Amarillo Sod Poodles Series Preview: 5/20-22 vs. Corpus Christi Hooks

Credit: Sod Poodles

[Photo by John Moore/Amarillo Sod Poodles]
The Amarillo Sod Poodles (19-21) shock the Roughriders (23-20) in Frisco to cap a successful road trip.

After dropping a heartbreaking game one, the Sod Poodles came back winning three straight to take their second consecutive series.

The Corpus Christi Hooks (21-21) are back for their third visit to Hodgetown on the season, holding a 9-7 head to head record against Amarillo. The Hooks have struggled in Amarillo, going 2-5 at the new facility. This continuing a trend in 2019 struggling away from Whataburger Field, with an overall record of 6-14.

The Sod Poodles will have to play this series without the help of Jorge Ona and Reggie Lawson again. Lawson was recently put on the seven-day injured list on May 19th, as where Ona hasn’t seen action since May 3rd after a scorching hot start.

Despite losing the two of them, the Soddies will have the services of recently optioned Nick Margevicius. The Padres right-hander was dropped into the majors without throwing a pitch above Single-A-Advanced Lake Elsinore. Margevicius has started nine games for the Padres posting a 2-5 record with a 4.96 ERA. Amarillo is three games back of Frisco in the Texas League South.

Here are the probable starters:

Game 1: (Monday, May 20th – 7:05 P.M. CDT) RHP Brandon Bielak (2-0, 4.20) vs. RHP T.J. Weir (2-2, 6.11)

The Sod Poodles so far have handed Bielak his worst outing of the young season so far, when in April Amarillo hung four earned on the former Fighting Irish. No other outing this season has the Hooks right-hander allowed more than three runs to score. The Astros saw enough in Bielak to make him a non-roster invitee for spring training this year on a highly competitive Astros team and an equally good farm system. Bielak at the end of the day can be described as old fashion in baseball terms because he just gets outs.

After a pair of great appearances to open the season against Corpus, the Hooks shelled T.J. Weir with the help of five walks. Corpus Christi jumped on Weir early forcing him to throw 28 pitches in the first inning alone. In his last start against the Rockhounds, Weir showed complete control of the zone and used all of his pitches, striking out a season-high nine over five innings of work. Weir has been much more comfortable at Hodgetown in 2019 sporting a 3.15 ERA at home, and a 13.50 ERA on the road. Weir will look for more success at home as Soddies look for four straight.

Game 2: (Tuesday, May 21st – 7:05 P.M. CDT) Bryan Abreu (1-1, 5.14) vs. RHP Lake Bachar (0-1, 4.10)

After alternating the roles of starter and reliever in his last four games, Abreu had his first great start against Frisco in his last outing. The righty threw five innings of no-hit baseball, on 89 pitches before being pulled. This won’t be the first time that Amarillo has seen Abreu, with him coming out of the bullpen in their previous meeting. Abreu tossed three innings allowing three runs, with the only earned run being a home run off the bat of Zunica to lead off the inning. The 22-year-old will walk batters as he has not had an outing, regardless of role, that he has not given out a free pass. Keep an eye on Abreu’s curveball that scouts rave is the best in the stacked Astros farm system.

Sod Poodles

For the first time all season, a team attacked Lake Bachar and chased him early. Bachar was sent to Lake Elsinore for what we know now was to ensure that he got action after the rainouts messed with the rotation. His Double-A return was his first rough outing of 2019 as the Roughriders got to Bachar for a season-high three earned runs. Bachar walked three, going only two and a third innings, as Frisco forced him to throw 70 pitches. The right-hander has handled the Hooks year three times this year, allowing five earned runs over 15 innings, but hasn’t seen the team in game action since April 19th. Like most of the staff, Hooks third basemen Abraham Toro has haunted Bachar, hitting .571 in seven at-bats including a homerun.

Game 3: (Wednesday, May 22nd – 11:05 A.M. CDT) LHP Brett Adcock (0-4, 7.39) vs. LHP Adrian Morejon (0-3, 6.11)

Third time’s the charm for Adcock. After struggling in his first two meetings against Amarillo, allowing 11 earned runs in five and a third innings pitched, the Hooks left-hander tossed a scoreless outing. It wasn’t as long as Hooks fans were hoping, throwing 80 pitches in three innings of work, walking four Sod Poodles, making it the second consecutive outing with four walks. Adcock has come a long way from his awful starts against the Soddies to begin 2019, only giving up 12 earned runs in 22.2 innings after giving up the 11 in the first two outings.

This will likely be a situation like in the last series, where Miguel Diaz could follow Morejon knocking both of the “rehab” appearances out of the way in one game. Adrian Morejon turned in a sharper performance than in his previous start, only allowing two baserunners, no runs, and striking out four in the process. The Padres left-handed prospect is starting to look more like his old self since coming back, striking out nine in the limited four innings and using all of his pitches to do it. We will have to see what the plan is as far as a pitch count as Phillip Wellman emphasized that he “is going to be brought back extremely slowly.”

Credit: Sod Poodles

Players to Watch:

Corpus Christi Hooks: Seth Beer (1B)

The obvious answer here was Abraham Toro, after his seven RBI performance in their last series against Amarillo. Unfortunately, I used him in my last Hooks series preview, so to change it up let’s go with the recently promoted Seth Beer. The Astros 2018 first round pick has wasted no time moving through the organization, hitting Double-A before this year’s draft. For someone who was considered polarizing around draft time, Beer has proved the Astros made the right choice, slashing .328/.414/.602/1.016 in Single-A Advanced Fayetteville. Houston saw enough to promote their number eight overall prospect, according to MLB.com, to the Corpus Christi Hooks where he will face the Sod Poodles for the first time. Beer has started his Texas League career out hot, collecting his first homer in his second game, and also going three for four in the same game. The Hooks have wasted no time giving him an opportunity to produce, putting the former Dick Howser Award Winner in the cleanup spot. This is a bat that despite only being drafted last year could wind up in Houston at some point next year.

Amarillo Sod Poodles: Ivan Castillo (IF)

Castillo has been exactly what the Sod Poodles have needed at the top of the lineup. The switch hitters bat has added much-needed production since joining the club, hitting .345 in 13 games in a Sod Poodles uniform. The second basemen has stayed hot no matter who has pitched hitting .302 against righties and an astonishing .467 against southpaws. Castillo has been solid where ever he has played defensively and has quietly been one of the better players since joining the team in early May.

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Austin Hartsfield
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.

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