

*Because Paul Maholm - a lefty - was pitching, Brett Wallace had himself a seat (though he did make a pinch-hitting appearance in the 9th). That shifted Carlos Lee to 1B, and Jason Michaels - hitting .202/.245/.303 after an 0x3, BB day - to LF.

*Curious play in the 6th, with the Astros down 3-4 with nobody out: With Downs at 2nd and Barmes at 1st, Carlos Corporan sac bunted to move the runners over and bring up...Brett Myers, who grounded out, getting Downs thrown out at home. Bourn struck out swinging to end the inning. Anyone who wants to take a guess as to why this happened is welcome to comment. But if Mills was worried about the GIDP, Corporan had GIDPd once in 12 plate appearances with a runner on first.

*5-9 in the lineup (Michaels, Downs, Barmes, Corporan, #9) went for a combined 1x16, with two walks. Michaels and Downs combined for four plate appearances w/RISP, and went 0x4.

*Clint Barmes did draw two walks on the day, his first walk(s) in 40 plate appearances.

*Man of the Match: Carlos Lee - 1x3 with 2RBI, and the only Astros hit w/RISP.

*Goat of the Game: Jason Michaels.

Monday, July 4, 2011

This isn't on Mills, says Greg Lucas

Greg Lucas knows what's wrong with the 2011 Astros, and it's not Brad Mills. It's the players.

Are there times when this manager or any other can be criticized? Of course there are, but the basic philosophy espoused is to consider running "plays" when they might work best and with the right hitters and base runners. Everyone in the lineup does not fit this style. Sometimes the score of the game doesn't fit it…or the opposing pitcher or team.

The best way for the Astros to win games in the big picture is to have better players.

The last home stand showed the Astros lacking. They played three teams, Tampa Bay, Texas and Boston that all have more talent. So those teams won eight of nine. There wasn't a darn thing anything Brad Mills could have changed that would have allowed the Astros to win more than they lost.


BOOM!

On Rowland-Smith and Arguello

Ryan Aber has a nice article on Nicaraguan Doug Arguello and Australian Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Kody Hinze promoted

In one of those "It's about damn time" moves, Austin Wates let everybody know that Kody Hinze was finally loosed from the bonds of Lancaster, and promoted to Corpus.

This all comes after he hit .326/.464/.630 in 78 games. The Lancaster Effect is well-documented here, but Hinze was - encouragingly - just as good on the road, hitting .333/.471/.630 at home, and .319/.458/.631 away from Lancaster.

Corpus just got a whole lot more interesting.

Eddie's Farm: July 3

Oklahoma City (34-50)

The RedHawks lost their 10th straight game to Memphis with yesterday's 2-1 loss. Wesley Wright took the loss, allowing 3H/2ER, 4K:2BB, 2HR, HBP in 4IP. Ross Wolf (2IP) and Mickey Storey (1IP) each allowed a hit and a walk (with Wolf striking out four). Fernando Rodriguez gave up 2H/0ER, 1K:0BB in 1IP.

OKC managed just five hits - none of them for extra-bases, and it was J.B. Shuck who came up with your lone RBI. Luis Durango drew two walks in a pinch-hitting/replacement LF role.

Man of the Match: J.B. Shuck

Corpus (30-50)

Corpus got out to an 8-0 lead by the middle of the 3rd and cruised to a 16-3 win over NW Arkansas - doing it on 12 hits. Dallas Keuchel improved to 7-6 (and should improve to OKC) with a 7IP, 6H/3R (1ER), 4K:2BB outing. Pat Urckfitz allowed 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB in the final 2IP.

Chris Wallace got things cracking with a two-out grand slam, going 1x3 with 2BB and 4RBI. Jimmy Paredes was 3x6 with a homer, Jose Altuve (2B, BB), J.D. Martinez (HR, 4RBI), and Jon Gaston (2B, 3B, 2RBI) each had two hits.

Man of the Match: Let's go with Chris Wallace

Lancaster (30-51)

Pitcher's Duel in Lancaster, and Our Boy Andrew Robinson came up on the short end of a 2-1 loss at Modesto. Robinson threw 7IP, 3H/2ER, 4K:2BB, and Chris Hicks gave up a hit in the 9th.

The JetHawks managed five hits - two from Jose Carlos Thompson, and Jiovanni Mier had your only RBI.

Man of the Match: Andrew Robinson

Lexington (38-43)

Hagerstown took it to Lexington with an 8-2 win. Ruben Alaniz threw 5.1IP, giving up 7H/4ER, 2K:5BB; Juan Minaya allowed 6H/4R (3ER), 5K:1BB.

Telvin Nash was 2x4 as the Legends went 0x6 w/RISP and no extra-base hits. Tyler Burnett had your only RBI.

