You are a very smart, thoughtful, and at times cynical and feisty audience. Today we will ask you to answer ten intelligent and thoughtful Astros’ questions created by your wise and kind host.
Your loyal scribe was riding home from a haircut and listening to the good folks on local talk radio discuss the JV “Situation”. The situation concerning Justin Verlander is that he easily rolled past a contract goal in his last start (130 innings), which automatically meant that should he opt for it, he can make another $25 MM in 2023 as the Astros ace.
Being a baseball fan for most of us is a battle between the two sides of our brains. There is that right side of the brain that is always knee-deep (yeah, I know that doesn’t work anatomically) in facts and stats. Then there is the left side that dabbles in the emotions of being a fan – in the fanatical depths of our being.
After two very good months of May (21-8) and June (16-9), the Astros continued their surge with another solid month with a 19-9 July. Thanks to going 6-1 against the second-place Seattle Mariners during the month, the team finished the month with a 12-game lead in the AL West, despite the 14-game winning streak the M’s had in July.
In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit raises what was a not very heartfelt toast to the “founder of the feast,” Ebenezer Scrooge. This is, of course, before Scrooge experiences the lessons of the three ghosts and “became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew…”.
The writer of these posts is definitely a normal human being with a normal human being’s level of ego (or more). I believe my thoughts about the Astros are as critical or more than anyone else. Just ask me.
The Astros and their MLB brethren are about ten days from the trade deadline of August 2. (Why August 2? It must have had something to do with the lockout settlement). It is strange to have a team like the Astros that is only 2-1/2 games out of the top record in the MLB held by the Yankees and on a pace for their best season record with so many perceived holes.
In late June/early July, the Astros faced what looked like a daunting 15-game stretch. It included 9 games against the best teams in the AL and NL (Yankees and Mets), three against the above .500 White Sox, and three against the Angels, who were lurking behind the Astros but always dangerous with Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and company. Well, the Astros roared to a 12-3 record during that stretch ending it with a season-high 13.5 game lead in their division.