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Report from the front lines: Big win


This week this writer hit the big 60 and as a reward for still being alive was taken to the Astros-Rays game Friday night. My son Adam had us in some great seats on the first base side of home plate, so we were in perfect position for witnessing one of the best comebacks of the season for the Astros.

Here are some observations from up-close at the game:

  • The school district employee who sang the National Anthem had such a rich, beautiful voice. It was absolutely perfect.
  • In the depths of summer the first base side of Minute Maid Park can be problematic in the early innings, but with the sun sinking a little sooner there was no sun in the eyes as the east side buildings gave us shade.
  • The Astros built a 2-0 lead in the first inning by playing the small ball that is so often missing. George Springer walks, steals second,  Alex Bregman stings a solid single that Springer has to wait on and then Jose Altuve gets enough of a pitch to bring in the run on a forced play at second. Altuve then pulls a play that is rarely seen outside Little League. 1B Brad Miller mishandles a pickoff throw from Drew Smyly and Altuve quickly races to second. Altuve notices that Miller is tossing a loopy soft throw back to the pitcher and heads for third. Smyly is totally surprised and throws late to 3rd base and Altuve is safe and the fans are going crazy.
  • C Evan Gattis then knocks in Altuve with a single and the Astros are up 2-0. Seeing Gattis from the side, he really utilizes a Bagwell-esque spread out stance. The Bagwell comparison will be more apparent later in the game.
  • JFSF shows one of his little teases of hitting talent in the second inning as he lines a Smyly pitch into the Crawford Boxes.
  • At some point during the game, a lady who appears to be around my age sits down in front of us and begins playing Pokemon-Go. No words….
  • Mike Fiers starts off well retiring the first six batters he faces. In the third inning the Rays started whacking him around. Fiers got lucky when Mikie Mahtook tried to stretch a double into a triple. Marisnick’s throw was high which caused Carlos Correa to hurry and throw the relay  right into the ground that somehow had so much over spin that it made it to 3rd in time for a Bregman quick catch and tag.
  • There was some question about pulling Fiers in the 7th. All night it felt like he could implode quickly, so the question may have been whether to replace him with Feliz rather than whether to replace him. Feliz gave up the run, but did get out of the inning with no further damage.
  • In the 9th Giles looked good until he didn’t as he gave up a moonshot to a guy who was batting .144 with no HRs  on the season.
  • The Astros 9th was one of the most exciting of the season. Correa put a beautiful swing on an outside pitch and lined the tying HR into the right field stands. Gattis put up a tremendous fight through pitch after pitch and with the whole park on their feet he connected on a high pitch and tomahawked it over the train track.
  • Both HRs resulted in 2015 – like celebrations. It was hilarious to see Gattis ripping his jersey off. I was jumping up and down like a little kid.
  • A great birthday gift!
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

137 comments on “Report from the front lines: Big win

  1. Kevin
    August 27, 2016

    Dan Happy bday again and thanks for the post, It gave me goose bumps. There area lot of things I don’t miss from moving out of Houston in 2009. However, those kids of memories at MM Or the old dome PRICLESS.

    Like

  2. Tim
    August 27, 2016

    Happy belated birthday, Dan. I turn 50 next month and I was jumping up and down in my living room after Gattis hit that moonshot. You’re never too old to act like a kid when your favorite baseball team gets a big, walk off win. I’ll probably cry like a baby if this team wins a World Series before I’m called home. Baseball can bring out all the emotions, regardless of your age.

    Like

  3. 1oldpro
    August 27, 2016

    Happy birthday, Yout!

    Like

  4. Dan P
    August 27, 2016

    Thanks folks. I was jumping up and down – twice!
    Since we were looking right at the hitters from the side you could see immediately how well both balls were struck and the trajectory. We all knew right away – what a blast! Two blasts!

    Like

  5. 1oldpro
    August 27, 2016

    By the way, the lefty we face tonight is the 2015 Minor League Player of the Year. He beat out a guy named AJ Reed. I’m pretty sure a few of our guys faced him in the minors.

    Like

  6. Dan P
    August 27, 2016

    Oh and Yuli looked bad in his first at bat and then adjusted and had two one very good ABs – a long out to right center and then a line drive single.

    Like

  7. Larry Leach
    August 27, 2016

    Happy B Day Dan. I hope you have a post birthday celebration again tonight.

    Like

  8. Mr. Bill
    August 27, 2016

    Happy Devo Day, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tim
    August 27, 2016

    That’s 7-1 since the ‘magic’ penny was found in Baltimore. I’m just saying…

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Dan P
    August 27, 2016

    5 RBIs from Bregman and Gurriel! Good outing from Keuchel -nice win by the good guys with Orioles and Mariners losing.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 27, 2016

      And the Tigers lost as well.

      Like

    • Dan P
      August 27, 2016

      All of a sudden 2 games back in the Wild Card and on a run.

      Like

    • sandy
      August 27, 2016

      Sometimes I wonder if Keuchel is his own worst enemy. When the bats and defense are working he seems to relax and pitch better. When things go bad he tries too hard.

      Like

  11. vewill1
    August 27, 2016

    Devo is possibly the best pitcher on this team. Starting, long relief, closing…..check, check, check!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. 1oldpro
    August 28, 2016

    I like how Gurriel took a pitch on the outer half for a double to RCF and then pulled a double down the line on a pitch on the inner half. He has good instincts and quick reflexes. Once he gets used to all the good breaking balls, I think he’s going to help us.

    Like

  13. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    Happy, happy birthday toooo you!! I didn’t get to see or hear the game, cause we went to the Casino, and I won too! My first outing since I finished my treatments and it was awesome! Two errors by Bregman is SO uncharacteristic for him, we’ve been so used to his defense over there! If the Astros were ever interested in trading a package of prospects for one of the Ray’s lefty’s, which one of these two guys would you be interested in? It’s real late…so I’m off to bed, but dang does it feel good winning two more games!! Let’s get greedy, and win tomorrow too!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • vewill1
      August 28, 2016

      Snell for sure!! He may end up being the best pitcher the Rays have ever had. He’s only 23 and his 4- seamer averages 94 MPH. He’s under team control for the next 5 seasons and makes the league minimum. There is no way in hell the Rays would trade Snell.

