Saturday, July 21, 2012

Meet the New PreStros Part II: Moar PreStros!

About an hour ago, the Astros traded Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox for two more minor league starters and another player to be named later. Then, they claimed another pitcher from San Diego. Let's look at them all now.

Matt Heidenreich

Matt is a tall, lanky righty starter (6' 5", 185 lbs) who was drafted out of high school in the fourth round by the White Sox in 2009. He features a low 90's sinking fastball, a slightly below average, and a slider than needs development. He shows good control, but needs to continue developing his secondary pitches in order to climb the ranks. His ceiling is projected as a number 4 starter. Heidenreich has three starts at the AA level, and will report to Corpus.

Blair Walters

Walters is a lefty starter (6' 2" 200 lbs) and was drafted in the 11th round in 2011. The was the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year last season, when he went 9-0 as Great Falls took the league championship. He's struggled in five starts since being promoted to high A ball, but still shows outstanding peripheral stats. He'll need that to continue as he heads to Lancaster. He throws a 90 mph sinker, a "slutter", and a "meh" changeup and curve. He has a strong platoon split against lefties, so if he can't develop as a starter he'll likely be given a shot as a lefty specialist.


(Yes, this is mostly copy/pasted from yesterday.) Of course, we have no idea the details surrounding the PTBNL. It's either tied to Myers' performance in Chicago, a late-signing 2011 draft pick (can't be traded until 12 months after they sign), or a 2012 pick (doubtful this soon after the draft). What we do know is that the last PTBNL Luhnow was able to pick up turned out to be a higher ceiling outfielder from Kansas City, so there's that.

Mark Hamburger

Mark is a tall righty (6' 5" 195 lbs) and was signed after an open tryout for the Twins in 2007 after flashing a 93 mph four seam fastball. He also throws a splitter, curve, and changeup. He's a career reliever, and has five games of major league experience last season with Texas. He'll report to AAA Oklahoma City.

I pictured Luhnow's claim of Mark as going something like this.

Sources:, Minor League Ball, South Side Sox, White Sox Gab, ESPN, Seedlings to Stars

Astros trade Brett Myers to White Sox

Trader Jeff! Ken Rosenthal just tweeted that Houston has traded Brett Myers to the White Sox.

2:17pm - Brian McTaggart confirms the deal

2:33pm - Astros announce Myers to White Sox for RHP Matt Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, and a PTBNL

2:33pm - Heidenreich will join AA Corpus; Walters is going to High-A Lancaster

2:34pm - The Astros have also claimed RHP Mark Hamburger off waivers from San Diego

2:37pm - Hamburger will join AAA Oklahoma City

2:49pm - The White Sox will pay $1 million of Myers' remaining salary this season, plus receive money towards Myers' 2013 salary or a buyout


Matt Heidenreich is a 21-year-old starter from AA Birmingham. He's 9-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 18 games split between High-A and AA this season.

Blair Walters is a 22-year-old starter from High-A Winston-Salem. He is 4-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 18 games split between A and High-A this year.

Mark Hamburger is a 25-year-old reliever with a 6.75 ERA in 57.1 IP split between AAA Round Rock (Rangers) and AAA Tuscon (Padres). Hamburger had a 4.50 ERA in 8 innings with the Rangers last season.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G94 - Astros @ Diamondbacks

Bud Norris (5-7, 4.70) vs Trevor Cahill (7-8, 3.71)

I suppose we'll start with the good news: the Astros offense finally awakened, scoring more runs than they had in any game since June 23. They had more hits than in any game since June 2. But Bud Norris also gave up more runs than any Houston starter since June 2, so the Astros still lost to Arizona, 13-8. The loss drops Houston to 34-60, three games ahead of their 31-63 pace at this point a year ago.

*Studly Cuddly Budly was anything but studly last night, surrendering 9 runs to match his season worst from May 31 (although he managed the feat in just 1.2 innings that day). Bud's ugly line: 4.1 IP / 6 H / 9 R / 9 ER / 5 BB / 7 K. Enerio Del Rosario inherited two runners from Bud in the 5th, allowing one to score. Abad gave up two doubles in the 6th, but still escaped with a scoreless inning thanks to a caught stealing in between. Rhiner Cruz came on in the 7th and gave up three singles and a walk in a third of an inning, letting in one run and leaving the bases loaded for Wesley Wright, who allowed all three runners to score before striking out the next two D-backs hitters. Finally, Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect 8th in his Astros debut.


*Plenty of offense to go around, with 8 runs, 14 hits, and 3 walks. Only Brian Bixler took an 0-fer among Houston's starters (including Bud), but even he got an RBI on a fielding error in the 6th.

*Carlos Corporan actually had a nice night at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI double in the 6th and his first career big-league HR in the 8th.

*Jordan Schafer (2 for 4, BB), Marwin Gonzalez (2 for 5, RBI), and Matt Downs (2 for 4, SAC) also had multi-hit games, and each had a double.

*Schafer was caught stealing twice in two attempts against Miguel Montero (NL-best 47% CS%).

*Ben Francisco also made his Astros debut, singling in a pinch-hit appearance in the 8th.

*Scott Moore came in to replace Chris Johnson in the 6th after CJ fouled a ball off his leg, then Moore lauched a 3-run HR in the 9th to conclude Houston's scoring.

Turning Point:

Arizona already had a 4-2 lead at the time, but the bottom of the 5th was when they put the game away.  Bud's inning went like this: double, fly out, walk, walk, walk, single, pitching change. Then Del Rosario came in and gave up a double and a single, while recording his two outs on plays at the plate. It all added up to a 5-run inning for the D-backs.

Man of the Match:

Going with Carlos Corporan. While Moore had more RBIs (3 vs. 2), a career .193 hitter deserves credit for a multi-hit, multi-RBI game including his first career homer.

Goat of the Game:

Bud Norris. His 5.33 ERA is now worst among Astros starters, and he's put up an even uglier 8.54 figure in his last 8 starts since he was at 3.14 after his first 9. Whatever is wrong, he needs to get himself sorted out.

