Panic time or adjustment and tweak time for Astros?


Writing this post on a sunny Monday afternoon is a struggle, almost as large a struggle as the Astros have experienced over the first 19 games and a 6-13 record. It is hard to believe that this team has only one series win to date and has a long winning streak of one in a row, accomplished six times in 2016.

Is it time to panic, or time to adjust for the Astros?

Looking back on 2015, the five eventual AL playoff teams had started off like this:

  • KC Royals 13-6
  • Houston Astros 12-7
  • NY Yankees 11-8
  • Toronto Blue Jays 9-10
  • Texas Rangers 7-12

The Rangers, who eventually overtook the Astros for the AL West title and whose pounding of the good guys almost kept them out of the playoffs struggled mightily and for a long time in 2015. A few times they bobbed up to the surface during the season, but they did not rise above .500 for good until August 15.

The only major move the Rangers made in the early season was one they would probably not repeat if given a Mulligan, the April 27 trade for Josh Hamilton. The reaction to this trade was a continued fall to a 7-15 record.

The Rangers eventually improved by allowing most of their players to snap out of it and then making some trades at the July deadline. But does this even matter when looking at the Astros’ situation?

The problem the Astros have is two-fold. They must decide whether to do anything and once past that gate, what they need to do.

Here are questions to ponder:

  • Do they need to let things shake out a little more to see what the true level of the club is? How much longer?
  • Do they need to jump in right now and make changes to the team itself? If so, what?
  • Do they need to jump in right now and make changes to the coaching staff? The front office? If so, what?
  • Would a four 0r five game winning streak change things for you or would you think it was a band-aid on a gangrene limb?
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135 comments on “Panic time or adjustment and tweak time for Astros?

    • The difference is that for the previous stint of badness we lacked any really good players; The solution was to sell-off the players we did have and start over. Now we have several really good, high-potential players – and a few more still in the pipeline – but our on-field and F.O. personnel have no clue how to develop those players into the stars they should be. Now the answer is to rebuild the on-field management team and the F.O. from the ground up.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Headline in today’s paper: “Clueless in Seattle.” 🙂
    OP, glad the 3 grandkids, 6 adults and 2 dogs emerged unscathed. Assume we’ll get confirmation on others soon. More rain in Houston this morning. Plus the Cleburne Cafeteria burned down. Add to that the oil bust and let’s just say the Astros are trending with the zeitgeist.

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  2. Quote from MLB:
    Keuchel spoke of the frustrations of the big picture, saying the Astros weren’t playing as a team.
    “We’re still playing sloppy and it’s not going to change until something or some people, you know, play well,” he said. “This is the highest level you can go and I think people take it for granted sometimes. It’s not the way it should be. We have people busting their tails and doing everything they possibly can, and it seems like we’re not a cohesive unit. Until we are, it won’t look pretty. That’s just the way it is.”

    Why do I get the feeling he’s hinting at our illustrious short stop.

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    • I hope Dallas looks on the mirror as well as calling out teammates. That is exactly the kind of talk that can prevent “cohesiveness.” I suspect that he is feeling the ill effects of pitching so many innings last season. The quest for the Cy Young and the string of quality starts are terrific personal achievements as well as great PR for a team that sorely needed it. But his performance has not been as crisp (yet) this season and I can’t help but feel it was all of those innings. The fact that his velocity is down a tick may be the result. And even this year, they are running him well over 100 pitches every game – no matter the score. And it also looks like AJ is going to throw Will Harris’s arm off again this year since the trust factor for other guys isn’t there.

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  3. I know it’s over and ugly when Tim is anti, can I say it now Lunhole! I love you all, be safe and keep cheering. I have some life things that I need to focus on. I will be back again. Stay funny you all have made many a day for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The temptation is to try to fix everything at once. First, let’s realize Seattle is probably going to win our division and not get too worked up over the final score last night…it was over at 5-0. The problem was losing on Monday.

