Corpus Christi Hooks Hit the Ball, Score Runs, and Win
While the Houston Astros are making mediocre starters look like aces, the Corpus Christi Hooks keep making contact. Putting the ball in play has enabled the Hooks to go 6-2 in their last eight games. They took 3 out of 4 games against the Midland Rockhounds (Athletics) and repeated that success against the San Antonio Missions (Padres).
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The past week has been pretty exciting for fans of the Hooks. One of the Astros top prospects, Vincent Velasquez, was activated off the disabled list. Velasquez featured a mid-90’s fastball while mixing in a curveball in the low-80’s en route to a 5-inning, 10 strikeout performance. He did not factor into the decision of the game, allowing 3 hits and only walking one batter.
Chris Devenski improved to 3-0 on the mound. His scoreless streak to start the season was snapped after 28 innings. A solo home run by Travis Jankowski has been Devenski’s only blemish in the 2015 campaign. If one were to nit-pick it would be his 10 walks. But I believe in whatever is working, is working. Overall his ERA is a very respectable 0.31 through 29 total innings pitched.
The Hooks’ best offensive output came in game 1 of a four-game series in the I-35 rivalry. Carlos Correa went 2 for 5 with a double. Jio Mier led the charge with a double, a triple, and 3 RBI on the day. Every batter in the lineup recorded at least a hit, a feat that will be rare for the Astros in 2015, and Tyler White matched Teoscar Hernandez with each recording 3 hits each. When the dust settled in San Antonio, the Hooks tacked on 11 runs with 15 hits.
Kyle Westwood pitched in that game and continued his very impressive start to the season. Pitching in relief of Appel, Westwood threw 4.0 scoreless innings while allowing just 1 hit. Kyle’s 2015 ERA is now down to 3.42.
Correa was promoted to Class-AAA Fresno prior to the game on Tuesday night. Despite the Astros absolute lack of production as a team, let alone at shortstop, the GM still wants Correa to develop in the minors. What is most interesting is that Luhnow stressed getting Correa to see how opponents adjust in repeat match-ups, given the intimacy of the Texas League. However, Luhnow has since shifted his position as Correa will face new pitchers. Carlos will also be neglected to face opponents for secondary or tertiary match-ups for quite some time given the large size of the Pacific Coast League.
Last night one of the Astros top pitching prospects, Lance McCullers Jr, tossed four perfect innings in relief. He also continued his ways of striking out many batters.
Overall the Corpus Christi Hooks are maintaining the play of a first place team. Unlike their parent club, they have managed to win games playing every facet of the game properly. The Hooks rank at or near the top in most offensive categories. Their pitching staff has allowed the fewest home runs of any team in the Texas League, which has been a key component to their early success.
The Hooks appear to be stacked with plenty of talent. With a 3-game lead in the Texas League South, the next few weeks will be fun to watch. Hopefully that team can stay intact and win a championship through playing baseball and not depending on home run derbies to outscore their opposition.