Amarillo Sod Poodles Series Preview: May 9-12 at Corpus Christi Hooks
After a bunch of rain and a bunch of runs, the Amarillo Sod Poodles (13-17) wound up splitting this past series with the first place Arkansas Travelers, led by an amazing display at the plate for OF Edward Olivares.
In the Sod Poodles lone victory in the set, Olivares launched three home runs in his first three at-bats, giving the Mariners fans watching shades of their own Mike Cameron, who of course hit four in the first four at-bats of a major league game.
The Soddies will head to Corpus to face the Hooks (14-17) for the fourth series this year; they are 6-5 against them to this point in the season.
One name Amarillo will not see in the probable pitchers for the Hooks is Tyler Ivey. Ivey was suspended for having a foreign substance on his glove in Hodgetown after cruising for two perfect innings. The home plate umpire checked his glove and ejected him rather quickly. Ivey didn’t argue, but did toss the ball into the air to a wave of cheers from the Hodgetown faithful. Amarillo is four games back of Frisco in the Texas League South
Here are the starters if the rotations stay consistent.
Game 1: (Thursday, May 9th – 6:15 P.M. CDT) Reggie Lawson (3-1, 4.76) vs. Jose Hernandez-Urquidy (1-2, 4.50)
After having to wait another day for his next start, Reggie Lawson is still coming off of one of the best games in his minor league career. Lawson had by far the best outing by a starting pitcher in this team’s short-lived history in his last start. Lawson was locked in a duel with Cardinals’ starter Evan Kruczynski and outlasted him, going 6.1 innings pitched with no earned runs. The number of times Lawson used his change-up in this start was instrumental in the game plan against Springfield. Keep an eye on the use of his changeup. If it is anything like last time, Lawson will be required to throw one to each hitter at the plate.
Hernandez-Uriquidy isn’t a player that will go deep into games as he has failed to record any starts beyond five innings. He will face the Sod Poodles at home at Whataburger Ballpark where his numbers are astronomically better. At home, Hernandez-Urquidy has recorded a 1-0 record with a 2.40 ERA. Hernandez has not pitched a bad start so far in Corpus, with all of them being at least five innings. One thing that Hernandez-Uriquidy does extremely well is prevent runners he does allow on base from scoring with two outs, with his ERA in that situation being lower than his ERA with no outs.
Game 2: (Friday, May 10th – 7:15 P.M. CDT) T.J. Weir (2-1, 6.16 ERA) vs. Bryan Abreu (1-1, 5.66)
T.J. Weir had a bounce-back start after a hiccup when the Sod Poodles played Arkansas at home about a week ago. Weir sat down a season-high nine Cardinals at Hodgetown, when he went five innings, giving up three earned runs. This series, Weir will look to continue his success against a Hooks team he had his first two starts of the season against, going in total 10 innings pitched with four earned runs, including only allowing one in his 2019 debut. Weir will need to bounce back one more time, as his last start against Arkansas was his only road start of the season thus far in 2019, leaving his numbers astronomical on the road.
The Houston Astros number eight rated prospect will likely start his second game as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks after recently being called up from High Single-A. Abreu possesses the best curveball in the Astros’ organization and a slider that, if he can control it, could make him an absolute weapon for the future. His first start at the Double-A level didn’t go according to plan as he threw 71 pitches in three innings pitched, only giving up two hits, but both happened to be long balls. Abreu, unlike the next Hooks pitcher, does give up walks, only once this year giving up less than two walks. Abreu is the definition of high upside, and we will see how he responds to the challenge that is Texas League baseball.
Game 3: (Friday, May 11th – 7:15 P.M. CDT) Miguel Diaz (0-0, 0.00) vs. Carson LaRue (0-0, 6.14)
Miguel Diaz will make his second appearance of his rehab assignment after being retroactively put on the 60-Day Injured List to not only recover from his injury to his meniscus, but also to make room on the 40-Man roster for rookie starter Cal Quantrill. Diaz, outside of walking batters, couldn’t have looked better in his 2019 Double-A Debut. Even when Diaz looked like he was in trouble, he stayed collected and got himself out of his mess. He is the first big league player this year to have his rehab assignment be held in Amarillo, and he will likely remain here at least until the end of May when his Injured List time runs out.
In his only start against Amarillo this year, Carson LaRue was excellent. It was the first start of the season, but he still managed to go five innings only giving up two runs while striking out six Soddies. This is a pitcher who doesn’t frequently hand out free passes as in his previous five starts before the last he had only given out one a game. In his last start, against Tulsa, he walked four Drillers, exceeding his season average by three baserunners. The two hottest Sod Poodles at the time, Buddy Reed and Brad Zunica, were the only ones to drive in any runs against LaRue, with Zunica’s being a long ball.
Game 4: (Friday, May 12th – 7:05 P.M. CDT) Emmanuel Ramirez (1-4, 6.00 ERA) vs. Brett Adcock (0-4, 9.45)
Another starter who’s start was delayed for the amount of rain, Ramirez is a curious case as he has bounced back and forth from starter to reliever and isn’t trending in the right direction. After two relief appearances, Ramirez was used as a reliever against Springfield, where he gave up two bombs to Kramer Robertson and three in total. Last time out, Ramirez started strong with three shutout innings but gave up a total of five runs over the next three innings. Despite the trouble, Ramirez only threw 79 Pitches in 6 innings pitched.
This former Michigan Wolverine has bounced back tremendously after a rough start to his campaign, 14 earned runs is seven innings pitched. In his first three starts, Adcock has only allowed five earned runs. Luckily for the Sod Poodles, two of the starts he struggled in were against Amarillo, allowing 11 earned runs in five-and-a-third innings pitched when Edward Olivares, Owen Miller, and especially Brad Zunica, did the damage against the Astros prospects. The Soddies batted .385 against the southpaw while slugging 1.077. We will have to see if this trend continues or if Adcock will make adjustments to attack this Amarillo lineup.
Players to Watch:
Corpus Christi Hooks: Abraham Toro (3B)
The Sod Poodles starters cannot seem to get No. 23 Astros prospect Abraham Toro out. He has recorded nine RBI in 42 at-bats against the Texas League’s newest addition, almost half of his 22 total for the season. The switch-hitting Canadian has sliced up Amarillo pitching in big spots with Lake Bachar struggling the most so far as Toro is 4-for-7 (.571) with a home run and 3 RBI in two games against. Even when he isn’t at the plate, he can still be a nuisance for opponents at the hot corner with his strong throwing arm.
Amarillo Sod Poodles: Andres Munoz (RP)
It was only a matter of time before the Padres’ No.24 prospect knocked off the early season rust. The reliever has put together an impressive stretch of six consecutive scoreless appearances in which he has recorded seven innings pitched, 16 strikeouts, two hits and 3 walks, including striking out the side on three occasions. Munoz is must-see TV when on the mound as you can look at the radar gun and know it’s him usually sitting around the t with his fastball and hitting 101 on multiple occasions, but it is the development of his secondary pitches that seem to have turned this season around after an early rough start. The reliever has been excellent against the Hooks this season outside of catcher Lorenzo Quintana, who has done almost the entirety of the damage for Corpus against the 20-year-old prospect.
Austin is a self proclaimed “sports nut” who lives and breathes baseball. The Amarillo native spends his time writing and running the Painting Corners Podcast. He will be covering the Amarillo Sod Poodles for EVT this year.
Great article Austin, very insightful on the team… Go Poodies