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2017 has arrived for Astros, but what are the missing pieces?


Make no mistake. The Astros are in the hunt for 2015. Someone tell Jim Crane to go ahead and get the checkbook ready.

So, a little check up on this Tuesday following Marvelous Monday in which two top prospects joined the Astros and Houston had a landmark draft which could mark its final Top 10 selection for some time.

Jeff Luhnow patch worked a roster over the winter that had Ks and holes written all over it, but new manager A.J. Hinch has used his needlework craft to piece together the quilt like an ol’ grandma using her unique skills.

The goal has always been 2017…or has it? Let there be no doubt, however, that 2017 has come early. This. Is. 2017.

Carlos Correa. Lance McCullers Jr. Preston Tucker. Now a draft that could bring some more players to Houston by that previously scheduled (real) 2017 date.

But is it enough? Can Correa lead the Astros to the promised land this year? Will Tucker, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Jose Altuve, George Springer be the catalysts for victory? Or will someone else or “elses” need to be added to the mix?

In other words, what’s missing? Are the Astros one player, two players, three players away from a division title in 2015?

Starting pitching.

This is no secret. Luhnow’s #1 goal between now and July 31 is to find another quality starter. It does not have to be a #1, top-of-the-rotation guy, but he should be Keuchel-McHugh like or capable. No more stop gaps. No more retreads. No more years-past prospects. It’s time for a real-deal, bona fide, proven starter to add to the mix. Can the Astros win the division without that pitcher in the mix?

To be sure, McCullers and newly promoted Vincent Velasquez could team to provide that one pitcher, but they’ll tire over the summer because of the workload, so it’s unlikely they are the long-term answer for 2015. Yes, the can be a factor and a huge one at that. But Luhnow will need one or more answers in this category. Sorry, Brad Peacock, you’re not the guy we’re looking for in this role. Thanks Asher Wojciechowski, we’ve loved playing with your name and hoping against hope you can realize your greatness, but you’re just not there yet. Robert Hernandez, thanks for filling the gap for a couple of months, you’ve provided some time for Velasquez and McCullers to incubate a bit longer…hopefully, you can hang around and give us some more innings like April.

Decision time: First base.

While the Astros were winning with Altuve, Springer, Jake Marisnick and a handful of stars for a day, the Astros could tolerate a less-than-mediocre first baseman. Now, the time has come for a decision.

As difficult as it may be, the Astros — Luhnow and Hinch specifically — will need to gamble. Chris Carter may need to go. Frankly, if there had been a viable option, he would probably be gone or benched already. Will he heat up in the second half? Perhaps, but a championship team simply cannot have a half-year guy at such a key position. No platoon will help as Carter is as bad against lefties as he is righties. No, Houston needs to pull the trigger. Maybe it will not happen until Jed Lowrie returns next month (hopefully) or maybe the team starts to work out another player there to fill the gap. Houston could do worse than an outfield of Colby Rasmus, Marisnick and Springer with Tucker at first. Or maybe it’s time for another Jon Singleton audition.

Either way, Houston will need an upgrade at first to contend into September. That’s just a fact.

Third base.

This has been a revolving door after the excitement of a possible game-changer arriving in the form of Luis Valbuena. But a .184/.253/.398 line does not portend the second coming of Alex Rodriguez, much less even Morgan Ensberg. The Astros will likely await the return of Lowrie, which will also give them time to evaluate Correa (is he really here for the long-term right now?), but the team may be stronger by going outside the organization and using Lowrie either at first or as that super sub. The last option is the least likely as Lowrie’s bat could help on an everyday basis. Third base would seem the most likely option. Still, this team cannot contend without a viable, good-hitting third baseman.

So those are three upgrades the Astros may need to make in order to contend into September. Yes, catcher is still a question almost every day and Marisnick has come back to earth at the plate, but his defense is still huge for Houston.

Regardless, the time is now and Luhnow’s finest hour may be just ahead. Indeed, how he navigates the next 30-45 days will answer many questions. No pressure though Jeff.

So, what must the Astros do? Are they one player away? Two players? Three players? Too far to gamble in 2015? Get you pencil and paper out and dig deep. It’s crunch time for Houston.

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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.

73 comments on “2017 has arrived for Astros, but what are the missing pieces?

