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What they said, what they meant: Mixed Edition


Let’s face it. The Astros and their fans are in a best of times / worst of times bipolar funk lately.

  • The Astros are in first place. / The lead is shrinking fast.
  • The Astros’ bullpen is one of the best in the league. / The bullpen let the team down three times in the last week.
  • George Springer has raised his batting average from .185 to .254 in the last 21 games. / Springer has only two home runs and four RBIs in those 21 games. (Note – the much maligned Chris Carter has four home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 21 games).
  • There is euphoria over the draft and the call-ups of Carlos Correa, Preston TuckerLance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez.  / The fans are panicking and upset and losing it because the team they never thought had a chance to contend has coughed up most of a seven-game lead and strikes out too much and has lost seven games in a row and the sky is falling!!!!

Today’s version of WTS/WTM is a mixed bag of the good and the bad. Again, the quotes are taken from chron.com (Spit!!) and are followed by what the players, manager, general manager and president really meant, but could not bring themselves to say.

GM Jeff Luhnow on being asked about taking Mark Appel over Kris Bryant first in the 2013 mlb draft.

  • What he said. “Any time there’s snapshots in time, where it’s natural to believe that one player may be progressing more than another, really we don’t know where this is going to go until the players have played through their first six years in the big leagues… We made the best decisions we can make at the time. We have to make ’em with the information we have and I stand by ’em.”
  • What he meant. “Let’s see. 1) Why don’t you ask me how I feel about skipping Appel and taking Carlos Correa in 2012? 2) Why don’t you ask the other 29 GMs how stupid they feel for letting me take Lance McCullers Jr. with the 41st pick, just because I was the only one who could figure out how to sign both him and Correa? 3) But, yes I do wish I had a 3B at the majors hitting .277 BA / .392 OBP / .854 OPS instead of a AA pitcher with an ERA over 5.”

Hinch on moving Correa up to the fifth spot after knocking in the Astros only three runs in his first two games.

  • What he said. “Obviously I wanted to move him up one slot just to break up the lineup a little bit and see how he respond. I don’t look too far into it more than that. He’s obviously put up some excellent at-bats in his first couple of games, but the lineup watch is something that gathers more attention externally than it does for me.”
  • What he meant. “The important number is not Carlos batting fifth in the lineup. The important number is that I have him first in the line to be cloned and when science figures that our for humans no one will touch this ball club.”

Luhnow on whether there is a Brady Aiken hangover heading into draft (after the controversy of not signing the 1-1 draft choice in 2014).

  • What he said. “Don’t think so. We’ve been out scouting, we’ve been talking to advisors, players, parents etc. I think more than anything, the fact that the Astros’ plan seems to be coming together, and it’s starting to work and make some sense, I think is drawing more interest to players potentially signing with us. So I think we’re in pretty good spot.”
  • What he meant. “I am hacked off. Even though the heat lessened with Aiken’s eventual Tommy John surgery, I am angry I had to go through so much just because we can’t do pre-draft physicals like they do in other sports. I am so mad, I think I will take three top six talents with my first three draft picks. And then sign them.”

Head of Amateur Scouting Mike Elias on the challenge of signing the 3 first round picks.

  • What he said. “We expect them to sign.”
  • What he meant. “I understand Jeff is sending a special emissary to each of the kids and their agents. And each one will be carrying a horse head in their extra luggage. “

Manager A.J. Hinch on Jonathan Villar being sent down to play OF at AAA.

  • What he said. “I’d like (Villar) to play a little bit of the outfield and get a little bit more comfortable on all three outfield positions. And he needs (to) play regularly. With this roster construction we felt like he was going to be underutilized if he stayed here. We can take the opportunity to get him regular playing time.”
  • What he meant. “You know how at work, sometimes the owner will bring his nephew in to work during the summer? And the kid is a good kid and wants to help out, but everything you give him to do gets gummed up? And finally you try to give him something to do that will keep him busy and as far away from the customers as possible? Well we don’t have a farm club farther away than Fresno.”

Club President Reid Ryan on Carlos Correa’s first appearance before the home crowd.

