Saturday, August 18, 2012

Brad Mills fired

The Astros have announced that Brad Mills, first base coach Bobby Meacham, and hitting coach Mike Barnett have all been released from their duties. Interim replacements will be announced tomorrow morning.

Pure speculation on my part is that current bench coach Joe Pettini, who was brought over by Luhnow after serving as Tony LaRussa's bench coach for several years in St. Louis, will be named head coach on an interim basis and will get every opportunity to secure the position long term.

More to come.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G121 - Astros v. Diamondbacks

Patrick Corbin (4-4, 3.41) vs Jordan Lyles (2-9, 5.47)

Yikes. Well... the Astros were much more efficient on offense today, turning 7 hits into 4 runs, aided by a pair of homers. The most offensive part of Houston's game tonight, though, was their pitching. A 9-run 5th powered the D-backs to a 12-3 victory, handing the Astros their 82nd defeat in 2012, and assuring Houston of their fourth straight losing season. It's the first time that the Astros have had a losing record for even three straight seasons since the franchise's fledgling years, 1962-1968.

*Jordan Lyles and the Astros would really love to take back that 5th inning. Lyles had only given up one run on four hits and a walk going into the 5th, but then he suddenly couldn't get anybody out. He allowed six straight base runners before leaving the game, to finish with this line: 4 IP / 8 H / 7 R / 5 ER / 3 BB / 4 K. No one in the bullpen was any better tonight, as all three relievers allowed at least one run a piece: Xavier Cedeno, 2 R (0 ER) in 0.2 IP; Chuckie Fick, 2 R (2 ER) in 2.1 IP; and Rhiner Cruz, 1 R (1 ER) in 2 IP.


*The Astros only left three runners on base tonight, versus nine for Arizona. The D-Backs obviously had more margin for error, though...

*Tyler Greene led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a solo HR and 2 RBI. He's hitting .370 (10 for 27) with 2 HR in 8 games with Houston so far.

*Chris Snyder also homered, a 2-run shot, to go 1 for 3 with 2 RBI.

*Jose Altuve doubled and walked to go 1 for 3 with a run scored.

*Brett Wallace got a start against tonight's lefty and capitalized, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

*Wallace and Altuve also committed errors on defense, the latter of which came in that ugly Arizona 5th and led to four unearned runs.

*Steve Pearce singled for the 7th hit and finished 1 for 4.

Turning Point:

The Astros were leading 3-1 after four innings, then this happened: double, wild pitch, walk, single (run), single (run), walk, single (run), Lyles out. Cedeno in, walk (run), Altuve error (two runs), strike out, strike out, Cedeno out. Fick in, home run (three runs), pop up. After it was all (mercifully) over, Arizona had plated 9 runs on 5 hits, to take a commanding 10-3 lead.

Man of the Match:

Tyler Greene. His Astros career is still in its infancy, but at least so far, he's making the most of Jeff Luhnow's vote of confidence.

Goat of the Game:

Jordan Lyles. Remember that only 7 of the 21 pitchers so far for the rookie ball Greeneville Astros are younger than Jordan this season. That said... he had a bad night tonight.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G120 - Astros v. Diamondbacks

Wade Miley (12-8, 3.02) vs Dallas Keuchel (1-4, 5.29)

The Astros returned home for their latest Flashback Friday, donning again their old blue & gold uniforms that saw two walk-off wins the previous weekend. They couldn't recapture any of that magic, however, and Chris Johnson's new team got the 3-1 win. Houston loses their 81st game, against 39 wins.

*Dallas Keuchel delivered his third consecutive quality start, but was the all-too-familiar victim of poor run support. It's unsurprising that Keuchel's results have improved as his control has improved; he's thrown better than 64% of his pitches for strikes in those last three starts, after never breaking 60% in any of the preceding five games. Kid Keuchy's line tonight: 6.2 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 3 K. Fernando Rodriguez went 1.1 and allowed a run on back-to-back doubles in the 8th, before Wilton Lopez pitched a perfect 9th.


*It was a night of missed opportunities for the Astros, as they outhit Arizona 11-6 but still only managed one run. Going 2 for 11 with RISP and leaving 11 runners on base will do that for you.

*Marwin Gonzalez had a double for Houston's only extra base hit, going 1 for 3, and he scored their only run.

*Tyler Greene went 1 for 3 and drove in Gonzalez on a sac fly in the 5th.

*Jose Altuve went 2 for 5 for his third straight multi-hit game, raising his average to .306 - the highest it's been since he was at .308 on July 1. He also likely saved two runs on defense with a great diving catch in the 7th.

*Ben Francisco also had a multi-hit game, singling twice to go 2 for 4.

*Dallas Keuchel got his first big league hit on a single in the 2nd. He went 1 for 2.

*Brett Wallace came in on a double switch in the 7th and went 1 for 2, but he started the night on the bench due to Wade Miley's left-handedness. Steve Pearce started at 1B in his place and went 0 for 5 with 2 K as the Astros' cleanup hitter.