  1. Kevin
    June 9, 2015

    Agreed 100% Chip, we need and upgrade at 3B and 1st like soon, and then I guess we can live with CongcastroI I would love to see Tucker at first for the next few years, Now the trick is who can we give up to get that 1-3 pitcher? I wonder if this whole re tooling of the infield will be the timing of Lowrie coming back?

    If we sign our first 3 picks WOW!

    Like

  2. SargeH
    June 9, 2015

    Ordinarily I would suggest putting Lowrie over on first base to stay, ala Denis Menke in another decade, but… Valbuena’s disappointing batting average has forced the Astros’ hand so to speak and forcing them to put Lowrie on third for the long term (until J.D. Davis arrives). I now speak through a forced smile, bring Singleton back up to check him out. If he cannot produce now, then it is time to cut the slacker and move on. I think a certain former gold glove 1st baseman (Bagwell) could help train someone like Tucker to place there.

    My most pressing question though is, why does Hinch continue to put Villar in the lineup? I have watched the young man for three seasons now and he STILL throws the ball all over the place and cannot catch a ball consistently. All I can assume is that he is under orders to place Villar by Luhnow. To those of us who were cheering the arrival of Correa and the potential banishment of Villar from the major league roster were figuratively slapped by the club when Villar was placed in the outfield last night!

    What’s missing? HInch has tinkered with the lineup by moving the catalyst, Altuve, from the leadoff spot. Return him to the leadoff spot and the team will take off.

    Since the club has raided Corpus Christi for pitching, who is left who might possibly come up as well?

    Like

    • Becky
      June 9, 2015

      Preach on brotha……….NONE of us can figure out WHY Luhnow has this guy on the team.

      Like

    • Wallee
      June 9, 2015

      Chris Devenski.

      Like

  3. 1oldpro
    June 9, 2015

    Let’s get to it. Correa is good at short.
    Altuve is good at Second Base.
    Springer is good in right.
    Marisnick is good in Center and batting ninth
    ******That’s four RH batters in your lineup******
    Let’s stick with Castro behind the plate
    Let’s stick With Tucker in LF.
    Let’s put Lowrie at 1B because he can.
    *****That’s two Lefty hitters and a switch hitter******
    Now you’re left with 2 places in the lineup where the team is getting hammered by Ks and no hits: 3B and DH. I suggest we bring up Singleton and DH him against Righties and Gattis against lefties. That means trade Carter.
    Now you have to figure out 3B. Are you going to continue to trade 4 bad at bats from Valbuena for 1 good one and be a playoff team? I say trade for another RH infielder who could play 3B against lefties and platoon with Valbuena. Trade or option Villar.
    That’s my plan for the rest of 2015 position players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      June 9, 2015

      OP I like, but we cant wait for Lowrie to get here to make a move at 1B ????

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 9, 2015

        Well, I was thinking about all of this going down in July after the ASB. That seems to be inside Lowrie’s time frame for returning. You could still bring up Singleton and put him at 1B, if Carter is traded, and then platoon him at DH once Lowrie comes back to play 1B.

        Like

      • Old Senior
        June 10, 2015

        Not trying to be negative, but everyone talks about trading Carter. My question is, “Who would want to trade for him?” Would not another team want someone who could hit like we do? Right now, I just think Carter is of no trade value. And “Villerror?” I’m like Becky. Why does Luhnow keep playing him? Is Luhnow trying to build versatility into Villerror to create a market for h im? I agree with most of you. Get rid of Carter and Villerror one way or another and lets see some more fresh AA or AAA faces in their places.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        June 10, 2015

        I agree. Carter has made it virtually impossible to trade Carter. Who wants the strikeout leader of the free world?

        At some point we will just have to pass him through waivers. If he makes it through – and I hope he doesn’t – send him to Fresno in case of absolute catastrophic emergency. But we need to take him off the 40-man as well, because he has proven that he is not part of this team’s future, and we need that space for those who are.

        Like

  4. Mr. Bill
    June 9, 2015

    2017 is indeed closer than ever now that we have Correa, McCullers, Tucker, and Velasquez on the 25-man roster. The 2017 dream could be even closer after Jed Lowrie heals and returns to form, whenever that occurs [most likely 2016]. But the dream of 2017 dominance simply cannot come with:
    1. both Carter and Gattis on the team, flailing and missing like blindfolded boxers;
    2. Castro and Conger being our catching crew;
    3. our 1B hitting only .195;
    4. our 3B hitting only .184; and
    5. less than three high OBP table-setters on the team and in the line-up every day.

