Early truths, facts and acknowledgements on Astros


While true, the phrase “it’s early” is getting old. Yes, the Astros are eight games into a 162-game schedule and maybe expectations were too high for April for a team with several new position players, a new manager and a brand new bullpen. However, concerns have shifted, frustrations have mounted and the “I told you so’s” are warming up in the wings.

Yes, there is plenty of angst to go around, but don’t shout me down when I’m preaching good: It. Is. Early. Here are a few things to consider, ponder and remember as the Astros go to bat this Wednesday before an off day Thursday.

Meanwhile, things are hunky dory in Fresno and Corpus Christi!

Evan Gattis is not the Astros’ savior.

You already knew that. Or suspected that. Or feared that. Or… The 28-year-old (umm, just noticed Gattis and I share the same birthday) C/LF/DH is a career .246 hitter with more career Ks than hits. We won’t replay the trade that brought him to Minute Maid Park, but Houstonians must be wondering: What was Jeff thinking?

At his best, Gattis will hit 30 HRs with a .260/.320/.500 line (all above his career line), which would be productive and provide some punch. At his worst, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination. For now, manager A.J. Hinch should do what he’s doing: Keep running him out there, working behind the scenes to build confidence and improve his approach.

No, at this point, neither Jon Singleton nor Preston Tucker are an answer to what ails the Astros’ hitting. At least for April, it’s all on Gattis. It’s all on Chris Carter.

The question of overcrowding.

While no one is knocking down the door for a position job for the Astros, it’s clear the team does have pitching options. Soon, Brett Oberholtzer and Josh Fields will be available soon. In fact, since Fields apparently completed his rehab assignment Tuesday, it’s likely he will be activated on the off day Thursday or before Friday’s game.

Who does he replace? The bullpen isn’t the problem. In fact, it can be argued the likely candidate — righty Will Harris — has been the most dominant, allowing one hit, no walks, no runs with five strikeouts in three appearances and five IP. In fact, he hasn’t allowed a run in 19 straight appearances now, dating back to August 19.

Obviously Pat Neshek, Chad Qualls and Luke Gregerson aren’t going anywhere, so if the Astros don’t get creative or someone doesn’t go on the DL, the odd man out may be Joe Thatcher.

Oberholtzer will also return soon, but he’ll need a start or two and hasn’t been on the mound since late March. By the time he’s ready later this month, an opening may have worked itself out anyway.

Yes, the hitting is anemic, but . . .

No one will quarrel with you if you make fun of the Astros’ hitting in the first eight games. It’s nothing short of feeble, frail, ghastly, appalling, pick your adjective. Still, it seems to be going around early in the year. The Astros and Nationals both are hitting .197, but Minnesota (.201), Chicago (.207), Seattle (.207), Texas (.213), Philadelphia (.215) and the Angels (.215) are also struggling at the plate.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that the Astros are actually sixth in the majors with 29 BBs and, believe it or not, 10th in the majors in HRs (8). Yes, yes, yes, there are other putrid stats you can point to that emphasize the Astros’ struggle, but some of the aforementioned stats highlights that other teams are facing similar challenges.

First impressions are lasting.

Yes, this team is making some impressions early on fans and the media, but you have to go back to 2006 to find an Astros’ team that had a winning April (16-8). No one is necessarily expecting a winning month, but there are some necessary goals for the rest of the first month of the season.

  • Carter and Gattis (aka Cartis) must contribute. Not asking for .300 or 10 HRs, but reasonable production that adds some punch to the middle of the order. Without it, the Astros are in serious trouble.
  • Save the bullpen. Houston starters are already in the top five of most AL categories, but need to continue to stretch themselves out, allowing the bullpen to work on regular rest as well. Not much you can do about 14-inning games, but consistent six-inning outings with 2-3 7+ inning outings a week will go a long way to preserving the pen. The last thing this team needs is disarray in the bullpen with overwork, injuries and a revolving door to Fresno.
  • Settle in on the lineup and stick with it, especially up the middle (C, 2B, SS, CF). Play the guys that are consistently producing either defensively or offensively. That means Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie, George Springer, Jake Marisnick and Jason Castro are in the lineup everyday (or most everyday in the case of Castro). Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus and Robbie Grossman should be regulars as well. No more Jonathan Villar at SS, thank you.
  • Don’t panic! We’re told Hinch is even-keeled. If that’s the case, keep the ship steady, don’t panic and don’t make radical changes yet. Same for Luhnow. No need to sound the alarm just yet. Heck, the team is only a game and a half out of first.

