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2014 Astros: Streak of bad luck or a curse?


The Astros just can’t seem to catch a break. Is it a string of bad luck or is their sin in the camp?

It’s hard to say when the streak started. Does it go back to the World Series 2005? Did Drayton McLane leave something buried at Minute Maid Park? Is there a common thread for the past 8-10 seasons? Did the luck turn worse when McLane handed over the keys to Jim Crane?

Steven Spielberg couldn’t write some of this stuff. I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up.

Drafting and signing the #1 draft pick should be a no-brainer, right? Virtually every team had Brady Aiken near the top of their draft lists. If the Astros had taken Tyler Kolek or Carlos Rodon, then Miami or the White Sox would likely have picked Aiken.

But the question is: Would there have been drama with Aiken, or would the curse have bitten the Astros regardless of who they selected?

Jesse Crain‘s situation is not a shocker. The Astros knew there was a risk when they signed him. Matt Albers, though, has pitched in 56 or more games per season since 2009. And he’s been out since April 22?

A case of bad luck or could it be the Astros are cursed?

Jesus Guzman and Marc Krauss you could have seen coming. But, shouldn’t one of this group have panned out? Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Jonathan Villar, Kevin Chapman, Paul Clemens or Rudy Owens?

And how about the freak injuries to Alex Presley (when he’s hot), Dexter Fowler and Asher Wojciechowski? And going back to last year, remember the Tommy John surgeries for John Ely and Alex White?

Bad luck or cursed?

Look, we can debate all day and night whether Jeff Luhnow is a good GM or if Bo Porter should be managing at the major league level. But, there is no debate that the Astros have experienced a measure of bad luck.

Even Billy Beane or Walt Jocketty would have been stymied.

Carlos Correa, Mark Appel and even Wojciechowski show the challenges of building through the draft, but the team that has no depth has not been able to fend off the weird stories and, yes, bad luck.

The problem with the bad luck or curse is that, at some point, the snowball rolls on and the train gets faster and faster. And people, the press, fans and other begin to pile on.

And that brings us to Aiken. Forget Mac Marshall, he’s headed to LSU. Heck, he’s already at LSU. Bite the bullet and sign Aiken. Get the deal done. And sign Jacob Nix. Some seem to be content not to sign Aiken and take the 1-2 pick in next year’s draft. But the ramifications of not signing Aiken are much more complicated.

It’s time to break the curse and stop the streak of bad luck. What will it take?

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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.

27 comments on “2014 Astros: Streak of bad luck or a curse?

  1. SargeH
    July 16, 2014

    I am of the opinion that all of the big three Houston teams are cursed. The Rockets did squeak out two championships but the other teams have just not had the luck and the Rockets are back to being also-rans each year.

    Like

  2. videoidget1
    July 16, 2014

    The curse of the weaselly shysters.

    Like

  3. Becky
    July 16, 2014

    Go find that crazy madam what’s her name, and tell her to put a spell on this club, that ALL the pitchers will be Cy Young award winners, and all the rest of this team bat’s 1,000! The thing that makes most of us scratch our heads……..is why guys like Guzman, Hoes, and Grossman are still on this club. And who knows what Presley will do after he comes off DL! You know how Bo Porter reacts about one of his pitchers going to the media about dissaggreements…..ie: Lucas Harrell last year..
    well Peacock just might have pushed that button this year. Someone should tell Brad, that Porter will send you packing, if you tell the media you are shocked about ANYTHING Bo Porter does. This whole Aiken debacle is doing NOTHING but making this owner and GM look real bad………….

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      July 17, 2014

      “I took my troubles down to Madame Ruth
      You know, that lady with the gold-capped tooth…”
      Take it, rj!

      Like

      • kevin
        July 17, 2014

        Is that Love potion Number 9

        Liked by 1 person

      • rj
        July 17, 2014

        lol kevin got there first. great song.

        Like

    • Astro45
      July 17, 2014

      Becky, how did Tanner do at camp?

