There’s a very real chance that Mark Saccomanno‘s opportunity to be a big leaguer came and went.
The 29-year-old corner infielder has been stuck behind Lance Berkman in Houston’s pecking order for quite some time, and failed to distinguish himself as even an adequate fielder at third base. His best and only chance to play would likely have been this season, with a razor-thin bench.
Before the season, many of us – myself included – wanted Saccomanno to have a legitimate shot either at a bench spot, or even at the starting third base spot, despite his defensive woes. He’s made a lot of fans in Houston with his solid hitting, topped with his first-ever Major League at-bat, when he hit the first pitch he’d ever seen in the Major Leagues into the bleachers.
When Berkman missed time recently due to a mild calf strain, the first baseman spot fell to former first-round pick Darin Erstad, who has hit a disgusting .185/.248/.293 this season. And when the Philadelphia Phillies released backup catcher Chris Coste on July 10, the Astros signed him and almost immediately pressed him into service at first base.
Now, with Erstad on the Disabled List and Berkman slated for an MRI, the merry-go-round continues at first base. And Saccomanno’s name is nowhere near the top of anyone’s wish list as they contemplate their options, thanks in large part to the mediocre .267/.317/.403 line he’s compiled through 90 games at Round Rock this season.
Mark Saccomanno has played in ten Major League games in his career. And he may have played in his last.
Stealing One Back
The Astros beat the Cardinals tonight, which does wonders. It puts us back over .500, it gives us a game in the standings against the division leaders, and it comes on a night when both Chicago and Milwaukee lost – the former an embarrassing 10-1 destruction at the hands of the blazing-hot defending World Series champions.
Cardinals-Astros is always a big series, but if we can win either – or, preferably, both – of the next two games and take this series, we are suddenly starting to look very good. The Astros’ second half is an extremely difficult one, and any momentum we can get right now is going to be vital down the stretch.
Crazy things are happening in Lancaster. Sure, the team isn’t doing terribly well, but catcher Koby Clemens – the son of that other Clemens – is coming up with big hits.
Clemens came to the Astros system as a third baseman, and was moved to catcher, just in time to see Jason Castro get drafted and become the franchise Golden Boy. They competed for time in Lancaster before Castro got moved up to Double-A Corpus Christi. Clemens, who seems to have been virtually passed over, isn’t going down without a fight, though.
Coming into today’s game against the Stockton Ports, he has collected 22 RBI in 10 games, including a two-homer game on July 13. Unfortunately, he failed to collect any RBI tonight (a game for which he was placed in left field,) but it’s still quite a nice streak.
Sign ‘Em All
The High Desert Mavericks (SEA) had a notable game, capped by the fourth inning, which saw them record 6 errors as a team. In the same inning. They ended the game with 7, and – not surprisingly – dropped a 12-2 decision to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAA).
What Happened Was…
Round Rock Express (AAA) – The Express really needed a laugher, and that’s just what they got tonight, downing the Albuquerque Isotopes (LAD) 9-2. Yorman Bazardo had a decent start, fanning 4 in 7.0 innings, allowing a single run on 5 hits and 4 walks. Doug Brocail, in a rehab appearance, struck out one in a perfect inning of work. Samuel Gervacio did his best to let Albuquerque back into the game – in a single inning of work, he walked one, allowed a hit, balked, and hit a batter, but gave up just one run and struck out two. OF Brian Bogusevic was 3-for-5 with 3 RBI and a home run; and 3B Chris Johnson was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – Chia-Jen Lo walked two hitters and beaned another one in a sole inning of work – and looked like the ace of the staff. At least he didn’t allow any runs, unlike Old Man Andy Van Hekken, Daniel Meszaros, and Ryan McKeller, who also pitched for the Hooks in their 5-4 loss to the Midland Rockhounds (OAK). OF Andrew Locke stayed hot for Corpus Christi, going 2-for-4 with a double and bringing his season totals to .320/.372/.491. C Jason Castro was also 2-for-4, as was DH James Van Ostrand, who tallied all three of Corpus Christi’s RBIs in this game.
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – The Jethawks offense showed up, but couldn’t overcome some terrible pitching, as they fell to the Stockton Ports (OAK) 11-6. OF Jonathan Gaston was 2-for-2 with 2 home runs (bringing his league-leading total to 25), 3 RBI, and 2 BB.
Lexington Legends (A) – Brad Dydalewicz is still very good, and he struck out 7 in 7.1 IP tonight, walked 3, allowed 4 hits, and 2 earned runs. He was followed on the mound by Kyle Godfrey, who struck out 4 in 2.1 innings of work, allowing no runs on a single hit. But it took until Patrick Urckfitz entered the game in the tenth inning for the offense to catch up to the pitching. Urckfitz struck out one and walked one in an otherwise-perfect 1.1 innings of work as the Legends got 3 runs in the 11th inning to best the Lakewood Blue Claws (PHI), 5-2. 1B Brian Pellegrini did the heavy lifting at the plate, going 2-for-4 and drawing a walk, then stealing a base just to prove that he can. 2B Michael Diaz did a little showing off, as well, knocking in two runs off the bench, singling in his first at-bat of the ballgame, in the 11th inning.
Tri-City Valleycats (A-) – It was a struggle all day for the ValleyCats, losing 9-3 to the Auburn Doubledays (TOR). Scott Migl made his claim for Worst Pitcher in the Organization – In addition to his poor consonant-to-vowel ratio, he allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 2.1 IP. His season totals for Tri-City are 7 walks, 7 hits, and 7 runs in 4.2 IP, with a 13.50 ERA. OF/DH J.D. Martinez tried his best to
stave off the bad guys, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a big 3-run home run, but it wouldn’t be enough.
Greeneville Astros (R) – If Carlos Quevedo is really this good, things could get very interesting over the next few years. Quevedo struck out 9 batters in just 5.0 innings, allowing 2 hits and an unearned run. Unfortuntately, the Astros’ 5 team errors worked against him, and the rest of the pitching staff, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Kingsport Mets (NYM). Three of those errors belonged to 1B Oscar Figueroa. You read that correctly: A first baseman managed to make three errors in a single game. 2B Jose Altuve continued to impress, going 1-for-4 with a home run; the only other Astros hit was provided by OF Ryan Humphrey.