Saturday, June 30, 2012

Carlos Lee Saturday Timeline

Here's the Saturday thread of news and rumors related to Carlos Lee.


7:18pm - Mark Berman: Carlos Lee says he will discuss with his wife whether to accept trade to Dodgers. Says it's "tough to concentrate" and play w/ this.

7:06pm - McTaggart: “That’s why I’ll probably decide by tomorrow. Either I’m going or not,” he said. “I’m going to sit down and talk to my wife tonight.”

12:36pm - Olney: Source: As of early afternoon today, Carlos Lee continues to tell the Astros he won't waive his no-trade clause.

12:30pm - A lot of good observations about Lee's next contract at risk with him accepting this trade. Morosi: If Carlos Lee wants to maximize his free agent value, he will accept this trade to #Dodgers. And ESPN 97.5 (and AC's favorite comedian) John Wessling: If Carlos Lee shoots down trade, it basically means he'll retire and end of year, because what GM wants a guy who didn't want to contend?

11:58am - McTaggart: Carlos Lee: “L.A. has made an offer. I just told Jeff I want to see my options. I just want to wait and see what my options are.”

11:56am - Levine: Lee has not been given a deadline to accept deal.

11:46am - McTaggart: The Astros and Dodgers have a deal in place, and Lee is considering whether to accept it.

11:34am - Zachary Levine: Carlos Lee is in today's lineup.

10:24am - Jon "Ugh" Heyman: "The Astros 'will do cartwheels' if Carlos Lee accepts a trade to the Dodgers, one person familiar with their thinking said."

9:56am - Olney: The Astros do have some leverage: They could tell Lee they intend to go with their young players, and that he won't have a lot of opportunities for at-bats the rest of the summer -- as he prepares for free agency in the fall.

Rosenthal breaks down Carlos Lee's no-trade clause

From the Office of the County Clerk: G78 - Astros @ Cubs

J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83) vs Matt Garza (3-6, 4.06)

As we all wait with bated breath to see how soon Carlos Lee isn't an Astro, Houston actually played a baseball game today. J.A. Happ pitched well enough, and the Astros' offense had more hits today (10) than in the previous three games combined (9). But missed opportunities and baserunning blunders did them in, and Houston falls to the Cubs, 3-2. The Astros drop to 32-46 in 2012, and 2-4 in their last six games, against the two worst teams in baseball (Cubs & Padres).

*Happ's 6 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 4 BB / 6 K line gave him his third consecutive quality start, and lowered his season ERA slightly to 4.81. Fernando Abad pitched 1.1 scoreless with 2 K, and David Carpenter gave up a hit but no runs in recording the final two outs in the 8th, but Astros bats couldn't get the right hit at the right time to pick them up.


*Bucking the recent trend of only having one or two players with hits, only two Astros today did NOT get a hit - Carlos Lee (0 for 4) and Brian Bogusevic (0 for 3).

*Bogey did work a 4th inning walk against Matt Garza, so only El Caballo had the Dodger Blues and never got on base.

*Chris Johnson (2 for 3, BB), J.D. Martinez (2 for 4), and Scott Moore (2 for 4) all had multi-hit games.

*Even J.A. Happ got in on the act, going 1 for 2 against Garza.

*In spite of the 10 hits overall, Houston only had one XBH for the fourth straight game - a 3rd inning double by Scott Moore.

*Getting on base against Garza was surprisingly easy (9 H / 3 BB in 5.1 IP), but staying there was the Astros' problem. Houston baserunners were tagged out at least once at every base, plus one (Martinez) in no man's land between second and third, and Houston batters hit into three double plays.

Turning Point:

J.A. Happ had a 2-0 lead with two out and one on in the bottom of the 5th, then a Starlin Castro single made it 2-1, but that wasn't the end of it. Choirs sang and angels wept, and Cubs' Lord & Savior Anthony Rizzo launched his first big league homer to give them a 3-2 lead and ultimately the win. 

Man of the Match:

Sticking with the pitching trend and giving it to J.A. Happ. In spite of the homer, he pitched better than Garza today and deserved the win.

Goat of the Game:

Carlos Lee. 0 for 4, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4 LOB. Trade talk is understandably distracting, but it showed on the field today, and it might have cost the Astros the game.

PreStros Farm Report: June 29

PreStros: June 29

Oklahoma City (46-35) 

The RedHawks were shutout by Iowa (CHC) 7-0.

Paul Clemens lasted 5.1 innings and gave up 5 R on 8 H and 1 BB with 4 K. Adalberto Flores threw 1.2 innings and allowed 2 R on 2 H with 1 K. Jonnathan Aristil took the final inning with 1 BB and 2 K.

2B-Jimmy Paredes was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 3B but was caught stealing twice. CF-Brandon Barnes was 1x3 with 1 BB and 1 outfield assist on a play at home. LF-JB Shuck was 1x3 with 1 BB.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

*Notes: Since returning to OKC, Brett Wallace is hitting .381 with three home runs. Mike Hessman, Jimmy Paredes, and Landon Powell were named to the AAA All-Star Game.

Corpus Christi (42-35) 

The Hooks beat Northwest Arkansas (KC) 3-1.

Jose Cisnero pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 R on 8 H and 2 BB with 5 K. Henry Villar threw 2 innings with 2 K. Jason Stoffel took the ninth with 1 H and 2 K for his 12th save.

SS-Jonathan Villar was 1x3 with 1 BB and 1 SB. DH-Kody Hinze was 2x2 with 2 BB, 1 2B, and 1 R. 3B-Andy Simunic went 2x4 with 1 2B and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Cisnero

*Notes: Austin Wates has been activated off the disabled list. The Hooks have won 15 of their last 20 games. If Corpus wins today they will tie the club record for June victories at 18.

Lancaster (39-40) 

The JetHawks lost a close, back-and-forth game 8-7 to Rancho Cucamonga (LAD).

David Martinez threw 6 innings and gave up 5 R (4 earned) on 8 H with 3 K. Pat Urckfitz went 2 innings and allowed 3 unearned runs with 1 H, 1 BB, and 1 K. Andrew Robinson pitched the final inning with 1 BB and 1 K.