  • What he said. “We are excited about this weekend. We have a number of promotional events, including giveaways and a concert featuring ‘Mercy Me.’ We expect Correa will have an impact on the crowds but do not have a prediction on how much it will be.”
  • What he meant. “I don’t know what else to do, really. School is out. The club is in first place. We just called up the first overall pick from 2012, who everyone has been begging to see. If this does not up the attendance I say we go ahead and have that Bud Selig, Drayton McLane and Jim Crane pinata night.”

Hinch after the Astros seventh straight loss, 4-1 to the Chi-Sox.

  • What he said. “I think we swung the bat better than the scoreboard indicated, but that doesn’t really account for much. I think it’s some missed opportunities that were frustrating. They turned some solo home runs and then tacked on at the end.”
  • What he meant. “OK, I know after watching them strike out 16 times in a game and watching them leave runners on 3rd game after game almost anything seems better. Even long opposite field outs. But they did this earlier in the year and then started scoring runs like crazy. I am patient, but it is hard to keep a smile on my face.”

Hinch on his talk with Lance McCullers Jr. one out away from a complete game and the powerful Chris Davis at bat.

  • What he said. “I went out wanting to leave him in and asked him how much he had left in his tank and he said he had plenty. I told him, ‘Good, because this was his hitter to get. This was his game to get.’ He had earned it. It was going to be a good step for him, because I wanted him to shake hands after that at-bat. “He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘I’m good to go.’”
  • What he meant. “He said, ‘I’m good to go.’ But I swear I heard him say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.”

Bonus Question. Vincent Velasquez on what he could improve after throwing 5 shutout innings against the White Sox in his Major League debut.

  • What he said. “Just like any other game, getting ahead. I struggled with that a little bit. I lacked a little bit of consistency, and I’ll work on it. It’s a game of change. I’ll prepare myself for the next bullpen and then apply it to the next outing.”
  • What you think he meant.
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

52 comments on “What they said, what they meant: Mixed Edition

  1. Mr. Bill
    June 13, 2015

    * What Vince Velasquez said: “Just like any other game, getting ahead. I struggled with that a little bit. I lacked a little bit of consistency, and I’ll work on it. It’s a game of change. I’ll prepare myself for the next bullpen and then apply it to the next outing.” *

    What Vince meant: “You guys are all worried about how many innings I pitch. My first start was just five innings. Now will you stop worrying and let me pitch?”.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 13, 2015

      What Velasquez meant: The last three years, where I’ve pitched, they only let you go five innings because there’s another starter warming up in the bullpen trying to take your job. So, I need to get used to the idea of actually pitching my best from the start of the game to the end of the game. This major league stuff is not like the minor league five inning games. I’m going to talk to Lance about it. He’s had to make adjustments, too.

      Like

  2. Mr. Bill
    June 13, 2015

    * What Reid Ryan said before Friday night’s game: ” We expect Correa will have an impact on the crowds but do not have a prediction on how much it will be.” *

    What he meant: “Hey, I confess to having limited expectations, especially for tonight. You have to understand we are facing Felix Hernandez to begin the homestand. It’s not like we’re going to score 8 runs against the guy or knock him out in the first inning or anything.”

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 13, 2015

      What Ryan meant to say: It’s not like Obie hasn’t pitched a bunch of important games for us, ya know! Wait, what? He’s never pitched an important game for us? Who was pitching for us in 2006? That wasn’t Obie?

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        June 13, 2015

        Obie caught the McCullers/Velasquez infection. I hope it becomes a chronic inflammation from which he never recovers!

        Like

  3. Mr. Bill
    June 13, 2015

    * What Jeff Luhnow said: “I think more than anything, the fact that the Astros’ plan seems to be coming together, and it’s starting to work and make some sense, I think is drawing more interest to players potentially signing with us. So I think we’re in pretty good spot.” *

    What Jeff meant: “Hey, have you seen Tony Kemp? Chris Devenski? Joe Musgrove? A.J. Reed? Jake Nottingham? Brett Phillips? Tyler Heineman? Did you see the first round of the draft earlier this week. I think we’re doing okay without signing Mr. Aiken last year.”

