September 2010

Astros-Reds lineups for Sunday

Brett Myers (12-7, 2.85 ERA) starts for the Astros in today’s series finale against the Reds, who send left-hander Travis Wood (5-3, 3.46 ERA) to the mound. Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

RF Hunter Pence

1B Carlos Lee

LF Jason Michaels

3B Chris Johnson

SS Tommy Manzella

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Brett Myers

REDS

2B Brandon Phillips

CF Drew Stubbs

1B Joey Votto

3B Scott Rolen

LF Jonny Gomes

RF Jay Bruce

C Ramon Hernandez

SS Paul Janish

LHP Travis Wood

 

Astros name Minor League Players of Month for August

The Astros’ player development department has named the following Players of the Month for August:

Triple-A Round Rock: RHP Roy Corcoran posted a 1-1 record with one save and a 2.13 ERA in nine games in August to earn Round Rock Pitcher of the Month honors. OF Drew Locke was named Offensive Player of the Month for the third consecutive month after hitting .303 with 14 extra-base hits, including nine doubles, and 18 RBIs in 27 August games. IF Edwin Maysonet received Round Rock’s Defensive Player of the Month honors after playing in 24 games with the Express last month. For the season, he has posted a .989 fielding percentage in 85 games.

Double-A Corpus Christi: After posting a 2.39 seven games, four starts, in August, RHP Erick Abreu was named Pitcher of the Month for the Hooks. OF J.D. Martinez was named Offensive Player of the Month after hitting .324 with a .378 on-base percentage and 17 RBIs. IF Michael Affronti earned Defensive Player of the Month honors for the second straight month and owns a .972 fielding percentage during his time with the Hooks in 2010.

Class A Advanced Lancaster: JetHawks Pitcher of the Month RHP Kyle Godfrey owned a 1-0 record and a 1.31 ERA in 10 relief appearances in August. OF Brian Pellegrini hit .260 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs to win Lancaster’s Offensive Player of the Month award. The Defensive Player of the Month was IF Andrew Simunic, who has posted a .955 fielding percentage while splitting time at third base and the outfield this year.

Class A Lexington: Pitcher of the Month RHP Jose Cisnero finished 2-1 in August with a 3.31 ERA in six starts for Lexington. OF Jacob Goebbert was named Offensive Player of the Month after hitting .390 with a .453 on-base percentage and 27 RBIs in 27 games. IF Jonathan Meyer received Defensive Player of the Month honors and owns a .914 fielding percentage in 119 games as Lexington’s third baseman in 2010.

Short-Season A Tri-City: After posting a 2-0 record in six games, five starts, with a 1.19 ERA (4ER/30.1IP) in August, RHP David Martinez was named Pitcher of the Month for the ValleyCats. IF Ben Orloff was named Offensive Player of the Month after hitting .278 with 13 steals, a .397 on-base percentage and 22 runs scored as the ValleyCats leadoff man. OF Daniel Adamson earned Defensive Player of the Month honors and owns a .969 fielding percentage this season.

Rookie Greeneville: Astros Pitcher of the Month LHP Garrett Bullock owned a 1-1 record and a 0.86 ERA in eight games in relief for Greeneville in August. OF Telvin Nash hit .277 with six doubles, four home runs and 18 RBIs to earn the Offensive Player of the Month award. The Defensive Player of the Month was IF Hector Rodriguez, who owns a .952 fielding percentage while playing shortstop and third base this season.

Rookie Gulf Coast League: RHP Matison Smith posted a 1-2 record and a 1.88 ERA in nine relief appearances in August to earn GCL Astros Pitcher of the Month honors. OF Jordan Scott was named Offensive Player of the Month after hitting .382 with 4 doubles and a .440 on-base percentage in 20 August games. IF Joshua Magee received Astros’ Defensive Player of the Month honors after playing in 42 games with the GCL club this season.

Rookie Dominican Summer League: RHP Luis Alayon posted a 2-0 record and a 1.89 ERA in three starts to earn Pitcher of the Month honors for the DSL Astros. The Offensive Player of the Month honor was awarded to OF Luis De La Rosa, who hit .271 with four doubles in 14 games. IF Mario Gonzalez earned the Defensive Player of the Month for the Astros after posting a .993 fielding percentage in 60 games this season.