Turning Point:

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th, the Astros started the inning with a Justin Maxwell walk and a Ben Francisco single, putting the tying runs on base with no out. Brandon Barnes botched a sacrifice bunt, however, popping the bunt to Chris Johnson in foul ground for the first out. Jason Castro flew out to left and Brian Bogusevic struck out thereafter to end Houston's last, best scoring threat.

Man of the Match:

Dallas Keuchel. If he can keep his control under control like this, that means good things for Houston's future.

Goat of the Game:

Steve Pearce. He left five runners on base by himself; even one hit and this could have been a very different game.

Friday, August 17, 2012

PreStros Farm Report: August 16

Little late on this today. So let's do this...

Oklahoma City (65-60)

Oklahoma City's short-lived win streak (2 games) came to an end with a 5-1 loss to Fresno last night. Rudy Owens took the loss with 5.2IP, 5H/2ER, 2K:2BB to lower his ERA to 5.53, throwing 102 pitches (61 strikes). Brian Sanches got four outs with seemingly no trouble, and Garrett Mock gave up 3H/3ER, 3K:2BB in 2IP.

The RedHawks got five hits, none with runners in scoring position, and only one extra-base hit - a double by Jimmy Paredes.

Man of the Match: Rudy Owens, I guess.

Corpus (69-53)

With a 5-1 win last night at Arkansas, the Hooks improved to 69-53 overall, and 32-20 in the 2nd half, maintaining a 5-game lead over San Antonio. Bobby Doran threw 7IP, allowing just 3H/1ER, 6K:2BB. Jake Buchanan closed it out with the final six outs, allowing a hit and a walk.

Bobby Borchering (2B, 3B, BB, 2RBI) and Ben Orloff (2B) had your multi-hit games. Austin Wates (SB) and Drew Locke (HR, 2RBI) provided the rest of your offense. George Springer went 0x5 with 3K, to give him a .077/.200/.154 line in four games since being called up to Corpus.

Man of the Match: Bobby Doran

Lancaster (62-60)

Nick Tropeano had a solid start, but three errors contributed to three unearned runs for a 5-4 loss to High Desert. Tropeano threw 6.2IP, 7H/3R (1ER), 5K:0BB, 2WP; Chia-Jen Lo struck out three, giving up a hit in 1IP; Kenny Long struck out the only batter he faced, and Andrew Robinson took the loss by allowing 0H/1R (0ER), 0K:1BB.

The JetHawks had their chances, but went 1x11 w/RISP. Jio Mier was 2x3 with a double and a walk; Telvin Nash hit his 25th homer of the year in the 6th inning; Delino DeShields was 1x2 with a double, two walks, an error and was thrown out trying to steal 3rd.

Man of the Match: Nick Tropeano.

Lexington (67-55)

Lexington managed three hits, no runs, and two errors in a 5-0 loss at Rome. Luis Ordosgoitti threw 5.2IP, 7H/5R (3ER), 3K:3BB; Mitchell Lambson threw 1.1IP, giving up a hit, and Dayan Diaz threw a perfect inning.

Chan Moon went 2x3 with a walk and a stolen base; Justin Gominsky had your other hit, to go along with two walks, a pickoff, and a caught stealing. Jordan Kreke and Zach Johnson also drew walks.

Man of the Match: Chan-Jong Moon.

Tri-City (42-14)

Another night, another win for the ValleyCats who move to 28 games over .500 after 56 games. Lance Day improved to 5-0 after giving up five hits and one earned run in 5.1IP; Euris Quezada, Scott Zuloaga, Jamaine Cotton, and Blake Ford (with his 14th save) held Brooklyn to three hits and a walk over the final 3.2IP.

Jean Carlos Batista was 2x3 with a double in his first game at Tri-City (having been called-up from Greeneville); Dan Gulbransen and Emilio King (2-run HR) had 2RBI each.

Man of the Match: Jean Batista!

Greeneville (30-26)

Bristol scored three in the top of the 5th, which was all they needed for a 3-2 win over Greeneville, despite the Gastros out-hitting Bristol 8-4. Michael Feliz allowed 2H/3ER on four walks, but he also struck out eight Bristols in 4.2IP. Christian Garcia threw three scoreless innings, and J.J. Jankowski struck out two of the four batters he faced.

Mike Martinez and Ariel Ovando were both 2x4, with Ovando plating a run. Carlos Correa was 1x4 with an RBI triple (and is now hitting .412/.500/.647 in five games with Greeneville). Angel Ibanez, Marc Wik, and Ricky Gingras also added hits while D'Andre Toney drew a walk and stole his 12th base.

Man of the Match: Ariel Ovando.

GCL Astros (25-26)

Suspended due to lightning.

That 26-game road trip

Thanks to a tweet from the Houstorian (an excellent Twitter feed), we were reminded that it was 20 years ago today that the Astros had to embark on a month-long road trip, due to the Republican National Convention's attendance at the Astrodome.