    Breaking it down further, when Seattle took the 1-0 lead it followed a hugely important Cano at bat. He was down 0-2 to Keuchel with a man on 2B. He worked the count to 3-2 without panicking. Then, he rolled over a pitch on the outside corner at the knees to move the runner over. Keuchel hit his spot. Unlike our middle of the order, Cano wasn’t greedy … he just did his job. Hinch pulls the infield in (Why?) and Cruz got an easy opportunity to drive in the run with a single to left.

    Forget our bad batting average with RISP. You manufacture runs in more ways than stealing bases or hitting HR. We need Altuve, Springer, and Gomez on 1B so they can go first to third on singles to the outfield. We need Correa, White, and Tucker hitting singles instead of taking gift pitches because they were looking for something to jack.

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  5. Really, really disappointing thus far. Such lofty national expectations for the team and they cannot even string together a winning streak of more than one game. Has Strom lost his magic? We already knew the hitting coach was a failure from last year’s efforts. Who is the baserunning coach??? (sarcasm) Correa is pressing big time as well as White. Castro and Gomez are black holes. Gomez’s feelings need to be stepped on by sitting him until he agrees to taper his poor batting habits.

    I know the season is long but one month is already upon us and only one major league team is worse than the Houston Astros Ball Club. I am close to jumping off the bandwagon before it overturns on me.

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  6. When you ask someone ” How you doing?” right after they spent 45 minutes in a storm shelter with three ice cream filled grandkids, his in-laws, a wife who packed enough supplies for an army and two dogs who don’t want to be there, and he says “I’ll be fine”, he’s lying through his teeth just like the Astros are.
    When McHugh and the rest of the team blew up in the second game of the year in New York, this team disappeared. That is the last time their shortstop played like a star and the entire team has blown up with him. Their bubble burst in the cold that night and it isn’t going to be fixed.
    They went to Miwaukee and got beat by three of their ex players who never showed anything but errors and strikeouts when they were in Houston and our guys laid down like old dying bird dogs at their feet.
    Our team had a chance to show the world that their performance last fall against the Champs wasn’t a fluke, and the Royals beat the crap out of them in the Astros house.
    Then they had a chance to go to Texas and exact vengeance on the team that beat them like a drum last year and nobody but Rasmus even showed up in Arlington.
    Finally, at home on national TV against the struggling Red Sox, they laid down like the Texans do in New England, to show the world they are made of nothing but a statistical mirage.
    No heart, but worse, no soul.
    Nobody here, in the Astros organization or the baseball “experts” saw the Astros playing like the worst team in baseball and yet here they are. fighting it out with the intentionally self-doomed Braves for the #1 draft pick after just three weeks.
    I hear the shouts: “it’s early!
    I shout: If you don’t hit, don’t run the bases well when you do hit, don’t field well, don’t think well, don’t pitch well, it’s late!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The personal awards have not suited the Astros well. Keuchel’s CY, Correa’s ROY – both seem to have conveyed the message ‘You are great, so you can coast’. That is not the way the game of baseball works. Rude awakening #1.

    I get the impression Hinch is not much of a ‘team’ guy. He’s got his ‘pets’ – particularly Gattis (and last year, Conger) and he just lets the rest of the team fend for themselves. With no effective manager, hitting coach, base coach, or bench coach, the players have ceased to be a team, and have begun to function like a ‘pick-up’ squad. And too many of them are legends in their own minds.

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  8. This has been an embarrassment for the first 4 weeks. I asked one of my lone Astros fan friends in the heart of rangers country in Texoma for one bit of good news… He said the rangers began 2015 at 7-15 last year. If there is any good news other than that it is that the Mariners are ahead in the division with a record of 11-9. As it stands right now we have a record of 6-15. We are only 5.5 games out of 1st place. However the awards like ROY and CY are looking like far distant memories. Did we spend too much of the off-season reading our own press clippings? Hoping we can actually put a winning streak together. The schedule is favorable for us in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully by the middle of May we will have a little more fight in us. If not we will be depending on this blog to help us keep our sanity through the HOT summer months. Go ASTROS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think a catastrophic meltdown/beatdown like we endured last night, with our former Cy Young winner on the mound, and with our flashy, media-darling ROY at SS and pulling yet another 0-fer, with a K, while batting 3rd in our line-up, was exactly what the doctor ordered. This group of players needs to learn that all the individual talent and potential in the world means nothing in the game of baseball unless it is surrendered to a team-first goal and driven by a team-first dynamic.

