Fresno Report Aug. 21-27: Grizzlies running out of time

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 05: A.J. Reed #23 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on July 5, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 05: A.J. Reed #23 of the Houston Astros hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on July 5, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies are running out of time in the division race with one week left in the regular season.

The AAA Astros Fresno Grizzlies began the week needing to win the final two games of the series against first-place Reno to move back into a tie atop the division. They ended up splitting the two games but then took three of four from Tacoma. Fresno still trails Reno in the division race with just eight games remaining on the schedule.

Missed Opportunity

After losing the first two games of the series against Reno, Fresno won game three 16-2 on Aug. 21. Starter Cy Sneed earned the win, giving up two runs on four hits in seven innings. A.J. Reed had three hits, including two homers, and six RBIs. Tyler White homered and drove in three, and Garrett Stubbs had three hits, three RBIs, and two walks.

The Grizzlies dropped the final game of the series 3-1 on Tuesday. Mike Hauschild tossed five shutout innings, giving up three hits and walking seven. Tony Kemp posted two of the team’s five hits and drove in the lone run. This left the team trailing Reno by two games in the division race. Many of the players will soon be Astros players when September 1 rolls around.

Finishing Strong at Home

Following a day off on Wednesday, Fresno opened its final home series of the season with a 10-1 win against Tacoma on Thursday. Starter David Martinez struck out 10 in seven innings, surrendering just one run on two hits. Carlos Correa had a single and two RBIs in his first rehab game, while White and Alejandro Garcia also drove in two runs apiece. Rico Noel added three hits.

The Grizzlies fell to Tacoma 7-3 on Friday. In his rehab start, Lance McCullers went three innings, giving up three runs on three hits with five walks and one strikeout. Reed hit two homers — giving him 30 for the season — and drove in three runs. Tony Sipp pitched a scoreless inning, while Will Harris gave up two runs in his inning of work.

Fresno notched a 1-0 victory on Saturday behind a terrific pitching performance from Rogelio Armenteros. He gave up just one hit and one walk in eight shutout innings, striking out eight. Reed drove in the lone run with a double, while Kemp posted two hits. Correa went 1-for-3 with a single.

The Grizzlies won the series with a 6-3 victory on Sunday. Trent Thornton earned the win, giving up two runs on ten hits in six innings. White launched a grand slam, while Kemp doubled, tripled, walked and drove in a run.

Players of the Week: A.J. Reed and Rogelio Armenteros

Tough choice this week, so both of these players deserve recognition. Reed launched four homers and 11 RBIs in six games, giving him 30 bombs and 94 RBIs overall. His batting average (.256) means he needs more polishing before he’s ready to be a full-time big leaguer. But his power and production have been key in Fresno’s success this season.

Armenteros has now given up just two hits in his last 15 innings. He’s struck out at least eight batters in six consecutive starts. He’s 7-1 with a 2.03 ERA in nine Triple-A starts after dominating Double-A. The 23-year-old has been just the shot in the arm the Grizzlies have needed.

Next: The somewhat positive return of Collin McHugh

What’s Next

Fresno hits the road for the final week of its regular season. The Grizzlies play four games at El Paso starting on Monday and then four games at Salt Lake beginning Friday. Following Sunday’s win, Fresno sat 2.5 games behind Reno, pending the outcome of Reno’s late game. With eight games left, the division is still up for grabs.

***Statistics courtesy of***