Astros 2016: So many (MANY!) questions

As we awoke to another Astros loss 11-1 to the M’s this morning and the continuation of an early season 6-15 death march, many questions run through the minds of all Astro fans.

  • Where did our fun-loving, dugout dancing, slightly obnoxious young team go? Did the Mother Ship return for them and dropped off the true team?
  • Is Erik Kratz on the team as a backup because he is the only catcher in the universe who hits worse than Jason Castro?
  • Is there something wrong with Major League Baseball that they would award three consecutive AL player of the week awards to a team that has not won a week full of games to date?
  • Will the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa win the 2016 Sophomore Jinx Award?
  • Is Correa trying to prove he does not belong at SS with error after error?
  • Did all those 2015 innings, late season and playoff big pitch counts and last game relief appearances, wear out Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel?
  • Did Bud Selig return to MLB and order that the Astros’ early season schedule be set up to maximize Keuchel’s road starts where he flounders?
  • Who killed Manager A.J. Hinch‘s puppy? Well that is how he looks in the dugout.
  • Why is Scott Feldman being replaced in the rotation by Chris Devenski when his ERA is basically the same as Keuchel’s and 1 to 3 runs better than Mike Fiers, Doug Fister and Collin McHugh?
  • If pitching is 90% of the game (hitting is the other half) – why in the world did we trade in a 2 year 4 month period Jordan Lyles, Jarred Cosart, Nick Tropeano, Andrew Thurman, Mike Foltynewicz, Daniel Mengden, Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, Mark Appel, Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Thomas Eshelman and Dan Straily? Maybe some of them, but all of the them?
  • Is there any hitter other than Colby Rasmus, who is better now than when they joined the big club? Maybe George Springer?
  • Can the team just impose a moratorium on base stealing?
  • Can the base coaches be put through extensive re-training to remember what their jobs are?
  • Could the hitters be sent up to bat with some sort of special blinders so they do not realize anyone is on base or in scoring position?
  • How did the pitching staff get so old – eight guys 30 years old or older? Oh wait, count up five bullets to the answer.
  • Is there any hope? Where is the bottom? Will I wake up and Bobby Ewing will step out of the shower alive?

Please, add your own questions to the list.

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134 comments on “Astros 2016: So many (MANY!) questions

  1. I have one question: Who is the guy responsible for this shipwreck? There is one guy responsible for all of this. The same guy that got all the credit for last year.
    The guy that designed the ship, oversaw it’s construction, hired the captain and the crew.crew and told them what, when, where, how to do what they do.
    There has to be a reckoning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will say this – he deserves a little more rope before he is hung after last year. However, just like in Home Alone 2 – I think he has soaked the rope in kerosene and lit the end of it….

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    • He is being questioned. I questioned him last year and took a bunch of heat. He made moves that might have made sense for the short term, but none of them have better prepared this club for the future.

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    • I have been questioning Luhnows ability to construct a major league roster ever since we paid Albers and Crain good money not to be healthy. And trading away all the pitching. I really can’t identify a single trade he has made at the major league level that I can definitively say he “won” right now. Was Gomez really that valuable after he had flunked Mets physical? And Ok, he has reclaimed McHugh and Sipp from the scrap heap. But then there’s JD Martinez and now Cris Carter and Domingo Santana that went from our “scrap heap” to doing well for their new teams. All of our pitchers (with McCullers out) are exactly the same. Soft tossing finesse guys. Sure makes scouting and preparation easier for the other team. No veteran leader in roster construction.So, to summarize in case anybody hasn’t figured it out – I have never been a Luhnow fan and never will be. But when he brings that World Series title to Houston, I will admit I was wrong. But, let’s not forget that Keuchel, Springer, and Altuve are products of prior GMs. So was VV, but he gone with other starting pitching for a closer that I am firmly convinced the Astros have screwed up by making him change his pitching style and screwing with his confidence by “demoting” him from closer before he had ever thrown a pitch in a regular season game for them. I’m thinking I may need to go take a pill now, lol.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nance, You mirrorr my thoughts exactly. I tried to like him but there was just something I couldn’t put my finger on that kept bothering me and then so many folks thought he walked on water, I kept quiet.
        He obviously knows nothing about pitching, he’s failed in that department at all levels. And if he’s the guy that lives for the HR…well how’s that working so far.
        This team is a disaster and I’m putting the blame on his shoulders.
        I have to give him credit for the young talent he’s acquired but with so many first round picks almost anyone would have succeeded. I would love to see what a really good baseball guy could do with this team. Crane has to also take responsibility for trying to run a Major League Baseball team on such a tight budget.

