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.

Advertisement

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

  1. OK Houston Chipalatta folks somehow you need to device a way that someone is at all 80 games remaining (-;. As the wife and I were watching the game it looked like a completley different team. Most teams always will do better at home , but it’s mind boggeling how different they look and act at MM.

    Somehow we need to figure out and bottle up some of that MOJO for the road. Winning 53 again at home is going to be tough.

    I wish I could have been there! I went in 2006 when they honered Bagwell and the WS team.

    Like

  2. This was the team I was expecting to see in NY and Milwaukee.
    Maybe it was the cold weather. Whatever it was I’m ready to put it in the past.
    I loved the look of determination on McHugh’s face that kind of attitude can Carry a team. The guys seem happy and comfortable and it was evident the fans were thrilled to have them home.
    I hope all that enthusiasm can carry over for the rest of the home stand and beyond

    Like

  3. Sorry about two typos from posting on my phone:
    The Astros were whomping, not whooping the Royals
    Correa tried an undoable force, not a undoable force
    ….Of course I am not sure that whomping or undoable are real words anyways.

    Yesterday I wrote in the comments:
    – I’m guessing that 19 game winner Collin McHugh will go more than 1/3 of an inning next time out.

    Yes he did – he was the difference in the game and the team’s attitude like Sandy said

    – I’m betting that former batting champ Jose Altuve will remember how to hit

    Three solid singles later and I was happy with Jose

    – 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.

    They played just like last year and that is saying a lot

    – I’m praying that George Springer will go on one of “those” tears.

    Maybe not on a tear, but two hits and back above the Mendoza is a start

    – I’m believing that guys who have pitched well in previous years like Giles and Neshek and Harris and Sipp will do so again.

    Well Sipp threw some very hittable meatballs up there – but he has gone through stretches before

    – I’m hoping that Feldman and Fiers will pitch like they’ve been on a big league mound before.

    Important starting tonight

    – I’m positive that Jason Castro won’t end the season with one hint (a bunt single against the shift) in his stats.
    I’m positive that I am right

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gattis reactivated and Duffy sent down. I wonder if Marisnick has options. Not sure where Duffy fits in at Fresno. Seems you would want Moran, Reed and Singleton getting ABs every day. Jake on the bench is a luxury. Would love to see him at Fresno getting regular ABs instead of the occasional late inning PH/PR opportunities he’s getting now.

    Like

    • Maybe true on the short term, but by the end of the year Gomez will have run circles around Jake offensively. Marisnick is not a major league starter, but he is great for the role he is being asked to fill. Gomez is better offensively, defensively, as a baserunner, has more power, strikes out less, I can’t even think of an aspect of the game that Gomez will not outperform Marisnick in. Now Jake is a big, strong kid capable of swinging a solid bat and having a hot week. The way Gomez is seeing it right now, I suspect we will see Jake get a few starts this week – but long term, Gomez will be better. So, short answer, yes, he can be worse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, he is already worse. Jake is hitting, and I know Dan will like this, a Blutarski-like .000. Thus, it is impossible to hit worse than Jake right now.

        Like

    • Yeah, and I’m guessing it was our GM who is responsible for sitting Tucker against the righty and giving Gattis the nod tonight.

      Like

  5. Ahh Sandy, I can appreciate your continued hesitency with Luhnow, even as we’ve entered into the 2016 season. It’s a big year for him. We all have high (reasonably so) expectations at this point. If guys like Santana and VV have significant rookie seasons and our centerfielder and our rotation do not, the heat will be on. And he sure put a lot of pressure on Giles. But at the same time, he could get saved by guys like Reed and White and Tucker and several pitchers nearby. We’re going to have plenty to talk about as we move forward!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave, I wonder more what Luhnow could have had instead of Giles for those prospects. Relievers are volatile and a pretty high risk anyway. Heck, Kimbrel blew it against Baltimore last night and cost(s) way more than Giles.

      Like

    • I don’t know what confuses me more – that Evan Gattis has been given preference for PTuck against a righty that tends to walk a lot of people or that Carlos Gomez is still getting slotted into the line-up ahead of whoever our DH is. We really need somebody that can actually hit slated in after Rasmus and White – don’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny Mr. Bill – I was thinking the same thing last night watching the game in person. Gomez was like “The Cooler” – the dealer you bring in to cool down the hot patron winning in a casino. Tucker has been a much better asset.
        I can understand giving Gattis some chance at DH, but I would sure rather see PTuck against the righty.