Some thoughts on that '92 Road Trip:

*The 1992 Astros flew 9,024 miles on the road trip (Houston to Atlanta to Cincinnati to Los Angeles to San Diego to San Francisco to Chicago to St. Louis to Philadelphia to Houston)

*They went 12-14 in those 26 games. Which is funny, because the Astros have won 12 road games all season, in 60 tries.

*They won more extra-innings games (2) in those 26 games than the 2012 Astros have all year (1).

*While the Astros weren't exactly in the race to begin the road trip (5th place, 14.5 games back), they did lose 4.5 games on the division leader Braves.

*Houston pitcher Jimmy Jones went 3-1 on the trip, with a 3.82 ERA.

*Craig Biggio hit .326/.434/.411, with 8K:15BB and seven stolen bases.

*Jeff Bagwell hit .269/.363/.441 with nine extra-base hits, 17 RBI, 12K:14BB.

Biggest difference between the 2012 Astros and 2003 Tigers?

Phil Garner took the opportunity of talking to David Barron to rip the Tigers (whom he managed in 2000 and 2001), and Drayton McLane.

On the Tigers:
“Not only were we not very good, we had some guys who were not very good people. We needed to change things, but ownership resisted. When you get to this point, you have to clean house, and you have to hope that as you get younger, you improve your talent pool."

On Drayton:
"I always got a kick out of Drayton (McLane) comparing himself to Atlanta. The Astros always did things right at the major league level, but Drayton cheated the minor league system. You need an owner committed to the minor league system and an owner who understands that this isn’t an exact science.”

BOOM! That's a fired shot right there - but also a solid, solid point.

Crane sort of had an idea this would happen

David Barron talked to a sharply-dressed Jim Crane before the Wives Gala last night:

“It is what it is. We knew the team was bad, and we knew the minor league system was bad."

We also learn that there will be some September Call-Ups in the form of auditions, and talks uniforms. So click that link.

Kevin Comer would like to think he's the key to the Toronto deal

The Cherry Hill Courier Post talked to newStro Kevin Comer, and he was quite surprised by yesterday's events:

“How fast it happened was ridiculous. I wasn’t even here a whole season and now I’m gone. I’d like to think I was a key part of the deal. The Blue Jays were looking for immediate help and Houston is looking to build for the future. I hope I can be a building block for the Astros.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Around the Toronto blog reaction

Whenever a trade goes down involving the Astros, we like to check out the other team's bloggers, just to get a more honest reaction. The Blue Jays' bloggers brought it. Hard.

Drunk Jays Fans:
I’m pretty sure if you’d told me eight months ago that the Jays made this trade I’d have puked my f***ing guts out. Ugh.

Commenter BlueJayWay:
Either a mistake was made in taking Comer with the pick they did last year and signing overslot, or they overpaid in this trade here. Either way….ugh. What happened to our Greek genius?

Commenter Tercet:
The most amazing thing is that we spent roughly 3 million on comer, wojo, and musgrove as supplmental picks. Then we trade them for garbage..

BlueBird Banter:
I, along with many other commenters here, thought that the PTBNL would be some organizational depth guy or maybe a few thousand dollar bills. Losing Kevin Comer in that deal seems to make the price a little too steep to me.

Astros receive Kevin Comer as Toronto's PTBNL

According to pitcher Joe Musgrove, who himself came to the Astros from Toronto, the Astros have acquired pitcher Kevin Comer to complete the ten-player trade. (Update: Confirmed by Keith Law)

Comer, 20 years old and a 6'3" 205lb RHP, was a Blue Jays 1st Supplemental Round pick (#57 overall) in 2011.

In ten games (seven starts) for Appalachian League Bluefield, Comer is 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA/1.18 WHIP, with 29K:8BB, 4HR in 43.1IP.

Comer was committed to Vanderbilt, but was a deadline over-slot signing by the Blue Jays for $1.65m. Within this link, Comer describes his pitching arsenal (it's a long interview, be sure to click the link):
Right now what I’m working with is a four-seam, which I’ve been told has topped out at 94 MPH. Then I have a two-seam around 90-91 MPH that I’ve changed up over the summer and have moving more like a sinker now, and that’s been helping me out. I actually just developed a changeup over the winter, which is nice to have, and it’s really working well for me. It’s got a lot of drop on it and comes in around 82-83 MPH. Then I have a spike curveball as my last pitch, and that is normally my out pitch. I can throw it big and looping or hard, but most of the time I’m throwing it as hard as I can [laughs]. I’ll throw that anywhere from 76-80 MPH.

Quick note: In the linked Law tweet, he says Comer's velocity on his fastball is down to the upper-80s. also has an interview with Comer.

For his Philadelphia-area high school in 2010, Comer struck out 63 batters in 42.1IP, with 13BB.

Comer is listed by as the Blue Jays' 11th-ranked prospect:
Pitching in the Northeast, he’s unpolished, but he does have a plus fastball, signs of a plus curve and even a feel for a changeup. The Blue Jays drafted a number of high-ceiling high school arms in the 2011 Draft, and Comer could end up being the best of the lot.