    We might squeak into the play-offs in 2015 with what we have now – and Lowrie. But i think the dream of long-term, consistent excellence – the 2017 dream – is at least a year – and a change of approach at the big league level – away.

    Like

    • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
      June 9, 2015

      I am glass half empty on the possibility of a productive Jed Lowrie this year. Even if he is back in late July or early August, those thumb injuries can affect hitting for months afterwards. Ask Bryce Harper.

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    June 9, 2015

    TCU’s Riley Ferrell [from College Station, TX] is a true local gem. His strong right arm could be a really important pick up!

    Like

    • Becky
      June 9, 2015

      WOW!! I can’t BELIEVE we got Riley Ferrell!!
      College WS is gonna be AMAZING! Can’t WAIT to see the other guys we drafted
      play!!

      Like

    • Devin_
      June 9, 2015

      You know what I don’t like? The Rangers got Dillon Tate yesterday and mike Matuella today. Both could be complete busts … But both could be TOR guys in near future.

      You know what I do like? We just drafted Trent Thornton. He was awesome as a freshman reliever in 2013 at UNC (fastball/slider guy) and was great in CWS that year, but had a rough year this season as a junior. I still think he’ll be very good.

      Like

  6. pencil01
    June 9, 2015

    Chip have you noticed no one answered the pitching question. Well neither can i…

    I’m afraid Chris Carter’s time has come and gone. His defense has surprised me but he is flailing. What is it 4 -6 weeks before Lowrie comes back. I would bring up Singlton now, play him against RHs and Carter against LHs. Otherwise start playing Gaddis at first if that is possible.. He’s played a whopping 4 games at first. Over the next six weeks I would start working out Tucker at first, then if Singlton doesn’t make it play Tucker.

    I like Gaddis as DH. He has struck out less than Carter, Springer, and Rasmus. Even though he struck out eventually his AB in the fourth was a good one. He is in second with RBIs among DHs. Of course he is second in strink outs, but he doesn’t ground into too many DPs.

    Do we need another hitting coach? Luis Valbuena’s stats are so disappointing. But what are your options. Villerror needs to be gone. Margo is steady, but his batting not helping. Is Matt Duffy ready? Could he be worst?

    So we are two players and a pitcher away.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 9, 2015

      I was waiting and separating that out so it wouldn’t be so long. Requires some thought.

      Like

    • Kevin
      June 9, 2015

      I was thinking last night, has to be a t least 3 or 4 options better than Carter in the line up next 4- 6 weeks. We loose a couple HR when it doesnt matter so what!

      Like

    • Mr. Bill
      June 9, 2015

      There has been no pitching trade-partner suggestion from me because I personally respectfully disagree with the premise that a trade for a TOR is something this team should be seeking mid-season anyway. I don’t see any reason to automatically suppose that either McCullers or Velasquez will ‘tire’ just because they exceed their last year’s IP numbers. It’s not like either McCullers [29 IP in minors, 31 in MLB so far] or Velasquez [26.1 IP in minors, first MLB start tomorrow] is going to approach 200 innings this year. If one gets a hint of a sore arm, shut them down. That’s why we have Devenski, as well as Peacock and Wojo, waiting in the wings. If Devenski is not ready, give the ball to Peacock or Wojo. If our offense isn’t clicking well enough to bail out an occasional mediocre outing by Peacock or Wojo, it means we are probably going to be out of contention anyway.

      And realistically speaking, unless we start hitting the baseball consistently [and not just Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, either] AND unless our pitchers and catchers start keeping other teams’ speedsters from sprinting into scoring position like the Blue Jays did, there won’t be post-season for us to worry about in 2015 anyway.

      Like

      • daveb
        June 10, 2015

        Bill, I’m sure both kids would love to pitch into October, but as invaluable components of the future Astros, you’re not going to see McCullers or Velasquez stretched out in 2015 if for no other reason than any GM just can’t afford to risk losing a young guy with limited innings under his belt to an injury.

        Like

  7. 1oldpro
    June 9, 2015

    Just got tickets to next Tuesday’s day game against Colorado. Possibly Velasquez going for us that day. Cannot wait! Only my second game ever at MMP and I get to take one of the cutie pie grandcrazies….errr grandbabies with us. That was my idea. Making memories with the babies, Astros style! Nice to visit my old home town when it’s not under water.

