Six weeks to go: Hold on Astros!


In six weeks the Astros’ unexpected 2015 run to the playoffs will be over. Astros’ fans have been waiting for the ship to sink for most of the season, but somehow the team has stayed at the top for most of the season despite having a 30-35 record since June 3. After their game of August 17 they were 2-1/2 games ahead of the Angels and three ahead of the Rangers. A month ago they had a half game lead in the division and two months ago they had a 2-1/2 game lead in the division.

They have kept the lead mostly because the teams chasing them had come from a below average spot and then made a run they could not sustain. Having two teams fairly close to them is more problematic, because it is very likely that one of them (and the blog contributors here are betting it is the Rangers) will put on a push that will force the Astros to play better than they have over the last two and a half months.

So what are the keys for the Astros heading down the stretch?

  • Have to perform better on the road – They have to get out of the funk that has had them winning only five of the previous 22 road games
  • Have to continue to perform well in the division. They are 28-23 against the AL West so far this season
  • Have to show well against the Angels and the Rangers. They play them 13 times between Sept. 11th and the end of the season
  • Have to get George Springer back and performing well in the next three weeks
  • Have to show they will do something / anything to get a decent bat into the first base spot. Tyler White or Matt Duffy or AJ Reed or anyone else with a pulse would be an improvement over Chris Carter. And frankly, they need to do it before the playoff rosters are set on Sept. 1
  • Figure out how to slide Lance McCullers Jr and Vincent Velasquez back in the mix without screwing up the starting rotation and /or the bullpen
  • Stop giving away base runners every game – There is Aggressive and then there is Dumb and they have flashed over to Dumb

So – what are your keys coming down the stretch?

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156 comments on “Six weeks to go: Hold on Astros!

  1. I’m not sure our hitters can hit the pitches that Archer wants to throw. I think he is going to have to make a mistake or two for us to score a run and allow us a chance to hit a pitch that he did not want to throw.

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  2. Seems like Springer has been out forever……dang I miss that kid in the lineup.
    Thank goodness Rasmus got a hit, at least the boys won’t be no hit tonight. Chris Archer is a *beast*.

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  3. The only pitch that I saw Archer miss on was the second pitch to Valbuena in the eighth. It was a slider that hung out over the plate and Valbuena swung at it and fouled it back. He shook his head because he knew he had blown his one chance of the night. He struck out looking horrible on the next two pitches. Everything else that I saw was taken for a strike or was swung at by the Astros and was not drivable by them. Rasmus’s hit was a seeing eye bouncer in between the fielders. I don’t think many guys would have hit Archer tonight. But certainly we never had a chance. Our best hitter, Altuve, was ridiculously overmatched all night. The best chances we had for hits were dribblers that their infielders had to charge and throw us out.

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  4. Fresno wins 6-3. Duffy 2-4 w/1 RBI
    White, 2-3 with a walk and 2 RBIs. Now hitting .406
    Singleton with a homer and 2 RBIs and Grossman 3-3.
    Ober threw 8 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 runs.

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  5. Lancaster wins 4-0 over Lake Elsinore and Brad Radziewski with a brilliant 7 innings and a 76 game score
    By the way, Chris Archer’s game score was 95 tonight for the Rays and a perfect game score is 100, if I’m not mistaken.

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  6. With regard to Fields being sent down, he can still come back before September 1 and be on the playoff roster. He could come back sooner than the minimum 10 day stay if someone goes on the DL. Velasquez would have to do something really spectacular to edge him out IMO. Fields has been very productive this season, especially lately. Of the right handed relievers Harris has actually been the shakiest lately with Neshek close behind.

    For me the only two options that make sense for bringing McCullers up are to send down Marisnick or DFA Carter. I would much prefer to DFA Carter. If Marisnick gets sent down he would be ineligible for the playoff roster. Would you keep a piece of bench ballast like Carter over an elite defensive outfielder that despite his anemic offensive skills is still more valuable than Carter?

    And an observation about the front office; Lunhow seems to do well in situations where he has a lot of time to analyze data and come to solid conclusions like the draft. He expects his plans to work out. When they don’t he seems to be much less creative, thus his trades can be suspect. He wanted a bat so he gets Gomez despite Gomez having a subpar year before the trade. He wanted Carter and/or Singleton to take the first base position and when both failed he ignores a rising star in White. He brings up LMJ and VV way early in their development and is pleasantly surprised at their success but if one would look at their performances dispassionately they have prospered on their raw talent more than anything. Both throw way too many pitches, give up lots of foul balls and long at bats and are generally done after 5 or at most 6 innings. I like both kids but don’t think they deserve to be on the active roster September 1.