PreStros Farm Report: July 20

PreStros: July 20

Oklahoma City (58-41) 

OKC couldn’t touch top pitching prospect Shelby Miller as they lost to Memphis (STL) 8-1.

Brett Oberholtzer went 6 innings and gave up 6 R on 7 H with 7 K. Jonnathan Aristil threw the last 2 innings and allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 1 H with 2 K.

2B-Jimmy Paredes was 2x4 with 1 R.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

*Notes: Seven of the RedHawks last 10 wins have been by one run. JB Shuck has a 10 game hitting streak. Jimmy Paredes is hitting .519 since returning from paternity leave.

Corpus Christi (53-40) 

The Hooks used a grand slam by Andy Simunic to beat Frisco (TEX) 7-5.

Rob Rasmussen threw 6 innings, allowing 3 R on 5 H and 1 BB with 6 K. Josh Zeid pitched 2 innings and gave up 2 R on 4 H with 2 K. Jason Stoffel threw 1 scoreless inning with 1 H.

3B-Andy Simunic was 2x3 with 1 BB, 1 HR, and 5 RBI. LF-Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with 1 3B and 2 R. DH-Adam Bailey went 2x4 with 1 2B and 1 R. C-Rene Garcia was 2x4 with 1 2B and 1 R.

Man of the Match: Andy Simunic

*Notes: Chris Wallace was promoted to OKC and Ben Heath was brought up from Lancaster to replace him.

Lancaster (52-46) 

The JetHawks got six scoreless innings in relief by David Martinez to beat Rancho Cucamonga (LAD) 8-2.

Ruben Alaniz threw 3 innings, giving up 2 R on 3 H and 2 BB with 2 K. David Martinez went 6 scoreless innings, allowing 7 H and 1 BB with 3 K.

CF-George Springer was 3x5 with 3 SB, 1 R, and 3 RBI. RF-Domingo Santana was 1x5 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. 2B-Kike Hernandez went 1x5 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. SS-Alex Todd was 2x3 with 1 BB, 1 2B, and 2 R.

Man of the Match: George Springer

*Notes: The JetHawks are currently in position to advance to the playoffs as the wildcard from the South Division.

Lexington (51-46) 

Lexington won a rain-shortened game against Greenville (BOS) 7-4 in seven innings.

Juri Perez threw 5.1 innings, allowing 4 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 3 BB with 7 K. Tommy Shirley went the final 1.2 innings with 1 BB and 2 K.

2B-Delino DeShields was 2x3 with 1 BB, 2 SB, 1 2B, and 2 R. DH-Ruben Sosa was 3x4 with 2 R and 1 SB. 1B-Zach Johnson went 2x4 with 2 2B, 1 R, and 3 RBI. LF-Brandon Meredith was 1x3 with 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 2B, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Zach Johnson

*Notes: Matt Duffy has been hit by a pitch 23 times this season, tops in the Sally League.

Tri-City (24-8) 

The ValleyCats shutout Vermont (OAK) 6-0.

Aaron West threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 2 H with 7 K. Jamain Cotton threw 2 perfect innings to finish out the game.

CF-Andrew Aplin was 2x5. LF-Jarrod McKinney was 1x3 with 2 BB and 2 R. RF-Preston Tucker was 2x5 with 1 HR and 5 RBI.

Man of the Match: West/Tucker

*Notes: Austin Elkins’ nickname is Catfish.

Greeneville (19-11) 

The G-Stros were swept in last night’s double header, losing the first game 2-0 and the second 2-1.

Game 1
Frederick Tiburcio threw 6 innings, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB with 3 K. 2B-Jean Batista was 1x2 with 1 BB and 2 SB.

Man of the Match: Jean Batista

Game 2
Chris Lee threw 2 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs with 2 H and 2 BB. Andrew Walter pitched 3 scoreless innings with 1 H and 3 K. Mike Hauschild went 1 inning with 1 H and 1 K. 3B-Angel Ibanez was 2x3. LF-Marc Wik was 1x3 with 1 SB.

Man of the Match: Andrew Walter

*Notes: The G-Stros pitchers have struck out 290 in 273 innings.

GCL Astros (13-16) 

The Astros rally fell short as they lost to the Nationals 8-7.

Edison Frias threw 3.2 innings and gave up 6 R (3 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Ambiorix De Leon pitched 1 inning, allowing 2 unearned runs on 2 H with 1 K. Agapito Barrios went the final 4.1 innings with 4 H and 2 K.

SS-Carlos Correa was 2x5 with 1 2B and 1 SB. DH-Rio Ruiz was 3x5 with 1 3B and 2 R. LF-Edwin Gomez went 2x4 with 1 R. 2B-Juan Santana was 2x3 with 1 2B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. C-Alfredo Gonzalez was 2x4 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Alfredo Gonzalez

*Notes: 10 of Carlos Correa’s 15 hits have been doubles.

DSL Astros (12-28) 

The Astros scored were shutout by the A’s 5-0.

Elieser Hernandez lasted 6 innings and gave up 4 R on 8 H with 3 K. Luis Abad threw 2 innings, allowing 1 R on 1 H with 2 K.

LF-Mesac Laguna went 2x4. DH-Johan Tomas De La Cruz was 1x3 with 1 BB.

Man of the Match: Mesac Laguna

*Notes: The Astros have just one player with an OPS over .650 (Mesac Laguna, .702).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Post-trade tranzactionz

In light of this morning's mega-deal, we've got a whole bundle of roster moves for you:

*Dallas Keuchel will be recalled from OKC to take J.A. Happ's spot in the rotation, starting tomorrow.
*Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco will join the big club today in Phoenix, taking Happ's and Lyon's immediate spots, but another move will need to make room for Keuchel by tomorrow's game.