Some mid-week questions for you now.

  • Your biggest concern for the Astros after eight games?
  • Is baseball entering another dead ball era?
  • Fields is due back this week. Who goes down or away?
  • Finish the sentence. The Astros are 3-5 in April with 14 games remaining. I’ll be happy if they finish April at …
  • Which player is more important to get rolling: Carter, Gattis, Springer or Valbuena?
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82 comments on “Early truths, facts and acknowledgements on Astros

  1. My biggest concern right now is Gattis. We all knew Carter could revert back to Karter, but Gattis has a better offensive track history than Carter (from a batting average/strikeout standpoint). I really don’t know who goes down when Fields returns. Would they consider Deduno for DFA this early? I think Hinch likes having 2 LH pitchers in the pen. Right now, I would be ecstatic with a .500 April. Finally, it looks like Valbuena is starting to turn the corner.

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  2. My biggest concern right now after eight games is hitting.
    Is baseball entering a dead ball era? No, that entered South Texas in 2011.
    If Fields comes up, they better not send Deduno down because they are going to need a long reliever with these starters.
    The Astros are 3-5 in April. I’ll be happy if they finish April at ….all.
    It’s more important for them to get Springer going because the entire baseball world cares about Springer.

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    • OP, granted I don’t need any special insight to disceern this, but, ummm, I sense you are moving from the hopeful/excited column to the cynic category.

      I would agree on Deduno, but because he’s been effective. I hope they don’t get pushed into the revolving door with the bullpen, calling up a guy for a few days because the rest of the pen is tired or overworked. That’s a hard cycle to break and it’s probably the one area in which this team needs stability in ’15.

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      • Chip, The Houston Astros Major League baseball Club was shut out last night by a guy drafted 7 rounds later than Mark Appel in the 2013 draft.
        I have commented many times about the Astros inability to develop pitching talent, and last night was a perfect example of how it’s done. Our 1.1 has a good outing in AA and we do cartwheels and pull him after five innings for somebody else, while our biggest foe has their 8th round pick kick our major leaguers butts in our own house.

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      • oldpro – did want to point out that the A’s pitcher Braveman was not drafted by the A’s – drafted by the Blue Jays and traded to the A’s last off-season.

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  3. Andrew Aplin showed up last night in Fresno and had a really good night. His buddy, Preston Tucker, hit a pair of two-run dingers and the first one was hit off of Garrett Richards who was shelled in his rehab assignment.

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  4. First my criticisms (which is my strong suit). I think IF Carter OR Gattis get going, we will improve drastically. It is the both stinking up the joint. And it is a must for Springer to heat up. Second, a few days ago, Chip & Dan pummeled me like a red-headed step child on the starters and innings. Now you come back with 6 or 7 innings per start. That racks up 180-200 innings per year. Now for the line-up, I think they need to see if Villar can play SS. IN THE MINORS. And I don’t know what “pitch framing” is all about – but Conger has already airmailed a throw to 2nd into CF. He has flat out missed catching two simple pitches PLUS the passed strike. And he missed a tag at home. And had he blocked Villars throw – that error on Jon boy would have been avoided. He needs to improve his catching IN THE MINORS. Who would have thought we may need to insert Castro in as catcher FOR DEFENSIVE PURPOSES. OK, its early but I am going to either take my Prozac or start drinking. Thanks Chip for getting my blood pressure up and my face beet red.

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    • “Chip & Dan pummeled me like a red-headed step child on the starters and innings. Now you come back with 6 or 7 innings per start.”

      ——————————————————————

      not sure what you’re referring to with your “pummeled” remark, but notice I said 7 IP a couple times a week. That’s not too much to expect and you may get that with Keuchel and McHugh eventually. Maybe not a full 7, but into the seventh, if that makes sense. Just can not afford to wear out this pen.

