Sunday, August 12, 2018

Reinforcing the Astros: August 9-11

Sorry, loyal readers (both of you!!).  Got busy over the weekend, and have not yet had time to sift through box scores.  While I was not looking, the Astros lost another up-the-middle player, and probably have Tony Kemp in CF for the foreseeable future.  While that is good from (i) a left-right balance perspective (ii) and OBP perspective and (iii) a Tony Kemp development perspective, losing Handsome Jake is bad, because he was the Astros' hottest hitter and his glove work in CF continues to astound.  This injury bug is getting annoying.  Fire the head athletic trainer!

The Astros chose not to promote a "true" CF from within their system, but rather called up Kyle Tucker for his second stint this year.  The first stint was, uh, not good, but as both of the loyal readers would note, Tucker has been showing signs of life recently.

Let's move on to the box scores for the last three days:

Corpus:  Corpus has been eeking out some close wins in low-scoring games recently, and August 9 was no exception, when they held Tulsa to one run, and walked it off in the ninth.  Both teams scored their only run (aside from the walk off) in the fifth.  Brandon Bielak started for for Hooks, and he threw 8 strong frames, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks against six strikeouts.  He allowed no extra-base hits.  Justin Ferrell relieved and earned the win, striking out two in one perfect inning.

The Hooks also managed only 6 baserunners (5 hits and a walk).  CF Ronnie Dawson (1-4, 2K), LF Chas McCormick (1-4), DH Carmen Benedetti (1-3, RBI, 2K), and 2B Josh Rojas (1-2, BB, R) all managed singles, and 3B Abraham Toro (1-3, 2B) scored the only extra-base hit of the night, but was thrown out trying to turn it into a triple.  The winning run scored on a single, single (runner first to third) and sac-fly sequence.

The Hooks then started a series with the Cardinals, who cantered away to a 7-0 win.  Not a good night for the Hooks.  Brett Adcock allowed 10 hits and 1 walk in six innings, allowing 4R/ER and striking out 4.  Ronel Blanco relieved, and he pitched two innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits.  Erasmo Pinales stuck out 2 in one perfect inning of work.

The Hooks were held to four hits: CF Chas McCormick  (1-4, K, caught stealing), DH Carmen Benedetti and LF-1B Josh Rojas (both 1-3, 2B), and 3B Abraham Toro (1-3).

But Corpus bounced back to level the series on August 11, scoring 4 runs in the first 4 innings for a 5-2 win.  Corbin Martin went 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and one walk, striking out 8, while allowing 2R/ER.  Kit Scheetz (2IP, 2BB, 2K) and Alex Winkelman (1IP, 1H) finished the game off for the Hooks.  On the offensive side of the ledger, the star was CF Ronnie Dawson (4-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI, caught stealing), followed by 3B Abraham Toro (2-3, 2B, BB) and SS Anibal Sierra (2-4, 2B).  LF Chas McCormick was on base three times (1-2, 2BB) and C Lorenzo Quintana it a double in a 1-4 night.

So lots more mentions of Ronnie Dawson, Josh Rojas and Abraham Toro for the Hooks hitters.  The pitching is currently a bit of a mixed bag (especially now that Framber Valdez has been promoted), but we will remain vigilant for standout performers regardless.

Fresno:  The Grizzlies opened their series on 9 August against the Albuquerque Isotopes with a narrow 3-2 win.  Rogelio Armenteros started the game (6IP, 3H, 3BB, 1R/ER, 7K) and Framber Valdez sort-of tandem-started, throwing the last three innings for his AAA debut.  Valdez allowed 3H, 1R/ER and struck out three.  Fangraphs took a quick look at Valdez earlier this week, too.

Not much offense, obviously, but RF Kyle Tucker continued his rehabilitation, doing 2-4 with a HR and a stolen base.  LF Yordan Alvarez had a strong night (2-2, BB), and Nick Tanielu mashed a 2R HR in a 2-3 night.  The only other Grizzly with a hit was CF Myles Straw (1-4).

The August 10 game saw the Isotopes get some revenge on the Grizzlies, with ex-Astro great Brett Oberholtzer earning the win for the 'topes.  The Grizzlies were held to one run (in a 4-1 loss) with AJ Reed going 2-4 with a triple, and Yordan Alvarez managing two singles in three at-bats.  Garrett Stubbs logged two PA's in RF (1-2), replacing Kyle Tucker (0-2), who I assume was pulled because of Marisnick's injury.  Nick Tanielu managed the other hit (1-3).

The Isotopes scored all their runs of Brady Rodgers (4IP, 7H, BB, 4R/ER, 4K).  Rodgers allowed two home runs and two doubles in his four innings.  Ralph Garza struck out three and walked one in two frames, Dean Deetz allowed a hit against 4 strikeouts in 2 frames, and Matt Ramsey allowed a hit and struck one Isotope out in his one inning of work.

If you thought that the Grizzlies copped a schellacking in a 4-1 loss, then you would be upset to learn that things got waaaay worse on August 11.  Fresno lost 10-0, and were held to one hit (C Garrett Stubbs, 1-3, 2B, BB) although they did walk 6 times (RF JD Davis 2xBB; 3B Nick Tanielu, DH Jamie Ritchie and SS Alex De Goti).  The pitching wasn't flash - Trent Thornton got lit up to the tune of 4H, 2BB, 4R/ER against 3K) and Riley Ferrell also allowed a crooked number (2IP, 5H, BB, 4R/ER, K).  Cy Sneed allowed a run in 4.1 innings, while Reymin Guduan allowed one run (a home run) in one inning.

So some big Fresno bats are showing some signs of life, and there are some interesting pitchers around.  But no one is kicking in the door to the majors at the moment.  Plus, half of the Fresno roster is already in Houston, thanks to injuriezzz...

Tomorrow, we will look at the LHP's in the Astros upper-minors, and do some psychic forecasting to see who may be first in line for a bit of a call-up.