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One series: What does it all mean for Astros?


The Astros lost their three-game series in New York to the Yanks in fairly spectacular fashion. After a solid come from behind 5-3 win on Makeup Tuesday, they coughed up two big hair balls in a row. On Wednesday, Collin McHugh luckily got one out while giving up five runs or his ERA would have been infinity rather than 135.00 and the Astros were trailing 6-1 after one inning. The Astros rallied back to close the gap to 6-5 in the second inning and everyone relaxed until Michael Feliz and his bullpen buddies imploded leading to a 16-6 blowout. On Thursday Mike Fiers coughed up a 5-2 lead and new reliever (notice – not called closer) Ken Giles piled on giving up a 3 run homer in an 8-5 loss.

So what are we looking at here?

  • The Astros are 1-2 and wasted solid, but not over the top offensive efforts in the last two games of the series. Six and five runs would have won a lot of games last year.
  • Last season the Astros started off 1-2 against Cleveland after winning the opener and they were at home to start 2015.
  • The Astros gave up 24 runs in the last two games.
  • In all of 2015, the most the staff gave up in two consecutive games was 22 runs when they were collapsing against the Rangers in mid-September.
  • Are the Yanks a really great and patient offensive team? Have they figured out that you lay off the Astros off-speed stuff outside the zone, take your walks and then stroke those sitting duck fast balls out of the park?
  • It is hard to say. Certainly some of that happened with McHugh and perhaps with Fiers was based on that. Feliz looked like a young guy thrown into the fire and told to throw 100+ pitches no matter what happens. Giles continued a bad trend from spring training of running his fastball into the meat of the opponents bat.
  • Certainly the conditions were not ideal to judge anyone’s pitching as both teams’ staffs looked fairly vulnerable. Well, the Yanks bullpen blew the first game, but locked down the next two with a series of 6′-10″ 100 mph hardballers from the ‘pen, or so it seemed.
  • And Carlos Correa went 0 for 4 in the last game. Time to sit him down – right? He isn’t hitting over .500 anymore.
  • On the other hand Tyler White looks like a “hitter” – plain and simple. If they sit him when Evan Gattis returns they will regret it.

The starting pitching is the key here. The Astros with Lance McCullers out are a more vulnerable staff. If McHugh regresses more (last season he regressed a good bit in ERA, but still won 19 games due to run support) they could have continued troubles. The problem is that too many short games by the starters takes a toll on the bullpen. Bringing Chris Devenski up was smart as they would have no one in the bullpen to go more than an inning or two while Feliz recovers from pitching a complete game worth of pitches in 4 1/3 innings.

It’s only 3 games, the first 100 yards of a marathon, but the fans are worried. Is it justified? What do you think?

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

186 comments on “One series: What does it all mean for Astros?

  1. 1oldpro
    April 10, 2016

    Astros begin the day tied with Seattle for third place in the AL West, one-half game behind Texas and Oakland.

    Like

  2. daveb7
    April 10, 2016

    Testing, 1,2,3.

    Like

  3. Becky⚾
    April 10, 2016

    Oh….Lord, not again. ((( sigh )))😦😦

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 10, 2016

      Hoping that Dallas found himself after the bad beginning.

      Like

  4. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    Wow – they just showed a picture of a clean shaven Gattis at Corpus. I would never recognize him on the street.

    Like

    • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
      April 11, 2016

      He’s a handsome man under all that birds nest if you care about my opinion…

      Like

      • Diane
        April 11, 2016

        Do care, Nance.

        Like

  5. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    C’mon Altuve don’t get picked off like that.

    Like

  6. Devin_
    April 10, 2016

    I’m tired of having the worst baserunning team in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      April 10, 2016

      You know the catcher has a big arm and you know the second baseman is right by 2nd base. You have to be smarter than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    4th inning and we’ve lost 3 runners on the bases – dumb dumb dumb.

