AAA: Round Rock 4, Oklahoma City (LAD) 0
Round Rock: 7 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 30-20, 1 G up
SP Spencer Howard: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 85 P / 57 S, 4.66 ERA
RP Josh Sborz: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 6.05 ERA
RP Jesus Tinoco: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.66 ERA
RF Steele Walker: 2-3, BB, .314/.407/.514
LF Willie Calhoun: 3-4, 2 HR (4), .246/.299/.443
I’ve mentioned that Willie Calhoun hasn’t been playing all that much or that well, but he was the offense last night, driving in four on a tall homer down the line and a liner to the opposing bullpen in right-center.
I said last week that Spencer Howard had ditched the changeup. That’s not quite true. He did throw just one for Texas before demotion to AAA, but having corrected my minor league database, I now see he’d thrown 11 in AAA out of 269 total pitches, including ten in one outing on May 20. A small portion of his arsenal, but not completely absent. He added four last night. Unfortunately, neither the change nor the handful of curves were of much use. In AAA, his swinging strike rate on the curve is 7%, and the change has yet to generate a miss. Opponents are hitting .500 (4-for-8) when they make contact on those pitches. The fastball and slider are solid. At his best, he spots the fastball well and mixes in the slider successfully. Hitters aren’t swinging helplessly through a bunch of pitches but certainly don’t look comfortable. In the 4th, his fastball began running high and he walked three straight batters.
Yerry Rodriguez doesn’t quite look like his old self, but he’s been better, allowing no runs and fanning eight in his last six innings.
The box score lists seven automatic balls called. I counted ten, including two in one plate appearance by both Howard and recently optioned Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. I don’t think I’d ever seen more than three in one game, and never two to a single batter.
The Padres are calling up Nomar Mazara, who will increase their collection of ex-Rangers to five (Jurickson Profar, Jorge Alfaro, Yu Darvish, Nick Martinez).
AA: Frisco 3, at Wichita (MIN) 0
Frisco: 8 hits, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
SP Cody Bradford: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 16 P / 10 S, 8.47 ERA
RP Jack Leiter: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 SO, 4.93 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.77 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, BB, .349/.388/.471
2B Ezequiel Duran: 2-5, 2B, .313/.356/.568
LF Dustin Harris: 2-5, HR (9), SB (9), .253/.339/.461
DH Kellen Strahm: 1-2, 2 BB, .211/.373/.263
RF Josh Stowers: 0-1, 3 BB, .221/.350/.327This was the completion of Tuesday’s rain suspension. Cody Bradford pitched the 1st that night, and Jack Leiter followed Wednesday as a “reliever” instead of starting the regularly scheduled contest. Leiter was in form, fanning eight of 22 batters and averaging only 16.4 pitches per inning. Matt Olson has five doubles in his last four games to reach 23, one more than Ezequiel Duran. No shame in being slightly less proficient than Olson at something.
AA: Frisco 1, at Wichita (MIN) 7 (7)
Frisco: 3 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Record: 26-21, 1 G up
SP Kevin Gowdy: 1 IP, 4 H (1 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 36 P / 21 S, 9.00 ERA
RP Seth Nordlin: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.23 ERA
CF Kellen Strahm: 2-2, BB, .211/.373/.263
Kellen Strahm immediately rewarded my faith in him by going 3-4 with three walks in the quasi-doubleheader.
IF Justin Foscue was IL’ed with a tight oblique per local reports. A worse version (I hope) of that injury cost him a sizable chunk of 2021.
High-A: Hickory 15, at Asheville (HOU) 7
Hickory: 10 hits, 14 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 6 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 28-19, 0.5 GB
SP Ricky Vanasco: 4 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 83 P / 51 S, 6.04 ERA
DH Aaron Zavala: 0-0, 3 BB, .269/.433/.372
LF Trevor Hauver: 3-5, HR (6), 2 BB, .243/.418/.435
1B Cristian Inoa: 3-5, .288/.355/.404
3B Cody Freeman: 1-3, HR (7), 2 BB, .233/.320/.414
SS Chris Seise: 2-5, 2B, .232/.289/.408
Hickory scored six in the 1st on two singles, seven walks, two passed balls and a wild pitch. In the 7th, Randy Florentino, Evan Carter and Luisangel Acuna would walk in front of Trevor Hauver, who belted a grand slam.
Since the beginning of 2021, Houston’s full-season farm clubs have issued a combined 5.4 walks and HBPs per game, the most in baseball by 0.5 per game over the second-worst club, Cincinnati. (Texas is 12th-best with 2,846, 4.3 per game.)
Look carefully at that Chris Seise line. Not the batting. The position. Seise took the field for the first time this season. Seise has lost years to injuries and was limited in 2022 to DH with frequent rest until last night.
Low-A: Down East 2, Charleston (TAM) 13
Down East: 6 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 22-25, 4.5 GB
SP Brandon Webb: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 82 P / 53 S, 4.99 ERA
RP Emiliano Teodo: 2.1 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 9 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 4.81 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, 3B, .179/.267/.224
LF Yosy Galan: 1-3, HR (7), .254/.351/.482
Webb and Teodo contributed five walks, three errors, two hit batters, a balk and a wild pitch to the cause. One of those days.
Since an 0-for-16 start, Cam Cauley is hitting .235/.328/.294. Not great, but he’s seeing some pitches and not striking out at a bad rate.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Pedro Payano allowed a run in five innings in his AA debut. He would make the Rangers in 2019. He’s still around, pitching in relief for Cincinnati’s AAA squad.