I’ve been meaning to start a feature on my blog called What Happened Was… Eventually, I’d like to do nibs on all of the Major League games, but for now, I’ll focus on the previous day’s games among the Astros organization.
Obviously, the opening Astros-Cubs series escaped my scrutiny. Lucky for everyone involved, really, because it wasn’t pretty. Not even the game we somehow won.
Houston Astros – The Astros had a day off before beginning their series tonight in St. Louis.
Round Rock Express (AAA) – The Express got their 2009 season off on the right foot, beating the Iowa Cubs (CHC) 10-4 behind home runs by Reggie Abercrombie, Mark Saccomanno, J.R. Towles, and Brian Bogusevic – four players who can expect to see time in the majors this season. John Gall went 1-for-1 with 3 walks. Chris Johnson was the only starter without a hit, but he still got in on the act with a sacrifice fly. Felipe Paulino pitched five scoreless innings with six strikeouts, which is great news, but all four Iowa runs came off of Clay Hensley, who threw just an inning and a third, which is not great news.
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – The Hooks bested the Tulsa Drillers (COL) in their first action of the year, 9-3. Brian Esposito had a home run, as did Collin DeLome, one of my favorite Astros prospects. Sergio Perez, one of the Astros’ few legitimate pitching prospects, allowed a run in five innings of work, struck out just one, and walked three on the way to the win.
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – The Jethawks lost to the High Desert Mavericks (SEA) 9-3, but let’s be honest. There are only a few names most Astros fans care about in Lancaster, and only one of them played in this game: Jason Castro went 1-for-5 with a double and a strikeout. Shane Wolf only made it four and a third, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 4. I’ll take the K/9 rate right – just under 9 – for right now, but the 2.00 K/BB isn’t promising. Michael Pineda for the Mavericks, on the other hand, struck out 7 in 5 innings, and Phillipe Aumont – who we last saw in the World Baseball Classic – threw a fairly clean inning in relief with a strikeout and a hit.
Lexington Legends (A) – The Legends beat the West Virginia Power (PIT) 5-4 in their Opening Day matchup. There’s one name you need to know above all others on this team: Jay Austin. Austin is a Michael Bourn type – a speedy, athletic, rangy outfielder. He’s even less polished at the plate than Bourn, but shows a lot of promise. Austin went 1-for-5 as the leadoff man against West Virginia. The hero of the night was third baseman Ebert Rosario, who went 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple, and 2 RBI. Top prospect Jordan Lyles earned the win despite a fairly lackluster 3 K in 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 2 runs. Surprisingly effective was Henry Villar, who struck out 5 in 2 relief innings. He did give up 3 hits, 2 walks, and a run, but a very promising start for the 22-year-old righty.
Of course, Tri-City and Greeneville don’t begin their seasons for quite a while. All in all, the Houston organization went 3-1 yesterday. Not a bad start to the season for the worst minor league system in baseball.