      Smyly is a good pitcher, but I have not heard of anyone who thinks his ceiling is even close to Snell’s He’s 27, controllable through 2019 and has a great MLB track record. He would require a huge package of our best prospects to get. The Rays would be crazy to trade him.

      Archer is still only 27 and signed through 2021 (’19 w/ 2 team options). He’s been money his entire career. Archer is an established ace. Numbers are off in 2016 but his 4- seamer is still averaging 95 MPH in 2016. The Rays would be crazy to trade him.

      I see Snell as untouchable. They may take a huge gamble and trade either Smyly or Archer if they feel strongly that they need to restock their farm system or that they can’t compete without adding key pieces. I’m pretty sure it would take at least our top 3 pitching prospects, plus a combination of others from our top 50. I would see them requesting a package something like Martes, Paulino, Musgrove plus Reed, K Tucker, Teoscar. They will want a good combo of ready, almost ready, and future ready.

      I would consider a deal for Archer, but not for Smyly, despite the fact that Smyly fills the need for a lefty. The cost for both would be so high that I would want an established ace in return. It would be a gamble. Astros top pitching prospects could all be aces, but they could also all fail to make it.

      I believe that 2016 is an aberration for Ray’s pitching, driven by a very crappy and disappointing season. I think Archer will rebound well. I see nothing to suggest he is breaking down. His velocity is still strong and the K’s are still coming.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        August 28, 2016

        From my observation, it looks like the Rays are trying the same ‘up in the zone’ fad experiment Strom has been trying with the Astros’ pitchers – with similar results.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        Hickey and Strom spent a lot of time together in the Astros organization so it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to employ similar approaches. The high heater works well if it has good velocity and location. Not so well if you make a small mistake.

        Like

  14. Tim
    August 28, 2016

    Did anyone else notice Bill Brown say on the broadcast last night that the best hope for LMJ is a late season return to the bullpen? He did indicate that the Astros are not concerned that he will need TJ surgery, but it looks like we can count him out of the rotation for this season.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 28, 2016

      I’m sure they have opted for an ultra- conservative approach with him. I sure hope they are right about not needing TJ. Unless we get back into a leading position for a playoff spot I would rather not see him taxed this season.

      Like

    • sandy
      August 28, 2016

      Yeah, I heard that. He also said something about waiting for spring training.
      You think they may be over-cautious?

      Like

    • Dan P
      August 28, 2016

      Thanks vewill- good article!

      Like

  15. vewill1
    August 28, 2016

    I expect the Astros to be fairly active in the offseason trade market but I honestly don’t think they will make any blockbuster moves. We had such good drafts in ’12, ’13, ’14 and acquired some really good young talent in trades. Resulting is that we have quite a number of good young prospects that will need to be protected or exposed to Rule V. Moran, Singleton, Fontana, Aplin, P Tucker, Stassi and Chapman are all players on the current 40 man that I expect they may try to move, although Stassi could be kept in AAA for insurance until Stubbs arrives.

    We will have to either clear some dead weight from our 40 man, trade some of the young prospects we would lose to Rule V or a combination of the 2.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      Don’t forget that if Fister, Castro, Rasmus, and possibly Neshek are allowed to leave through free agency or having their options bought out, that leaves four spots open and there aren’t many guys the Astros will actually be forced to protect because almost all their top prospects are not eligible for that Rule 5 draft because they are either already on the 40-man or are still too young.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      Guys that they might need to protect are Grills and Rodgers. I think Martes is ok because he was signed at age 17 and had five years protection and has been a pro only 4 years. They never worried about Grill being protected because he worked in obscurity, but his AAA starts might entice someone to take him.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        There are actually a pretty high number that require protection. I’ll see if I can find the article with the list again and post it. I figure that the guys they let walk will be mostly replaced externally or with players already on the 40 man roster.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016
  16. Diane
    August 28, 2016

    Happy birthday, Dan. Maybe the Astros are trying to turn this around for you, for holding this blog together almost single-handedly, while trying to hold a job together, while chasing and turning 60. Good for you and your son. Glad you got to be a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      August 28, 2016

      Thanks Diane – this blog has been my stress relief during tough times at work. The blog and the people on this blog mean a lot to me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dan P
        August 28, 2016

        But it has been great to have chip back “chipping” in – it improves the blog to have more voices.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. vewill1
    August 28, 2016
    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      I could be way off base here, but I think the Astros will sign Lourdes Gurriel Jr to an eight figure, 5 year or more contract right after his 23rd birthday on October 19th. I think he might play some winter ball and come to spring training with the big club and be competing for an outfield spot.
      Most any of the guys mentioned in this article are going to carry the weight of a lost draft pick with them and Gurriel will not.
      I believe that Teoscar, Springer, Gurriel and Gurriel could possibly be part of next year’s outfield, with Tucker and Kemp having outside chances at being there, and Fisher being the top outfield prospect in AAA unless he’s part of a big trade.. Both Gurriels have a lot of infield experience, too and that might affect another roster spot, that of the Super Utility guy.
      The Astros might chase after a free agent outfielder, but if he has that draft pick attached to him, don’t count on it.
      I think they spend their bucks on their pitching staff and try to acquire a top starter in a trade, since there isn’t a top starter available in free agency until the 2018 season.
      I have no way of knowing this for a fact, but I would be surprised if Moran isn’t higher on the Astros’ totem pole than JD Davis and that Davis might be someone that teams covet because of his power and that the Astros might trade him before they trade Moran, unless a team really insists on Moran over Davis.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        I think you are right in everything you say.