    Like

  8. Becky⚾
    April 10, 2016

    Second caught stealing in this game. Are these guys doing this on their own, or is it the dugout giving the steal sign. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      April 10, 2016

      Correction. …*3* caught stealing. I hate that, more than I hate strikeouts.

      Like

  9. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    This is a bad fundamentals game…

    Like

  10. Becky⚾
    April 10, 2016

    Hinch rarely losses it…….but after this game some folks are gonna see his rath.
    And……..they *SHOULD*.

    Like

  11. Kevin
    April 10, 2016

    You know what I have seen besides scary SP, a lot of Sloppy baseball. I think they may have all spent the offseason reading to many articles on themselves. Hinch needs to kick some ass!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Devin_
    April 10, 2016

    Gattis needs to be catching at CC. There is no room for him at DH against RHP.

    Like

  13. MarkW
    April 10, 2016

    Vince Valezquez first appearance 6.0 IP 9K, 0 R. We wish we had a pitcher with those stats.

    Nice Tucker homer. Looks like he belongs and Marwin does not at this point.

    So, we are through our first rotation and got exactly ONE quality start. If we happen to take this series today against a guy who shut us down in the Spring, some real positives to hang hat on considering out BA’s, poorly aggressive base running etc. Either way though, our judge of pitching talent looks very bad right now. The thought that we can right this ship seems optimistic, unless we find that catcher and replace two or three SP’s. Right NOW!

    Like

  14. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    This game feels like one where we won’t come back. Hope not but it just doesn’t feel like it.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 10, 2016

      Is it the fact that we have struck out 11 times in the first 7 innings, or the fact Carlos Correa suddenly looks very, very human, or the fact that George Springer is hitting .174 with about a .200 OBP, that makes you feel that way, Dan?

      Like

      • Dan P
        April 10, 2016

        They just look out of synch today – but hey a swing or two and I could be wrong.

        Like

  15. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2016

    Dallas Keuchel has issued 10 walks thus far in 12 2/3 innings? Who has stolen our starting pitchers?

    Like

  16. sandy
    April 10, 2016

    Geeeze. I hope they wake up when they get back to Houston.

    Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2016

    At this point, pinch hitting Carlos Gomez for Jason Castro is about like pinch-hitting Charlie Brown for Gilligan.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Becky⚾
    April 10, 2016

    And that’s the ballgame. The only reason I’m pi$$ed off, is this game was winnable and our guys went to sleep on the bases…..and Keuchel thought this was 2013.

    Like

  19. Tim
    April 10, 2016

    Maybe that scout was right about the Astros this year. Here comes the regression.

    Like

    • sandy
      April 10, 2016

      It’s looking that way. The whole team looked lost today.

      Like

    • Devin_
      April 10, 2016

      Everyone and their brother predicted the Astros pitching was due for regression. The pitching today wasn’t a problem…even if Keuchel normally wouldn’t give up those free passes.

      Like

  20. Becky⚾
    April 10, 2016

    I’m going to give them a break today….. because they left ST and went straight to New York to start the season. That makes around 7- weeks without seeing home
    When they see and hear all the hoopla that this city has in store for them, they will play better…..at least I hope so and sleeping in your own bed does wonders for your soul. When they see the park completely sold out, and fans making a LOT of noise I’m sure that will lift their spirit’s!!! They need some comfort food!!

    Like

    • Tim
      April 10, 2016

      They left Florida and played 2 games in Houston against Milwaukee before going to NY. I think they got caught up reading their press clippings.

      Like

  21. 1oldpro
    April 10, 2016

    The way I see it, they have played two series so far and both of the teams they faced were better teams than the Astros. I’m pretty sure the next series is going to be the same way.

