H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Monday, August 21, 2006

House Promoted, Munson Burned; Farmhands Fire Four Shutouts

AAA: Round Rock 5, Memphis 0 - Zeke Astacio had his second straight nice start (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K). Brooks Conrad, Cody Ransom and Brian Gordon each homered.

In an interesting roster move, the Astros called up JR House from Round Rock and designated Eric Munson for assignment. Munson has been admittedly bad, and that should not come as a surprise considering he has been bad his entire career prior to this season. But giving an oft-injured, historically bad defensive catcher the role as your only backup catcher at this point in the season, however, is a bit intriguing. Granted, House has been red-hot as of late (.429/.463/.679 at Round Rock in 84 ABs), but it is a rather small sample size, and his ability to hold up his end behind the plate defensively on the major league level is quite unclear. House was once a highly-touted prospect, but Tommy John surgery, reluctance by management to let him play catcher in Triple-A and a full year out of baseball in 2005 are not very positive indicators that this guy is ready to be playing on a regular basis in a major-league pennant race. This move would make a lot of sense if House was being promoted as a third catcher/powerful bat off the bench, something the Astros need desperately, but it seems like a shaky move, at best, as executed.

AA: Wichita 4, Corpus Christi 3 - Another nice start for Troy Patton (7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K), and Hunter Pence walked twice and hit his 28th home run. C Brian Peterson also had three hits.
Patton, still just 20 years old, has now made 25 starts between Salem and Corpus Christi and pitched over 130 innings. He threw just 28 innings after being drafted in 2004 and about 120 between Lexington and Salem in 2005. The Astros have made no noise about slowing him down, and with the Hooks headed for the playoffs, fans in Corpus would certainly be somewhat upset if that was done. There is certainly a delicate balance between the Astros' interest in strengthening his arm in preparation for the 200+ innings you hope he will throw for the Astros in 2008 and the concern his current health and well-being as a result of increasing his workload so much over such a short period of time at such a young age. All things considered, I would have zero issues whatsoever if the Astros decided to limit Patton's pitching from this point on; see what Cincinnati is considering doing with its prized pitching prospect, Homer Bailey.

High A: Salem 5, Winston-Salem 0 - Jimmy Barthmaier seems poised to spend next summer as the anchor of the rotation in Corpus Christi (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K). His ERA is now 3.89 on the season, which has been lowered significantly as of late.

Baseball America noticed JB's outing last night, referencing it in their Daily Dish. They did more math than I did: Barthmaier has won five straight starts and is 4-0 with a .148 ERA in August.

Low A: Lexington 3, Lake County 0 - And replacing Barthmaier in Virginia will be Brad James (pictured above), who has been absolutely amazing for the Legends. Last night: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. James is now 4-2 with a 1.20 ERA in 15 appearances (12 starts), allowing only two home runs in 82.1 IP. Last night James got 15 ground outs, three fly outs and three whiffs.

Short Season A: Tri-City 4, Lowell 0 - And replacing Brad James in Lexington will be Chris Salamida (among others), who threw five shutout innings to earn the win last night for the Valley Cats. Chris is now 8-1 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 starts for the Valley Cats. It will be interesting to see if he gets a shot down the stretch for the Legends, who are staggering into the playoffs.

Rookie: Greenville 5, Pulaski 3 - Great relief work from Reid Kelley (4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K).

Zobrist/Talbot Watch: Ben Zobrist was 1-5 with an RBI in the Rays' loss to the Tribe. Surprisingly, Zobrist has walked only twice in 66 ABs with the Rays so far. He has exhibited good plate discipline, however, in the at-bats that I've witnessed, and he has hit in three straight games since being moved up to the two-spot in the batting order, between Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford. Aubrey Huff continues to be relegated to platoon duty, as he sat yesterday against Brewers' lefty Doug Davis.


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