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    • I think you have to remember that over the course of a season you are likely to have 9-10 pitchers start games for your team. It is important that the individual starters get through 6 to 7 innings, but due to injury and performance it is unlikely that you have four or five of them getting enough starts to get to that magic 180 – 200 IP. Last season – there were only 26 pitchers in the 15 team AL with 180 IP or more. The Astros had 2 of them (Keuchel and Feldman) and it is likely McHugh would have been there if he had been up all season. No other team had more than 3 (from my quick look at the list). So I don’t think this is necessarily an area of shortcoming for the team.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, I was hoping to see a trend to more consistent starters this year, but I’d agree that Houston will have “9-10 pitchers start games” in 2015. Already, there are six and we’ll soon add Oberholtzer and I’d guess someone like Straily is also a given. But it shouldn’t be too much to expect McHugh and Keuchel to reach the 190-200 IP level and perhaps even Feldman. That would be remarkable, but doable. it would be great to get 150 out of either Obie or Peacock, but I’m not sure that’s reasonable. Hernandez is the wild card in the equation..if he’s in Houston all season, 150 is quite reachable for him.

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    • Now, I am getting pummeled for using the word pummeled. Seriously for the team to improve, then some?? starters need to get into 6th or 7th. Good relievers get into about 70 games – so to make the numbers work – as Brad Mills proved – a good bullpen starts with good starting pitching. And when you bring in a pitcher to pitch to one batter in a 3 run loss – you lose him for the next day or two. Soon your bullpen is worn out and then you use more relievers and then……………..

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      • No problem with the 6th to 7th inning question – only on the 180-200 inning number for more than the top 3

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  5. Tonight Fresno faces Lefty Andrew Heaney. It is interesting because he is the top pitching prospect of the Angels and the Astros may be facing this guy a lot over the years. He almost made the big club this spring and he totally dominated Sacramento in his first AAA start last week. He was drafted out of Oklahoma State by the Marlins in the same first round as Correa, was dealt to Dodgers in the Haren deal and then to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.

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  6. I think it is still too early to get overly worked up. The Astros aren’t going to bat under .200, they will be in games and they will win some and lose some. Look at it this way–if they could have pulled out the win last night they would have been .500 with still god-awful stats on offense. I think we all would have taken that.

    Expectations were high because its been so long since we’ve had a reason to be hopeful that it was only natural to get a little carried away. The goal this year should be respectability, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 wins. Get the youngsters up here and add some veteran depth in the offseason.

    I’m not saying “wait til next year” just yet, because a lot can happen. But I’m also not going to worry too much about a slow start.

    Glad I found your blog, Chip. I missed reading you in the Chron.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mr. Mike – we are real happy to get new readers on the blog or folks that used to read at chron.com (spit!!!!). Welcome!!! (chron.com (spit!!!) is our inside joke after Chip had to leave there).

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  7. *Which player is more important to get rolling: Carter, Gattis, Springer or Valbuena?*

    Valbuena has already shown signs of life – that hasn’t changed our fate one bit. The only one of those four players who can impact series results [as opposed to a couple of game scores] is George Springer. Until Carlos Correa gets here, at least, it is as Springer goes, so go the Stros.

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  8. ■Your biggest concern for the Astros after eight games?
    My biggest concern is that the pitchers will lose heart a bit if they get no support. Oh – who am I kidding – they never lost heart last year without support. My biggest concern is that somebody like Gattis does not pop out of it and becomes Jesus Guzman II.
    ■Is baseball entering another dead ball era?
    First – offense is always down early in the year, however – I’ve been pointing out the arc down in offense – runs scored and OPS for the last decade in a number of posts. We are not entering it – we are smack in the middle of it. Time to create a PED that gets around all testing…….I didn’t say that….
    ■Fields is due back this week. Who goes down or away?
    Thatcher
    ■Finish the sentence. The Astros are 3-5 in April with 14 games remaining. I’ll be happy if they finish April at …10-12
    ■Which player is more important to get rolling: Carter, Gattis, Springer or Valbuena?
    We saw Springer be a huge game changer in 2014 – he is the most critical one to get rolling.