      Like

  4. 1oldpro
    July 16, 2014

    Drafting a player and finding out he has medical problems is bad lick.
    Signing Crain knowing he is hurt is bad management.
    Having your CF get food poisoning is bad luck. His muscle injury is normal baseball.
    Signing Albers at his age is taking a chance so it’s a case of bad luck and maybe a bad move.
    Having none of the many players in that paragraph full of names above work out can’t be bad luck. It has to be bad coaching to get none of them to pan out. But to be honest with you, none of those players you listed from Guzman to Owens and everyone in between is actually a proven major league player, so it might not be a case of bad coaching or bad luck but bad player evaluations.
    Correa: bad luck at the end of a very aggressive play sliding into third on a triple. A player who is satisfied with a double is still standing on second and not hurt.. It is a risk.
    Appel: bad decision making from the very start by Luhnow and company. Appel got bombed again tonight in 1.2 innings, 7 hits 7 earned runs. Wind blowing out to CF tonight at 30mph. Astros don’t have a clue what to do with him. So they do nothing.
    You can talk about luck all you want, but nobody is as unlucky this year as the Rangers, Yet they are still running neck and neck with us in the standings.
    I try not to link badness to the city, especially in 3 major sports. The Texans were good in 2012, the Rockets had a winning record and made the playoffs this past year and every person in the world knows the Astros are bad because they chose to be bad, so I don’t even consider “The Curse” as being legit.

    Like

  5. 1oldpro
    July 16, 2014

    Jimmy Paredes was DFAd by his fourth major league team today.
    I hear a lot of moaning about JD Martinez but the huge majority of players the Astros have released or traded in the last couple of years are just bouncing around. I think the record was LeBlanc being DFAd one day after being called up by the Yanks. The Astros problem is definitely not that they are releasing talent, but that they are having problems getting it and developing it at the major league level.

    Like

    • Astro45
      July 16, 2014

      Yep. The other day I was going to make note of Steve Pearce with the Orioles. But thought it a cheap shot at the Astros. For every J.D or Pearce, there are at least a dozen releases, trades, or DFAs that were not any good here, and continue to not be any good. Like the article today on J R Towles. Nice guy but has now failed with multiple teams. Is now 30 and is playing Semi-pro ball. Again on the other blogs, so many say of these signings and waiver wire guys over past few years, “Low risk, high reward.” Most had a reason they were the 41st best player in the previous organization, and turned out to be “No reward.” And any player that is the 41st best player for the Astros, will have a high probability of not being of much value with some other team.

      Like

  6. Becky
    July 17, 2014

    Mark Appel gave up 7 runs tonight, in 5 innings and the manager called him in the office after the game. I’m starting to think he would be better off, with an older more seasoned catcher guiding him through this tough stretch, someone like Corporan.
    Man…….our #1 pick last year, and the #1 pick this year, ain’t panning out too well.

    Like

  7. Dan P
    July 17, 2014

    There is no doubt this is a combo of bad luck and bad decision making – yet the team will end the year with a better record than 2013 (almost impossible to be worse).
    Guzman is a puzzlement. The guy hit far better than this hitting in SD at one of the toughest parks in the majors.
    Obviously a lot of these guys were not bound to make it – but it is disturbing to see so many players under the Mendoza line and so few guys improving. Is anybody other than Altuve hitting better than last season? Something is wrong there.
    I think they should move Appel up or down but get him out of Lancaster.
    The Astros have made so many picks trades pickups they are bound to have failures – but so many spectacular ones are bothersome.

    Like

  8. daveb
    July 17, 2014

    If you go through life blaming your misfortunes on bad luck, you’ll have plenty of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven
      July 17, 2014

      Old chinese proverb? Or Dave wisdom?

      Like

      • daveb
        July 17, 2014

        Might have read it on a fortune cookie.

        Like

  9. kevin
    July 17, 2014

    I have never believed in good or bad luck. I think decisions we make or don’t make is what drives our good or bad fortune. Drayton started this slow death for our Astros after 2005. I guess is goal was to get to a WS at any cost and once he did, he become a lame duck owner and destroyed the farm system and the future.
    Then Drayton wants out so bad his buddy Bud lets him sell the team to a slightly sleezy owner who has leveraged him self so bad , his ownership group has no money. Then throw in Drayton bullshits him on the TV deal. Then hires Wade not a bad guy, but Wade is set up or failure and they hire Mills ( really) Then here to the rescue is arrogant Lunhow and his brainiacs with their “state of the art” upgraded Money Ball stuff. Then lets hire another unproven Manager with no proven track record. Just a Texas size bag of bad decisions and egos running wild.

    I’m afraid we are stuck with Crane, but Lunhow is starting to make us look really really bad. My vote doesn’t count but I’m ready for good people and baseball people running this team. Ryan’s, Biggio, Bagwell Berkman INC. The days when good players wanted to come play for the Astros., not this lab experiment gone bad!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      July 17, 2014

      I would have to agree with you. If the Astros combine a solidly built minor leagues with a proven and respected management team, I believe the fortunes of the club will turn around. Having been a student of major league baseball all my life, I think the players in this organization from Houston to Lancaster, as a group, are ready for changes at the top.

