The 2015 Astros’ season begins this weekend

Jim Crane is right. If the Astros do not make the playoffs in 2015, the season will have been a disappointment.

Say all you will about the unexpected success. Shout it out loud that 2017 is supposed to the year anyway. Yeah, yeah, the organization is in rebuild mode and 2015 wasn’t supposed to be the year anyway.

Still, it will be an empty feeling if the Astros are not playing baseball after October 4.

It’s come down to this weekend perhaps. Make it or break it. Do or die.

I posited a few weeks ago — while the Astros were still somewhat comfortably in first place — that it could come down to a do-or-die situation for Houston. That the Angels and Twins, and not the Rangers, were the real threat. And, here we are.

Just seven games over .500 and still not at the magical break-even point for the season, the Twins and Angels are running almost neck and neck with the Astros. They’re licking their chops at Houston’s three-game series with Texas this weekend. And Houston is a 3-7 over the past 10, not exactly where you want to be in the midst of a stretch run.

Sure, attendance is up this season, Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch have found a couple more solid pieces to add to Jose Altuve’s build-around success and the Astros seemed almost destined to be above .500 (right?).

But, admit it, if Houston doesn’t even back into the playoffs, it will be — as Crane noted — “a big disappointment”.

None of the major players (read Luhnow, Hinch, etc) will be fired if they don’t. There won’t be a major shakeup, not even on the field. Sure, Chris Carter, Hank Conger, Colby Rasmus and others will be gone, but the core will remain.

This time, Jim Crane is right. Nine games to go. The most important nine games of the season. No more talk of 90 wins this season. Face it, 85 wins may be a challenge.

The season begins tonight with a three-game weekend series with the Rangers. Let’s see what ya got!

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163 comments on “The 2015 Astros’ season begins this weekend

  1. The Rangers are rolling. I think they take the series and put us out of our misery. Then we spend the winter hearing the Astros tell us over and over that we are on the brink of something great.

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    • And we may be on the brink of something great, but it doesn’t matter today if the Astros fail to make the playoffs. I agree with you that I don’t think they make it either. I keep looking long and hard for something to indicate they can rally these last 9 games and I can’t find it. I have been listening to several national sports radio shows and practically everyone is burying the Astros this year.

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  2. I hope that Crane hires Biggio as VP Of Baseball operations and he has to sign off on every move Lunschmuck makes. Every great company/organization needs someone like a Biggio to make sure the gate keeper has accountability, not just BS mathematical rhetoric, this is still baseball

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    • What qualifications, other than being a Hall of Famer, makes you think Biggio should be in charge of player personnel decisions? Nolan Ryan has the experience and I would trust him before Biggio. I want Biggio to earn his stripes as a FO executive before handing the player personnel decisions to him. This rebuild could completely spiral out of control.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. He knows baseball talent maybe, building a culture maybe, just a thought. It’s about winning, the last time I checked the Astros have sucked it up for 8 weeks. I love Nolan, respect Nolan, he is a dinosaur, Not to mention seems the team he got the boot from is doing quite well, and made some pretty solid talent move this year

    PS I hate everything in Dallas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have complained about JL as much as anyone but he does not deserve a “firing” until 2016 is over (if then). He has improved the team dramatically. It is much easier going from 100 losses to 2nd or 3rd, than the next move. This team (as composed) is a .500 team. JL has to make some solid moves this Winter. It can be something as simple as bringing up some minor leaguers and give them a try. But this team (the 40 man) has to improve again this Winter. It takes more than 25 and it can’t have huge drop offs when someone is injured. I believe he and Wade improved the minors using a huge cache of draft picks. A very smart move when your team is in the toilet. But now he must find and use “better” players at a few positions. That is easy for me to say, but sometimes extremely difficult to do. And Chip, if you can “pinky swear” that “Sure, Chris Carter, Hank Conger, Colby Rasmus and others will be gone” is true – I will join Bopert in the corner with a dunce hat.

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    • I don’t and will never care for Lunschmuck, just a gut thing for me He doesn’t deserve to be fired. He has made huge stride for the team in the draft and the minors, and found McGUGH for crying out loud. As I stated they need a real baseball person between him and Crane IMHO,

      Balance!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t pretend to know which human pulled the trigger on the Gomez trade, but cooler heads must prevail. As I understand it, there are supercool, supersmart ones in the background, one of which got picked off. We need to use what we have. At the same time, I admit to being very unhappy with treatment of fans over the last few years, so much so that I disengaged.

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  5. If the Astros lose this series with the Rangers, I hope they shut down Lance McCullars. If he gets damaged, we will remember losing him next year and the following years, not losing out on the playoffs.

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  6. I’m so dang nervous about this series, I can only imagine how Hinch and the guys feel.
    Sometimes when there is SOO much to lose the team starts to do things that cost runs.
    I hope and pray they play their best, and whatever happens…happens. We want them to succeed so badly and when they don’t we are left empty, and angry. We can’t wish them to win, they have to let them play and HOPE they pull out a win.
    Chip so glad to see you back. We’ve been thinking of you, and praying for your dad.