Thanks to the Chronicle, we learn:

*Asher Wojciechowski is headed to AA Corpus Christi.
*Carlos Perez will go to high-A Lancaster.
*David Rollins is going to low-A Lexington.
*Joe Musgrove will report to Rookie-ball Greeneville.

Also, courtesy of Greg Rajan, catcher Chris Wallace is moving up to OKC from Corpus, and catcher Ben Heath is moving up to Corpus from Lancaster (where Perez will take his spot).

And, not a transaction, but Jeff Luhnow says that even with Cordero's arrival, Brett Myers remains the Astros' closer... "for now."

Meet the new PreStros

So, the Astros traded three guys you presumably knew, for a AStros load of players you've never heard of. Have no fear, Astros County is here to bring you up to speed. We're not going to discuss Cordero or Francisco, they've been around long enough.

Joseph Musgrove

Musgrove is a big right hander (6' 5", 230 lbs) and was a supplemental first round pick for Toronto in 2011, as compensation for losing John Buck. He projects as a major league workhorse and throws a hard, sinking fastball, a good breaking ball, and a splitter. He's shown to be a good, strike throwing control guy, too. His fastball reports to sit in the low 90's, but he can dial it up to 96-98 on occasion. His breaking ball is described as a hard, hammer curve and he's been working on a changeup, as well. Right now he projects as a #3 starter. He hasn't pitched since June 24th due to shoulder soreness, but it's not considered a long term concern. He's currently in the Appalachian League, where the Astros have an affiliate in Greeneville, TN. It's likely he'll just slide on over to Greeneville, but if the Astros feel like challenging the big righty, he could get promoted to Tri-City or even Lexington.

Asher Wojciechowski

Asher is another big righty (6' 4", 234 lbs) and was a supplemental pick for Toronto in 2010. He has a plus-potential fastball, an above average slider, and a developing change. He also projects as a workhorse, though he has the power arsenal to fall into a late inning reliever. He had a shaky 2011 season as Toronto tried to tinker with his mechanics, but once the Jays gave up that thought he quickly regained his success. However, his inability to adapt to a more fluid delivery is another indicator he may end up in a relief role long term. Asher is working through the Florida League right now, which is the same level as Houston's affiliate in Lancaster. Given Wojciechowski's age it wouldn't be that surprising to see him wind up in Corpus, though it would take some roster shuffling to fit him in.

David Rollins

Rollins is a local guy, drafted out of San Jacinto College North in the 24th round last year by Toronto. He had an impressive debut last year in seven starts, posting a 1.77 ERA and 9.67 K/BB ratio between rookie and short-season A ball. He has a decent fastball, slider, changeup mix, though his control has fallen off a bit this season. He's currently pitching in the Midwest league, where he's eighth in ERA, so the lateral shift would be to Lexington. Again, though, given his age a bump up a level wouldn't be unexpected.

Carlos Perez

Perez is described by Jeff Luhnow as a major league quality prospect at catcher. Signed out of Venezuela, Perez is an athletic, good running catcher with a solid arm and good defensive potential. He's not all glove, though, as he shows a good walk rate, a decreasing strikeout rate, and good doubles power as a spray, line drive hitter. He's been catching David Rollins in the Midwest league, so again he could end up in Lexington. 

Player to be named later

Of course, we have no idea the details surrounding the PTBNL. It's either tied to performance by the guys we let fly to Toronto, a late-signing 2011 draft pick (can't be traded until 12 months after they sign), or a 2012 pick (doubtful this soon after the draft). What we do know is that the last PTBNL Luhnow was able to pick up turned out to be a higher ceiling outfielder from Kansas City, so there's that.

Sources: Minor League Ball, Baseball America,, Fangraphs, Jays Journal, Bluebird Banter

*Fangraphs just posted their own rundown of the new PreStros. 

Astros make 10-player mega-deal with Toronto

WHOA. Apparently Jeff Luhnow was as pissed about last night's loss as the rest of us. This morning the Astros announced a 10-player trade with Toronto. Gone to the Blue Jays are:

LHP J.A. Happ
RHP Brandon Lyon
RHP David Carpenter

Coming back to the Astros:

RHP Francisco Cordero
OF Ben Francisco
RHP Joseph Musgrove
RHP Asher Wojciechowski
LHP David Rollins
C Carlos Perez
...and a PTBNL

The first two are Major League pieces; the rest are minor leaguers, although Clark Goble points out that three of them were among Toronto's top 11 prospects.

Francisco Cordero is a three-time All-Star closer, though he's 37 now and his best days are behind him. He has a 5.77 ERA in 34.1 IP this season.

Ben Francisco is a 30-year-old corner outfielder known to Astros fans primarily as a Phillie from 2009-2011. He has a .240/.296/.380 line in 50 major-league ABs this season.

Joseph Musgrove, Toronto's #11 prospect, is a right-handed starter and was a supplemental first-round pick last season. He 19 years old, with a 1.12 ERA in two games (one start) for Rookie-league Bluefield.

Asher Wojciechowski, Toronto's #10 prospect, is also a right-handed starter and was a supplemental first-round pick in 2010. He's 23 years old, 7-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 18 starts for high-A Dunedin.

David Rollins, 22, is a lefty starter out of San Jacinto College North, drafted in the 24th round last year. He's 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 18 starts for Class A Lansing this year.

Carlos Perez, Toronto's #8 prospect, is a 21-year-old catcher from Venezuela. He posted a .275/.358/.447 line with 5 HR and 40 RBI in 273 ABs for Class A Lansing.

Much more on this to come later, I'm certain...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G93 - Astros @ Padres

Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.43) vs Edinson Volquez (5-7, 3.69)

Edinson Volquez is not Matt Cain. But on this night, he pulled the best Matt Cain impersonation that he could. A complete game one-hitter from a pitcher who had never in his 8-year career thrown another complete game, and the Astros lose 1-0. San Diego takes three of four from the Astros, and Houston falls to 34-59 overall.

