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April 6, 2015
AL West Standings
Team W L Pct GB RS RA Diff Home Road East Cent West L10 Streak
x-Anaheim9864.605-77363014352-2946-3519-1424-943-333-7L 3
y-Oakland (E)8874.5431072957215748-3340-4120-1217-1738-385-5W 1
Seattle (E)8775.537116345548041-4046-3518-1519-1441-355-5W 4
Houston (E)7092.43228629723-9438-4332-4916-1814-1835-413-7L 2
Arlington (E)6795.41431637773-13633-4834-4710-2314-1933-437-3L 1

Last Game:
Mets 8
Astros 3

October 21 - This Date in Astros History
October 21 - This Date in Astros History
October 21

2004 - Heartbreak again. Houston owns a 2-1 lead with Roger Clemens on the hill in the decisive Game Seven of the N.L.C.S. but Albert Pujols ties it with a double in the sixth then Scott Rolen unties it on the next pitch with a two-run homer. The Cardinals tack on an insurance run and win the series, 5-2, behind Jeff Suppan. Craig Biggio started the night perfectly with a solo homer . While not as close as the 1980 World Series, the Astros were in sniffing distance of this one before falling short. Still, they could look back on an improbable season that featured an amazing streak to make the playoffs and the first postseason series win in their history.
1960 - Franklin Stubbs is born in Richlands, NC. He might best be remembered in Houston as the answer to the trivia question "Who played first base for the Astros in between Davis and Bagwell?" His lone year in Houston was 1990 when he contributed a .261 average along with a career-best 23 homers and 71 RBIs.
1941 - Ron Davis is born in Roanoke Rapids, NC. The outfielder makes his debut as a 20-year-old with the Colt .45s in 1962 then reappears in 1966 to play as a reserve for three more seasons. Overall, he bats .239 with ten homers while in Houston. He died in Houston just before his 51st birthday in 1992.

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Date      Opp      Result
9/01      off        --
9/02      ANA      W 8-3
9/03      ANA      W 4-1
9/04      off        --
9/05     @OAK      W 4-3
9/06     @OAK*     L 4-3
9/07     @OAK*     W 4-3
9/08     @SEA      L 4-1
9/09     @SEA      W 2-1
9/10     @SEA      W 5-2
9/11      off        --
9/12     @ANA     L 11-3
9/13     @ANA      L 5-2
9/14     @ANA*     W 6-1
9/15      CLE      W 3-1
9/16      CLE      L 4-2
9/17      CLE      L 2-0
9/18      CLE      L 2-1
9/19      SEA     L 10-5
9/20      SEA     W 10-1
9/21      SEA*     W 8-3
9/22     @TEX      L 4-3
9/23     @TEX      L 2-1
9/24     @TEX      L 5-1
9/25      off        --
9/26     @NYM      W 3-1
9/27     @NYM      L 2-1
9/28     @NYM*     L 8-3
* - day game.

April record:   9-19
May record:    15-14
June record:   12-15
July record:    8-17
August record: 15-14
Sept record:   11-13

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Houston Astros recap - 10/13/14 - Astros Clearing Spaces On 40-Man
Astros Clearing Spaces On 40-Man
DeShields, Velasquez among potential call-ups

DeShields: Decisions, Decisions...
(c) Tammy Tucker
As the top four teams in the league make a push for the World Series, the other 26 clubs turn the focus to next year. For the Astros, the roster trimming has already begun. Last week the club decided to decline Matt Albers' $3 million option for the 2015 season. Houston also outrighted 1B Jesus Guzman and LHP Rudy Owens to the minors. In addition (or in this case subtraction) RHP Jorge De Leon was claimed off waivers by the Oakland A's. That leaves 36 players on the 40-man roster.

Expect the pruning of the Astros' roster to continue as Jeff Luhnow and company prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Luhnow's prospect pipeline includes several players that will need to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid exposure to the draft, meaning it's time to clear out the deadwood.

Free agent bust Jesse Crain is still on the 60-day disabled list and should become a free agent. Pitchers Jose Cisnero and Josh Zeid, also on the DL, have a better chance of sticking around but could also be vulnerable. Other pitchers who could be pushed to the curb include Anthony Bass, Samuel Deduno, Darin Downs, and Alex White. I wouldn't miss Zeid, Bass, or White for a minute. While I've seen enough of Downs, I think Deduno and Cisnero deserve a longer look.

As for the position players, one player in particular could be at a crossroads. The Astros have shown plenty of patience with Marc Krauss, but time could be running out on the 27-year old. A .200/.274/.341 hitter in 320 career at bats, Krauss has yet to translate his raw power into big league success. It's starting to look like Krauss is more of a Brett Wallace than a J.D. Martinez.

I thought Alex Presley showed enough all-around ability to stay on-board as an extra outfielder, but Presley is arbitration eligible and the Astros could decide to sever ties. Fellow outfielder L.J. Hoes has one more minor league option year remaining. For that reason, I wouldn't expect a decision to be made on him until later.

Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar both started the season as everyday players but eventually fell back into lesser roles. Although neither should be viewed as long term solutions, simply releasing them may not be the best option. One would hope the team could get something in return for for a couple of youngsters with a smidgen of big league success under their belts. A trade involving one or both of the infielders could be forthcoming.

The list of players to be added to the Astros' 40-man roster starts with a trio of top prospects. Former first round pick Delino DeShields would be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and is a clear cut choice to be protected – along with right-handed pitchers Vincent Velasquez and Michael Feliz.