John Sickels writes:
A cold-weather high school guy, he throws in the upper-80s currently, but scouts believe he will throw harder in time. His curveball and changeup have promise, and he's done a good job throwing strikes and keeping the ball down in his pro debut.

He'll move from Blueville to Greeneville, where he'll join old teammate Joe Musgrove, as well as Adrian Houser and Lance McCullers.

Alyson Footer is currently ripping Jeff Pearlman a new one and Jeff Pearlman are having a friendly discussion

If you head over to Alyson Footer's twitter feed, you'll find that she is taking Jeff Pearlman (he of the unsourced "Houston was a hotbed for PED use" argument).

Pearlman tweeted late last night:
What!? Melky Cabrera—an otherwise mediocre player who suddenly morphed into Ken Griffey, Jr.—cheated? I'm shocked! Shocked!

To which Footer replied:
As Lance Berkman once said, when a player does something that seems super-human, there’s usually a reason.

And Pearlman wrote back:
But weren't you upset on my Bagwell take, [Alyson]?

The tweets, organized in an easier-to-read manner:
One has nothing to do with the other. My issue with your take on Bags, and a lot of other writers’ takes as well, is how forcefully you call him out, with no proof. Yet I’ve read interviews you’ve conducted with former players on your blog where you proclaim them innocent of any PED use because, well, you just know THEY never used. It’s comical. You don’t know.

We'll update this if it continues but it's interesting that Pearlman decided to turn the conversation to Bagwell when Footer was clearly staying well away from it.

Update: Alyson Footer responded:
"Hate to disappoint but I’m not ripping him a new anything…Jeff & I are friends. He knows my stance on this."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G119 - Astros @ Cubs

Bud Norris (5-9, 4.93) vs Justin Germano (1-2, 3.28)

Houston's final games as a National League franchise will come at Wrigley Field in October. After today's game, Bud Norris and the Astros were likely only too grateful to bid adieu to the Friendly Confines until then. Astros lose 7-2, dropping to 39-80 overall.

*Bud Norris and Wrigley Field do not mix well in 2012. On June 29, he started here in his return from the DL, but he gave up 3 HR and took the loss. Today, he gave up another 3 HR, and left the game after taking a line drive off his left foot. Bud's numbers: 3.1 IP / 8 H / 6 R / 6 ER / 3 BB / 4 K. Chuckie Fick allowed an unearned run on a passed ball in 2.1 innings of work. Xavier Cedeno, Mickey Storey, and Wesley Wright combined for 2.1 innings scoreless thereafter.


*A day after every Astro starter got a hit or an RBI, four Astros were responsible for all of Houston's 7 hits and 2 runs today.

*Scott Moore had the biggest impact, starting at 3B against his former team. Moore went 2 for 4 with a home run, and scored both of the Astros runs. 

*Brandon Barnes went 1 for 3 and drove in Moore on a double play grounder in the 7th.

*Jose Altuve went 3 for 4, but never factored in the scoring because the next three guys after him went a combined 0 for 9 with 2 K.

*Brian Bogusevic went 1 for 2 after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the 7th.

Turning Point:

Bud Norris entered the 4th already trailing 4-1, but Wrigley was playing like a hitter's park, so Houston hoped to climb back in the game. Bud got Steve Clevenger to ground to first for the first out, but then he walked pitcher Justin Germano. David DeJesus already had a home run off Norris in the previous inning, but he launched another to center field to make the score 6-1. Five pitches later, Josh Vitters singled off Bud's left foot, adding injury to insult and sending him to an early shower.

Man of the Match:

Scott Moore. He's now 7 for 13 (.538) with two home runs and three doubles in three games against the Cubs this season.

Goat of the Game:

Bud Norris. He's had more good starts lately than bad, but he didn't have it at all today.

Derrick Goold isn't backing down

The source of the Red Mist which Descended O'er Mine Eyes yesterday, Derrick Goold, isn't backing down from how the Astros aren't respecting the competitive nature of Base Ball.

The 2nd link takes you to the Comments section of Goold's post, where he stands by his premise:

I think you could make the case that the current Astros are 119-losses bad. They may not get there because they played a few months before the Grand Sell-Off. But as the team is setup right now, can you think of a worse team you've seen in the past decade? The badminton example was of a team trying to throw games as strategy. Clearly, the Astros aren't doing that -- but the are losing games, they are aware that they aren't competitive (see Luhnow's letter to season ticket holders), and they will impact the standings as a result. I'm not a Cardinals fan. I'm a baseball fan. That's why I wonder ... Is this good for baseball? It's obviously good for the Cardinals (or should be). But it's not good for the league. That's just me. Call it contrived or ludicrous if you want. I just felt it should be discussed.

And to another commenter:
Maybe baseball should care about an overmatched team tilting the playoff picture.

2011 was the first time since 2003 that the Pirates didn't finish in 5th or 6th in the NL Central. Since 1994 (18 full seasons), the Pirates finished in last or next-to-last in the division 12 times. What's better for baseball? A team that bumbles its way through free agency, drafting and developing for a generation, or a team that blows it up for half a season in order to get better as quickly as possible?