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  2. Feldman has been demonstrably worse; 5 IP or less in three of four starts. McHugh is the young gun who just won 19 games and looks like a top of the rotation starter, so he wasn’t getting benched. Fiers and Fister have been…adequate, I guess? They’ve been less taxing on the bullpen and that seems to have been the deciding factor in slotting in Devenski over one of the “established” guys.

    As far as the pitchers that got traded, I think the only one we’ll miss long-term is Vince. I’m sure Tropeano will get some nods, but his WHIP is quite high and I don’t see him sustaining good performance over a full season as a result.

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    • I can kind of understand it Andrew, though as good as Devenski has looked it will still be a stretch to expect him to give us more than 5 innings himself without any stretching out.
      My feeling about all the trades is just about quantity. When you send that many guys (13 young pitchers) you are really causing a bit of a vacuum in your organization. I guess if we had LMJ pitching, this would not look so grim – but right now it does.

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      • I hope Devenski does well, but my expectation is similarly low. Then again, five shutout innings would be like an oasis in the desert.

        It’d probably still look rather grim even with McCullers pitching well. As it stands, I’m wary about his chances of pitching well this season. Hopeful, but as with Devenski, my expectations are not high.

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    • I don’t know Andrew, Hader has an 0.53 ERA in four starts at AA. Appel is suddenly a real prospect again, with his 3-0 start and 1.62 ERA at AAA. I’m guessing he’ll be joining Vince within a couple of months as part of the Phillie rotation. We have not gotten much in return for those three kids so far. And there is plenty of other quality talent we sent off for guys that are doing nothing in return at this point.

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  3. At least we now know there is no reason whatever to rush Lance McCullers, Jr. back. People may think I am crazy, but I say we send Correa, White, Tucker, McCullers [when/if he comes back this year], Giles, Devenski, Feliz, Altuve and Springer back to the minors to play without all the demoralization and perhaps build some comradery for next year. I know it is radical. But this season is a total disaster, and what is the point of letting our young potential stars wither on the vine with a team destined for infamy as one of the biggest disappointments in recent history?

    Just bring up Danny Worth to play SS, Bring Sclafani out of retirement to play 2B, give Singleton 1B, and have Eury Perez take Spirnger’s spot in the outfield. Then call up Peacock, Wojo and Thatcher to complete the pitching staff behind the artists who were formerly known as Dallas Keuchel, Colin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman, and Doug Fister. Play Purple Rain every time they get bombed out of the game. Next year Gomez, Gattis, Kratz, Fister, Fields, Rasmus, Castro, Gregerson, Neshek, Sipp, and Feldman will be gone. So just play out the rest of this year to beat out the Braves the #1 draft pick – and try to regroup next year.

    Why send down Correa, Altuve and Springer, you ask? I know it is radical, and defies traditional baseball etiquette, but hey, they aren’t doing anything to make this team competitive his year anyway, so why not let them build some comaradery with the guys who they will be playing with next year.

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    • Mr. Bill…..I can read between your lines, and I hear your seething anger coming out.
      I know you are pi$$ed off…..so are we. There’s just too much talent on this team to be playing so bad. Your point is well taken, if your going to play like crap…..you can go to the minors to get an attitude change, and come back humble. Just know we all feel the same….ok? You’re still one of my favorite guys on this blog!! You make me laugh!

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      • Becky, believe it or not I am not angry. I am just looking at the situation with a long-term plan in mind. Other than young Tucker, we don’t have a lot of talent in the pipeline behind Reed, Moran, Fisher, Kemp, Musgrove, Shirley, Paulino and the hard-throwing relievers [Hoyt, R. Farrell, Gustave, Guduan, and McCurry]. Young Cameron, D. Vazquez, T. Hernandez, and A. Aplin are not looking good at all – and on one behind them is tearing it up either. But we can use trades and FA signings, I have heard some say? Hey, if we have learned anything over the past couple of years, it is that J.L. is totally incapable of improving the team significantly with either trades or FA signings. His trades empty out our system and do not make us one whit better. His signings cost Crane lots of money and, other than a couple of pretty good relief pitchers [Gregerson and Neshek], have failed to produce significant results. Trading and signing FAs is clearly Jeff’s weakest area.