*Lucas Harrell gave up a double on his second pitch of the game, an RBI single one pitch later, and nothing else of consequence. In short, he was brilliant, but still got the loss with a 7 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 6 K line. Wesley Wright pitched a perfect 8th with two strikeouts.


*Matt Downs had a 4th-inning single, Marwin Gonzalez walked once, and J.D. Martinez walked twice. That was it for the Houston offense.

Turning Point:

After San Diego scored on Harrell's third pitch, the game was essentially over. Houston never truly threatened, but maybe their best scoring opportunity came in the top of the 2nd. J.D. Martinez led off with a walk, and Matt Downs reached on an error, giving Houston runners on first and second with no outs. Justin Maxwell came up next and hit a high liner to second that should have gone for a hit, likely driving in Martinez. But Logan Forsythe made an admittedly spectacular leaping catch, then doubled Martinez off second for a double play. The Astros only got one other runner as far as second base, so that play may have saved the game for the Padres.

Man of the Match:

Lucas Harrell. No way he deserved to lose a game like this, but even the best pitchers can't win if their team never scores.

Goat of the Game:

Every. Last. Houston. Hitter.

New York teams may or may not be in on Wandy, Myers

With a thank ya to MLBTR, we find:

*The Mets have evidently checked in on Brett Myers, but they "haven't been very aggressive" yet, says  Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.

*In spite of the Yankees scouting presence at his start yesterday, Mark Carig of the Star-Ledger reports that Wandy is "not even on their radar." Which is either obviously false, or they lost interest after yesterday's debacle. Or they were really there to check out Clayton Richard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Wandy rumors

If they're still interested after witnessing today's less-than-stellar performance, scouts from the Yankees, Tigers, and Royals were on hand to watch Wandy on Wednesday, says Scott Miller of CBS Sports.

Jon Morosi had mentioned yesterday that the Tigers are in the market for a lefty starter, but Wandy's salary could be a deterrent. Jeff Luhnow proved in the Carlos Lee deal that the team is willing to eat salary to get better prospects, though, so that might not be as much of an obstacle as feared.

Jason Castro either will or will not return next week

Jason Castro had his right knee drained today in an effort to stave off surgery, says Brian McTaggart. Castro also had a shot in the knee, hoping that he'll be able to return to Houston's lineup next week.

Jeff Luhnow had originally been optimistic that Castro would be back on Monday, as soon as he's eligible to return from the 15-day DL. But now it sounds as though he may go out on a brief rehab assignment to test the knee before returning.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G92 - Astros @ Padres

Wandy Rodriguez (7-7, 3.51) vs Clayton Richard (6-10, 3.83)

Well. Then. The Astros doubled their highest run total from any other game since the All-Star Break. Wandy Rodriguez was dominant through three flawless innings. You really don't want to know what happened the rest of the time. Astros lose again, 8-4, and they looked as bad as their MLB-worst 34-58 record while doing it.

*For the first three innings, Wandy was perfect, and it looked like he just might do something special. His 4th inning, however, was at least as ugly as the first three were brilliant. Wandy's line: 4 IP / 4 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 2 BB / 4 K. Enerio Del Rosario gave up two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings, but the unearned run came on his own botched pickoff throw to first, which went into right field, then the run scored when Matt Downs' return throw to third was also wild. Brandon Lyon surrendered a run in 1.2 innings, and only Rhiner Cruz escaped unscathed, with a perfect 8th in mop-up duty.


*Three errors, including two on one play, made the defense look as bad as the pitching was.

*Houston's four runs today were as many (or more than) they had scored in any other two post-Break games combined.

*All four of those runs scored on Matt Downs homers - a three-run shot in the 6th, and a solo shot in the 9th. Downs added a single to go 3 for 4, and to try and make it harder to send him back to OKC whenever Wallace or others come up.

*Justin Maxwell and J.D. Martinez both went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

*Carlos Corporan singled in a pinch-hit appearance for his first Astros hit in 2012.

*Brian Bixler had a double and went 1 for 3.

*Jose Altuve was 0 for 4 for the second straight day, dropping his average (.290) to its lowest point since he was 0 for 3 after Opening Day. He's in a full-fledged slump, hitting only .187 in his last 18 games.

Turning Point:

Wandy started 9 up, 9 down, then the bottom of the 4th happened. It went like this: single, walk, single, wild pitch, walk, single, error (Martinez), double. That plated five San Diego runs, and three straight outs after that still weren't enough to keep from ending Wandy's day.

Man of the Match:

Matt Downs. Even his day wasn't flawless, as he had a hand in the two-error Little League play in the 5th. But he does deserve kudos for his first career 2 HR game, and for providing all of Houston's offense.

Goat of the Game:

Wandy Rodriguez. If you want to see him traded, this game did terrible things for his value. If you want to see the Astros keep him, this still isn't the way your veteran ace is supposed to pitch. Either way, it was a bad day all around.

Preston Tucker (finally) signs

According to the Astros official Twitter account, the team has officially signed 7th-round draft pick Preston Tucker, an outfielder out of the University of Florida. This means that Houston has officially signed all 11 of their picks from the top 10 rounds. Tucker will be joining the Short-Season Class A Tri-City ValleyCats, and making his debut at DH tonight.

While he took five days past the regular signing deadline to ink his deal, it's a bit unfair to dog Tucker for signing "late." Last year the deadline wasn't until August 15, so even now he'll get about a month more time on the field than last year's last-minute signings.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G91 - Astros @ Padres

Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.08) vs Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 7.41)

The respite was brief. While the Astros' offense matched their scoring output from the previous night's win, their pitching performance did not. Jordan Lyles was bad, Fernando Abad was worse, and it all added up to an 8-2 Astros loss. They drop to 34-57 on the season, but Colorado also lost, so Houston remains 1.5 games back from next-to-last in the league.