If I was Selig, I'd get a stylist. Then a publicist. But then I'd look at this question. Any Pirates fan will tell you that the sun had not risen in Pittsburgh since 1992 - (quick aside: When we throw out some sort of snarky tweet about losing, there are a number of Pirates fans that say, "Hey, don't talk to me about losing!" They're the Uphill-Both-Ways-Through-Knee-Deep-Snow fans. It's almost like they're so insecure about winning that they keep reminding us about what it means to REALLY lose.) - until this past April. Yet the Pirates impacted eighteen pennant races. The Astros have negatively impacted two (2011 and 2012).

Baseball is a zero-sum game. A team wins and a team loses. For a team to win 100 games, there has to be 100 instances of another team losing to that team. It's not bad for baseball, it's bad for that franchise, and it's bad for that franchise's fans. If MLB stayed out of how the Pirates ran themselves from 1993-2010, there's no reason to mess with the Astros.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G118 - Astros @ Cubs

Lucas Harrell (9-8, 3.97) vs Chris Volstad (0-8, 6.94)

The NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds have a .603 winning percentage this season - that means, basically, the Reds have won three out of every five games they've played this year. Right now, for this moment, at least for the last five days, the Astros can make the same claim. Houston demolished the Cubs by a 10-1 margin, they've officially exceeded in August their win total from all of July, and they improved to 39-79 overall.

*Lucas Harrell became the Astros' first double-digit winner this season, notching his 10th victory on the strength of another very impressive outing. His eight innings today marked his second-longest start of the season, as he finished with a 8 IP / 6 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K line. Rhiner Cruz walked one and struck out one as he pitched a scoreless 9th.


*Huge day for the Astros on offense, led by three home runs and 14 hits. Those 14 hits were their most since July 20 in a 13-8 loss at Arizona. The three homers were their most since June 25 in a 8-7 loss to San Diego.

*The 9-run margin of victory made this Houston's second biggest blowout of 2012, trailing only their 12-0 win over the Dodgers way back on April 22.

*Houston's first homer came off the bat of Brett Wallace - a three-run shot to deep center in the 3rd that might not yet have landed. Wally finished 1 for 5.

*The second home run of the night was another titanic three-run shot, this one in the 6th off the bat of Fernando Martinez. It was F-Mart's first homer as an Astro, and he finished 1 for 4.

*Scott Moore had the third home run, a solo shot in the 7th, and he added two doubles to go 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.

*Jose Altuve also had a pair of doubles and went 3 for 5, with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.

*Tyler Greene started again at short and went 2 for 5 with a run scored from the lead-off spot.

*Brian Bogusevic matched Greene's line exactly, going 2 for 5 with a run scored.

*Every Houston starter - including Harrell - had at least one hit, except for Brandon Barnes, who went 0 for 4. But Barnes still had a RBI, reaching on an error by Starlin Castro and scoring on Martinez' HR.

Turning Point:

Leading 1-0 after a pair of doubles in the 1st, that score held for Houston until the top of the 3rd. Harrell started the inning by striking out, but Tyler Greene and Jose Altuve followed with back-to-back singles. That brought up Brett Wallace, who completely destroyed Chris Volstad's 2-2 curveball to stake the Astros to an early 4-0 lead. The Cubs would not get a hit until Volstad singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning, so it was clear that the deficit meant that Chicago was in trouble.

Man of the Match:

Lucas Harrell. The offense was outstanding tonight, but Harrell made sure that not much would be needed.

Goat of the Game:

Everybody contributed tonight. No goat!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"The integrity of the competition"

You know, to say that St. Louis media seemingly spends its spare time saying that Jeff Luhnow wasn't the reason for the Cardinals' success, they spend an awful lot of time talking about Jeff Luhnow and the Astros.

Take, for example, Derrick Goold's column today. Read it. Read the tortured prose, the "wait, is this fair? Is this right?" tone, and weep for your children's children.

In this column, the Astros are compared to those Olympic badminton teams "for making a mockery of the competition and purposefully throwing matches to set up better matchups later in the tournament." The 2012 Astros are even compared to the Marlins. And those, my friends, are fighting words.

It seems as though, from reading through the article 8-10 times, that what the Astros have done was not just necessary, but unfair. And if that sounds weird to you, then it should.

Their roster is laced with September callups and its only August.

The "integrity of the competition" phrase is bandied about. Defender of the honor of Base Ball, Charlie Manuel, didn't play a lineup of scrubs against the Braves during the final series of the 2011 season. Why, it's almost as though the insinuation is that the Astros are tanking on purpose. They're not. At no point during the losing streak that encompassed July (and my soul) did anyone say, "Hey I think the Astros are losing these games on purpose." It is almost impossible to lose 34 out of 38 and no one accuse you of cheating. Yet, that's exactly what the Astros did, and no one accused them of cheating because, clearly, they weren't. They're just experiencing the the result of four years of needed rebuilding taking place over the course of six weeks.