    Like

    • Kevin
      June 9, 2015

      Dang at first I thought you were going to be in Denver with me and the wife

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 9, 2015

        We’re simple folk. This is what we give to each other for our anniversary. Astros Baseball. Haven’t been to an Astros game with my wife in over twenty years. It’s about time.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Mr. Bill
    June 9, 2015

    Eyes on Lancaster and Corpus tonight. Bryan Radziewski toes the rubber for the Jethawks, and Mark Appel gets the start for the Hooks.

    Meanwhile, in Chicago the return of Preston Tucker and Luis Valbuena to the line-up, replacing Jonathan Villar and Marwin Gonzalez.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SargeH
      June 9, 2015

      But Qualls enters the ballgame and that’s the ballgame!

      Like

  9. 1oldpro
    June 9, 2015

    I’ll try to tackle the pitching.
    There are five pitchers on the 40-man on the Fresno roster. With guys coming into the rule V mess this winter, the Astros need to decide if those five are in the future plans of the Astros. If, not, it’s time to move them out and get guys to Fresno that can help the club this season and get them on the 40-man and are in the future plans for the club. I’m talking about : Cruz, Wojo, Chapman, Straily and Buchanan. Do they fit into the future Astros Monster squads?
    Because I want to see what Rodgers, Appel, Feliz, Hauschild and Devenski can do to help. These pitchers have been and currently are starters. If they are on the 40 man they could be used late in the year as spot starters and as starters in September to give rests to the six guys we have now in our rotation plans:
    Keuchel
    McHugh
    McCullers
    Velasquez
    Ober and
    Feldman.
    So, clean out the Fresno roster and get the young arms onto the 40-man who can help the mother ship with young firepower. None of the young pitchers I named have near enough innings logged to be overworked because they have been tandemed. Let’s see what we have before we give up the farm for an expensive pitcher who isn’t going to be part of our future world series teams anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Steven
    June 9, 2015

    Chris Carter seems to be a daily topic. Since 15 May he has hit .260 with a .355 OBP and .507 SLG with his K rate down 5%. He is streaky. He is what he is. Eventually he will have another 2 weeks of 36% K rate and a sub .200 average.

    The thing about Carter is that I can’t find any rumors of any other team that is talking about targeting the guy. There maybe some out there. When I search for them the only thing I find is about trading deadline last year. I’m not convinced that most teams don’t look at their 1B or DH situations as overly improved over the what the Astros maybe looking for in return. I think Luhnow isn’t tied to the hip with the guy, he would part with him, and may even try to add him into another deal to drop the salary, but if it comes down to a Carter deal, it doesn’t appear to me he would be the centerpiece.

    Valbuena was never a 162 game talent before coming to Houston. Not sure why we thought he would be. The Cubs were the first team to even give him 500 plate appearances, and they weren’t enamored with him. I think he can play well in part time, matched up against the right guys, but he can be overpowered by a few different types of pitchers pretty regularly. Giving Lowrie the majority of the time at 3B on his return and moving Valbuena back to a 1B/2B/3B/DH arena guy that doesn’t play everyday maybe the right call.

    The Astros can win the division without going after another starter, but it will be because noone in the division takes off. Adding another starter is critical to becoming the favorite and making everyone else play catchup.

    I said it before, I’ll say it again. There is noone in the AL without big holes. I know 2015 wasn’t “the plan.” Opportunities have presented themselves – a better than we thought team put together with a winnable division. If you can make a deal for Hamels without giving up certain targets, I think you have too. If you are worried about 2017 in 2015, when 2017 gets here you will be worried about 2019. Take your shots when you get them, but also don’t mortgage the future. If Hamels is too steep, look at Kazmir, look at Harang, and keep those costs reasonable.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan P
    June 9, 2015