CF-George Springer was 2x4 with 1 BB and 2 R. LF-Chris Epps was 2x4 with 1 BB, 2 R, and 1 RBI. 1B-Rafael Valenzuela was 2x5 with 1 HR and 2 R.

Man of the Match: Rafael Valenzuela

*Notes: The JetHawks have lost seven of nine since the All-Star break. Nick Tropeano was promoted to Lancaster and will make his first start with the team Sunday.

Lexington (42-36) 

The Legends came up just short against Asheville (COL), losing 4-3.

Carlos Quevedo pitched 2.1 innings and gave up 3 R on 7 H. Tommy Shirley threw 3.1 innings and allowed 1 R on 4 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Gabriel Garcia took the final 3.1 innings with 2 K.

1B-Zach Johnson was 3x4 with 1 BB, 2 2B, and 1 R. RF-Justin Gominsky went 1x4 with 1 2B and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Zach Johnson

*Notes: Mike Foltynewicz is tied for the Sally League lead in wins (9).

Tri-City (8-3) 

The ValleyCats won again despite being outhit, beating Connecticut (DET) 5-2.

Brady Rodgers threw 5.2 innings and allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 7 H with 7 K. John Neely and Travis Ballew each turned in 1.1 scoreless innings. Kenny Long and Blake Ford each struck out the only batter they faced.

CF-Andrew Aplin was 2x3 with 2 SB, 1 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI, and 1 outfield assist. 1B-Jesse Wierzbicki was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 RBI. C-Tyler Heineman was 2x2.

Man of the Match: Andrew Aplin

*Notes: Andrew Aplin and Jobduan Morales are part of an 11 player tie for first in runs (9). Aplin is also leading the New York-Penn league in steals (6).

Greeneville (7-4) 

The Astros lost a brutal 17 inning game to Danville (ATL) 6-2.

Adrian Houser went 6 strong, shutout innings, with 3 H and 8 K. Jordan Jankowski threw 1 scoreless with 1H and 2 K. Christian Garcia went 1.1 innings and allowed 1 R on 3 BB with 1 K. Michael Dimock threw 3 scoreless innings with 1 H and 3 K. Zach Dando pitched 4 innings, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 1 BB with 6 K. Tanner Bushue took the loss after giving up 4 unearned runs with 1 H and 3 BB in 1 inning.

2B-Brian Blasik was 3x7 with 1 RBI. LF-Terrell Joyce was 2x7. SS-Jean Batista was 2x5 with 1 R and 3 errors.

Man of the Match: Adrian Houser

*Notes: The Astros hitters are tied for the fewest strikeouts (64) in the Appy League. Astros pitchers are leading the league in strikeouts (109).

GCL Astros (5-5) 

The Astros scored four runs in the top of the first and cruised to a 8-2 win over the Nationals.

Chia-Jen Lo threw 2 scoreless innings with 1 H, 2 BB, and 2 K. Enderson Franco went 5 innings, giving up 2 R on 6 H with 2 K. Rodney Quintero took the final 2 innings with 1 H, 1 BB, and 3 K.

CF-Brett Phillips was 2x5 with 2 3B and 2 R. SS-Carlos Correa went 2x5 with 1 SB, 2 2B, and 1 R. 1B- Yonathan Mejia was 2x3 with 2 BB, 1 2B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. 3B-Darwin Rivera was 2x5 with 2 2B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. C-Alfredo Gonzalez went 2x5 with 1 R and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Yonathan Mejia

*Notes: The average age for the GCL Astros position players is almost a full year younger than the league average.

DSL Astros (8-15) 

The Astros gave up a three run lead to lose 5-4 to the Rays.

Samil De Los Santos threw 6.2 innings, allowing 2 R on 4 H and 1 BB with 6 K. Frangy Colon went .2 innings and allowed 3 R on 4 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Rayderson Chavalier took the final .2 innings uneventfully.

C-Pedro Coa was 2x4 with 1 HR.

Man of the Match: Pedro Coa

Friday, June 29, 2012

Carlos Lee Friday Timeline

The Friday links related to Carlos Lee


11:23pm - Morosi: Fact that Garrett Gould was scratched from tonight’s start indicates seriousness of Carlos Lee talks between Astros and Dodgers.

11:07pm - Zachary Levine: Garrett Gould was scratched an hour before his scheduled start against (gasp) the JetHawks for unknown reasons.

11:05pm - Scott Miller: The Dodgers, if Lee can be induced to waive his no-trade clause, would absorb most of the remaining $9 million on his contract, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, and send a low-level minor-leaguer to Houston.

11:01pm - Danny Knobler: Lee makes "perfect sense" for the Dodgers, if he'll agree to go.

10:38pm - Rosenthal: The Dodgers, under new ownership, prefer to take on expensive contracts in trades rather than part with top prospects, sources say. The Astros, in exchange for financial relief, would accept lesser players in such a deal.

Garrett Gould, potential return for the Astros in this maybe/maybe-not trade, is 20 years old, the Dodgers' 2nd Round pick in the 2009 draft. At Class-A Great Lakes in 2011, Gould threw 123.2IP, 102H/33ER, 104K:37BB, with a 2.40 ERA / 1.12 WHIP. In High-A Rancho Cucamonga, he's 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA / 1.44 WHIP, with 72K:24BB in 72IP. Panic about the ERA, but remember, California League...

10:13pm - Jon Morosi: Carlos Lee's no-trade clause includes the Dodgers.

10:09pm - Olney: Dodgers asked about Lowrie, but he's not currently in the discussion. Gives it "50/50" that Carlos Lee would accept trade to L.A.

10:06pm - Fox Sports: Players normally require a financial inducement to waive no-trade protection. But for Lee, playing in a pennant race might amount to the same thing, enabling him to raise his value on the open market.

9:59pm - Tim Brown: Pitcher Zach Lee (Dodgers' 2010 1st Round pick) is not part of the discussion.

