CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Astros’ snap judgments shouldn’t become etched in stone


Hold that train filled with oranges just one dang minute!

Blame it on the day off. Or high expectations after an opening day win. Or the fact the Minute Maid Park roof was closed. But don’t get carried away. Not yet.

Houston is 1-2 after three games with some very early positive — if unexpected — signs. And, yes, some extremely discouraging — if expected — confirmations.

Hitting — long balls or otherwise — hasn’t been as previously advertised as evidenced by 8 hits in 83 at bats (yes, .096, one of nine AL teams at .202 or under thus far). It’s also eerily possible this team could be built on an 1986 foundation instead of an all-‘er-nothing, big bopper sand castle.

Yes, it’s too early to draw conclusions. Too early to suggest trends. Too early to give up on one player and declare another a world beater. No room for snap judgments as they’re more likely to backfire and snap back in your face.

Here’s the real news: New manager A.J. Hinch is now officially on the clock. The follow up press conferences, the meeting with coaches between series, one-on-one’s with players and this weekend’s lineups will bear watching. Closely. The easy moves — first lineups, rotation, home pomp and circumstance — are now behind. The real work is here, perhaps earlier than he had planned.

From the already-knew-this category.

Dallas Keuchel and Scott Feldman.

  • Solid performances for sure and very, very reassuring. Still, it’s one game for each. Don’t get down with the Asher Wojciechowski performance either. MLB debut. At home. With the opposing pitcher not giving an inch from the first pitch (or Astros’ hitters taking one). Keuchel ain’t got that mid-90s fastball, but could he develop into the next Maddux/Glavine clone?

K-K-K-K-K-K.

  • Was that a cry for Jon Singleton I heard in the distance? Come on! Yes, the Ks are potentially demoralizing. But tell me something we know today about the K-Kadets we didn’t know yesterday. Don’t get alarmed. Yet.
  • Yes, Evan Gattis has 8 strikeouts in 11 at bats and has kept the air conditioning bill down for the first three days at MMP. And, yes, it puts him on an early pace for nearly 400 strikeouts and, we all know that won’t happen. It’s too early for drastic moves. What do you recommend? Other than biting your fingernails, dying your hair purple or kicking the dog?

Where are your eyes now?

  • Perhaps you’ll be watching more closely the opening games at Fresno and Corpus Christi. Brad Peacock starts tonight and Singleton will be at first base. Just three days ago, most of you had bid Singleton a fond adieu into the night.
  • To be sure, the prospects and DL guys (Peacock and Brett Oberholtzer) were always part of the cavalry. Again, nothing new, they are still the cavalry, but no closer to Houston today than they were Sunday.

It may be too early to go to the bank, but you may want to make arrangements for direct deposit on these three things for the Astros 2015.

Defense. D-Fence. Duh-fense.

  • Hands down, this could be one of the best defensive teams to play in Minute Maid Park. Period. The best? Yet to be determined, but we’ve already seen some keen leather at both corners of the infield and the middle will be above average. The outfield? You have to go back to Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn days to find an outfield that was close. Even Jason Castro seems a little more nimble behind the plate.

Pitching…and more pitching.

  • With the exception of Wojciechowski and a semi-shaky inning from Pat Neshek Tuesday, Astros’ pitching was phenomenal against a decent hitting Indians’ team. Sam Deduno — and you can argue Keuchel and Feldman — exceeded expectations. Remember, Wojo is the fifth starter. Two of the more seasoned pitchers — Collin McHugh and Roberto Hernandez — are next up for Houston.

Higher scrutiny.

  • It’s sort of like 24-hour cable. Now that the Astros are on television more and may be drawing a longer segment on the local media because of higher expectations, scrutiny will be higher. The water cooler discussion will be louder, the radio talk will be higher pitched and the blogosphere will be more active. Hinch will do his team and organization a service by staying out in front of potential controversy and acting presidential. Yes, presidential.

Here are a couple of questions for you.

  • What did you observe the first three games that you did not know on Sunday?
  • Would you shuffle the lineup already?
  • What scares, concerns or bothers you the most from the first three games?
  • What most gives you calm?
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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.

