Finally

It took 106 games, but we did it.  We finally did it.  The Houston Astros organization finally got a complete game from someone above their lowest rung of professional baseball.  It wasn’t a shutout – one thing at a time – but Douglas Arguello of the Corpus Christi Hooks threw nine innings.

Douglas Arguello 05-06-09.jpg
Twenty-seven outs.  Six of them strikeouts.  No walks, seven hits, one earned run.  Even better?  It was against those pesky Midland Rockhounds. 

The 6’3″ lefty showed nice stuff, and the victory put the Hooks one game above .500… speaking of which:

Wade In The Minors

Ed Wade’s #1 job as General Manager of the Houston Astros, believe it or not, is not to assemble a playoff contender.  It isn’t even to assemble a competitive team, as can be evidenced by an offseason which gave us Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Hampton, and Aaron Boone.  His #1 job as General Manager of the Houston Astros is to fix the farm system.

It’s not done.  It’s not even almost done.  But it is happening.

Round Rock Express: 12-15, 1st/4 PCL American South
Corpus Christi Hooks: 13-12, 2nd/4 Texas South
Lancaster Jethawks: 9-19, 4th/4 California South
Lexington Legends: 17-10, 1st/8 SAL Southern

The “Big Three” in Lexington – Brad Dydalewicz (2-0, 17 IP, 0.00 ERA, .089 BAA), Ross Seaton (4-1, 29.2 IP, 0.91 ERA, .184 BAA), and Jordan Lyles (1-2, 23.2 IP, 27 K, 6 BB) – are all 2008 draftees.  So are Jack Shuck, Jonathan Gaston, Jay Austin, Phil Disher, Ashton Mowdy, Shane Wolf, and Daniel Meszaros – all guys getting their names on this blog regularly.  And, yes, so is Jason Castro

Seaton Ignores Dewey.jpg

Seaton already just like an Astros pitcher – ignoring Dewey Robinson

Of course, so was David Duncan, but I’m being charitable here.

We’ve been hearing that it was a great draft on paper.  So far this season, it’s proving to be true.  And if it takes a year or two more of this terrible major league baseball to get traction, I hope all Astros fans are ready.  Because it will be worth it.  Heck and Wade are really doing very well.

Not A Fan Of Ed Wade’s…

Shawn Chacon is less a fan of Ed Wade than I am.  Astute readers may remember that Chacon was removed from the team in 2008 for – among other reasons – pushing Wade to the ground in an altercation.

After that incident, no major league team would touch Chacon.  And rightfully so.  But the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League did sign him this week, adding him to a roster that includes (or in some cases, included) Pete Rose, Jr., Tim Raines, Jr., Armando Benitez, Jose Herrera, Alberto Castillo, Abraham Nunez, Jay Gibbons, Keith Foulke, and former Astros Carl Everett, Daryle Ward, and Charlton Jimerson.

Carl Everett and Shawn Chacon on the same team.  Could only be better if the team was in Newark, New Jer…. oh.

The Bears will lose play their first game on Thursday, May 7, at 11:05 AM Eastern Time.

Not To Beat A Dead Horse, But…

…I’m going to.  A few days ago, I mentioned that Pitch f/x data wasn’t yet available for the Felipe Paulino/Ryan Zimmerman at-bat in which two fairly clear strike threes were called balls, walking in a run and extending an awful inning. 

Well, the data is in.  I offer it without commentary:

Paulino-Zimmerman At-Bat.JPG

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

As predicted, the Astros made a move today to bring an arm up from Triple-A Round Rock.  The arm was attached to the torso of Alberto Arias, and was pressed into early service today.  To make room for Arias, Jason Smith was (predictably) Designated For Assignment.  Or, as the kids like to say, DFA’d.

Paul Estrada was the odd choice to replace Arias at Round Rock. 

This gives the Astros 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which for right now is just fine, as Jeff Keppinger and Darin Erstad are the only bench players Cecil Cooper has deemed old worthy enough to play with any regularity.  Arias provides at least a theoretical stopgap until the bullpen can “get right.”

At some point, though, a roster move is going to need to be made, because a major league ballclub needs itself a utility infielder or two.  Though Geoff Blum and Keppinger can fill that role, Miguel Tejada‘s mythical “rest” is out there somewhere, and Kazuo Matsui is still a fragile little flower. 

When the time comes, it seems likely that Edwin Maysonet will be the one to get the call.  He plays multiple positions, and unlike a Drew Sutton or a Chris Johnson, he isn’t someone who absolutely needs to be playing everyday (not that Johnson has been playing at all since taking a pitch to the hand, seemingly 8 months ago). 

