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Yes, Jeff, Appel isn’t the only thing that’s “unsettling”


Last year’s top pick in the draft — pitcher Mark Appel — was sent to extended spring training today. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow called his early performance at Lancaster “a little unsettling”.

Yes sir, Mr. Luhnow, I think we’d all agree that there are quite a few “unsettling” things this year regarding the Astros’ organization. Here’s the short list (okay, maybe not so short):

  • No TV, although that actually might be more of a blessing at this point.
  • Early returns that put the team headed toward a fourth — can it really be FOURTH — straight 100-loss season.
  • A full 25-man roster that is hitting below the Mendoza line as a group.
  • Maybe no one’s fault, but a team that just can’t seem to stay healthy. Scott Feldman, Matt Albers, Dexter Fowler, Jason Castro et al.
  • Players at AAA — and maybe even AA — that appear to be better than those on the major league roster.
  • Four blown saves in 23 games. That’s basically an eight-game swing!
  • A myriad (too many to list) of errors, including fielding, base running and basic baseball fundamentals.
  • Four blowout losses (5+ runs) in the first 23 games.

Yes, it’s unsettling. I know I’ve covered most everything, but also certain that you can add to the list. What’s missing?

 

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

67 comments on “Yes, Jeff, Appel isn’t the only thing that’s “unsettling”

  1. daveb
    April 25, 2014

    On Opening night the paper towel dispensers in the rest rooms were empty and my Budweiser was not cold.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1oldpro
    April 25, 2014

    Four blown saves means that you don’t have a real closer, though not all the blown saves were in the ninth inning. Whose fault is it that we don’t have a closer and what would our record be if we did have one? Jeff’s
    If Appel is hurt, whose program is in place that allowed that to happen, when he hasn’t been hurt in years. Jeff’s.
    Who got Raul Valdez and what the heck is he good for? Jeff.
    Who signed a reliever for millions who had surgery and isn’t ready to pitch until late May at the earliest? Jeff
    Who traded Lowrie for Carter and then didn’t go get a real major league DH for the second year in a row?. Didn’t the .197 hitting Carlos Pena that Jeff signed turn out to be the .197 hitting DH that we ended up with? Isn’t the Carter that we have at DH this year a bad version of the strikeout king we had last year?
    Who gave us the Guzman-Krauss first baseman we have right now? Who passed on all the other 1B this past offseason? Jeff. Who didn’t want Singleton as our 1B to start the year? Jeff. Who didn’t think Springer should be in RF to start the year but brought him up three weeks later after nobody could play right field? Jeff.
    Who kept Harrell when everybody else said get rid of him? Jeff.
    Who hired John Mallee?
    Who hired Bo Porter?
    Jeff

    Like

    • kevin
      April 25, 2014

      Um that is pretty much the”the rest of the story” Well said Old Pro

      Like

    • daveb
      April 25, 2014

      Yeah, oldpro, I guess you’ve decided our GM’s honeymoon is over. For my money, I think his free pass lasted too long.

      Like

    • bopert
      April 25, 2014

      Who’s the one who gave Jeff a laughably poor payroll in 2013, and came back a year later–amid promises of “significant payroll increases” and lies about chasing top-tier FAs–with AGAIN the lowest payroll in all of baseball?

      That’s not Jeff. That’s Jeff’s boss; and yet it Jeff’s problem.

      Money matters people. Say the word: mediocre. Say it again. Get used to it. Mediocre. Because that’s what you’ll all learn to expect–sucky-a$$ baseball teams for decades to come.

      Plus, I think the jury’s out on Jeff’s bullpen improvements, piddly payroll notwithstanding. I think Fat Albers and Crain will both contribute serviceably before 2014 is mercifully over..

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 25, 2014

        Albers is now on the DL with Crain.

        Like

      • rj
        April 25, 2014

        lol i like the fat albers line bo, very funny. however you have misquoted crane again he didnt PROMISE a deal in 30 days. here is the quote.“So I would like to see something resolved within 30 days, one way or another. He could make that happen — it could linger longer than (that), but it’s certainly not good for us, and it’s not good for the Rockets. I don’t think it’s having any big term effect on Comcast.” i would like to see….and it could linger ….. so again no disrespect meant but your facts are slanted again.

        Like

    • Sandy
      April 25, 2014

      Wow, impressive

      Like

  3. Chip Bailey
    April 25, 2014

    So, oldpro, just trying to connect the dots here. Are you saying there’s a pattern? (Yes, sarcasm intended).

    Like

  4. kevin
    April 25, 2014

    I really think Lunhow , which I had high hopes for, has spent to much time reading his own press clipings!!! He might end up being one of may people out there that think they are way smarter than everyone else, but never get results.