        So, if we are going to ever be good at the MLB level, it had better be in 2017 and 2018. After that, we will quickly start losing guys like Altuve, Springer, Correa, White, and McCullers. That being the case, what is the best solution in 2016, when we do not have a single starting pitcher throwing well, and have on one in the lineup except Colby Rasmus who have shown the ability produce with men in scoring position? Are we going to put insane levels of pressure on a young and hopefully rehabbing Lance McCullers, Jr. to become our unofficial ace and stopper, since Keuchel and McHugh have obviously lost both velocity, focus, and mojo? Are we going to expect Tyler White to anchor the middle of the order in his rookie year? Are we going to give up on Preston Tucker and Matt Duffy because A.J. Hinch has a man-crush on Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena? I say let’s shake up the baseball world with a new strategy. Focus on building a dynasty – starting next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill,

        I agree with you about Luhnow’s trading ability. He has failed badly, but only when it comes to trading prospects for major leaguers. He has actually fared well when trading major leaguers for prospects. However, I think he has done decent in free agent signings as he has gotten what he has paid for. Feldman has been worth his contract, which wasn’t much. Gregerson and Neshek have been decent signings, sans the late season struggles from Neshek last season and Sipp may earn his paltry contract. If there is any blame on free agent signings it should go to Crane as he has given Luhnow a limited budget to work with and, all things considered, I feel Luhnow has done decently with the limited funds available. Take out a ball lost in the lights and Fister is actually pitching equal to or better than his contract value.

        Now, I am going to put a, somewhat, positive spin on things. First, I think this season is, for the most part, a sunk season. Yes, they will improve and may finish close to .500, but the playoffs aren’t happening. They would need to go about 81-60 over the final 141 games to make the playoffs and that is too tough a road to hoe. However, the positive spin is that Luhnow should be able to trade some of our veteran players who won’t be with the team next season or even 2018. The one area where Luhnow has done well in trades, as stated above, is trading major leaguers for prospects. If Rasmus continues hitting like he has the Astros can get a decent haul for him. Teams are always looking to upgrade their bullpen for the pennant race so he should get a decent return for Neshek, Fields and especially Gregerson. Fister and Feldman could return a mid-level prospect or two and even McHugh may return a nice prospect. The young talent is still there and our farm system, while not as strong as last year, is still a mid-level farm system. If Luhnow can get good value for our veterans at the deadline and if, this is a big if, Crane gives him a larger budget to work with next offseason this team can be much improved for 2017.

        It stinks knowing the season is basically over before May has begun, but the future years can be saved with some decent trades. The worst case situation would be if the Astros are 5-7 games out of a playoff spot at the deadline and they decide to make a push for the playoffs by acquiring some veterans. There won’t be a Cole Hamels available and our weakening farm system can’t take any more hits. I would only be open to a trade of prospects if the Astros somehow recover quickly and go on a major hot streak where they are leading the division at the ASB. Otherwise, they should fish and cut bait on this season and restock the farm system.

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  4. I still think the problem is largely approach.
    – Offensively we keep striking out with men on base. They need to start moving runners and not expecting HR/SB to get it done.
    – Defensively they are making too many mistakes. Last year’s success was built on defense behind Keuchel/McHugh.
    – Pitching ERA has been hurt by what I’ll call Dierker-ball. It’s great to trust your starter, but Fiers, Feldman, and Fister should probably be yanked from the 6th inning one after they allow one hitter to reach. They tend to give the game away in that frame, or at least make it interesting.

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      • In his start against the Royals, yes. In the two starts since, no.

        Fister has as many quality starts as Keuchel, yet he’s the most hated man on the rotation. Doesn’t make sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As for me, Fister is the least favorite because, unlike the others, [a] he has never done anything impressive in a Houston uniform, and [b[ he is coming off a year in which he was atrocious for his former team. His velocity is no better than last year, his WHIP is 1.50, and he has given up 11 BBS and 11 Ks and 5 HRs in 22.2 IP. Fiers, who has admittedly been atrocious as well, has a 1.36 WHIP with only 3 BBS, and 17 Ks has given up 6 HRs allowed in 20 IP. They are all bad – but we have some history with the others that gives us hope they will get better. With Fister, we see nothing whatever to indicate he will right the ship and be a serviceable pitcher for us or anyone else ever again.

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      • Right, Mr. Bill; they’re all bad, yet Fister gets demonized far more, despite his recent “success” (not in the win column, but in terms of putting up a quality start).

        I think he’s been “serviceable” in his last two starts. It appears we disagree on that matter, and I’m okay with it.

        But as long as he puts up quality starts, I’ll continue to defend him.