*Lyles just didn't have it last night, taking over 100 pitches to get through the first five innings, and never going an inning without allowing at least one hit. He made it through six, but not at all well, posting a 6 IP / 11 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 2 BB / 3 K line. Fernando Abad came on in the 7th and ran into even worse trouble, with an ugly 0.2 IP / 2 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 1 HBP line. Enerio Del Rosario hit a batter and got an out to end the 7th, then Rhiner Cruz pitched a scoreless 8th.


*Despite walking 9 times the previous night, and facing a pitcher (Ross Ohlendorf) with a 5.29 BB/9 rate coming into the game, the Astros managed only one walk (Bogusevic) this time around.

*They did steal two more bases (Schafer, Gonzalez) on San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has now caught only one of 17 would-be base stealers in 14 games this season.

*Marwin Gonzalez continues to be a man on fire since returning from the DL, going 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored. It was his third straight multi-hit game, and he's 7 for 12 (.583) over that stretch.

*J.D. Martinez returned to the starting lineup after a night off by going 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI.

*Schafer singled for Houston's only other hit, going 1 for 4 and scoring on a ground out by Carlos Corporan in the 2nd.

*The Astros struck out 12 times as a team, with Scott Moore, Bogusevic, Chris Johnson, and Schafer all fanning twice each.

Turning Point:

The score was tied at two halfway through, as Lyles had been shaky but escaped unscathed in three of four innings up to that point. The wheels really began to come off in the bottom of the 5th, however, when a lead-off fly out was following by four consecutive Padre hits, leading to two more runs and giving them the lead for good.

Man of the Match:

Marwin Gonzalez. While Jeff Luhnow said that the news on Jed Lowrie means they may look for additional help at short, Gonzalez has been nothing but solid on both sides of the ball since he and Lowrie swapped spots on the DL.

Goat of the Game:

Jordan Lyles. With Houston's offensive struggles recently, their pitching needs to pick them up like J.A. Happ did the night before. It didn't happen for Lyles last night.

PreStros Farm Report: July 17

PreStros: July 17

Oklahoma City (56-40) 

OKC rallied back from a four run deficit to beat Omaha (KC) 7-6 in 10 innings.

Paul Clemens went 4.1 innings and gave up 6 R on 8 H and 2 BB with 5 K. Mickey Storey threw 1.1 scoreless with 3 H and 1 K. Xavier Cedeno went 1 scoreless with 1 K. Juan Abreu pitched 2.1 innings with 3 K. David Carpenter threw 1 inning with 1 H and 1 K.

CF-Brandon Barnes was 2x5 with 1 3B, 1 HR, and 2 R. 2B-Jimmy Paredes was 3x5 with 1 R and 1 RBI. 1B-Brett Wallace was 3x5 with 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, and 3 RBI.

Man of the Match: Brett Wallace

*Notes: The RedHawks are now 25-24 on the road and have won 8 of their last 11 away games. OKC only has one more day game scheduled the rest of the season.

Corpus Christi (53-40) 

The Hooks scored early and often on their way to beating Midland (OAK) 9-3.

Jose Cisnero pitched 6.2 innings, allowing 2 R on 4 H and 4 BB with 8 K. Arcenio Leon threw 1.1 innings and gave up 1 R on 2 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Josh Zeid pitched 1 scoreless inning with 1 H and 1 K.

CF-Austin Wates was 2x5 with 1 BB and 1 R. 3B-Andy Simunic was 2x5 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. 2B-Jose Martinez went 2x4 with 2 BB, 1 HR, 2 R, and 3 RBI. 1B-Jon Singleton was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 2B, and 2 RBI. C-Chris Wallace went 2x3 with 2 BB, 2 R, and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Martinez

*Notes: Sunday’s one-hitter by the Hooks was their first in club history. Corpus is 35-15 since May 21.

Lancaster (50-45) 

After falling two runs behind in the first inning, the JetHawks chipped away at San Jose (SFG), eventually coming away with the 4-3 victory.

Bobby Doran went 6.1 innings and allowed 2 R on 4 H and 3 BB with 4 K. Pat Urckfitz threw 2.2 innings, allowing 1 R on 2 H with 2 K.

1B-Erik Castro was 0x1 with 3 BB. C-Roberto Pena was 2x4 with 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Roberto Pena

*Notes: The JetHawks are currently in position to advance to the playoffs as the wildcard from the South Division. Brian Streilein was released Tuesday.

Lexington (50-45) 

Lexington battled back from a 5 run deficit to beat Hagerstown (WSH) 10-7.

Luis Ordosgiotti went 5 innings and gave up 5 R on 8 H and 2 BB with 5 K. Tommy Shirley threw 2.2 innings, giving up 2 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Dayan Diaz pitched 1.1 scoreless innings with 2 BB.

1B-Zach Johnson was 2x5 with 1 2B and 1 R. 3B-Matt Duffy was 2x3 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. DH-Brandon Meredith was 2x5 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI. RF-Mike Kvasnicka was 2x5 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka

*Notes: The Legends have won seven of their last eight. Delino DeShields is hitting .368 with five home runs and 21 steals in the second half of the season.

Tri-City (21-8) 

The ValleyCats suffered a rare loss 3-2 to Lowell (BOS).

Joe Bircher went 6 scoreless innings, allowing 5 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Jeremiah Meiners threw 1.2 innings and gave up 1 R on 1 H and 2 BB with 3 K. Jamaine Cotton pitched .1 innings, giving up 2 R (1 earned) on 2 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Kenny Long threw 1 inning with 1 K.

C-Jobduan Morales was 2x3 with 1 2B, 1 HR, and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Joe Bircher

*Notes: Austin Elkins’ nickname is Catfish.

Greeneville (18-9) 

The G-Stros out muscled Pulaski (SEA) to win 13-8 as the two teams combined for 30 hits.

Richard Rodriguez threw 3 innings, allowing 1 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Christian Garcia pitched 2 innings and gave up 2 R on 3 H with 1 K. Tanner Bushue went 1 inning, giving up 3 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Euris Quezada threw 3 innings, allowing 2 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 4 K.

