Thursday, August 2, 2018

Reinforcing the Astros - 31 July and 1 August

Last night's column was derailed by Roberto Osuna's acquisition combined with the fact that I have never seen a debate in which I don't want to stick my oar into.  So sorry if you have been eagerly awaiting updates from the uppermost levels of the minor leagues because this column is soooo readable and awesome (yeah, right...!).

Anyhow, the OTHER main reason why I was writing this column (aside from the Blue Jay Ken Giles, that is) was to monitor the progress of one Handsome Jake Marisnick, who is not only handsome, but also possesses an intriguing combination of speed and power.  And even if that combination didn't exist, he would be able to make a case for himself on the Astros' 25-man solely with his defence.  Well, perhaps the latter is a bit of an exaggeration.

Anywho, he was called up after George Springer was removed from the game with a shoulder ouchie.  Shoulders are notoriously hard to predict recovery timeframes for, so the Astros promoted Handsome Jake in place of Kyle Tucker.  Marisnick took all of two pitches to exceed Tucker's big-league production over the last month, when he homered the other way against Wade LeBlanc.  While it IS former Astros great Wade LeBlanc we are talking about, if someone like Marisnick was to get hot (like he did in April last year), he could carry this team for a while.

I guess this column will have to monitor Fresno for progress on Kyle Tucker now.  That is cool by me!!

31 July: As mentioned previously, we were distracted from Corbin Martin's awesomeness by the Roberto Osuna debacle debate.  Martin dominated the Missons yesterday with 7 innings of 1 hit ball - he carried a perfect game into the seventh, eventually allowing a single with two outs.  He struck out 8, and walked none.  All of that took 93 pitches.

Prior to that, the Hooks had scored one run in the bottom of the first, so they led the game 1-0 when Martin exited.  That lead didn't last long, as Erasmo Pinales promptly gave up three runs in the top of the 8th.  The Hooks bounced back with four of their own in the bottom of the eighth, and the Missons managed to scratch one across in the top of the ninth, leading ultimately to a 1-run Hooks win.

The Hooks managed only 8 hits (one double) and two walks overall.  Three of the hits and three of the RBI's went to Randy Cesar, who (i) has been mentioned in all three editions of this column and (ii) was mentioned by Fangraphs earlier this month because of his ability to, like, hit.  Ronnie Dawson went 1-3 with a double and a walk.  A couple of others singled.

1 August: The Hooks and the Missons played again, and again the Hooks scratched out a one-run win.  This time, it was a walk-off job in the bottom of the 10th - because it was the minor leagues and an extra-inning game, the inning started with a runner on second, and he (Ryne Birk) came around to score on two sac-flies.  I am not sure that a win like that sits that well with me.

Randy Cesar appears to have slumped, going only 1-4 with a home run off legitimate prospect Cal Quantrill.  He still gets a mention, however, and how has gone 4-4 in terms of number of mentions against number of columns.  CF Ronnie Dawson went 1-4 with a triple and a run.  Josh Rojas (at DH) went 1-3 with a walk.

On the bump, the Hooks had the benefit of a great start from Ryan Hartman, who yielded only three hits in seven frames.  One of the hits was a home run to Kyle Overstreet, who isn't a prospect according to Fangraphs.  But Hartman also struck out a healthy 11 Missions in those seven innings, and walked none.  That strikes me as a dominant performance, and the September 'pen always needs strikeout guys.

Fresno was playing in Nashville, where they lost by a score of 5-2.  All of the Grizzlies runs crossed on a Nick Tanielu home run in the fourth inning.  Tanileu went 2-4, with his other hit going for a double.  Garrett Stubbs went 4-4 (all singles but with a stolen base), increasing his triple slash to .333/.397/.491.  Derek Fisher when 0-3 but walked twice and stole a base, and Antonio Nunez went 1-3 and walked once.  Other notables included AJ Reed (1-5, 3K) and Yordan Alvarez (1-5, K).  Kyle Tucker did not play.

Interesting times, Astros fans.  The big league team gets a rest.  But I will see you all tomorrow, when Corpus Christi plays the Frisco RoughRiders with Brock Dykxhoorn on the bump, and Fresno continues their series against Nashville, with Rogelio Armenteros taking the ball for the Grizzlies.