CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Astros steal a win … and home-field advantage


This win had it all. A great pitching performance. (Honestly, I think that first homer by Kendrys Morales was a good pitch by Collin McHugh.) Three hits from Jose Altuve, and two each from George Springer and Jake Marisnick. Another shut-down night from the bullpen.

But it’s all in the past now.

This is the playoffs. It’s not about the long haul. It’s about the next game, the next pitch and the next swing of the bat.

And as you read this, the Astros are about six hours or less from what matters … that next game.

Here’s what I’m looking for in Game 2.

1. How is Scott Kazmir’s velocity, and his movement on his off-speed pitches? Looking at Kazmir’s last outing, it was the unearned runs that doomed him. I think if the Astros’ defense had properly supported Kaz, he’d have had a better outcome.

2. The other thing about Kazmir is he needs to throw strikes. Free bases for the Royals will be the Astros’ doom.

3. With the righty Johnny Cueto on the mound, I’d like to see Preston Tucker in the DH. Tucker gives good ABs, and, frankly, Gattis looks like he’s pressing.

4. Kazmir turns Morales around to the right side, where he hit only four of his 22 regular-season homers. Same for Eric Hosmer, who hit 18 on the season but only four against lefties. Lorenzo Cain hit just nine homers against lefties. This, however, doesn’t help with Mike Moustakas, who hits lefties and righties equally from the left side. Oddly, right-handed hitting Salvador Perez has better power (and numbers overall) against righties than lefties, so having Kazmir (then Keuchel on Sunday) on the mound really works in Houston’s favor. Kazmir really negates their power.

5. As for Johnny Cueto, he’s been pedestrian at best since coming over from Cincy. A righty, he lowers Altuve’s batting average, but Houston has enough good lefty options (Tucker, Rasmus, Valbuena at third, maybe MarGo at first base) to make a difference.

 

I’m feeling good. After all, the goal was just to win one on the road. Mission accomplished.

Advertisements

About BrianT

Brian Todd is a freelance writer working and living in Rochester, Minn.

84 comments on “Astros steal a win … and home-field advantage

  1. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    We may see Lowrie at 3B if he is healthy and Valbuena at 1B to get the lefty bats in the lineup. Rasmus will be in LF, I’m sure. I don’t think Hinch is ready to take Gattis out of the DH spot yet, nor do I see Marwin batting from the left side with his hand still hurting. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the same lineup as we saw last night.
    Usually Kazmir is his own worst enemy with his fielding, but as you said, his teammates really committed some booboos last time he pitched. But the
    Astros still won that game 7-6 in Seattle. After that was when Houston really started to tighten things up on the road. I feel so much better with Castro behind the plate so that Kazmir does not have to field little squibbers and make a throw!
    I feel pretty good about today’s game. With a day off tomorrow and Keuchel pitching Sunday, I think everyone in the bullpen is available today. Playoffs, Baby!

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 9, 2015

      Forgot which side was killing Marwin’s hand. Good catch.

      Like

  2. astrocolt45
    October 9, 2015

    I have been checking the historical stats. In the playoffs, the team that wins the 2nd game will have at least one win. If that team won the 1st game, they will have two wins.

    Now back to the stats to glean more important information. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Devin_
    October 9, 2015

    What impressed me the most was that the Royals were not getting cheated on those swings, but McHugh didn’t let it bother him and used it to his advantage. He also had some fantastic luck/success on the BABIP front. Cain smoked the ball a couple times right at infielders, and that diving catch by Jake Marisnick (deserves full recognition) was huge.

    I hope this is to Kazmir’s benefit. PFP has been an issue for him…so if the Royals aren’t bunting and hitting toom many squibblers it may improve his results.

    Like

  4. Roger
    October 9, 2015

    Kazmir’s control, rather than velocity is what concerns me. He said his “bullpens” were good, which leads me to believe it was anxiety. He has a terrible ERA in playoff games, which adds to the anxiety theory. But, I think he will rise to the occasion today and pitch really well. I think watching his younger teammates win the last 2 games will actually relax him. The pressure is off. The worst that can happen is a split. I say he’s great today.

    Like

  5. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    Hey everyone I was to locked in last night to be chirping on the blog, great game and just read all your posts last night, great fun stuff TY. Pitching gives up 2 runs in 18 innings, on the road playoff games, impressive!.