        I would QO Fister. At his age he’ll probably be looking for at least 3 years of security and would reject it. If he takes it $17M for one year is not gonna hurt us. I would team option Neshek and try to trade him. I think he could bring a decent, but not great return. I would also entertain trades for Gregerson and deal him if the return was right. If 3/$18-20 would get Valbuena I would sign him, put him at 1st. You could then have Reed and/ or White to sweeten the deal in a trade for pitcher. I’d pick up Gattis’ $5.2M option.

        Like

      • daveb7
        August 28, 2016

        I think we’ve seen the last of Valbuena, and I think we’ve seen his career year, but I’d sign him for 3 years at 18, because that’s cheap.

        Like

      • Devin
        August 28, 2016

        I only would sign valbuena to a contract Luhnow/Crane are prepared to eat for no return.

        Like

    • daveb7
      August 28, 2016

      “The Astros don’t have too many areas that need shored up, which is a luxury for Jeff Luhnow.”

      Who are these Astros future guys, nephews of Luhnow?

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      If the Astros pick up Neshek’s option and agree to his $6.5million salary for 2017, they won’t be able to trade him because nobody is going to want to trade for one year of him at that ridiculous amount. The Stros either pay the salary and keep him or pay $500,000 and let him walk. At age 36, how is he going to be better next year, when more and more hitters are now fully aware of his delivery. They have him figured out.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. vewill1
    August 28, 2016

    Castro has hit .071 against Archer for career and only a .233 career hitter against righties. Gattis has only a career .222 against righties but he has been on fire lately. I just don’t agree with sitting a hot bat, during a do-or-die playoff push for someone that is in a 3 year slump, regardless of which way they swing. That’s just my own opinion. Hopefully he will make me eat my words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      But this is a day game, after Gattis caught the last two nights. I think they want to give Gattis a break from catching while Castro at least faces a righty pitcher, even if he has had no success against Archer. As my wife loves to say: Castro is due!

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        You’re right. I just hate to see a hot bat on the bench. I failed to consider the day after night.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      Castro just made Archer pay.
      I am convinced that the 3-run inning for the Astros is entirely the result of Archer’s final pitch to Bregman, which was a beautiful strike that the umpire called ball four. Archer just lost his focus after that, and if it weren’t for another horrible at bat by Marisnick, we might still be hitting.

      Like

  19. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    2 more errors on one play for Bregman……and Mr. Fister is done for the day.
    Altuve!!!! 21 st. Homerun!! Peacock is going to come in for Fister.

    Like

  20. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    Should have taken him out before this inning…..and Devo is in for Fister.
    Dang it!!! Fister is such an enigma. I don’t ,Ike the way this game is going.

    Like

  21. daveb7
    August 28, 2016

    No way Marwin makes that play at first, even with a glove on his right hand.

    Like

  22. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    Welp……Archer with 10 strikeouts, and for the exception of that one inning, these guys would have been no hit. AND……Sipp gives up a 3 run homerun. JEEZE…… would somebody telL me what the heck is wrong with this guy?????

    Like

  23. daveb7
    August 28, 2016

    Got to wonder if Sipp has lost interest.

    Like

    • sandy
      August 28, 2016

      My question, why do they keep putting him in there. Isn’t a good righty better than a horrible lefty.
      This team just keeps on doing the same things and expecting a different outcome.

      Like

      • Tim
        August 28, 2016

        The options, at that point, were limited. They were down 3 runs and a win was not likely. Gregerson is not available and Neshek pitched last night. There’s no reason to use Harris or Giles there as you may need them tomorrow. Although Sipp is not a LOOGY I understand bringing him in to face 2 LHBs as opposed to Peacock.

        Like

  24. Zanuda
    August 28, 2016

    Sipp has lost it and I don’t see that Feliz is doing anything except giving up runs either. Didn’t see the game but why take out Devo when he is doing the job.
    On the other issue I also would sign Valbuena and put him at 1st. Say bye to Rasmus, Castro, and Neshek. Don’t think we should keep both Fister and Feldman but at least one.Definitely need another left handed reliever. Got to be someone out there since Sipp ain’t doing it. Would be great to get a TOR guy.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      August 28, 2016

      Uhh…Feldman was traded a month ago…

      Like

    • Tim
      August 28, 2016

      Feldman is with Toronto. I wouldn’t give Fister a QO, but I’d consider bringing him back at a contract like 2/$16M. If he gets a better offer then no big loss. I’m hoping they move Devenski to the rotation next year. They will need a veteran innings eater, but that may be Keuchel and McHugh. They will probably look to make a trade for a TORP or very good MORP.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        I would QO Fister for the following reasons: 1) he would be crazy to take a one year deal at his age, 2) the weak FA market will give him the best leverage he may ever have, 3) if he did defy logic and take it we have so low of salary commitment in 2017 that overpaying wouldn’t impact the team or its ability to spend elsewhere.

        Unless he implodes down the stretch I think he will probably see offers in the 3/$36 range. Crazy!!!, but that’s the state of baseball today.

        And at this point I wouldn’t keep Feldman 🙂

        Like

    • Zanuda
      August 28, 2016

      Sorry, must have been a senior moment.

      Like

  25. vewill1
    August 28, 2016

    1OP, I think you underestimate Neshek’s value. He has a 2.6 ERA, 35K to only 8BB (4.25 so/bb), a WHIP well under 1 (.802) and a BAA of .178. He has has also only yielded 1 stolen base. His velocity has remained consistent and he has been relatively injury free. His peripherals are all good and there have been no signs of decline. A one year contract at his 2017 number is not a bad deal and will attract a lot of teams. Statistically Neshek has been a very good set up man this year.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 28, 2016

      I have no problem with Neshek, but he’s strictly a ROOGY and I think that money can be better spent elsewhere. Besides, his comments after the Feldman trade probably guaranteed his exit after this season.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        I don’t deny at all. I would only exercise his option to trade him. With a 1 year deal at $6.5 and a weak FA market I think you get a couple of low level prospects. You can gamble when you have virtually no 2017 salary commitments.