9:53pm - Tim Brown: Trade talks are "in earnest"

9:46pm - Ken Rosenthal: Dodgers and Astros are discussing a trade involving Carlos Lee.

9:01pm - Olney: Other teams could be involved.

8:57pm - Buster Olney: Dodgers are talking about a Jed Lowrie for Zach Lee & Garrett Gould trade.

8:17pm - Ken Gurnick: When the Dodgers finally lock in on a hitter to acquire, the most likely prospect they will move in return is former first-round pick Zach Lee...

From the Office of the County Clerk: G77 - Astros @ Cubs

Bud Norris (5-4, 4.81) vs Paul Maholm (4-6, 5.38)

Okay, this is getting old. The Astros are shut out for the fourth time in June, held to four or fewer hits for the fifth time this month, and fall to the Cubs 4-0 in a rain-delayed afternoon game at Wrigley. Houston once again can't solve the mystery of Paul Maholm, whose 3.31 ERA against the Astros coming into today is easily his lowest against any opponent he's faced at least five times, and more than a full run lower than his career mark (4.42).

*The Wrigley confines were not so friendly to Bud Norris in his return from the DL, as he was victimized for three homers in six innings, accounting for all of the scoring in the game. Bud's final line: 6 IP / 7 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 1 BB / 1 K. It was the second time this year that Bud surrendered three long balls in an outing, the other back on April 24 in Wrigley Field North Milwaukee. Fernando Abad and Rhiner Cruz combined for two scoreless innings in relief, each with a hit and a strikeout, but it doesn't matter if your offense doesn't score.


*No Houston hitter had more than one hit, and only Carlos Lee had an extra-base hit, on a ground-rule double in the 9th that finally chased Maholm from the game.

*Lee and Brian Bixler were each 1 for 4, Schafer was 1 for 3, and Matt Downs was 1 for 2 with a HBP.

*Everyone else was 0 for Everything, with Chris Johnson turning in another multi-strikeout performance (0 for 4, 2 K).

*Only Bud Norris managed to draw a walk at the plate for Houston.

*This was the third straight game in which Houston managed four hits or fewer (three yesterday, two on Wednesday), with only one XBH each night.

Turning Point:

The Astros were already on their last gasp, but they did manage to get runners second and third with only one out in the 9th to end Maholm's night. Dale Sveum then brought on Carlos Marmol, who struck out J.D. Martinez, but then hit Chris Snyder with a slider to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate in Chris Johnson. CJ hit a hard liner to third, but Luis Valbuena was right there and snagged it on the fly to end the game.

Man of the Match:

Tough call - maybe Matt Downs? He was the only Astro to reach base more than once, and he started a nifty double play in Cubs' half of the 6th.

Goat of the Game:

Bud Norris, though with the offensive lack of support, it hardly mattered.

Thoughts from a MMP first-timer

Perhaps I am a terrible, terrible Astros fan; as of one week ago as I type this, I had yet to ever pay a visit to Minute Maid Park. I was born in Houston and lived there my entire life, until I left the state for college in August '99. That was, of course, the Astrodome's final season, and I can't count how many games I attended in the Dome growing up. But since then, circumstances had only allowed me to return to Houston during off-season holidays, so I'd never had the chance to catch a game at the site of my team's greatest playoff successes. Until last Friday. With this the franchise's 50th anniversary season, and their last in the National League, we decided that the time had arrived, and we made the trip down last weekend. The County Clerk invited me to share my thoughts on MMP, now that I've finally seen it for myself, and I'm happy to oblige.

We were advised to arrive early since it was a bobblehead night, and I also wanted the chance to check out the new Astros Walk of Fame along Texas Avenue before the gates opened. It turned out that would have to wait, however, as even at 5:00pm, the line to get in was already around the corner. Half an hour later, Biggio bobbleheads were acquired and we were in the park, and I had to stop at our first view of the field.

One of my enduring memories of the Dome (God rest its soul) was trekking what seemed like miles up and down concrete ramps to get to and from the different seating levels, and stepping through once-hallowed doors like these to get that first glimpse of the artificial grass. The open concourse at Minute Maid was an immediate difference, and my wife willingly went along as I wanted to circle the stadium interior before we found our seats. Progress was not rapid, as I had to stop for photos of each MMP landmark along the way - the Home Run Alley displays, the Conoco Pump, the Union Station entryway - but my wife patiently obliged until we had completed the circuit. Then we grabbed a pair of "Extreme" hot dogs, and hit the stairs to take our seats.

I had wanted to sit in the famous Crawford Boxes, but we opted instead for the front row of the Bullpen Boxes in right field, and I'm glad that we did. I remember being SO excited as a kid the first time we scored red Field Box seats in the Dome, but nowhere we ever sat there put us as close to the field as we were now at Minute Maid. The Indians were taking BP when we sat down, and not five minutes later, the Cleveland hitter bounced a ball off the wall right in front of us; as much as I wanted to attempt a popcorn-bucket catch, my wife was grateful we bought our gloves. 

Then, the game. I took more photos of MMP's interior between innings - the train, Tal's Hill, the retired numbers & playoff pennants - but mostly I was glued to my seat, with eyes fixed on the field. The Astros were wearing their old rainbow unis the first time I ever saw the team in person, back in the early '80s, so perhaps it was fitting for me that they had brought those uniforms back this night. But while most things about the MMP experience had been vastly different from the Dome, the game on the field was still the same: a pitcher's duel, forever my favorite, as learned from the Astrodome cavern.

"Baseball is a game of inches" - cliche, but always true. A huge Jed Lowrie foul fly just inches to our left could have been a game-tying homer. A Jose Altuve foul liner just inches left of the line could have been an RBI double, putting the Astros on the board. Lucas Harrell was as brilliant on this night as Mike Scott or Darryl Kile ever was, but the baseball gods said it wasn't meant to be. 2-0, Astros lose, but the trip was still worth it to me.