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash

Tri-City (6-10)

Tri-City went 0-5 on this road trip with a 7-6 loss at Vermont. Juri Perez threw 4.1IP, giving up 7H/3R (2ER), 3K:1BB. Dayan Diaz gave up a hit and three walks, but no runs; Mitchell Lambson threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB. Ebert Rosario took the BS/L with 3H/4ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP, giving up the game-winning run that Travis Smink allowed, with a hit and a walk without recording an out.

Miles Hamblin was 4x5 with two doubles and an RBI; Kellen Kiilsgaard went 2x4, and Matt Duffy, Zach Johnson, John Hinson, and Bubby Williams had RBIs, with Duffy, Johnson, and Neiko Johnson getting a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Miles Hamblin

Greeneville (4-9)

The Gastros got three in the 1st, and that's all they needed, beating Elizabethtonvilleberg 3-2. Luis Ordosgoitti allowed 6H/2ER, 6K:0BB in 5.1IP; Danilo Del Rio, Paris Shewey, and Matison Smith combined for 1H/0ER, 3K:1BB in the last 3.2IP.

Ernesto Genoves hit a two-run homer in the 1st, and Chase Davidson continued his hot start to the season, going 1x4 with an RBI, and hitting .347/.411/.714 in 12 games. Of his 17 hits, nine are for extra-bases.

Man of the Match: That said, Ernesto Genoves.

GCL Astros (3-8)

Off.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

From the Office of the County Clerk - G85: Astros v. Red Sox

Well, that flat-out freaking sucked. The Astros manage to walk in the game-winning run - which is a new one for the Astros, it must be said - and lose to the home team Red Sox, 2-1.

*The Astros were 1-8 on this interleague homestand - which is just worse than the 2-8 homestand before they went to LA and Texas from June 17-22. So, yes, the Astros are 3-16 in their last 19 home games. That has to be some sort of franchise record, but I'm too pissed off to verify that.

*On this particular sucknut of a homestand, the Astros were outscored 35-55, and the only pitcher to get a win was Wandy Rodriguez.

*Against teams with a record of .500 or better, the Astros are 12-41. Next team with the most losses against ≥.500 teams is the Cubs, who are 20-35.

*At least Lyles didn't get the loss. Today was the first ER-less start Lyles made of his career, but of course the Astros only scored a run for him. In his seven starts for the Astros, they have scored 14 runs while he's been in the game.

*David Carpenter threw another scoreless inning in the 6th, and only gave up a hit. Sergio Escalona allowed three baserunners on a hit and two walks in 1.1IP, and Escalona walked three batters in all of June (and three in all of May).

*But it's Mark Melancon (and Brad Mills) who are currently the front-runners for the Goat. Melancon walked three batters (giving an IBB to Adrian Gonzalez) for the second time this season, including the game-winning run, walking Kevin Youkilis, scoring Drew Sutton, who walked with one out.

*Between Sutton and Youkilis' ABs, Melancon threw 12 balls in 22 pitches - 16 in 26 if you count Gonzalez' intentional walk to bring up Youkilis with the bases loaded.

*The Red Sox had the bases loaded three times this game, and scored two runs - on Melancon's walk, and Brett Wallace's throwing error.

*So, yeah, the Astros walked ten batters for the first time this season, and the first time since August 24, 2010 (at Philly). The last time it happened at Minute Maid was September 11, 2007, when the Astros walked 10 Cubs - but in 11 innings. So to keep going, and try to find the last time the Astros walked ten batters in a nine-inning game, we have to go back to June 11, 1994 - when the Astros walked 12 Braves. And won.

*The offense did what it does, meaning "nothing." They were 1x8 w/RISP, with pinch-hitter Angel Sanchez getting the only hit w/RISP, and he and the other pinch-hitter, Keppinger, got two of the Astros' six hits.

*The Astros only saw 122 pitches (to the Red Sox' 174).

*Chris Johnson was 0x3 with 3Ks, recording his 5th 3K game of the year.

*In fact, the Astros struck out 14 times today! That's the 13th 10+K game of the year, and the 6th 14+K game of the year.

Man of the Match: Jordan Lyles

Goat of the Game: The offense.

Boston media circling Minute Maid like vultures

A couple of articles this morning out of Boston wonder if the Astros have a player suitable for the picking by the Red Sox:

Nick Cafardo: Briefly mentions Hunter Pence as a possible trade target with Darnell McDonald struggling (despite taking Abad to Sealy in the 8th).

So does Michael Silverman.

Eddie's Farm: July 2

Oklahoma City (34-49)

The RedHawks got a run in the top of the 1st at Memphis, but that was it. Memphis wins 5-1. Brad Hennessey got the start - his first of the year and second since 2008 - going 3.1IP, 5H/3R (2ER), 1K:0BB. Sam Gervacio allowed 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 2.2IP; Casey Fien threw 1IP, got tagged for 3H/1ER, 1K:1BB. Doug Arguello made his first appearance since June 10, giving up two hits in 1IP.