        Like

    • Devin_
      August 28, 2016

      So you’re saying we should fear that Luhnow is working on a long term extension for him.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      In 2015 Neshek made $5.5 million and delivered .3 WAR. He was hurt and not dependable enough to where they would trust him with the ball in the playoffs.
      He had the huge growth removed from his foot but has only produced .8 WAR this year at $6.5 million. But the kicker is that he can’t get lefties out, so now he has become a one batter guy in a close game or a one-inning guy in a game that isn’t close. If Neshek had his numbers in critical situations, it might be different, but they aren’t.
      Next year he will be 36, older and more injury-prone with that delivery, he doesn’t keep the ball down any more and isn’t a late inning option. They are better off paying the $500,000 and let Hoyt pitch for $500,000 and spend the leftover $5.5 million somewhere else. Neshek’s performance is the reason why the third year option was a good move by Luhnow, and there is no reason to take a chance on a guy that hasn’t earned his money in the first two years.
      Let him walk and see if another team offers him $6 million.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        I’ll agree to let him walk but I think he will have a lot of interest. Tony Sipp at 3/$18 after one average and one good year (out of 7 seasons) is a testament to the current state of baseball. Sipp had 1 season WAR over .8 with a couple seasons negative WAR. Sipp is NO OOGY, L or R. At least Neshek is a ROOGY.

        Plus, my family and I know the Neshek’s well and really like them so I am biased 🙂

        And Devin, I would not put it past Lunhow to offer a long- term extension to Neshek. See Sipp reference above.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 28, 2016

        How has that big Sipp deal worked out for the Astros so far?
        Burn me once.
        Burn me twice.
        Burn me Albers.
        Yeah, let’s go with Hoyt.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    Wow that game went south in a hurry. It just gets that much harder with the A’S coming into town for three games……and their rookie lefty on the mound. That guy took names and kicked butt the last time these guys faced him. I wouldn’t look for McCullers back in the rotation, for the rest of the season……maybe in the bullpen but I doubt it. Since our AAA team isn’t going to make the playoffs, we might see Brady Rogers make a spot start or two. It was a shame that Bregman had those two errors today, I don’t know if Fister lost focus because of it, or if he just didn’t have anything today. AND….what is Hinch gonna do about Sipp? If you can’t trust him to come in and get outs….EVER….then he’s just taking up a roster spot to sit in the dugout.

    Like

  27. vewill1
    August 28, 2016

    Let’s look at the bright side. We just faced two very good lefties and a very good righty back-to-back-to-back and took 2 of 3. I know it would be nice to sweep weaker teams and that should be the goal, however I think 2 of 3 from all of the weaker teams with maybe 1 or 2 sweeps and splits from the league leaders would exceed anyones expectations for a strong finish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      August 28, 2016

      You are right. We were lucky to be close for a while the way Archer was dealing. They won the series. I don’t like Hinch’s choice of relievers, but Gregerson taking up room on the roster without being able to pitch is a bad hand dealt to Hinch.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        Archer’s fastball and power slider were devastating, but did you also notice that he didn’t throw either the change up or curve? I don’t think I saw any pitch under about 88. Really strange to not see any real change of pace. You can live with good movement but also need change of speeds. Is this why 2016 has been a down year for him?

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        We really miss Feliz being able to go 2 innings of shutdown. Also miss Feldman’s innings out of the bullpen (gulp….did I just say that?). Someone else has to step up and throw some solid middle relief.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 28, 2016

        I wonder, vewill, if that was the strategy today for Archer since the Astros are a high strikeout team. The Rays probably thought the best way to approach the Astros hitters is with the high velocity pitches. Has he been pitching like this all season or was it just today?

        Like

      • Tim
        August 28, 2016

        Yes, OP, and that’s why I didn’t blame Hinch for bringing in Feliz and Sipp. He simply had very few options left. If they were ahead 4-3 he probably would have gone to Harris and Giles, but you may need them tomorrow and if you pitched them today, and they both pitched Friday, it may have been dicey using them again tomorrow. They have to keep winning series, with a sweep or two mixed in.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        Tim, it looks like Archer has totally abandoned the curve this year but he has been throwing the changeup about 12% of the time. I’m not sure he threw even one today.

        Like

      • Devin
        August 28, 2016

        He led off a couple hitters with changeups up and away. I think he was struggling to keep it down so they went to the low fastball more often instead. His changeup is not tremendous, but the fastball is so free and easy it doesn’t have to be.

        Like

  28. vewill1
    August 28, 2016

    Just my 2 cents on why I would sign Valbueno, if I could get him for 3/$18-20.

    When I watch Reed I see a guy with a long, loopy swing and a strong tendency to drop his back shoulder. I also see a guy that is over weight and not very athletic. I see a guy that is a liability on the bases. I see an average defensive 1st baseman with little range and slow reaction times (albeit with nice soft hands). This is just my opinion. It is also my opinion that White will end up being a better hitter, but not quite as good defensively and with less power.

    I know what I will get from Valbueno; solid if not spectacular defense, a streaky bat with power that can handle MLB pitching and a good clubhouse presence.

    Honestly, I don’t see IT with Reed. I could very well be wrong but what I see now is a AAAA player in the mold of Brett Wallace with the feeding habits of Carlos Lee.

    Time could prove me wrong but unless there is serious progression, along with a step change in plate approach and conditioning I don’t see it. As it sits now: with his mechanics and plate approach I don’t see Reed consistently hitting MLB pitching. I also do not see his defensive skills ever approaching those of Valbueno and I never see him being a viable base runner.

    I know the sample size has been small in the majors, but it is consistent with what I saw in the minor leagues. The minors were just at a lower level of competition and were less effective at exploiting weaknesses.

    I would package Reed in a trade while his stock is still high.