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      • I agree with Andrew. I trust Fister more than Feldman and Fiers right now. His ERA is bloated because of a ball lost in the lights. Otherwise, he has been adequate compared to everyone else not named Keuchel, who has been a tad better.

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  5. “Where did our fun-loving, dugout dancing, slightly obnoxious young team go? Did the Mother Ship return for them and dropped off the true team?”

    They ceased being the surprise guys out of nowhere [Bad News Bears kind of fun] and bought into the idea that they were the odds on favorite to win the WS [not fun – unless you play up to your potential, which this team is not even close to doing so far].

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  6. Off subject but Dan, you deserve a commendation for all the work you do keeping this blog going. We would all have to be locked up ( again ) without this outlet to blow off steam.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sandy. This is therapeutic for me also. And I think y’all deserve an outlet to let off steam – otherwise I am sure you would turn into an angry mob, storm MMP and saw off the Fowl Poles.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One word……*T R U S T*. Do the pitchers trust their defence behind them?
    Do the position player trust the starting pitcher to keep them in the game?
    Do the pitchers trust the position players to hit the dang ball…and give him some runs?
    Do the guys trust their coaches to give them the best advice?
    Does Hinch trust Giles to not give up homeruns when he puts him in the game?
    Do the fans here trust this TALENTED team not to self destruct because there are so many “big” personalities who seem to be playing for themselves, and not as a cohesive unit?
    “What we have here…….is a failure to communicate” a great quote from Cool Hand Luke.
    I trust I made some sense! Becky ⚾

    Gotta agree with Sandy….thank you Dan, you always give us something to chew on!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tonight, in hopes on not being swept yet again, we are throwing a guy with a 7.56 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP, against a guy with an ERA about half of that and a WHIP almost .70 points better. If I were a betting man, I know which team I’d have my money on.

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    • The 2016 team is losing at a clip worse than any of the 100 loss teams. Nobody can convince me this team is worse than those old teams. It will turn. It may not lead to the playoffs. But we seem to forget we made the playoffs by only 1 game last year. Keep rooting for the Astros. They REALLY need it right now.

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    • I like Nelson Cruz’s chances tonight. But I also like Marwin and Altuve’s chances.

      Still, I don’t get why Valbuena is in there; why not put Marwin at 3B and White at 1B?

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  9. Is anyone watching the Rangers/Yankees game? If so, the Rangers just showed how to do smart, aggressive baserunning. They had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. The 8th place hitter hit a come-backer to the mound. Rua got just enough lead and took off as soon as Sabathia threw to first. He was safe, but even if he was out I like this type of aggressiveness. With the 9 hole hitter coming up it was worth the risk. Can someone send a tape of this to Hinch and have him explain to the team this is how it’s done?

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    • Gary Pettis is in charge of baserunning……evidently he’s not too bright.
      BUT….these are major league players, they should have more sense than to run into trouble. Just say’n.

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      • You know Pettis was a good base runner – stole 77% of bases for his career and even better in his prime – like 56 of 65 one season.

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      • Well….maybe he’s not coming through to these guys. All I can say is you know as well as anyone….they are getting thrown out, and getting caught stealing WAAAY
        Too much. I don’t know the answer.

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  10. Come on you guys! Let’s get behind these guys tonight!! Let’s hope they can break outta the funk they are in!! G O A S T R O S !!!!!

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  11. So the reason Rasmus got in a rundown was because he got such a great jump off of first when Gattis hit his double. That is some screwed up thinking by Jeff Blum. He got thrown out rounding third because he got such a great jump off of first. Is it any wonder why this team is so screwed up that they can sugar coat poop?

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  12. Watching this team sputter, flounder, shoot itself in the foot, and cut off its nose to spite its face this year has inspired me to write a new book. I am going to call it: “50 degrees of Cringing”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It is weird. The win last night ended a 3 game losing streak that felt more like ten. Of course they had lost 7 of 8, so that helped contribute to the gut feeling of free fall.
    So why did they win?
    – Gomez leaving the game after getting hit?
    – Gattis finally doing something – he came into the game with 1 RBI – left with 4 RBIs
    – Castro finally doing something – he came into the game with 5 hits for the season and two runs scored and left with 4 runs scored. In a weird stat thing – he has 6 hits, but 3 of them are for extra bases.
    – Altuve continues to hit like he thinks he is the cleanup hitter with his 6th HR and 10th and 11th double of the season
    – The team that had been horrid with RISP was 5 for 10
    – McHugh was kind of shaky, but held onto the lead
    – The bullpen gave up a couple runs, but never let the M’s catch them
    – Giles walked one but struck out two and kept the ball in the park
    – The pitchers held the M’s to an Astro-like 1 for 12 with RISP
    – They committed no errors
    – They did make the one baserunning mistake with Rasmus being gunned down at home on a Gattis double, but they were otherwise tethered to the bases – taking a moratorium on base steals for one night

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      • Well we do know from last year that Gattis is a very slow starter (.164 BA / .197 OBP in April 2015).
        Hopefully he will get on a roll or at least a half roll.