    I go round and round on all this stuff – my mind is a bowlful of mush as Kingsfield would say (go watch the movie Paper Chase).
    I would have Lowrie play 3B against lefty pitchers and about 1/2 the rightys. I would let him help out elsewhere like 1B on other days.
    I would try like heck to package Carter, Appel and fill in the blank (Singleton? Santana?) for a decent pitcher. Or if you don’t want to do that call Mark Appel up – hand him the ball and tell him to earn his 1-1.
    I’m guessing the Astros will shut down Velasquez and LMJ somewhere at the end of August if they start every 5 days from now until then based on how few innings they threw last season.
    So maybe move one of those guys to a fireball closer’s role to extend their use??? But maybe pitching every other day or two days in a row is worse wear on their arms.
    I think we can fill in the pitching from within – but it will take guts and risk taking.
    I think Singleton could give you more than Carter – I just hope that is more contact and not more K’s – but that will take guts and risk taking.
    Does the front office have that type of guts and risk taking – I did not think so until I saw them bring up Tucker, Correa, LMJ and Velasquez in a one month window.
    There will be some tough decisions to be made but I think they can handle it…

    Like

  12. daveb
    June 9, 2015

    I’ve been having family around and am a bit out of touch. Maybe a bit pleasantly exhausted too! First of all, I think Luhnow will get all three early picks signed. I don’t think he would have taken Cameron if he did not have a pretty good idea of what those three kids will cost.

    But since we’re talking about the 2015 Astros right now, I’ve come to the conclusion over the past week or so that we need quite a bit more help to make a bid for post season play this year. So I don’t think its going to happen.

    No doubt McCullers is the real deal, in fact he’s suddenly acting like our second best starter. I think Velasquez will also have a positive impact. But both guys will be on a strict innings count and I don’t think we can expect to have them on the mound into September, unless both are used sparingly between now and then. And let’s get Devenski into town at some point too.

    I also suspect that our pen is going to regress somewhat. Heck, they have been excellent, but we’ve seen some not so great appearances by Qualls and our closer lately.

    I kept thinking that our offensive would start to click. Today I’m not so sure. We’ve got holes in that line up! And really, none of us have been talking about Jake as of yet either. His stats are downright scary over the past month or more. What do we do out in center if this keeps up much longer?

    I’d almost like to bring in both Singleton and Santana at some point soon, assuming the offense does not wake up, to find out if these guys are worth spots on the 40 man, or if we can just rule them out for down the road.

    So I guess I’d rather use the rest of 2015 to set us up for a quality 2016. Yes, guilty as charged, I was just saying a week or so ago that I was tired of waiting and want to see things done now to win now. I just don’t see it happening though. And while we’re at it, let’s see if guys like Sclafani and even Kemp can have a positive impact in place of Marwin and or Villar. Let’s shake up the 40 man!

    Like

    • daveb
      June 9, 2015

      And by the way, I’d still be pleased to see a deal for a solid starter. And Appel, Singleton, Santana and most of the others can all be in the discussion. That’s one way to loosen up a roster.

      Like

  13. Tim
    June 9, 2015

    I am throwing this out there as a wild thought so don’t take this as an endorsed idea. If the Astros acquire another starter would they consider doing a tandem with LMJ and VV to limit their innings? If not, would they consider a 6-man rotation? Again, I am not endorsing either of these ideas, but just throwing it out there to see if our fellow bloggers think the Astros might consider this.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 9, 2015

      Tim, not bad suggestions. I doubt that Hinch (and Keuchel) would want their ace right now on a 6-day rotation. And, if McHugh or LMJ become above average this summer, you’d want them out there every fifth day as well.

      Wouldn’t be surprised however to see some creative ways to save some innings for Velasquez (if he even stays up) and LMJ. For example, maybe missing a start before the All Star break and the fourth and fifth spots coming out of the break.

      I think your tandem idea might have some merit…if Luhnow is not successful finding another pitcher especially. Of course, if there are injuries in the pen or someone falters along the way, one of those guys could be good coming in relief. Remember that’s how Roy O started his career… Good idea…I’m guessing they’ve already considered a variety of options, knowing it will be an issue down the road.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Mr. Bill
    June 9, 2015

    Nice win for the Hooks tonight over Midland. Decent night for Appel [5.0 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BBs, 5 Ks]. Better night for Kyle Westwood [4.0 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 Ks]. Tony Kemp and his BA is up to .354. Aplin 2-5 and his BA is up to .342. The minor league teams are much more fun to watch right now than the Astros – even with Carlos Correa.