    I hope I’m wrong but I would have the bullpen ready a day off tomorrow. Kazmir looks like he lost his mojo about 3 weeks ago. His pitching confidence is about a 2 out of 10. Castro will he be 0- October? Wasn’t he an all star in 2013 batting .275, what the heck happened?

    Liked by 1 person

    • BrianT
      October 9, 2015

      He started chasing bad pitches and swinging through the good ones.

      Like

      • Kevin
        October 9, 2015

        He cant even foul a ball of anymore Yikes

        Like

    • Devin_
      October 9, 2015

      He’s just setting them all up for an opportunity at a walk off to win game seven of the world series.

      Like

      • Kevin
        October 9, 2015

        That was a good one!

        Like

    • Tim
      October 9, 2015

      Castro is struggling at the plate, but he is too valuable on the field to sit him. He has to be in the lineup.

      Like

      • Kevin
        October 9, 2015

        Sadly yes wish he could use a Fungo bat

        Like

  6. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    Both of these teams and both of today’s starters struggled in September and both teams have recovered in October. Kazmir has not pitched in October.
    Kazmir is a good pitcher who has been struggling and Cueto has been in the same boat.
    The winner of game 2 is going to be the team that plays the best and Kazmir is part of a team. He is a veteran who understands what this game means and he will give everything he’s got.
    We’ll see if momentum is carried into Game 2 by the Astros. KC has had some trouble this season against lefty pitchers. It would be terrific if Kazmir can match McHugh’s performance last night.
    Go Astros!

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 9, 2015

      Their power hitters have horrid splits against lefties.

      Like

  7. Dan P
    October 9, 2015

    I’m still enjoying the last two wins. The team performed well with starting and relief pitching, hitting and fielding.
    Obviously, the weak link is the hitting, but at least in the 1st inning they came through with situational hitting that has been lacking lately.

    I am worried about Kazmir. When a guy has the playoff yips, I am not sure what over comes that. I am hopeful that seeing the youngsters play fearlessly rubs off on him.
    I think we can hit Cueto – I think we will hit him.
    What I have seen the last two games is a team that is past the overwhelming stress of making the playoffs and is now playing with house money. They looked confident and relaxed.

    Like

  8. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    Looking at the Astros’ playoff roster, they have 14 position players on it.
    Lowrie and Marisnick have nine homers apiece and everyone else has a lot more than that. Houston has power in every slot of their lineup and on their bench. They are a threat to hit a home run in every at bat.
    The Royal’s bullpen is terrific and pretty much dominated the Astros last night, except for two pitches! Two pitches out of a hundred.
    But with power stepping to the plate in every at bat, two pitches make you pay.
    Last night, four of the five top home run hitters on the Astros did not hit home runs. But, today is another day.

    Like

  9. daveb
    October 9, 2015

    Kazmir is the question mark. The guys will hit enough, play defense and run the bases. Hopefully, the pen does not have to get involved too early. But I look for a quick hook on Kaz if necessary. Fiers can get the job done while the bats catch up.

    I wonder if the Royals will be playing the Yanks again today.

    We are in a happy position. The Royals could be playing a little tight today. They certainly recall getting swept in Houston not too long ago. And our guys have already accomplished what they had to in KC.

    How about what Rasmus has done of late? To date, he’s our post season MVP.

    Like

    • Kevin
      October 9, 2015

      Colby” the hitman” Jack Cheese

      Like

    • rj
      October 9, 2015

      i wrestled with who should start this game, kazmir or fiers. I think kaz should get the nod. i am hoping an extra day or two of rest between starts gets his velocity back up where it was. If not, and there is trouble, fiers is a legit choice to take up the cause today.

      Like

  10. Dan P
    October 9, 2015

    Jose Altuve has been the little giant – getting things started and knocking in JFSF.
    Springer’s home run was huge last night. The Royals seemed to have the momentum – closing back to a 3-2 margin and with Chris Young striking out 6 of 8 and then he just launched it.
    JFSF is such a valuable tool when he is hitting. Nice ABs last night and he made that diving catch that reminded me of what the Royals OF did over and over in the playoffs last night.
    McHugh was McHuge – he went back after that rain delay and looked cool calm and collected. I’ll take 6 innings and 2 runs every day.
    Nothing like getting that lead right off the bat. I think the team just oozed confidence after that.