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  7. According to the radio this morning Archer’s game score of 95 was 6th best in the majors this season. 100 is a perfect score and there apparently have been 12 of those (they did not say if those 12 were ever or since the stat has been kept.
    That kid may be the pitching version of Correa. Poise and talent way beyond his years.

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  8. Ok, I’d love to have Archer in our rotation, but the guy is not invincible. In his last start against the Rangers, he gave up 11 hits and 7 earned. On July 8 he got shelled for 12 hits and 9 runs. Sure, he’s had mostly excellent outings, but he can be had. We just happen to have about the weakest lineup in the game right now. We gave him an easy night. And Dan, the kid is 26, with 81 starts under his belt.

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  9. Well, within the next 10 days, we will know how serious the FO is about winning and going deep into the playoffs. If so, by Sept 1st, there will need to be some major changes in the 25 man. Some will be head scratchers but will show that JL is putting his best post season lineup in place for the final run. If we don’t see any changes, it will be like the preliminary races you see for the Olympics. They cost into the finish line only caring about beating 2-3 others in the race. Finishing 3rd is acceptable.

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  10. Domingo Santana has been promoted to the Brewers. Now, he can play on the same team as Ryan Brau….Brau….Brau.
    Sorry, I was gagging.

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  11. Yeah, Domingo went to Colorado Springs and hit .380 with his typical .424 OBP and 18 RBI’s in 20 games. The Brewers are probably wondering what he was still doing in the minors. Our club had too much depth in the outfield to give him a real shot. With the luxury of hindsight, moving Rasmus to center and putting Santana in right would have saved us some pretty good prospects. My thought is that Luhnow had already decided he did not fit into our “Plan”. Kind of like our depth at first.

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  12. “In other baseball news, ESPN has learned that Astros GM, Jeff Luhnow has decided to make some bold moves. Said the brilliant Luhnow: ‘We’ve noticed that the bottom half of our lineup has hit .085 for the month of August so we have decided to move Jake Marisnick up to the #3 spot and move Correa back to the #8 spot to give our lineup more balance.’
    Added Luhnow ‘We’re happy with the guys we have, and now we have moved one of the three guys who actually can hit to the rear of the lineup to give us a chance to get a hit back there. We’re going for it all!”
    More news on this developing story, later
    Sarcasm font, please!

    Liked by 3 people

      • With full disclosure, sir. I had just read McTaggert’s story of why Fields was send down. It was because Gomez had the flu a few days ago, Rasmus has a boo boo, and so it made more sense to lose Fields for the rest of the month than ????. My response to that was “Huh?” I then come over here and read your narrative and up until the last sentence, it all fit together. I plan to go and take another nap.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. A.J.Reed was named MVP and rookie of the year for the California league today.
    Let’s hope he can do that for the Astros next year, or 2017!!!

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  14. HE DID IT!!! HE DID IT!!! HE DID IT!!!! HE DID IT!!! HE DID IT!!!!
    First time in 12yrs a no hitter by an Astros pitcher……………..
    It has NEVER been done at Minute Maid Park for or against !!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. MIke Fiers mother died recently……this was all about her. He may never do it again, but it’s OK for him to revel in the spotlight tonight! A.J. Hinch was very emotional after the game, and there will be a few guys who will go out for a few tonight!! This was such a special game, none of us will forget it any time soon! Our little team is finally getting some respect, and it has been well deserved! You were the hero tonight Mike Fiers!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So how weird must it feel to be traded from the worst team in baseball, the Phillies, to one of the best and certainly the richest, and get no-hit your first night as a Dodger. And Chase Utley thought he had seen it all!
    One of the guys Fiers was traded for, Domingo Santana, hit a two run homer in his first game as a Brewer. I guess both teams are happy about that trade tonight.
    Angels just got bombed by the Blue Jays, 9-2, and the Astros have a three and a half game lead in the West. Rangers hanging in, 4 games back.

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  17. Fresno won their 11th game in a row Friday night on a walkoff sac fly from John Singleton. A crowd of almost 12,000 in Fresno to see the Grizzlies tie a franchise record for wins in a row and also to enjoy the best baseball they have ever seen in their town. Fresno beats Round Rock and Tanner Sheppers, which makes it all the more sweeter! Final 2-1 in 10 innings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And they picked the right time to go on a winning streak as the 2nd place team, Sacramento, is currently riding an 11-game winning streak. They remain 14.5 games back and the division title is a mere formality now for the Grizzlies.

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