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    • Also, I think the RBI single from Rasmus with the bases loaded was really important. They pitched around Correa and Rasmus didn’t let them off easy. Instead of overswinging and striking out he had a sweet, short stroke to line it into CF and keep the train moving. It took pressure off and allowed Gattis to contribute the SF.

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    • I find the note about Castro most interesting. He’s effective (XBH > singles), but horribly inefficient (awful batting avg).

      Is it possible that Altuve moves down in the lineup to 3/4? If so, could Correa hit lead-off? Am I nuts? (probably)

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  14. Last nights win was exactly how I anticipated the Astros would likely play this season.
    Pretty good pitching from McHugh, hitters that should hit.. do. A hit now and again from Castro. Gomez, Valbuena and Gattis doing exactly what they did.
    Nothing particularly extraordinary, just doing what the fans can reasonably expect.
    Maybe this is the start of something fun.
    Speaking of fun..I really appreciate this blog as it keeps me up to date on baseball. It’s a nice respite from the bad weather and all the ills of the world that I see and hear about elsewhere on a daily basis. Dan, I do also appreciate your subjects and insights on baseball. Thanks for doing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always my pleasure to be able to get the ball rolling here. I love seeing all sorts of folks putting forth their opinions and ideas and love it even more when things that have been rattling around here for a while (e.g. Devenski starting) happens in real life.

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  15. Uh, oh – who is that coming this way? Oh man – here comes Rhymin’ Simon! Somebody key that sweet military drumbeat and the jazz-like keyboard intro, because i feel a song coming on!

    “The problem is all inside your head”, I told OP.
    “The answer is easy taken saber-metrically”.
    “Don’t be so worried about BARISP –
    there must be 50 ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.
    Fifty ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.
    You know it’s really not my habit to be cruel,
    furthermore far be it from me to call anyone a fool,
    but this off-season Jeff let the Phillies take him back to school.
    There must be 50 ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.
    50 ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.

    “Just fire off a clip, Chip.
    Go ‘Jackie Chan’, Dan.
    Send your fists flyin’, Brian – and just forget the first-aid.
    Just break out a shim, Tim.
    Wring his little neck, Beck.
    Dig the dude’s grave, Dave – I’ll spring for the spade”.

    Sandy it grieves me so to see you in such pain;
    and though there’s nothin” I can do to make old Bopert smile again,
    I appreciate that, but let me please once more explain about the 50 ways.
    You see this season has revealed old Jeffie’s flaws,
    and though he tries to make excuses we I can see he is the cause
    He gave us Go-Go? What a horrible excuse for Santa Claus!
    So here’s those 50 ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.
    Fifty ways to lose Jeff Luhnow.

    Just strike him with a pan, Diane.
    Infect him with the flu, ‘Drew
    Kick him in the pants, Nance – right where his legs meet.
    Join our revolt, Colt; and give old Jeff a good jolt.
    Deliver the blow, Pro – and we’ll all hit ‘De-lete’

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    • Fantastic, Mr. Bill!!
      This drives me to Sounds of Silence.
      What this team needs right now is a Bridge over Troubled Waters
      Mrs. Robinson – do you have any kids like Frank who want to be Astros
      Carlos Gomez says after his base running blunders “I am a Rock(head)”
      Bad trades are all we have left from A Hazy Shade of Winter
      Are the Astros here this week? No, they’ve all gone to look for America
      There sure is a lot of baseball sadness in My Little Town
      Well You Can Call Me Al(tuve)
      Me and Julie Morales Down by the Baseball yard
      I feel this season Slip Slidin’ Away

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      • Dan, it is good to know you are still crazy after all these years.

        As for me, I am just a Boxer – meaning a guy who reads box scores all the time When the team lost games 2 and 3 in the Big Apple to start the season, I sat down and ate a dozen Duncan donuts, and felt like the Only Living Boy in New York. I thought I would see Something so Right, but what I saw instead was a lot of Fakin’ it. Now I am Homeward Bound, anticipating a Mother and Child reunion. Sometimes when it’s late in the evening though – like 3 am. Wednesday morning – I stare out the window at El Condor Pasa and think I would rather be a sparrow than a snail – yes I would, if I could, I surely would.

