LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Former Locust Grove pitcher Adrian Houser finished July with a 2.43 ERA to help the Tri-City Valleycats to the best record in the New York-Penn League.
The Valleycats, the Houston Astros Class A Short-Season affiliate, reached their halfway point with a 26-12 record and led the division by three games heading into August. The secret behind Tri-City’s success is a pitching staff, which has a league-leading 2.63 ERA.
“We are just making the plays that should be made and we all get along really well. We’re a close team and we work well together,” Houser said. “With there being a lot of good pitchers on our team it helps push each of us to do good every time we go out and pitch.”
The Astros pitching staff has a bad reputation after posting the worst cumulative ERA in Major League Baseball (4.94) as of July 30. Houston is also the only team in the league to give up over 1,000 hits (1,012) in the same time period.
The Astros may be struggling now with the league's worst record, but Houser believes this is just a phase before greater things.
“There is definitely a bright future for this organization,” Houser said. “There are a lot of young, talented players. It’ll be exciting in the next few years.”
Houser may be included in the Astros’ future plans. He currently has a 1.96 ERA as a starter and opposing batters are hitting .265 against him. Houser did not give up a run in three of his first four appearances in July.
In Houser’s first July start at Mahoning Valley, he threw 5 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run and gave up just one hit against the Scrappers. Houser cooled off in his next two starts and suffered his first two losses of the season, but gave up just five runs in the combined games.