Astros Drop Opener To Ranger, 4-3 … or 4-2 (Or Should Have)


Three runs the Astros didn’t score. Three. Minimum.

What Really Happened:

Jose Altuve leads off the game with a single to left field. Then he promptly gets thrown out trying to steal. One out, no one on base.

The man at the plate when Altuve got caught, Dexter Fowler, then triples to right field. Man on third, one out.
Jason Castro comes to the plate and strikes out. Two out, guy on third.

Matt Dominguez then grounds out sharply to shortstop. Three outs, no runs.

 

What Could Have Happened:

No runs on the board, but the Astros certainly left at least one run out on the field. Probably two.

What happens if Altuve doesn’t try to steal, or if he makes it? Well, Fowler triples and Altuve scores, no outs. Castro whiffs for one out. Then Matty D grounds out, with Fowler probably scoring on the play. Two runs, two outs. Then Marc Krauss strikes out to end the inning.

Altuve’s caught stealing directly cost the Astros two runs.

 

What Should Have Happened:

But what if we look at this another way? Altuve singles, gets caught and Fowler triples. So far, we’re right back to reality. Now we have Jason Castro at the plate with a man on third and one out.

Castro HAS to get that runner home. Just about anything—other than some form of fly out to an infielder or the strike out that actually happened—scores Fowler from third base. Just do what Matty D did, and ground out. That’ll get that run home.

 

Patterns of Patheticocity:

Same situation in the eighth inning. One out and we have runners at the corners. All I’m thinking is, “No double play, no strike out!” And what does Chris Carter do? We’ll, he did what he does best. He collects another K. Now we have runners at the corners and two outs. Jesus Guzman doesn’t help matters by seeing Carter’s K and raising him another. Runners at the corners, one out and no one scores.

I’m less angry about Carter grounding out to the pitcher with two outs and runners one second and third in the sixth inning. Hey, he made contact!

 

My One Question:

So, when you get right down to it, that’s two or three runs we ran and whiffed ourselves out of. Two in the first … or one in the first, depending on how you count it. And one in the eighth. Now here’s my question: What makes you more angry, getting caught stealing in front of a triple and killing an inning or striking out with less than two outs and a runner on third and killing an inning?

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40 comments on “Astros Drop Opener To Ranger, 4-3 … or 4-2 (Or Should Have)

  1. To me, I can forgive Altuve being aggressive on the base paths. While I hate wasting base runners, having a very good base stealer get caught is part of the cost of doing business.

    And while strike outs are part of the cost of doing business for hitters, doing it with a man on third and less than two outs is unforgivable.

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  2. Brian, it is a modern day Earl Weaver. Playing for a 3 run homer and ending up with a no run strikeout. When you get right down to it, it is almost impossible to get 11 hits, 3 walks and a Rangers error – yet not score. What are the odds?

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    • With this team, the odds are good. It’s just the strikeouts with men on third that bother me most. That’s low-hanging fruit, and we can’t pick it.

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    • Only the Astros can do that. That game was a snap shot of where this team is and where we need to get to. I’m not sure whats up with Castro he looks like the pre 2013 version.

      How many times this year has a team that cant consistently hit, ran themselves out of runs GEEZ.. Aggressive I love but “stupid is what stupid does”
      To get out of this funk we need 2 more decent bats, you know those guys that can hit 250-27,. one at first and one at DH. I’ve been saying this all along every team needs a LJ or Presley for days off etc., we have 5.

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    • I have a friend who is a Giants fan. On Facebook he was boasting about their 25 wins. My comment was that the Keystone Kops were at last night’s Astros game, scouting for pratfall ideas.

      Yep.

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  3. There is a good reason for games like last night. Right now the Astros are the worst team in the major leagues and things like last night will happen to a bad team.
    That said, there is some stuff to be happy about:
    Torreyes, Santana, Stassi, Wates and Singleton are all playing better than I had hoped at AAA and every one of them are youngsters!
    Aplin, DeShields, Tucker, Rodgers, West, Rollins, and Heineman are playing well at Corpus Christi and they are youngsters.
    Perdomo, Kemp, Correa, Ruiz, Henandez, Velasquez and Hader are playing well at Lancaster and they are youngsters. There are also several more pitchers at Lancaster who would be pitching better if not for the system.
    I’m really encouraged by the youth we have coming soon and hope we will get some real baseball people to handle them. Current management is good at getting them but terrible managing them. Right now, Mark Appel would be starting at CC if the Astros knew what they were doing.