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 28, 2016

      The problem I have with this is that if you think Reed won’t be able to hit because of what you have seen in the past, why do you think Valbuena will hit based on a partial season this year that does not match anything he has done in the past.
      I think it is more likely that Reed will improve and Valbuena will regress than the other way around.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 28, 2016

        It is strictly because I do not see Reed becoming a legitimate MLB hitter and he has a lot of value as a trade chip. If you will notice I did not strictly base this on hitting. Reed has no versatility and is a major liability on the bases. Valbueno has versatility and is a good athlete.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 28, 2016

        vewill,

        If you think Reed will never become a legitimate MLB hitter other teams probably see the same. Thus, he has little trade value, especially right now when he is struggling and his swing looks slow. Some team may think they can fix him and he was a Golden Spikes winner in college, but I don’t think the Astros will get fair value for him right now.

        Personally, I agree that he will never be a defensive stalwart at 1B, but he has hit at every level and I think he will eventually hit in the major leagues, but he will need to get in better shape. He has the power and size, but it will take some time.

        Like

  29. daveb7
    August 28, 2016

    Just watching a bit of the KC – Sox game. The Royals pen has not given up an earned run since August 6th, in over 41 plus innings. That also means the rotation must be doing its job too. They look ready to go deep again. Ironically, after a win tonight, they’ll be tied with us.

    Like

    • daveb7
      August 28, 2016

      Guys, sorry, apparently that bullpen streak was snapped on Friday night. I was not listening well.

      Like

      • Dan P
        August 28, 2016

        Still that was an insane streak – awesome bull pen and big arms.

        Like

  30. daveb7
    August 28, 2016

    And Davis has been out but will be back.

    Like

  31. 1oldpro
    August 28, 2016

    My Astros are playing with house money. I said they would finish around .500 when that came up a couple of weeks ago. They are learning a heck of a lot more about their organization than they would be playing Valbuena, Rasmus, Feldman, Fields and Gomez. When this season is finished they will know what they have in their young guys and can make more definite plans.
    They have learned a ton about Fiers, Devenski, Musgrove, McHugh, Peacock, Sipp, Reed, Bregman, Gurriel, Teoscar, Marisnick, Giles, Harris, Hoyt and especially Gattis.
    Now they get to use that knowledge to move forward.

    Like

  32. Becky⚾
    August 28, 2016

    I still think if Reed slims down 30-35 pounds and gets with a personal trainer, and new hitting coach in the off seadon, he will be a better hitter. Maybe it’s just me wanting him to succeed so badly, but I think he can and will make it in MLB.
    I’m sure Luhnow is gonna make him go to winter ball, and that might interfere with his weight problem, and getting with a personal trainer. I hate having to give up on every single guy we have tried at first base…..it’s getting old quick. Like I said before, I want one of these guys to put his name on that first base bag, and keep it there. .
    So far we’ve seen:
    Singelton
    White
    Reed
    Valbuena
    Gonzalez
    Duffy
    Did I miss someone?

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      August 29, 2016

      When did Duffy play first? I just remember him pinch hitting and playing maybe one game at 3B.

      I’ll be honest…I’m not impressed with Reed. I see more out of White, whose main issue is trying to pull everything (gee, I wonder who gave him THAT idea….). That can be fixed.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        August 29, 2016

        Billy….I may have made a mistake with Duffy…..but I’m getting pretty dang tired of the revolving door at 1st base! It’s getting on my last dang nerve. I want to give Reed every chance to take 1st base, because this organization gives up on a guy waaay to quick. Did it ever occur to them that our coaches suck? I don’t want to see Hudgens and the assistant hitting coach on this team next year PERIOD.

        Like

      • Devin
        August 29, 2016

        Duffy played 1B in spring training and at Fresno. I can’t recall if he played there for us last Sept.

        Like

  33. Dan P
    August 29, 2016

    I just want to say about Reed – he has played only a little more than 200 games in the minors. Last season he put up .340 BA / .432 OBP / 1.044 OPS with 34 HR and 127 RBIs. You don’t give up on a guy like that after a very short handful of games in the majors.

    Like

    • daveb7
      August 29, 2016

      No, you determine to play him everyday until he’s got a fair sample of at bats under his belt allowing him to be properly evaluated and so he’s not thinking about losing his job every time he gets written into the line up. And if the club can’t make that commitment, then they should let him show his 1.044 OPS in the minors and use him as trade bait. For goodness sakes, how long have we been failing at finding a guy to play first base on this club?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 29, 2016

        The same amount of time we’ve been failing to find a DH.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        August 29, 2016

        Exactly!! You hit the nail on the head……Reed must be wondering when Rasmus comes back where is he gonna go. For Petes sake let the guy work on getting better!! We will never know if he can hit major league pitching if he doesn’t FACE major league pitching! This front office is getting on my last damn nerve. I had *hoped* White would have been our 1st baseman, and leave Reed in Fresno the rest of the year……but it appears that’s not the case. Grrrrrrrrrrr

        Like

      • Devin_
        August 29, 2016

        The guy Reed reminds me of at the plate is Chris Davis. Davis had a great half-season in 2008 as a rookie. He followed that up with a disappointing 2009 and terrible 2010. He was then traded during 2011 to Baltimore and has steadily improved since. Who did Texas get for him? Koji Uehara. I don’t think Reed has the same bat speed, but he has the same hot zones and the same hole in his swing that Davis has. Davis had a terrible 2014 where he did not have his prescription drug(s) and pitchers were destroying him right in under the hands. They would then expand up and away just a little from where he really likes it and get whiffs. If Houston had coaching staff they might help Reed recognize these pitches and when they are coming.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
        August 29, 2016

        I agree Dave! I guess the FO can not figure out how to make up calculations to get a number that measures mental confidence….

        Like

      • Tim
        August 29, 2016

        It’s a dicey situation with Reed because the team is still in the playoff hunt and you just can’t give regular ABs to a guy that is hitting like he is over the past 2 weeks. I agree he needs ABs, but he will either have to figure it out soon or get those ABs if/when the Astros are no longer in contention for the playoffs. Is there any other team in the playoff hunt giving regular ABs to a struggling rookie?

