Tuesday thoughts after a “Don’t Jump!” Monday


Here are some quick thoughts from the front lines of the Astros 8-2 whooping of the World Champion KC Royals Monday night.

  • It felt good to step back in off the ledge, at least for one game. A 3-4 record feels a ton better than 2-5.
  • There was a parking lot near MMP with a sign posted – $60. No, that was not for permanently buying the spot.
  • If the Astros intend to entertain this many fans they need more security scanners and entrances. An hour before the ball game the line was 20 minutes long to get in the doors.
  • The two big black pickup trucks given to ROY Carlos Correa and Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel looked more up Colby Rasmus‘ alley, but were appreciated none the less.
  • It was a nice touch having Jeff Bagwell and Roger Clemens (former ROY and Cy Young winners) throw out the first pitch(es) to Correa and Keuchel.
  • Becky hit it on the head in her comment after the game. McHugh came off the mound after the first inning looking like Charles Bronson in one of those “the punks killed my wife and now they are going to die” revenge movies.
  • With runners in scoring position, it was obvious that Correa is totally tuned in to getting the easy RBI. Twice he went the other way to bring Jose Altuve in to score.
  • The big crowd went nuts when Rasmus hit a no doubter into the upper deck in the first inning. But they were also  appreciative when he dropped a bunt down against the shift for an easy hit later in the game.
  • Tyler White is just a hitting machine. He figures out how to get solid wood on the ball almost every time up.
  • Maybe Jason Castro is returning from the dead or at least his bat may be. He had a huge triple that broke the game open and nearly left the park and had another line drive shot into the outfield.
  • McHugh gave up 8 hits, which looks pretty meh as a statistic, but that included a couple of dead ducks into the outfield, a ground ball that White should have stopped and a ground ball where Correa broke the wrong way on it. The eight hits also included a play in the 7th that loaded the bases when Correa tried for a undoable force out at 2nd when the only possible play was at first.
  • A number of times the Royals tried to go the other way against the shift and failed. But it is obvious more teams are thinking about foiling that tactic.
  • In  a case of a little musical over-do, the Astros tried to cram in “God Bless America”, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas” during the 7th inning stretch. You could tell that both sides were ready to start the bottom of the 7th before the music was done. Of course, they may not have been back from the commercial break yet.
  • Tony Sipp struggled in his one relief inning and Josh Fields did not.

It was a good game for the Astros to spit out the bad taste of two series losses to start the season. The rest of this four-game series is no less important for setting a solid base for the team going forward.

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198 comments on “Tuesday thoughts after a “Don’t Jump!” Monday

  1. This team has basically been a .500 team for a year. Maybe we all got caught up in the hype and failed to realize that they are a .500 team in the A.L. where there are no weak teams. Maybe they are what they have been since May of 2015, which is an average baseball team.

    Also, I will note that Luhnow made some shrewd trades early on in his tenure as GM. His trades of major leaguers for prospects look so much better than his trades of prospects for major leaguers. Getting players like Devenski, Musgrove, Martes and Hoyt were shrewd acquisitions, but once we have gotten back to playing decent baseball he has traded prospects for major leaguers and these trades don’t look good, at this point. I’ve always advocated waiting out the trades until we see how the prospects lost perform at the major league level, but, right now,the players we have received have not performed like we expected.

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  2. Driving in this morning the folks on 610 AM were talking about how Giles did not come out to answer questions – Hinch did. That is kind of uncool and does not bode well. Maybe he was afraid that he would get fined for complaining about the missed 3rd strike on the batter who walked. Doesn’t matter you take your medicine and move on.
    Kevin is the white elephant Springer because I was talking about dropping him down in the lineup up above.
    The difference between Springer and the other two guys is that Gomez and Giles have not yet performed well as Astros.

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  3. It’s still not time to jump. We’ve played less than three full series out of about 50. The rotation has been a bright spot these last three nights. Tyler White keeps doing his thing. Altuve is Altuve. Rasmus has as many walks as strikeouts. Correa is Correa.

    Alas, four of our regulars, Springer, Valbuena, Gomez and Castro look really bad. Gomez is playing with his head somewhere else entirely. Yes, I’d much rather have that kid Santana in our outfield today. Springer, who looked so ready this spring, is lost at the plate.

    I’m not too worried about Giles. It’s frightening to watch him pitch right now, but I do believe he’ll be okay. I think I’d rather have VV in his role right now though. I would have been more comfortable with Vince coming in for the 8th inning last night.

    Tim, it’s premature to say that Devenski, Musgrove, Martes and Hoyt were good acquisitions. I’m optimistic about at least a couple of them, but it’s far too early to give Luhnow any credit for those moves.

    I still think this is a very good baseball team. But it’s pretty clear now the honeymoon is over for Luhnow.

