Free Blog Weekend: Trends, ups, downs and most likely scenarios


What a fine start to the weekend for Houston Astros’ fans after a character-revealing three-run rally in the ninth lifts them to a 3-2 win in the opener to the series with the Angels. The cherry on top of the sundae was the first major league hit by rookie Preston Tucker, a huge, clutch RBI single that tied the game in the ninth as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and two major league pop-ups in his debut.

The Free Blog Weekend is a great chipalatta.com family tradition dating back to when Al Gore invented the Internet. And as it implies, you are free to write about anything you want as long as it is done in a respectful and family friendly way.

But if you would like a conversation starter, here is a little exercise called “What is More Likely?”

We’ll list a few statistical trends for the Astros and pose a comparative question for your discussion and response.

1) Entering Friday’s games the Astros are 19-10 and 6 games up in their division. They are on pace for a 106-56 record.

  • What is more likely: The Astros finishing within 5 games of the division lead or the Astros losing more than 85 games?

2) As of Wednesday’s games: the Astros had 5 players on pace for at least 60 RBIs (Evan Gattis, George Springer, Luis Valbuena, Jose Altuve, and Jake Marisnick) with two of them (Gattis and Altuve) on pace for more than 100 RBIs. Chris Carter is on pace for 57 RBIs.

  • What is more likely: Jose Altuve finishing with more than 80 RBIs or Chris Carter finishing with less than 70 RBIs?

3) Dallas Keuchel is leading all qualifiers (At least one inning pitched per game the team has played) in the AL with an unworldly 4.2 hits allowed/9 IP and a great 0.756 WHIP. In the last 10 years the best full season numbers were 6.2 Hits/9 IP (Yu Darvish 2013/Justin Verlander 2011) and a 0.915 WHIP (King Felix Hernandez 2014).

  • What is more likely – Keuchel ending the season with less than 6.0 hits/9 IP or a WHIP over 1.00?

4) After Wednesday’s games the Houston Astros’ pitching staff has an ERA of 3.49 compared to 4.11 in 2015. The ERA for the starters is actually higher this season (4.22) vs. last year (3.82) as the improvement is due to a bullpen posting an ERA (2.16) that is less than half of last season’s (4.80).

  • What is more likely: This year’s starters ERA ending up better than last season or this year’s bullpen beating last season’s ERA by more than 2 runs (2.80 or lower)?

5) The Astros are on a pace for 1487 strikeouts in 2015. The 2013 Astros hold the major league record with 1535 strikeouts in a season.

  • What is more likely: The Astros setting a new mlb record for strikeouts or Jim Crane shutting down the air conditioning and cooling MMP off with bat whiffing power?

6) The Astros lead the AL with 42 HRs; Seattle is 2nd with 35. The Astros also lead the AL with 33 SBs; Detroit is 2nd with 25.

  • What is more likely: The Astros lead the league in HRs or the Astros lead the league in SBs or the Astros lead the league in both?

So, the weekend is up to you…. what do you want to talk about?

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46 comments on “Free Blog Weekend: Trends, ups, downs and most likely scenarios

  1. If Carter continues to struggle and Springer gets healthy, do the Astros consider Tucker as our possible 1st baseman since he played the position at Florida?

    Also, when are you guys going to talk about the upcoming draft? With all the injuries to the pitchers, it seems like a crap shoot to me.

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    • Larry, depends on how Tucker does over the next several days, but if he sticks, Grossman is gone. Carter isn’t going anywhere right now…IMO. No options there, so Fresno’s out. Draft? Actually on my list for Monday, believe it or not. 🙂 How’d you know? You peaking over my shoulder?

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    • I was telling a friend that I thought the most impressive thing about Tucker might have been drawing a walk. I think if I was making a debut that I would be too wired to take a walk.

