This is the time for the 2015 Houston Astros

The kids have done about as good as anyone could expect through 5 months of an approximate 6 month season. Since April 19th they have led or been tied for the lead for 119 of 127 games and they have never been more than 2 games out of first place any time since the beginning of the season.

But in reality, the real season starts in September. This is the time when inexperience, injuries and inaction by the front office come to the forefront.

Only a handful of Astros has ever been in a pennant race. George Springer, Carlos Correa, Jason Castro, Marwin Gonzalez, Luis Valbuena, Preston Tucker, Jake Marisnick, Dallas Keuchel, Colin McHugh, Lance McCullers Jr., and Vincent Velasquez have never sniffed a pennant race. Does this matter? Heck the fans are nervous right now, imagine how these players are feeling right now. On the plus side a player like Carlos Correa is so special that he does not seem to notice that this is not a Lancaster A+ league pennant race.

With a young club that is not super deep, injuries can affect them down the stretch. Yes, they have other options than Scott Feldman in the rotation, but he is one of the most experienced and tested players on the team and between last year and this season has been one of the best pitchers down the stretch. There is a good chance he may not pitch again this season. Castro went down at a crucial time for this team. There is no doubt that the pitching staff is missing him defensively and as a game caller here in September. His return is critical to their success. At this point, they really need no other injuries.

It is really too late to do anything about the front office inaction. The inaction highlighted here is of course their refusal to address the poor offensive performances of Chris Carter and Valbuena and in my mind Evan Gattis. Yes, they have rotated Marwin Gonzalez into 3B and 1B and Jed Lowrie into 3B and this has helped. But the team needed to do something sooner to have full effect. Not breaking spring training with Carlos Correa probably cost them a couple games. Not trading for or bringing up a better offensive 1B (Matt Duffy, Tyler White) probably cost them a couple games. It does not sound like a lot of help, but as the Astros are staring at a lead shrunk to 1 game (0 games in the loss column) two or three games would be huge.

The current road trip that has started off with two tough losses may tell the tale with this team. If they don’t turn things around they could be 3 or 4 games back when they return home next week. Every time this team has looked like it was about to collapse this season, they have bowed their backs and played better and the team(s) chasing them in the AL West have played a little worse.

The questions for you today:

  • Will this team hold on and win the AL West?
  • Why or why not?
  • If not – will this team be a Wild Card play-in team?
  • What is most crucial to this team down the stretch?  Better Offense? Continued Great Starting pitching? Some help with the Rangers and Angels?
  • Who will be the Astros hero of September? The goat?

122 comments on “This is the time for the 2015 Houston Astros

  1. Houston has two pitchers who have 16 wins.
    The last time we had two pitchers with 16 wins was in 2004!! Who would have thought two years ago, when Keuchel was up and down….would have *17* wins in 2015! Collin McHugh must be thinking he’s in some wild dream, because he was.nearly OUT of baseball in 2013! I’m so proud of these guys because none of us, or them thought they would be this successful! Everytime I see the stats on our young guns in Corpus and Lancaster I get sooo excited. This rotation is going to be AMAZING next year, and for years to come!! I can’t wait!


  2. Josh Hamilton is out for the rest of the season. He will have knee surgery. Thank you baseball Gods, he was killing us!! Now if we can only get that idiot Order out of the lineup!!


    • The Rangers had a good excuse for the poor hitting today with King Felix. But they played a lousy game in the field. Odor blew a double play. They made 3 errors and Venable in CF completely missed a ball that was ruled a hit. Lets hope they keep up the sloppy play.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, we will win the West, on the basis that we have been under performing our record and the Rangers over performing. This seems to be the basis for Fangraphs showing us at around 80% for the division.

    Starting pitching has carried us most of the year, and they will need to continue to do so through the final month.

    I am starting to worry about FO stability. In looking at the openings for GMs, I would put Houston in 4th behind Boston, Philly, and Seattle (CBS on GM openings)
    as far as player spending, and that or just an opportunity to move up may make a difference to a FO who has members that are already being linked to new jobs.