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  4. The K bothers me more than the caught stealing. I wonder if the problem is that guys are too interested in playing for their stats right now? Castro is hitting .205. Is he looking over his shoulder and worrying about the Mendoza line? Would he be more willing to give himself up and ground one up the middle if he were hitting .250? I didn’t see the game, but if the middle infield was playing back they need to cash it in and trade the out for a run. Teams struggling to manufacture runs cannot pass up the opportunity.

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  5. I guess I’ll be contrarian today. Robinson Chirinos came into the game gunning down 41% of runners and ended up moving that number to 45%.
    If you have only a 59% chance of being successful stealing – you should not go unless a knuckleballer is pitching.
    So the conscious decision to buck the odds bothers me more while the situational hitting failure bothers me also but just a tad less…

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    • Dan, I hate CS as much as anyone, but don’t believe we can assume the triple following it still occurs if Altuve is standing on first base.

      Trying to go on a tangent, does Villar always look incapable of bunting like he did in Baltimore? I’m a huge fan of bunting for hits and want to see more of it from Fowler and Villar. Its more difficult to gun down runners when the defense has to respect the entire short game.

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  6. I don’t find a lot of fault with Altuve running early; after all he does lead the league in SB and that was only his third CS. OTOH, the unproductive outs with runners on third and less than two outs are getting really tiresome. As horrible as Carter is in RBI situations Castro is even worse. In 41 ABs with runners in scoring position he has all of 6 hits. That works out to a cool .146! From our third place hitter. He has had the most chances by a fairly large margin and just does not produce. Carter’s average with RISP is a scorching .174. Only Dominguez at .333 is respectable although Springer is close at .300. Springer and Dominguez are the only regulars who hit better with RISP than their overall averages. Maybe someone should tell Castro its hard to hit with both hands wrapped around your throat. Carter is just dead weight and is proving Einstein’s definition of insanity.

    If I was making out the lineup I would go Altuve, Fowler, Springer, Dominguez, Castro (while holding my nose), Krauss/Guzman, Presley/Hoes, Carter, Villar. If I could have my real preferences and could be GM for a day it might look like Altuve, Fowler, Springer, Dominguez, Singleton, Castro, Stassi, Wates, Villar. What do we have to lose?

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  7. On a similarly related subject, I’m okay with giving green lights to certain players (limited number of players) for stealing second base. But, not sure that I’m okay with green lights for stealing third base, especially with the difficulty the Astros have had scoring runs. If I’m a manager of a team struggling to score, I’d want to have more control over that. Maybe that’s a control issue and I’m over-managing, but if I’m the manager, it’s going to be my butt, not Altuve’s or Fowler’s.

    All this in reference to Porter’s post-game comments about the double steal attempt and green lights.

    As to players left on base last night — and this season — it’s atrocious! Unfortunately, you have to get on base (and not be CS or picked off or forced out) to be “left” on base, so the season stats aren’t that bad for Houston. The Astros are actually sixth in the majors in fewest runners LOB per game (6.62), though it’s 10.62 over the last 3 games.

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  8. This team is so bad, that when they lose it doesn’t even bother us anymore. We have become as complacent as they are………and when the DO win a game it garners the same response. I’ve said it before, but something ain’t right with this group of guys…..they have a losing mentality. It’s gonna be ANOTHER loooooong
    summer.

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    • Becky, I’d disagree a bit. I do think there is still a small base that cares. Otherwise, you wouldn’t come to this blog — and others — to complain, gripe, vent and rant. The problem is, though, that most of us wonder if the front office cares. Because if any of us were in that seat or in the manager’s seat, we’d project ourselves doing something about it. Something different.

      Am I right?

      I do believe Luhnow cares, but he’s just sticking with what he thinks his plan is and what HE believes is in the best interest of the organization and the players. Otherwise, Singleton would be at first base tonight, Wates might be in left, Folty in the pen and Stassi behind the plate with Castro at DH. But much of that might be pushing the panic button.

      But to your point, there does seem to be a cohesiveness missing. The team does seem to lack synergy. But that’s hard to create and build with players — at least in some cases — who won’t be here come July. Or at least August or September.

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  9. Chip………it appears that at least SOME of these guys have lost whatever it takes to win ballgames. The Astros are playing so bad, the writers have quit writing (good or bad) about them. They are no longer the butt of jokes, they have become invisible.
    After the first CS, I was so angry I had to go outside, before I threw a book at the T.V. After the SECOND one………..I lost interest all together. What will really tell the tale of this team, is when or *if* Luhnow starts bringing up the guys who are ready.
    If we see the same result game, after game……..there’s a bigger problem than we know.