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  2. I think the Astros have a better chance to finish within 5 games of first place than with 85 losses. The reason I think that is that Luhnow will realize that he can improve this team, this year by making a few strategic moves that won’t cost the team much money.
    * Get Ober into the rotation
    * Get Correa at SS
    * Get Carter out of the lineup while he is struggling.
    * Use Marwin while he’s hitting
    * Spread the word you are looking for a starting pitcher(which he has done) and then trade guys you don’t need in the future.

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    • Of course they showed last night that Carter at the same number of ABs last year had 4 HR and 10 RBIs – the same as his year.

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      • But what they cannot show is a guarantee that Cater will suddenly start to go crazy again and pile up HRs and RBIs, like he did last season. Last year he worked with Mallee on a strategy to shorten his swing and move the ball around. This year, the only thing he has shown is that he cannot make contact with a fastball on the middle up outside half of the plate or a slider on the middle down outside half of the plate. What’s different now is that pitchers are absolutely not giving him anything on the inside of the plate because he refuses to move out and get the outside stuff. The pitch he hit for a home run in Houston was a mistake right down the middle of the plate that he got thrown because the Astros were down ten runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth by a pitcher who was told to throw strikes. Will the Astros wait for months to see if Carter can pull off last year’s miracle again? Will he be able to pull it off with the division on the line and other Astros players hitting well. He will find good pitches harder to come by if first place is on the line as opposed to last season when everything about the Astros was decided by June 1.
        Good hitters do not disappear completely for two months at a time and that is what Carter does.

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      • I can’t argue with you too much there old pro – I will say that 2 of Carter’s HRs this year were in games already decided. He hit another one against Seattle to narrow a 3-1 deficit to 3-2 in the 7th inning of a 3-2 loss and another one to extend a 3-1 lead to 5-1 in the game they ended up winning 7-6 last Sunday against Seattle. I have no idea if he is going to put up last season’s numbers. I do know he has 4 HRs and 10 RBIs in his last 15 games, which is better than the 0 and 0 of his first 12 games.
        I hate to always trade players in the valley of their value.

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  3. Dan P.: I hear you, but the only thing worse than trading players in the valley of their value is continuing to play them during the valley of their value – especially if you have somebody else [Marwin, if not Tucker] who is able to play the position just as well and almost certainly hit better. The good news is at least Mr. Carter is not making superstar money.

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  4. Vince Velasquez sighting in Corpus Christi. He has been activated from the DL and will start tonight’s game. Can’t wait til this guy gets tuned up to go with McCullers, Devinski, Hader, and Appel!

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  5. What is more likely: The Astros finishing within 5 games of the division lead or the Astros losing more than 85 games?

    The Astros finishing within 5 games of the division lead. Or if they acquire a good pitcher, they might finish WITH a 5 game lead.
    ________________________

    What is more likely: Jose Altuve finishing with more than 80 RBIs or Chris Carter finishing with less than 70 RBIs?

    Jose Altuve MAYBE finishing with more than 80 RBIs. He got started with a hot hitting JFSF batting ninth. So it will depend on who’s batting 8th and 9th.
    ________________________

    What is more likely – Keuchel ending the season with less than 6.0 hits/9 IP or a WHIP over 1.00?

    Keuchel ending the season with a WHIP slightly UNDER 1.00.
    ________________________

    What is more likely: This year’s starters ERA ending up better than last season or this year’s bullpen beating last season’s ERA by more than 2 runs (2.80 or lower)?

    That will depend on Feldman and Luhnow (if and who he might trade for, or who he brings up).
    ________________________

    What is more likely: The Astros setting a new mlb record for strikeouts or Jim Crane shutting down the air conditioning and cooling MMP off with bat whiffing power?

    Toss up!
    ________________________

    What is more likely: The Astros lead the league in HRs or the Astros lead the league in SBs or the Astros lead the league in both?

    Both. And I really think that’s possible.
    ________________________

    The Astros’ defense has been fantastic. If they can keep that up, iron out the wrinkles in the rotation (I’d prefer our prospects to a trade) and replace Villar and Grossman with two (just about any two) of our prospects, I think contending might become realistic and not just a dream for 2017.