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    • I said they were shrewd acquisitions, especially considering what we gave up to get them (Happ, Brett Myers and Jarred Cosart). However, if it’s too early to say they were good acquisitions then it’s too early to say we would rather have Santana over Gomez. Just saying…

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      • No doubt, far too early to determine if Santana will be a better guy out there than Gomez. And indeed, far to early to determine how shrewd those pitching acquisitions will turn out to be. But we are here to debate this stuff. That’s what keeps the conversation alive.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the Astros and their fans have just been given a much needed wake-up call. We are not as good – yet – as most of us thought. Even with adding the tremendous start of Tyler White at 1B over Carter and the excellent start of Preston Tucker at DH over Gattis, we are still at best a .500 team in this league if [a] our pitching goes south – which it has, [b] the umpires’ union turns against us,- which it has, and [c] we get virtually nothing offensively from CF, RF, 3B and C [four of the nine players in the line-up].

    Giles? He just has to keep the ball down and out of the middle of the plate. In this league 96 mph fastballs in the middle of the plate at thigh level or higher will almost always result in home runs, blown saves, and fan heartaches. Whoever had the idea to have him throw up in the zone more made a horrible mistake. Hopefully it has not ruined this kid.

    Gomez? I don’t know if he’s injured, missing Milwaukee, having family problems, doing drugs, or just,too hyper, high-strung, and emotional for his own good, but he’s definitely not ‘with us’ right now. He is just Jon Singleton’s hyperactive brother right now.

    Springer? I said at one point this spring that Springer was not on my ‘do-not-trade- unde-any-circumstances list’, and man did I get blasted. Now perhaps you are seeing why. It’s not that I don’t like George, or that I fail to see his amazing skill set – it is just that he has some obvious flaws that he is having real difficulty working out. Our problem now is that we’ve traded away all our top outfield prospects for a pipe dream, and have nobody to replace either George or Gomez with – so we are stuck with them while they try to figure it out, harness both their talent and their emotions, and become professional hitters instead of prima donnas who swing out of their shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well the fun thing is that we can blast you Mr. Bill and by this time have conveniently forgotten what side of the argument we were on.
      The biggest reason Springer would have been on the not tradable list would have been that there was a bagel behind him to replace him.
      My frustration last year and through the first week + of this season is the hitter’s approach at the plate – especially certain ones….. White and Correa are the gold standard, Altuve has been up and down but we know where he will be and to me Rasmus and Tucker have been solid, but what I am seeing out of everyone else is bad approaches at the plate.
      Gomez, Gattis (in limited ABs) and Springer look like someone trying to hit the ball 600 feet with every swing no matter what is needed. Castro and Valbuena swing at the wrong pitches half the time – no solid batting eye.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr.Bill, I’m glad you are taking such stances as that on Springer. Of course, i almost always do agree with you. The fact we can debate and argue our points of view is one reason Chipalatta is more fun than places like TCB where you either fall in line with their preferred opinions or get called an idiot.

      On Giles, the fastball up is only a weapon when a hitter is dropping their hands. You are correct he needs to pound the low strike. That’s what makes guys like Kimbrel so effective. I haven’t seen his recent innings. Is Castro calling for the high pitch?

      On Springer, we are going on potential. In game six when he scored from first after a Correa hit it showed how dangerous he is. I suspect the questions about his power trailing behind when he returned from injury inspired him to show he really is still a slugger…but what he needs to do is start spraying some singles off the fastballs. One of my college coaches maintained that the pitch hit furthest in MLB is the hanging slider. Springer needs to learn that. As for why he is on my untouchable list, well, I’m not going to play fantasy baseball. He is more fun to watch than just about anyone. My mom probably cried when they traded Hunter Pence…and I think the energy level they both bring to the team is comparable. I might cry if Luhnow traded Springer.

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  5. Remember when it was said — a “save situation can happen in the 6, 7, or 8th inning”. Last night was one of them. To win the division with our current rotation will require almost perfection again in the pen.

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  6. Lots of talk about Perez’s home run off of Giles this morning. But if Giles doesn’t walk Gordon, Perez never comes to the plate.
    Feldman’s fielding saved a run in one inning, and costs his team two runs in the next.
    Astros’ batters made a lot more mistakes last night than the Astros’ pitchers did.
    Springer, Valbuena, Castro and Gomez don’t have a clue with a bat in their hand.
    For a team who isn’t supposed to hit home runs, the Royal sure do hurt the Astros with home runs.
    KC’s bullpen is better than ours.

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      • True.
        I always tell myself I really can’t tell about the strike zone because I’m seeing from the camera view. But I can compare between the two teams. And thus far the Astros are getting squeezed a lot.

