Saturday notes: Astros are in Lagniappe Territory


The Astros have the Royals right where they want them. Right? If the bullpen had shown up Friday, Houston would be in the cat bird’s seat.

But with Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. prepared to pitch at home after today’s day off, the Astros couldn’t ask for much more. Right?

At this point, most people would feel the Astros are in Lagniappe Territory. In other words, another win — even in losing two more and the series — would be solid, good improvement for the 2015 season. Go home happy, savor the moments and start to re-tool for an exciting 2016.

It’s just not the case. Astros’ fans have now been spoiled. Astros’ fans want more.

Is it 2017 already? To be sure, there is a smell in the air of victory. There is an awareness this team may have the goods to make a run. There are enough pieces to create late-inning excitement if the game is close. And there is a rotation that can change a game through seven innings.

Forget the plans for next season. Forget if Chris Carter or Carlos Gomez will be jettisoned this winter. The time is now. After all, the Astros are in Lagniappe Territory and it just may be 2017.

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28 comments on “Saturday notes: Astros are in Lagniappe Territory

  1. So far the offense has been carried by Rasmus, Springer, Marisnick and Altuve. Valbuena has been horrible. Correa has been a non-factor. Gattis has been poor. Carter has reverted to Special K. Castro is not even considered a part of the offense. Gomez is obviously not healthy enough to play. Tucker, Margo, and Lowrie have really not been given a chance.

    We need Rasmus, Springer, Marisnick and Altuve to keep doing what they are doing, and we need them to get some help from Correa, Tucker, Lowrie, and Gonzales. Gattis, Valbuena, and Carter seem to me to be just taking up valuable roster space, at bats, and playing time. Maybe at last the FO will see those three as what they are – a part of the past, not a part of the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill, with all due respect, I must take exception. Chris Carter has an OBP of .455 in the playoffs, third on the team only to Rasmus and Springer. Fourth is Altuve at .286. That’s also 14th out of the 80 players who have batted in the playoffs. 20 of those 80 have an OPS of ZERO. No, he hasn’t raked extra base hits over the 3 games but he’s definitely contributed.

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      • I suspect, in fairness, that with Gattis and Valbuena [translate that zero offense] batting in front of Carter and with Jason Castro batting behind Carter [translate that extremely weak contact if any at all], the strategy of other teams has been and will continue to be to give Carter nothing whatever to hit. Chris had finally, after a long season of frustration, gotten somewhat ‘hot’ coming into the playoffs, so why would the opposing team give him a chance to beat them when no one around him is hitting worth spit? And since Chris is by no means speedy on the bases, walking him in front of Castro is just setting up a great chance for a Castro GIDP. That, I suspect, is where Chris’ three walks [all of which were in the Yankees game] came from. Against KC he has four Ks, no walks, and 2 hits [both singles]. He has contributed zero RBIS. As I have said multiple times, for the Astros walks are not equal to hits. We just do not follow walks with hits.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the playoffs are our lagniappe. My father would have loved your use of that fine tradition and wordage.
    But, as usual, some want extra sprinkles on that extra donut. Some, over at other Astros’ blogs think that this not lagniappe, but rather, is a true reflection of the magical work of their master baseball craftsman.
    To me, this is the second helping of an average meal being fed to a group of people who haven’t eaten in a week.
    It’s really not very tasty, but, to us, a group of people who are starving, it is wonderful. If we get fed this same meal again next year, when we are not as hungry, it will not taste as good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Makes you wonder how the Royals fans feel…and what would have happened if they lost game 2. They traded away four pitching prospects – at least two of which would have been in most teams’ top 5 prospect list – for a couple months rental on Cueto and Zobrist.

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      • I wonder how the Dodger fans feel. They have a $308 million payroll and their ace gets beaten in their house in Game 1, by a guy who looks like Boy in the old Tarzan movies.
        I hope the Astros Ground Control Program is now golden, because everything else the Cardinals touch seems to turn to gold.