DeShields, 22, spent last season at AA Corpus Christi. While his overall numbers were down from previous seasons, Delino still managed to reach double-digits in homers and eclipse 50 stolen bases. With Jose Altuve firmly entrenched at second base in Houston, Delino's future appears to be as an outfielder. Certainly his speed would seem to be more of an asset there. DeShields is the type of player that will draw interest from other teams. With a number of promising outfield prospects in the system, I wouldn't be surprised to see Delino packaged in a deal to bring the Astros a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Velasquez, a second round pick in 2010 out of high school, has struck out 10.5 batters per 9 innings and boasts a solid 1.15 whip in 263 minor league innings. Injuries have been the only detractor for the 22-year old righty. Velasquez missed all of 2011 after Tommy John surgery and was limited to only 64 innings last season due to a groin injury. When healthy, Velasquez has been as dominant as any pitcher in the Astros farm system. The club loves the youngster's mound presence as well as his work ethic. The combination of a mid-90's fastball and an outstanding changeup helps Velasquez keep hitters off balance. Vincent's curveball also has the potential to become a plus pitch for him.

Feliz, a 21-year old out of the Dominican Republic, already has a NY-Penn League ERA title to his credit. A high 90's fastball, a slider and a changeup are all solid components of the starter's arsenal. Feliz has consistently struck out more than a batter per inning throughout the minor leagues, including last season at Quad Cities. At 6-4 and 210 pounds, the righthander has a body type that big league pitching coaches want.

Roberto Pena is another Rule 5 eligible player that should be added to the 40-man roster. The 22-year old catcher earned a spot on the 2014 Cal League All-Star team, mainly due to his defensive prowess. Pena threw out an amazing 52 of 92 runners attempting to steal last season and boasts a 42% caught stealing rate for his career.

Infielder Ronald Torreyes also has a good chance of being added. Torreyes slashed .298/.345/.376 as a 21-year old at AAA last season. 20-year old Danry Vasquez, who hit .291/.353/.407 at Lancaster is also likely to make the roster. Power hitting first-baseman Telvin Nash and 25-year old Matt Duffy should be considered longshots. Both were left unprotected last season and both went undrafted.

Thomas Shirley, a 6-5, 220-pound lefty, is the pitcher most likely to join Feliz and Velasquez on the roster. Shirley had a breakout season in 2014, posting a 2.53 ERA in 117 innings between AA and AAA. Shirley allowed only eight homers and 32 walks while striking out nearly a batter per inning.

Right-handers Jandel Gustave, Chris Devenski, David Rollins, and Matt Heidenreich should be able to fly under the radar and avoid being selected. For that reason, I suspect all four will be left unprotected.

- Greg Thurston
Special thanks to Mike Tauser and his Farmstros database used as a research guide for this article.

Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
(click to order)

Houston Astros: Deep In The Heart (click to order)


RSS Feed | News Archives
New network for Rockets, Astros awaits judge’s approval - Houston Chronicle
Majority oppose spending money to turn Astrodome into park - Houston Chronicle
Astros one step closer to moving spring facility south - Astros.com
Appel is thriving in AFL - NBC Sports
Baseball teams get $108 million, still need a site -- in west county? - Palm Beach Post
Astros have 90 days to find spring training site in West Palm Beach area - Houston Chronicle
Solid JetHawks pitching staff survives desert en route to championship season - Crawfish Boxes
Astros plate discipline - minor leagues - Crawfish Boxes
Baseball fever, it’s hard to catch in S.A. - San Antonio Express-News
Grizzlies, Astros plan meet-and-greet in Fresno on Thursday - Fresno Bee
Attorneys in CSN Houston bankruptcy case ask for one-day delay - Houston Chronicle
Astros plate discipline - major leagues - Crawfish Boxes
The pitch clock is a good thing for the Astros and MLB - Crawfish Boxes
Appel deals, continues scoreless streak in AFL - Astros.com
Padres lose Missions manager Dauer to Astros - Friars On Base
Houston Astros - TeamReport - Reuters
Astros announce 2015 coaching staff - Crawfish Boxes
Dauer, Hudgens join Astros staff - Houston Chronicle
Astros expected to raise payroll in 2015 - Astros.com
Astros name four coaches to Hinch's big league staff - Astros.com
Listach won't return as third-base coach - Astros.com
Astros hire former Mets hitting coach Hudgens - NBC Sports
Astros fire 3B coach Listach - NBC Sports
Dauer to join Astros as first base coach - Houston Chronicle
Berkman goes (back) to college - Houston Press
Making sense of the Astros' team defense - Crawfish Boxes
Crane: Playoffs, not .500 ball - House of Houston
Payroll is important because payroll=playoffs - Crawfish Boxes
Astros adding Gery Pettis to coaching staff - Houston Chronicle
Astros and the 2015 free agent class: Starting pitchers - Crawfish Boxes
Another obstacle for planned Nats/Astros spring complex in Palm Beach County - MASN Sports
Size doesn't equal production for Tony Kemp - Crawfish Boxes
Trey Hillman hired: What the Astros get in Hinch's new bench coach - Crawfish Boxes
Pitch-clock experiment smash hit in AFL debut - Fox Sports
The 2004 NLCS: Forgotten classic - Sports On Earth
2004 NLCS: Garner's near gaffe - Sports On Earth

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