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  7. Let Marisnik play. Please.
    He CAN get hot ! Gomez is not even close to getting it done and he cannot handle negativity from the crowd. It will only prolong his slump.
    Is it a bad thing to pinch hit for a slumping hitter in a key situation ??? Or is that simply not done in pro baseball for fear of hurting someone’s confidence ?

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  8. Touching back on something from last night’s game and from when he pitched at Milwaukee – I was really impressed with Chris Devenski. I thought he was some kind of off-speed specialist, but he was bringing it at 95 mph last night on his fastballs. He has that great changeup, a good curveball and his weird delivery where he is leaning towards first and kind of throwing it back the other way has that ball coming in at an odd angle. The 3 batters (who all whiffed) looked completely bamboozled.

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  9. Tommy Shirley made his first appearance in a year last night and threw five shutout innings in a 6-0 Fresno win. Gave up three hits, walked 1 and struck out 5. Encouraging start. No idea what he was throwing, so I’ll look around and see if I can find out.

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    • That was fruitless. The Fresno Bee has almost nothing about the Grizzlies and said Shirley was returning from knee surgery. The Grizzlies web site wants to talk about Danny Worth, but mentions Shirley returning from Tommy John surgery. Nothing on twitter. oh, well.

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    • A great return by Tommy! We can use all the lefty arms we can get, now that Hader is gone from the system. 0 BBs is especially encouraging.

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  10. I was talking Springer, wow he look worse than lost , Gomez is GONE to Mars, Valbuena back to Mr Pop up, Castro well he could end up hitting .175 this year.

    I will be Captain Obvious, AJ and Uncle Jeff are going to have to prove their medal this year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin, if I know this FO, the Astros outfield on 7/31/16 will still be Springer in Right, Gomez in center, Rasmus in left, and Marisnick off the bench. Based on history, this FO doesn’t move anybody out for non-performance. The only wild card as I see it would be an injury or a retirement. Nobody wants the former, and the other would involve leaving a whole lot of money on the table.

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    • Add left-handed speedster Kemp to the bench in place of Marisnick, Dan, and let’s sign the contract. But you and I both know it ain’t going to happen.

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  11. Speaking of outfielders:

    At Quad Cities:

    Daz Cameron is not exactly tearing it up so far. Over the first 6 games, he is hitting .053/.269/.323 with 12 Ks om 25 PAs. At least he has walked 6 times.

    Kyle Tucker is doing better. Over the first 6 games he is hitting .320/.400/.880, with a double, a homer, and 5 RBI. He has walked 4 times and struck out 7.

    At Lancaster:

    Jason Martin is killing it so far at .429/.556.1.270. He has 2 doubles, a triple, and 3 RBIs. He has walked 4 times and struck out an equal number.

    The other outfielders, including Bobby Boyd and Drew Ferguson, are not distinguishing themselves.

    At Corpus:

    Derek Fisher is hitting .227/.320/.729 with a double, a homer and 4 RBIs. He has walked 3 times and struck out 5.

    Teoscar Hernandez is hitting a disappointing .200/.273/.473. He has no extra base hits or RBIs. He has walked twice and struck out 8 times.

    Don’t even ask about Danry Vasquez or Ronnie Mitchell.

    At Fresno:

    Eury Perez is feasting [if you call hitting a lot of singles feasting] on AAA pitching so far. He is hitting .600/.600/1.200, with no extra base hits, no walks, and 3 Ks.

    Tony Kemp, a sometimes outfielder, is also getting a good start, hitting .474/.583/1.057 with no extra base hits, 4 walks, and 5 Ks.

    Aplin, Kemmer, Heras have not been distinguishing themselves at all.

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    • And just as an aside, our former top outfield prospect Brett Phillips is hitting .308/.379/.918 with 3 doubles, a HR and 6 RBI for the Double A Biloxi Shockers. He has walked 3 times and struck out 8.

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  12. I “think” the reason Hinch told Giles to not meet with the media, is the young man has an explosive personality, AND he was REALLY angry when he came back to the dugout. Probably a good idea, jot to put him through the line of questions he would have gotten. My opinion only.☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have never liked player interviews after a loss. If anyone has to speak to media after a loss, it should be the manager. So I am very glad there was no interview with Kenny Giles.

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    • I will be a little contrarian here. I think more is revealed about people in these type of times – I like to see how people react, whether they take responsibility, whether they hold their poise. If they can’t be poised when fielding questions from the media – can I expect them to be poised when the SS drops a grounder or the ump blows a call?
      I could be wrong – just how I am feeling about it.