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    • I tire of the sycophants at that “other Astros blog.” Yeah, Luhnow has improved the team and the whole organization. But if he was really amazing we wouldn’t be saddled with Carter and Valbuena.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to claim ignorance and state I had to look up Langiappe, which is a perfect Louisiana description of us all wanting more.

    Mr. Bill – I’ll get on Carter’s back for what he did not do during 80% of the season, but right now I don’t know what to say. When the Yanks would not pitch to him he laid off the bad pitches as he should. He’s gotten a couple singles against KC and as per usual no one is getting on in front of him or hitting behind him. He can’t control that.

    The team cannot hope for better than throwing Keuchel and LMJ at the Royals and being at home. They have won this year in surprising ways with different heroes.

    I think Correa is hitting the wall a bit. He has never played in more than 117 games in a season and he has played in 155 this season.
    Rasmus is pulling a Beltran – he is going to be worth a lot of money for what he has done in the playoffs for us (it appears).
    Key with beating KC is to get ahead early and score a lot early because that pen will strangle us.
    I am glad that Kazmir had a decent outing, maybe it will help his confidence if we move on to the next round.
    I want them to win the championship in 2017, but I want them to win this year first.

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    • Chip another great post. Dan P I couldn’t agree with you more. I want them to win a championship in 2017 as well but one in 2015 surely would be nice! Correa is a player and he’s going to make plays with his bat and with his glove. Thankful for Rasmus! Really praying that Keuchel brings another solid performance at home and we’ll go up 2-1. LMJ needs to do exactly what he’s done all year minus the one start in arlington. The kid has ice water in his veins. Thanks to all those who comment. It’s one of the highlights of my day to be able to sit and read this blog!

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  4. I think Neshek is hurting
    I think Lowrie is hurting
    I think Gonzalez is hurting
    I think Altuve is hurting
    I suspect Valbuena is hurting.
    I know Gomez is hurt.
    Conger is only useful if Castro is hurt.
    If we manage to make it into the next series, we might want to look at some roster changes, so that we might actually have some bench players who aren’t hurt.

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  5. I love OPs analogy of this year.
    I would like to gracefully accept the gift we’ve been given and not selfishly long for the ultimate prize. But that prize is dangling there waiting to be taken and we have the talent to get it done. It’s so frustrating to see the same guys fail over and over and over.
    Hinch is a good manager but he has to learn to trust all of his players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. Hinch doesn’t trust Tucker enough to start him against righties, instead of Gattis or Marisnick. But then he pinch hits him for Marisnick and Tucker delivers a walk against their best pitcher.
      But Hinch doesn’t trust Tucker on first base, so he puts in a hurt Gomez, who almost got picked off Thursday. Gomez does get picked off, because Hinch doesn’t trust that Altuve or Springer can get Tucker around to score.
      I would rather have Tucker on first and one out and the top of our order up, than to have Gomez getting thrown out, resulting in two out and nobody on. Gomez is a talented dipstick that somebody forget to stamp with the markings. It’s a dipstick, but you wonder if his oil goes all the way to full.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And just think about how many GREAT prospects we gave up for him. I have no doubt Luhnow is gonna unload him next year, and the Brewers will STILL be laughing their rear ends off at the hosing we took for trading for him. If he was THAT important to them…..he would still be living in Milwaukee.