    Like

  4. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    Mr. Bill and OP – thanks for checking in – I always love your humor no matter how grumpy old man it may be….
    It is early to talk about it, but this whole Verducci effect of limiting the increase in innings for pitchers under 25 years old will come into play for the Astros this season. Verducci had an interesting twist this season, noting that some teams limit their pitchers to a 20-25 % increase in innings instead of a 20 -25 inning increase.
    For LMJ (who pitched just under 100 IP last season) it makes little difference – you are looking at limiting him to about 120-125 innings this season. For Velasquez that would be less since he only pitched 60+ innings last season.
    I do not know if either of them pitched winter ball last season and how that might be factored in.
    But – yes 5 innings at a time won’t eat it up as fast as 9 innings at a time. But in both cases it will go pretty fast.

    And that was a great start by Obie – though having an 8-0 lead after 1 inning might have let him pitch pretty darn loose with no pressure.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 13, 2015

      I’d fire that guy Verducci right on the spot.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        June 13, 2015

        Verducci probably also believes the world is flat. And that designated hitters are just fine if they hit a home run or two a month, even if they strike out more often than they get on base.

        Like

  5. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    What Hinch said to McCullers on the mound in the ninth inning: Can you get this guy out? What McCullers meant to say back: Sure I can, I did it in high school and I could have been doing it the last three years in the minors if you guys had let me.

    Like

  6. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    What Luhnow meant to say about about Appel/Bryant: I explained to Mark that everything we do with the Astros is a process. Mark has taken it way too literally.

    Like

  7. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    It is hard not to compare our two 1-1’s. Carlos Correa hitting 2 HRs in his first 4 games in the majors and he won’t be 21 until the Astros clinch the division on Sept. 22. Mark Appel scuffling in AA and he turns 24 one month from Monday.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 13, 2015

      Well, Correa was a heck of a gutsy first pick. Appel was a safe one. Go figure.

      Like

  8. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    Last night was a trap game for Seattle – the Astros have had a couple of those when they seemingly had a big pitching advantage with Keuchel over a lesser pitcher. In Keuchel’s case he did not meltdown, but a number of times his offense failed him as the lesser pitchers gave up nothing.
    Hope the day off and the dominating win rights the ship again.

    Like

  9. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    Christian Powell starts for Quad Cities today. 6’4″ 230lb RHP released by the Twins in mid-May and snatched up by the Astros. Has made 3 relief appearances so far and gets a start. Luhnow Project? I love baseball.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tedf1948
    June 13, 2015

    Hey folks, can I break in and ask a probably stupid question? I live near Austin and cannot see or hear my Astros. If I download the IHeart app for my phone, can I pick up the games on Sports Talk 790? I know, I know, I am showing my age. If anyone can help, I would appreciate it. Go ‘Stros!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      June 13, 2015

      Ted, last year, when I did not have Astros tv, I found the games most often on my computer with I heart radio and my most dependable link was KETX 1440 in Livingston. But sometimes the blackout was just 100% and I had to follow gameday to stay tuned in. It was horrible, but 1440 sometimes linked me up live when no other Iheart station would. Of course I live in OK so my blackout area was probably different than yours.

      Like

    • Dan P
      June 13, 2015

      I think I knew the answer before I googled it – the answer I see on line is no, not even when you choose the home station.
      Sounds like you have to pay for special packages.
      I usually follow games when I am outside the range by mlb.com.
      Supposedly 1300 AM in Austin is part of the network – have you tried it?

      Like

      • daveb
        June 13, 2015

        Yeah, I fully rely on Mlb.com. Sometimes the feed is a bit slow if my band-with is weak, but at least I never get blacked out! Always seems odd to me when some of you folks can’t get the game back in Texas while I’m on a little island 3000 miles away and never have a problem.

        Like

  11. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    What Luhnow meant to say about Aiken and this year’s draft: We’ve got Bregman. Aiken has a cast and his mommy holding his sippy cup in the hospital. I think we’re good with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. tedf1948
    June 13, 2015

    Thanks OP and Dan. 1300 is so weak that even being 20 miles away in Dripping Springs, the static is almost continuous. Interestingly enough, if you travel to the east of Austin, the signal is loud and clear. I guess the difference is living in the “beautiful Texas Hill Country” (spit). I may have to return to the MLB route but I don’t enjoy the non-Astros announcers on the away games.