        Like

  34. Dan P
    August 29, 2016

    And Reed the last two weeks is hitting .200 BA / .333 OBP / .666 OPS – bad, but not end of the world awful.
    We certainly have given a lot of ABs to guys who have had worse hitting for a lot longer than 2 weeks…..Gomez – .210/.272/.594 over 85 games and Rasmus .211 / .286 / .638 over 90 games. (and Marisnick too).
    I want to know if this guy can hit and 104 ABs is not enough time to decide.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Billy Castillo
      August 29, 2016

      I can see that, but we’re too close to a playoff spot right now. IMHO it is the wrong time.

      Like

    • Tim
      August 29, 2016

      The Astros are just going to have to find the right pitching matchup for him. Hard throwers like Archer are probably not the best RHs for him to be facing.

      Like

      • Kevin
        August 29, 2016

        He needs to face McHugh or Sipp , that will get him going , (-;

        Like

      • Tim
        August 29, 2016

        Yes, it will Kevin. LOL!

        Like

  35. 1oldpro
    August 29, 2016

    Astros go with an all RH lineup against Manaea. Gurriel at 3B and Bregman at DH. Gattis catching his fourth game in the last five. Teoscar in LF and Jake in CF. Marwin at 1B.

    Like

  36. Becky⚾
    August 29, 2016

    Rasmus can be reinstated as soon as tomorrow. Kemp will probably be sent back to Fresno…..but I’m betting he’ll be back in Sept. I hope these guys remember how tough this rookie is, he beat them the last time he pitched against the Astros.

    Like

  37. vewill1
    August 29, 2016

    My last comments on Reed. He has surely hit in the minors but his stats were heavily influence by his time in the extremely hitter friendly California league. Without the .346 BA he posted in Lancaster (where he had almost 1/3 of his total minor league at bats) his minor league avg would be well below his minors career avg of .316. He also has a career minors 243 K/148 BB. and has struggled mightily against lefties, though he showed some improvement over the years. In MLB he is hitting .070 against lefties. I’ll agree that the MLB sample size is small. He has never been considered even an average fielder and he has swollen up like a tick over the past 18 months. He is a liability on the bases and has zero versatility.

    I agree with Devin that he reminds me of Chris Davis… or Chris Carter. Just with less versatility, fielding skills and athleticism. But when will we see it? We have been unsettled at first since Berkman left and unsettled at DH since the move to the AL. Do we really want to put all of our cards on what is (at the moment) a low average, contact challenged platoon player? How long do we give him? If a WS run is in the cards for 2017 do we have time to wait for him to develop? We are set at 3 infield positions, arguably at catcher (if we feel Gattis can catch 100 games in 2017) and 2 outfield spots (3 if Gurriell transitions to left). We have a terrific super utility player and a solid 4th outfielder. We are still unsettled at TOR, 1B and DH.

    We will need to trade prospects for a TOR pitcher and as our #2 ranked prospect Reed could be a vital part of the package it takes. I think Reed’s value as part of a trade package is greater than the value he will provide in 2017, or at least the delta between what he would provide and what White would provide. Let’s look to find a good defensive 1B that can provide decent pop and lets look to find a DH that can hit for average and produce some RBI. I like Valbuena at 1B and White at DH, with Reed a trade chip better than any other scenario I can envision.

    If we want a fence post at 1B then let’s get one that can at least hit NOW. Sign Napoli. Outbid the competition and pay what it takes on a 1 year deal. I would then be ok with a Reed/ White platoon at DH (if Reed was not packaged in a trade deal) and would drop the Valbuena option. Whoever stepped up in 2017 could be our long- term solution at either 1B or DH. I just don’t want to go into 2017 with holes or unknowns at DH AND 1B.

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 29, 2016

      And my thoughts on Reed:
      – If you don’t want him taking up mlb ABs let him go down and play at AAA some more. I did think they brought him up too quick.
      – After leaving the thin air at Lancaster, going to sea level at AA Corpus hurt him so bad that his BA sunk to .332 his OBP to .405 and his OPS to .976 and he knocked in 46 runs in 53 games.
      – I don’t trust this FO to package Reed and get anyone who is worth a darn along the way.
      Let us see what the heck we have. Let’s don’t trade folks at the nadir of their worth. I’m not pushing to trade a guy who has less than 300 ABs at AAA or 121 ABs at the mlb level.
      If, after a year he is still struggling – fine. But don’t trade him when he is worth the least.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 29, 2016

        Very similar minor league numbers to Brett Wallace. Similar long, slow swing with holes.

        I’m not suggesting we give him away. With his MilB stats and 2016 prospect ranking I am pushing to trade him at what could be the pinnacle of his worth, but if and only if he is the difference maker in a package for a proven performer to fill a defined need (preferably TOR starter). I wouldn’t trade him for prospects. Another year of struggles and he probably has way less worth.

        If he doesn’t prove he can hit over the balance of the 2016 season then you have to go out and sign a legit 1B/DH. In that case you either keep him up with limited playing time and carry 1 less arm, or send him down to play everyday at AAA and call him up as insurance when needed.

        If he had ANY versatility or ANY other skill that could carry him until the bat came around I may feel different. If all you can do well is hit then you better hit VERY well.

        If we don’t trust the FO to make a deal….. well that is another story and another problem.

        Like

      • Dan P
        August 29, 2016

        Here’s the deal – almost all of your best hitting 1Bs are not versatile – they are first basemen.
        I remember a kid who tore up the minors and was brought up after about a year and a half in the minors. He had a hole in his swing – had trouble low and outside and he had poor numbers in his first stint in the majors.
        But Craig Biggio was given a chance to improve and he did.
        We need patience – we don’t need to make snap decisions on guys without even coaching them up.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 29, 2016

        And if Reed had the athletic skills and could catch I would give him the same latitude 🙂

        Like

    • daveb7
      August 29, 2016

      Who is the second outfielder we are set with?