CF-D’Andre Toney was 3x4 with 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 R, and 2 RBI. 2B-Brian Blasik was 3x5 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI. DH-Terrell Joyce went 2x4 with 2 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI. RF-Ariel Ovando was 2x4 with 1 2B and 2 R. 1B-Jean Batista went 3x5 with 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, and 2 RBI. C-Ernesto Genoves was 2x4 with 2 2B, 1 BB, 3 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jean Batista

*Notes: Greeneville has won five in a row and seven of their last eight to pull within half a game of the West Division lead.

GCL Astros (12-14) 

The Astros gave up a late lead as they lost 5-3 to the Cardinals.

Jose Valdez threw 1 scoreless inning with 3 K. Enderson Franco threw 3.2 innings and gave up 2 R on 7 H and 3 BB with 1 K. Ricardo Batista pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with 1 H and 3 K. Juan Mojica went .2 innings, giving up 3 R on 2 H and 2 BB with 2 K. Erick Gonzalez got one out.

CF-Brett Phillips went 2x4 with 1 2B. RF-Teoscar Hernandez was 1x4 with 1 HR. C-Kenny Diaz was 2x3 with 1 RBI and was 2x2 catching attempted stealers.

Man of the Match: Kenny Diaz

*Notes: Despite hitting just .167 so far, Carlos Correa is tied for third in the league in doubles (8).

DSL Astros (12-25) 

The Astros scored first, but ultimately lost 6-1 to the Rays.

Edwin Villarroel lasted 6.1 innings, allowing 2 R on 6 H and 3 BB with 3 K. Yonquelys Martinez threw 1.2 innings and gave up 4 R on 6 H with 3 K.

1B-Mesac Leguna was 1x4 with 1 HR. 3B-Randy Cesar was 1x3 with 1 BB.

Man of the Match: Mesac Laguna

*Notes: Just 37 games into the season, the Astros are 15 games back in the Boca Chica Northwest Division.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meat Wagon update on Lowrie, Castro

Courtesy of Brian McTaggart, Zachary Levine, and the Astros' official Twitter, we learn:

*Jed Lowrie will wear a boot for a week, and will likely be out 4-6 weeks.

*Jason Castro has meniscus damage in the knee, and may have it drained tomorrow. We'll know more in 2-3 days.

Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Corporan, get comfortable. You may be here a while.

Luhnow drops hints about Wallace, Paredes

In the latest edition of McTaggart's Notebook:

*Jeff Luhnow addresses the Brett Wallace mystery directly, saying Brett will be up for the "vast majority of the remainder of the season," but injury-related and other personnel moves that "may or may not occur the rest of this month" are being evaluated first.

*In a move that Astros fans on Twitter had already been contemplating, Jimmy Paredes may be moving to the outfield, since Altuve is "going to be with us for a while," says Luhnow. They also discussed him playing short, if needed due to Jed Lowrie's injury.

*If Lowrie is out for a long while, the team may look for outside help, but in the meantime, Marwin Gonzalez is your SS1.

*Lowrie and Jason Castro will be seeing doctors in Houston today.

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

J.A. Happ (6-9, 5.14) vs Kip Wells (1-2, 2.50)

The Astros landed in San Diego with the worst road record in the league; the Padres took the field last night with the league's worst home record. "Something's gotta give," Fred Astaire said, and fortunately for Houston, that "something" was their 13-game road losing streak. Astros win, 2-0, stopping the streak one game shy of the franchise record. They're now 34-56, 1.5 games back of Colorado and San Diego for climbing out of the MLB cellar.

*J.A. Happ was rock solid on this night, proving to be just what Houston needed to snap their road skid. He was lifted when he ran into trouble in the 7th, but he still kept San Diego off the board for 6+ innings, ending with a 6.1 IP / 4 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K line. Fernando Rodriguez inherited two runners from Happ, then walked his first hitter for a baserunner of his own, but he escaped the inning with a strikeout and a fly out to preserve the shutout. Wilton Lopez allowed a hit and struck out one in the 8th, then Brett Myers did likewise in the 9th for his 19th save.


*The Astros' offense had only five hits again tonight, but they took advantage of wildness by San Diego pitching, walking 9 times. That tied Houston's season high for walks in a game, also against the Padres back on June 25 at Minute Maid.

*Houston also capitalized on the running game, exploiting Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal (6% CS) and stealing five times - Schafer twice, Altuve, Bogusevic, and Gonzalez. That was easily a season high for the Astros, besting their previous high of three steals in a game, done on six occasions.

*Jose Altuve led off the game with a double and scored both Houston runs, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a HBP.

*Scott Moore drove in Altuve both times on sac flies to left, ending up 1 for 2 with a HBP.

*Chris Johnson made the most out of the wildness by Padre pitching, going 0 for 2 with a K, but walking three times.

*Both of Schafer's steals came after walks. He'd finish 0 for 1 with a sac bunt in the 6th.

*Marwin Gonzalez was 2 for 4 for the second consecutive game since coming back off the DL, also walking once and making a pair of great plays on defense. He's looking like a solid fill-in for however long Jed Lowrie is out.

*Ultimately every Astros position player reached base at least once, with the exception of Justin Maxwell. Starting in left and batting in the cleanup spot, Maxwell went 0 for 5 with 2 K.

Turning Point:

We already talked about the bottom of the 7th, when F-Rod bailed out Happ (and himself), and Houston scored what would be the winning run on the third batter of the game. But the tone of the game was set when, after a one-out double by Alexi Amarista in the 1st, Happ retired the next 12 straight Padre hitters, until a one-out single by Logan Forsythe in the 5th. You got the feeling that he would make Houston's two early runs stand up, and as it turned out, he did.

Man of the Match:

J.A. Happ. As frustrating as he is to watch sometimes, he was the man tonight for Houston, turning in his 12th quality start in 18 outings this season.