        It’s all going to be okay though, because I’ve got diamonds on the soles of my shoes . . . and my mama loves me like a rock.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill – It doesn’t get any better than that – even in Graceland. Just don’t take my Kodachrome away – you know.

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      • All I can say:
        Sometimes the mlb can be Cold as Ice
        After a late evening loss I often face a Blue Morning Blue Day
        After this slow start to the season it is Urgent that the Astros play better
        At Minute Maid these guys are Juice Box Heroes
        Maybe this year is weird for the Astros who no longer can say it Feels Like the First Time
        Colby Rasmus is a Dirty White Boy

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  16. Unless Jim Crane finds a dead body, with Jeff Luhnow holding the smoking gun……
    Luhnow ain’t going anywhere. He has Cranes blessings……so far.

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  17. The difference between Drayton McClane and Jim Crane, is Drayton had Tal Smith in his ear when things went south. I’m not sure who holds Cranes ear. I don’t like Jeff Luhnow one tiny bit either….but I can’t see Crane showing him the door at this point in the season. I assure you Jim Crane ain’t real happy right now, and if May and June are just like April, it will be Hinch that will be shown the door, not Luhnow.

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  18. So does anyone on here think Altuve will break the single season doubles record of 67 from 1931? He is on pace right now to hit 81 two baggers.

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    • af57
      First – glad that you and yours came through the storms just fine – always a good thing.
      Nah – I don’t think he will get to the magic 67 doubles, but…. hey the club record of 56 by H of F’er Craig Biggio could be in play. Altuve is tattooing the left field corner with sharp line drives and his power increase surely will result in more doubles off the outfield walls. He is a blast to watch when he is locked in and he sure was locked in last night.

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  19. The things that will haunt the Astros for a few years are:
    1. The tandem system not allowing the REAL pitching prospects to develop their skills at a normal pace. The tandem has had them pitching half games all the time but starting some and relieving others. This leads to no consistency in preparation, but, worse than that, not enough buildup of strength and stamina to come to the bigs and pitch to the demands of a major league season. Thirdly, it was a half game every four days instead of a full start every five days. It’s a screwed up system and has resulted in one starter that Luhnow drafted making it to our team, LMJ, and he’s not pitching.
    The tandem has also resulted in no pitchers drafted by Luhnow pitching in our bullpen. That has resulted in tens of millions of dollars being spent for free agent bullpen pitchers by the club.
    2. Luhnow is a high OBP, low K sabrmetrics guy who has not produced that in his farm system.
    3. Luhnow is a low BBs guy, when it comes to pitching and he has not developed that in his pitchers.
    4. He was to have built this team with the draft but has traded those guys away to be developed by other teams.
    5. He sank all his eggs in one catching basket and Castro has failed and now we have nobody that he trusts to bring in. Or does he? He would not have a clue if one of our young catchers has the stuff to be a major league catcher, because he doesn’t know crap about catchers or pitchers.

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  20. OP…..that’s my BRAVO directed to you!! I’d like to find out who talked Luhnow into using this tandem pitching. Who ever that was needs to go find another job, like changing oil for Jiffy lube.

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    • I’m not letting that person anywhere near my car – he might decide that I don’t need 5 quarts of oil – that 3 quarts will be just fine

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  21. Luhnow has done a lot of things wrong. I wouldn’t care but he’s actually destroying the talent he’s worked so hard to get.
    I saw an article today, I think it was the Crawfish Boxes, a national writer talked about how players seem to find themselves after moving to another team.

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    • Sandy,

      Do you have a link to that article? I checked TCB and couldn’t find it. It’s strange timing as I just posted a comment there today stating the exact same thing. I mentioned DeShields, JDM, Carter, Appel, Villar and VV. My user name over there is stros1fan. Just FYI.

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    • Unless you’re talking about the blog titled “Former Astros: The guys that got away”. If so, that is the blog where I posted my comment. However, I would say they praise Luhnow by saying his success stories outweigh his missed evaluations of the players lost. I disagreed with this assessment in my comment (I know, shocking I would disagree with someone :-)).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually Tim, I think your opinions are very fair. And always in good taste.