Perhaps it would have been better for Base Ball had the Astros not traded everyone making seven figures for prospects. Because if you have Wandy on the mound, and Carlos Lee at first, you'll win 100 games and keep things "fair." No. What the Marlins did following the 1997 World Series was flat-out theft. What the Astros are now doing is necessary.

Goold lists the contenders' remaining games vs. Houston, and notes that the Cardinals still have nine games left with the Astros. He also notes that the Cardinals haven't exactly taken care of their business. Which isn't the Astros' fault. As a fan of the Astros, .000 is not just Armando Galarraga's winning percentage; It's also the number of ruby-red rat sh*ts I give about how Luhnow's rebuilding plan affects other teams in the National League.

Everyone should take care of their own business. If the Cardinals are a contender, then they should beat the Astros in 2012. The randomness of baseball aside, if you can't take a three-game series from the Astros in September, you shouldn't be booking flights to Washington in October.

I won't fault the Astros for taking care of their own business. If teams don't like it, beat them. It shouldn't be all that hard, for now.

McTaggart's minor-league updates

Brian McTaggart posted his minor-league notebook, where we find that:

-Delino DeShields will be 20 years old tomorrow.
-Bobby Borchering (acquired in the Chris Johnson trade) was moved by Arizona from 3B to OF. Now the Astros are moving him back. Oh yes, and he hurt his ankle.
-George Springer was hit in the head by a stray pitch last Friday, and hasn't played since, with the Astros making sure he doesn't have a concussion.
-Fernando Abad is being moved - once again - back to the rotation. By my count, this is the fourth time his role has changed in the last two seasons.
-Jarred Cosart has been sent to Kissimmee with a continuation of his blister issues, but could return to OKC before the end of the season. Due to this, it's hard to see him as a September call-up...

PreStros Morning Report: August 13

Oklahoma City (63-59)

The losing continues for OKC - 10 straight and counting - as Sacramento scored the final four runs of the game in an 8-5 win over the RedHawks. Jose Cisnero lasted 2IP, allowing 5H/4R (2ER), 3K:1BB; Sergio Perez was charged with a third unearned run in his 3.2IP; Brian Sanches took the Brandon Lyon (BS/L) with 1H/1ER, 0K:2BB in 1.2IP. Jose Valdez allowed 3H/2ER, with the rare 4Ks in 1IP. Mark Hamburger faced one batter and got two outs to close the game. Landon Powell, Jose Valdez, and manager Tony DeFrancesco (whom Subber10 noted has perhaps lost the clubhouse) were all ejected in the 8th inning by home plate umpire Stephen Barga.

J.B. Shuck led the way with a 3x5, RBI night; Marc Krauss was 2x4, and Matt Downs was 1x5 with 2RBI. Mike Hessman hit his 30th homer of the season in the 2nd inning. Brian Bixler drew a walk and got a hit, scoring both times he reached base.

Man of the Match: J.B. Shuck.

Corpus (68-52)

A three-run 2nd inning by Springfield was all they needed, in a 5-2 win over Corpus to avoid the sweep. Paul Clemens gave up 9H/3ER, 3K:2BB with two wild pitches for the loss. Kevin Chapman threw 1.2IP, giving up 2H/0ER and striking out three. Jason Stoffel gave up 2ER on 3H in 1.1IP.

Jake Goebbert (2B) and Andy Simunic (2B) had your multi-hit games, while Jon Singleton got a double and a walk. The Hooks were 2x9 w/RISP and left six in scoring position with two outs.

Man of the Match: Uhhh, how about Jake Goebbert? I like him.

Lancaster (61-58)


Lexington (66-53)

Lexington scored two runs in the top of the 9th, but the comeback bid ultimately failed in a 4-3 loss at Savannah. SP Chris Devenski made his second start for the Legends (after coming over from Kannapolis in the Brett Myers trade), and went 5IP, with 6H/4ER, 5K:4BB. Tommy Shirley threw three scoreless innings, allowing three hits, with 5K:2BB.

C.J. Moon was 2x5 with an RBI; Matt Duffy and Jobduan Morales had your other hits; while Brandon Meredith drew two walks and Justin Gominsky drew three walks on the night. Jay Austin was 0x3 with a walk and 2 GIDPs as the Legends were 1x11 with RISP.

Man of the Match: Justin Gominsky.

Tri-City (40-14)

Off. All-Star Break.

Greeneville (28-25)


GCL Astros (23-26)

The GCL Astros won a wild one over the GCL Cardinals, 11-10, after scoring the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the 8th after the GCL Cardinals overcame a 6-run Astros' 2nd inning. Kyle Hallock continued his rehab with 2H/0ER in 1IP; Enderson Franco gave up a nutso 12H/6ER with 4K in 5IP; Ambiorix De Leon had an Ugly, with 6H/4ER in 0.1IP. Gera Sanchez took the win with 2H/0ER in 2.2IP.