        Like

    • That’s the kind of thing that makes me very unhappy. I believe Tucker’s OPS is 1.345. Sure, a tiny sample, but how do you sit so hot a bat? I’m sure Preston is pissed off and rightly so.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There is no statistical data, past or present, that supports benching Gomez for Marisnick. Now, a case can be made to move Rasmus to CF and giving PTuck more ABs in LF, but I don’t see any reason to make Marisnick the everyday CFer.

    Like

    • Agree, Tim. Marisnick and Gomez are competing to see who can hit worse – and the race is definitely neck-and-neck. Replacing one with the other is like exchanging cyanide for hemlock. Putting Rasmus in center and PTuck in left – especially at MMP with its short left-field porch – would seem to be the better way to give both our paper bag punchers a little time to think about where they want to go from here.

      Like

      • The Astros seem to value defense much more than most of the fans, myself included. I think having a good defensive team is important, but you shouldn’t be starting a hitter hitting below the Mendoza Line regardless of how good his defense is. With that being said, I agree with Dave, and say let’s give Gomez a bit more time to see if he can return to a semblance of the player he was 2 years ago.

        Like

      • I agree that we have no real choice but to give him more time. Marisnick is every bit as bad as he is, the FO is not going to chance putting Preston Tucker in the field, and sadly, since last year’s trades there is no longer a single outfielder above A level in our system is anywhere close to pushing GoGo out. All the OFs we invited to ST were terrible disappointments. We are thus over a barrel. That is just the way it is. I really do not, however, understand the reasoning behind continually slotting Gomez into the batting order ahead of anyone except Jason Castro. I am not a Valbuena fan at all, but to me even he looks light years better at the plate than Gomez has since he put on a Houston uni.

        Like

      • For what it is worth, however, I see that after his 4-5 night last night, Fresno has decided to move Tony Kemp from 2B to CF at least for tonight’s game. I hope he tears it up out there, and at least starts to push the Gomez-sure-ain’t-much-but-looks-like-he’s-the best-we’ve-got envelope a little.

        Like

    • Or using Lance McCullers over Roberto Hernandez or using Tyler White over Jon Singleton or using Carlos Correa over Jed Lowrie.
      I guess my point being is that in other cases they are making the right call.

      My thought is this (and I may be just spit ballin’ here). They may want to trade Gattis and the only way to trade Gattis is to play him and show the world he is healthy.

      Like

      • Tim has it correct up above. If you want Tucker in the lineup you let Rasmus or Springer play CF tonight. You don’t call Gattis back up to sit…and I’m ambivalent to Gattis unlike many (unless he is catching…which I support).

        Like

      • I’m not saying don’t play Gattis but tonight, when Tucker is swinging it well???? I’m hoping Gomez finds it . much better for us long term with a trade or QA than what JFSM does right now IMHO.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A commenter over at another blog made a good point about starting Gattis tonight over Tucker. Medlin has a nasty change-up that is a killer against LH’s. Thus, maybe giving Gattis a start tonight against a pitcher like Medlin is the right time to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey in 2015 Gattis had a better BA OBP OPS against righties than lefties. Though still not touching Tucker’s start.

        Like

      • I don’t buy Tucker sitting for anyone right now. Gattis, the guy who has had no Spring Training, is more prepared to deal with a change than the lefty bat with an OPS of 1.345? I respectfully disagree with the commenter from the other blog. And again, I hope Dan is right, that Gattis is being shopped. But I think Luhnow has somewhat of an unhealthy affection for the guy.

        Like

  7. Did anyone mention Bregman dropped two bombs last night? Hitting safely in all games this season is a good way to shut up his critics (like myself) and prove his prospect ranking is legit.

    Also, Hoyt struck out four guys in one IP yesterday.

    Like

  8. Oh Lord…..looks like neither pitcher is having a very good game tonight. Thank goodness we have some guys who are trying to climb back into this game! What is happening to our starters? DAAAANG!
    Went to the game last night…..first time I’ve been out in public since the first of January……and I’m paying for it today. I feel like Cinderella….had a blast last night, but I’m back to scrubbing floors today (( sigh))……

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If I was A.J. Hinch I would tell Devenski to start stretching and be prepared to come in at any time. Fiers is a looking like a no -go.

    Like

    • I’d like to pinch George’s head off for doing that! Some head’s would role tonight if they lose this game, because we keep giving outs to the Royals! And don’t get me started on Gattis tonight grrrrrr.