    Like

  22. Mr. Bill
    April 10, 2016

    We just have not had any of our starters pitch well. Keuchel at least showed tenacity, but the others all collapsed completely. Good heavens I hope Lance McCullers comes back healthy and stirs this group of deer-in-the-headlights guys up! And other teams have learned that we have only ONE hitter – Tyler White – who knows how to handle an off-speed pitch on the outside part of the plate.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dan P
    April 10, 2016

    Perhaps I will regret saying this – but I think I need to see a few more games like maybe 50 to 60 more to get a feel for this team.
    – I’m guessing that 19 game winner Collin McHugh will go more than 1/3 of an inning next time out.
    – I’m betting that former batting champ Jose Altuve will remember how to hit
    – I’m thinking that the team that won 65% of their home games last season, might do better when they play a few at home.
    – I’m praying that George Springer will go on one of “those” tears.
    – I’m believing that guys who have pitched well in previous years like Giles and Neshek and Harris and Sipp will do so again.
    – I’m hoping that Feldman and Fiers will pitch like they’ve been on a big league mound before.
    – I’m positive that Jason Castro won’t end the season with one hint (a bunt single against the shift in his stats.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Becky⚾
      April 10, 2016

      And we hope they have a short memory…..

      Like

    • sandy
      April 10, 2016

      Wow, that’s a lot to overcome.

      Like

    • sargeh
      April 11, 2016

      Play .400 baseball on the road and .700 at home then they will have 89 wins.

      Like

  24. Nance (@Bbfanlady)
    April 10, 2016

    It appears to me that teams are starting to make adjustments to counteract the Strommie Scool of pitching. Astros pitchers are going to have to make adjustments in kind. Guys with fastballs 85-90 mph have one less tool in the box to make those adjustments. Fingers crossed….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky⚾
      April 10, 2016

      Nance…..Keuchel and Wandy were the only two pitcher that had a decent spring.
      The rest of the rotation kinda sucked. I don’t think it is Strom….he’s not the one whose walking guys all over the place in the last 6 games. I’d like to see Devinski get a start, and McCullers will be back next week, so there’s two young guys who can breath new life in the rotation! They had better not lose the game tomorrow, because I’m going to be at the game! First opening day I’ve been to in YEARS!

      Like

      • sandy
        April 11, 2016

        They wouldn’t dare.
        I’m going Sunday. My son in law is from Michigan so we’re seeing the Tigers instead of the Royals. Not my choice.

        Like

      • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
        April 11, 2016

        Becky – my post wasn’t intended as criticism of Strom. He has certainly worked miracles in past years with turning guys like Keuchel, and McHugh into quality finesse pitchers. But teams that are patient seem to do well against them if umpires do not have a generous strike zone. This is one reason why pitch framing is probably more important to Astros than hitting in selecting a catcher. Keuchel also seems to have more command problems when he has to pitch out of the stretch which fortunately is not often because of his high percentage of weak ground ball. I think the pitch selection is also becoming more predictable. Sitting on my couch I can usually guess when the back foot slider to the right handed batter is coming. Smart hitters are learning to lay off and hope it’s not called a strike. So as hitters adjust, Keuchel and McHugh will need to adjust. With their velocity, that is simply one less tool they have to work with. Hard throwers do not seem to blossom as well in our system. Velasquez, Cosart, Appel come to mind and were all traded away. So far, McCullers seems to be the lone exception. I wonder if some of Giles early struggles are related to having to adjust to a different pitching philosophy. I read an article somewhere that the Astros were trying to get him to pitch more up in the zone than before. Just some Momday morning musing…

        Liked by 3 people

      • Devin_
        April 11, 2016

        Nance, it will be interesting to see how the umpires adjust. The tracking data shows a lot of bad calls over the first six games on balls/strikes. Either that system gets recalibrated or the umpires will feel some heat from the league office. It’s bad business to have announcers (from both teams) pointing out the bad calls and lack of consistency.

        Still, I agree with you. Fiers in particular doesn’t have the stuff to survive as a fly ball pitcher unless he is effectively changing eye level and disrupting timing. His control has to improve.