We watched the roof open and stayed after for the Friday Night Fireworks, which were impressively better than I had expected. As part of the "Flashback Fridays" promotion, they themed this '70s Disco Night, and put on a fireworks display better than any we had seen since our honeymoon at Disney World. Then we picked out souvenirs from the Astros Team Store, exited through Union Station, and I got my chance to follow the Walk of Fame on the way back to our car.

Now we hear that the train and Tal's Hill may be in their final days at MMP. I can't/won't speak for the County Clerk or anyone else here, but I sincerely hope not. I realize that the train has nothing to do with baseball or with a space-themed team, but it has plenty to do with the stadium's location and with the history of Houston. The Astros should respect that as a part of Houston history themselves. And I realize that Tal's Hill and the flagpole in play are bizarre and somewhat gimmicky, but in an era when retro ballparks are the new cookie-cutters, they're defining characteristics that no other city can claim. Plenty of ballparks have short LF/RF porches; plenty have scenic downtown views; plenty try to evoke baseball nostalgia and put their fans closer to the action. What is it that's going to set your park apart from the rest?

Courtesy of work-related travel, I have made it to other MLB parks since I left Houston in '99. AT&T Park in San Francisco is the best of those, thanks largely to the blessing of geography. But I'd rank MMP very closely right behind. As for any adult Astros fan, the Astrodome will always hold a special place in my heart... but if they had to move somewhere else, they did good for themselves. I trust Jeff Luhnow, and I trust Jim Crane, but they've got a beautiful ballpark already in place. Please don't screw that up.

Blue Jays linked to Wandy, again

MOAR RUMERZ! With a captip to MLBTR, here is a link to a Jayson Stark article that says the Blue Jays are all in for rotation help, since their rotation now looks more like a Civil War-era field hospital. And here's a link to a different Ken Rosenthal post that says the Blue Jays have sent multiple scouts to see Wandy's last two starts (while still maintaining contact about Matt Garza).

Pros and Cons of both Garza and Wandy:

Pros for Garza
*28 years old
*Proven success in AL East (34-31 with 3.86 ERA / 1.25 WHIP in three seasons with Tampa Bay).
*From 2007-12, Garza has a 3.74 ERA, with 7.6 K/9, and a 2.54 K:BB ratio.

Cons for Garza
Arbitration eligible in 2013
Free agent in 2014.

Pros for Wandy
*Higher salary = fewer prospects
*The Blue Jays only had one lefty in their rotation, Ricky Romero. But now everyone's hurt. That said, LHP Brett Cecil has made three turns through the rotation, and while his numbers look rough, he got tagged up by the Angels last night, so he's made two good starts out of three.

Cons for Wandy
*33 years old.
*Salary issues, apparently.
*Questions about pitching in the AL East, apparently.

Who ya got?

Rosenthal: Dodgers and Astros have talked "multiple times"

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal took a look at the Dodgers and their shiny new outfielder, and also about how they're going to be aggressive at the trade deadline. So what?

The Dodgers, according to major-league sources, have talked multiple times to two likely sellers, the Cubs and Astros, and a third club that also could trade veterans, the Brewers.

Now, what could the Dodgers possibly want with the Astros? Maybe it's about Brett Myers (potentially as an 8th inning guy, since Kenley Jansen has a 2.18 ERA / 0.87 WHIP in the 21 games he's been the Dodgers' closer).

Wandy? The Dodgers have three lefty starting pitchers, including Ted Lilly, who has been on the DL since late May. Nate Eovaldi has apparently pitched fairly well in Lilly's absence. Yeah, but the Dodgers were linked to at least "sniffing" on Wandy last week.

But pitching hasn't exactly been the Dodgers' problem lately. As Rosenthal notes, they have averaged 2.3 runs over their past 16 games. 1B James Loney is hitting .240/.307/.327 this season, and .213/.262/.246 in June. Dare we dream that fateful dream and allow even a whisper of "carloslee" to cross our lips?

Regardless, it's going to be interesting to see how Luhnow plays out July...

PreStros Farm Report: June 28

PreStros: June 28

Oklahoma City (46-34) 

The RedHawks pitchers scattered 12 hits but only allowed one run as OKC beat Iowa (CHC) 3-1.

Aneury Rodriguez went 5 innings and allowed 1 R on 8 H and 1 BB with 4 K. Sergio Perez threw 1.2 innings and gave up 2 H and 2 BB with 1 K. Mickey Storey pitched the final 2.1 innings and allowed 2 H with 2 K.

2B-Jimmy Paredes was 2x4 with 2 SB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. C-Landon Powell was 1x4 with 1 R and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

*Notes: Jose Valdez was placed on the DL retroactive to June 27. Marwin Gonzalez has been added to the roster on rehab assignment. Mike Hessman, Jimmy Paredes, and Landon Powell were named to the AAA All-Star Game.

Corpus Christi (41-35) 


*Notes: Jarred Cosart was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for June 18-24 after not allowing a run in his two starts for the week.

Lancaster (39-39) 

The JetHawks climbed back to .500 with a 10-3 victory over Rancho Cucamonga (LAD).

Jose Trinidad threw 7 scoreless innings and allowed 7 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Brian Streilein pitched the last 2 innings, giving up 3 R on 5 H with 1 K.

CF-George Springer was 3x5 with 1 R and 1 RBI. DH-Erik Castro was 1x4 with 1 BB, 1 HR, and 2 RBI. RF-Domingo Santana went 2x4 with 1 SB, 1 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI. LF-Telvin Nash was 1x5 with 1 HR and 4 K. 3B-Jonathan Meyer was 2x5 with 1 R and 1 RBI. C-Rene Garcia was 1x3 with 1 2B and 2 R.

Man of the Match: Jose Trinidad

*Notes: Ruben Alaniz was place on the DL and will miss his next start due to fatigue.

Lexington (42-35) 

The Legends overcame a six-run deficit after two innings to beat Greensboro (MIA) 11-8.

Jonas Dufek lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up 7 R (6 earned) on 9 H with 2 K. Evan Grills threw 3.2 innings and allowed 1 R on 5 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Murio Gouvea pitched 2.2 innings and allowed 1 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Dayan Diaz took the ninth with 2 H and 1 K.