Goat of the Game:

Justin Maxwell. The game could have been much less close with a timely hit or two from J-Max, who left 6 runners on in his at bats. Fortunately Houston's pitching staff tonight made sure that it didn't matter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kyle Weiland's season likely over

In order to make room for Carlos Corporan on the 40-man roster before today's game, Kyle Weiland was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. In the linked article, Jeff Luhnow says that they don't expect him back on the field this season, so this move effectively ends Weiland's 2012.

We also hear over here that Jason Castro could/should be back in about a week, and Jed Lowrie is on his way back to Houston for further examination to determine how long he'll be out.

Our friends at What the Heck, Bobby? put together a list of a whole slew of Minor League transactionz in Houston's farm system recently, as well. Thanks, Jayne!

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

Bud Norris (5-6, 4.71) vs Matt Cain (9-3, 2.62)

Without making the obvious and overused reference to Matt Cain's last outing against the Astros... they did better this time. But ultimately, not well enough. Houston loses, 3-2, for their 13th consecutive road loss - one shy of the franchise record. They're now 9-35 on the road, and 33-56 overall.

*Bud Norris' last appearance before his hometown crowd in San Fran was an injury-shortened debacle - 3 R in 3.1 IP back on June 12. He did much better this time around, turning in a quality start with 3 R over 6 IP, and giving Houston every opportunity to win the ballgame. But he still got tagged for the loss, with a 6 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 6 BB / 6 K line. Fernando Rodriguez and Wesley Wright teamed up for two scoreless innings in relief, with 2 H, 0 BB, and 2 K.


*Marwin Gonzalez, back from the DL in place of the fallen Jed Lowrie, provided Houston's first baserunner with a leadoff double in the 3rd, after two perfect innings by Matt Cain (*cough*). Marwin would be the only Astro with multiple hits today, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

*Chris Johnson had an RBI double in the 4th to tie the score at 2, ending his day 1 for 4 with a K.

*Jose Altuve got his 98th hit of the year, going 1 for 4, but his average still dropped to .297 - its lowest point since he was at .292 on April 13, 7 games into the season.

*Brian Bogusevic had Houston's Only Other Hit™, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

*As a team, the Astros struck out 9 times against Giants pitching, led by J.D. Martinez's 3 Ks.

*The Astros will play the Giants again August 28-30 @ MMP, but this was Houston's final game at AT&T Park as a National League franchise.

Turning Point:

After a sketchy first inning in which two Giants runs scored and they left the bases loaded, Bud settled down and the Astros battled back to tie the score by the halfway mark. But that was short-lived, as Pablo Sandoval led off the bottom of the 5th with a double and Buster Posey drove him in with a single immediately after. That set the score at 3-2, which is how the game would end.

Man of the Match:

Marwin Gonzalez. At least for today, he made sure that Houston did not miss Lowrie's bat.

Goat of the Game:

J.D. Martinez. He's generally been one of Houston's better hitters in the last month (.793 OPS since June 16), but 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts from the cleanup spot won't cut it.

Lowrie and Castro are DL-bound

No official word yet, but Zachary Levine tweets this afternoon that both Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Corporan have joined the Astros today in San Francisco. This would appear to be bad news for both Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro.

Lowrie had his knee/ankle x-rayed, but no announcement has been made yet on the extent of the damage. Gonzalez had been in OKC on rehab assignment for a heel injury, so he'll presumably be activated when Lowrie is DL'd.

Castro, meanwhile, hasn't played since July 7, as he's been experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right knee. Corporan will be making his 2012 debut with the Astros after posting a .273/.339/.422 line in 51 games for OKC this season.

EDIT: Announcements now official - Castro to DL with right knee effusion ("water on the knee"), retroactive to July 8. Lowrie to DL with right ankle sprain and peroneal nerve injury. According to Johns Hopkins, that "affects a patient's ability to lift the foot at the ankle." But it's not an ACL, so hopefully that's good news...

PreStros Farm Report: July 14

PreStros: July 14

Oklahoma City (53-40) 

The RedHawks couldn’t get anything going against New Orleans (MIA), getting shutout 8-0.

Armando Galarraga threw 5 innings, allowing 5 R on 6 H and 5 BB with 3 K. Aneury Rodriguez pitched 3 innings and gave up 3 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Jannathan Aristil went the final 2 innings with 1 H and 2 K.

3B-Matt Dominguez was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 2B. PH/LF-JB Shuck was 1x2 with 1 BB.

Man of the Match: Matt Dominguez

*Notes: Carlos Corporan currently leads all PCL catchers in CS% at 43.6 %. Angel Sanchez has a nine game hit streak. He’s hitting .433 over that stretch.

Corpus Christi (51-40) 

The Hooks dropped a wild back-and-forth game against Frisco (TEX) 11-7.

Rob Rasmussen lasted 3 innings, giving up 6 R on 8 H and 1 BB. Erick Abreu threw 2 innings, allowing 1 R on 4 H with 1 K. Henry Villar threw 2 innings, allowing 1 R on 3 H. Josh Zeid pitched 2 innings and gave up 3 R on 4 H with 2 K.

1B-Jon Singleton was 2x4 with 1 2B and 2 R. RF-Drew Locke was 2x4 with 1 R and 1 RBI. C-Chris Wallace went 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 2B. LF-Jake Goebbert was 1x3 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert

*Notes: Jose Cisnero, Jonathan Villar, and Andrew Simunic were named the CC players of the month by the Astros. Villar is expected to miss six weeks after breaking his hand punching a door.

Lancaster (47-45) 

Except for a home run by Domingo Santana, the JetHawks couldn’t get anything going as they lost 11-3 to Modesto (COL).

Jorge De Leon threw 5 innings and gave up 6 R on 9 H and 2 BB with 3 K. Pat Urckfitz pitched 2 innings, allowing 2 R on 4 H with 3 K. Kirk Clark went 1 inning, allowing 3 R on 2 H and 2 BB with 2 K. Jose Trinidad threw 1 inning with 2 H and 1 K.