        Like

      • sandy
        April 11, 2016

        I have to agree with you, Nance. It goes back to my earlier statement that last year the Astros took the league by surprise. This year other teams have done their homework and know what to expect.

        I don’t think the FO has confidence in the hard throwers due to the short left field.

        Like

      • Steven
        April 11, 2016

        Velasquez was lights out at every level when he was healthy. He wasn’t given a terrible amount of time at the big league level to adjust. I think Appel is one of those guys that fools mediocre hitters a lot but is going to struggle at the big league level at times. I’m not sure he was ever good enough to warrant a 1-1. Trading VV was in my opinion a mistake, he has the talent of a solid, legit number 2 – but he might be 2-3 years away from fully realizing it.

        I think pitchers are products of themselves. I don’t like the Astros philosophical approach to pitching in the minors, but I think a good pitcher is going to be good regardless and a not so good pitcher is going to stay that way.

        Our ace is an ace. The problem is the number 2 guy is really a 3 type workhorse guy, and after that is rotation fillers like Feldman and Fister. I think this team is a playoff team and will be there at the end. If they want to be successful in the playoffs though they are going to need a healthy McCullers to pitch in line with his talent, grab that number 2 spot by the horns, have a good season giving him confidence going into the playoffs. He is the only guy we have with the talent to be a legit number 2. Fiers and McHugh can probably give you decent playoff starts but its going to take Keuchel and McCullers winning theirs. If Fister or Feldman are forced into our playoff rotation we are likely to lose a 7-5 game in which they pitch just 5 innings.

        Like

  25. daveb7
    April 11, 2016

    I’ll be okay with a .500 April. Last year we had a great April and pretty much played .500 ball the rest of the way. Patience.

    Like

  26. Mr. Bill
    April 11, 2016

    Anybody excited about getting Evan Gattis back?

    Like

  27. Devin_
    April 11, 2016

    Just got reminded by Twitter that it’s time to unfollow Drellich.

    Like

  28. Diane
    April 11, 2016

    Just came on this morning and saw several notes from folks here. Thank you and don’t mind me too much. Altuve says this morning the locker room believes they can go out and win the big one. Then he adds, “We just can’t think about it too much. It’s a long season.” That’s pretty much how I feel. I just prefer lower expectations and not putting too much pressure on these guys. First thing you know, they won’t enjoy playing anymore, and that delicate chemistry can go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
      April 11, 2016

      I agree Diane. I think the lack of expectations helped the young team stay loose last year and the fact that they were having fun probably added a few wins. Not sure what the stat is for that. Is it WFF? Wins from fun? Or WTF – Wins through Fun?

      Like

      • Diane
        April 11, 2016

        Ab-so-lutely. Forget baseball. I can say from my own life that when peeps put super-high expectations on me, it’s very likely my performance will start to falter. Unconditional love can work wonders. This year, there’s been some studying going on among the competitors. Ain’t gonna be a walk in the park, Minute Maid or anywhere else.

        Like

  29. Becky⚾
    April 11, 2016

    YAY!!!! Tyler White was named AL player of the week!!! Simply…AWESOME!!

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 11, 2016

      Congratulations, Tyler White! Seldom in Astro history has a player so deserved this honor! Keep up the good work!

      Like

      • sandy
        April 11, 2016

        Congratulations TW. Well deserved.

        Like

  30. daveb7
    April 11, 2016

    Ok, will try this one more time……I have not been able to post for several days now. Changed, email, user name, password! Can anyone read this?

    Like

    • astrosfan57
      April 12, 2016

      No, sorry Dave but I was not able to read your post

      Like

  31. MarkW
    April 11, 2016

    I dont want to cry about this bc hey its baseball, just two series’, but I agree with Nance’s (& Devin’s) assessment of long-term pitching issues, and bad calls. Didnt see the data, just the eye test – when Girardi tells his guys to take till they get it up in the zone, the umps help out w/fewer corner calls made in our favor. Pretty good gameplan by those Yanks. Our guys have been put in difficult counts. All things have a way of evening out, though – right, Dan?