2B-Delino DeShields was 2x4 with 1 BB, 3 SB, 1 2B, and 3 R. CF-Jordan Scott was 1x4 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI with an outfield assist on a play at third. 1B-Zach Johnson was 1x3 with 3 BB and 2 R. DH-Jay Austin went 4x5 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI. LF-Brandon Meredith was 3x6 with 1 2B, 2 R, and 2 RBI. C-Roberto Pena was 2x6 with 1 RBI. SS-Chan Moon went 1x3 with 2 BB, 1 SB, 1 3B, 2 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Every batter except Justin Gominsky (sorry Justin)

*Notes: Delino DeShields has as many steals (54) as the rest of the team combined (108 total). Legends hitters have the second fewest strikeouts (564) in the league.

Tri-City (8-3) 

The ValleyCats made the most of their four hits to beat Connecticut (DET) 5-2.

Joe Bircher threw 4 innings and gave up 2 R on 7 H with 1 K. Juan Minaya took the next 4 innings and allowed just 1 H with 1 K. Blake Ford pitched the final inning with 2 K.

LF-Dan Gulbransen was 1x3 with 1 BB, 1 3B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. C-MP Cokinos was 1x2 with 2 R.

Man of the Match: Juan Minaya

*Notes: Tommy Shirley and Justin Gominsky have been promoted to Lexington. 8th round pick Tyler Heineman was assigned to Tri-City.

Greeneville (7-3) 

The Astros used a four run third inning to beat Danville (ATL) 5-2.

Daniel Minor threw 4 innings and gave up 2 R on 6 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Mitchell Lambson threw 3 scoreless innings with 1 H and 3 K. Mike Hauschild took the final 2 innings with 1 H, 1 BB, and 3 K.

2B-Jean Batista was 1x4 with 2 RBI. 1B-Michael Martinez went 1x2 with 1 BB, 1 HR, and 2 R. SS-James Howick was 2x3 with 1 R and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Michael Martinez

*Notes: Euris Quezada has been assigned to Greeneville from Lexington. Mitchel Lambson has been promoted to Lexington.

GCL Astros (4-5) 

The Astros lost 7-6 to the Marlins in a shortened, eight inning game.

Jandel Gustave went just 1.1 innings and gave up 4 R on 2 H and 3 BB. Ricardo Batista threw 1.2 scoreless innings with 1 BB and 2 K. Reymin Guduan pitched 3 innings, giving up 2 R on 5 H and 3 BB with 2 K. Jose Montero took the final inning and the loss, giving up 1 unearned run on 1 H and 1 BB with 2 K.

SS-Carlos Correa was 1x4 with 1 BB, 1 2B, and 1 R. LF-Wallace Gonzalez was 1x3 with 1 R and 1 SB. 3B/1B-Kyle Redinger went 1x4 with 1 SB and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Kyle Redinger

*Notes: 4th round pick Rio Ruiz was assigned to the GCL.

DSL Astros (8-14) 

The Astros bats unloaded on the Rays, leading to an 11-4 victory.

Johan Arias went 7 innings and allowed 2 R on 7 H and 1 BB with 4 K. Victor Mesa threw 1 inning and allowed 2 unearned runs with 1 H and 1 K. Rauldison Rodriguez took the ninth with 2 K.

CF-Jarico Reynoso was 1x3 with 1 SB, 1 3B, 3 R, and 1 RBI. 2B-Luis Reynoso was 3x4 with 1 BB, 3 R, and 1 RBI. 3B-Yoel Silfa went 3x5 with 2 2B, 2 R, and 4 RBI. C-Pedro Coa was 3x4 with 1 2B and 1 R. DH-Juan Carlos Cortorreal was 2x4 with 1 R.

Man of the Match: Yoel Silfa


Lancaster SP Ruben Alaniz is being placed on the 7-Day DL with right shoulder soreness, and Lexington's Nick Tropeano is heading that way to take his rotation spot.

For the season, Tropeano is 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA / 1.18 WHIP. In his last five starts, he's thrown 28.1IP, 23H/7ER, 30K:15BB.

Friday morning link dump

Here you go, friends:

*Brian Bogusevic got a nice little profile in his hometown paper.

*Jose Altuve might not be back until Monday. Mills:
"Nothing is wrong with him. It's just they feel that they want to make sure that he's absolutely right so at the very earliest would probably be Sunday."

*In that link, we read that Wilton Lopez is raising some eyebrows (presumably in a good way) in his bullpen sessions.

*Greg Lucas has some ALL CAPS thoughts about the impending changes to Minute Maid Park.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G76 - Astros v. Padres

Andrew Cashner (3-3, 3.81) vs Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.29)

Well... crap. The Astros get no-hit by Andrew Cashner for 6.1 innings before taking a 3-1 lead, only to have Brett Myers come in and give up six runs in the 9th, with an assist from Chris Johnson, to turn a 3-1 win into a 7-3 loss. Houston falls to 32-44, and what should have been a winning homestand became a series/homestand split.

*Dallas Keuchel was rock solid for the third straight start, posting a 6 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 4 BB / 3 K line. Kid Keuchy has given up only one run in each of his three big league games so far, tonight's coming on a two-out homer by Chase Headley in the 3rd. Rhiner Cruz pitched a scoreless 7th, and Lyon and Wright combined on a scoreless 8th before the Myers/Johnson fiasco in the 9th. Myers final line looked like this: 0.2 IP / 4 H / 6 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 1 K, including a bases-loaded HBP that tied the score and a game-winning grand slam by Alexi Amarista - which was, by the way, Amarista's first ever big league homer. Xavier Cedeno came on then to do what Myers couldn't and get the final out, but the damage was already done.


*It was another painfully quiet night for the offense, until Carlos Lee broke up Cashner's no-no with a one-out single in the 7th.

*Brian Bogusevic immediately followed Lee's single with a two-run homer to right, giving Houston a 2-1 lead at the time, and chasing Cashner from the game.

