With the Astros on the doorstep of another 100-loss season many fans have turned their attention to the minor league playoffs. The AA Corpus Christi Hooks, making their first playoff appearance since 2006, lost Game 1 of their series against Frisco last night by a score of 6-5. The Hooks battled back from an early 5-2 deficit to tie it up before losing on a walk-off double by Frisco first-baseman Chris McGuiness.
Erick Abreu pitched four scoreless innings of relief, allowing Corpus a chance to rally back. The Hooks chipped away at Texas League Pitcher of the Year Barret Loux, knocking him out of the game after five & two/thirds innings. Jonathan Singleton led of the eighth with a homerun to tie the game but the Hooks were unable to add-on.
Rob Rasmussen gets the start on the mound for the Hooks tonight against Wilfredo Boscan and the RoughRiders. Rasmussen was acqired in early July in the trade that sent Carlos Lee to Miami. The Astros assigned Rasmussen to AA even though he had been pitching at High-A Jupiter for the Marlins organization. Rasmussen responded by posting a 4-4 record with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.4 WHIP in the hitter-friendly Texas League. The 23 year-old lefty out of UCLA now finds himself in the middle of a playoff series only two months after seeing his first action at the AA level.
The Hooks are playing the series at full strength while the RoughRiders are missing a couple of key players from their lineup. Infielders Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar were recently called up by the Texas Rangers. Olt led the team in homers, slugging, and OBP while Profar led the club in doubles. A win in the all-important second game of the series could put the Hooks in the driver’s seat. Games three through five are scheduled to be played at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.
The winner of the series will advance to play for the Texas League championship against the winner of the Springfield (Cardinals) vs. Tulsa (Rockies) series. Springfield won Game 1 thanks to Chris Swauger. Swauger hammered his third homer of the game in the tenth inning, sending Springfield to an 8-6 victory.