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  9. I’m with you all, but I also saw last night a lot of well hit balls by the Astros caught at the wall , on the dead run, or right at someone. Lol OK bust my chops someone had to be the optimist for the day.

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  10. I’ll be happy if they finish April at 10-12. Unrealistic? Maybe, but they can’t fall into the habit of losing series 1-2 or we are staring at another 90-100 losses.

    We can’t option Deduno, Thatcher, or Harris without passing through waivers, right? This seems likely to be a problem thought the year – no room for shuffling.

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    • Deduno, yes. He’s has no options and I don’t think he deserves to go to AAA. Harris shouldn’t be going anywhere, but he does have options. Thatcher would probably have the option to elect free agency if he’s waived.

      The problem with that is that there aren’t many left handers — good ones anyway — in the system. So if you lose Thatcher you’re down to Sipp only.

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  11. In the back of my mind I cant stop thinking what Lunhole is thinking. It seems like for every good move he makes, 3 are really bad, and could get worse with who we have traded for Conger and Gattis. From what I’ve read no one was sorry to see him leave STL,, the hitting coach the Mets ran out of town, and besides us who was really looking at Hinch? Just saying.

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  12. *Your biggest concern for the Astros after eight games?*

    The biggest concern is a serious possibility of a regression in record from last year. Right now we look like a last place, worst in MLB, team. Are we? I personally think not, but only our pitchers and some good defense from our outfielders, our third baseman, and Kid Keuchy have impressed. Even Altuve has been struggling. Springer has had the deer in the headlights look at the plate. He is the new Singleton, except he can play defense. Gattis and Carter? They have been so embarrassingly horrible there is nothing whatever positive to say. Let’s move along.

    Flush with the enthusiasm of springtime, some boasted a couple of weeks ago that we would have another double-digit win improvement this year and finish above at least the Athletics and Rangers. I think this series with the A’s should pretty much debunk that. The A’s are obviously much better than anyone thought – and are clearly twice as good as the team the Astros have been putting on the field. They came into our park and have dominated us in every phase of the game. We don’t look like we belong on the same field. A comparison of the BAs of their starting 9 vs. ours is shocking. And their rookie pitcher who shut us out is the same one the Rangers manhandled.

    Speaking of the Rangers. They have been snake bit by early injuries again, but from the way they played us, and have played the Angels, I suspect they will probably improve their record against us this year, if not earn back the Silver Boot. Remember that if not for a miracle grab by George Springer they would have won the series in Arlington. Quite frankly, they deserved it. We just stunk.

    So, against whom do we have a chance to improve our record from last year? The odds do not look particularly good against anyone, because MOST OF OUR LINE-UP SIMPLY CANNOT HIT MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHING, and because defensively we cannot afford to even give our shortstop or catcher a rest day, or our back-ups at those positions wreak absolute defensive disaster on us.

    Are we as bad offensively as we have looked? Probably not AS bad. Surely not AS bad. No one could be AS bad. But compared to the rest of our division, if not the entire league, we are plenty bad enough to regress four or five – or ten – games from our win total last season.

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    • Sample size is too small, but this appears to be an effective argument that defensive statistics are seriously deceptive. Conger has far fewer passed balls in his career than Castro, but thus far has left us wondering if his glove was replaced by a wooden paddle. The pitch framing has failed to improve the bottom line thus far as well. Maybe, re the pitch framing, if he had been in the game in the 7th inning on Sunday we wouldn’t have needed his extra inning HR to win it though.

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  13. As I mentioned yesterday I was walking into Minute Maid next to Chronicle football writer John McLain. Today he was on Sports 610 talking about the Astros. He said he has been to Astros’ games since 1962 and that Monday’s game was one of the worst he has ever seen. Called the team and the fans lifeless (being truthful here – the team’s performance early in the game sucked the life out of those fans who did attend).
    Any way it might have been a little hyperbole on his part – but it was an awful performance.
    That being said – when a team starts hitting the solidly, but in bad luck – usually that is a sign of soon coming out of the slump. After 8 games – the Astros have only 1 RBI out of the middle 3 in their lineup (Carter Gattis Springer). That will not continue.