    Agree, Steven, our 2 is a 3, all things being equal to a smaller regression than we have thus far seen. In fact, I thought Collin and Hinch looked real chummy the day after that shillacking. Over a long season..

    Yep, we have help on the way – you better believe these high expectations come with more responsibility to pony up, bopart!

    And when things are going poorly, the “list” begins of which players had better get off the Schneid. The tops right now has to be headlined by our CF saying he wanted to retire a Brewer, while he has 9 SO in 21 AB’s, slugging 333! Dude? Really? Then just go. We can go right down the line with “what in the hell has happened since Spring?” The obvious bright spot is White, and as I said early on – he needs every AB possible! When does he go to cleanup, or -(oh boy here comes the criticism over his speed) – go ahead and hit#2? we’ve seen enough already, he’s for real. The guy hustles and is always on base seems like. Anybody see a problem with that at least while Springer gets his head out?

    Like

    • Tim
      April 11, 2016

      I made the case that McHugh was more of a 3 than 2 and got roasted by most on here. He got run support to help him get wins, but his peripherals say he’s a 3.

      Like

  32. Becky⚾
    April 11, 2016

    Getting ready to walk out the door! Cross your fingers and toes that Collin McHugh shows up to pitch tonight!! I’m still stoked about the Tyler White news!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      April 11, 2016

      I’m going to be at the game – last minute ticket from a friend – what section are you in Becky?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Tim
        April 11, 2016

        Dan, my boys and I are in section 127. Are you near us?

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        April 11, 2016

        How is the crowd?

        Like

      • Dan P
        April 11, 2016

        I am up in 216 Tim.
        Crowd is huge Bill – took me 30 minutes to drive a mile and a half and another 20 to get thru security.
        McHugh pitched the first like somebody who has been hacked off at himself for 4 days.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        April 11, 2016

        Hey Dan….I just walked in the door from the game….and what a game it was!!!
        We were in sec 153 second row. As a matter of fact we sat so close to Springer we could talk to him! The guy sitting in front of us heckled the Royals RT fielder, but he never turned around to even smile at us!

        Like

  33. sandy
    April 11, 2016

    I’d love to see him batting second and yes I did consider his speed (or better) lack of. I’d rather have a slow guy with a high on base percentage than a probable strike out.
    White batting second and Springer fifth. Just to see what happens.

    Like

    • Devin_
      April 11, 2016

      It may benefit us to have a slower runner blocking the guys who have forgotten how to be intelligent on the bases.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Diane
    April 11, 2016

    Way to go, Colby Jack ! Even thru the smoke, I saw it !

    Like

  35. Dan P
    April 11, 2016

    Fun watching McHugh’s ERA drop with every out – from 135 to below 20

    Like

  36. Mr. Bill
    April 11, 2016

    Any reaction from the crowd when T. White got his hit?

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 11, 2016

      Solid cheers – probably more for the nifty 3-6-1 DP he started. I thought Tyler was going to die of exhaustion – had to break off first base on about four straight 3-2 pitches to Tucker.

      It was really loud during both 3 run rallies. Fun time!

      Like

  37. Dan P
    April 11, 2016

    Bigger cheers as White whacks a double – his second hit of the game – but that was after a big ovation for McHugh battling out of bases loaded 1 out in the 7th.
    Not too often a guy drops his ERA 129 pts in a game (or needed to)

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Mr. Bill
    April 11, 2016

    Did Sipp look as bad live as gameday made it appear? His velocity seems significantly down, and his command appeared poor as well.

    Like

    • Devin_
      April 11, 2016

      Watching on TV his command improved as the inning went along. Velocity was 88-90. The HR ball was over the middle of the plate, but down at the knees. Unfortunately, Morales seems to hit Houston better than he hits anyone else.