76 comments on “Astros’ snap judgments shouldn’t become etched in stone

  1. 1oldpro
    April 9, 2015

    Something that I didn’t know Sunday that I see after three games is sheer panic in the eyes of Valbuena, Gattis and Carter. Swinging wildly at anything and making no contact when really good pitchers are changing speeds and throwing 94mph.
    Would I shuffle the lineup? Maybe move Lowrie in front of Springer and go with more lefty hitters against righty pitchers. I sure would have preferred Castro DHing today rather than Gattis.
    What concerns me most is batting average.
    What most gives me calm. Mark Appel, Carlos Correa, Tony Kemp, Colin Moran and Preston Tucker.

    Like

  2. Kevin
    April 9, 2015

    I’m with you going to have to mix and match Big swing and miss guys with with better OBP guys or we will never need AC in MM. I Just dont like tuve /springer, wish we had a lead off guy and Altuve 2.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 9, 2015

      I am praying Kemp could be that guy. Would love to see him settle in at 2B(in Corpus) playing with Correa, relaxing and continuing to hit over .300 w/ that near .400 OBP and then move up when Correa moves up. Then, let him play 2B and LF in Fresno so that when he gets to the majors he can be used at 2B/LF/DH leading off in front of Altuve and Correa and move Springer to cleanup.

      Like

    • Steven
      April 9, 2015

      I don’t see anything about Tony Kemp that would suggest to me he can repeat his OBP in the majors anymore than J.B. Shuck could. Fangraphs once suggested the guy could be the next Altuve. He is only a little taller but still 15 pounds or so lighter – he doesn’t have anywhere near Altuve’s strength in hands or bat speed. I think he will be challenged at the major league level in a way he isn’t at AA, and his walk rate will evaporate. I would guess he is a .270 guy with a .320 OBP and zero power type.

      Second base is already occupied. With those numbers he would be an albatross anywhere else. I will grant that he doesn’t strike out a lot, and this time next year we as fans will be seeking a remedy to what will be an abysmal K year.

      Granted, you are certainly talking about the not so near term, in a lineup with Correa, at best next year more than likely 2017. That lineup would likely regress TBH – I expect Correa to be a superstar yes, and Kemp could actually become a serviceable player, but it’s unlikely it clicks for both year 1.

      Now your like for Tucker, I think we can agree on that. I would as much like to see the Astros move on from both Carter (expensive) AND Gattis (durability) and hand DH to Tucker sometime early next season, or maybe by midseason next year. I think the problem for Tucker is going to be that IF he is given that job in July of next year permanently he will be a 26 year old getting his first crack – just a smidgen old for my liking. When he played well at AA in 2013 I feel like he should have started 2014 in AAA, and gotten the whole season there. If so, we may not have felt a need to go get Gattis.

      Also consider this – if Luhnow went and got Gattis, what do you think he actually expects from Tucker? To play LF when Rasmus leaves? Is that why Rasmus got a year only from him? If Gattis is around, it’s not likely that Kemp and Tucker both will be in Houston. Do the indicators even point to Luhnow and Hinch having confidence in Tucker?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 9, 2015

        Oh yeah, the Grossman OBP cheerleader, knocking a guy who walks more than he K’s, has a career BA over .300, had over 40 SB’s last season, a career OBP near .400, had 58 RBI’s from the leadoff spot and a Gold Glove has nothing to offer. And he’s so tiny he hit 4hr’s in CC in 233 ABs playing second base.
        Kemps first AB of the season tonight, line drive single to CF.

        Like

      • Steven
        April 9, 2015

        Because Grossman has already proven he can walk in the majors also.

        Besides, I’m a cheerleader for Springer and Altuve, not Grossman. I think Grossman is a better option than Marisnick in the lineup, but I would rather neither was playing everyday.

        The lineup needs some OBP, so yea, I’ll be the OBP cheerleader, poms poms at the ready. I just don’t think Kemp is the answer to that OBP. He could be. I once was fooled by J.B. Shuck, who looks eeringly like Tony Kemp statistically.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 9, 2015

        Shrimpy Tony Kemp, who don’t show you nuttin is 4 for 4 with a walk tonight. With two RBIs from the leadoff spot. You can’t see Kemp because your pompoms are in front of your eyes. Keep cheerleading for your no -hit, no field no-arm, stand-there-and-take-a pitch-left fielder wannabe. He’s the perfect player for you.
        By the way, do you know what seven bases on balls and one hit gets you? A 5-1 loss.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Steven
        April 10, 2015

        Feeling spicy tonight!

