Why are the Astros 15-24?


The frustration of watching a team flounder which was expected to flourish has set in with the Houston Astros’s fans. This is not going to be a bash Carlos Gomez (though he has earned it) post. No, this is just a summary of the major failings of the team up to this point in the season.

Offensive Inconsistency – They have scored the 8th most runs/game in the American League, which is smack dab in the middle of the teams. The problem is that they tend to go through true hitting droughts as they have scored 3 runs or less in 17 of the 39 games to date and they are 2-15 in those games. The high flying Bosox have only ten times scored three runs or less in a game. It is hard to be consistent when you have to give so many ABs to players like Jason Castro, Luis Valbuena, Carlos Gomez, and Preston Tucker who are struggling to get to or stay above .200 and any ABs to Jake Marisnick and Eric Kratz, who have struggled with the .100 mark. Note Tucker is heading down and Kratz out as of this writing.

Very Bad Starting Pitching – Even after a spurt of decent starts on the recent homestand – the starters are still 14 out of 15 in ERA in the AL at 5.09. When you go from 2nd best ERA in 2015 to second worst in 2016, you have lost the solid foundation that the 2015 season was built upon. To date about 1/2 of the games have been started by a pitcher with a 4.65 ERA or higher. Last season 153 of the 162 games were started by pitchers with ERAs 4.50 or lower and 114 games were started by pitchers with ERAs under 4.00. Dallas Keuchel has a 5.58 ERA, a 2-5 record and four games where he has allowed 5 runs or more. Last year his ERA was never higher than 2.51 any time during the season, he did not lose his 5th game until July 26 and he gave up 5 or more runs in only 3 games all season!!

Unreliable Bullpen – The bullpen has been improving overall after a horrid home run filled start. However, it still is not solid with a one run lead and the game on the line. It seems like every time the team is ready to go on a little run, the bullpen coughs up a late inning lead. And it does not help when the fielders can’t catch a fly ball – see the note below.

Bad fundamentals – The team has been consistent in one area and that has been in the area of being a low baseball IQ team. Whether being thrown out or picked off, failing with situational hitting or bad fielding (e.g. Letting three flyballs / popups drop in the last two games in Boston) the team seems to have a bonehead play or two every game.

Questionable Management Decisions – It has been noted that A.J.Hinch has been making some questionable decisions with a short bench late in games, specifically with using a pinch hitter like White and then immediately pinch running for him. There have been problems with the lineup, with the use of certain players who are in a death spiral slump and with righty-lefty matchups that don’t make sense. In some cases it is hard to fault him, such as over-using Will Harris when he is the only sure thing out of the bullpen. The overall feeling is that Hinch is being out-managed, which exacerbates a tough situation.

Inadequate Coaching – Whether waving players into obvious outs, or not assuring that they have sun glasses on playing in sun-drenched Fenway Park or not being able to coach up hitters or pitchers – this year’s version of the coaching staff is a disaster.

The Front Office Stinks – What else can you say? They made no moves to improve the 1B, 3B, DH and C black holes in the lineup, other than bringing up Tyler White. They traded away the farm for a not ready for prime time set-up man (so far) in Ken Giles. The strong farm system they were developing has been weakened with trades and has obvious holes at OF and C. The tandem pitching system has been a double whammy that does not seem to develop starters with stamina or relief pitchers ready for the big time. Maybe the June draft will help them redeem themselves a bit, but don’t count on it.

OK – your turn to moan and complain, but one basic question – what should they do now?

 

 

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361 comments on “Why are the Astros 15-24?

  1. Ok – whereas we played the Red Sox when they were blazing hot we may have caught the Chi Sox when they were trending back to the mean.
    Nice team win tonight.

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  2. Ladies and gentlemen,

    We have our first road series win of the year and against a 1st place team. Now, let’s do the impossible and beat Sale to complete the sweep.

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    • There we go. We have been playing better too over the past week so hopefully this is a start of something special. Maybe this will be like last year in reverse…bad April, then go on a tear the rest of the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AND THAT IS THE BALL GAME!! Club Astro will be thump-thump-thumping tonight!! Glad to get this series……it will get them pumped up for this weekends series with the Arlington bunch. Good game fellas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last night:

    The top of our order got 5 hits and drew two walks, while notching only one K.
    The middle of our order got 2 hits [1 a HR], drew one walk, and struck out 6 times.
    The bottom of our order got 5 hits [1 a HR], drew two walks, and did not strike out.