    Like

    • kevin
      April 25, 2014

      Many sorry

      Like

  5. Chip Bailey
    April 25, 2014

    WHOA! And, the plot thickens! Porter was asked directly if he ordered Clemens to throw at Lowrie Thursday. You’d need to read his answer, but he went way around the mountain a few times to avoid answering it. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”…whatever that means!

    You can bet MLB will take a look at that!

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2014/04/25/porter-what-happens-in-vegas-stays-in-vegas/

    Like

  6. daveb
    April 25, 2014

    This is about that point in time when a few of the minority owners start whispering amongst each other….

    Like

  7. Dan P
    April 25, 2014

    Oldpro you nailed a lot there as did Chip with bringing up the subject.
    It reminds me a bit on how I thought Ed Wade was a better trader than FA signer.
    But Luhnow has to start owning the fact that he has not put a team on the field that looks like it belongs there (when ,they are not playing the M’s).

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 25, 2014

      I didn’t list half of it. Since this is free weekend open blog, I’ll think about the rest of it and get back. Right now I’m going to check up on the Astros and their four affiliates before I watch Blue Bloods. Wish I could be watching the Astros on Dish Network instead.

      Like

  8. bopert
    April 25, 2014

    Yes, the leadership is a tad unsettling.

    Like

  9. bopert
    April 25, 2014

    If a bad team plays baseball and no one watches, do they leave a stench?

    Like

    • BrianT
      April 25, 2014

      This does. The A’s have our number.

      Like

  10. Becky
    April 25, 2014

    Luhnow ain’t going anywhere soon…….and I doubt Bo is on the clock either.
    I’m actually watching them play tonight……..a fugly game with *2*more errors.
    If I was a guy in this bullpen, I might feign an ingury just to put myself out of my misery. Hoe’s has options, send him to OKC, and call Grossman back up. And….
    I have NO idea what to do with Carter and his 127 BA. Wasn’t he supposed to be the *big* jewel we got for Jed Lowrie? Maybe we should ask DanP’s old friend the witch of all things baseball, to put a hitting hex on these guys. DANG…..at this point
    I’m ok with ANYTHING.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      April 25, 2014

      Becky, not sure if you should/could call Carter the *big* jewel. The Astros also got Max Stassi and Brad Peacock in the deal for Lowrie.

      Like

  11. Becky
    April 25, 2014

    Chip…….the A’s were probably rolling on the floor laughing, when they saw Carter
    get on the plane to Houston. The A’s were most unhappy to lose Stassi…Peacock,
    not so much.

    Like

  12. Becky
    April 25, 2014

    No time table for Jesse Crain now…….he has developed bursitis in his arm. Great.

    Like

  13. Dan P
    April 25, 2014

    Lordy lordy – the As break the tie and are murdering the ‘Stros in the 9th

    Like

  14. BrianT
    April 25, 2014

    Ninth Inning Meltdown!

    I wish I lived in Colorado so I could medicate and make sense of this.

    Like

  15. Dan P
    April 25, 2014

    Will they let you have medicinal weed to treat Astroholism?

    Like

  16. 1oldpro
    April 26, 2014

    So, tonight Lancaster got to face Clayton Kershaw. He gave up two hits and one run on a fifth inning home run by Carlos Perdomo. Perdomo got both of the hits given up by Kershaw. After CK left the game Lancaster jumped all over the High A Rancho Cucamonga team and won 6-3. Kyle Smith was the winner and LMJ did the mopup tandem duty and got a 4 inning save.
    Jake Buchanan got hit hard again in a 4 inning start for OKC and did not have a tandem partner as five other pitchers threw an inning apiece in relief. Buchanan took the 5-3 loss to Nashville.
    Fontana and Mier each had two rbi’s as CC got an early lead and held on for a 6-4 win over Frisco. Troy Scribner got the win in relief and De Leon got the save.
    Quad Cities left 12 men on base and gave up two big home runs as Peoria wins 8-4 , with Kent Emanual getting the loss and Chris Cotton gave up 3 singles and a grand slam before he got an out in his one inning of relief.
    Oakland squeaked by the Astros 12-5 with a seven-run ninth inning. Fields came in to pitched the ninth and walked the first man he faced and then it all went down the drain. G’night

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 26, 2014

      Thanks for keeping us up on the farm systems doings.