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 9, 2015

      Dan, on that point about the rain delay, I like that there has to be a seed of doubt in Yost’s mind whether he did the right thing and perhaps a feeling from Ventura that his skipper didn’t think he could handle it.

      Like

      • Dan P
        October 9, 2015

        The other thing that is in my mind and perhaps Ventura’s ….. did this give the skipper an excuse to pull me because he did not think that I was pitching well on the big stage? He said it was because of the 60 minutes sitting, but was it.
        I thought Pete Rose was funny commentating about it – wondering what the magic of 60 minutes was – if it was 58 minutes it would be OK but not 60….

        Like

  11. Dan P
    October 9, 2015

    I thought it was amazing to think that 8 of the 9 innings were manned by 3 pitchers whose last team cut them loose – McHugh, Sipp and Harris. Now that is value!

    Like

    • Tim
      October 9, 2015

      7 2/3 innings. Don’t forget that HUGE 1/3 inning by Oliver Perez.

      Like

  12. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    Exact same lineup today as yesterday. Well done, Skipper.

    Like

  13. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    A bit of karma today……Lloyd Mcclendon was fired today. I hope Keuchel has a little smile on his face thinking about how McClendon thought Keuchel was just an “average pitcher”!! Speaking of pitchers….Kazmir does himself no favors when he creates errors on routine balls. If he could just learn to trust his infield, things would go so much more smoothly for him. I would think Hinch has him on a short leash today….but I wouldn’t pull the trigger on him until he looks completely lost on the mound. I don’t care one tiny bit if Castro doesn’t get a hit today as long as he shuts down the running game. I loved how cool and collected McHugh was last night……that was #20 for him this year. What an awesome year he has had!!!

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      I smiled when I read that about McClendon.

      Like

  14. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Roof will be *CLOSED* for games 3 and 4!! Rock the house!!!!

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 9, 2015

      Take that, Bud Selig!

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 9, 2015

        😁😁😁😁😁!!!!

        Like

    • Tim
      October 9, 2015

      I have tickets for game 4. Our boys have no school for the Columbus Day holiday so we are planning to go to Houston. However, I’m hoping we don’t have to go and I can exchange my tickets for ALCS tickets.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky⚾
        October 9, 2015

        I hope you get to exchange them for ALCS tickets too!! Then take your boys fishing on Monday!! Wouldnt that be GREAT!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      October 9, 2015

      SWEEEEET

      Like

  15. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Cueto won’t give you much today, that’s why small ball will be essential for this game! I gotta admit…I said a little prayer for our guys today. Good luck Scott!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    wahoo Colby the hit man jack cheese

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      I want him resigned

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 9, 2015

        re-signed, not resigned.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Becky⚾
        October 9, 2015

        You gonna pony up the millions it will take to keep him?? Luhnow already made him a wealthy man THIS year!

        Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      We can save money somewhere else.

      Like

  17. astrosfan57
    October 9, 2015

    This Sucks!!!!! I’m stuck at work with everyone up here watching the Rangers game that went in to extra innings. I’m trying to get it switched over to our game

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      I feel your pain….they had it on the replay of the Texans game here before I changed it.

      Like

  18. Billy Castillo
    October 9, 2015

    4 to 1…Colby jacks another one!

    Like

  19. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    Colby Hit man Jack Cheese again CRAZY wahoo

    Like

  20. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    So far, we’re doing pretty good. 3-1 after 2 innings. Coulda had more but I’m not griping. I still think we can hit Cueto today. Settle down, Scott, and get that ball down in the zone.

    Like

  21. Billy Castillo
    October 9, 2015

    Kazmir not sharp.

    Like

  22. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    nope in my gut I thought can he make it through 3

    Like

    • Kevin
      October 9, 2015

      Why I said this morning have the bullpen ready early

      Like

  23. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    Whew just lost 3 lbs

    Like

  24. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Chill out guys…..Scott is doing better than any of us thought. Unless and until he completely losses it….he stays in the game.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      I have no faith in him…I hope I’m proven wrong though, or our offense can carry the load tonight.

      Cueto not looking good either, though, so there’s that.

      Like

  25. sandy
    October 9, 2015

    I want him in the to succeed and he’s doing better than I expected but my nerves are shot.
    Can’t wait for them to get home. They’ve been on the road too long.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 9, 2015

      I know…..seems like they’ve been gone FOREVER!! Uh oh….Correa went down in a heap at the plate. Oh dear….we can’t have him get hurt.