*The Astros' third and final hit came an inning later off the bat of Scott Moore, making his Astros debut. His single advanced J.D. Martinez to third base, leading to Houston's third run on a Nick Vincent wild pitch.

*Moore, Johnson, and Jordan Schafer all had multi-strikeout nights, with two for Moore and three apiece for the others.

*Bogey's long ball does give Houston at least one HR in six straight games now, equalling their longest such streak of the season (April 29-May 5).

Turning Point:

The top of the 9th was already looking sketchy, with runners on first and third and only one out. Myers got Logan Forsythe to ground to third for what could/should have been a game-ending double play, but CJ booted it for his second fielding error of the night. That allowed San Diego's second run to score, and set up the scenario that would lead to five more Padres runs and the loss of the game. 

Man of the Match:

Easy - Dallas Keuchel. Kid Keuchy should be 3-0 now, but the bullpen has betrayed him twice. 

Goat of the Game:

Chris Johnson deserves at least a (dis)honorable mention, with two fielding errors, 0 for 4, and three strikeouts including the one that ended the game. But I've got to go with Brett Myers. Error or no, Myers could have still shut the door on the Padres for a 3-2 win, but the HPB and grand slam that came thereafter are both on him. Your closer and veteran bullpen leader can't DO that.

What should replace Tal's Hill?

Jim Crane has ordered a study to determine what the team can do about Tal's Hill. Here's your chance to vote on a suggestion that will be mailed to Jim Crane. Voting ends Sunday night at midnight (Central time).

From the Office of the County Clerk: G75 - Astros v. Padres

Clayton Richard (5-7, 3.95) vs Lucas Harrell (6-6, 4.77)

When Lucas Harrell faced the Indians last Friday, he threw possibly the best game of his young big league career, surrendering only one run on two hits over seven innings, but he still walked away the loser. Tonight, the Astros were the team to only get one run on two hits, but this time it was enough. Astros win 1-0, for a 32-43 mark overall.

*Harrell took the Astros wire to wire this night, tossing his first professional complete game at any level. His line: 9 IP / 6 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 4 BB / 7 K. That lowered his personal ERA to 4.33, and Houston now has a team ERA of 2.34 over their last 8 games.


*Just when we want to question why Matt Downs and his .172 batting average are still on the big league roster, he delivered the decisive blow tonight. His solo shot against Clayton Richard to lead off the 3rd was the only run support that Harrell would receive, but it was also all that he needed.

*J.D. Martinez had Houston's only other hit, a leadoff single in the 2nd. Martinez now has a five-game hitting streak, and he's hitting .324 since June 16.

*Downs' homer gives the Astros at least one HR now in five straight games. That's their longest such streak since they homered in six straight April 29-May 5.

*As Zach Levine points out, Downs' HR rate since joining Houston matches Jeff Bagwell's career rate - one HR for every 21 PA.

Turning Point:

The Downs homer would be the easy pick, but with one out and two on in the 9th, Harrell gave up a single to Logan Forsythe into left field. J.D. Martinez scooped up the ball and threw a strike on the fly to Chris Snyder to gun down Alexi Amarista at the plate, preserving the shutout and ultimately the win.

Man of the Match:

Lucas William Bradley Harrell. His complete game shutout is Houston's first of 2012, and the win for him is well-deserved.

Goat of the Game:

Any Astros hitter not named Downs (or possibly Martinez). But really, this was Harrell's night, so let's not be too negative, mmkay?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G74 - Astros v. Padres

Kip Wells (0-0, 0.00) vs Jordan Lyles (1-4, 5.04)

Jordan Lyles pitched his way out of another plane ticket to OKC (at least for now), and the Astros spoiled Houston native Kip Wells' return to the big leagues. Astros win, 5-3, and have won three of their last four to move to 31-43 on the season.

*Excepting Monday's game, Lyles continued the recent string of great starts by Houston pitchers, with this line: 6.1 IP / 6 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 4 BB / 4 K. The only run he surrendered was an umpire-reviewed solo shot by Will Venable to lead off the 3rd, and the outing shaved almost half a run off of Lyles' 2012 ERA (4.59). Fernando Abad was perfect for 1.2 innings in relief of Lyles, then Brett Myers eventually nailed down his 17th save after he and David Carpenter made things a little too interesting in the 9th.


*Jed Lowrie and J.D. Martinez continued the Astros' recent power surge, giving Houston their fourth multi-homer game in a row and 10 homers in the last four games total.

*Lowrie also added a single to kick off Houston's four-run 5th, going 2-4 to raise his average back up to .270 for the first time since June 18.

*Every other Astros starting position player had either a hit or a walk, or both, except for Brian Bixler, who went 0 for 4 with 2 K from the leadoff spot in Altuve's absence.

*Martinez' 2-run dinger in the 5th extended his team-leading RBI total to 45, tied for 14th in the NL but just two behind Joey Votto and four others in a tie for 6th. J.D. is also now the second Astro to reach double digits in HR in 2012, trailing Lowrie's 14 HR for the team lead.

Turning Point:

The game was tied 1-1 going to the bottom of the 5th, when the Astros paired three hits with a throwing error and a wild pitch by Wells to put up a four-spot and, it would turn out, put the game away.

Man of the Match:

Jordan Lyles. Since he was "permanently" called up on June 3, he's posted a 3.72 ERA in five starts, as opposed to 5.73 in four spot starts while bouncing between Houston and Oklahoma City in April and May.

Goat of the Game:

Almost the Carpenter/Myers duo in the 9th, but we'll go with Brian Bixler. He's overall done well for himself since getting the call from OKC, but he was the only Astro starter to contribute nothing offensively on this night. Altuve, get well soon!


This all took place yesterday evening, before the win over the Padres, but let's recap for you, with the help of McTaggart's notebook:

*The Astros will use a six-man rotation at least until the All-Star Break (which sounds like it's far away, but it's only two weeks.)