      Like

  10. Evan Gattis is:
    – Reminding me why I wanted a pairing of Tyler White and A.J. Reed coming out of spring training
    – Not doing a good job of selling himself for a trade
    – Still not able to hit anything that has a dip to it
    – Not as intimidating looking sans the beard

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Frustrating game for the fans.
    – The way it started no one would think it would end with the same score as the first inning.
    – Really lost two runners on the path in the same inning. Springer first and then Rasmus held up after his line drive was dropped leading to a double play.
    – The first 4 Astros could all have walked in the 9th inning. Both Gattis and Altuve were not able to check their swings on ball four.
    – Sure wish Tucker could have gotten some swings at the starter instead of Gattis.
    – When Springer was swinging and missing with a huge swing on a fastball down the middle I could not help but picture how Correa would have swung for a single not a 600 ft HR.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, Tim. But at this rate, I would be thrilled with just a single series win. It is obviously going to have to be one baby step at at time with this team.

      Like

  12. Salvador Perez owned the home plate umpire.
    Evan Gattis is a lousy baseball player.
    Gomez is a child.
    Springer is out of control..
    The crowd was embarrassing.
    Hinch had a terrible lineup.
    Fiers gutted it out, with a straight fastball and good breaking stuff.
    Nobody on the Astros wanted a single.
    The Astros have the worst hitting catchers in baseball.

    Like

  13. I would enjoy seeing Marisnik in over Gomez. Not going to happen, but he could not be worse. At least we know that Marisnik can get hot. I have seen nothing like that from the other….yet.
    It has been my contention that Springer grossly over swings thus is (as was previously stated) “out of control”. Has anyone ever explained to him the concept of just making contact ? Altuve seemed to be swinging for the fences last night as well. Homeruns happen because good contact is made on the ball, not because someone comes out of their socks swinging.
    Gattis over Tucker ?? ouch ! Whatever happened to putting the best players on the field EVERY night? This is NOT little league !
    (Deep breath) It’s a loooong season !

    Like

    • If it were me, I would tell Mr. Gattis that he got his one and only chance to start in front of Preston Tucker as the DH against a righty last night, and blew it badly. Any further opportunities will be as a back-up catcher [he can’t really be worse than Kratz, can he?] or as a DH against lefties and a late innings pinch-hitter. I have had quite enough of the FO’s Evan Gattis love affair.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. And 1 more comment….
    Has it occurred to anyone else that our Astro pitchers are getting squeezed ???
    Tight strike zones make for a more interesting game…but it has to be the same for both teams. I feel like they are being punished. Redistribution of wins for the sake of parity ???

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t feel like they have been getting squeezed. I think the umpires missed a few pitches that wound up being significant, though. I’m more upset with the umpiring against our hitters, though. When a guy can’t find the zone, the catcher calls for it low and away, the pitch arrives up and in (off plate according to the tracking tools) you can’t give the pitcher a strike.

      Like

      • Nice. Appreciate your insight. I relegated myself to watching MLB dot Com, the strike zones and its been sloppy. Nobody wants to take this part of human error out of baseball as Dierker’s brilliant worst case best suggested putting sensor in each back pocket of homeplate ump. On the questions of trying to outguess the best closer in baseball, it was apparent to me he looked like the Doug Brocail of Marlboro Men when entering, but he was definitely spitting cottonballs at the end! This is a brutal war, and if guys like Correa cant match Cain, we lose that series. Each team has a killer in the lineup. Where we really look bad is Soria. He came in like fresh Meat on the hook and we looked terrible in the 8th. Teams WILL pitch around White if not protected, AJ.. We have to look at a threat at #6 like Tucker. Right, I see it now. Still should have Valbuena at 7. What gives with the Gomie AB’s?

        Like

  15. In the third inning, with Springer on first and the pitcher in his stretch position having already stopped his hands, Perez wiggled his bare hand next to his glove, which was the signal for the snap throw to first without looking. Springer had taken the extra step and never had a chance and never saw the hand wiggle because he was all eyes on the pitcher, which he should be. Perfect execution, perfect throw. The Astros looked totally dead on offense the rest of the night. Is Springer a five tool player who is missing the all-important sixth tool?
    In the fifth inning, with two out and runners on, the Royals pitching coach made a visit to the mound and told Medlen how he wanted him to pitch to Rasmus. Two breaking balls outside to set up the strikeout, high inside fastball to get Rasmus committed to swinging at an unhittable 2-0 pitch, change eye level with a called strike fastball inside corner at the knees. The I told Mrs.1OP to watch for the breaking ball inside at the back foot, which was perfectly set up by the previous fastball. Colby missed the breaking ball in the dirt by a foot and a half.. Then the game was handed over to the Royals’ bullpen and the Astros’ goose was cooked.