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 29, 2016

        In Marisnik you have one of the top 5 defensive CF in the game. With regular at bats he tends to hit better than he does with sporadic playing time. Despite his limitations at the plate he produced a 2.2 WAR in 2015 (the same as Springer – albeit in 31 more games) and 1.5 season to date 2016. Generally a WAR above 2 is considered starter, above 5 is all star and above 8 is MVP. If you don’t have a hole at C, 1B, DH his glove becomes more and more valuable and you can live with the weaker bat. With him you have tremendous up the middle defense. As an everyday starter I could see him hit .240 – .250. Since the AS break, when he started getting more consistent playing time he is hitting .250 so I don’t think my projections are out of line. Marisnik’s glove with a .240-.250 average plays an outfield spot on most teams.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 29, 2016

        With the amount of ground Springer and Marisnik cover in the OF you could afford to put Gurriell in LF even if he proved to play defensively at Carlos Lee- esque levels. Otherwise you could put Gurriell at 3B and Bregman in LF, though I wouldn’t care too much for that mix. If Gurriell could adapt to 1B you could park him there and only have a hole at DH.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 29, 2016

        Jake Marisnick produced 1.9 WAR in 2015 and it was all in April. After April he was major suck and has been major suck all year this year. His WAR for all of 2016 is -.1, not 1.5 and his wRC+ is 60 with 100 being average. Last year his wRC+ was 82, so all of his war came from his defense and this year his defensive runs saved are way down from last year because he lost playing time to Gomez, which should tell anyone how bad Marisnick has been this year.
        What you have with Marisnick in CF is a guy who can field and can’t hit. He’s going to be 26 years old and we have been waiting for years. Basically he is as bad at the plate as Wallace was, who you keep comparing Reed to. But Reed is 23 and hasn’t had his chances.
        Do you not watch Marisnick at the plate? The guy has almost a thousand PAs and a career slash line of .227/.269/.343/.612. Who in the world wants a fourth year CF with a line like that? The Astros don’t, I assure you and they are going to find a CFer who can hit next year. You could put up with a guy who strikes out at 27% if he hits and drives in runs, but Marisnick absolutely is not that guy! Three years ago I thought he could be, but he is the guy who is proving he can’t.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 30, 2016

        1OP. WAR is not a fixed stat and is calculated differently by any number of methods. I used Baseball-Reference for the stats I posted (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marisja01.shtml). They use rallymonkey’s method of combining offensive and defensive metrics for a total calculation. In any case, my point is this: you are not going to have .300 hitters across the board and up the middle defense value is higher than all other areas. I can live with Jake’s bat in exchange for his glove, provided I don’t have 3 or 4 other holes in the order. I’m not saying Reed won’t hit at the MLB level (though I don’t see swing mechanics that suggest he will). I am saying that we no longer have the luxury of using our MLB club as a developmental team. There are 5 tools in baseball (arm, speed, power, average, fielding). You better bring some tools to the game. At least Jake brings 3 (arm strength, speed and fielding). Right now Reed does not even bring 1. If he shows up the rest of the season and rakes enough to offset hi weaknesses I will change my mind.

        Like

      • daveb7
        August 30, 2016

        Vewill, I’m not sure who’s version of WAR assigned the same 2.2 to both Springer and Jake in 2015, but even with George having played in just 102 games, there is really no way to suggest that both guys were equally valuable to the Astro team last year. And as an example, Baseball Reference gave Springer a 3.8 and Marisnick a 2.2. WAR is a sometimes reliable but also subjective stat.

        You’ll recall that Jake was given the starting center field job in 2015. After a wonderful April, he hit like Jake. He kept his job for too long, on the basis of his other skills, but unfortunately, there came a point where the club was forced to make a move, and the Gomez deal will live in infamy as a result. For this year, as much defense as Jake provides, his offensive (it’s very offensive) WAR, again, per Baseball Reference, is a – .03.

        Now I know you’ve been close to the game for many years. I don’t have the same pedigree. But on my favorite ML baseball club, I just can’t justify a starter with a .256 OBP and a .600 WAR, regardless of how many balls a guys tracks down in the outfield. I have higher expectations. I think we’ve gotten used to being a pretty good club and we’ve sometimes accepted less than what we need to be a great club. Jake’s career OWAR is less than zero. Let’s find a better everyday solution for the outfield.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 30, 2016

        I always use fangraphs. They have so much more stats, especially defensive stuff.
        http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=11339&position=OF

        Liked by 1 person

  38. vewill1
    August 29, 2016

    On another note. Cesar Valdez is now 12-1 with a 3.08 ERA with 111K and only 13 BB at Fresno. He has been utterly dominant. He is also an interesting story. He is now 31 years old.

    http://climbingtalshill.com/2016/08/26/astros-minors-fresno-spotlight-player-cesar-valdez/

    Like

  39. Dan P
    August 29, 2016

    Thanks – I love those types of stories. He’s shown Musgrovian control this year.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 29, 2016

      I would love to see him get a shot at the majors. I love baseball movies and one would sure follow.

      Like

  40. daveb7
    August 29, 2016

    After having just 1 base on balls since June, Jake has his first two walk game of the season! Maybe it’s the magic penny at work.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. vewill1
    August 29, 2016

    420′ shot to center and you get an out, 315′ to left and you get a homer. Go figure!

    Like

  42. sandy
    August 29, 2016

    Y’all were right and I was wrong. Carlos Who has only one hit in five games.
    Sometimes it feels good to be wrong.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      August 29, 2016

      Doesn’t it!!! Oh, but they think they’ve found a gem! Our guys have played sooo much better now that he’s gone. He’s Beltran’s, child now.