      Like

  17. 1oldpro
    April 26, 2014

    So Appel was having trouble getting used to the tandem system and pitching every fourth day. Remember all the tandem talk we had early this week started when I posted about Appel being the only guy in the tandem setup who wasn’t actually coming in as the reiief guy? So now he’s going to extended spring training instead of Corpus Christi.
    Luhnow mentioned how last year Folty had problems with the tandem system and it caused a sore arm for him. So who are our two top pitching prospects and how do they feel about the tandem system?
    Who is responsible for that tandem system that our two top prospects don’t like? Jeff

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 26, 2014

      I’m sure our new #1 draft pick is going to love that tandem system, too. I wonder if he’s taking a long look at Folty and Appel right now. I’m just sayin’

      Like

      • daveb
        April 26, 2014

        I’m willing to rethink my position on the tandem system if it’s getting in the heads of our high draft choices, especially if it might get in the heads of our future high draft choices. And at least right now, it’s looking like we might be headed for another number 1 in 2015. That would be a real dubious distinction, and it would have to be a record, at least with clubs that have been around for half a century.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        April 26, 2014

        OP1, you are a voice of wisdom crying out to a shipful of science fiction fools.. On paper the tandem system makes perfect sense. But then again, if the game were played on paper we would call it origame, because it sure wouldn’t be baseball.

        Like

  18. Becky
    April 26, 2014

    Sorry Ranger fans, but looks like the Astros just found their new AL rivals…………..
    tale of two teams, one team is waaaay better, and the other one just wants to fight.

    Like

  19. Astro45
    April 26, 2014

    It really does not matter if you are IBM’s Watson, George Genovese or Red Murff – it comes down to evaluating talent. I can not believe how many prospects (excluding Altuve and Castro) have been on fire, come up and flame out. Go back – hit or pitch well – come up and flame out. I know that MLB is much more difficult than the minors, but I have no memory of a team continuing to bring up prospects and they fizzle. (One has to wonder if the Astros Coaching staff is messing them up) To quote Casey Stengel – “Can Anybody here play this game?”

    Like

    • Devin
      April 26, 2014

      My fear is they are on a quest to prove statistical analysis trumps playing by your gut, or that everyone has been doing it wrong for the last hundred years. Carter doubles to lead off the eighth inning and their immediate response is to have Dominguez, Villar, and Altuve swing away. Its a tie game at that point. Predictably we get a K and two weak ground outs. Repeatedly failing in the same way is demoralizing. If the guys can’t hit situationally, and I would posit the k rate says they can’t, you have to bunt the runner over and force the issue with the defense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • daveb
        April 26, 2014

        Situations like this, handled the way they have been by Porter, are helping him dig his own grave. If Dominguez can’t bunt, then use Marwin at the plate for the bunt, rather than having him run for Carter.

        Like

  20. kevin
    April 26, 2014

    On a side bar I’m sure glad we didn’t find any extra cash to sign Jose Abrue who just tied a rookie record with 9 HR’s In April. Just Saying. This ship is a mess.
    I shut it off last night when it went to 8-5. Peacock looked horrible, Fields horrible.,
    Altuve is hitting. I’m on my 4 case of Tums

    Like

  21. Dan P
    April 26, 2014

    So – will Fields be the next one to admit to a sore arm?

    Like

    • kevin
      April 26, 2014

      Who’s next to close Cisnero, it’s not even May 1st and this ship has sunk. I”m sorry If i was Crane, Ryans, time to figure out this mess.

      Like

  22. 1oldpro
    April 26, 2014

    Pitchers aquired by Jeff for the 2014 Astros
    McHugh- sent to OKC called up and made a terrific start, 1-0
    Albers- 0-0 w/one save and on the DL
    Crain- never pitched and on the DL
    Feldman- 2-1 pitched great- on the DL
    Valdes- Sent to okc- called up no wins no saves 11.54 era and a 2.14 whip
    Downs- has not pitched for Astros but getting rocked in OKC
    Williams- 0-1 and no saves 5.79 era and a 1.64 whip
    Bass- sent to OKC called up- no wins 2 saves 4.26 era and a 1.18 whip

    Like

  23. 1oldpro
    April 26, 2014

    Position players aquired by Jeff for the 2014 Astros:
    Izturis- Never played, gone
    Petit- sent to OKC and is starting there.
    Chambers- has not played. Is on DL in OKC
    Presley- hitting .241 w/ a .250 OPS and a .314 slg all below league avg
    Fowler- Hitting .224 w/ a 314 obp and a .342 slg, all below league avg
    Guzman- Hitting .182 w/ a .234 obp and a .341 slg, all well below league avg.

    Like

    • Sandy
      April 26, 2014

      It’s looking like a new GM is in order.

      Like

  24. bopert
    April 26, 2014

    What is the all-time record for consecutive awfulness anyway? Would four 100-loss seasons in a row be an all-time record?

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 26, 2014

      Without doing deep research – the expansion Mets lost more than 100 four seasons in a row, then lost 95, then lost more than 100, then won the WS two years later.

