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Minor League Recap: 4/18/13

Watching a story unfold, one Tweet at a time, as I take a look at the Astros minor leagues.

Bob Levey

I log on to Twitter almost every night. Certainly every night that I have a minor league recap. There's a lot of great stuff there, including play-by-play, reactions from fans, players, etc. A lot happens on Twitter.

And then, sometimes, something huge happens. Like tonight (though we write these in the past tense, because that's when the system will post them, we write them at the end of the night, after the games have all ended), as the Lancaster and Corpus Christi games wrapped up and news began filtering in about the events in Watertown, Massachusetts. It didn't start off as much. A small mention of MIT, or of Watertown. And then the words "police chase" and "explosive." And then "shootout" and "stole a police SUV."

And that's when you forget a minor league recap and spend a couple of hours watching a news story unfold on Twitter. Before network news reporters had even rolled out of bed, the whole thing had blown up and baseball seemed like such a small, insignificant thing. I was watching history unfold, and it was surreal.

But at some point, the world's problems become too much and I turn back to baseball and, to me, baseball is good. Minor league baseball is better. And I need some better right now. I need a whole lot of better.

Time Zones

It's not often that the Corpus Christi Hooks finish playing after the Lancaster Jethawks, who are two hours behind, but that's exactly what happened last night. Between a relatively quick game at The Hangar and a 17-inning affair at Whataburger Field, the Hooks' game finished a few minutes after the Jethawks had left the building.

Save Ferris, Part 2

In my last minor league update, I discussed the Ferris wheel planned at Modern Woodmen Park. It was supposed to be open by the Fourth of July, but a slight wrench has been thrown into the works as the Quad Cities prepared this week for some flooding. You can read the story here.

Fortunately, the team is on the road during this period of flooding, but Modern Woodmen Park is under seige.

Odds and Ends

A few minor league transactions I missed: Earlier in the week, we discussed Austin Elkins was moved to Quad Cities out of Extended Spring Training (EST). What we didn't talk about was that Joe Bircher was moved to EST and that Chase Davidson was activated off of the Temporary Inactive list.

Slightly less significant, Tim Kane was signed to a one-day contract with Corpus Christi after winning the Topps Make Your Pro Debut contest, after writing an essay about how baseball helped him bond with his 8-year-old son.

In Oklahoma City, Andy Simunic was activated from EST, and Ruben Sosa was sent to EST in his place.

Triple the Runs, Triple the Fun(s)

This has nothing to do with the Houston Astros organization, but seriously. The Buffalo Bisons (TOR) beat the Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 27-9. I won't even get into all the records that were set. You can read about it here.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Game One - The first doubleheader at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in over two years started off well for Oklahoma City, as they beat the Round Rock Express (TEX) 5-3. Travis Blackley started the game, threw 31 pitches, and left after facing a single batter in the third inning. But he did increase hope that Houston fans will soon have the jaw-dropping sounds of Chimaira deafening their children. Jonathan Villar paced the offense, going 3-for-3 with two stolen bases.

  • CF Robbie Grossman - 1/3, BB
  • 2B Jake Elmore - 1/4, 2 K
  • DH Trevor Crowe - 1/2, 2B, R, BB, SB
  • RF Fernando Martinez - 0/3, 2 K, Error (sigh...)
  • 3B Jimmy Paredes - 0/3, 2 K
  • 1B Marc Krauss - 2/3, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • SS Jonathan Villar - 3/3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB
  • LF Che-Hsuan Lin - 1/3, 2 RBI, CS
  • LHP Travis Blackley - 2 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, HBP, 1 K
  • RHP Jose Cisnero - 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, W

Game Two - Villar, who had gone 3-for-3 in Game 1, decided to try something different in Game 2 by striking out four times to earn the platinum sombrero. Round Rock pitcher Evan Meek did his very best to get the RedHawks into the game, walking both Marc Krauss and Jimmy Paredes (playing in the outfield, mind) in the bottom of the seventh, returning the favor new acquisition Eric Berger had given when he walked in a run in the top of the same frame. But at the end of the day, Round Rock had the last laugh, winning 8-4.

  • LF Trevor Crowe - 1/4, R, SB, 2 K
  • 1B Marc Krauss - 1/3, 2 RBI, BB, K
  • RF Jimmy Paredes - 2/2, RBI, 2 BB, SB
  • SS Jonathan Villar - 0/4, 4 K
  • 2B Andrew Simunic - 2/3, R
  • C Jason Jaramillo - 2/3, R, K
  • LHP Rudy Owens - 4 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, L
  • LHP Eric Berger - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 3 BB
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Starter Jake Buchanan pitched 5 innings of 2-hit ball and Jorge De Leon pitched 4 shutout innings of relief, but the Hooks offense couldn't get going as they fell to the Frisco RoughRiders (TEX), 4-2, in 17 innings. Despite going through the order 7 times, Rene Garcia was the only Hook able to get more than a single hit off of the RoughRiders' bullpen.
  • LF Austin Wates - 1/6, 2B, SB, HBP, 3 K, Error
  • SS Jiovanni Mier - 1/6, 2B, BB, 2 K
  • CF George Springer - 0/6, 4 K
  • 3B Jonathan Meyer - 0/6, RBI, BB, 3 K, 2 Errors
  • RF Drew Muren - 1/7, 2B, 3 K
  • 2B Enrique Hernandez - 1/6, HR, R, RBI, BB
  • C Rene Garcia - 2/7, K
  • RHP Jake Buchanan - 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Andrew Robinson - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Jason Stoffel - 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, BS
  • RHP Jorge De Leon - 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • LHP Pat Urkfitz - 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - The Bakersfield Blaze (CIN) had the worst record in the California League as they traveled into Lancaster for the first game of the weekend series. But as the Jethawks welcomed their 6,000,000th fan to The Hangar, the Blaze put four runs up on starter Chris Devenski in the second inning, and Lancaster - still missing Delino DeShields (day to day, finger) and Matt Duffy (day-to-day, ankle) - couldn't string together enough runs to overcome them, as they fell 4-2, despite a brilliant pitching (and fielding) performance by Brady Rodgers.
  • SS Nolan Fontana - 2/4, 0 BB!!!
  • CF Andrew Aplin - 2/4, 2B, K
  • LF Chris Epps - 0/3, 1 BB, 2 K, CS
  • C MP Cokinos - 2/4
  • RHP Chris Devenski - 5 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • RHP Brady Rodgers - 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - Quad Cities built a 5-0 lead over the Kane County Cougars (CHC), but saw it completely disappear as the Cougars built an 8-5 lead by the seventh inning... but that's when Quad Cities dug deep and forced an extra inning, where they prevailed, 9-8.
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 2/5, 2B, RBI, 2 K
  • SS Carlos Correa - 0/3, 2 K
  • 2B Austin Elkins - 1/4, R, BB, 2 SB
  • 1B Jesse Wierzbicki - 2/4, 3B, R, RBI, HBP, SB
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/2, 2B, R, BB, K
  • RF Ariel Ovando - 1/3, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB, K
  • LF Terrell Joyce - 3/4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • LHP Colton Cain - 3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Mike Hauschild - 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, K, W