        Are you suggesting I know nothing about baseball? That’s about how I am taking it. You may be the maker of a million posts a day, but an “expert” that I seek advice from you are not.

        Tony Kemp will continue to hit minor league pitching. So did J.B. Shuck.

        Do you know who leads the league in taken pitches? Some chump guy named Carpenter. I’ve heard he isn’t too shabby.

        But I do agree the Astros need to hit better. Most certainly. I believe they are sub .100 early on. I am sure that will not stick. After 11 K’s today I am sure the blogosphere feels like they need to be on life support. Some of them are probably breathing heavy into paper bags right as we type. I’m not too worried. It’s three games.

        Grossman’s two strike outs were both looking. We can agree he needs to be more aggressive. That really wasn’t a problem with the rest of the team though, at least not more than any usual game.

        Like

      • Steven
        April 10, 2015

        BTW – unfair caricatures of ones position is what is done in political talk, I expected more from you.

        I didn’t say Kemp has “nothing to offer.” Far from it. I said he could probably hit .270 with a .320 OBP. I am just not sure where he fits if he isn’t playing 2B. We have much better power options at almost every other position, and I think that maybe 2B for the Astros is under control.

        I also stated, and have numerous times, that I would have signed Cruz to play LF. We didn’t. Given the choices we have, yea I think RG is the best choice. But I would replace him for a better offensive option in a second. I think that qualifies me as the opposite of a “cheerleader.”

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 10, 2015

        You actually jumped into an exchange that was a positive one and started all the negative stuff. I’m just giving it back to you. You projected Kemp to be Shuck and used the word albatross to describe him with the numbers YOU painted on his future. That seems to be an unfair caricature coming from you, not me.

        Like

      • Steven
        April 10, 2015

        Fair enough.

        Like

  3. Steven
    April 9, 2015

    It’s one series. I wouldn’t make any changes to my plan until 15 May unless I see something obvious. If Gattis is swinging well,and feeling good, and we as fans have a binoculars view of it, then keep trotting him out there. We know he won’t spend the next series with a 80% K rate. If he has that 8 for 11 K rate AND he is mumbling to himself, scuffling around in the dugout, holding his knee and talking about discomfort, make a change for a day or two. Bottom line – that’s why Hinch is paid and I pay to watch. Around 15 May though we should know enough to start shuffling some things around. I wouldn’t change people’s roles until that point.

    Wojo pitched as I expected him to pitch. Nerves, jittered, however you want to say it. It’s really hard to throw your best stuff when you are distracted by the moment. His command was horrible all night, he pitched as if he had no focus – and the guy wasn’t exactly Maddux in command to begin with. I think he was lucky to have escaped with only 4 runs, there were times it looked like it could get much worse. To me, visually, I am concerned about him even in short sample, because there are indicators. Hinch needs to put some work in, as well as the savior of Chipland Mr. Strom, to make him more comfortable and try and control his next start.

    I’m always calm. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. They will lose plenty of series 2 games to 1 this year. They will also win plenty that way. They will be swept a time or two, and sweep someone a time or two. The key is to figure out how to get the line pointing on your side 60% of the time.

    Like

  4. Steeeve
    April 9, 2015

    Maybe this isn’t the best time to be messing with Astros Fan (hey, I’m one, too), but who remembers Anthony Gose, the guy we flipped for Brett Wallace? He’s the starting center fielder for the Detroit Tigers and is carrying a 1.454 OPS after the first series. Maybe he’s this year’s JD Martinez. Speaking of JD, he’s entrenched as the Tiger’s right fielder, and has a 1.154 OPS with 2 HR’s after the first series.

    Like

    • Devin_
      April 9, 2015

      Jordan Schafer started out well for Houston and we know how he turned out. Gose was not very good in Toronto. I’ll be surprised if he finishes near JFSF in offensive productivity this year.

      Like

      • Steeeve
        April 9, 2015

        That’s a fair comparison, Gose vs. JFSF (vs. Schafer, for that matter). Let’s hope one of us remembers this and brings it up at again at the end of the season. PS – JD was not very good in Houston. Ha!

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 9, 2015

        Yeah, let’s stick with those comparisons and forget about the “other” one. You know, the one where the Astros essentially gave up Gose to get Brett Wallace. Sorry, just sayin’!

        Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    April 9, 2015

    This team will get over the opening series jitters sometime – hopefully against the Rangers.. Altuve will eventually hit. Valbuena will eventually start making contact. Lowrie will be Lowrie. Springer will get his. Carter, Gattis, and Rasmus? Ugh – having those three in the same lineup is just asking for a lot of days like today.

    Like

  6. Devin_
    April 9, 2015

    Trying to stay positive, the Astros faced two pitchers who have the potential to be in the Cy Young race this year, and then hot to face a guy who was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball a few years back. They won’t see that every game. Also, the next time they see any of the three we’ll have some experience to draw on and tape(s) to watch.

    Time to go see how the milb games are going…

    Like

  7. drbill14
    April 9, 2015

    Consider also that while we have better players on this team they have not played together very much and at this point are still feeling each other out. When Altuve cranks up and a slugger or two starts getting consistent I think we will see some rapid progress. The problem is they will be playing some teams that are better established early in the schedule. I see us having to rely on the leadership of Keuchel, McHugh and Feldman for any chance at wins. It may take until May 15 for enough offensive production to become consistent. These next four to six weeks will be trying but I do expect things to get better and more consistent.

    Like

  8. drbill14
    April 9, 2015

    Just checked the CC box score. Kemp 4-5 with a walk and 2 RBI. Pretty nice start!

    Like

  9. drbill14
    April 9, 2015

    Peacock goes 4.2, 0 hits but 5 BB!.

    Like

  10. Becky
    April 9, 2015

    Let’s just hope these guys get outta town, and forget the fact that they struck out *14* times today. The Rangers were shut out 11 to 0 last night at the hands of the A’s……..and today the Rangers shut THEM out. Getting away from Minute maid for a few games will do wonders for your memory…….at least I HOPE so. We all knew Wojo was a bag of wet noodles today, so one start doesn’t bother me. How ’bout that Sam Denudo!!! That guy was AWESOME today. I’m pretty sure Altuve was missing his old hitting coach today. I can bet you $100.00 Altuve is taking his frustrations out on extra batting practice in Arlington. I gotta remember to take a deep breath, and cool my heals, before my husband drops me off at Astroholics
    anonymous.

    Like

  11. 1oldpro
    April 9, 2015

    Astros affiliates go 4-0 on opening night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      April 10, 2015

      That is a nice silver lining to the Astros offensive woes so far. Your man, Kemp, had a banner opening night. I like what he brings to the table, but not sure if they can find a position for him. There has been mention of him in LF, but, ideally, you want power from your corner OF and IF positions. Being in the A.L. we have the benefit of the DH and rotating players around, but I do think Kemp has a decent future ahead of him.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 10, 2015

        When I brought up Kemp’s name earlier it was in the context of praying that he might develop into the leadoff guy they can put in front of Jose Altuve in the lineup next season, when I think the Astros might start changing over from free swinging power to more high average, high OBP type power.
        Just assuming his bat is for real he could play 2B once a week while Altuve gets a break at DH, Kemp could lead off and play LF a couple of times a week, and he could DH at leadoff a couple of times a week.
        People did not take Jose Altuve seriously until he proved them to be flat out wrong. I hear the same type of criticism about Kemp as he continues to produce at every level so far, with better defense. Granted, he is much older than Altuve was in AA.
        What I really see in Kemp is the same thing I see in Altuve, a major league mind! Some guys just have the knack of getting the most out of themselves.

        Liked by 2 people

      • daveb
        April 10, 2015

        I wouldn’t have a problem with a high OBP, athletic DH also capable of playing multiple positions on the field.

        Like

  12. uncleknuckle
    April 10, 2015

    No room in the Opening Day Fresno lineup for Sclafani. He must be pretty bad defensively. That’s all I can figure. It’s clear that the organization does not consider him as part of the future.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 10, 2015

      Dave, I might be completely wrong about this, but hear me out. This was the Astros’ organizations first game ever in Fresno. Fresno has been a Giant’s farm team and the town of Fresno was shocked when SF pulled out. I’m sure the Astros were doing everything to try and eke out a win on opening night.
      The Mets affiliate, Las Vegas was throwing their prized lefty, Steven Katz, who had a good showing in major league camp this spring and is their #2 prospect.. Fresno thusly loaded their lineup with a ton of righties, including Hoes in CF instead of Aplin. As it was, they managed a 2-1 win on seven hits, with the only two lefty hitters, Tucker and Singleton, getting three of the seven hits.
      The opening night was a success, as the park was at capacity and the team won, but tonight they face #22 prospect, Righty Matt Bowman, so let’s see if Sclafani plays tonight.