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      • I like your old contrary hide, Dan! The reason I prefer not to have player interviews after losses is that I want our players to be passionate about winning, and to take losses – especially those in which they did not perform as well as they are being paid to peform – hard. And I do not want any of them to ever let anything slip, or imply anything in body language, about the umpiriing, because there is no group of people more vindictive in sports that baseball’s umpiring crews. One hint of displeasure from a player or a coach in a post-game interview, and for the next several games our pitchers won’t get a strike call when it matters, and our hitters will get rung up on anything remotely close.

        Liked by 2 people

      • In mid-July after a player has established their footing that is one thing. Giles is just in a trough right now. Let him hit some crests and then let him deal with the wolves. Houston hasn’t had recent sportswriters interested in reporting so much as making people look foolish.

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  13. Valbuena sits tonight for Marwin – who is 1-11 this year with 6 Ks.

    In case you were wondering, Gomez – now batting .188 – is right back out there in CF as usual.

    At least AJ is slotting in PTuck against the righty this time instead of Gattis.

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    • This is where I think Hinch might be a bit soft. When Gomez decided to bunt with a 1-1 count on a pitch a foot and a half off the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, that was plain stupid and certainly worthy of a night off.

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  14. As disappointing as the start of the season has been for us, I feel sorry for the fans in Minnesota and in Atlanta. Both teams are 0 for 2016.

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  15. Like I said earlier, Vince could have taken a job in our pen until a rotation slot opened up. 16 K’s with 97 heat in the 9th has to be pretty good stuff. Philadelphia is giddy tonight. Wonder if our guys in the broadcast booth will mention his outing?

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  16. May Doug Fister get to the mound to night to find his body – and especially his right arm – possessed by the spirit of Vince Velasquez.

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  17. It’s time……..for a meeting with my guys, and Luhnow will not be invited in. Time to let Springer know he doesn’t have to copy Gomez’S swing. He swings so hard he nearly screws himself into the ground. Time to get another hitting coach. Time to let Giles have ONE more time on the mound, before it becomes evident that he needs to pitch in lower stress games. Time to figure out if Devinski has a place either in the rotation or the long man in the bullpen. I’d RATHER keep him as a starter…..can you imagine McCullers and Devinski in the rotation!!!
    I want “OUR” VV……and I think Chris Devenski could be that guy. I’m done watching Fister and Feldman in the rotation. Trade one of them, and put the other one in the pen replacing Devenski. It’s time. My opinion only but its time to get going…..PERIOD.

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    • We can’t go woulda, shoulda, coulda Sandy. So far those two-three trades look pretty lopsided. They get some of our most talented prospects, and we get guys who won’t be here next year. It is what it is. ((( sigh )))😳😳

      Liked by 1 person

  18. When Feliz had to be sent down because he threw 100 pitches in the 2nd game I think most expected Peacock to get called up. Instead they brought up Devenski and DFA’d Danny Reynolds to open a 40-man spot. Devenski has remained with the team and in the bullpen. My thought is whether the Astros did this to limit Devenski’s innings with the plan to move him into the rotation later in the season. Man, I sure hope that’s the plan.

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  19. I don’t see how Springer can be given an error on that play. If a guy bails on a ball lost in the sun, it’s a hit. He tried to hang with it. Those lights must be set differently than they have been in the past.

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  20. If Fister is going to top out at 85-86, he’ll get beat up on a regular basis. I don’t want to pile on so early, but how can you pay a guy 9 plus million with such limited velocity?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I can’t believe this – Gomez thinks a looper will drop in – they catch it and double him off first. Springer holds up on a looper – it drops in and they throw him out at 2nd. Nightmare night.

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  22. I gotta say, those new lights nearly blinded us on Monday night. In fact I’m going to wear a visor the next time I go to the ball park. George was having a REAL tough time seeing the ball on Monday. That has to get fixed ASAP. this was a nightmare of a game tonght…..I’m kinda glad I couldn’t see it listening to it was bad enough.

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    • It was not a mirage – but we did have a lot of good fortune early in the year. So far this year, virtually all the breaks have gone against us. We still have 72 games to play against division opponents. All we have to do is beat them 60% to 65% of the time in head-to-head competition and we will make up ground quickly.

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  23. The title of this blog had to do with a jump off Monday. Tomorrow is a jump off the bridge Friday. What a miserable looking baseball team.

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  24. Jose, I can’t see – in these blasted new lights –
    where the heck that ball went- is it fixing to bean me?
    I saw it fly off the bat; I saw it head out towards right,
    I thought I had it for sure, but now I’m shouting obscenely
    And all I see is glare,as the crowd shouts ‘It’s THERE!’
    Tell Go-Go to come quick, ’cause I don’t have a prayer!
    Jose, if you’re there would you stand up and wave?
    ’cause I’m blind as a bat, and feel like digging Crane’s grave!

    Liked by 3 people

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