Tuesday’s five for fighting

As of Monday morning, the disappointing last-place Blue Jays and the incredibly exciting first-place Astros have exactly the same run differential. I don’t have anything to say about that (yet). I just thought you’d want to know. Now, the five most important things you can read right now, before anything else important happens…

– Just ran into this report from Astros 411 about a minor leaguer named Joe Musgrove, which includes the following:

Musgrove has a mix of three pitches, including a fastball that can hit 97 MPH, a plus-curve and a changeup.  Prior to this season, there was some concern about his secondary pitches.  The knock was that he was inconsistent with his curve ball and his changeup was a work in progress.  I’ve watched him pitch four games this season and haven’t seen any issues with the curve and changeup…

This report’s a few weeks old now, but it’s the most recent I could find and it seems relevant because Musgrove has now pitched 46 innings this season, with 54 strikeouts and one walk.

Mind you, Musgrove’s 22 and is just now pitching in the Class A California League. He threw only 77 pro innings last year, after which Baseball America ranked him just 19th among the Astros’ prospects. So temper your enthusiasm! Or not. You can’t blame a guy for dreaming a little…

– Speaking of minor leaguers, remember Javier Baez? Started as a minor leaguer, then became a major leaguer, then struck out a gazillion times and became a minor leaguer again? Well don’t look now, but Baez has been tearing up Triple-A. As Jesse Rogers points out, though, no matter how well Baez plays, now there’s nowhere logical for him on the big club’s roster. Even (I guess) with neither Starlin Castro nor Addison Russell doing much in the middle of the infield.

– Remember when Brian Price dropped 77 f-bombs when a reporter had the temerity to wonder when Devin Mesoraco might catch again? That was way back on the 20th of April. Wanna guess how many times Devin Mesoraco has caught since then? Zero times. A now guess what! Mesoraco’s going on the Disabled List. He’s actually played some since getting hurt back on the 12th of April: 28 at-bats and 6 hits, mostly while pinch-hitting. But the Reds do seem to have been oddly stubborn, essentially wasting a roster spot for six weeks on a catcher who couldn’t catch, or hit well enough to hit much. Seems like maybe this just isn’t the Queen City’s season.

– Sunday, Josh Hamilton’s new/old team won, which is good news. Hamilton played, which is better news (at least for him, and for anyone else who likes to see a fellow get a second or third or fourth chance). Granted, Hamilton (as Bob Nightengale points out) didn’t play well:

Perhaps it wasn’t the performance Hollywood would have scripted – hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts and a misplayed ball in the outfield – but Hamilton was too elated to care, particularly with the Rangers winning their sixth game in a row, 10-8, over the Cleveland Indians.

He kicked himself for taking a bad route and not catching Jason Kipnis’ line drive in the second inning, and was too antsy at the plate, but not even the scattered fans who chanted, "Just Say No!,” were going to diminish the privilege of wearing a major-league uniform again.

I’d like to see Hamilton play well. But just looking at the last couple of years, I would guess that we’ll see a lot more strikeouts and bad routes, and that Hamilton’s got a better chance of staying clean than playing like a superstar again. Which isn’t really a big worry for the Rangers, since they’re paying Hamilton so little that if he’s not worth a roster spot, it’ll be fairly painless to let him go. And after that, no one can say.

– Finally, you gotta a love a Twitter feed that’s devoted solely to documenting every single stri-ball in Angels games, for or against.