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Astros Minor League Recap: September 11, 2012

Winning! That's what happened last night! Both Lancaster and Tri-City won their playoff games and that means that Tri-City is going to the New York-Penn League Championship! The rough part is that this series gets started immediately! They were supposed to have a day off, but the rain over the weekend pushed the current series back a day and they are now scheduled to start tonight. That means that Joe Bircher is likely to take the mound tonight. Lance Day pitched in long relief four days ago, so he's likely to be unavailable and we haven't seen Vincent Velasquez in over a month.

As for their win, the offense was incredible. They drew a total of 14 walks and nine came from just three batters (Preston Tucker, Austin Elkins, and Jarrod McKinney)! All but Joe Sclafani and Emilio King picked up a walk, and that included Dan Gulbransen who came in for Emilio King late in the game. Auburn sent six pitchers to the mound and each one gave up at least one walk, so the walks can't be attributed to one pitcher's bad command, they were just working the count.

Tyler Heineman is a beast at the plate. He picked up another three hit night and it allowed him to drive in three runs. I just dream on this guy to add at least a little pop in his bat. His ability to make consistent contact, draw walks, and play good defense makes him one of the best catchers in the system (not hard to do), but adding at least doubles power with a couple home runs would make him an exciting prospect.

Lancaster, you are such an exciting team! You just kind of sit and wait for this team to have a huge inning, and the fifth and seventh innings were exactly that as they scored four runs in both of those frames. The man who stole the show is Chris Epps who lacked just a measly little single from hitting for the cycle! Normally it's a triple that hitters fail to pick up, but this is the California League, where things are a bit opposite. Epps really like this league as he's a standout there (.965 OPS), but doesn't really stand out in the Sally League (.650 OPS). He's also batting over .500 in the playoffs, so calling him up for the playoffs was a pretty good idea.

It's worth mentioning that on Telvin Nash's home run, he tried to call time and step out of the box but he wasn't granted time and had to step back and just barely get his swing off. He shortened up to do it, and still he was able to send over the wall. His power is ridiculous! But, he still struck out twice.

Tyson Perez turned in another solid game by allowing two runs over six innings and striking out four. He did allow a good number of hits but limited the damage, so hats off to him. I even saw a tweet last night suggesting he should be in the Astros top 30 prospects because he's pitched so well considering his environment. I'm not ready to anoint that on him just yet as his strikeout rate is awfully low and doesn't have an outstanding track record. But, it's fun to point out that a few years ago he would easily slot into top 20.

With their 2-1 lead in the series, the JetHawks send Nicholas Tropeano to the mound tonight in hopes of winning the series and advancing to the Championship round!

Lancaster JetHawks won 10-5

  • Tyson Perez-6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 7/5 GO/AO
  • Chia-Jen Lo-1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO
  • Kenny Long-2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2/3 GO/AO
  • Delino DeShields Jr. 2B-2-5, 2 2B, PO
  • Jed Lowrie SS-0-4-Hasn't gotten a hit at during his rehab
  • Domingo Santana RF-0-3, BB, OF Assist
  • Erik Castro 1B-2-4, 2B, SO
  • Telvin Nash DH-1-4, HR, 2 SO
  • Chris Epps LF-3-4, 2B, 3B, HR
  • Carlos Perez C-2-4, 2B

Tri-City ValleyCats won 16-7

  • Brian Holmes-4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2/4 GO/AO
  • Travis Ballew-1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
  • Jeremiah Meiners-2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 4/1 GO/AO
  • John Neely-1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3/0 GO/AO
  • Joe Sclafani SS-2-5
  • Austin Elkins 2B-2-3, 3 BB, SO-There's your boy, Clack!
  • Jesse Wierzbicki 1B-1-5, 2B, BB
  • M.P. Cokinos DH-1-5, 2B, BB
  • Tyler Heineman C-3-5, BB
  • Preston Tucker RF-2-3, 3 BB
  • Jarrod McKinney LF-0-1, 3 BB, SB
  • Neiko Johnson 3B-2-3, BB, SO, CS