    Like

  15. BrianT
    June 9, 2015

    That homer off Keuchel just makes me sick. I don’t know how you make that pitch and expect anything but weak contact.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      June 9, 2015

      The gaping holes in our line-up make a 2-run deficit look like an insurmountable obstacle. How long has it been since Gattis or Carter hit a home run, anyway?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 9, 2015

        As it turned out, we added a guy to the lineup this week who really can hit. The only problem is that he could have been added a month ago and we would not have had to put up with Villar’s bad play and we probably wouldn’t be in the funk we are in now. If Hinch would stop running Qualls out there we wouldn’t blow up in the late innings. Correa got us the two runs we needed, but he couldn’t make up for Qualls.
        Maybe the Astros need to ship out a player who can’t cut it, like Villar and get somebody like Kemp, who can,
        It seems our minor league guys are turning out to be better than our major league guys.

        Like

    • daveb
      June 10, 2015

      Gattis and Carter have hit a couple like that for us. It’s going to happen.

      Like

  16. rj
    June 9, 2015

    folks don’t forget international signing day starts july 2 and we have the largest allotment of money for that process. more talent coming to the system. sure looks like a big trade needs to be in the works to unclutter the roster and avoid painful loses via rule 5. for the near future i think pitching comes from within. come sometime before the trade deadline it looks as though something has to give. multiple players for a TOR pitcher? lets hope so. may be painful to lose some prospects/players, but a TOR pitcher may put us over the top as far as the division goes.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      June 9, 2015

      This is one ugly road trip, folks.

      Like

  17. Devin_
    June 9, 2015

    As I grumble about our offensive offense, I have to wonder if perhaps the NY Mets have been no-hit more than any other team?

    Like

  18. Devin_
    June 9, 2015

    Have we made our 25 man move for VV? I think Dan’s suggestion that Qualls go on the DL with a sprained eyebrow sounds like the best thing for everyone.

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 9, 2015

      My betting money is on Roberto Hernandez getting DFA’s though I have been predicting Villar to go down every two weeks this season – so I am not a good bet either.

      Like

    • Tim
      June 9, 2015

      It won’t happen, but I wouldn’t even be opposed to DFAing Qualls. His pitches are very flat and very hittable.

      Like

  19. Tim
    June 9, 2015

    This will probably ruffle some feathers, but is it possible this is the Altuve we will get and last year was a mirage? Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to trade Tony Kemp. I think it is unsustainable to hit for such a high average if you have no plate discipline. Granted, last year he was able to get hits on pitches most players wouldn’t, but I don’t know if that can be sustained.

    Like

  20. Becky
    June 9, 2015

    Missing pieces:
    Any hit that scores a run.
    A new hitting coach
    A new home for Villerror
    A new home for Qualls
    A crown of Gold for our new wonderful short stop!

    *smoke………and……….mirrors*

    Like

  21. Becky
    June 9, 2015

    Two run homerun for our new wonderful short stop!!

    Like

  22. 1oldpro
    June 9, 2015

    Villar optioned to Fresno after the game!

    Like

    • Becky
      June 10, 2015

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ :)!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like

    • Old Senior
      June 10, 2015

      Yayyyyyyy! Finally, the error machine is sent down!

      Like

    • Kevin
      June 10, 2015

      That sucks, so now Fontana back to 2nd and Little Joe screwed again. Send Villar to Baltimore hang out with Jimmy and Bud.

      Like

  23. Becky
    June 10, 2015

    Be still my heart………….may the ghost of Villerror NEVER see the inside of the Astros clubhouse again. Thank you for prayers answered!!

    Like

  24. Billy Castillo
    June 10, 2015

    To hell with Qualls….I didn’t like him during his first stint, and I like him even less now.

    Like

    • Becky
      June 10, 2015

      In 2005 Qualls was a young gun outta the pen, and he was VERY good. But……..
      Billy, that was 10yrs. ago, and he’s 10yrs. older, and not effective any more. I think the Astros have held on to him because of what he *WAS*…….not what he *is*.
      I think he will stay on through out this year, and probably retire after this season.
      My opinion only.

      Like

  25. Zanuda
    June 10, 2015

    A lot of good a TOR pitcher will be if we got 4 players hitting at or below the Mendoza line. We’re beginning to look like those old Astro teams that had the pitching but nobody could hit. I have confidence in the pitching but not so much in the hitting dept. Congratulations on Villar’s “promotion” to Fresno. Hopefully, Qualls, Carter, Valbuena, and Conger will join him there or elsewhere. Don’t belong at the big league taking up roster space.

