Honest look back at Astros 2016: Blame the starting pitching


No, I have not been on a bender the last week, unless you count bottled water. I have been a little depressed about another 6 months invested in a season that as Chip succinctly stated was “just not good enough for Houston”. And I was struggling to  decide on what to write about.

Dave Hudgens – Jeff Luhnow’s Rasputin?”

“Five Games that Might Have Put the Astros in a One and Done Playoff”

“Why Does God Hate Me?”

Finally, it was time to do what is necessitated when the pen (OK, keyboard) seems like a West Texas dry hole. It was time to look at the facts and write about them. And the facts about the Astros 2016 point to a season that fell short of the playoff run of 2015 due to the Starting pitching (mostly). Yes, better offense might have overcome the problems but the offense scored basically the same amount of runs 4.47 Runs/game in 2016 vs. 4.50 runs/game in 2015. The bullpen was down a bit with a .29 ERA uptick from 2015, which will be explained a bit below.

No, the big fail was the starting pitching that was sterling in 2015 (3.71 ERA) and below league average in 2016 (4.37 ERA).  A few quick facts:

  • In 2015, pitchers with an ERA over 4.30 started only 35 games. In 2016, this number swelled to 123 thanks mostly to Dallas Keuchel (4.55 in 26 starts), Doug Fister (4.64 in 32 starts), Collin McHugh (4.34 in 33 starts), and Mike Fiers (4.48 in 30 starts).
  • In 2015, a solid 64 games were started by pitchers with and ERA below 3.50. In 2015 this number plummeted to only 24 starts including the long injured Lance McCullers Jr, the long gone Scott Feldman and the long reliever Chris Devenski. To be honest, Feldman’s ERA was due to his successful move to the bullpen, not due to his starts.
  • In 2015, the starting pitchers were a combined 13 games over .500 at 59-46, while they fell off to below .500 in 2016 at 57-59.
  • In 2015, the starters pitched a combined 983 innings (2nd in the AL) which is a very good 6.07 innings per start. This fell in 2016 to a below average 917 innings (9th in the AL) at 5.66 innings per start.
  • The starting pitchers failure to pitch deep caused the bullpen to go from the 2nd least innings pitched in 2015 to the 3rd most in 2016 and no doubt contributed to their higher ERA as they had to cover about 20% more innings on the season.

The Astros first priority in the off-season (other than bringing all their coaches back) has to be to decide the best path to address the starting pitching.

Do they…..

  • Package a good major leaguer or two with prospects and go after a real #1?
  • Wait on 2014/2015 Keuchel to return?
  • Pray that Mr. McCullers heals up entirely?
  • Add Devenski and/or Joseph Musgrove and/or Michael Feliz to the rotation?
  • Re-sign Fister and trade him before he goes south?
  • Some combination of those 5 choices above?

My friends – what do you think?

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128 comments on “Honest look back at Astros 2016: Blame the starting pitching

    • Fister is an interesting conundrum for the Astros. Through the end of August he was their best starting pitcher. 12-8 with a 3.60 ERA. September he was totally awful 0-5 in 6 terrible short starts.
      Now if there is a physical situation (he was fighting a sore arm or hamstring or something) you could argue for offering him something.
      But if they knew he had physical issues and let him lose the 5 games by which they missed the playoffs…shame on them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Here is the best response I saw on this. Some guy named Dr. Rick posted this in TCB. It is a perfect response.

      “If Marlow is batting 205 in Lancaster
      then he is worrying about the wrong Mendoza”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Guy hit .205 at Lancaster. He needs to grow up, keep his mouth shut, and maybe learn how to play baseball for a living, esp since he “hit” (and i use that term loosely) in the .250s in college.
        And we drafted him for what reason?

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  1. 1. LMJ healthy next year will be a much better #1 starter than Keuchel was in 2016. That is as simple as I can make it. 2. Keuchel couldn’t have been worse than he was in 2016 because his record was actually worse than Fiers or Fister’s. Having a healthy Keuchel next year will improve over Keuchel of 2016 and he would be a good #2 and better than LMJ was as a #2 in 2016 because LMJ wasn’t there for the two worst times of the year, April and September.
    3. Joe Musgrove is an improvement over Scott Feldman/Mike Fiers. as a #3 starter.
    4. Collin McHugh is an improvement over Doug Fister as a #5 starter.
    5. So that leaves Devenski as a #4, which would be perfectly fine with me.
    BUT!
    6. If you are going to make a World Series run you need pitching, and lots of it. With that thought in mind, I would do what I could do to keep the 5 aforementioned guys, if possible, and try to find an ace to trade for. Start my best five pitchers and keep the sixth as my swing guy.
    If you go into 2017 thinking you are a World Series contender, you had better have access to six major league caliber pitchers, because you are going to need them. And you are going to need them to beat the Texas Rangers, who finished a dozen games ahead of us in 2016.
    Seriously, we don’t need another ace to have a winning record, but we need an ace to beat a team who stomped us mercilously. We need one to win the division back and then we will need him to pitch for us in the playoffs and World Series.
    An ace will cost a lot. But I think we need to add an ace to what we have in order to win a World Series next year.
    We also need a left handed closer who throws 103 mph to go with the bullpen guys we already have.

