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Friday, August 26, 2005

Astros Minor League Report - Games of August 25

AAA: Round Rock 4, Nashville 0
The Express' conglomeration of AAA lifers and major-league washouts continues to win games but remains 2.5 games behind Oklahoma. Jimmy Freaking Anderson pitched a masterpiece Thursday night, scattering seven hits and going the distance to earn a complete-game shutout. Astros' fans had better start praying for an injury, or else Jimmy could pitch himself onto the big-league roster in September, which would certainly be disastrous for the Astros' postseason hopes. Offensively, Royce Huffman had three hits and homered for the second consecutive night, and Luke Scott hit his 30th home run of the year in what he assuredly hopes is one of his AAA games. Fernando Nieve gets the start Friday night for Round Rock.

AA: Corpus Christi 6, Frisco 0
The Hooks continue their excellent play heading into a crucial four-game set v. first-place Midland, who they now trail by only two games, which starts Saturday night. Phillip Barzilla, former Rice standout, pitched six shutout innings to earn his seventh win and lower his season ERA to 3.08. Mike Rodriguez fell a single short of the cycle, and Marc Saccomanno and Charlton Jimerson also homered for the Hooks. Jimerson also rang up his 138th and 139th strikeouts of the season. It will be interesting to see what the front office decides to do with Jimerson (.266/.318/.454) next season. I would assume that he'll start the year in AA again because he clearly still has issues making consistent contact, but there's not much positional talent ahead of him in the system, so they may decide to let him take a shot in AAA.

One interesting twist is that Jeff Bagwell will likely be the DH in the Hooks' lineup for the last game of the Midland series. Hooks' CF Josh Anderson had a great quote: "Even if he doesn't pick up a bat, just knowing he's in the dugout with us will put fear in the other team." Sounds like Anderson's not convinced that Baggy's ready to return to form just yet, eh?

Special thanks to fellow Pirate Jason Koy for providing me with this tip: Jason Hirsh was selected as the 2005 Texas League Pitcher of the Year. Ex-Hook and current Express RHP Fernando Nieve was also selected as a 2005 Texas League postseason all-star.

High A: Salem 11, Potomac 6
The Avalanche completed a three game sweep of Potomac and extended their division lead to 1.5 games over Winston-Salem. Troy Patton was not invincible, allowing two runs in three innings of laborious work. Juan Gutierrez, however, was excellent in his Salem debut after being called up from Lexington, pitching four one-hit innings and striking out six to earn the victory. Mike Floyd had three hits including a home run, Hunter Pence had two hits including a run-scoring double, and Frankie Caraballo continued to play as if he was still in Lexington, rackign put two more hits and two more RBI. Saul Torres also hit a three-run HR for the Avalanche. The division title will now be decided, as Salem heads to Winston-Salem for a four-game set.

In mentioning Caraballos' promotion yesterday, I failed to note that the open roster spot was created when Avalanche 1B was lost for the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist.

Salem's residents continue to come out in record numbers to watch the boatload of young talent on display, setting a franchise record for attendance for the second consecutive season.

Low A: Lexington 7, West Virginia 1
The Legends won their fifth straight in the series opener v. the Power. Lexington's string of excellent starting pitching continued, as Paul Estrada allowed only one run in five innings in his first start of the season following 43 relief appearances. Offensively, Beau Torbert continued to sizzle, hitting a three-run homer. SS Edwin Maysonet had a pair of doubles, and 2B Drew Sutton went 3-3 at the plate.

Short Season A: Oneonta 12, Tri-City 2
Little good to report from this thrashing. Patrick Sellers did homer for the Valley Cats.

Rookie: Burlington 11, Greenville 0
Burlington's Jason Schutt combined with two relievers to cool off the Astros' bats, allowing only a pair of singles (one by Josh Flores). In his last 12 games, Flores is 20-51 for a .392 average and was named on Tuesday as the Astros' only Appalachian League All-Star. Koby Clemens managed to refrain from making an error, ended his streak of "erroroneous" games at five.


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