    And a real congrats to CC’s 1st HR. Hopefully, one of many!

    Like

    • Roger
      June 10, 2015

      A friend asked a few weeks ago why the Astros were scoring so many runs. My answer was that a fair number of hitters with very poor BA’s seemed to be getting their “one” hit with men on base in late innings. I added that this was not sustainable. Eventually, either the BA’s had to improve, or the team would stop winning, as the “one” hit would start to appear in less crucial situations. The sixth/seventh inning phenomenon essentially had a regression to the mean, and without the runs.
      I think the team can continue to win, but I do not believe it will happen in the same fashion as at the outset. That was too unusual.

      Like

    • daveb
      June 10, 2015

      Zanadu, how do you feel about Jake right now?

      May .202/.236/.274/.510
      June .111/.158/.278/.436

      Seems like most of us are letting him off the hook, at least to this point.

      Like

  26. daveb
    June 10, 2015

    Sorry, sure butchered the name Zanuda.!

    Like

    • Zanuda
      June 10, 2015

      Dave no problem on the name, it’s Russian. Didn’t Zanadu have something to do with Oliva Newton John or as Frasier Smith used to say Olivia Nuetron Bomb.
      And you are right JFSF needs to see Flow from Progressive cause he sure has lost it as of the last 6 weeks.

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Roger
    June 10, 2015

    Someone (I believe Brian) made the really interesting comment awhile back that when Alex Presley plays CF he hits a ton. So, could it be that Rasmus gets packaged with others, & Presley gets one last chance, and platoons with Marisnick?

    Like

  28. Mr. Bill
    June 10, 2015

    By the way, we have finally caught and surpassed the Cubs for most strike-outs in the league. We now have 555 on the year to their 541. We are also sitting at 29th in BA and 25th in OBP. We are still holding onto the lead for home runs but we are down to 8th in total bases. And, of course, with a 6 game losing streak, our lead in the AL West is down to 2 games, and fading fast.

    Like

  29. Chip Bailey
    June 10, 2015

    When a team can go on a six-game losing streak..yet still be first in its division with a two-game lead and still have the best record in the league…well, that says something.

    Do I have concerns. Yes, of course. Would I rather have seen a six-game win streak? Absolutely. Was this team due a slight “correction”. Yes sir. The big question now going forward is how the front office, managers/coaches and players adjust. That will tell the story friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      June 10, 2015

      The truth of the matter is that our pitching has held up but every one of our batters are in a slump except for Springer and now, Correa. Before, we were getting big hits when it mattered and now we aren’t. Rodon did not have great stuff last night, and we had lots of chances to knock him out, but on every occasion we had a batter at the plate who is slumping, or who hit the ball right at somebody.
      That is the very definition of a team in a slump in a losing streak. If we can bust out of it we might still be in the AL West race.

      Like

    • rj
      June 10, 2015

      hi Chip. i like this comment. i have to say that cuz my like button doesn’t work anymore. when i click it it sends me to the word press login for about a half a second and flashes back. i have to log in for each comment even if i have logged in just before and checked the stay signed in button. any clue as what i can do to remedy this? i logged in on a different sign in (still using rj) and the same things happen. HELP!

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        June 10, 2015

        rj, it’s probably in a setting on your computer. Perhaps your cookies? Since it’s happening on both log-ins, might want to check to allow it to store a limited amount of cookies on your computer.

        If you want to trouble shoot it further, you may try on another computer, phone or device to compare. Thanks for the like!

        Like

      • rj
        June 10, 2015

        thanks chip, i am pretty computer inept, but ill keep trying

        Like

    • Mr. Bill
      June 10, 2015

      You are correct, Chip. It is a whole lot better to start the inevitable losing streak when you are 5.5 games in front of your division than when you are 11 games out [as Oakland presently is in the AL West]. But the key to every losing streak – whether you are in 1st place or last – is to learn from it, take careful note of the areas of weakness that the losing streak has exposed, and take affirmative action to shore up those areas to the extent you have the ability.

      The roster changes of late are encouraging. To me, especially now that our first and most glaring area of weakness [Jonathan Villar] has been addressed, there is hope that the other glaring areas of weakness [esp. 1B, 3B, CF, and C] will be addressed as well. DH is not optimal, but if the others were fixed, we could live with Gattis’ occasional brilliance – just not in the clean-up position. Starting pitching is the least of our problems, and by far the most costly to address. It’s all about cost-benefit. Make the team look like a champion by getting the right position-player pieces in place to excel, and then you can afford to give up the remaining prospects for a TOR – if you still think you need to.