      Like

  10. 1oldpro
    July 17, 2014

    This comment goes along with the “how much of the misfortune is bad luck” theme. And someone who writes for this blog touched on it a couple of weeks ago.
    The Astros are currently 16 games below .500 for the year. But they have a player on their team that changes the fortunes/luck/level of play/results of the team when he starts at his normal position and plays the entire game. You can call it what you want to call it, but when Carlos Corporan has a complete game behind the plate this year, the Astros are 14-14. When Carlos Corporan doesn’t start the game and finish it they are 26-42 and when he does, they are 14-14.
    Now tell me why. I don’t have time or the knowledge to look up everthing
    Does Corporan only catch our best pitchers? I don’t think so because a lot of his starts have come consecutively when Castro was hurt. I have read a lot this year and I don’t think Castro has been named anyone’s personal catcher.
    Is his bat carrying the Astros when he is in the lineup. That is a good question because when he starts the game and the Astros win his hitting stats are terrific and when they lose his stats are bad.
    But you have to believe it is something else. For the Astros to be a .500 team when he is their catcher, and a .380 team when he isn’t, has to be what he does with the pitchers. How else can a .257 hitter make such a difference in a team’s performance on the field.
    Is it leadership? I don’t know
    Is it luck? I don’t see how it could be.

    Like

    • Dan P
      July 17, 2014

      ERA when Corporan is behind the plate – 4.35 / for Castro – 4.50
      So that is not it.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      July 17, 2014

      I said before last year that i wasnt sold on Castro, and aftet the season said it was a fluke. I think i was right all along.

      Like

    • Astro45
      July 17, 2014

      Totally agree that a “leader” or “winner” is harder to define for a catcher than any other position. He sets the tone for the entire play. Remember Garagiola saying a catcher that is a “holler guy” tells the pitcher or fielder which base BEFORE the ball is fielded. He runs the defense from behind the plate because he is the only one that sees the entire field. A catcher that gets “lock jaw” when a bunt rolls out from home is NO LEADER. His words – not mine. Ausmus had poor stats but the team could win.

      Like

  11. daveb
    July 17, 2014

    I’ve mentioned a couple of times that Castro does not seem to be playing an overly passionate brand of ball these days. Maybe he’s just playing his string out and waiting for the opportunity to move. Corporan, on the other hand is always in the middle of a dugout celebration and based on stats alone, is getting far more out of his limited talent, while Castro, the former All Star, could almost be accused of mailing it in. There is no doubt in my mind that one guy, especially in a role like that of the backstop, can impact the attitude of every other guy on the field. Corporan is a senior, respected guy on this club. Ironic that a back up catcher can play the leadership role on a team where the starter was an Al Star just a year ago.

    That 14 and 14 record with Corporan behind the plate is not good luck or bad luck. I’d venture a guess that the guys on this club like playing when Corporan is out there. Passion is infectious. It’s not about luck.

    Like

  12. Devin
    July 17, 2014

    1. Start with Appel. Move him to CC. Send Hader with him. Lancaster is a waste of time for nearly every player. Raze that ballpark. If you must play there, flip it 180°
    2. Hold Luhnow accountable. The Moneyball draft was horrific in hind sight. I agree that the 2012 plan was good, in hindsight, because we lacked the quantity of talent to compete in the minors AND Correa looks worthy of that pick. I like the hitters he picked the last two years, but successful college pitchers should not hit a wall like we have seen in the 2014 results.
    3. Karma. You cannot always make the most efficient business decisions without hurting someone. Start thinking about your players as people instead of numbers on a spreadsheet.
    4. Get a TV deal done. Baseball only exists as entertainment. They aren’t curing cancer out there. Going back to #3, start giving away 5000 tickets to school aged kids each game until you get them on TV full time for your entire viewing audience.
    5. Stop investing in penny stocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Billy Castillo
      July 17, 2014

      Flip it 180 ° vertically or horizontally? The latter may prevent home runs, but the former would make it impossible to enter the stadium. ..

      Like

  13. kevin
    July 17, 2014

    Positive note AJ Reed POY of the year. I hope he isn’t hurt to bad, I haven’t seen him in the line up last couple days,

    Like

  14. Becky
    July 17, 2014

    *if* Luhnow get’s this kid signed, will there be bad blood forever between Aiken and the Astros? This is just an HISTORIC mess.

    Like

    • Devin
      July 17, 2014

      I agree – I don’t think there is a scenario where everyone comes away happy. However, what if the Astros would offer him full slot value on contingency he changes agents?

      Like

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This entry was posted on July 16, 2014 by in Astros.
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