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  10. Something has to be wrong within. Why else would players get better when they leave and new guys get worse when they come here.
    I don’t have the answer but obviously it’s not the players so who’s left to blame.
    I do believe we ( the fans) have become complacent. We expect them to lose.

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    • Last season I saw the Adtros twice in Minnesota. Each game I told my wife, “Just wait. Once we get to the bullpen the Astros will lose.”

      Pretty much confirms your sad-but-true point, Sandy.

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  11. After Hauschild got pulled from his start after five innings having thrown only 51 pitches last night, Heidenreich blew the lead and the game was suspended because of rain after nine innings. Fontana won it in the twelfth with a home run this evening.
    That is the kind of stuff that keeps me hangin’ around with some hope for the future.

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  12. 8-0! that’s more like it. Keuchel is showing the youngsters that you can pitch even if you don’t throw 95mph. But if you can pitch and throw 95mph, that’s a bonus.
    My gosh, it’s raining here in the woods. I can’t tell you how bad our area needs rain.

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  13. Well, well, well. It seems Ken Rosenthal misreported the info on the Springer extension early this year. The offer the Astros made was only for $7-8 mil for four year with three option years for the club, not a 7/$23mil offer.
    NO wonder Springer turned it down and no wonder the club never straightened out the info because the false info made the club look better. The last three years and the bulk of the money was not guaranteed and Springer was taking the big risk if he signed it. Roenthal apparently did not know the specifics and thus reported a deal which made Springer look bad. Now we know the truth.

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  14. Josh Hader, JD Osborne, and Daniel Minor combined to throw a no-hitter at home tonight for Lancaster. Jordan Scott drove in the only run of the game in the second inning. Hader went the first six innings in the victory over Bakersfield, who have the best record in the California League.
    The win was the second 1-0 victory of the night for Astros minor league teams as Jake Buchanan and Stoffel and Fields combined for a 3-hitter against Colo Springs, w/ Jake going 7.2 innings. Domingo Santana’s home run in the 6th inning was the winner.

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  15. I wonder when was the last time we had 3 starting pitchers (McHugh, Feldman, Keuchel) with winning records and their ERAs are 3.06 and lower. If we did not have Peacock, Oberholtzer, Fields, Qualls, Clemens and Harrell with a cumulative 0-18 record we might have something going.
    Well one way to handle the bullpen problem is to throw CG shutouts and Keuchel was just outstanding last night. 4 DPs – they just keep pounding him into the ground or whiffing.

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    • I have long thought and (I think) said that Keuchel is underestimated and underappreciated. Someone over at another Astros site (named for a short home run porch in left field) suggested he’s the new Wandy. Frankly, I think he has the potential to be much better than that.

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      • Wow. The media has dubbed this the year of the Tommy John surgery, but I’m wondering. Data comes courtesy of mlbreports.com.
        2014 (so far): 18
        2013: 24 (9 diagnosed/performed after June 1)
        2012: 46!!!
        2011: 30
        2010: 10
        2009: 8
        2008: 8
        2007: 7
        2006: 10
        2005: 13
        2004: 33
        2003: 29
        2002: 38
        2001: 25
        2000: 26
        1999 and 1998 (combined): 22
        1997: 7
        1996: 10
        1995: 1
        1994: 1
        1993: 1 (Jose Canseco)
        1992: 1
        1991: 1
        1989: 1
        1998: 2
        1997: 1
        1986: 2
        1985: 1

        1977: 1 (Brent Strom)

        1974: 1 (Tommy John)

        Do you want my opinion? The 1990s ushered in an arms race. Every player had to get stronger and began using any means necessary. More muscle = more force = more strain. What I wonder is if there were substantial changes to training (strength and throwing) and pharmaceutical usage (painkiller and supplements) beginning in 2005, and what happened from 2011 onwards which might correlate to the sharp increase.

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      • Pretty amazing stats Devin – numbers seemed to rise in that period that was responding to the hitter’s steroid craziness.

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  16. And again … Gonzalez whiffing with bases loaded and one down in the sixth is looking like a killer.

    By the way, how about Sipp.

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  17. Nice win tonight – comeback from a 4-0 deficit – big HR from Springer to tie it – big hit by Dominguez to win it – first series win in 15 series with the Rangers and good work by the bullpen.

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