Anderson Hernandez was 2x2 with a double, and Luis Durango (BB), Collin DeLome, Humberto Quintero (error), and Drew Locke had your other hits.

Man of the Match: Luis Durango?

Corpus (29-50)

Corpus becomes the second Astros affiliate to allow 17 runs in as many days, losing 17-5 at Tulsa. Erick Abreu got the start, allowing 8H/7R (6ER), 1K:1BB in 2.1IP; Brad James failed to record an out, giving up 3H/2ER, WP; Mike Perconte allowed 7H/6ER, 1K:0BB, 3HR in 1IP. Blake King and Arcenio Leon got through their outings without giving up a run, and Henry Villar allowed 2H/2ER, HR.

Jose Altuve was 2x5 with a solo homer, J.D. Martinez and Jake Goebbert were each 2x4 with a triple and an RBI. Jimmy Paredes was 1x3 with two walks, and Jimmy Van OStrand was 1x3 with a walk and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Lancaster (30-50)

Game 1: Modesto got a run in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 win in Game 1. Jake Buchanan allowed 8H/3ER, 5K:1BB in 8IP, while Kirk Clark didn't get an out, allowing two hits and the game-winner.

Kody Hinze was 2x4 with a double and his 22nd homer of the season; Drew Meyer, David Flores, and Jordan Comadena (two doubles) each had two hits on the night.

Man of the Match; Jake Buchanan

Game 2: And this one wasn't close. Modesto wins 4-0, with the JetHawks getting one-hit. Mike Ness got the rare start, allowing 6H/4ER, 4K:1BB in 5IP, and David Berner threw a perfect 6th.

That lone hit came in the 3rd, courtesy of Grant Hogue, as the JetHawks went 1x21, 11K:1BB.

Man of the Match: Grant Hogue

Lexington (38-42)

Crazy one in Hagerstown, as the Legends rally back from 8-4 down, scoring seven runs over the 7th/8th innings for an 11-8 lead, and then hold on for an 11-10 win. Mike Foltynewicz allowed 6H/3ER, 4K:3BB in 4IP; Murilo Gouvea allowed 7H/5ER, 2K:1BB in 3IP; Jason Chowning threw 1.2IP, giving up 2R (1ER), 3K:3BB and David Martinez got his first save of the season with 1H in 0.1IP.

Enrique Hernandez and Adam Bailey had matching nights, each going 3x5 with three runs scored, a double, a homer, and 3RBI (Hernandez' was a three-run shot in the 8th). Ben Orloff and Tyler Burnett (RBI) had two hits each. Telvin Nash (2RBI), Ben Heath, and Bryce Lane each had RBIs.

Man of the Match: Enrique Hernandez

Tri-City (6-9)

Tri-City had two leads - 1-0 and 4-2 in the 3rd/4th - but Vermont scored the last five runs for a 7-4 win over the ValleyCats. Nick Tropeano threw 4IP, allowing 7H/2ER, 4K:0BB; Kristian Bueno gave up 3H/3R (2ER) for the loss; Kyle Hallock threw in relief, giving up an unearned run; Travis Blankenship and Ryan Cole closed out the game with an inning each, Blankenship giving up another unearned run. Four ValleyCats errors led to three unearned runs.

Justin Gominsky (SB, 2RBI, OF assist), Matt Duffy (BB), and Neiko Johnson (2B, 2E) had two hits each, while Zach Johnson was 1x4 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Justin Gominsky

Greeneville (3-9)

Greeneville got six runs in the 4th inning and went on to a 7-4 win at Danville. Chris Lee threw 4IP, giving up 3H/1ER, 7K:3BB; Jamaine Cotton improved to 2-0 with 5H/3ER, 5K:2BB, and Jeremiah Meiners struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Ariel Ovando was 3x5 with a double and 2RBI, Ronald Sanchez (RBI) and Chan-Jong Moon had two hits each. Jorge Sosa, Jordan Scott, and Jose Monzon each got a hit, a walk and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Ariel Ovando

GCL Astros (3-8)

An early collapse and a late, just-short rally, saw the Astros fall to the Mets, 8-3. Michael Feliz allowed 9H/8R (3ER), 6K:2BB in 3.1IP; Pedro Gomez allowed a hit in 1.2IP; Zach Hardoin got 1K:1BB in 2IP, and Wilton Infante threw a perfect 8th.

Jose Fernandez was 3x5 with a double and 2RBI (and two errors); Jarrod McKinney was 2x5. Justin Shults got a triple and 2RBI. Kyle Redinger drew a walk and got a hit.

Man of the Match: Despite the errors, Michael Fernandez.