CHIPALATTA

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Will 2015 be the Astros’ finest hour?


“This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever faced.” ~~NASA Director.

“With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.” ~~Gene Kranz, Apollo 13 Mission Flight Director.

• •• ••• •• •

That classic exchange from the movie Apollo 13 puts the Houston Astros’ season into perspective.

It’s crunch time for the Astros. Time for America to find out if the 2015 version can handle the pressure, stand up to the challenges and reach its finest hour. Yes, it would be disappointing if the Astros failed to make the playoffs, but it would not be the “worst disaster” for the organization, especially given that most of the so-called experts figured the team for fourth or even fifth in the division.

Yes, Houston is involved in perhaps its most critical series of the season and after losing Game 1, you could even suggest the collective backs are against the wall.

A.J. Hinch‘s rotation is aligned perfectly with some of the hottest and best starters in the American League this season. If Texas can beat Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr., they may well deserve to win the division. The unfortunate part, however, could be that McHugh, Keuchel and McCullers all pitch well enough to win a game that the offense sputters in.

If Houston doesn’t make a success of the stretch run, the focus will turn back to Hinch’s boss, Jeff Luhnow. The assembly of an all-or-nothing offense last offseason and not really addressing/fixing that during the season will move back into focus. Adding hitters like Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus and even Carlos Gomez mid-season will likely cause the front office to adjust its thinking this winter.

How many prospects have the Astros given up to acquire Gomez and Hank Conger, not to mention Gattis? Would the Astros have been better to keep Dexter Fowler, who has a personal record number of plate appearances this season, rather than take on Dan Straily and Valbuena? And what of the decision to keep Chris Carter. A reasonable decision based on his second half, but certainly a huge gamble, one that Luhnow appears to have lost at this point.

At this point, the Astros have played the cards. But they aren’t the cards someone has dealt them, as they could have argued a few years ago when they were trying to clean up the mess of the 2000s. These are the cards they have dealt themselves and they will play them over the next few weeks.

Either way, despite the dramatically improved season, this winter will be another remodel. They’ll post another sign in the middle of October that will read: “Pardon our mess as we renovate. We know you will enjoy the new product much better. Thank you for your patience.”

The names will be changed to protect the innocent. But, rest assured, the names will be changed.

Couple of questions for you:

  • If the Astros were somehow to make it to the AL Championship Series and lose, where would this team rank with the great ones in your mind?
  • This question has been asked and answered many times over the season, but.
    • What or who is your greatest surprise on this team?
    • What or who is your greatest disappointment?
  • What are Luhnow’s best and worst moves since last season ended?
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, 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. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

192 comments on “Will 2015 be the Astros’ finest hour?

  1. Tim
    September 16, 2015

    The Twins are losing 2-1 in the 5th inning. I know it doesn’t feel good backing into the wild card, but it is better than nothing. We are missing some key players and if the Astros can get healthy and compete on this upcoming home stand they can still make the playoffs. Considering where they have been the last 5 years a wild card would still be a nice reward for this season. Despite the feelings if many Luhniw and his staff have done a good job in the draft and international signings. We are a very young team and have many good years ahead. Keep your head up, Astros fans.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      September 16, 2015

      Tim, I need some cheering up. Will you please send over a case, a quart, a tip and pour, a kilo, (you get the picture) of what is keeping your spirits up.

      Like

      • Tim
        September 16, 2015

        Well, the Twins just tied it up and have the go ahead run at 3rd with 1 out. I wish I had better news for you, AC45.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Billy Castillo
    September 16, 2015

    When Stassi came off the bench, did it make a suction sound?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky
    September 16, 2015

    Thank God this horrible game is over……I really don’t know what else there is to say.
    I just feel so damned bad for this team right now, nothing they seem to do works for them. They need to limp back home for some much needed home cooking, and get back in front of the few fans that they have left. I hope an Astros fan clocks a Rangers fan when they show up at Minute Maid screaming “choke city”. I’ll help him do it..
    As bad as we feel for them, they feel worse for us. Talk to you boys and girls tomorrow……I’m gonna fix myself a tall scotch and water.😠😠😠

    Like

    • sandy
      September 17, 2015

      I ate a whole pint of Blue Bell 😪

      Like

  4. Becky
    September 16, 2015

    One more VERY important Stat from this game, it almost assures that Keuchel is out of the Cy Young race……and that makes me soooo sad. He pitched his butt off this year and absolutely did not deserve this beat down.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 16, 2015

      That’s a shame.

      Like

    • sandy
      September 17, 2015

      I’m very worried about him. I hope he isn’t hurt.

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    September 16, 2015

    I’d like to blame it on the FO, but it really would not have mattered who we put out there tonight. The Rangers are just better.
    I’d like to blame it on Carter, Villar, and Gattis, but they were about the only offense we had tonight.
    I’d like to blame it on Conger’s poor defense, game-prep, and receiving, but Keuchel just did not have it tonight anyway.
    I’d like to blame it on A.J. Hinch’s line-up and in-game decision-making, but what on earth could anyone have done after our ace spotted them 6 runs in the first inning?
    I’d like to say we will turn the tables tomorrow, and catch back up when we get the Rangers on our home turf at MMP – but I don’t believe it for a milli-second. This team is done, and this is the Rangers’ year. Let ’em crow. They’ve earned it.

    Like

    • rj
      September 16, 2015

      screw that mr. bill. there is still 16 games left. i and i hope our team will hang in there until the end.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 16, 2015

      The Rangers can go eat something, but it ain’t crow!

      Like

    • sandy
      September 17, 2015

      Mr. Bill, What if Hinch had done a better job with the lineups the two previous games? If we had won at least 1 we wouldn’t have had our backs to the wall. This was a must win. Too much pressure on such a young team and manager.
      I won’t give credit to the Rangers. I don’t believe they deserve it. Remember how we handled the Royals, Dodgers, and Yankees. Just to name a few.

      Like

  6. Billy Castillo
    September 16, 2015

    If we win tomorrow, then I’ll continue to believe we have a chance. Lose tomorrow, then, well, might as well start playing for next year.

    Like

  7. astrocolt45
    September 16, 2015

    The sun will come out tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
    There’ll be sun

    Just thinkin’ about tomorrow
    Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow
    ’til there’s none

    When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely
    I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh

    The sun will come out tomorrow
    So you gotta hang on
    ’til tomorrow, come what may!
    Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
    You’re always a day away!

    *** I just got my late evening delivery from Tim. Good night. ***

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      September 17, 2015

      The Twins lost in extra innings! Keep the faith, brother.

      Like

  8. Billy Castillo
    September 16, 2015

    Chip, Dan, or whomever is posting the next story tomorrow…please have it be a doom and gloom headline, so we can go on a winning streak! Seems like the positive topics end up with us losing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 1oldpro
    September 17, 2015

    If there is a silver lining to this road trip, it is the proof that the team we have put on the field is not a playoff team.
    We have Altuve, Springer, Tucker, Correa, LMJ. Keuchel, McHugh, Velasquez and Stassi, and Marisnick who along with Duffy, White, Kemp, Singleton, Reed, Appel, Musgrove, Moran and Aplin are part of the future of this team.
    We have seen the other guys in the heat of a pennant race who have not cut it and are not part of the future.
    I think Gomez and Lowrie are certainly a part of 2016, but are questionable for beyond that.
    I will say one more thing. If Heineman can catch that sketchy Fresno pitching staff to a PCL Championship, he deserves a shot at a catching spot. This team does not win with Conger behind the plate, 90mph fastballs in the BP and .200 hitters in the lineup.
    Changes need to be made in those areas for this team to be a playoff team.
    And don’t worry about Feliz’s pitching tonight. When you take a rookie and bring him up and don’t show any confidence in him other than to be a lamb sent to the slaughter, how would you expect him to pitch, when not one other person on the team did anything but play terribly. He is very young, inexperienced and talented. and when you put him with young players who can play, he will do fine.
    OMG, we hit a home run in the ninth, down by 13 runs.
    El Oso too late-o

    Like

    • Tim
      September 17, 2015

      I agree, OP, but I am surprised you think Singleton is part of the future. He just looks, to me, like a younger, left-handed Chris Carter. The first change for next season is a new backup catcher. I just don’t think Luhnow will swallow his pride and admit he made a mistake on Conger. He won’t be able to trade him and I definitely don’t see him non-tendering him (or DFA as I am not sure of his contract situation). Watching Conger has really, really made me appreciate Jason Castro and that surprises me as I never thought I would appreciate him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        September 17, 2015

        I put Singleton in there as a courtesy to him. I think he will still be around.

        Like

    • sandy
      September 17, 2015

      I thought McCullers was pitching tonight?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 17, 2015

        I was referring to Feliz’s performance last night. I started writing that post before midnight but finished after the cluck strock midnight. It was my Cinderella post.

        Like

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2015 by in Astros.
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