Say What, Now? - This has nothing at all to do with the Astros or any of their prospects, but if you haven't been following the Jesus Montero story, in which the Mariners' catching prospect was heckled by a scout from his own team during a rehab assignment, go read this article. Immediately. See, a Mariners crosschecker not only heckled the formerly-great prospect, he also had ice cream delivered to him in the dugout (seriously, though, how?). Montero took offense, threw the ice cream at the scout, and then charged him in the stands. Well, news came out today that the Mariners are shutting Montero down, primarily to "help him first and foremost to help him get his life together and be able to assist him and his family," according to Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik.
On Saturday evening, Montero is expected to throw a bullpen session at Minute Maid Park with Brent Strom.
KaBoom Sees His Shadow; Two More Years of Nuclear Winter - The Lancaster Jethawks and the Houston Astros got off to a rough start, wins-wise, in their relationship together. But the last few years have been a different story altogether: A California League championship in 2012 and playoff berths in 2013 and 2014. That may be why the two have decided to team up for two more years by extending their Player Development Contract (PDC).
Selfishly, of course, I enjoy the fact that there remains an Astros affiliate within a ninety-minute drive.
What Happened Was...
Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Iowa Cubs (CHC) 5, RedHawks 4 (11 inn.)
After seeing an early three-run lead crumble, it took a one-out run in the ninth inning by the RedHawks to force this game into extra innings. After getting through the tenth inning with no damage (one walk, two strikeouts), Jorge De Leon went back to the mound in the eleventh inning. The first batter he faced, Andrew Ely, reached on a single to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, where he was replaced by a pinch runner. A line drive single by the next batter (Elliot Soto) clinched the walk-off victory for Iowa.
Oklahoma City sees their lead atop the Pacific Coast League American North division slip to half a game over the Omaha Storm Chasers (KCR), while the Cubs' win keeps them from elimination in the same division. It's the only division where three teams still have postseason hopes - Iowa, Omaha, and Oklahoma City are all withing three games of each other at the top. The fourth team in the division, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL), are 21 games out and losers of six straight.
The winner of the division will face the winner of the PCL American South division, which is down to the Memphis Redbirds (STL) and Nashville Sounds (MIL). The Redbirds hold a two-game lead in that division.
Oklahoma City: 74-67, 1st - Pacific Coast League American North
8/30 @ Iowa Cubs (CHC)
8/31 @ Iowa Cubs (CHC)
9/1 @ Iowa Cubs (CHC)
- SS Jonathan Villar - 1/5, HR, R, RBI, BB
- 2B Joe Sclafani - 1/5, BB, E
- 3B Ronny Torreyes - 2/6, 2 2B, E
- LF Preston Tucker - 2/5
- PR/LF Ruben Sosa - 0/1, R, SB
- 1B Matt Duffy - 0/5, BB, 2 K
- RF Domingo Santana - 2/3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, K, CS
- C Carlos Perez - 0/3, BB, K, E
- CF L.J. Hoes - 3/5, 2B, RBI
- DH Max Stassi - 3/5, K
- RHP Nick Tropeano - 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- LHP Tommy Shirley - 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- RHP Paul Clemens - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 WP
- LHP Pat Urckfitz - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 IBB, 0 K
- RHP Anthony Bass - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- RHP Jorge De Leon - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Hooks 6, Frisco RoughRiders (TEX) 3.
The Hooks have been playing some good baseball lately, with some terrific pitching performances. Unfortunately, they've all come after the team was mathematically eliminated from the Texas League playoffs. Still, a single-inning start by Darin Downs was followed by four innings each from Kyle Smith and Mike Hauschild. The trio combined to strike out fifteen RoughRider batters, walking just one. Despite just one multi-hit game (Tony Kemp) and one extra-base hit (also Kemp, a double), the Corpus Christi offense put across six runs on eight hits and five walks.
I'd like to take a moment to talk about Hauschild. Hauschild is a late-round pick out of the University of Dayton (Tommy Shirley also went to an Ohio college, and Jordan Jankowski went to Miami U before transferring to Catawba... I'm noticing a pattern here...), and the 33rd-rounder appears to be on a collision course for the major league bullpen. If this is his last appearance of the season - and it's a good bet that it is - he'll finish his Double-A season with a 1.24 WHIP, a 3.05 FIP, and a K-BB% of 13.7%. You'd like to see a few more strikeouts, but let's give the guy credit. He's been very solid this season, and has come a long way from being the guy everyone was disappointed to see after every early Mark Appel exit in Lancaster earlier in the season.
Corpus Christi: 31-36, 3rd - Texas League South (7.0 GB) (Eliminated)
8/30 vs. San Antonio (SDP)
8/31 vs. San Antonio (SDP)
9/1 vs. San Antonio (SDP)
- LF Delino DeShields - 1/4, 2 R, RBI, SB
- 2B Tony Kemp - 3/4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, K
- 3B Colin Moran - 1/4, 2 RBI
- 1B Telvin Nash - 0/2, 2 BB, K
- RF Leo Heras - 1/2, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K, SB
- CF Teoscar Hernandez - 0/4, K
- DH Conrad Gregor - 0/4
- SS Jonathan Meyer - 1/4, R, K
- C Tyler Heineman - 1/4, R, K
- LHP Darin Downs - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- RHP Kyle Smith - 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
- RHP Mike Hauschild - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, HBP
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - Inland Empire 66ers (ANA) 12, Jethawks 8.