      Like

      • daveb
        April 10, 2015

        Let’s see op. I think having Fontana at short was a confirmation of the plan going forward. Heck, Sclafani handled both lefties and righties pretty well last year on his way to that .400 something OBP. I think he’s considered a utility guy at this point. And maybe that’s his ceiling, at least until he gets a chance to play everyday, probably for another organization.

        Like

      • Steven
        April 10, 2015

        I honestly don’t think any of them, Sclafani, Torreyes, Kemp, or Fontana, are going to be anything past utility guys. They all have great OBP’s, but those OBPs are harder to come by in the bigs where pitchers challenge hitters that lack homerun power. It doesn’t have to be Chris Carter homerun power, it just has to be enough to not make a pitcher challenge you with his best fastball in the heart of the plate if he is down 3-1 in the count. It’s nothing against any of these individuals, they all may have great baseball acumen – probably run bases well, are at least above average defenders, can all probably handle multiple positions, and they make good contact, and they all can draw walks against guys with lesser command on their pitches, but they are going to be less able to draw those walks against Kluber, Carrasco and Bauer. Well, maybe not Bauer. Great command of his curve, you can tell he works on it, but that fastball is a lightning bullet of unpredictability.

        Like

  13. astrocolt45
    April 10, 2015

    Now back to the original question. (A) Some of those swings and misses were around 8″-10″ away from the ball. (B) Conger and defense should not be used in the same sentence. (C) It is only 3 games and no need to panic. And if anyone else has high speed internet and no access to anything else – here is a workaround. Roku for $50 one time purchase. MLBTV Premium for $25 a month. You can then watch all games (in Texas and 1/2 of a couple other states) a hour or so after the game is complete. Not the best solution, but at least I am watching the game – but not live. Finally – 2 hours after the game – they were still swinging and missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Chip, one of my comments from last night may have been part of what you were referencing when you asked: “Was that a cry for Jon Singleton I heard in the distance?” I can’t speak for others, but mine was not a cry for Jon to be brought up. My comment was merely that he could not have been worse than what we’ve seen so far from Carter or Gattis. I’m very happy with Jon right where he is – and the Fresno fans who saw him contribute two hits to the Grizzlies’ opening day win last night probably are as well. It is, however, time for Gattis and Carter – and the rest of the offense – to breathe deep, focus, draw strength from within, and start to look like guys who belong in a big league line up.

    Like

    • Devin_
      April 10, 2015

      I agree with you here. I have to say, however, it’s a shame Singleton couldn’t have come out this spring and really taken the bull by the horns. Putting Gattis up against three power righties to start the season was probably not the best way to introduce him to the home fans…especially when two of them have devastating sliders.

      Tonight, however, Gattis, Carter, Springer, and friends get to see a lefthander. Maybe that can get them back on track.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        April 10, 2015

        True, Devin. But tonight will not be much of a let-up. Derek Holland beat the Astros in his only start against us in ’14, allowing just two earned runs in seven innings. He’s 3-1 in his career against us. There are no push-overs in this league. We will find out very soon if Gattis, Carter, Valbuena and crew are men who persevere and overcome or . . . well, something substantially less productive.

        Like

  15. Chip Bailey
    April 10, 2015

    Some thoughts on Gattis, Singleton, and — at the risk of getting thrown outta here — Sclafani.

    First, Gattis.
    * Few, if any, like the trade, so he starts in a hole with many, if not most.
    * After an active spring (rehabbing, learning new position, new team, etc.), he now sits for most of the entire game…with the exception of four ABs. Hitting as a DH is a huge transition as the hitter must keep his head in the game and stay focused despite sitting, sitting, sitting. I’d prefer to be in the field, feel like I’m contributing, which helps to stay in the flow.
    * Historically, Gattis is not a good cleanup hitter (.209). He hits better in the 5 or 6 spot.
    Question: Do the Astros really have a prototypical cleanup hitter?