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    • Villar and Grossman are here because there is no point in bringing in a top notch prospect to play once a week when that 21-22 year old can keep playing at AA or AAA. Villar nor Grossman are winning games, but they aren’t getting enough opportunities, outside of a few boneheaded defensive plays by Villar, to cost us games – and I don’t think any of his circus play has come in a 2-2 tied game in the 9th yet either.

      Tucker is clearly a better player than Grossman, but they chose to play Tucker everyday in Fresno versus once a week in Houston, and now the opportunity to play him every day came up, he is here. When Springer is ready, I wouldn’t be so sure, unless he is on fire, that Tucker will stay in Houston, given that he bats the same hand as Rasmus.

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      • Totally agree with you Steven on not bringing Tucker up except for full time work – but would bring up Correa to play full time with Lowrie out, moving MarGo to the bench and Villar back to AAA.

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  6. I was watching part of the replay of last nights game. How is Joe West still an umpire? In my opinion there are 3 umpires who have no business still being an umpire: Joe West, C.B. Bucknor and Angel Hernandez. Does anyone have another name to add to the list?

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  7. Tonight’s lineup has a guy whose name starts with a “v” playing shortstop. Shhhh. Please don’t say that too loudly.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When Tony Kemp was not in the Hooks lineup tonight, I went to their roster and he is listed as temporarily inactive. I don’t have a clue what that means, other than it means he ain’t there.
    While I was there I noticed that Kent Emanuel is on the DL.

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    • OP, in minor league terms, a player can be on the temporarily inactive list for personal reasons…much like Gregerson’s Family Medical Leave status. I think the milb category is an all-encompassing one and may be a little more flexible.

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      • I originally thought it meant he might be promoted, kind of like Joe Musgrove, who is currently temporary inactive on the QC’s roster. But we shall soon see.

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    • Here’s the official news on Kemp:

      Kemp left Corpus Christi Thursday to attend commencement ceremonies at Vanderbilt University. The former SEC Player of the Year graduates today with communications degree. Kemp is expected to rejoin the club in San Antonio.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just saw the tweet from his girlfriend. Congratulations! Wow! A degree from Vanderbilt. That is terrific.

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      • Yeah before hearing that the mind wanders over to – is this guy a trouble maker. Congrats Mr.Kemp – a great example to all.

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      • And Nix probably wishes he had never heard of Brady Aiken and Casey Close. Nix only has one career, and it took a bad turn on the falling star of a couple of jerks.

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    • Op…if you think about it…Nix actually got his money last year (in the settlement) and he’ll be a first round pick this year. So basically he’s just starting his career a year late otherwise. Not a bad big picture…

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      • We don’t know the settlement amount, but rumors were to be in the low 6 figures. His negotiating power is reduced and I don’t see anyone predicting top 15 pick for him. Basically, Nix lost as much as seven figures on that signing bonus and one year of pro ball due to another kid’s injury.

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  9. I’m at a funeral, out of town but stayed up as long as I could last night, and just KNEW we lost!! In the first two at bats tonight Altuve got a hit, and got picked off TWICE!! How long has it been since he did that??? I’m not saying up until 2:00 to see if they pulled it off tonight……too late for this old gal!!

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  10. The best news last night – except for a very nice start by Hernandez – came out of Corpus. Vincent Velasquez returned from the disabled list to strike out 10 in 5 innings. He gave up only 1 run on 3 hits and a walk. Unfortunately, Aaron West could not hold the lead he inherited, so Corpus lost.

    Other good news came from Fresno, where Brady Rodgers, Richard Rodriguez and Darin Downs combined for a 5-hit shut-out of Tacoma. For what it’s worth, Alex Presley was 4-4 and stole a base.

    Like

  11. Has anybody heard any reports from/about the status of George Springer? I know HIPPA prevents unauthorized disclosure of medical reports, but have either George or the Astros said anything publicly since he was put on the 7 day DL?

    Like

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