Astros On The Farm: Round Rock Express

Last night, I was at the Round Rock - Iowa game at the Dell Diamond, helping Farmstros tweet his 2,000th syllables in the Quest for 3,000. Here's some of my notes from what happened:

  • First off, starting pitcher Josh Banks was hit by a line drive in the face. While Banks went down, he was able to walk off the field on his own power. After the game, Round Rock manager Marc Bombard said Banks had been taken to the hospital, but was incredibly lucky. The ball did not cause a concussion, nor did it fracture any bone or break any teeth. At the time of my talk with Bombard, Banks was waiting at the hospital for a plastic surgeon to sew up his mouth inside and out. Needless to say, he was incredibly lucky.
  • Two other player nearly took out Round Rock pitcher. Yorman Bazardo was able to make a great play on a comebacker that could have been dangerous had he not gotten his glove on it. Roy Corcoran was not so lucky in the ninth inning, when a hard hit ball ricocheted off his kneecap. The ball rolled to the first baseman, who tagged the base for the third out. Corcoran was in a lot of pain after the play, but walked off the field and told Bombard that he was okay. Bombard said after the game that that was good, but Corcoran probably won't be able to walk Sunday because of the swelling. For a team already suffering through injuries in the bullpen, like Sergio Perez, it was not an ideal outcome.
  • Brian Bogusevic played a good first base in the game. It was his seventh start at the position this season. Bombard praised his footwork, saying he was doing a great job for someone who had never played the position before this year. Apparently, this is something the organization wanted to try. I've opined earlier that Drew Locke made some sense at first base in the future, but it appears that Bogusevic may be that guy. In fact, Locke hasn't played first all season, instead starting the majority of his games in right field.
  • As bad as the offense was, the defense in the game was stellar. Collin DeLome made a couple great plays in center field, including a diving catch on a sinking fly ball in the right-center gap. Since he's started most of his games in left, that was nice to see. Wladimir Sutil also had some nifty plays around second base on a few double plays, even if he did have one misplay on a softly hit grounder up the middle. Sutil went to barehand the ball, but it took a different hop and missed his hand. The play was ruled a hit, though. Edwin Maysonet also shined at third base, fielding a sharp grounder to third with runners on first and second, stepping on the bag and gunning a throw to first for the double play. We've questioned his arm in the past, but he made an impressive throw on that play.
  • On the other hand, the Cubs had a nightmare end of the game defensively. Shortstop Darwin Barney flubbed two straight plays in the ninth inning, allowing Round Rock to threaten to tie the game. Second baseman Bobby Scales joined the shaky defense bandwagon by failing to transfer the ball cleanly to his throwing hand on a ball hit up the middle. That let the tying run score. Later on, Barney had another ball hit at him sharply. He went to his left and should have gotten his glove on it, but let it roll into center field. Barney redeemed himself some in the 13th when he made a play deep into the hole and a good throw to first for the final out of the game.
  • A parade of relievers entered the game after Banks was hit. Bazardo allowed a home run to Micah Hoffpauir, but held the Cubs down for the rest of his time. Gary Majewski, Corcoran, Jonah Bayliss and Danny Meszaros also pitched in the game. As it wore on, I was less and less sure I'd get to see Meszaros pitch. Of course, when he finally came into the game, I told Mike from Farmstros that he'd probably give up a two-run home run and lose the game. What happened? Brad Snyder hit an absolute bomb to dead center field off Meszaros that must've traveled about 460 feet.
  • What to think about Meszaros? His delivery looked pretty clean. It's a bit more violent than someone like Jordan Lyles, but it's still pretty loose and easy. Meszaros seemed to fall off toward the first base side on his pitches, but that also seemed to be part of why he works so well. See, Meszaros wraps his front shoulder around his body to hide the ball pretty well at the beginning of his delivery. That does a good job of fooling hitters, but does cause him to open up some on his follow through and foot plant. Of course, I was dealing with just a few pitches and his mechanics could have been out of whack.
  • The best part of this game was seeing Bombard get ejected in the 10th inning. He wasn't happy about it, but it was very entertaining. Bombard worked the first base umpire, getting right up in his face, yelling 500 words a minute and continuously circling around his face. It was a thing of beauty. The call he was arguing was close and both teams had been chirping at the home plate umpire, so there was some precedent for his rant. Still, I hadn't seen an argument so worthy of ejection in a long time.
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