    We only had one 0-fer [Moran], and only one guy struck out multiple times [Gattis, our ‘clean-up’ hitter, struck out 4 times out of 5].

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    • When the Astros get back in this race, and they will, you will start to hear the Altuve for MVP talks. The guy is having one of the quietest monster years I have seen. He’s simply a beast and his new-found patience at the plate is probably a big part of his increased power as he is waiting for better pitches to hit. It gives me comfort knowing we have him for, at least, 3 more years after this season.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s only one game but Tony Kemp was a big part of that win last night. Throwing out the first runner at second base wiped a run off the board and then his doulble, after Castro’s bloop hit, seemed to get the team fired up again after they let a rally die in the first inning.
    I was very surprised that Hinch did not ask for a review on Moran’s throw to first base. Maybe the umps told him that it wouldn’t be overturned, no matter what. The guy was definitely keeping Marwin from catching the ball because he was running on the wrong side of the line.

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    • Looking at the rules for what is reviewable – that call is not video reviewable. I am sure he could ask him to check with other umps but he doesn’t have to.
      I know Hinch went out to talk about this but got no wherr

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    • I like the dynamic of having Kemp hitting in front of Altuve. I look forward to seeing how Tony does in the chances he gets, as his Milb OBP numbers – which have actually trended up this year – are really, really, good. Only Bregman’s, Worth’s, and Lancaster RF Ramon Laureano’s OBP #s are higher this year.

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      • Remember, the combination of Marisnick batting ninth(before he lost his Superman suit) and Altuve batting leadoff carried the Astros to their AL West lead in April 2015. When that combo turned cold in May, the Astros cooled off.

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  6. Alex Bregman is not just playing well. He is tearing up the Texas league exactly like Altuve is tearing up the AL. Bregman leads the league in OBP and OPS and is top 5 in most others. His most amazing stat is 9 home runs and 9 strikeouts on the year.

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  7. Corpus Christi has the lowest team BA in the Texas league, but their pitching staff has the lowest team ERA and WHIP in the league.

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  8. Robbie Grossman’s opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent was one of the most well-timed moves of his life.
    He signed a minor league deal with the Twins on Thursday morning and on Thursday night, Eddie Rosario had the GAME FROM HELL in LF for the Twins and was pulled from the game and demoted to AAA and Robbie Grossman is joining the Twins today in Rosario’s spot.
    That story is on MLBTR this morning, where you can read what Rosario did to get what he got.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Keegan Yuhl [3.31 ERA, 1.07 WHIP] gets the call tonight for the Hooks. Can Bregman, Hernandez, Fisher and crew run the win streak to 10 games?

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    • I can now add Nick Tanielu to the list of Hooks’ offensive weapons. Does that mean Mr. Bregman is moving up to Fresno? What does this mean for J.D. Davis [.239/.309./.722 with 4 HRs and 16 RBIs?

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      • Here is what I pulled off of the twitter wire. Lancaster 3B Nick Tanielu [.363/.397./.945, with 4 HRs and 28 RBIs], as well as Cuban outfielder Alejandro Garcia, have been added to the Hooks’ roster. I have not seen the corresponding moves. But as you know, Corpus already has Bregman and J.D. Davis sharing 3B. Garcia is probably here to help out in light of the injury to Vasquez.

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      • If Tanielu has been promoted, it might have more to do with Hyde being put on the DL after that collision. Tanielu has played 11 games at 2B this year for Lancaster and 21 at 3B.
        He might play for Hyde until Hyde is ready to return and then we might see if Bregman gets moved up.
        It’s all kinda guessing right now.

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  10. Just pulling legs. One of my my brothers is visiting and we’re having a few beers. Hope I can refrain from posting later. Peace Tim. By the way, I have another brother named Tim, an attorney. That might explain everything.

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  11. Does anybody think it’s time to move Will Harris into the closer’s role. He might not get to pitch every night but I think it’s a pretty good idea. He throws hard and obviously has some effective stuff. A .046 ERA ain’t to shabby either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t. He’s doing great right where he is and we have Gregerson as our closer. I don’t think we need to do anything like that at this time.