    Like

    • No, I think what Springer lacks is experience. His pro career started late due to college. He spent longer in the minors because the team wanted to maximize their years of control without risking the chance a major contract would be needed. He missed about a full season due to injuries and is playing on a team without veteran leadership. He has to learn from his mistakes that he is athletically gifted, but the other players are either at a similar level or far more savy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. 1. The football helmets need to stay at home.
    2. Gomez *is* a child….and not a very funny one either.
    3. The next guy who gets picked off, gets fined. NO EXCEPTIONS.
    4. Time to have a closed door meeting with this team…
    5. We have a weak catching duo, it’s time to get serious about trading for another catcher. NOW.
    6. Hinch needs to be the manager…there is plenty of time to be their friend, later.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Springer is old enough to know better by now. You just don’t get picked off at first with nobody out and the 3,4,5 guys hitting. That’s something you learn in Pony League.

    Like

  18. After reading this article (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/Astros-scout-recalls-discovery-of-surprising-7244902.php?t=83bbea9455438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium), I went to Spotrac and looked up White’s rookie year salary, which is $506,500. I divided it by 27 weekly paychecks and came up with just under $18,800 per week for 27 weeks, before taxes and deductions. That is, if he stays in the majors all year.
    Great job, Tyler White!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A year ago the Astros were also 3-5 after eight games. However, they were about to go on a 15-2 run including a 10 game winning streak that gave them the cushion over .500 that they carried for the rest of the season.
    I kind of doubt that will happen this time around and they are going to have to grind out some winning weeks and months to get where they need to be.

    Like

  20. Dan, I’ll be happy if we get out of April at .500. Would rather have a slow start instead of playing .500 ball from May to October. Let’s figure out the DH situation. And hope that Springer and Gomez get into a groove. Let Giles grow into his role. Maybe lose Fields. Get McCullers back and settle the rotation. Know that White will correct, but still hit .300 for us, as I think he will. And darn it, figure out a way to stop losing so many guys on the bases.

    Like

  21. I’m a telling you if Gomez could just find lightning in a bottle for 4 months, 4 months it would be a really good thing for us.

    Like

    • Alas, it appears Mr. Gomez left his entire supply of lightning in a bottle in Milwaukee. All he brought with him to Houston was a dud Roman candle in a plastic bag.

      Like

  22. Both teams strand leadoff doubles.
    In the Astros case is it too early to talk about moving Mr. Springer out of the second spot in the lineup?

    Like

  23. I feel like a grumpy old man tonight. What does the hitting coach work on with Springer and Gomez? “George, you need to swing so hard that your foot is automatically in the bucket. A couple times you were almost in balance when swinging and we have to stop that.”
    “Carlos, we need you to make sure that when the ball is crossing the plate that you have already swung your head around to look into the 3rd base dugout. I swore I caught you able to see the pitch out of the corner of your eye last time and that is not a habit we want you to develop.”

    We need Rocky’s trainer, Burgess Meredith, back here working with these guys. Remember how he broke Rocky of his unbalanced crazy swinging by tying his legs together with a string and telling him the needed to take small steps to keep balanced and powerful and not break the string. (of course that was fiction and Rocky promptly forgot that when he got in against Apollo Creed).

    Feldman is doing his job – his teammates are not.

    Like

  24. IMHO. yes. And while I’m on the bandwagon, Look what we gave away to get Gomez (Fiers was a throw in and he’s OK). Brett Phillips (2) Josh Hader (4) Adrian Houser (17) and Domingo Santana (on the roster).

    It’s time for a trade embargo. Otherwise there will be nobody left on the farm.

    Hey let’s trade Chris Devinski for some body that can’t pitch or hit. He’s playing much too good to stay an Astro.

    And there’s the famous Nick Tropeano and Carlos Perez for “Dancing Hank Conger”

    Sorry, I’m just a little PO’d over these trades.

    Like

  25. It’s time for Luhnow to swallow hard, and send Mr. Giles to Fresno for a few weeks. I know it will be difficult to tell him, but we can no longer let him pitch in high stress games, and expect him to get it done. I’m not gonna spout off about it being a bad trade, because he’s so young and we have him under team control for a few years.
    But he clearly can’t be trusted to not give up homeruns.

    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 )

Connecting to %s