    And, Singleton.
    * In my opinion, Singleton no longer get the benefit of the doubt. The job, obviously, is no longer his to lose.
    * You may disagree, but he shouldn’t be recalled just because he’s hitting .300 in Frenso and Cartis is struggling at .200ish. Singleton needs to be killing it in Fresno and leave little or no doubt he’s ready. In other words, no frequent flyer, multiple back and forth trips.

    Now, Mr. Sclafani.
    * I don’t pretend to have researched the Sclafani subject, but every fan has their special player, one they believe should/will/can be a valuable contributor. For me, it’s Nolan Fontana. He doesn’t get the ink and he’s going to be blocked in virtually every direction, but that’s what I like about him: He is the underdog!
    * Sclafani may be the end-all, but I’ve seen nothing that indicates the Astros believe he will be a key to their future. Maybe he’s a future super sub and maybe he’s the next Kike Hernandez.
    * The key is what the Astros think. Of course, they could be wrong, but how they use him this spring and summer will be telling.
    * Fontana is ranked #17 on the prospect list. Sclafani has gone unranked. Both, of course, are on what used to be Luhnow’s favored list, that of the high OBP…

    Liked by 1 person

    • daveb
      April 10, 2015

      Fair points Chip. Ironically, I look at Sclafani as the underdog here, rather than Fontana. Fontana has always had an everyday position. Sclafani, never. Offensively, Sclafani has shown more than Fontana to date, and at a higher level, although neither guy has produced much in the OPS department. Sclafani runs the bases well. So does Fontana. Both guys are smart ballplayers. Push, push. As I noted above, maybe the club thinks that Sclafani simply does not have the tools to wear a glove everyday at the ML level. But I suspect he’ll be a pretty good second baseman somewhere someday.

      As far as Gattis goes, you’re right. I did not like this trade from the start. So, yeah, you’re going to get some snap judgements out of me. I didn’t think it was a blog policy violation. Of course, Gattis will give us 25 homers if he gets the AB’s, but I also think he’ll continue to remind me of some of the guys I played slow pitch against during my twilight years.

      As far a Singleton goes, I have no expectations at this point. If he becomes an accomplished major leaguer for the Astros, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure if he cares all that much though.

      Like

      • daveb
        April 10, 2015

        One more thing about Sclafani, as a 14th round pick, he was an underdog from the start. I’m sure that’s a big reason why I like him. I hope the geek squad and their analytics are not missing what Sclafani might have that does not show up on a computer screen.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 10, 2015

        dave, Fontana and Scalfani are both underdogs and, you can even say — long shots to make the Astros’ roster. It would be fair to say both will realize their greatest potential with other organizations. Unfortunately. I’m just saying I’m a fan of the underdog. Indeed, Sclafani is an underdog, but Fontana, given the mountain he will have to climb (Correa, Altuve, Kemp et al and even Lowrie in the short term), he’s definitely an underdog.

        Was not a fan of the Gattis trade, either, but willing to be proven wrong. It was a surprising — if not head-scratching move. Looking back on a lot of trades over the years, it’s easy to get all riled up about a prospect or two. How many of them, though, actually pan out? Don’t like the trade, no. But unless Folty becomes the next Nolan Ryan or Ruiz hits it big time, it won’t amount to much.

        The ball is clearly, totally in Singleton’s court. The fact he’s hitting sixth and Santana seventh is somewhat telling though, don’t ya think? Of course, that could be an over reaction to Game #1.

        Enjoy the banter sir…

        Liked by 1 person

  16. astrocolt45
    April 10, 2015

    And to throw in one MLB stat. Games Played 2014 – 162; Pence, Longoria, Escobar, Freeman. 161 – Kinsler, 160 – McGehee – 159 – 6. At some point these days – EVERYONE sits. Look at Wojo starting Game 3 and McHugh is still on the bench. Lets wait and see how this shakes out. Give it at least 5 games and then panic. :-).

    Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Much success to our MiLB affiliates tonight. Starting pitchers:
    Dan Straily for Fresno. Mark Appel for CC. Michael Feliz for Lancaster. Matt Tenuta for Lexington, and Bryan Radziewski for Quad-City. Rumble on!