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  7. well chip, given the week that has passed, i think the best statement to make is “it aint over till its over”. true words from a really good player and man. many in here for days and even weeks have been saying stick a fork in them, its all over but the shouting, we’re doomed etc etc. well again i go back to those true words, it aint over till its over. here we are with just 9 games left in the season and we are UP 1 1/2 games for a wild card slot. who wouldn’t have taken that at the beginning of the season? i will agree that the division looks out of reach, but the playoffs are still right in the palm of our hand. a real team will fight and claw till the very end. real fans don’t give up or in until you are mathematically eliminated. heres hoping for a spot in the playoffs where once you are in anything can happen.

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  8. I’m a nervous wreck today. Praying for a win but not really expecting one.

    This team is too predictable. The opposition knows what we’re going to do at the plate and on the field and they are ready and waiting.

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  9. I’m the only person with a Astro flag in a front yard in Western Colorado, but I have a bad feeling about this weekend , I hope I’m so wrong. Good news as I and others have said many times over the last few months, 3 or 4 additions-deletions to this 25 in 2016 , and we are going to rock.

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  10. I expect to lose to guys like Pujols and Trout. They kill us (and everyone else). Freese? He is probably better against Houston than any other team. As for guys on the Rangers, well, it’s inexcusable to lose to Fielder or Odor, in my opinion. Losing because your catcher is the defensive equivalent if Mike Piazza (or Jason Varitek at the end) is inexcusable. Letting Mitch Moreland look like Joey Votto is inexcusable. The scouting should have been better and the execution by the players should have been there.

    This weekend should be more considered an audition for next year’s employment. Our 3B coach and hitting coaches are likely lame ducks…if the FO is as intelligent as they like to tell everyone. Certain players shouldn’t get off the bench if they are going to be unprepared. I have said multiple times they need to focus one game at a time, and I suppose that is still true, but they really can’t afford to manage the team that way. Starters have to give quality innings and leave with the lead. Hitters can’t let the opposing pitcher off the hook. The A’s could have buried the Rangers, but made bone headed plays, went to sleep, and blew comfortable leads. Our bullpen guys who can’t get the ball below the catcher’s mask should just call in sick.

    Now is the 9 game stretch to earn your paychecks.

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  11. One thing I know about baseball is that whenever I think there is a trend, things turn on a dime and go the opposite direction. I don’t expect that in this case, but it sure would be nice if the Astros who went bat crap crazy for 10 games in April come back and go bat crap crazy for the last 9 games in September. (And I know using the words bat and crap in the same sentence when talking about the Astros is very appropriate).
    They are tired, they are inexperienced and they have been playing lately like they feel their collars tightening around their throats. The team is owed a few lucky breaks, a game where bloops are dropping and the other team is the one playing sloppy. The Rangers are on a roll and seem to have the Astros number this season. Can it turn? Sure. Will it? Not so sure.

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  12. For those that like to follow betting lines, like myself, the Astros opened at -250 to win the series against the Rangers. This means that the wise guys who set the lines have the Astros as heavy favorites to win this 3-game series against the Rangers. I was stunned by this, but they have more knowledge than I do and they don’t set the lines to lose money.

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    • Maybe they are thinking that Keuchel is a lock at home and that we are bound to win one of the other two – both Galardo and Holland have been getting lit up lately.

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      • That is probably the reason, but considering how well the Rangers have been playing and how poorly the Astros have and the fact Texas has hit Keuchel well this year I expected it would be closer to even. But, what do I know? I am just a diehard fan who bleeds Astros Orange.

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  13. Just wondering if anyone has a clue or a guess as to why they would consistently put Tucker in the 8 spot batting between Valbuena and Castro?
    No chance in hell he gets anything to hit. He deserves to be traded to a better team.

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  14. Some pretty heavy negative emotion being expressed here. I understand the anxiety, but there’s plenty of time to do some bashing– and to discuss next year– in a few weeks.
    I like Dan P’s first sentence about trends changing unexpectedly. But, in contrast with his second sentence—- I do expect a positive trend here. One of us will be right—and all I know for sure— is that we both hope it’s me.

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  15. The Astros did catch a break when the Mariners pushed back King Felix’s start from today to tomorrow. With Iwakuma pitching on Sunday the Astros won’t face either in Seattle next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Well…the good news is, they won’t have to face King Felix or Ishikawa in Seattle. I have a young friend who is in the baseball operations and I emailed him today and asked him what the mood was inn the front office and he said “hopefull”. I’m so nervous I can’t sit still!! I’m at my favorite watering hole in the Heights….see you after the game!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pathetic display and now Rasmus looks like Fowler out there. Good luck I’m out. At least we can say we have the worst fielding catcher and pitcher in Baseball

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  18. Man the first inning and a half is a microcosm of the slump. Correa not getting in Altuve from 3rd. Kazmir walking Beltre with two outs in front of Fielder. Kazmir with another error. Bad luck on the ball that hits the left center fence and goes sideways and then the blooper to left Tucker can’t catch. Balls smashed and balls not smashed finding a hole for the Rangers.