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  6. Even when Carter gets on with a walk…..he stands there, because NO one is hitting with men in scoring position. Case in point yesterday, bases loaded no outs and get a pop up. Next guy up hits a single and you get two in, the next guy up hits into a double play. That inning COULD have buried Cueto, but we gave him new life and he left with the game down 2 runs. The bullpen has been given a break of sorts, because the only guys who have been used in the last 5-6 games have been able to hold the lead. Will Harris is not Superman, his arm is gonna fall off by running him out nearly every game, and Tony Sipp is walking a tight rope as well. Josh Fields had not pitched in 10 days……and bringing him in a high leverage inning like yesterday was a recipe for disaster. Springer, Rasmus, and Altuve have carried these guys, time to start giving a start to Jed and Marwin. At least these guys usually get the ball in play when there are men on base. It’s sooo frustrating to see so many guys left on base. Good teams learn to get those big hits, so far we don’t have the guys who can do that. Rasmus has been awesome, but he can’t win the game all by himself. Chip you are sooo right, we have tasted the fruit of victory and now we want the whole bowl. I’m not ready to say it was a good run, and we’ll get them next year. We want to win NOW!! If I have to see the Rangers go to the world series, I may have to disown my sister and brother in law in Dallas! Yeah….they are coming to “our” house in Houston, but getting loud, and buying up all the seats in Minute Maid won’t win games…..we have to have the BEST starting 9 in this team to do that. I have no doubt Dallas Keuchel will do his part Sunday afternoon, will the guys playing behind him do the same?

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  7. Chip, I just want to say I’m glad you posted today. It was painful, but not unexpected. I can’t blame the kids playing today for front office mistakes of the past. At the same time, it hurts because it is a money business, and it makes me sad. What gets me back to posting here is the feeling some of these young guys are playing like it’s a game, not a business. I’ve been fooled before of course. Even I notice media goes to country boy Rasmus to get a quote or a comment. At least that’s something. I just want to feel what it was like before it was a-tradin’ and a-bargain’in and seein’ those egos a-fightin’ in the upstairs (and some of those egos may have been beloved players).

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  8. I’ve said it before: if you’d have told me in March we’d get a wild card and move onto the divisional series, I’d have been thrilled.

    Yes, a little winning is like a drink to a thirsty man. Suddenly, he wants more and more.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Heck, our squad went to KC and got a split. That’s what they needed and that is what they got. A lack of timely hitting, strikeouts, a questionable bullpen. These are all things we are aware of. We’ve seen it all year long. That is the Astro team of 2015. But I’ll say this. Perez did not get hit hard. Fields was good after his walk. In fact, I would have given him another inning. He strikes guys out. Next year, we need a pen full of guys that do not pitch to contact. We need three or four power ptchers that can come in and mow guys down.

    In the meantime, the Astros should feel good about themselves. They’ve won a big batch of games at home this year and they can certainly win two in a row on Sunday and Monday. We’re in good shape!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I wasn’t able to see the game yesterday but I read the play by play. Given that what was Perez doing in there? He got lucky on Thursday but he choked big time Friday. Two back to back singles and a walk. As much as I hate to see us burn up Tony Sipp’s arm it’s better than running Perez out the. And it says Kazmir pitched a solid 5 innings? What? I don’t consider a 5.06 ERA something to write home about. Maybe Fields had a bad case of nerves.He strikes out the next two but we bring in Harris the next inning. Maybe should have kept Fields out there. I’m glad we won one in KC but we should have gotten two.

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  11. Zanuda, yes Perez walked a guy, and that’s usually a problem for a reliever. But as you note, you didn’t see the game. One hit was a bloop into shallow left off a bat that was stuck in front of the pitch and the other, a weak roller right through the spot Altuve usually stands when there is no shift on. I sure wouldn’t call that a big time choke.

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  12. I wanted to remind everyone that the team has been on the road for almost two weeks. Seattle, Phoenix, New York, Kansas City. That is a lot of travel. They played great and they lost Friday after being in front for five innings. They were probably pretty tired.
    Has any other playoff team had a schedule like that?

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  13. Anyone watch the Mets-Dodgers game tonight? Now that they fixed home plate collisions, they need to fix plays at second base. Tejada’s leg is broken thanks to a dirty play. The rule doesn’t say a player must be able to reach a bag within arms length – that’s an interpretation. To anyone who disagrees my counter is how much did Biggio lose from his HoF career in Milwaukee?

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    • Just watched the video and completely agree. The injury to Posey got the home plate rule changed (along with others). I hope they change the rule and require the runner to slide to the bag. If that was Correa or Altuve I would be furious. Change the rule along and make it a multi-game suspension.

      I can’t believe a runner is ever safe when he fails to touch the bag – but that is a different story.

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