      Like

  25. 1oldpro
    April 26, 2014

    I hope people don’t mind multiple comments. I have tried not to repeat anything or start any arguments.
    On April 17th, Austin Wates was removed from CF in the 10th inning. I have not heard or read any explanation of this but he hasn’t played since then and is on the 7 day DL in OKC.

    Like

  26. rj
    April 26, 2014

    oldpro i was poking around trying to find more on wates and ran into a place called ‘the baseball cube’. it says he was activated from the dl on april 25. couldnt find more info than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      April 26, 2014

      That would fit the 7-day DL he was on. Might be in tonight’s lineup

      Like

  27. rj
    April 26, 2014

    i hope so. if things keep going the way they are for much longer it’ll be time to send down some players that still have options and bring up some of the deserving talent. singleton, grossman, santana, stassi, wates come to mind. i still hope to see singleton by the end of this homestand and not too long after that if things dont improve i think its time for at least one of those outfielders. i think grossman and wates have better averages, but santana more at bats and not too far behind them. i dont get to see them play and follow them mainly from your minor league posts, so keep up the good work on that. i think you are as informed as anybody on our minor league folks so i would be interested in who you would bring up and when.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 26, 2014

      rj, In perfect candor, I don’t think Santana is MLB ready, He’s very young, still very raw at the plate and can be had by pitchers. I really see him being disadvantaged with a promotion right now because he is so young and it’s too soon to start his clock. I see the next couple of weeks as a rehab for Wates’s leg so I think they want to see him healed up. Hopefully he doesn’t get a Fowler-type return because he was just on fire when he went down. His BA, OPS and slg are terrific.
      I would be surprised by a Grossman callup because it’s only been a couple of weeks. Luhnow would look even stupider than he looks now if he recalled Grossman so soon. I mean, Jeff wouldn’t want it to look like he didn’t know what he’s doing, would he?
      Singleton, its all about starting his clock, so who knows. It’s hard to see Krauss or Guzman getting much worse so maybe he’s holding out for that BABIP rebound that the stats guys say is coming to return this badness back to the mean of below average. Waiting for this to happen is like watching a zombie movie. You just wait for dead people to die more.
      So far, 2014 is like 2013. They have tried everything and nothing but Collin McHugh worked.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. rj
    April 26, 2014

    thanks for the reply oldpro. i dont get to watch the astros or the minor leaguers so its hard to tell when someone is ready. i really do like santana though, great arm, power, speed and as you say very young. its too bad he isnt ready. looking forward to seeing him when he is.

    Like

  29. Mr. Bill
    April 26, 2014

    Exactly what is it that Jerome Williams gives to this team?

    Like

    • Devin
      April 26, 2014

      I think his signing was just throwing the players association a bone to counter the number of league minimums on the roster.

      Like

  30. Dan P
    April 26, 2014

    Why did Keuchel get jerked with a 1 run lead after a bloop single, but Jerome Williams is being left out here fter giving up a 3 run homer with a 4 run lead.
    Did Porter bet on the as tonight?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Becky
    April 26, 2014

    OH. MY. GOD. WTF is going on???? This bullpen is *worse* than last year.
    I swear……this team is possessed with the WORST LUCK I’ve ever seen
    EXACTLY Mr. Bill………..what is it that ANY of these guys give to this team.
    grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………..

    Like

  32. Becky
    April 26, 2014

    *whew*…………….

    Like

  33. Dan P
    April 26, 2014

    Oh well some how they held on – Valdes did a nice job to get the last two outs and they beat the A’s.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 26, 2014

      Nice job by Valdes indeed. Faced two, turned both stinkin’ A’s to smokin’ K’s.

      Like

  34. Mr. Bill
    April 26, 2014

    That undeserved “W” that Jerome Williams got tonight needs to have a gigantic asterisk beside it in the record book.

    Like

  35. Dan P
    April 26, 2014

    The unfairness of baseball wins – Keuchel goes 6.1 and 2 runs score while he is pitching. Williams allows as many baserunners (6) as he gets outs – 4 runs score while he is on the mound and he gets the win.

    Like

  36. Becky
    April 26, 2014

    At this point, I was just glad they got a win, and there wasn’t any Jed Lowrie drama.

    Like

  37. Tim
    April 27, 2014

    If the season ended today the Astros would have the 3rd pick in next years draft. I thought I would just point out some fans (DBacks and Cubs) are suffering more than we are.

    Like

  38. kevin
    April 27, 2014

    This is for RJ or whoever if your a basket case like me and never can get enough astros, as bad as it is. Thrre is a great way to keep up with the Minor league teams. Google whattheheck,bob.com They do a great job everyday

    Liked by 2 people

  39. JohnM
    April 27, 2014

    1oldpro, in an earlier comment you stated that the Astros have the lowest payroll. According to Baseball Reference, the Marlins do.

    Like

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