*Justin Maxwell has been placed on the DL with "loose bodies" in his ankle.
*Travis Buck was DFA'ed.
*Fernando Martinez was taken off the Concussion List and optioned to Oklahoma City.
*The Astros purchased the contract of Scott Moore.

Moore, whose middle name is actually "Alanboyd," has a .965 OPS for OKC in 73 games, hitting .318/.410/.555, with 51K:35BB in 292 PAs. In 23 June games, Moore is hitting .289/.400/.518, with 18K:13BB.

Fontana the Luhnowtype

In Zachary Levine's article on 2-61 Nolan Fontana, we find out that newest signee Nolan Fontana is exactly what Jeff Luhnow is looking for:

“He represents everything that we’re going to be looking for in the future, a player that excels defensively in a premium position and has proven his capabilities offensively as well.”

Thus, he's heading off to Lexington, where most college players begin at Tri-City.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fontana signs, with updated math

2nd Round pick Nolan Fontana is apparently in Houston for a physical.

Update: Fontana has signed, and McTaggart says the deal is for $875,000. Recommended slot for the 61st overall pick is $844,100. He'll report directly to Lexington.

The updated math is here, but the short version says that the Astros have $67,500 left in their bonus pool, with 7-219 Preston Tucker and 8-249 Tyler Heineman (who has apparently signed, with terms not yet disclosed) coming in with a combined recommended slot of $291,800.

If - and this is a big if - the Astros sign both to the exact slot recommendation, they'll have to pay a 75% tax on every dollar over the bonus pool, but wouldn't lose a draft pick. For math's sake, let's say the Astros sign both Tucker and Heineman for slot, and they overshoot their pool by $224,300. This would result in the Astros paying an extra $168,225 in the overage tax, or $392,525.

Davidoff: Mets may get in on Brett Myers

The Mets are turning to Bobby Parnell for saves, that means they need some bullpen help, and the New York Post's Ken Davidoff mentions Brett Myers as a possible solution.

Peter Gammons has nice things to say

Peter Gammons tweeted some very nice words about the Astros draft.

AL Scouting Director:"Houston took its draft position and killed it like no one else. Correa, McCullers, Ruiz...they changed the franchise."

We're biased, of course, but you can't deny that the Astros went after - and signed - high-profile, high-upside guys that other teams thought were unsignable. From the moment I saw that Ruiz wanted "Top 10" money, I thought, "Well, that's a wasted pick," but Luhnow & Co. worked the draft and maximized its potential - getting three 1st round talents in Correa, McCullers, and Ruiz.

On the job almost seven months, Luhnow is working towards getting on the Mt. Rushmore of the franchise.

Rio Ruiz links

Just in case you thought that physicals were largely academic events ("True or false: the doctor is holding up some fingers."), take note that 4-129 Rio Ruiz had to pass a five-hour physical before signing a contract that gave him a $1.85m bonus, and will send him off to the GCL.

"It was long and it was brutal, but it was all worth it," Ruiz said. "I was confident that everything was going to go fine. Everything feels great. Everything feels strong."

Ruiz's advisor, Scott Boras, knew Ruiz from his playing baseball with his son:
"When you make decisions like this, this is probably the truest form of scouting because you have to know the player really, really well," Boras said. "You have to know his history going back sophomore, junior year in high school. You have to know a lot about him because you didn't get to see the current."

From the Office of the County Clerk - G73: Astros v. Padres

The Astros had the lead twice, but various pitchers couldn't hold on to it, and the Astros drop to 0-7 in extra-inning games with an 8-7 loss to San Diego.

*It marks the 3rd loss of the season when the Astros have scored 7+ runs (15-3).

*The Astros were 3x13 w/RISP, and the 13 LOBsters tie a season-high.

*Wandy threw 6.2IP, 8H/5ER, 6K:0BB - breaking a streak of three starts where Wandy allowed more than 3ER. It's just the 2nd time all season Wandy allowed 5+ earned runs.

*Wandy's 6Ks were the highest since he struck out seven Pirates on May 13.

*Fernando Rodriguez managed to go two outings in between giving up an earned run. He allowed a 2-run, go-ahead homer in the 8th inning to Jesus Guzman - a guy who had hit 6HR in 474 plate appearances, and had one homer away from Petco in his career.

*Brett Myers threw the 9th inning without incident, and Brandon Lyon got Cameron Maybin, walked Chase Headley (who then stole 2nd successfully), and Carlos Quentin doubled him home for the go-ahead run in the 10th inning.

*Headley's SB was the second of the game, meaning that runners have successfully stolen 38 bases against Castro, getting caught just eight times (82.6% success rate). Only Nick Hundley and Rod Barajas have allowed more stolen bases than Castro.

*Brian Bixler led off the game with a homer - the second of his career - and the 3rd time the Astros have begun the game with a homerun. Bixler was 2x5 with a double (HR, of course), walk, and three runs scored.

*In 37 June plate appearances, Bixler has twelve hits - seven of them for extra-bases.

*Carlos Lee also joined the homer parade for the 5th time this season. It was his first homerun since May 19 - a span of 83 Plate Appearances.

*It was the 18th multi-HR game of the season for the Astros, and they're 14-4 when they hit 2+ homers in a game.

*Jason Castro hit his 2nd homer of the season - a game-tying shot with two outs in the bottom of the 8th. It was his 4th career homer, and the first that (a) tied the game and (b) came after the 3rd inning. Three of his four career homeruns have been at Minute Maid Park.

*J.D. Martinez was 2x4 with a walk and 2RBI, giving him three multi-hit games in his last seven games, and three straight 2RBI games.

*Chris Johnson was 2x5 with a walk. In the last week, Johnson is hitting .480 (12x25). It's his fourth straight multi-hit game, and fifth in his last six. He has a six-game hitting streak.

*Jordan Schafer was 1x3 with a walk, stolen base, and a strikeout. Yeah, Schafer has at least 1K in 13 of his 15 starts in June, but he also has five walks in his last seven games. He had 17 walks in his first 55 games of the season.

*Man of the Match: Meh. Who knows? How about Brian Bixler?

*Goat of the Game: Anyone not named Brett Myers who threw a ball at Jason Castro.

