The Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies started the season with wins in three of their first four games.
With what some might say is a loaded lineup, the Fresno Grizzlies look poised for a strong season. These players don’t have a spot on the Astros 25-man roster. Manager Tony DeFrancesco’s club opened the season at home against the Reno Aces on Thursday for a five-game series.
In the season opener on Thursday, the Grizzlies lost 13-6. Starter Collin McHugh was pulled after one inning because of an injury concern, and the bullpen struggled the rest of the way. The only Grizzlies pitcher to post a scoreless outing Thursday was Ashur Tolliver, holding the Aces at bay for two innings.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run homer as part of a five-run first, while Derek Fisher added a solo homer in the fourth. Fisher, Tony Kemp, Tyler White and Reid Brignac contributed two hits apiece. The boys talked about Fisher on Talking Stros last night on Sports Talk 790.
The Grizzlies rebounded for a 6-1 win on Friday behind six innings of one-run ball from Brady Rodgers. Fisher hit his second home run in as many games. Eight of the Grizzlies’ nine position player starters reached base safely.
Saturday’s game was a thriller, with the Grizzlies walking off with a 5-4 win. After White reached second base with two outs on a dropped third strike and throwing error, Brignac singled him home for the win.
The Grizzlies got to work early on Sunday, scoring four in the first inning en route to a 5-3 win. Reed had two doubles and two RBIs while Kemp reached base four times. Starter Edison Frias gave up two runs in 4.1 innings as Tolliver earned the win in relief. DeFrancesco earned his 1,000th win at the Triple-A level.
Player of the Week — Tony Kemp
Kemp is on fire out of the gate, hitting .467 with a .579 on-base percentage through the team’s first four games. Though this pace is unlikely to continue throughout the season, Kemp is proving to be a menace as the team’s leadoff hitter.
His versatility is an added value, as he started three games at second base and one in left field. If Kemp continues getting on base at a high rate, he could find himself in Houston later this season.
The Grizzlies finish their five-game series against Reno on Monday before beginning a seven-game road trip. They play four games against the Las Vegas 51s and three games against the Salt Lake Bees. The future Astros could get used to winning this year.
***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***