Maysonet is hitting .306/.414/.408 at Round Rock, and has experience all ’round the infield.

Today’s Game

Ivan Rodriguez was 0-for-4, hit into a Double Play, and had two passed balls; Geoff Blum had a remarkable error; Lance Berkman hit a home run; Mike Hampton gave up four runs in the first inning and failed to become the first Astros starter to go at least a full six innings since April 28th; and the Astros lost to the Cubs 6-3.

That summary work for you?

Bill James Gets Animated

Most faithful readers of mine should know who Bill James is.  If you don’t, you really really really should.  Promise. 

Steven Soderbergh, who is directing the Moneyball movie starring Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, mentioned that his original plan for James – who is a solid presence all through the book without ever actually appearing in person – is to animate him

Seriously.

“We have this sort of oracle character that appears throughout and
declaims various issues and he’s essentially supposed to be Bill
James,” Soderberg said. “He’s your host in a way…. The background will
be real but the person who is supposed to be him will be animated.”

I trust Soderbergh with most things, and I already expect to be confused by this movie, so I’m not going to make a huge deal out of this.  It could be sort of like a Harvey Pekar creation out of American Splendor, right?

Right?

What Happened Was…

Round Rock Express (AAA) – Jose Capellan continues to make those of us who were on his bandwagon in Spring Training become bigger and bigger Russ Ortiz fans.  He allowed four runs on eight hits in just 5.0 innings, falling to 1-5 on the season with a 10.15 ERA as the Express lost 7-3 to the New Orleans Zephyrs (FLA).  Lou Santangelo was 2-for-4 with 2 doubles in the contest.  Eli Iorg, one of my favorite prospects, continues a cold streak by going 0-for-4, his average dropping to .162 for the season.

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – As mentioned, Douglas Arguello went the distance, striking out 6 and allowing a single run in 9.0 IP – and just 116 pitches.  Home runs by OF/DH Andrew Locke (solo) and C Jonathan Fixler (three-run) were all the Hooks would need as they won, 4-1, over the Midland Rockhounds (OAK).  3B Jhon Florentino continued to rake, going 2-for-3 to raise his line to .321/.398/.440 on the season.

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – It’s true that the Jethawks are not very good, but that didn’t prevent them from absolutely exploding on the Lake Eslinore Storm (SDP), 17-4.  They put together – count ‘em – twenty-five hits.  It’s almost impossible to find a batter who wasn’t productive tonight, but the aforementioned Ed Wade pick OF Jonathan Gaston has to get special merit for having hit three home runs, and going 5-for-5 with 7 RBI.  Wow.  Chia-Jen Lo pitched three scoreless innings of relief in this one.

Lexington Legends (A) – Kyle Greenwalt isn’t pitching as well as Brad Dydalewicz, Ross Seaton, or Jordan Lyles, but he hasn’t exactly been much of a slouch, either.  Unfortunately, he got a hard-luck loss today as the Legends dropped one to the Rome Braves (ATL), 4-2.  In six full innings, he struck out six and gave up six hits, one walk, and two wild pitches.  He also allowed four runs, all earned, and hit two batsmen.  I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t at his absolute sharpest.  Still, he’s 2-2 on the season with a 1.86 ERA.  Not a ton of offense in this one, but OF Brandon Barnes was 2-for-4 with a triple. 

5 Comments

A complete game? I have a few pitchers I’d like Douglas to talk to. And DON”T get me started on bad calls by umps!! UGH!!! An animated Bill James. Oracle? Will he have a pointy hat and a wand also? I’m having a tough time with this one.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Maybe they could do Bill James as a 6 foot tall invisible white rabbit a la Harvey. BTW, do YOU know what James meant when he No-commented Bagwell?

Need context – on the pitch tracker, were those balls consistent with other high/low balls he was calling that day? In particular, consistent with how he was calling the other pitcher? If so, could just be a tight strike zone. But if the bottom of the sixth was markedly different than the rest of the game, it could be because it was raining much harder then – maybe he just got a distorted view in the rain.

I want to say something about Choke-on. I know Chacon took things too far, but I guarantee you Wade provoked the hell out of him. Smug SOB.

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/

It’d be so nice if a complete game could find its way to MMP tonight. Somehow, with Ortiz on the mound and Cooper in the dugout, I doubt it’ll happen. Oh well, maybe we can hope for 7 innings…mmh, okay maybe 6…
Also, maybe Cooper will pencil in Towles…I’m a little concern J.R is giving ‘bench player’ a whole new meaning.

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