Astros-Reds lineups for Saturday

Here are Saturday’s Astros-Reds lineup:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

SS Angel Sanchez

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

2B Jeff Keppinger

1B Brett Wallace

3B Chris Johnson

C Jason Castro

RHP Nelson Figueroa (5-2, 3.34 ERA)

REDS

2B Brandon Phillips

SS Orlando Cabrera

1B Joey Votto

3B Scott Rolen

RF Jay Bruce

LF Jim Edmonds

CF Drew Stubbs

C Ryan Hanigan

RHP Bronson Arroyo (15-10, 4.05)

 

Astros among teams that watch Loux pitch

Right-handed pitcher Barret Loux, the first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks who was declared a free agent after he failed a physical, threw an extended bullpen session Friday afternoon in College Station, Texas, for about 15 teams, including the Astros.

Area scout Rusty Pendergrass was at the workout representing the Astros, and the club was pleased with what it saw mechanically and physically.

“What we saw was pretty consistent with what we saw during the spring, so the process of them showcasing him, so to speak, has been portrayed not as a sprint, but more as a process that will go through the fall a little bit,” Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck said. “He’s finishing up his degree this semester [at Texas A&M], and it’s not really a race to get something in place, but they want to have something in place later in the fall and know where their landing place is for Spring Training.”

Loux was drafted No. 6 overall and failed a physical reportedly because of arm problems. Major League Baseball declared Loux a free agent and available to sign with any club beginning Sept. 1, awarding Arizona compensatory draft picks. The Astros had interest the Houston-area product before he was picked by Arizona.

Loux went 11-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 starts last season as a junior at Texas A&M.

“The fact there were 15 teams there today and the fact some clubs didn’t sign their first-round showed there was some interest,” Heck said. “The fact we have someone there, our interest is sincere. We’ll do our work on it. You have to balance, not only the evaluation process, but because of the medical circumstances [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner becomes a part of our process as well as we gauge where we can or can’t go on this.”

 

Lineups for Astros-Reds on Friday

The Astros continue their quest to finish .500 with a difficult task this weekend, taking on the first-place Reds beginning Friday night at Minute Maid Park. Johnny Cueto (12-5, 3.31 ERA) starts for the Reds against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (11-2, 3.77 ERA), who’s 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

SS Angel Sanchez

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

3B Chris Johnson

1B Brett Wallace

2B Matt Downs

C Jason Castro

P Wandy Rodriguez

REDS

2B Brandon Phillips

SS Orlando Cabrera

1B Joey Votto

3B Scott Rolen

LF Jonny Gomes

C Ramon Hernandez

CF Drew Stubbs

RF Willie Bloomquist

RHP Johnny Cueto

How about Brad Mills for Manager of the Year?

If you haven’t noticed or quit paying attention in late May when the Astros were 17-34 and buried in last place in the National League Central division, the local nine has put together three solid months of baseball under manager Brad Mills and could finish .500 if they go 15-8 the rest of the way. The Astros are 49-39 since June 1.

Considering the Astros have won 13 of their past 17 games and have a favorable schedule down the stretch, finishing .500 is certainly very doable. And what an accomplishment that would be for the club, especially after ditching starters Kaz Matsui and Pedro Feliz in the first half of the season and later trading franchise icons Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt at the Trade Deadline.

Had the Astros began the season 49-39, Mills would be one of the front-runners for NL Manager of the Year. Mills should probably still get some serious attention for the award. He’s taken a team that had very little to play for after two months and has performed magic with a roster full of rookies and a few veterans who have bought into his beliefs.

Carlos Lee is playing harder than he ever has in Houston, Hunter Pence is having an MVP-caliber second half and Wandy Rodriguez has been dominant in the second half as the starting pitching has been as good as anybody, even without Oswalt. Then there’s the youngsters like Brett Wallace, Jason Castro, Tommy Manzella and Chris Johnson, who continue to grow before our very eyes.

San Diego’s Bud Black, Atlanta’s Bobby Cox and Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker are the leading candidates for Manager of the Year, and rightfully so. All three have their teams in the thick of a pennant race, and Cox will certainly get plenty of sentimental votes because it’s his final year. 

But the job Mills has done shouldn’t go unnoticed and has been every bit as impressive in my book. No, the Astros aren’t going to the playoffs, but the evolution of the struggling Astros in April and May to the rock-solid club you see today is a credit to Mills and his staff.