        Yes the blog does eventually give him credit but the guy nailed the facts. Our guys leave here and find success with other teams. I think the praise is probably for all the talent he’s acquired. But, like I’ve said before, almost any group of scouts could have accomplished the same thing with all the first round picks he had.

        He came here and traded away everything that wasn’t nailed down to cut salary. When the team hit bottom he then began to acquire talent and he did a great job at that.
        But then he made some bone head moves like holding Springer back and offering him a cheap deal, actually singing Singleton to a deal before he brought him up, the goofy way he handled the young pitchers. I could go on all night. But when it’s all said, the only impressive thing he’s accomplished is bringing in some very talented players who now seem to be losing their talent.

        This is a very bad team and there has to be a logical reason why. It’s not because they aren’t talented. And it’s not because they don’t care. Over shifting, over swinging, overly aggressive base running. Then there’s the pitching. Kazmir was a pretty good pitcher until he came here. Then he got that helpless look in his eyes and went downhill from there.

        Most of you know baseball better than me. I’m just a life long fan that loves the game. I simply cannot come up with any logical explanation other than Jeff Luhnow.

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      • Although I have soured on Luhnow I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss the success he had in rebuilding this franchise by simply saying he had a bunch of first round picks. Many organizations have been bad for decades before turning it around. The Royals went almost 30 years between playoff appearances. The Pirates went 20 years between playoff appearances. I give Luhnow credit for the trades he made early on in his tenure as G.M. and the successful drafts under him. His strength appears to be in player development and drafting, which is what he did with the Cardinals. Where he has failed is in trading of the prospects for veterans. I am hoping he has learned from his mistakes going forward.

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  22. What? Crawfish boxes with something a tiny bit negative about Luhnow? That’s a surprise. But I see that by the end of the article, Luhnow is golden. But it did remind me that Springer is from the Bobby Heck regime.

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  23. This kid the Astros are gonna face tomorrow night…….is 6’5″ and weighs 265lbs.!
    He’s a fireballer…lefty who throws a gazillion miles an hour! Warning….this kid is un…believable! I guess Sony Gray wasn’t bad enough, now they have this kid coming up from AAA to join him!!

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    • Yeah, Manaea is legit. He dominated our Corpus hitters last year. I was shocked KC gave him up for a Zobrist rental, but the gamble paid off.

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  24. I’m glad we drafted Will Fuller. He’s a receiver and Castro sucks. He’s fast but small so hopefully he will stop at the correct base before he gets thrown out.
    Here’s hoping he can hit.
    Oh, wait…..wrong blog. Bye!

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  25. We have an impressive mountain to climb.

    In series’ overall we are 1-7. We won one [vs. the Tigers] but lost the other six [Yankees, Brewers, Royals, Rangers, Red Sox and Mariners]

    In inter-division series’ we are 0-2; we have kicked off the year 3 games down in head-to-head competition with Rangers and 1 game down in competition with the Mariners.

    We can bemoan the individual performance issues, the lack of BARISP and situational hitting strategies, the bad base-running, and the inability to make good pitches when we need to all we want, but the only thing that really matters right now is whether the guys that Hinch puts on the field quit focusing on themselves and starting playing well enough as a team to win the next several series’. Nobody – especially not the As, Mariners, White Sox, Rangers, or Orioles, who make up our May schedule along with the 7-15 Twins – is going to give us anything easy. if we are to climb out of the hole we have dug it is going to require each player digging deep, going far beyond his natural level of talent and effort. It is going to require adopting a tenacious ‘for-the-team’ dynamic. The primordial drive to overcome challenges and win contests is going to have to kick in – and far exceed in intensity the same drive in the players on the other side of the field.

    I still believe the guys we have – plus two or three presently on DL or in the minors – have in them everything it takes to get back in the running for the 2016 playoffs. But the window of opportunity is very, very narrow, and the margin for error is very, very thin. It needs to start against the As – in their own ballpark. And it needs to result in series win after series win, for several weeks to come.

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  26. My opinion on JL and the Plan. It did not and does not exist. He has been on the job for 4 + years. IF the plan was to develop young players and sign them to long term deals (other than Big Jon) that plan did not work. IF he planned to develop young players and ship them to other teams for lesser talent, then that plan worked. It appears today that the only plan was to do everything on the cheap. IF so, then that is working well. Again, I have heard about the plan, but have never seen JL personally address it nor say he had one. As to the developing pitchers, I could see when there was an excess of talent in the “A” ball teams, using the tandem pitching (no longer an issue thanks to the trades mentioned above).