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 13, 2015

      I guess you can’t catch 760 from San Antonio either

      Like

  13. rj
    June 13, 2015

    tedf1948,

    i am in the same situation as you. on mlb.com we can’t see tv – blacked out even if its an away game, so i paid about 20 bucks for the audio. its crystal clear all the time. i don’t get to see em, but i do get to hear em. the station you get is KBME. i hate to pay, but 20 bucks for all year vs 1300 fuzzy wuzzy is worth it.

    Like

  14. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    I apologize if I have shared this before, but this “blackout” talk takes me back to the 1980’s when I had been laid off in the Houston oil downturn and was working and living in Little Rock Arkansas. It was 1986. The Astros were playing the Mets in a day game, the famous 6th game / 16 inning loss tear your heart out of your chest – day game.
    The problem – I was working and even though it was a playoff game, it was not being carried locally on radio, though it was on TV. One of my co-workers helped me at one point. He had one of those radios that could also play the audio from local TV stations and so I was able to listen to the game that way. The only problem was work was over and the game went into extra innings and if I left to head home I would miss about a 1/2 hour of the game on the bus.
    I finally took off around the 12th inning and my wife started recording it for me on the VCR. I walked into the house to see them trailing by one and Billy Hatcher lashed one into the upper deck (corked bat anyone?) to tie it.
    The Mets scored 3 in the top of the 16th – Jim DeShaies never even warmed up, and the Astros rallied for two and Kevin Bass struck out with the bases loaded. YAAARRRGGHHH!!! The ghost of Mike Scott in game 7 still haunts me on that one.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 13, 2015

      The Stros had the Mets on the ropes in the first, getting three runs, but probably should have had more. Knepper took that 3-0 lead into the 9th when Dykstra led off with a deep fly into right center that Gerald Young misplayed and let drop for a triple. It got worse from there. Truly the most excruciating Astro loss I’ve ever watched…..from a TV in Philadelphia.

      Like

  15. tedf1948
    June 13, 2015

    Dan P, I’ll try 760 this afternoon and if that doesn’t work I’ll gladly pay the 20 bucks. I thought Time Warner would have them on TV by now, but my source at the Astros believes it may take almost 2 yrs for that to work out.

    Like

    • rj
      June 13, 2015

      i don’t know if they have it in Dripping Springs but ATT cable does carry roots sports and the astros. i getting ready to dump TWC and get ATT.

      Like

  16. tedf1948
    June 13, 2015

    I appreciate all of the help from you guys regarding the radio. I went ahead and purchased the MLB radio capability. I hope I don’t jinx them now.

    Like

    • Becky
      June 13, 2015

      I would call you AM station and ask them if they have an HD station (most do)
      and consider buying an HD radio. Amazon has portable HD radios from $49.00 on up to………I have Suddenlink here in Kingwood, and they do NOT show Root Sports.
      They are getting bought out, so there’s always a chance the new cable carrier will
      carry Root Sports!! Good luck !!

      Like

  17. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    McHugh is mixing hanging breaking balls with fastballs up in the zone. Like mixing liquor and sleeping pills. M’s 5 Astros 0

    Like

  18. tedf1948
    June 13, 2015

    5-0 at the end of the 1st. I see my mistake now. It’s all perfectly clear to me. I must trash my cell phone, immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    7-0 in the third – McHugh is turning into Jose Lima.

    Like

  20. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    OK, so this is where I said OMG last night.

    Like

  21. Becky
    June 13, 2015

    Man…I hate games like this, like mariners hated yesterday. Dr. McHugh is getting relieved by Faust uh oh. 8 to 0. (((Sigh)))

    Like

  22. daveb
    June 13, 2015

    Damn shame, after a big win last night, a tidy, well paced performance by McHugh today would have been great for the team. Not many times during the season do these guys get a chance to go out and have a nice Saturday evening dinner at home during the season. This one might drag on until dessert now. I hope McHugh is not turning into a one year wonder.