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  14. *Carter/Gattis [Cartis] must contribute*

    At this stage, i have to set the bar for ‘contribute’ by these guys pretty low. In the next 10 games, I would say they need to:
    1. manage to least get their BA up to .200 and their OBP up to .225;
    2. hit at least one double and at least one home run apiece;
    3. drive in at least 2 runs apiece;
    4. both go at least two games without striking out at all, and all ten without a golden sombrero;
    4. put the ball in play and out of the infield at least 3 out of every 4 times they come up with a runner on second or third base;
    5. even when they strike out, at least be a tough out, fouling off a number of close pitches, taking some balls out of the strike zone, and making the opposing hurler’s pitch count go up?

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  15. Unbelivable stuff!
    Springer, Carter and Gattis have scored a total of 0 runs thru eight games.
    Altuve has scored two runs. One on opening night, when Springer sacrificed himself in a rundown to get Altuve home, and the other on his own home run.
    Valbuena, hitting mostly third in the order has scored one run so far this season, on his own home run.
    Jake Marisnick leads the team in BA and Marwin Gonzalez leads the team in SLG. Think about that and picture yourself saying that before the season began.
    Try to imagine Gattis and Carter both having SLG percentages below .080, eight games deep into the season, with four singles, three BB and 23 K’s between them.
    The Astros starting SS has no errors on the year, but the Astros are 27th in fielding percentage at the SS position.

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    • That is why I’d much rather watch Fresno and CC. With the exception of Keuchel, McHugh, and Marisnick, and a little hint of improvement from Castro, this year’s MLB level product is just too painful to follow with any enthusiasm.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A little confused on your SS fielding statement unless it means that Lowrie has no errors, b/c the game I went to – Villar was the starting SS and had 2 errors before the Astros got an out.

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      • Lowrie is our starting SS and has no errors. But we are 27 in FP at SS because of whoever else plays SS when Lowrie isn’t.

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    • As far as Fresno goes, I hope they are short one player soon…Singleton. He’s no savior but I don’t see the point in watching him mash minor league pitching for another couple months. I get that its for the ABs that he wouldn’t be getting splitting time with Carter and Gattis. But at some point he needs to learn on the job at the major league level. Given the current futility on offense, I think that time is sooner rather than later.

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      • I’d like to see Singleton get a good 25-50 games at AAA to see if he can adjust to teams adjusting to him. Obviously he could hardly be worse than our big league product, but he showed last year that he could get dominated and didn’t show this spring he could be the one in control. I was convinced he would waltz in and hit more HR than either Carter or Gattis before the spring started too…

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      • Mike, I do understand what you are saying, and I myself have pointed out that he could not do worse than Carter and Gattis. It is defintely a thought worthy of discussion. But I confess that at this particular point it would break my heart to see Singleton pulled off of Fresno’s club and thrown into the life-sucking black hole that is the 2015 MLB Astros’ offense. I want the young man to succeed big-time and long term, and I believe he can if we are patient with him and let him build a winner’s attitude and be part of a winning team with teammates he has learned to trust to pick him up [especially Preston Tucker, Joe Sclafani, Tony Kemp and Carlos Correa] he can meet if not exceed all the projections that have been spoken over him. I want Jon to be part of a great Astros team in 2017. Right now he’s young, the memory of his struggles last year at the big club are still fresh in his mind, and he’s not going to significantly help this current Astro mess even if he should happen to play well this time upon arrival. There’s plenty of time for him to do his thing in the majors later alongside players not named Carter, Gattis, Rasmus, Conger, and Villar. Now, if by some chance Altuve, Springer, Valbuena, Lowrie, Castro and either Carter or Gattis [it is unrealistic to expect a turnaround from both of those disasters] can start stringing together consistent offensive performances over the next two months, and start picking each other up on the bases, so as to make our team competitive in our division, we might reconsider. But right now I personally think it would be the kiss of death on Singleton to bring him into this environment. He’s going to have his hands full tonight with Andrew Heaney, one of the toughest lefties he – and the rest of the up and coming Astros – will be facing in the majors one day not too far in the future.