      Like

      • astrosfan57
        October 9, 2015

        any updates on Correa yet?

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 9, 2015

        ’tis only a flesh wound…

        Like

  26. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Haven’t heard any. Is he out of the game?

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      No.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 9, 2015

        but Kasmir is now.

        Like

    • sandy
      October 9, 2015

      No, he’s still at short

      Like

  27. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    Kazmir battled the best he could, he gave his all

    Like

  28. Billy Castillo
    October 9, 2015

    Perez? Really?!

    Like

  29. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Kazmir battled with 100 pitches…..Hinch gave him a vote of confindence, and he responded, giving up only 2runs. Oliver perez, however ain’t doing so good. Our guys have three more innings to get back into this game. I have faith.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 9, 2015

      Perez is absolutely terrible.

      Like

  30. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    come on josh

    Like

  31. Billy Castillo
    October 9, 2015

    Grrr.

    Like

  32. sandy
    October 9, 2015

    Wheels coming off. Should’ve put Fiers in instead of Perez

    Like

  33. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    2 Ks tied we got this man

    Like

    • Kevin
      October 9, 2015

      I keep telling myself everyone had us playing golf right now HOUSE MONEY

      Liked by 2 people

  34. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Hinch is gonna pitch Will Harris’S arm off……why didn’t he put Fires in instead. Well… what can ya say, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. But I can tell you the guys on this broadcast game… * S U C K*.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Who are these guys????????

    Like

  36. Billy Castillo
    October 9, 2015

    Sipp is the man.

    Like

  37. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Wellllll….at least they have to come to Houston on Sunday, and Keuchel will be on the mound. (((( sigh ))))

    Like

  38. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    wow ol Neshek still sucks

    Like

    • Kevin
      October 9, 2015

      LOL my bad Patty me boy you got out of it

      Like

  39. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    These guys only have themselves to blame for today’s loss. Not the bullpen, but the bats absolutely went missing after the 4th ining. Tsk, tsk, tsk……the strikeout Kings reared their ugly heads again. AND…. when you haven’t pitched in 10 days (Fields) don’t be surprised by the results. We’ll get ’em Sunday!!

    Like

  40. Becky⚾
    October 9, 2015

    Oh….and Gomez ain’t fooling anyoe….they absolutely KNEW he was gonna try and steal. Giving up a free outs, now THAT really chaps my a $$. Time to speak to Gomez about being stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      October 9, 2015

      Of coarse they did. This team is very predictable.

      Like

  41. sandy
    October 9, 2015

    Any of you feel confident with anyone other than Keuchel or McHugh on the mound? This team has to win with pitching and defense. The lineup is simply flat after Rasmus, yet they keep sending them back out.
    Just me venting.

    Like

  42. SargeH
    October 9, 2015

    I believe Fiers should pitch the next game and then use Kuechel to drop the hammer in the final game and close KC out.

    Like

  43. Dan P
    October 9, 2015

    You have to use Keuchel next – so he can pitch the first game of the ALCS.

    Like

  44. Roger
    October 9, 2015

    Once again I over-expected from Kazmir. If you think long-term–would you resign him right now? Unless he gets one more game to pitch in– and does remarkably well–I think they will either make him an offer that he CAN refuse—or just no offer.

    Like

  45. Kevin
    October 9, 2015

    Have to agree we had this game and then went all Astro after the 4th dang it! I told the wife before started that we would need 6 runs to win this game , We had em(&^%$(&^&*^

    Like

  46. 1oldpro
    October 9, 2015

    It’s the best of five. KC worked all year to have the best record and get home field advantage and we beat them in game one and we now have that advantage. Kazmir got his chance and he sure was better than Cueto. He just wasn’t as good as McHugh.
    So, now we have our ace in the hole and if we win two home games, we don’t have to go back to KC.
    With the lack of hitting today, a cave-in by the bullpen, and a pinch runner picked off we are right back to being our normal Astros. But our normal Astros win at home, so let’s see them be normal.

    Like

  47. Becky⚾
    October 10, 2015

    Situational hitting……..just makes me nuts.

    Like

    • sandy
      October 10, 2015

      Right, they’re a very relaxed team until they get guys on base. Sure wish they could learn to just hit the ball and not try for the fences.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on October 9, 2015 by in Astros.
Follow CHIPALATTA on WordPress.com

Our Team

%d bloggers like this: