Free blog weekend: Thoughts, raves, rants, complaints welcome


While we continue the debate of how much — or even whether — the Astros have improved or are making strides in the right direction, let’s open the floor to your conversation, thoughts, ideas, complaints, raves and rants on a Free Blog Weekend.

I’ll get it started with a few thoughts, but would like to hear yours.

Wandy Rodriguez was DFA’d by the Pirates on Thursday. Somewhat of a surprising move in that much of the season is left. He’s actually pitched fairly well for the Pirates. When he’s pitched. Health issues have plagued him since the 2012 trade. The Astros are paying $5.5 million of his 2014 salary and the Pirates are picking up the remaining $7.5 million. If he’s ultimately released — and that’s the most likely route — any team can sign the 35-year-old lefty (35? Really?) for the league minimum. For example, the Astros could pick him up for an additional few hundred thousand dollars for the remainder of the season. My thought: Why?

Brandon Lyon. Now here’s one I never did understand. Lyon was pitching well for the Mets last year when they suddenly released him. He had an ERA in the low-to-mid 3s until one horrific game against the Nationals. He signed with the Red Sox, pitched a few games in the minors, then asked for his release. He pitched at AAA this season for the Angels, then asked for his release recently. He’s a free agent. Is there more to the story? Or is he worth a flyer at the league minimum?

The college baseball season is heating up. Some of my favorite teams are right in the thick of conference tournaments this weekend. Regionals are scheduled for next week and Houston and south Louisiana are both in line perhaps to host.  Houston and Rice could host while UL-Lafayette and LSU could both host. The Cajuns are ranked #2 in the country with a record 51 wins under their belts and LSU has won four of the last seven SEC tournaments. Stay tuned. The top seeds and regional hosts will be announced Sunday evening.

With all the injuries around MLB, the trade season may kick in early. Whether early or later, though, the phone lines and conversations are guaranteed to be significant as teams try to replace arms and position players out for extended time. If you had to guess, which players might Jeff Luhnow be considering trading? And, no, Jesus Guzman, Marc Krauss, Jerome Williams et al aren’t allowed for speculation.

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58 comments on “Free blog weekend: Thoughts, raves, rants, complaints welcome

  1. Ground Hog day same ol stros. UGH. Wandy No way. I cant see Lunhow doing anything but his plan. Of course he could always bring back Ankiel. Did some one post since last years loosing streak we are like 17-52?

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  2. -Castro did an admirable job blocking terribly wild pitches last night.
    -Unless wandy can hit it would be money down the drain.
    -Chip…those are the guys I most want to trade.
    -Harold Reynolds said Altuve had the worst contract in baseball last night (because he is getting paid so little)

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      • Chip – I know that. I suppose getting nothing in return may be better than the alternative of keeping them. Still…we saw Luhnow trade JAHapp and Lucas Harrell at their lowest value…

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  3. Thoughts…
    – Don’t need too much more pitching – because I don’t want to block any of the guys coming off the DL (Crain, Asher W, White) or the young guys I’d like them to consider bringing up like Folty, Tropeano, Buchanan). So no to Wandy and Lyon.
    – Lots of good college baseball being played in that corridor between Houston and Baton Rouge.
    – Maybe they could package Guzman, Krauss or Williams with someone else like Hoes, or Carter. Yikes the Astros sure have a solid core of un-performers.
    – Last night was bad luck night. Villar hits a vicious line drive with two guys on – but right at the 3B. Guzman hits a gapper with two guys on but it gets run down.
    – I thought Cosart might go 4 innings the way he started off 20+ pitches in the first – but he settled down and pitched well after that. Tough to lose on a 2 run infield single.

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  4. I didn’t realize our ol buddy David Carpenter doing a great job in the Braves bullpen. Wasn’t he part of the Happ trade and I forget who did we get?

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    • Biggest piece for Happ, Carpenter, Lyon is Asher Woj- alphabet. They also got C Carlos Perez who could be a good field mediocre hit backup in the majors and David Rollins pitching well at CC (but older) and Kevin Comer who is 21 and pitching well at A ball.

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  5. Rudy Owens called up to pitch tonight………..he was knocked around BAD last Saturday. And “King” Felix is pitching for the M’s. LORD have mercy, talk about baptism by *fire*.

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  6. So Peacock has been pitching better and the result a sore arm.
    Well time to find out if we have anything with Owens (or in actuality – he will probably just pitch once or twice and go back down?)

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    • Dan, this could be Owens’ big chance. With Wojo and White vying for innings at OKC and promotions a month or so away, he could easily get lost in a numbers game if he doesn’t step up soon.

      If you want encouraging news for Owens, there isn’t much. In his last three games, he’s given up 27 hits and 16 ER in 14 1/3 IP.

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  7. Heck, I don’t have scouting reports, but if Wandy is healthy and has his velocity, he’ll get picked up by someone based on his limited 2013 stats alone. He was good. I’d certainly take a shot on him here if he were willing to work out of the pen. I am not ready to declare Sipp our lefty savior. I expect more of what we saw last night from him. Lefties don’t grow on trees, and the Padres let Sipp go regardless.

    Would have been nice to see Foltynewicz tonight, as it’s his fifth day and he’ll be going for OKC, but I’m guessing the thinking is that Peacock will be missing just one start. So, we get Rudy and his 6.08 ERA. But, if Owens get raked tonight ( plausible) and Peacock ends up on the DL, (plausible) then we might see a Folty, Tropeano or Buchanan as early as next week.

    Most anyone that we might consider trading right now is not worth much. And at some point, I think Carter will get back on a 30 homer pace. He’s about the only guy I see us getting any real value for unless Luhnow stocks and sells off Castro or Fowler.

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    • I don’t know Dave – do we really want Wandy in a role he’s never done – what happens when Albers, Crain are ready?
      They brought up Owens because he is the only guy on the 40 man in the minors that they have not already seen or is not injured or just off injury (not counting Luis Cruz who is not yet at AAA).
      I can’t crush Sipp for last night. Comes in with the bases loaded and 1 out – gets a popup and then has a guy beat out an infield hit by a hair. Sure he is bound to come down in quality at some point – but last night was not poor pitching on his part.

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    • Dave, when I coached I would take the slowest running pitcher on our team and put him on the mound. Then I would take the fastest player on the team and put him in the batters box. On the word “go” they would race to the first base bag in front of everybody on the team, with the winner getting an ice cold drink in the dugout. Never, did the batter beat the pitcher, no matter who was running, and my pitchers knew that on every ground ball to the right side, they were going to beat the batter there. All they had to do was run at the crack of the bat. It was a drill we ran many times a year during practice to pound it into their high school memories.
      Sipp’s pitching did not fail him last night. His lack of baseball sense did. and that lack provided the difference in defeat.

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      • Add in overaggressiveness and a poor flip from Guzman and it was a double fail. Add in forgetting about the runner who started on 2B and it was triple failure.

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    • It is weird that Sipp is the first left handed pitcher who falls off to the third base side in the history of the majors to get beat to 1st base.
      It happens we can say it should not but it probably happens every other game in the majors.

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      • Sipp”s sin was he probably expected Altuve to make the play and when he saw Guzman going for the ball he broke for the bag way too late. Like Oldpro said, every pitcher needs to break hard first; he can always back off but if he hesitates at first he gives the batter a chance. How does a guy get to the big leagues and not hustle. Of course if Altuve had made the play on Trout in Anaheim Keuchel would have a two shutout streak going. Bad teams have so little margin for error that every little mistake at a crucial time is magnified.

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  8. Well, it’s pretty clear that you guys won’t be bringing Wandy in! I think I filed my disclaimer by saying “if” Wandy had his velocity, I’d sign him. But at 87-88, he’ll continue to get beat up. But I will reiterate my opinion on Sipp. He will regress back to being the pitcher that the Padres released.

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  9. All I can say is WOW! to Evan Drellich’s article in the Houston Chronicle tonight about how baseball feels about the Astros and it is not good. Even people who don’t want to say anything are talking now. This is not going to be pretty and it doesn’t paint Jeff in a good light at all. The Astros front office is now in the water and the music from Jaws is playing loud and clear.

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  10. oldpro, no real revelations, but you’ve got to wonder what took someone so long to write about it. I think Evan Drellich’s free lunch at Minute Maid is over. At one point or another, we’ve touched on most all of the issues in his column on this blog. So now we have a degree of confirmation. As I’ve said before, the fish stinks from the head down. Crane is a bad owner. And Luhnow makes it sound as if it’s his way or the highway. One thing for certain. Not many teams are going to be looking to hire him away at any point soon. And players will continue to head for the highway when they get their first chance to get out.

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  11. On the bright side of things, good to see Austin Wates back in action. 2 hits, 2 walks. OBP now at .468. If he stays healthy, we’ve got to give him a shot in left before long.

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    • John, I found a link in the game thread comments of last night’s game in the Crawfish Boxes blog site. That is how I was able to read it.

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  12. All these machinations with the starting pitching speaks volumes about Jerome Williams. I thought he was supposed to be the long relief/spot starter guy in the bullpen. To think we’re paying him to essentially be a mop up guy. Does his “veteran presence” really matter all that much?

    I think the last two games without Springer emphasize what a spark he can be despite all the rookie mistakes he is making. With him hitting second I like the rest of the lineup being pushed back a spot. Castro is showing me with his whiffs and lousy average with RISP that he is better suited to hitting six or even seven. Dominguez should absolutely hit ahead of him no matter who is pitching. And Carter is just horrid to watch. Good thing he didn’t play against King Felix; I doubt he could hit him using an ironing board.

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    • Doc, 100% correct, Springer brings a spark to this club. Others will do the same when they finally get a chance. Winning games today is not a priority however. And that’s a sin helping create the animosity against this organization.

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  13. I read the article that Evan Drellech wrote, and it was pretty spot on. Bud Norris chimed in on his feelings about the Astros…..and didn’t hold back. There were a couple of “names in confidence” who gave their feelings about this team and Luhnow, and I can figure out at least one of them. I remember when Luhnow first came over from the Cards, and the comments made by the Cards fans were less than complimentary. Since I had never even heard of him, I had no opinion………but
    it appears he treats his players like $$ signs, instead of human beings. The odd shifts made the news also, and the only pitcher who had a comment was Cosart, and he chose his words VERY carefully. If you have that much dissention on your team, the guys quit playing, and look for ways to get traded.

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    • And thus we begin to realize that the “something is wrong” that you and I have been talking about is not just something that we imagined, but something that we have determined, because baseball is a complicated human game that is learned over a long period of time and is made up of players and cannot be ciphered by reading stats as though they were tea leaves that produce success.
      People who see baseball as a set of numbers that add up to a sum, have only learned 25% of what the game is about and lack of knowledge of the other 75% will produce tons of losses.

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      • My baseball spouse says I should have used the word “deciphered” instead of ciphered, which is why every fan should have their own bench coach. Amen?

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  14. One thing that does bother me about all the grousing over the shifts is that the stats do seem to support that the Astros get more outs that way so why the bitching? But beyond taking away some hard hit balls to the hitter’s pull side, it may tempt a hitter to go the other way where even if he hits it that way it is unlikely to be for extra bases. If the spray charts show a significant pull tendency for a particular hitter it seems very sensible to stack the defense where he is most likely to hit the ball hard.

    Stuff like putting up signs that block the view of the skyline, appearing to determine when a player is called up based on service time issues and hiring and staying with an incompetent inexpensive manager creates the impression that the organization is cheap and really has no interest in pleasing the fans by providing at least entertaining baseball. There is no baseball reason that Singleton is not here right now cutting his teeth. Ditto for Austin Wates. I will come to watch kids with a future but am beyond tired of watching retreads and wannabes.

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    • The signs are not only ill-conceived they are ugly as sin. Now, the new(ish) scoreboard is tremendous, but they don’t seem to have gotten a lot of mileage out of that. The all-you-can-eat section is gone, and I never hear of bargain days or great deals on the telecasts. Went to the Skeeters on Friday – best entertainment value in Houston – and they gave freebies for Monday to everybody on their way out. No fanfare, they just did it.

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      • Glad you enjoyed your Skeeters game Steeeeeve. I hear they have old broke down, lazy butt NBA guys pitching for them. He’s probably throwing on Monday. By the way, do you hit the Golden Corral early bird special? Once accomplished, there’s no need for the stuff your face section. And those signs, the only time I see them is infrequently, when my neck gets jerked around watching a dinger leave the yard. They are a non issue to the few people actually going to the park, but a popular whine, What else you got? Anything related to baseball?

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    • This team is nothing but kids. Youngest team in this majors — by far. The only old guys who have no business here are Williams and Guzman.

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      • What about guys like Hoes, Presley, Krauss, Corporan, (somehow he gets a free pass but isn’t he hitting .140 something?) and half the bullpen?

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    • Gosh daveb, sorry to offend. Only had room in one paragraph to discuss my take on game presentation. My point is that the Skeeters may offer an inferior sporting product but they work hard to offer a pleasant outing. No evidence the Astros are doing the same. And, no, Tracy McGrady did not play Friday, but Lew Ford did play for Long Island which I thought was way cool. He’s a player/coach. Last saw him play himself out of a game in Metropolitan Stadium in 2005 crashing into the center field wall.

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  15. Why in the world did you guys think Springer should be up here. He needs to stay at OKC. He brings nothing to the club. It has nothing to do with money. He needs to work on his game. (It is spelled “sarcasm”)

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  16. Dan…….thank you for asking about Tanner. He is still in the hospital, but he might be out by Monday. The Surgery went well, but when the doctors opened up his chest, his heart had been pushed so far to the left of his chest, it was nearly under his left arm. The lungs were compromised, and they pushed his heart out of the way.
    The surgery was complicated by this and took longer than expected. I’m still a mess
    it’s tough to see a grandchild in so much pain………
    Your prayers were very much appreciated, Tanner and his family thank you!!
    Good win tonight!! I thought Obie pitched very well.

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    • My grandchild is a little sweetie at 3 – it would be insane to picture that happening to her. We will all pray for Tanner’s recovery.

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    • Becky, it’s remarkable today what modern medicine can accomplish. I hope Tanner lives a long, full life and ultimately sees an Astro World Series win, long after we are all gone to heaven. After all,I think we are deserving, having stuck with this club for so long,

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  17. Nice to see Obie in a good outing. When he got sent down I thought it was more about his game plan than his talent.

    Wow, George Springer! And wow that big inning. That’s how games are won, with sustained rallies.

    Jose Altuve just continues to impress with his ability to “hit it where they aren’t.” I know stat masters will say his BABIP is unsustainable, but watching how he hits, I think it is. He’s what we, as kids, used to call a “place hitter.” He swings for a spot based on what the pitch gives him.

    As for the talking points above: no on Wandy and Lyon, I would like to see Singleton in less than two weeks (I have tickets field level at Target Field on Friday) and the rest of the dead weight needs to be gone by July 1.

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    • Brian, the cool thing about Altuve is that he makes contact and hits to all fields. You won’t see prolonged slumps out of him. He’s becoming one of the top second basemen in the game.

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    • Every summer I take my 2 son’s (ages 11 and 8 now) on a baseball trip to see different MLB ballparks each year. This year we are going to Pittsburgh and Cleveland near the end of August (just before school starts again). We will catch 2 Astros games in Cleveland. I hope by then we see many of the top prospects playing in those games.

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  18. If some of you didn’t get a chance to read it………it was slashed accrossed the front page of the Chronicle sports. This team and all of it’s woes, has been like a very bad sore that needed to be opened up,and Evan Drellich did just that. Now that it’s “out there”……Luhnow will HAVE to address some of the comments made in Drellich’s
    piece. The long time writers have been careful not to rock the boat, and I’m glad Drellich opened up the conversation. Now we will see who addresses this first, Crane or Luhnow. Keuchel is on the bump today, I hope we see his best stuff……
    AND…….more George Springer TOO!

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  19. Im not a subscriber, so Becky’s link wouldnt work for me. This (above) was imbedded in another article. Hope it works for the non-subscibers.

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  20. that article is making me really not like Luhnow.He may or may not be a ‘good’ GM, but his personality has a few flaws apparently.

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  21. WOOOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! What a GAME!!!
    A complete game brought to you by Dallas “Who’s your daddy” Keuchel!!!

    An update on Tanner………still can’t come home, because they took his thorasic epidural out, and he can’t clear his lungs. It hurts to cough………so he has to start eating, and he HAS to cough. I don’t want to think of the #2 option if he can’t cough up the stuff in his lungs.
    Dave- I’d love to TAKE Tanner and his brothers to *SEE* an Astros world series win!
    I plan to live for another 20yrs……..or MORE!

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    • Thanks for keeping us posted on Tanner. He is in our prayers. And YES, we all want to live long enough to see a World Series win — if only one game.

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