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 Tucker, Lance 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.
- 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. “
- 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.