Monday, June 25, 2012

PreStros Farm Report: June 24

PreStros: June 24

Oklahoma City (44-32) 

The RedHawks couldn’t match up with journeyman Omaha (KC) pitcher Doug Davis as they lost 6-2..

Paul Clemens went 7 innings and gave up 4 R on 8 H and 3 BB. Hector Ambriz threw the last 2 innings and allowed 2 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K.

CF-Brandon Barnes was 2x4 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. LF-Scott Moore was 1x2 with 2 BB.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes

*Notes: Pitcher Chris Hicks was released by the Astros.

Corpus Christi (41-34) 

The Hooks held off a late rally by Frisco (TEX) to win 3-2.

Jarred Cosart threw 6 scoreless innings with 4 H, 2 BB, and 1 K. Kevin Chapman pitched 2.2 innings and allowed 2 R on 2 H with 1 K. Jason Stoffel got the final out for his 11th save.

3B-Andrew Simunic was 2x5. 2B-Jose Martinez was 2x4 with 1 HR and 2 R. CF-Drew Muren was 2x4 with an outfield assist on a play at the plate.

Man of the Match:  Jarred Cosart

*Notes: Cosart has not allowed a run in his last two starts. He was named to the Texas League South Division All-Star Team, joining teammates Jose Martinez, Jon Singleton, Austin Wates, Kevin Chapman, Brett Oberholtzer, Jason Stoffel, and Jonathan Villar. Singleton was also named to the MLB All-Star Futures Game.

Lancaster (37-37) 

The JetHawks dropped their fourth straight since the All-Star break, losing 4-3 in 14 innings to Lake Elsinore (SD).

David Martinez turned in 7 innings, allowing 1 R on 5 H with 7 K. Pat Urckfitz and Jose Trinidad each threw 2 scoreless innings. Andrew Robinson gave up 2 R in .1 innings on 2 H and 2 BB with 1 K. Kirk Clark went 2.1 innings and gave up 1 R on 3 H with 1 K.

1B-Erik Castro was 2x5 with 1 HR and 2 R. 3B-Jonathan Meyer was 2x5 with 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: David Martinez

*Notes: The JetHawks have only been caught stealing in 17 of 64 attempts this season. They have also struck out (647) more than any other team in the California League. Telvin Nash has already struck out 123 times in just 242 at bats. George Springer is next with 83 strikeouts, followed by Erik Castro (82), and Domingo Santana (74).

Lexington (41-32) 

The Legends bats lead the way to a 9-3 victory over West Virginia (PIT).

Nick Tropeano lasted 6 innings, allowing just 2 H and 3 BB with 6 K. Nathan Pettus threw the next 2 scoreless innings with 3 K. Euris Quezada went .2 innings and gave up 3 R on 3 H and 2 BB. Evan Grills got the final out.

2B-Delino DeShields was 2x5 with 1 HR and 2 R. CF-Jordan Scott was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 HR, and 2 RBI. 3B-Chan Moon was 3x4 with 1 2B and 3 R. RF-Mike Kvasnicka went 1x5 with 1 HR and 3 RBI. LF-Brandon Meredith was 2x4 with 1 HR and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Nick Tropeano

*Notes: Delino DeShields now holds the single season stolen base record for Lexington with 49 and counting. Josh Anderson was the previous record holder with 48. Zach Johnson is leading Sally League first basemen with a .993 fielding percentage.

Tri-City (4-3) 

The ValleyCats took the series against Connecticut (DET) with a 6-5 come-from-behind victory.

Vincent Velasquez threw 4.1 innings and gave up 2 R on 6 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Juan Minaya pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 R on 3 H and 1 BB. Brad Propst went 1.2 innings and allowed 1 R on 4 H. John Neely threw .1 innings and gave up 1 R on 2 H. Kenny Long turned in .1 innings. Blake Ford earned the save with 1.1 innings and 1 K.

C-Jobduan Morales was 2x5 with 2 R. 3B-Ryan Dineen was 2x4. LF-Dan Gulbransen went 3x5 with 2 2B, 2 R, and 3 RBI. SS-Joe Sclafani was 1x3 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Dan Gulbransen

*Notes: Through seven games, the ValleyCats are leading the NY-Penn League in ERA (2.98).

Greeneville (4-2) 

The Kingsport (NYM) bats were too much for the G-Stros, leading to a 8-3 loss by Greeneville.

Adrian Houser lasted 4.1 innings and gave up 7 R (6 earned) on 10 H with 2 K. Tanner Bushue threw 2.2 innings, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB with 3 K. Scott Zuloaga pitched the final inning with 1 H and 2 K.

CF-D’Andre Toney was 2x5. 1B-Michael Martinez was 3x4 with 1 R and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Michael Martinez

*Notes: The Astros are first in the league so far in doubles (16) but last in home runs (1).

GCL Astros (3-3) 

The Astros beat the Nationals 4-1 to bring their record back to .500.

Chia-Jen Lo threw 1 inning with 2 K. Michael Feliz went 4.1 scoreless innings with 4 H, 2 BB, and 7 K. Ambiorix De Leon threw 2 innings and allowed 1 R on 4 H with 2 K. Erick Gonzalez pitched the final 1.2 innings with 1 H.

SS-Juan Santana was 2x4 with 1 SB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. CF-Austin Wates was 2x3 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. 3B-Darwin Rivera was 2x4 with 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Michael Feliz.

*Notes: The Astros are hitting just .189/.239/.256 so far as a team.

DSL Astros (7-11) 

The Astros won a tough pitchers’ duel, beating the Royals 1-0.

Samil De Los Santos threw 7 scoreless innings, giving up 3 H and 4 BB with 5 K. Elieser Hernandez finished out the final 2 scoreless innings with 2 H, 1 BB, and 2 K.

SS-Arturo Michelena was 2x3. DH-Luis Reynoso was 1x2 with 1 BB and 1 SB. CF-Jarico Reynoso was 1x4 with 1 R and 1 outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Samil De Los Santos