      Like

  39. Becky⚾
    April 12, 2016

    Sipp needs to start throwing his bread and butter pitch, the fork ball. That was his go to pitch last year, and he gets more misses with that pitch than any other pitch. I loved the way McHugh walked off the field after the first inning…..he was a man on a mission. The boys needed to come home and see a sell out at Minute Maid. Great game, great pitching, and great hitting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diane
      April 12, 2016

      Becky, it’s great you had the energy to go downtown and hang out in all that for hours. Of course I know you’re a fan, but still it says a lot about how you’re feeling at this point. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Mr. Bill
    April 12, 2016

    Hopefully, last night we found ‘bedrock’. It is a long season, and we need a sense of who we are. McHugh still did not have his best stuff, but he never lost focus. He faced and fought through every challenge, and overcame every mistake he made like a champ. Has he been taking lessons from Kid Keuchy?

    Like

  41. 1oldpro
    April 12, 2016

    Carlos Gomez is hitting more like Preston Gomez. Is it legal to make your third base coach run laps after another bad game?
    Thank you, Colin McHugh!
    Tyler White or Chris Carter? Oh my gosh, I don’t know. That .553 BA makes it rough.
    Brewers lose 10-1, yesterday. WTH!
    Can we have a sellout every night?

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      April 12, 2016

      OP1, I started to say that Carlos Gomez was hitting more like Carmen Miranda – but then I realized that was not fair to Carmen Miranda.

      Like

  42. Mr. Bill
    April 12, 2016

    A little note about the Brewers. Their record is the same as ours – 3-4. We are 1/2 game back in our division. They are in the cellar, 3 games out of first. The NL Central is going to be one tough place to play.

    Like

  43. Mr. Bill
    April 12, 2016

    Gattis is on his way back to Houston for tonight’s game. Is Matt Duffy the odd man off the 25-man? I just hope that Evan has miraculously learned how to play CF while he was on the DL. Preston Tucker is such an improvement over him at DH.

    Like

    • Tim
      April 12, 2016

      Yes, Duffy has been optioned to Fresno. Also, I agree with you on Tucker. He should be the primary DH, especially against RHP. I’m fine with Gattis being the DH against LHP.

      Like

  44. 1oldpro
    April 12, 2016

    James Hoyt was the closer for Fresno tonight and struck out four batters in the ninth inning, when the leadoff guy swung at a wild pitch and made it to first. Fresno wins 2-0.
    CC was named second best minor league team by Baseball America yesterday. To celebrate, Alex Bregman hit a two run homer in the first inning and a walkoff solo shot in the bottom of the twelfth for a 5-4 win. That McCullers guy pitched the first three innings and gave up one run on a solo homer.
    Lancaster has not much power, but managed to score 10 runs on nine singles and one double. They actually pulled off a successful squeeze bunt in the first inning. You really don’t have a lot of power if you have to attempt a squeeze that early in the game.
    Quad Cities is 0-5 after last night’s loss. They are pretty bad.

    Like

  45. Mr. Bill
    April 12, 2016

    I love Hoyt’s line last night. 1 IP; 4 Ks. Save.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 12, 2016

      I don’t know where that 2-0 score came from. I believe it was 5-2, but I’m not looking it up again. It’s time to take Mrs 1oldpro for her checkup.

      Like

  46. daveb7
    April 12, 2016

    Hi folks,

    I’ve been stuck in a bit a of technology challenge these last few days. I think the Astros were 1 and 2 when I last got through. Anyway, I’m armed with a new user name to include Mickey Mantle’s number. Thanks Chip and Dan.

    Regarding Gattis, I sure hope he has to be patient and indeed, only gets opportunities that don’t take the bat out of Tucker and White’s hands. Let’s see if he can catch, give him some pinch hit at bats and give Tucker a day off against lefty pitching.

    I’m already scratching my head over what the plan will be if White and Tucker keep hitting and Reed is tearing it up in Fresno. It would be a good problem, but a problem nevertheless.

    Liked by 1 person

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