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  19. Every guy on the Astro team has worked hard. And even guys like Carter have tried, in spite of their ineptness. I give Hinch a certain degree of credit for having kept the guys in his dugout motivated throughout the season. And Hinch deserves credit for squeezing more wins out of this team than the group he had to work with should have given us. Let’s face it, the Rangers are a better team, built to peak at the right time with significant talent added where required. They even had the smarts to see value in a guy that we discarded. That’s reality.

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  20. And I do get a kick out of the folks that prefer to dog guys on the team that have contined to work hard. Kazmir is obviously unable to pitch as he was earlier in the year. You can see it in his face. He can’t throw as hard. He’s physically unable. You think he’s not trying? He did not sign himself to play for this team. Rasmus has provided more than most of us would have expected at the beginning of the season. Even Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are taking barbs tonight. Fair weathered fans if you ask me.

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  21. I always find it so amusing when one has been a die hard fan of the Astros for 30 years and I’m speaking for me, vent my frustrations because lets face it we have melted and all the sudden someone who doesnt know me at all, throws out a fair weather fan. What BS I have watched every game the last 8 years and thousands over the years. I have earned my right to vent on the crap I’m seeing, with out cheap shots from the peanut gallery DaveB

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      I vent here as well, but if you’re going to deal out cheap shots (Lunschmuck) then you have to learn how to take them. There’s a difference between venting and just being vindictive with the name calling. Many on here, including Dave, aren’t Luhnow fans, but the petty name calling seems childish. If you have disagreements with his personnel,decisions then, by all means, feel free to voice them, but I think the silly name calling should stop.

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      • Everyone who visits here has a strong emotional tie to this team, even Bopert ( although he probably wouldn’t admit it)
        We all take out our frustrations here in different ways. But I truly believe we are all loyal fans.
        Now if you want to read the childish thoughts of fair weather fans go to The Astros or Chron blogs.

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  22. What in hell is Villar doing in this game?? He’s ALREADY given them an out by his base running……STUPID. ….STUPID….STUPID. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
    And now we might have lost Altuve for the rest of this weekend, and maybe for longer. I know Correa feels sooo bad about that. He and Altuve are like brothers.
    No need to be back biting you guys……stay cool, ok?? I’m so depressed.😟😟😟

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  23. Kazmir reminds me of the J.A. Happ trade. Happ hated it here, and did not want to be traded to Houston. Kazmir didn’t want to be traded from the A’S and I don’t think he was real happy about getting traded…period. Not that he didn’t want to come back home to pitch, he had made really good friends with his teammates in Oakland.
    I don’t think he has increased his free agent value with the way he’s pitched so far.
    I personally think the guys are trying waaay too hard to be perfect, and win these games. I felt sorry for them tonight. By the end of the second inning the Rangers were already ahead 6-0, and the hole was too deep to dig out of. That was EXACTLY the way it started in Arlington two weeks ago, with an error by Kazmir in the first inning. Gang….this will be a tough next 9 games, but I’m gonna watch until the very last out. Good or bad….they are my Astros.

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    • Same here. As furious and angry as I am at the way the season is ending, this is still my team and has been since 1991. I’m just upset that it’s the *Rangers* winning the division and possibly putting the final nail in the coffin for our playoff dreams.

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  24. Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Rangers vs. Angels play 4 to end the season. Someone has to lose those games. It is just a matter of winning again. We need to win today and then move to the next game.

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  25. Saw a pretty good example of bad baseball last night. 1 for 11 with RISP, 3 errors (CC’s was not an error with Altuve bad call), Rasmus had 1 but should have had two, bad base running again (Villar), 10K’s (3 by CC and I believe he’s pressing), and Kazmir doesn’t have it and he looks like he doesn’t even want to be there. The BP was good last night as they only gave up 3 hits and a walk in 5.1 innings.
    Looking at next year we’ve said no Valbuena, Karter, Rasmus, and Conger. I’m not sure about Gattis as he’s not a complete throw away but he’s only one dimensional. Can we make a 1st baseman out of Tucker? He just doesn’t seem to have the defensive skills to play outfield. And with the rotation we have too many 4’s and 5’s. I like Keuchel, McHugh, and McCuellars as our top 3. How about Devinski and let the others fight it out. The BP this year had an A until the last 30 days and then their grade has dropped to a B.
    The biggest issue is getting guys that can hit for average. Oh and I forgot Lowrie. He just doesn’t seem to have it anymore.
    Sandy, your comment about criticism is correct. We are like “family” here. In other words it’s OK for us to criticize them but others haven’t “earned” the right because they aren’t in the family. I’ll probably not watch today because when I’ve been watching as of lately, they lose. I’ll stay away and see what happens.

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