    But when you get to AA and AAA, you need the players to work on what they will do if they every make your major league club. It would make no sense to have a backup catcher work on being a knuckleball relief pitcher (bad example I guess).

    As to his judge of talent, he and Wade made some trades dumping overpaid and/or past their prime MLBers. With those trades they acquired multiple prospects. To date, none have worked out. JL gets 5 stars on drafting of Correa, but past that, he has done no better than other GM’s picking much higher in the draft. (I don’t mean this to demean JL because the MLB draft is a crap shoot at best).

    So we sit here with almost the same team starting 2016 that ended 2015. Yet the results are not there. I see no reason to blame JL other than trying to find “McHugh” in “Fister.” And to borrow from Bopert, if the purse strings are still tied tight for 2017, the World Series is a Disney Fantasy.

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    • AC,

      I get your frustration as we’re all frustrtated, but this simply isn’t true. What about his trades to acquire Devenski, Musgrove, Hader, Martes, Hoyt, McCurry, Bostick and Sneed? Again, his major failing has been trading prospects for major leaguers, but he has done very well in his early trades of veterans for prospects.

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  27. At this stage I do not really care if there was a plan or not. What I hope is that in the areas where mistakes [judged by actual, on-field results] have been made, the mistakes are acknowledged and the lessons of those mistakes learned so they are not repeated.

    We have not done certain things well – and by not doing those things well we have come pretty close to squandering a very rare chance to build a dynasty. What have we not done well?

    1. We have not trained, developed the young pitchers in our system well. This is partially the result of the ill-conceived tandem system, partially the result of not investing enough resources in them, and partially because we have seem to have ignored the developing a mental/bulldog/competitor aspect of training and focused almost exclusively on pitching to contact and inducing ground balls.
    2. We have not cultivated – and have shot ourselves in the foot over and over again in regard to – organizational loyalty. If a young player excels in your system, you do not dump on them, try to beat them out of long-term money, or dangle them as trade bait for veterans who have by definition have no organizational loyalty [to us, at least] whatever.
    3. With position players, we seem to have over-emphasized drawing base-on-balls and hitting home runs over aiming for the gaps, stroking the outside pitch to the opposite field, and excelling at hitting with runners on the bases and hanging tough in two-strike counts.
    4. Because we don’t developed ‘pick up every runner’ and ‘start/continue a rally’ approach [focusing on HRs and BBs, which joined together add up to Ks], we have developed a culture of over-aggressiveness on the bases.
    5. We have not put any focus on developing relief pitchers.
    6. We have been far too willing to give away multiple prospects for what provides at best short-term help – and we have simultaneously been far too weak at scouting and analyzing the weaknesses of the players we target for trade [for instance, Marisnick, Gattis, Carter, Valbuena, Conger, Gomez, Giles, etc.];
    7. We seem to have no effective coaching to help players who struggle or slump offensively.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not all of it. Ask your friend, Bopert, and I think he’ll agree with me that some has to be put on Crane for running this organization on the cheap. Luhnow only has so much to work with in his limited budget and he has been emphasizing team-controlled players at a reasonable cost. Gomez, Fiers and Giles were all relatively cheap and controlled beyond the year acquired.

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  28. Which is exactly why I said Bregman and guys just like him have a dollar sign on their backs. Luhnow would rather trade our top prospects, than for Crane to open up his wallet. I understand when Luhnow HAS to deal players…..for player, but the past few trades have sucked BIG time. Just my opinion. I don’t have a good feeling a out this series with the A’S this weekend. ((( sigh )))

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Big 11 pitch at bat by White ending with an RBI base hit. He’s going to break that slump soon.

    Mark Appel was not real sharp tonight, but only gave up a run in 5.1 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.64. How does a failed first round pick change his fortunes so quickly? He might be joining VV in the Phillie rotation in weeks rather than months. Appel is another mishandled talent whose loss is squarely on Luhnows shoulders.

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  30. So much for “strategic” handling of the bullpen. Hinch has no clue if he thinks running Gas Can Giles out there is a good idea.

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  31. WHY…….DO THEY LET GILES PITCH IN TIGHT GAMES????????????????????????????
    I don’t know if it’s Hinch or Luhnow, but I’m so pi$$ed off right now I could JERK someone’s head off. 4-4 And we will lose. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. Giles needs to be sent down bring up Hoyt, It’s irrelevant right now that Uncle Jeff has given up 2 baseball teams to get Giles and Gomez /Friers. We can still win some games, but Giles needs to be in AAA figure some things out.

    Sad sad!

    Like

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