    Like

  18. Chip Bailey
    April 10, 2015

    Some tweaks and adjustments in tonight’s lineup:

    * Altuve 2B.
    * Springer RF.
    * Lowrie SS.
    * Carter 1B.
    * Gattis DH.
    * Villar 3B.
    * Castro C.
    * Grossman LF.
    * Marisnick CF.

    McHugh pitching.

    So every bench guy but Marwin will now have a start after tonight.

    Like

    • Devin_
      April 10, 2015

      Wow, Hinch almost has it where I want the lineup. Swap Springer and Lowrie and we’re in good shape.

      Like

  19. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    I like this one better – especially since we are facing a lefty. Valbuena probably needs a day off to get his stuff together after a horrible opening series anyway. At least Jed Lowrie breaks up the string of ‘all our strike-out prones all-in-a-row’.

    “Do have a true clean-up hitter?” you asked. No, we don’t. Perhaps Springer will mature into that role this year. But he’s not shown the consistency yet. I personally suspect one or both of the two guys we are presently using at clean-up will have to be traded, along with a certain young fly-ball pitcher we all love but know doesn’t look to fare well in MMP, if we are going to get a true clean up guy to play 1B and/or DH this year.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 10, 2015

      Or maybe we just bring up Preston Tucker and give him a chance?

      Like

  20. Lemongello Shooter
    April 10, 2015

    I just wanted all of ya to know I’m going to the home opener for Quad Cities on Sunday up here in Iowa. I’ll be watching Derek Fisher for sure! Hope to grad a few autographs for my kids and me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Becky
    April 10, 2015

    We’ve got to remember Gattis has had some really bad at bats, but they are NOT worthy of booing him. I was embarrassed, and disappointed to hear that the fans
    at the park did that very thing to him yesterday. We *don’t* boo our own players.
    PERIOD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      April 10, 2015

      I agree, Becky. Fans should not ‘boo’ their own team’s players ever.

      Boo-ing is for umpires, for bad sportsmanship on the part of the other team, for former MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig . . . .and for Carlos Beltran!

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 10, 2015

        and Jed Lowr….oh, wait.

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        April 10, 2015

        Mr Bill – just for clarification. Should Beltran return or Crane hires Selig as some Special Assistant to Nothing….. is it OK to still boo those two?

        Like

  22. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    astrocolt45: I for one think it will still be perfectly okay – if not mandatory – to boo those two in the World to Come.

    Like

  23. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Through 8 offensive innings, the Astros have 8 hits – five of them, and 2 of our 3 RBIs, have come from the bottom third of the line-up. Good to see Grossman and Marisnick crushing the ball, but sooner or later they will need some help from Altuve, Springer, Carter, Gattis and somebody at the 3rd base position.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 10, 2015

      Okay, make that 7 out of 10 hits from the bottom 3rd, and 4 of the 5 RBIs. And with Jake Marisnick 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs and a steal, it may not be long til we all have to break out our khakis and stay up late talking to folks about insurance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chip Bailey
        April 10, 2015

        Mr. Bill, don’t know about khakis, insurance and staying up late…but Marisnick is already paying dividends for Mr. Hinch.

        Like

  24. Steven
    April 10, 2015

    Ah, just what we needed, a 9th inning, fairly meaningless AB to keep Gattis’ strikeout streak alive at 4 games. Good going!

    Like

  25. Steven
    April 10, 2015

    And to the more important question – is it possible to start playing only 2 games a week so Keuchel and McHugh can get 81 starts a piece?

    Like

  26. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Chip, today Jake really had us covered like a good neighbor. His play was at a premium, his bat provided excellent benefits, and I think in general his performance could be considered equivalent to the filing of a claim to the centerfield position. Unfortunately, some of our guys higher up in the order look like they are channeling Flo from JFSF’s competitor Progressive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rj
      April 10, 2015

      lol mr. bill

      Like

    • Chip Bailey
      April 10, 2015

      Yes, Mr. Bill, it seems that we are in good hands with JSFS. He has already played like the center fielder we keep. Not sure if he can go the full term — he’s still in his grace period, ya know — but we definitely don’t need to drop him. He should get another 15 minutes to find out just how good a neighbor he can be. Or if he’s just another quack.

      No need for Hinch to play the role of adjuster just yet, especially until it becomes clear if Jake can provide residual benefits. But I do believe there is minimal risk he will lapse.

      Like

      • daveb
        April 10, 2015

        He’ll get at least a half an hour.