  4. I want to mention a player the Astros acquired this past offseason that may be forgotten by most fans. That player is James Hoyt and after a horrible start to the season in Fresno he finished with a very respectable 3.49 E.R.A. and 66 Ks in only 49 IPs. Last night he closed out Fresno’s win going 1.1 IPs with 3 Ks. He was considered almost a toss in when we acquired Evan Gattis from the Braves, but he may end up being a key acquisition and a key part of our bullpen next year.


    • I saw Hoyt pitch in spring training and thought he might make the team.
      Then he blew up in Fresno and all I could figure was that the Astros had him changing a bunch of stuff.
      Lately, he’s been a lot more reliable but they have not brought him up because he is not on the 40-man roster.
      It will be interesting to see what they think of him this fall, because he came in the Gattis trade, so he wasn’t a freebie. Will they protect him to replace someone like Qualls or Fields?


      • I saw him briefly in ST. He has not pitched this year like what I expected. (Just looking at the stats). But more often than not, the minors are where a AAAA player gets to work on what he is missing. This is going to be a fun Winter. Lets hope the Fall proves to be as much fun.


  5. MInors:
    Fresno wins and is up 2-0 in games, needs to win 1 more in El Paso to advance
    Corpus loses and is tied 1-1. Needs to win two of three in Midland to advance
    Lancaster loses and is tied 1-1, has to win tonight to advance.
    Quad Cities loses and is eliminated.
    Tri City loses and is eliminated.


    • Manaea is a beast – I can’t believe KC traded him and only got Zobrist in return. I dont think he has walked anyone in the 50ish innings pitched for Midland…and he is striking out plenty. KC picked him one or two choices above our supplemental pick that was Derek Fisher. Moran took him deep in the fourth at least.


      • A guy who lived off his fastball in college until batters caught up with him. Now that he has improved his slider and changeup command he is starting to blossom.
        That Zobrist trade may turn out well for both teams, the Royals immediately, and the Athletics for the long haul, at least, until they have to actually pay Manaea.


  6. The Rangers are in a stretch of playing 26 games in 27 days. This could benefit the Astros next week as the Rangers will be nearing the end of this stretch and could be tired. The Rangers bats have cooled off recently and here’s hoping they stay cool until we leave town next Thurday.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The clock starts today. The guys in that clubhouse who have been where our guys are trying to get to, have to prepare our young guys on what to expect the next three weeks. I’m more nervous now than I was when this club went to the world series!! (((Gulp)))!!
    A lot of us kinda saw this coming, but it’s sad anyway. …Brad Ausmus is going to be fired.
    What I can’t believe, is the Tigers want him to finish out the season. You KNOW what I would tell them to do with THAT thought. JEEZE….you are going to fire me, but you want me to work for the next three weeks….. *NO*!!! I hope he finds another job as a manager, he deserves another chance. 😦 😦


    • I guess that’s the way it goes in baseball, the manager usually pays the price when things go wrong. We know what a smart guy Brad is, can’t believe it’s his fault.

      This time last year I’d be wanting him for the Stros. Hinch has been a pleasant surprise though.


      • Sandy….most first time managers get the ax. But what you said is correct, he IS a smart guy, and I look for him to land another manager’s job sooner rather than later. A.J. Hinch was EXACTLY what this club needed. He’s level headed, and let’s his players be themselves, something Bo Porter failed at and taking the “dirt” to the media. If my company told me I was going to be fired in three weeks but they wanted me to work through the end of the month….
        I would tell them where to stick it. I hope Brad does the same thing. Get out your lucky charms tonight, these guys have GOT to win this first game!! I hope Weaver is off his game tonight!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is a small world for major league managers. Just the 30 mlb jobs and not very many are open at any one time. Therefore, a smart guy like Ausmus is probably saying to himself that if he puts in 3 weeks of being a professional despite the death sentence hanging over him that he may be impressing 29 other teams. He may have to be a bench coach for a while or even manage at AAA, but he will get a second chance and when he does I hope like Hinch he shines forth the second time around.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Too bad – that was what I was speculating in the post – but a shame as he had been pitching very well and he is a veteran presence this club needed.


  8. Let’s bring Brad on back down here as a helper outer. He was offered but took himself out of contention when they were looking. He once said, “I’ll always be an Astro.” Well, Brad, as Debra Winger said in Urban Cowboy, “Wanta prove it?”


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