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      • Mike, I wouldn’t want to rush Singleton. At this point in the big picture equation, it’s more about development than the major league team. There’s no rush for the wild card, no push for playoffs, etc. The next time Singleton comes up, Hinch and Luhnow need to expect him to stick and hit like a major leaguer. IMO.

        That’s why I’ve said he needs to hit .400 for a few weeks with a solid OBP and OPS and hit the MMP ground with a newfound confidence and leave no question as to his readiness to hit major league pitching.

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      • singleton earned his AAA assignment by having a poor spring. he also had a lackadaisical off season where his main goal was ‘to relax’. he has to prove he as overcome his hitting problems and has the temperment to be a professional by doing all the necessary work and preparation, ala BGO and Bagwell. i have hope that he will, but like so many young players, he has to mature. i hope that happens sooner rather than later. being sent to AAA should be a wakeup call. but we’ll see him this season on the big club.

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  16. I’m absolutely serious about this. If Fields is ready, send Villar down. He is hitless(0 for 8), as he always has been. He is bad in the field(2 Es in 13 chances), as he always has been(Spring training proving to be fake baseball).
    With the pitching staff the way is it, we need an extra reliever and we have only used a PH twice(no hits). If we do need a PH a pitcher can hit just as poorly as Villar. If we need another infielder, I can field as poorly as Villar.
    If the pitching comes around and one reliever has fallen on hard times, we can weed him out in a couple of weeks and bring up Torreyes or Sclafani to be on the bench.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OP, I’d actually considered that possibility, just didn’t figure the Astros would. However, when you break it down, it sounds like a workable solution. With Gattis as a backup at LF, possibly 1B and C and Marwin able to play every infield position and perhaps OF in a pinch, it would work.

      Moreover, you have three center fielders that are interchangeable.

      If nothing else, it would buy time for Luhnow/Hinch to figure out the next move. By then, someone is bound to have a hangnail.

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      • And don’t forget we also have Robbie Grossman – and that, as we learned last year, Tony Sipp can play COF in a pinch! Shoot, I’ll also bet gold-glover Kid Keuchy could fill in a few innings anywhere we put him [except catcher] if someone got injured

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    • I’m glad you posted this. I wrote virtually the same suggestion, but deleting it with the reasoning I obviously needed more coffee. Friends don’t let friends post before morning coffee.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is an excellent idea, OP. Considering we play in the DH AL we could get by with a smaller bench. I don’t want to see Thatcher let go so soon as I like having 2 LH pitchers in the bullpen (as I think Hinch does as well). MarGo is our super utility player so Villar, at this point, is mainly a PR. I hope Luhnow reads Chip’s blog. 🙂

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  17. Just to whet your appetites further, lefty Drew Pomeranz, the pitcher the Astros face tonight, went seven innings last time out [against the Mariners], gave up zero runs, zero earned runs, only two hits, issued no walks, and struck out 6.

    It doesn’t get any easier. Spring training is over. We are playing with the big boys now.

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  18. I had a question but you guys have answered it.
    My next question is……..can we get Barry Bonds to be our new hitting coach?
    I don’t even know the guys name who is the hitting coach now, but he sucks.
    My first question, was if you can send a position player to AAA (or AA) when a
    pitcher comes off the DL……..I think you know “who” I mean.

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    • Becky – check out old pros comment (about 10 comments up) where he is saying that exactly.
      I don’t know if we need Barry Bonds or his pharmacist.

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      • This team needs a GOOD hitting coach, like John Mallee…..who was sooo good last year. I’d take Bonds in a New York minute.

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  19. The 5-1 Corpus Christi Hooks have the day off. They have earned it.

    Tony Kemp is now at .400/.500/.900 with 5 BBs to 4 Ks in 30 PAs.
    Carlos Correa is now at .308/.379/1.033 with 6 doubles, an HR, and 9 RBI.
    Brandon Meredith is now at .316/.409/.935 with a double, a HR, and 7 RBI.
    Tyler Heineman is now at .316/.435/.803 and 3 BBs to 1K.
    Telvin Nash is now at .292/.320/.945 with 2 doubles, 2 HRs, and 7 RBI.