Catcher Alfredo Gonzalez was 3x4 with a double; 2B Yoel Silfa made his Stateside debut and went 2x3 with a double and 4RBI; Edwin Gomez (RBI) and Darwin Rivera (2RBI) had two hits each, and Brett Phillips was 1x3 with two walks, an RBI, and his 7th stolen base of the season.

Man of the Match: Yoel Silfa.

Monday, August 13, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G117 - Astros @ Cubs

Armando Galarraga (0-2, 4.70) vs Jeff Samardzija (7-10, 4.21)

A return to the road and to the old (new) uniforms felt like a return to the 2012 Astros we've come to expect the last two months. The slumping Cubs beat the Astros 7-1, dropping Houston to 38-79 on the season.

*Armando Galarraga is going to come in handy for Houston late in the season as the team looks to limit the innings on some of their younger arms. That's a good thing for his job security, because he certainly hasn't pitched very well for the Astros yet. Victimized by a pair of two-run homers, Galarraga's line: 5 IP / 7 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 2 BB / 2 K. The bullpen didn't do terribly much better, as Rhiner Cruz and Xavier Cedeno each allowed a run as they combined for the final three innings of work.


*After averaging 7.6 hits per game over the just-completed homestand, the Astros only scratched out four hits tonight against Cubs pitching.

*Brandon Barnes made his first appearance in a game since Thursday, pinch hitting for Galarraga in the 6th, but he made it a memorable one, launching his first big league home run into the Wrigley bleachers in left.

*Jason Castro returned from the DL, playing in his first Astros game since July 7, going 1 for 4 with three strikeouts.

*Tyler Greene started again and went 1 for 4 with 2 K.

*Justin Maxwell singled and stole a base to go 1 for 4 with 2 K.

*Jose Altuve went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, but he also walked once and stole his 25th base of the season.

Turning Point:

Already down 3-0, Houston went to the bottom of the 5th still hoping to climb back into the game. After a lead-off ground out by Josh Vitters, Anthony Rizzo singled and Alfonso Soriano blasted Chicago's second two-run homer of the night, putting the Astros in a 5-0 hole. Having only managed two singles to that point themselves, it was unsurprising that the deficit would be insurmountable for Houston.

Man of the Match:

Brandon Barnes. He only got one at bat, but it was still a big game for the 26-year-old rookie.

Goat of the Game:

Armando Galarraga. He's yet to go more than 5.1 innings in an Astros uniform, and his ERA has risen with each start (now 5.75).

Kody Hinze released

We'll have more on this in a bit, but the Astros have released Kody Hinze, according to Greg Rajan.

PreStros Morning Report: August 12

Oklahoma City (63-58)

The RedHawks recent slide continues with a 3-1 loss vs. Sacramento yesterday. It was their 9th loss in a row, and their 13th loss in their last 14 games. Ross Seaton took the hard-luck loss, giving up 6H/2R (1ER), with 3K:2BB in 7IP. Hector Ambriz allowed a very symmetrical 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB in 2IP.

As far as the offense goes, the RedHawks managed seven hits - four of them from J.D. Martinez and two from Matt Downs, who hit his first homer for OKC in the 4th inning.

Man of the Match: J.D. Martinez

Corpus (68-51)

Good God. Springfield had a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the 6th before the Hooks clapped up a 12-run inning on their way to a 20-9 win. Matt Heidenreich allowed 5H/5R (3ER), 3K:0BB in 5.1IP; Alex Sogard got the blown save - unbelievably - with an unearned run in 0.2IP; Adalberto Flores gave up 2H/3ER, 2K:2BB in 2IP to inflate his ERA to 6.98, while Arcenio Leon walked one in 1IP.

Okay, for the hits: Ben Orloff was 5x5 with a double, triple, and 4RBI. Jon Singleton hit two homers and drew a walk, for 4RBI. Austin Wates was 3x3 with 2RBI; Robbie Grossman was 3x4 with two doubles and a walk. Drew Locke was 2x5 with a homer and a walk. Enrique "Kike" Hernandez was 2x5 with 2GIDPs.

Man of the Match: Ben Orloff.

Lancaster (61-58)

The JetHawks scored the final three runs of the game for a 3-2 win over San Jose. David Martinez threw 7IP, allowing 7H/2ER, 5K:1BB; Andrew Robinson allowed three baserunners in his 1.2IP (but no runs). Kenny Long walked the only batter he faced, but Jorge De Leon struck out the only batter he faced to end the game.

Delino DeShields was 2x5 (hitting .357 since his call-up from Lexington), and Telvin Nash was 2x4. The JetHawks didn't get an extra-base hit all game, but the RBIs from Erik Castro and Domingo Santana helped them get the win.

Man of the Match: David Martinez

Lexington (66-52)


Tri-City (40-14)

The ValleyCats headed into the All-Star Break with a 6-5 win over Staten Island Sunday. Brady Rodgers improved to 6-2 with 5IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB; Jamaine Cotton allowed 2H/4R (3ER), 1K:4BB in 1IP; John Neely and Travis Ballew held the SI Yankees scoreless over the final three innings (though Neely allowed all three baserunners he inherited to score).