    Like

  23. Mr. Bill
    June 13, 2015

    Colin had a bad day – in fact, he’s had several bad days now. He’s just not hitting his targets – or in many cases, even coming close. But it’s not the bad game of pitching that bothers me in as much as the reversion to terrible hitting. I just don’t think you can take your second best hitter Preston Tucker out of this freaky, streaky line-up – especially when your best hitter, Jose’ Altuve, is already out due to injury. The 8-runs the Mariners scored bothers me – but not nearly as much as the zero offensive threats created by batters 3-8 of the line-up.

    Like

  24. 1oldpro
    June 13, 2015

    It’s days like this when I am grateful we have minor leagues. Actually I’ve been grateful for our minor leagues 8 of the last 9 days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      June 13, 2015

      Our minors are truly a joy to watch. No matter what the score, they always seem to have the mindset they can win. And most of the time, they find a way. Musgrove was nails again last night. It will be interesting to see if Brian Holmes can put together a good outing tonight at Corpus – and keep the good streak alive.

      Like

  25. daveb
    June 13, 2015

    We gave a guy his first major league win today. A guy with years of unremarkable minor league stats.

    Like

  26. SargeH
    June 13, 2015

    McHugh has become a curiosity. So brilliant last season and so unwatchable this season… Don’t look now but the Rangers are 1.5 games back. That 7 game lead has evaporated quickly.

    Like

  27. Dan P
    June 13, 2015

    We feared the regression of Keuchel or McHugh and right now Mc is struggling mightily. Like the realtor says Location Location Location – and he doesn’t have it.

    Like

  28. drbill14
    June 13, 2015

    I was at the game today and instead of sneaking down into the field level I was on the second row of the upper deck near home plate. McHugh was tipping his pitches so badly that I could see it clearly from my vantage point. Both his body and arm decelerated noticeably with his off speed deliveries. He was not fooling anyone. Apparently when Peacock was tipping his pitches it was a subtle thing but major league hitters are so tuned in that it apparently made a difference. I had high school pitchers play for me who were better than McHugh today.If a 65 year old in the upper deck can see it why can’t Strom?

    Like

    • Sandy
      June 13, 2015

      I heard Ashby say the same thing. He said Steve Sparks saw it too. Jeez, wish someone would’ve thought to tell McHugh!

      Like

    • SargeH
      June 14, 2015

      I thought the same myself. Even though I have not seen McHugh pitch at all this season, just reading about his recent outings caused me to consider that he was tipping his pitches. I suppose that, by being in the dugout, the brain trust cannot see the fact that McHugh is tipping his pitches. But then, the game announcers on television or the radio should be able to send a message to the bench about it and Strom can look hard to tell what is going on.

      Like

  29. Becky
    June 13, 2015

    I’m sure after watching film from today Strom will be able to “fix” McHugh’s tipping
    of his pitches. He’s kinda still a work in progress. On a better note……Oberholtzer
    said Strom worked with him to throw his fast ball inside, which made his Friday night outing a success! Thank goodness we have that guy, he’s been able to work with McCullars, and now Valasquez! Peacock had a set back in his outing in CC on Friday, and to be honest with you, I have my doubts if he ever comes back.
    AND……Jesse Crain has STILL not thrown ONE pitch now, since 2013….how’s
    that working out for the White Sox!!! How ’bout that Joe Musgrove last night!
    The Hooks have Musgrove, Hader, Devenski……these are the guys who will be making some noise next year, and I can’t WAIT!!

    Like

    • SargeH
      June 14, 2015

      Becky, I feel the Astros should go ahead and part with Peacock. He can never remain healthy!

      Like

  30. Becky
    June 13, 2015

    Our lead is now 1 1/2 games ……..

    Like

  31. daveb
    June 14, 2015

    So Joe Sclafani is on the Temporary Inactive List. Of course we know it’s not an injury. I just hope he didn’t get disgusted and walk out of camp. Anyone read anything?

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 14, 2015

      Why would anyone get disgusted by being displaced by Villar?

      Like

  32. 1oldpro
    June 14, 2015

    Looks like they didn’t have room for him and Villar, so they put Joe on the inactive.

    Like

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