CHIPALATTA

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Sunday update: Are Astros just tiring from a long season?


A few random thoughts this Sunday as the Astros still struggle to reach pre-season goals for the team many thought would do good to hit .500 or just above.

Is the team just tired?

Several players — including pitchers — have hit career highs in many categories, faced injuries all season or have had inconsistent playing time for one reason or another. Too much, too little or too inconsistent time will certainly present potential draw backs for a player and a team. For example:

  • Dallas Keuchel has already exceeded his IP career total and will likely add another 20+ IP to that, playoffs notwithstanding.
  • Same for Collin McHugh, who is already 30 IP (182) above his career high (154) and will likely join Keuchel in the 200 IP club.
  • And that Lance McCullers Jr. guy is so far above his nor (140IP to 104), his 21-year-old frame is bound to notice.
  • Evan Gattis had never played more than 108 games in a season until the 141 this year. His batting and slugging percentage are below career norms and his OPS is at a low for his career as well.

That list goes on, but the rotation and even the bullpen have reached a point where they need a second wind to push through the next few weeks and perhaps the next month.

A major league season is a grinder and even Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker and others are playing baseball in a part of the year they haven’t in a long time, if ever.

Those dang lineups!

It’s been a battle for A.J. Hinch all season, one that has plagued previous Astros’ managers as well. The first-year manager has used 141 different batting orders and even started 114 different defensive lineups. That’s what happens when players don’t perform or miss considerable time with injury. Consider.

  • Ten different players have hit second in the batting order. This is generally one of the most consistent areas of your lineup, especially for playoff contending teams.
  • As for third in the order? Now that Carlos Correa has settled in (is he the right guy long term?), it’s better, but six different players preceded him in that role this year. SIX!
  • Ten different players have started in left field and Houston is still searching for the answers at the two corner infield positions, supposedly anchors for a contending team.
  • Any idea who has the most starts at third base at left field this season?

Not to mention the injuries…

You can argue that some of these aren’t significant losses, but each had been plugged into roles in April and caused Jeff Luhnow and Hinch to alter plans on the fly. It’s just another area that causes an engine to not purr as smoothly as it should.

  • Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock — thought to be key potential key rotation pieces only several short months ago — have been virtually non-existent in 2015.
  • Lowrie missed 82 games to the disabled list.
  • George Springer was out 60 games.
  • Sam Deduno has been out and, Scott Feldman is now out for the season.
  • Jason Castro (17), Jake Marisnick (15) and Josh Fields (15, plus a strange minor league demotion) also missed time due to injuries.

Yes, every team has its own battles, but Houston has had little chance to get in a groove. Some of it is self-inflicted (e.g. trades, depending on players like Jonathan Villar et al), but part of the success of a playoff team is how well (read: St. Louis) adjusts during the course of a season and stretch run.

And, yes, this season was not won or lost in June or July, it will be won or lost in the next two weeks. Sounds simple, but IP, games played, injuries and lineups will become more critical now.

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of 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. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

180 comments on “Sunday update: Are Astros just tiring from a long season?

  1. Becky
    September 21, 2015

    *18* WINS!!! WOW!

    Like

  2. Becky
    September 21, 2015

    Chips dad says he feels better, and wants to go home….but will stay in the hospital for a few more days.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. 1oldpro
    September 21, 2015

    I thought we could get to Weaver tonight. If not for lousy base running, I think we could have buried him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. drbill14
    September 21, 2015

    Lousy base running indeed and actually a poor mental effort from Altuve this evening. I was at the game and it looked like he was out of it when he got picked off, he glanced to right field on the hit by Lowrie which may have cost him a few beats that would have made the difference (although that was a fantastic throw by Calhoun. I didn;t realize he had that kind of arm.) and he brain locked when Murphy broke late for the plate when Perez forced Murphy to go. OTOH, Correa is a stud. 19 homers before his 21st birthday and a real clue at the plate. The RBI double was a real nice piece of hitting and clutch. Overall the quality of at bats this evening was really good. Can we have that kind of production from our top three the rest of the season? Please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      September 21, 2015

      Doc, Correa and Altuve and Springer brought it to the plate tonight.
      Just think, Tyler white had 3 homers and 10 RBIs in two playoff series, Singleton had a good bat and Kemp was the MVP of the PCL finals with 9 hits and 20 at bats in the final series and nine RBIs in the playoffs from the leadoff position.
      The Astros really could have some good hitters in their lineup next year, if they are allowed to play.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky
        September 22, 2015

        I get pissed off every time I think of bringing up the guys in the minors, when all they get to do is watch from the bench while Carter swings and misses every time he gets to the plate. It will be interesting to see if Hinch will let Singelton play after their game is over tomorrow . I guess that’s what they are supposed to do…..sit down and shut up. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

        Liked by 1 person

  5. drbill14
    September 21, 2015

    Keuchel was really good tonight. When the Angels scored I don’t think they hit a single ball that would break glass. It was a hoot to see him break Aybar’s bat on two consecutive pitches.

    Like

  6. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    Foley was rushed to the hospital yesterday, with swelling and redness in his right arm. He had surgery this evening to remove part of one rib, to help dissolve the blood clots. He will remain in the hospital for at least one more day, and go home with blood thinners for about 6weeks. It would appear his year has ended, but he’s gonna be ok. Thanks, Becky ⚾

    Like

    • Becky
      September 22, 2015

      Folty…

      Like

    • sandy
      September 22, 2015

      Thanks for the update on Folty and chip’s dad.

      Like

  7. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    Glad for the win and really hope all ok with Folty and Chips Dad. Hopefully young LMJ can just keep himself calm , pitch, and don’t let a missed call ruin your night, we need you.

    Like

  8. Tim
    September 22, 2015

    If the Astros can, at a minimum, split these next 2 games with the Angels they will be in a good position for that 2nd WC spot. However, because of their trouble winning on the road, I feel they have to sweep Texas if they want to win the division. Seattle scares me right now. They are playing great baseball and Cano has really picked it up. They went into Arlington and slowed down that Rangers freight train. At this point I would be happy just getting a win in Seattle and Arizona (2 wins on the road trip). That should be enough to make the playoffs.

    Like

  9. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    I want the Astros to win the division. Anything after that is gravy.
    They have the chance to get out front at home and I don’t think I or the team would be satisfied with letting the Rangers take it.
    The last time we faced Santiago we presented an all right handed lineup that swung up at his pitches the entire night. We hit 15 fly balls and three line drives. We had two solo homers and were 0 for 2 w/RISP for the entire game.
    Altuve had four at bats and saw only 5 pitches. He got thrown out stealing by Perez.
    Conger was the catcher.
    I expect more discipline tonight against a pitcher who is usually wild.
    This is a game we need to smash line drives all over and put this guy out early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky
      September 22, 2015

      Agreed!!

      Like

    • sandy
      September 22, 2015

      I just want them to beat that other TX team. I don’t even care about the playoffs but
      a sweep this weekend would thrill me beyond words.
      It would make for a very happy winter.

      Like

  10. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    Double Ditto and go Fresno, stros on one screen and grizz on the other (-:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      September 22, 2015

      Does anyone know the Directv channel for the AAA game?

      Like

  11. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    I set up a minor league game to record on Direct TV channel 220. There was no info but I’m fairly certain that is it, NBCSHD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      September 22, 2015

      Yes

      Like

  12. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    By the way, I think I projected the Astros to finish the year 80-82, and I really appreciate the effort they have made this year as a team and an organization.
    I am too tough on them, but they have played great and entertaining baseball.
    They won their 80th game last night.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Billy Castillo
      September 22, 2015

      I predicted 85, and they’re just about there. This may be the 3rd season in a row that they are within 1 game of my predicted win total!

      Liked by 1 person

      • drbill14
        September 22, 2015

        Billy: Revise your projected win total to 90 please.;)

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 22, 2015

        If Conger and Carter weren’t on the team, I would lol

        Like

      • Tim
        September 22, 2015

        Well, Carter gets the start tonight atv1B against a LH pitcher. MarGo is starting in LF. Castro is behind the dish and the only LH in the lineup against Santiago.

        Like

  13. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    Altuve 2B
    Springer RF
    Correa SS
    Lowrie 3B
    Gattis DH
    Marwin LF
    Carter 1B
    Castro C
    Marisnick CF
    LMJ P

    Like

  14. sandy
    September 22, 2015

    Carter on first with 186. Duffy sits with 250. Didn’t he play some fist in AAA?
    Don’t know how much longer I can take this.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 22, 2015

      Same here. Stassi bats RH so he would’ve been perfect too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      September 22, 2015

      Sandy, I am delighted that Castro is starting. Why? Because it tells me that Castro’s LH bat against a LH pitcher means less to the Astros than does Conger’s bad defense. To me, that is a step in the right direction. Castro has a .308 career BA against Santiago.
      Duffy being called up for help at the corners means a lot more to me than Singleton’s call up would have. It shows me a recognition that Duffy could be a help to the team in the future.
      Carter starting tonight over Duffy, doesn’t bother me too much, because he is also a RH batter and has good numbers against Santiago in 12 at bats. He has a homer, a double, two singles and 4 RBIs and two walks against Santiago.

      Like

      • sandy
        September 22, 2015

        OK, OP, I trust your judgement. 😊
        Thanks for saving my hair. I won’t be pulling it out today.
        Unless the game gets ugly later on.

        Like

    • Kevin
      September 22, 2015

      (P*^*$^&%#^%&*^*(P&()*)(*{){_

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 22, 2015

        ?!

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 22, 2015

        I think we might refer to that as unhappy rhetoric.

        Like

  15. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    Good luck to our Fresno Grizzlies tonight!! They have an interesting lineup with LJ Hoes as the DH. I really hope they pull this game out, because it validates the progress this organization has made in the pipeline to the majors! Now…..back to OUR boys tonight, we need a good game out of Mccullars. He’s wading into uncharted water, he’s got such a great arm, I just hope he can rest it over the winter, and come back next year to take his spot in the rotation for good!! Let’s hope that Matt Duffy can at least pinch hit for someone tonight….it makes me sooo angry that Hinch and Luhnow don’t trust him to start. AND…if you want a “club Astros” T shirt you can buy one at the park, or order one through the Astros website. I thought of you OldPro, I know you will want to order more than one!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!!!!! Go ‘Stros ☆☆☆

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      September 22, 2015

      Order me one with the name Villar on the back! Ha! Ha! Out here on the farm, I believe I can find a use for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky
        September 22, 2015

        I love your dry humor……

        Liked by 2 people

    • sandy
      September 22, 2015

      I’m looking forward to seeing the Grizzlies for the first time. Excited about that.

      I have another theory about the new guys sitting. Apparently THE computer doesn’t have enough data on them to play them?
      But if they don’t play how will THE computer ever get any data?

      Like

  16. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    I’ve got another guy we need to keep our eyes on, his name is Jon Kemmer. Bats left and was in the 2013 draft, he’s an outfielder that can make us forget about Maverick….who by the way was called up today. Like A.J.Reed he’s got BIG power. Look him up, he’s gonna be up here by the end of July next year…..mark my words!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      September 22, 2015

      Wasn’t he the Player of the Year for the Hooks this year? I think daveb likes him also.

      Like

      • Becky
        September 22, 2015

        YEP!!! He was! He’s got the same power Maverick has. DANG….that trade hurt.

        Like

      • Devin_
        September 22, 2015

        You’re wrong – he has more power than Maverick. Doesn’t run as well though.

        Like

  17. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    For those of you who are watching the Grizzlies game…give us the scores! Ok!?

    Like

    • Kevin
      September 22, 2015

      Done

      Like

  18. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    Tyler White nice swing, but I can see why they want him to drop some weight at 210 he could be a beast. Singleton SF 1-0

    Like

    • daveb
      September 22, 2015

      Every now and then, a sturdy bloke can hit. And I’m not talking Gattis. White will clog bases on occaision, but he will work counts, get a pitch, and drive the ball. What is he, a 33rd round pick?

      Like

  19. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    2-0 error on SS

    Like

  20. Billy Castillo
    September 22, 2015

    And here we go…

    Like

  21. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    3-0 fresno in the first. Single Presley, double White, Sac Fly Singleton, error by SS on Hoes grounder, single Grossman, single Aplin.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    GAWD…. how I *despise* Alberts homeruns at our park!! That was #50.
    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

    Like

  23. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    5-0 need a Mulligan at MM

    Like

  24. sandy
    September 22, 2015

    OP you’re a genius.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    Top of second in EP: Kemp singled and stole second, Presley singled him home. White just missed a homer with a drive of the top of the wall, Presley scored, 5-0.

    Like

  26. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    Carter and Marwin back to back in the second. Altuve lined out to center with a couple on. Angels 3-2 going into the third.

    Like

  27. Kevin
    September 22, 2015

    6-0 LOl soon could be 8-0

    Like

    • Becky
      September 22, 2015

      You are *kidding* me!! Wow!! I would love to see that game!!

      Like

  28. Billy Castillo
    September 22, 2015

    Shazam! Sgt Karter hit a homerun, Pvt. Pyle!

    Like

  29. rj
    September 22, 2015

    i notice lowrie has 9 hrs. when he hits his tenth does that break the record for players on a team with double digit homers?

    Like

  30. Zanuda
    September 22, 2015

    Battling but 2 on and nobody out in the 5th. FO, K, Pop out. Needed some small ball.

    Like

  31. Becky
    September 22, 2015

    I hate to jinx the kid, but is Devenski really working on a perfect game??? That’s what I heard Robert Ford say. Anybody??

    Like

  32. sandy
    September 22, 2015

    Games over. He got the win but gave up 3 hits.
    I recorded it to watch tomorrow.

    Like

  33. sandy
    September 22, 2015

    Score 7-0

    Like

  34. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    Fresno wins 7-0. Devenski gives up 1 hit in seven innings. Jankowski gave up a hit in the eighth and Hoyt gave up a single in the ninth. Total domination, Fresno just coasted the last four innings. Best player on the field tonight was Presley, but Tyler Heineman is very good behind the plate and Tyler White is a hitter. He just needs to improve his body.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. 1oldpro
    September 22, 2015

    Astros leaving men on. McCullers totally back on his game after his rough first inning. I’ve recorded it and I’m going to go back and see if the Astros can find a way to pull this thing out.

    Like

  36. Zanuda
    September 22, 2015

    Dvinski throws a 1 hitter

    Like

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2015 by in Astros.
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