Players with two hits: Tyler Heineman, Preston Tucker (2B, HR, RBI), M.P. Cokinos (2B, 3B, BB, 2RBI), Neiko Johnson (RBI, 2SBs), and Emilio King (2B). Joe Sclafani and Dan Gulbransen had a hit and walk each.

Man of the Match: M.P. Cokinos

Greeneville (28-25)

Princeton got a run in the 4th inning, which was all they needed in a 1-0 win over the Gastros. Lance McCullers made his 2nd start for Greeneville, and put up 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 4IP (in two starts - 8IP - McCullers has allowed 3H/1ER, 5K:5BB). Joe Musgrove allowed 4H/0ER, with 6K:0BB in 3.1IP. Scott Zuloaga and J.J. Jankowski each recorded an out.

Greeneville got five hits all game, two from Carlos Correa and two from Ariel Ovando. Rio Ruiz provided the other hit.

Man of the Match: Lance McCullers

GCL Astros (22-26)


Tyler Kepner on Crane and the Astros

The New York Times' Tyler Kepner has a solid piece on Jim Crane and the Astros.

Among the creamy nougat center...

Crane, on the actual housecleaning:
“I went through the whole building. I went through every closet. I hauled 14 trailers of junk out of here, just stuff that had piled up. I said, ‘Why is this here?’ Well, nobody had ever cleaned it out. It needed a housecleaning. I can drive an 18-wheeler, so I can back the truck in there if I have to.”

Ed Wade had the depth charts of all 30 MLB teams on his office wall. Jeff Luhnow took them out:
“That board was in the office that I inherited back in December, and one of the first things I did was ask them to take it out. Depth charts are something that I can get online at the stroke of a button.”

Ultimately, there is a lot in the article that gives some insight into how the Astros are thinking, such as avoiding the idea that players can be hot or cold, potential colors, how long the rebuild might take, and Crane saying "We're bigger than Dallas." Which is awesome.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G116 - Astros v. Brewers

Yovani Gallardo (10-8, 3.79) vs Jordan Lyles (2-8, 5.69)

For the third consecutive game, the Astros wore their blue & gold throwback uniforms, and for the third straight time, they found themselves trailing in the late innings. For the third time, as well, Houston mounted a late comeback, but this time, they fell just short. Astros lose 5-3, dropping to 38-78 overall, but they still come away with their first series win since the end of June.

*Jordan Lyles delivered seven strong innings for his second start in a row. He did allow four runs, but only two were earned, as the other two scored on a Marwin Gonzalez error amidst a 5th inning in which Milwaukee never got the ball out of the infield. Jordan's line: 7 IP / 8 H / 4 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 5 K. Mickey Storey took over for Lyles in the 8th, and he pitched generally well for the final two innings, but he was burned on a walk followed by a double - the only hit he allowed - which produced the Brewers' fifth run.


*Tyler Greene started at second for Jose Altuve (who got a scheduled day off), and he acquitted himself well again, going 2 or 4 with a double and a run scored.

*Marwin Gonzalez made the costly error in the 5th, but he was also Houston's biggest star on offense today, going 2 for 5 with a double, driving in the Astros' first two runs and scoring the third.

*Scott Moore got the other RBI, going 1 for 3 with a walk.

*Chris Snyder also had a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

*Snyder, Greene, Moore, Steve Pearce, and Ben Francisco each struck out twice, accounting for 10 of the 11 Ks by Milwaukee pitching today.

Turning Point:

After Storey allowed a run on a walk to Corey Hart and a double to Martin Maldonado, Houston trailed 5-2 going to the bottom of the 8th, with Yovani Gallardo still seemingly going strong. Three singles and a run finally chased Gallardo from the game in the bottom of the 8th, getting the Astros into the Brewers' weakened bullpen. Kameron Loe came on for the 9th and immediately allowed a lead-off single to Fernando Martinez, then made a throwing error that allowed Brian Bogusevic to reach safely after Chris Snyder struck out. Tyler Greene also struck out, but then Loe uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the tying runs to move up to scoring position with Marwin Gonzalez at the plate. Houston's late-inning magic this series finally ran out, however, as Loe got Gonzalez to bounce to third for the final out.

Man of the Match:

Jordan Lyles. The young righty has had his share of rough outings this season, certainly, but he's also had quite a number of very good ones. This bodes well for his, and Houston's, future.

Goat of the Game:

Marwin Gonzalez. Tough to tag him with this given his offensive output today, but his error cost the Astros two runs that turned out to be the difference in the game.

Sounds like Nate Pettus had a rough night

Lexington Legends reliever Nate Pettus had a pretty rough night, evidently.

He tweeted:
Worst headache ever. Wait its prob cuz I took a bottle to the dome and spent all night in the er.

This tweet comes complete with the terrifying hashtag #5staples.

The Legends just split a series at home with West Virginia, and are off today, starting a road series with Savannah tomorrow.

More later.