The good news is that the Jethawks beat the 66ers 8-4 if you take away every inning but the top of the sixth. The bad news is, I've looked into it and there's no way to officially take away the top of the sixth. In that inning, Inland Empire led off with back-to-back home runs by Chad Hinshaw and Dennis Raben off of Lance McCullers, Jr. That wasn't all, though, as the next six batters would reach base via single or (in the case of Cal Towey) walk... before Sherman Johnson capped off the eight-run inning with a two-run home run.
The loss drops the Jethawks into a tie in the California League South second-half standings. They already clinched the first-half championship and best overall record, earning a first-round bye, so there's not much to fear here.
Lancaster: 34-33, t-1st: California League South
- CF Brett Phillips - 1/5, R, 3 K
- DH Catfish Elkins - 1/4, R, K
- 3B Rio Ruiz - 3/5, 2B, R, RBI, K
- 1B Tyler White - 2/5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI
- RF Ronnie Mitchell - 3/5, 2B, 2 R, RBI
- C Jobduan Morales - 1/5, K
- LF Danry Vasquez - 2/5, R, RBI
- 2B Jack Mayfield - 1/5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K, E
- SS Chan Moon - 1/4, 3B, RBI, 2 K
- RHP Lance McCullers - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
- LHP Chris Cotton - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Gonzalo Sanudo - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) -
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 1, River Bandits 0.
Adrian Houser pitched a beauty, going six strong innings with just one earned run on five hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts. Unfortunately, Edwin Diaz had an even better game against the River Bandits hitters, striking out nine and walking three over five hitless, scoreless innings. In fact, only Ryan Bottger would record a hit in the game for Quad Cities, and he'd do it off of Paul Fry in relief. The team drew five walks, but only the one hit, in the game.
- 2B Marc Wik - 0/1, 2 BB, K, CS, E
- RF Ryan Bottger - 1/2, 2B, BB, K
- DH Chase McDonald - 0/2, BB, K
- 1B A.J. Reed - 0/3, 2 K
- 3B J.D. Davis - 0/2, 2 K
- C Brian Holberton - 0/2, BB
- LF Brauly Mejia - 0/3, 3 K
- CF Bobby Boyd - 0/2
- SS Thomas Lindauer - 0/2, 2 K
- RHP Adrian Houser - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 2 HBP
- RHP Keegan Yuhl - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
River Bandits 6, Clinton Lumber Kings 4.
Ryan Bottger's promotion to the Midwest League hasn't come without its struggles, but in Game One of this doubleheader, he was the only Quad Cities player to get a hit. In Game Two, he joined Chase McDonald, A.J. Reed, and Brett Booth, as all four had multi-hit games. McDonald led the way, going 3-for-3. The 12th-rounder in 2013 out of East Carolina University, McDonald has a second-half slash line of .298/.373/.542 (he also has an absurd 1.022 small-sample OPS in day games, but that's a story for another time.) I'm actually a bit relieved, as he made me nervous about having once called him a Lyle Overbay clone.
Quad Cities: 33-34, t-4th - Midwest League Western (12.0 GB) (Eliminated)
8/30 @ Burlington (ANA)
8/31 @ Burlington (ANA)
91 @ Burlington (ANA)
- 2B Marc Wik - 0/2, 2 R, 2 BB, K, SB
- RF Ryan Bottger - 2/3, R
- 1B Chase McDonald - 3/3, 2 RBI
- DH A.J. Reed - 2/3, 2B, R, RBI
- 3B J.D. Davis - 0/3, K
- C Brett Booth - 2/3, 2B, R, RBI
- LF Brauly Mejia - 1/3, K
- CF Bobby Boyd - 1/2, R, RBI, SB
- SS Dayne Parker - 0/3, K
- RHP Andrew Thurman - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- RHP Jandel Gustave - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) - ValleyCats 3, Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 2.
Ricky Gingras hit a solo shot in the fourth inning - his second of the year - to get Tri-City on the board. They wouldn't score again until the bottom of the sixth, a two-run inning. It wasn't much, but it was enough to squeak through in this one.
The ValleyCats have clinched the New York-Penn League Stedler Division handily, and this close win over the presumptive Wild Card winner (though the Connecticut Tigers (DET) still have a chance) is a good sign. They'll have one more chance to help keep Brooklyn out of the playoffs today, as they square off for their last regular season home game. They also enter the game tied with the State College Spikes (STL), the Pinckney Division winners, for the second-best overall record in the NYPL. Both teams are currently one game behind the Hudson Valley Renegades (TBR) among the division winners, with the best record among that group determining the first seed in the playoffs.
Tri-City: 45-28, 1st - New York-Penn League Stedler
8/30 vs. Brooklyn (NYM)
8/31 @ Vermont (OAK)
9/1 @ Vermont (OAK)
- 2B Alex Hernandez - 1/3, BB
- C Alfredo Gonzalez - 0/4, K
- 3B Nick Tanielu - 2/4, 2B, R
- 1B Ricky Gingras - 2/4, HR, R, RBI, E
- DH Jamie Ritchie - 0/3, R, BB
- SS Mott Hyde - 1/4, 2B, 2 RBI, K
- RF Jose Solano - 0/3
- LF Jorge Martinez - 0/3, K
- CF Jason Martin - 1/3, K
- RHP Daniel Mengden - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, WP
- RHP Angel Heredia - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
- LHP Zach Davis - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, BK
- RHP Aaron Vaughn - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Ryan Thompson - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, HBP