        Like

  27. 1oldpro
    April 10, 2015

    A few observations. Anthony Bass has found his niche with the Astros: pitching against them.
    It appears Jake is a better player than he was last season.
    The Cleveland Indians are good!
    The Rangers are snake bit.
    Jed Lowrie has come to play.
    After four games the Astros are a top 10 team in pitching, a top 5 team in fielding and a bottom 5 team in hitting.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      April 10, 2015

      OP, the remarkable thing is Houston:

      Is hitting .146.
      Is averaging 11 Ks per game.
      Has only 8 RBI.
      May be last in runs scored at the end of this evening.

      And…

      Is 2-2.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 10, 2015

        Defense and pitching can win you some games. Add in some hitting and you are a winning baseball team.

        Like

  28. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Corpus Christi looking good again already tonight. That’s quite a line-up. Kemp really gets it rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Appel heads to the bump already having a five run lead. Confidence?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2015

    Kid named Correa can do it all! Mr. Appel will buy him a gatorade later tonight.

    Like

  31. Becky
    April 10, 2015

    DANG it was nice to see Collin McHugh didn’t lose his good stuff over the winter!
    He had the Rangers number through 7 innings, and GREAT to see Qualls get in there as well. Yeah, the Rangers seem to be snake bit, but I ain’t gonna feel sorry for them. The whole “rivalry” thing
    ain’t working, they are just another team…….the REAL rivalry we have is with the A’s
    just ask Jed. I’m soooooo glad I’m going to get to SEE them on TV!!! YAY!!!

    Like

  32. Dan P
    April 10, 2015

    So we pray for Keuchel and McHugh and 3 days of goo.
    (Though Feldman was very good, too)

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      April 11, 2015

      DanP: Your tip of the cap to “Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain” caused me to look up why that was said. In 1948 starting Labor Day, those two guys pitched and won 8 games in 12 days. Sain pitched 314 innings that year. Spahn only 257. And that was in a 153 game season. (That is a tag on our posts a few days back of pitchers almost never going 200 innings anymore)

      Like

  33. Tim
    April 11, 2015

    I took my boys along with 2 of my older son’s baseball teammates and one of their dads to Arlington for the game yesterday. The offense will eventually come around, but I am encouraged by the great starting pitching so far.

    Like

  34. 1oldpro
    April 11, 2015

    Fresno beat Las Vegas 8-4. Straily was not good but three relievers were. Fontana was 3 for 3 with a homer and a BB. Tucker was 2 for 4 with a homer. Duffy was 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs.
    Corpus Christi rocked Springfield again 8-2. Appel allowed 1 HR in five strong innings and Westwood pitched the final four giving up a run on four hits. Kemp, Correa, Heineman, Hernandez, Kemmer all had two hits.
    Lancaster got shut out by San Jose on five hits and Feliz got hit hard in the loss.
    Quad Cities defeated Peoria 5-3 behind backside tandem starter Joe Musgrove who pitched four shutout innings for the win. Hyde, Fisher, Tannielu and Bottger all had 2 hits. All four of those hitters are from the 2014 draft, if I’m not mistaken.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 11, 2015

      I see Joe Sclafani played 2B, and went 1-3 with a double and a run scored, and Matt Duffy’s 2 hits (both singles) resulted in 3 RBI. Santana was 1-4 with 2 ks.

      Opening day was Tony Kemp day. Yesterday was definitely Nolan Fontana day.

      Like

  35. Devin_
    April 11, 2015

    Everything is easy in hindsight, but Mark Canha hit his first HR last night and now has 6 RBI for the season.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 11, 2015

      Canha was a guy I suggested for the Astros to take in the Rule V last December, but he was gone before we picked. Colorado drafted him and then traded him to Oakland.

      Like

      • Devin_
        April 11, 2015

        Thanks- I had forgotten when we *could* have picked but knew Oakland was behind us. I did not remember that COL grabbed him early.

        Like

  36. 1oldpro
    April 11, 2015

    Anybody know anything about Catcher Roberto Pena, who disappeared off of the Hooks roster on opening day.
    I checked Mrs. Weiland’s twitter account and there’s nothing about him there. I wonder if the roster crunch has afforded him the opportunity to go to extended spring training in Florida. Pena has wanished!

    Like

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