    We’ve seen good things from Conrad Gregor and Jon Kemmer as well. Waiting for Teoscar Hernandez and Colin Moran to catch up with the other guys.

    Tomorrow night Mark Appel is on the bump vs. the Springfield Cardinals, who are 1-5 on the year. Things are better down by the bay.

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  20. Fellas…….something has gone south with Jane Hanson on her blog. You need to
    go read it, it’s a tough article to read, and it’s not a good sign. She has kept us
    informed at every turn how our minor league players doing. If you haven’t read her blog……..you SHOULD, she writes *awesome* stuff about our future stars.
    Some of us will remember when she was part of Chip Bailey’s blog when he was with the Chronicle.
    whattheheckbobby.blogspot.com
    Thanks, Becky

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  21. Becky that is really hard to read. Jane’s blog has served a great purpose and been a terrific resource for minor league information and I feel sad that she feels unappreciated.

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    • If anybody wants to read it you go to the link Becky shared and you have to scroll down to an article with WTHB Crossroads in the title.

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  22. And, today’s lineup:

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

    And, Mr. Magoo — er, Mr. McHugh, on the hill.

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  23. Interesting………Collin McHugh wears a protective pad in his cap. I did not know that!
    He looks like a professor……:) 🙂 🙂

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  24. Fresno scores 7 runs off Heaney in the first inning. Sclafani is leading off and he had a single and a triple in that first inning. He scored 1 and knocked in two

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  25. How ’bout the “Professor” tonight!! Daaaang what was it 11 or 12 strike outs??!!
    I hope his finger doesn’t get a blister, because he is really on a roll! He just tied Roy O for consecutive wins!

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    • Not that I don’t like strikeouts but if he could get a few easier outs he could go a little deeper in games. Still he was very tough to hit last night – fun to watch.

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  26. So here is what happens when you play stupid baseball. After Fresno got 7 runs in the first inning they went into the bottom of the eighth with a 7-3 lead. LJ hoes walked and Stockton then let him take 2nd base without even covering the base on a steal attempt. Hoes the scored on a two out bloop single to make the game 8-3.
    James Hoyt then comes in and gives up five runs in the ninth inning and has the winning run thrown out at home.
    If Stockton hadn’t given up that extra base on defensive indifference, Hoes would not have scored and the fifth run of the ninth inning would have given Stockton the lead.
    I hate lousy, lazy baseball.

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  27. As Lewis Carroll wrote for Alice in Wonderland: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

    The six impossible things I almost believe this morning before breakfast are:
    1. The Astros played a game in which they struck out less than their opponent;
    2. The Astros beat the A’s;
    3. Evan Gattis only struck out once and hit a home run;
    4. Chad Qualls faced his nemesis and his earned run average actually went down;
    5. Two Astros runners got picked off in the same game;
    6. Colin McHugh is human [or else androids are susceptible to blisters too].

    Liked by 1 person

    • # 5 makes me snicker, because tonight LJ Hoes hit a triple with nobody out for Fresno and then got picked off of third base. The batter then hits a single. Is there a more embarrassing way to waste a triple than to get picked off.

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  28. Astros lead the major leagues in SO with 90 after 9 games. Next closest team has 81. The Astros currently are on a 1620 pace for the season in Ks. That would break their major league record.
    So glad to see that Gattis bomb last night.
    Is anyone else amazed at the way Marisnick is spraying the baseball around the field this year? He’s like a different player at the plate this season. How did that batter manage to hit a low outside pitch over Marisnick’s head last night? He looked like he was just protecting the plate but the ball almost made it to the fence in Left- center.

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  29. Evan Drellich tweeted that there were only three reporters in the locker room after the Astros win last night. Himself and the Astros’ McTaggart and Julia Morales.

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    • How many are there normally? In the past, 4-5 has been a regular everyday number. I’m guessing the A’s reporters were finishing up readying to head to the airport.

      What is interesting to note, however, is that the Chronicle appears to have only one guy on the beat at a time. Again — in the past — it was two and often three. A little early in the season to limit it to one, no?

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