      Liked by 2 people

    • As for me, I think Will is happy – and doing great – right where he is. I still have confidence in Gregerson and still have hope for a lasting breakthrough from Giles. Looking long-term, I am hoping to see great things from Gustave, Gaduan, and McCurry as well, since we will probably be losing Gregerson and Neshek. I was hoping for Riley Ferrell to be ready next year, but his surgery will probably hold him back at least another year.

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    • While it is generally tough for anyone to accomplish much against Sale, I think this line-up offers us as good a chance as possible.

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    • I’ve kind of tried not to post, as we sit around the table drinking, now more than a few cold Carib Beers. Tim, can you explain to Nancy why the just born lefty, Tony Kemp, is going against the 8-0 lefty tonight, while that hot righty guy White sat against the struggling right handed pitcher last night?

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  12. Erik Aybar was a late scratch from the Atlanta Braves line-up tonight. Fowl play is suspected. Braves will just have to wing it without him.

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  13. OP1 – or anyone – did you ever hear any more about the status of Derek Fisher? He is out of the Corpus Christi line-up once again.

    I sure hope he did not have lunch with Erik Aybar.

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    • I have not heard or seen anything about Fisher.
      But I did read about Chris Correa’s sentencing being put off again which means the Cardinals will definitely get their three high draft picks, even though their scouting director has pled guilty to hacking the Astros.
      More Septic System fodder from baseball. One of those draft picks and the money to pay for it should have come to the Astros for their loss. Baseball doesn’t care about one team stealing from another, even if it is proven to be a crime. Setting a real good precedent for hacking.

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  14. Positives from this game:
    Collin McHugh looks like he’s turned the corner, matching Sale pitch for pitch.
    Our outfield is AMAZING.
    Gattis can still catch, and that’s BIG. And he loves to hit homeruns!
    Altuve……unbelievable! He can get a hit off ANYONE.
    George Springer didn’t kill himself on that catch. Whew.
    Tony Kemp is a VERY good outfielder.
    We won the series, and that’s just what these guys needed.

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  15. The Rangers are set to announce plans for a new, retractable roof stadium in Arlington. How long before Crane looks for a new stadium in Houston?

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    • Yeah, because they’re turning away customers at the gate for lack of seating. One measly sellout all year, so far, and that was at double the normal prices of a regular game.

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      • I love the aesthetics of GlobeLife Park, but they desperately need a retractable roof stadium. It is an oven during July and August home games.

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      • Tim, I think the Rangers need a new park worse than anybody. My sarcasm was about the comment regarding Crane wanting a new park that is not needed, because he can’t fill the one he has.

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      • Yes, but as we know with Crane he is all about maximizing his profits so I’m thinking w/in the next 5 years he may be leveraging for a new stadium.

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      • I have trouble wrapping my head around replacing a 22 year old stadium (like Globe Life) much less a 17 year old stadium like MMP.
        Crane can leverage all he wants but this town ain’t ponying up for another stadium this small a time after the original was built – especially when there is nothing wrong with it.

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  16. So, after a rough loss tonight I turn to the minor leagues for some good news and all four Astros teams won.
    The only runs that Musgrove allowed came on an infield single, followed by a two out home run in the sixth inning. Fresno wins 4-2 with Worth and Heineman homering and Duffy with two hits. Hoyt got himself in trouble again in the ninth but got out of it and got the save.
    Bregman hit his tenth home run and JD Davis hit three homers tonight. Bregman did match his homer count with his tenth strikeout of the season.
    Michael Kelly pitched 7 strong innings against Corpus Christi tonight, but the Hooks scored seven runs in the last two innings off of his relievers and won 8-4 in come from behind fashion. McCurry got a save, because he came into the game in the 8th inning and saved Michael Freeman’s bacon big-time. McCurry struck out four in 1.2 innings.
    Lancaster won 7-6 tonight with Drew Ferguson and Garrett Stubbs providing the big home run blows there. Just called up from Quad Cities, reliever Eric Peterson had a huge 5-out save in that one, with three Ks
    Quad Cities is heating up! They beat Clinton 9-4 tonight on 13 hits.

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