Astros preview Wednesday vs. Cubs

Brett Myers (10-7, 3.02 ERA) tries to make it 29-for-29 when he starts against the Cubs in tonight’s series finale at Wrigley Field. Myers has set a franchise record by pitching at least six innings in 28 consecutive starts and is one of 10 pitchers since 1920 to throw at least six innings in each of his first 27 games of teh season. Randy Wells (6-12, 4.56 ERA) will start for the Cubs.

Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

3B Chris Johnson

1B Brett Wallace

SS Tommy Manzella

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Brett Myers

CUBS

2B Blake DeWitt

SS Starlin Castro

CF Marlon Byrd

1B Xavier Nady

RF Tyler Colvin

C Geovany Soto

LF Alfonso Soriano

3B Darwin Barney

RHP Randy Wells

 

 

Pence named NL Player of the Week

Astros right-fielder Hunter Pence has been named National League Player of the Week for Aug. 30-Sept. 5.

Pence tied for the NL lead with nine RBIs during the week and ranked third with a .500 (11-for-22) batting average. In addition, the 27-year-old slugger ranked second in slugging percentage (.909), third in total bases (20) and fourth in on-base percentage (.542). Pence added two home runs, five runs scored, a double and a triple, and posted three multi-RBI contests.

Pence also hit safely in each of his six games played, and recorded multiple hits in five of the six. On Sept. 1 against the NL Central Division rival St. Louis Cardinals, Pence went 2-for-2 with a home run, three RBIs, two walks and a stolen base as he led the Astros to a 5-2 win and a three-game sweep over St. Louis.

On Sept. 5 at Arizona, the 2004 second round pick out of the University of Texas-Arlington connected for a three-run home run in the first inning and finished the game 2-for-4 in Houston’s 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. The 2009 NL All-Star is batting .290 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs while leading the Astros with 44 multi-hit games. This marks the second career weekly award for Pence (previous: May 14-20, 2007).

Other nominees this past week included Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (.517, 15 H, 5 RBI); Neal Walker (.481, 5 2B, 8 R) of the Pirates; Florida’s Hanley Ramirez (.444, .600 OBP, 8 R); Adam Dunn (.471, .941 SLG, 7 RBI) of the Nationals; Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens (2-0, 2.13 ERA, 15 SO); Pence’s Astros teammate J.A. Happ (2-0, 1.13 ERA, 11 SO); Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 1.46 ERA,15 SO) of the Cubs; and San Francisco’s Brian Wilson (1.80 ERA 4 SV).

The Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week, Pence, is awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Bourn second-guesses himself

Michael Bourn reached base four times in five at-bats by going 2-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base on Monday against the Cubs, but he was more focused on what could have been. He led off the fourth with a stand-up double to right-center, but the speedster admitted he should have been on third with a triple.

He was thrown out at the plate moments later when he tried to score on Hunter Pence‘s grounder to third. Bourn knocked over Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, cutting his lip in the process, but the catcher held onto the ball for what turned out to be a crucial out in a 5-4 losss.

“We could have scored more,” Bourn said. “I feel like I messed up on a crucial mistake. I feel like I should have been to third. It was a bad baserunning error. It happens. I tried to make up for it and go home and shouldn’t have went.

“Sometimes I’m a risk-taker, but I should have done the opposite. I should have went to third and should not have went home. I try to learn from my mistakes. We lost by one and that could have been the deciding factor.”

Bogusevic makes first start for Astros

The Astros are working on Labor Day, facing the Cubs this afternoon in the first game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who has a 0.98 ERA since July 25, gets the start for Houston against right-hander Casey Coleman, who’s making his fourth career start.

Former first-round pick Brian Bogusevic makes his first career start for the Astros, betting sixth and playing left field.

“It’s real exciting and I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play, and I can’t wait to get out there,” Bogusevic said.

Here are the lineups:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

2B Jeff Keppinger

RF Hunter Pence

1B Carlos Lee

3B Chris Johnson

LF Brian Bogusevic

SS Matt Downs

C Jason Castro

P Wandy Rodriguez

CUBS

3B Jeff Baker

2B Blake DeWitt

CF Marlon Byrd

C Geovany Soto

1B Xavier Nady

RF Tyler Colvin

LF Alfonso Soriano

SS Darwin Barney

RHP Casey Coleman

 

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