      Will this group take the medicine and start the healing process? That remains to be seen. If Hinch can’t manage – and I am in serious doubt he can – the players need to rally. If Luhnow can’t motivate – and it seems pretty obvious he cannot – the players need to reach deep within, and pull themselves and each other up. If all Correa can think about or talk about is being named MVP, send him back to AA ball where he MIGHT still be able to do it – because he sure has not shown the heart or the focus to make anything remotely similar to it happen in the major leagues. An MVP can’t just look pretty in a hat, smile for the camera after making a web-gem, and count the money he thinks he’ll be raking in from endorsements and free-agency contracts down the road; an MVP has to pick up his team-mates on the bases and bring out the best in them on the field and in the clubhouse.

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  9. First…..Keuchel is voicing HIS frustration as well as the “sloppy” play behind him.
    He HAS a valid point. Last night was a blow out, and it shouldn’t have been. PLUS… this team has lost more games by 1 or 2 runs, and THAT is frustrating. If they were getting hammered every single day, that would be a different problem. I see most of this team with their head down and trying to play good baseball. Rasmus, Springer, Valbuena, Marwin, Tucker, Gattis, Altuve, White (he’s been a victim of bad play) and Castro all are playing to win. Correa is trying so dang hard he’s pulling White off base, that has to stop. I don’t see one single guy not trying. Gomez is a liability in center sometimes….that’s where I miss Marisnick. Jake is a better CF he just can’t hit😦. The rotation is a mess right now, and it’s not because they lack talent. I heard a caller ask Luhnow yesterday, “if you have a closer, why not an “opener”! Valid question!! Start Harris for the first two innings, then stick your starter in to pitch for 5-6 innings then hand it over to the closer!! Hey……it might work!! Just kidding! Do you remember when the Astros went to Colorado in the NL, and Norris ect. Got hammered for three games??? That rotation was never the same…..mentally, after that series for those guys. These guys are starting to doubt thier stuff, and when you do that your gonna need more than a pitching coach to “fix” it. I’m afraid that’s what has happened to these guys…😨😨!! There is NOTHING WRONG with this team! There’s too much talent to be “wrong”. They NEED A TEAM ONLY CLOSED DOOR MEETING *T O D A Y*!!! Stuff needs to be talked about, not talking behind their backs. Clearly these guys have some personalities that are not “jelling” and that can, and WILL get corrected. We can call for people to get fired, but unless I’ve missed something not one coach has pitched, or hit the ball this year. Your starting 9 are the only ones going out on that diamond and playing baseball. I have a suggestion for each and everyone of these guys, and their coaches Luhnow and Hinch as well…….LOOK IN THE MIRROR, and ask yourself are you playing as a team…..or are you playing for yourself. Ask that qustion, and you’ll get your answer.

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    • Becky, I agree with what you’re saying. I’d just like to add that this team is very young with no veteran leadership. Young players tend to listen to their coaches. I think these guys are trying to do as they are told but maybe their leadership is leading them in the wrong direction.

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    • Could happen……they just need to start playing like they are capable of. WAAY too much talent on this team to be losing this many games. They still need a closed door player only meeting.

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      • Hmmm…they might be hesitant to voice how they feel publicly for fear of retribution.
        Luhnow is pretty vindictive, and he might make a player who voices his opinion very uncomfortable. BUT….you might be right.

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      • I love the Astros and always will, but I don’t see any way this team can play 21 games over .500 for the remainder of the season. I just can’t see it.

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    • Yes, I can see that. I think ultimately the bullpen is still one of the best in the AL. Slumps will end and the team will be better. @OAK, MIN, SEA, CLE for 12 games is a chance to get well in a big way. Recall our team was great at home and putrid on the road last year. Win a few series in a row and the confidence will return.

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