CF-George Springer was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 R. 1B-Erik Castro was 2x4 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI. RF-Domingo Santana went 2x4 with 1 HR and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Domingo Santana

*Notes: Jose Trinidad, Ben Heath, and Ben Orloff were named Lancaster players of the month by the Astros. The JetHawks are second in the league in runs scored, batting average, and home runs.

Lexington (47-45) 

The excitement of the last several games finally caught up with Lexington as the Legends lost 9-4 to Hagerstown (WSH).

Juri Perez threw 4 innings and gave up 5 R on 6 H and 3 BB with 6 K. Evan Grills pitched 2 innings, allowing 3 R on 4 H with 1 K. Nathan Pettus went 3 innings and allowed 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB with 1 K.

SS-Nolan Fontana was 3x4 with 1 R. RF-Mike Kvasnicka was 2x4 with 1 R and 2 RBI. DH-Chan Moon was 2x4 with 2 2B and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka

*Notes: Mike Foltynewicz, Delino DeShields, and Zach Johnson were named Lexington players of the month by the Astros. Juri Perez made his Lexington debut in this game. In four starts this season with Tri-City Perez had a 0.76 ERA. Matt Duffy leads the league in hit by pitches (17).

Tri-City (19-7) 

The ValleyCats scored six runs in the third inning as they cruised to an 11-1 victory over Jamestown (MIA).

Aaron West lasted 6 innings, allowing 1 R on 3 H with 4 K. John Neely threw 3 scoreless innings and gave up 1 H and 2 BB with 1 K.

CF-Andrew Aplin was 1x2 with 1 BB, 1 3B, and 2 R. 2B-Austin Elkins was 2x6 with 1 2B, 3 R, and 2 RBI. 1B-Jesse Wierzbicki was 3x5 with 2 RBI. C-Tyler Heineman went 2x5 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 2 RBI. 3B-Ryan Dineen was 1x1 with 4 BB, 1 SB, and 2 R.

Man of the Match: Austin Elkins

*Notes: Andrew Aplin left the game after being hit by a pitch. No information is available yet as to the severity of the injury.

Greeneville (14-9) 


*Notes: Greeneville has moved into a tie for first with Elizabethton.

GCL Astros (11-13) 

The Astros held off a late rally to beat the Nationals 8-6.

Jose Valdez threw 1 scoreless inning, allowing 1 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Raul Rivera pitched 2 innings and gave up 2 R (1 earned) on 4 H with 1 K. Edison Frias went 4 innings and allowed 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB with 1 K. Brandon Culbreth pitched 1 inning, giving up 3 unearned runs on 2 H and 1 BB. Erick Gonzalez threw 1 scoreless inning with 1 H.

3B-Darwin Rivera was 3x4 with 1 HR, 2 R, and 3 RBI. 2B-Jose Solano was 1x4 with 1 HR and 2 R.

Man of the Match: Darwin Rivera

*Notes: The Astros pitchers are tied for most walks allowed and are next to last in strikeouts.

DSL Astros (11-24) 


*Notes: Samil De Los Santos, Randy Cesar, and Yoel Silfa were named the DSL players of the month for June by the Astros. The team is hitting just .206 on the season.

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

Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.56) vs Tim Lincecum (3-10, 6.42)

Some losses hurt more than others. This one hurt more than most. Astros tie the game (in bizarre fashion) with two outs in the 9th, keep it tied until the 12th, then Brett Myers comes in and it's all for naught. Houston loses 3-2 in 12, and lose Jed Lowrie to injury in the process. They're now 0-9 in extra innings, 0-12 in their last 12 road games, and 33-55 overall.

*Lucas Harrell gave up five hits and four walks in his five innings, but kept the damage down to only one run. His line: 5 IP / 5 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 4 BB / 4 K. Fernando Abad allowed the Giants' second run on back-to-back doubles in the 6th, but then Lyon, Del Rosario, Lopez, and Fernando Rodriguez combined for 5 scoreless to take it to the 12th. Myers came next, but he allowed three straight singles without recording an out to give San Francisco the game.


*We'll start with Jed Lowrie. He was 0 for 2 when Melky Cabrera grounded to second in the bottom of the 3rd. Lowrie's knee did unnatural things on the play, and he immediately went down in obvious, serious pain. The official announcement initially was a sprained ankle, but it's clearly more serious than that. We'll no doubt hear more about this in the coming days.

*The Astros had 7 hits and 2 walks to go against 16 strikeouts as a team.

*Justin Maxwell had Houston's only extra-base hit, a double in the 9th that drove in the Astros' first run. Maxwell went 1 for 4 with 2 K.

*The six singles went one apiece to Jordan Schafer (1 for 5, 2 K), Jose Altuve (1 for 5, 1 K), J.D. Martinez (1 for 5, 1 K), Chris Johnson (1 for 5, 1 K), Brian Bogusevic (1 for 1), and Matt Downs (1 for 2).

*Brian Bixler came in after Lowrie was injured, and he still managed to strike out three times for the second consecutive game.

*Chris Snyder (0 for 4) also struck out three times against one walk, but one of those strikeouts led to the tying run with two outs in the 9th. More on that after the jump.

Turning Point:

I don't feel like discussing Myers' latest meltdown, so we'll go instead with Houston's believe-it-or-not 9th. Santiago Casilla came in to relieve Tim Lincecum, and he started by sandwiching a Scott Moore walk between strikeouts of Martinez and Johnson. Then came Maxwell's double to right, driving in Moore, which brought Chris Snyder to the plate. Snyder struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch, but the pitch was wild and let Maxwell advance to third while Snyder ran to first. Giants catcher Hector Sanchez made an ill-advised and wild throw to first, so Snyder was safe, and Maxwell scored the tying run before Brandon Belt could get the ball back to the plate.

Man of the Match:

Justin Maxwell. His clutch double and heads-up baserunning in the 9th at least gave the Astros a chance.

Goat of the Game:

Brett Myers. Again, your closer and bullpen anchor can't do this.