Houston Astros (MLB): Jose Valverde.
It’s a name I expect to pop up a lot in conversation tomorrow. The Astros held a 1-0 lead going into the 9th inning after a decent performance by ace Roy Oswalt, and in their tenth game of the season, they were finally able to hand the ball to Valverde for his first save situation of the year.
He promptly gave up a two-run, game-winning home run to Ramon Hernandez. The Houston Astros, desperate to avoid a three-game winning streak, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by losing 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds.
Valverde is going to be fine, though I am worried that maybe his back hurts worse than he’s letting on. Avoid the bandwagon, friends. Jose is going to blow a few more saves before the season’s up, and allowing one walk and one hit – albeit a two-run shot – is not the end of the world. As with all things Astros, we just have to be extra-special patient on this one.
Round Rock Express (AAA) – The Express fell to 3-6 on the season after dropping the first of their four game road series to the the Iowa Cubs (CHC), 8-3. Starter Josh Muecke allowed 7 earned runs on 11 hits and 4 walks, somehow managing to make it 5.0 innings before getting pulled. Edwin Maysonet led the offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. My boy J.R. Towles went 2-for-4 to raise himself to .435/.458/.696 on the season.
Yeah, I see now why he couldn’t be the starting big-league catcher.
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – If only the Hooks could have saved some of their 15 runs from yesterday, they might have avoided getting blanked 9-0 today by the Tulsa Drillers (COL). Starter Casey Hudspeth looked abysmal in his 2.2 IP, giving up 8 hits and 2 walks while striking out just 1. Chad Wagler continues to look pretty good in relief, though, striking out 4 in 2.1 IP, and allowing 4 hits, 0 walks, and 1 earned run. Andy “Grandpa” Van Hekken continues his romp through the Texas League, pitching a perfect eighth with a strikeout. It’s hard to pick a favorite at the plate, since the team was so abysmal, but I’ll give the nod to 2B Drew Mayer for his 1-for-4 performance, because his double was the Hooks’ only XBH.
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – We’ve come to expect certain things from the Jethawks, and today’s 9-1 loss to the High Desert Mavericks (SEA) summed them up: A terrible starting pitching performance (Christopher Hicks – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 6 H, 2 BB); and a decent performance at the plate from the Jason Castro–Koby Clemens catching duet (Castro had the day off, but Clemens went 1-for-4 with the team’s only RBI.) 3B Marcos Cabral went 2-for-3 with a double to lead the offense.
Lexington Legends (A) – The Legends squared off against the West Virginia Power (PIT) in a doubleheader tonight, and dropped the first game 3-2. Brad Dydalewicz, one of our better pitching prospects, pitched 5.0 innings, allowing just one unearned run, before handing it off to Jose “the other Trinidad” Trinidad. Jose didn’t dominate in his 2.0 IP, but he didn’t pitch that poorly, either, as he allowed two runs – one earned – and was handed the loss.
Lexington Legends (A) – The Legends were the only team in the organization to win on Friday, and even they didn’t do a very good job of it, besting the West Virginia Power (PIT) 1-0 in game 2 of their doubleheader. In fact, they strung together just two hits: 3B Ebert Rosario‘s double in the bottom of the eighth inning, and SS Ricardo Bonfante‘s single to score him. Yes, you read that correctly. West Virginia’s pitchers, Ramon Aguero and Brian Leach combined to no-hit the Legends through a complete seven innings, and their team still lost 1-0 in the extra frame. Henry Villar (3.1 IP), Patrick Urckfitz (2.2 IP), Daniel Meszaros (1.0 IP), and Jack Tilghman (1.0 IP) combined to hold the Power off of the board. I guess after three straight shutouts, they realized that the only way to win right now is to shut out the other team and hope for the best.
Consider this: Since April 12, only one day has gone by in which a team in the Astros’ system was not shut out. That day was April 13, and the following day, they made up for it when two teams got shut out.
04/12/09: Pittsburgh Pirates 3, Houston Astros 0
04/14/09: Pittsburgh Pirates 7, Houston Astros 0
04/14/09: Kannapolis Intimidators 2, Lexington Legends 0
04/15/09: Kannapolis Intimidators 6, Lexington Legends 0
04/16/09: Kannapolis Intimidators 1, Lexington Legends 0
04/17/09: Tulsa Drillers 9, Corpus Christi Hooks 0