      Liked by 2 people

  43. Becky⚾
    August 29, 2016

    That was a hard game to listen too. I thought Musgrove was gonna self destruct again, but if was a gift that Manea, was the one who blinked first. Glad to see Gurriel get a couple of hits!
    I’m not giving up on Reed, and I don’t want him packaged in a trade. He needs more bats in Fresno next year, and he needs to be told to come to spring training in shape and ready to play. Like I said Luhnow may send him to winter ball, and actually that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Get you butt on a diet and get a personal trainer kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vewill1
      August 29, 2016

      Becky, I don’t vehemently disagree. If we want to gamble with 2017 and experience another year of mediocrity let’s keep em all around and see what shakes out. At some point you have to shift from rebuild to win now mode. If we wan’t to win in 2017 we need to fill some holes. The FA class is very thin. Maybe a Cepsedes comes along or maybe not. There is no FA pitcher that would probably even make our current roster. If we want to fill holes we have to give ups some prospects, and some very talented, high upside prospects. Probably a lot of them. Due to his age and projectable upside as a TOR guy I would see Martes as the being the closest to untouchable (which means he will be the first guy wanted in any deal). We need to get comfortable with what its gonna cost us to win a WS. If you told me you would trade me a 2017 WS and 2 additional years of playoffs in return for Altuve, Correa, Bregman and your top 5 prospects I would take it. Since 1962 we have not won a single WS game and have only appeared in 1 WS. We have appeared in only 3 LCS. I just want to see this team win and I want the FO to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        August 30, 2016

        You sure are giving up a LOT. We will just have to agree to disagree!

        Like

      • sandy
        August 30, 2016

        Yeah, I have to agree with Becky here.
        Those three are untouchable in my opinion but I do agree we need to fill some holes and it ain’t gonna be cheap.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 30, 2016

        To be fair to vewill he was only saying he give up Altuve, Correa and Bregman and our top 5 prospects if it gave us a WS. I think it was, somewhat, tongue in cheek, but I will agree with vewill that I would basically give up my left youknowwhat for a World Series title. Obviously, trading those players would weaken the team beyond recognition, but if the Baseball Gods said I will give you a World Series title if you give up those players I would say ‘sign me up’.

        Like

  44. vewill1
    August 29, 2016

    The fact that JD Davis is absolutely on fire at the AA level prompts me to ask three questions:

    1) Has JD Davis officially passed Moran as the top Astros 3B prospect?
    2) If you have both Bregman and Gurriell at the MLB level where is his future?
    3) Should Davis get a look in September, and if so how would you find him playing time?

    See link:

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article/198310786/prospect-team-of-week-led-by-yankees-sanchez/

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      August 30, 2016

      I think he has surpassed Moran. Actually, I think Moran isn’t going to pan out.

      Like

    • Tim
      August 30, 2016

      1. Yes, Moran, in my opinion, is not a decent prospect. He may eventually hit for average, but he has little power and that normally doesn’t play at 3B.
      2. His future is as a possible trade chip. He is blocked and I’m glad he is on fire as it improves his trading ability.
      3. No. The last thing I want to do is bring him up and see his trade value be diminished because he struggles in his cup of coffee. I see no reason to bring Davis up on September.

      Like

      • vewill1
        August 30, 2016

        Tim, I agree completely. If he finishes the MiLB season the way he’s going now he will be a sought after prospect. With 3B obviously blocked for the foreseeable future I wouldn’t mind seeing him get some reps at 1B.

        Like

  45. 1oldpro
    August 30, 2016

    The only guy without a strikeout tonight was Gurriel. So, the guy who never faced big league pitching, except in the world baseball classic years ago, has only two Ks in his first week of big league play. A 10% walk rate, a 10% K rate and a .389 average is a good start. I really like how he puts the ball in play. He has real good eye-hand coordination. And he is ignoring the Crawford Boxes.
    Teoscar, on the other hand, is starting to swing for the fences. That is not what got him here. He’s forgetting about getting base hits already.
    The Astros looked good tonight and it was good to see Musgrove pitch better. Hope he builds on that and gets back to where he was a month ago. He definitely got away with some pitches tonight.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 30, 2016

      and if Gurriell doesn’t get with the program and start screwing himself into the ground while striking out a little more often he may find himself in trouble with Hudgens!

      Liked by 1 person

    • vewill1
      August 30, 2016

      In all seriousness, so far he looks to be a pretty advanced hitter with a simple, compact swing to all fields and good plate awareness. He’s has gotten a lot better at recognizing offspeed in the past few games and doesn’t seem to be chasing as much. I wouldn’t mind seeing him swap DH/3B with Bregman for a game so we could get a look at him in the field.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        August 30, 2016

        Didn’t he play 3rd tonight? I thought Bregman was tonight’s DH.

        Like

      • vewill1
        August 30, 2016

        Senior moment on my behalf!! Yes he did play 3B.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 30, 2016

        Yes, he did play 3B, but I don’t recall him having any balls hit to him. Was he involved in any defensive outs? I would give him another start at 3B tonight and give Bregman the start in LF. I’ve seen enough of Marwin against RHs to know I don’t want him starting tonight.

        Like

      • Dan P
        August 30, 2016

        I don’t remember Gurriel having any actual ground ball plays. In one funny incident he stopped a foul ball grounder and tossed the ball towards the home plate ump. The fans started chiding him for not throwing it up in the stands – which the announcers rightfully said is probably not what they do in Cuba.

        Like

    • Becky⚾
      August 30, 2016

      And…..WALKS!

      Like

  46. vewill1
    August 30, 2016

    I anyone is interested in purchasing 2 season tickets for the balance of 2016 in section 119, directly behind home plate please let me know. I have 6 seats and only use 4 now that my son is out of the house and mom is too old to go.

    Like

  47. Dan P
    August 30, 2016

    If the Astros win after trading Altuve, Bregman, Correa and 5 prospects they will be the first team to win the WS by averaging 2 runs a game.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 30, 2016

      HAHA!! Dan you are spot on. My point was that if I were guaranteed a WS title and 3 playoffs (giving me 3 more chances at a ring) I would do just about anything. In 54 years we have won one LCS and no WS games.

      My frustration is this; when do we shift from rebuild mode to win- now mode? If we want to stay in rebuild mode then keep all our prospects and develop them at the big league level. If we want to win now then spend some money and spend some of your projects to get to that level.

      If it were 2013 I would be adamant that Reed, White and the other prospects get all of the time and at bats they need. In the final throes of 2016 I’m not as patient. In April of 2017 I will have no patience.

      Liked by 1 person

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