      Like

      • rj
        June 10, 2015

        mr bill, rotation spots 3 – 5 are and have been a problem

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        June 10, 2015

        Rotation spots 3-5 were a problem – though not a glaring problem like Villar’s ineptness and our pitiful lack of consistent production from 1B, 3B, CF, and C – before [a] we promoted McCullers and Velasquez, and [b] before we got Obie back from the DL. McCullers has been nails – far better than anyone except Keuchel. A healthy Obie will hopefully at least present an improvement over Hernandez. Velasquez projects – though he has not done it yet in real MLB games – to be a significant upgrade over at least Feldman and possibly as good as last year’s version of McHugh.

        I know some worry that McCullers and Velasquez will ‘tire’, or believe that we have to worry about ‘stretching them out’ beyond their IP levels of last year. Even if that is so, the reality is that we have Feldman coming back and we have Devenski close to ready at Corpus and Musgrove and Bostick, right behind him. We have Appel, and Hader, and an impressive stable of others. Plus we have Peacock and Wojo to fill in occasionally if we need them for a spot start.

        I am not saying starting pitching – especially at 3-5 – has not been a problem. But it’s a problem for all teams. And what I am saying that is that starting pitching is not anywhere near the main problem this losing streak has revealed. I just propose that we need to fill the gaping holes first, then deal with the lesser ones if they do not resolve themselves by reason of the changes we have made already [ i.e. adding McCullers, Velasquez, and Oberholtzer]. I know this flies in the face of some fans who want to add a TOR – mostly a TOR named Hamels – right now. I’ll take the criticism without flinching. Wanting gourmet ice cream is great, but let’s make sure we can buy dinner first.

        Like

  30. 1oldpro
    June 10, 2015

    In case you haven’t paid attention:
    Joe Musgrove spent months in extended spring training in 2014. Then he was assigned to Tri-City where he was 7-1 and was fantastic all through their season.
    He was assigned to Quad Cities this spring and was great there in April. He was promoted to Lancaster and was terrific there in May. He was promoted Monday to Corpus Christi.
    Whatever they taught him in his extended spring training, he has used it to explode!
    Look out for this guy. He is on a roll.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chip Bailey
      June 10, 2015

      OP, yes, Musgrove has been a good under-the-radar prospect. Remember how he came to Houston? In the J.A. Happ trade. And, he still is only 22…

      Like

      • rj
        June 10, 2015

        chip i made a change as to how cookies are allowed and right now at least it seems to have worked. thanks very much for the help.

        Like

    • rj
      June 10, 2015

      how was the vacation op?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 10, 2015

        I am still here. Very hot and humid! trying to save up strength for next Tuesday’s game. Have had access to computer, so I have followed every draft pick and have only chosen to impose some of the Astros’ games on the folks.
        And, of course, keeping up with Chipalatta friends.
        Love being alive to see the grandkids grow.
        Thanks for asking.

        Like

  31. drbill14
    June 10, 2015

    What concerns me more than the pitching is the lack of a veteran run producer or two on our roster. There is potential with Springer and Tucker especially but so far it is only potential. Other teams in our division have some proven run producers that we can only covet. Rangers have Fielder, Beltre and Moreland and have added Hamilton, Angels have Trout and Pujols, and the Mariners have Cruz. We don’t have anyone who has been there and done that. Bringing up Correa and Tucker helps only if they take the spot of one of the high K guys. Tucker ought to play every day and let Jake and Colby share CF. Correa displaces Villar but it will be even better when Lowrie displaces Valbuena. I actually have more confidence in Carter than Singleton. It’s plain that Carter has really applied himself to learning first base. I’m not sure Singleton has applied himself to much of anything. Frankly I think we could get more for Singleton in a trade and would be happy to see him go.

    Someone earlier mentioned we need a new hitting coach. Last year there were a host of folks calling for Mallee’s head but he at least helped Altuve get to another level. Have we seen any in season improvement from any hitter on this team? A very strong case could be made that most of our hitters have gotten worse. What has Hudgens done or not done to address this situation?

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2015 by in Astros.
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