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    • I would love an ace, especially since I’m concerned about the health of LMJ to last the entire season. My concern is the cost to obtain one. It will almost assuredly cost us Bregman and Martes, among others. One pitcher I really wanted suffered an unfortunate, tragic death 10 days ago. I would be open to Quintana, but I have my doubts whether Archer or Sale would be worth the haul it would require to get them. Sale is still great, but I see him just beginning his gradual, slow decline. I like Archer, but I am also concerned if he is still a #1 (probably more of a #2). I do love your subtle suggestion of getting Aroldis Chapman. I might rather get a solid MORP and just strengthen the bullpen. I think that was the blueprint used by the 2015 K.C. Royals. Do you have a trade suggestion in mind for an ace? I don’t disagree with you, but just curious on what you think the cost will be and what you are willing to give up?

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      • I would definitely do that trade you suggested, but I don’t think it will be enough. If we included Bregman it might get it done, but that’s too steep for my blood. We never know so it won’t hurt Luhnow to try. In fact, I would do that trade for Sale, Quintana or Archer (your trade scenario without Bregman).

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  2. Dan, I wish you had written on Topic #3. My question to you is this: Many, or at least several, here seem to think we are in serious contention in 2017. People more knowledgeable than I am. But I don’t get it. What am I missing? To approach with the same high hopes we had this year would lead back to Topic #3.

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    • Diane, I think we’re looking at gradual changes that made positive impacts and hoping (wishing?) we can count on it to continue. Consider the following:
      – April record 7-17
      – May record – 17-12
      – June record – 18-9
      – July record – 13-12
      – August record – 16-13
      – September – 12-15
      – October – 1-1

      They did that despite the starting pitching being mediocre to bad, a middle infielder getting 310 plate appearances as a first baseman, and using three different pitchers as the closer.

      How can we get into serious contention rather than simply wild card chasers the last week of the season? Here are my steps:
      1. No Carlos Gomez
      2. Less Jake Marisnick
      3. More LMJ
      4. Less September Fister (probably none unless Luhnow hates us)
      5. More Alex Bregman
      6. Better Carlos Correa (note – I’m not complaining about his soph season)
      7. Altuve! Altuve! Altuve!
      8. Keuchel gets healthy and pitches better
      9. More Musgrove!
      10. More Devenski as a starter!
      11. No Tal’s Hill!
      12. Rangers lose more 1 run games.

      I don’t think anything in the above is out of the realm of expectation except for perhaps #7. We can’t keep expecting him to get better – he’s already pretty amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane I’m with you I guess my 50 years of playing baseball ( only through HS) and watching it I’m not very smart. As constructed I see a #2 if healthy LMJ after that a lot of .500 pitching with 4.20 ERA”s. I see a decent 1-5 Tuve, breg spring CC gattis Gurriel then a bunch of .230 hitters.. The pen need a few tweeks.

      I have high hopes for Devo and Musk , but who knows their kids.

      With this 25 I see 84-78 if healthy and no playoffs 2017.

      We need
      #1 SP
      A Proven big time OF
      Real left in the pen

      That #1 would cost us so not sure if I’m the GM my plan, but I agree with Op if we get young Gurriel, I would trade Martes , paulino teaoscar, Davis and Rodgers for a chris sale

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      • I’m fairly confident that won’t get Chris Sale. Are you willing to part with Bregman or Springer? If so, then you can start talking about Chris Sale.

        Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong this year (except Altuve and Gattis). Devin’s post above is a good analysis of what very well could happen in 2017. Luhnow has already indicated he will be active in the free agency market. Considering all the things that went wrong and they still finished just 2 games off the pace of 2015 I think there is definite hope for next year.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think this team as constructed can be a playoff team fairly easily. A championship team….I’m not so sure Diane. To me the biggest question marks involve LMJ and Keuchel. Keuchel was a good #2 pitcher in 2014 and a great #1 pitcher in 2015. I don’t care if he was not a fireballer. I don’t think this was the league catching up with him – he pitched like someone pitching through something physical. He can be at least a #2 again – if well.
      I don’t think we can rely on LMJ being a #1 – too much worry about him physically I think. But he is a darn good pitcher if they can keep him out there.

      I think the lineup will be better with Bregman and Gurriel and Gattis and whoever they bring in for the outfield.

      I don’t have over the moon high hopes – but I do know that there is no way the Rangers win so many 1 run games again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I still have my doubts Devin, after all we could’ve had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, &. ,10 this year but management chose otherwise.
    I predict next year to be about the same as this year. However I pray every day I’m wrong.

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  4. Many of us a couple of months ago lamented the starting pitching and hoped for help. Musgrove came along but LMJ bit the dust. His (LMJ) health for an entire season is in question as we have no evidence that he can survive one.
    The Stros simply must acquire another good (not great) starter.
    I read where the entire coaching staff will remain intact. That may be our downfall next year but one could never point directly at that. The coaches would simply claim lack of execution on the part of the players. The hitting coach and pitching coach seem completely ineffective.
    In order to acquire any necessary additions, I would hope that the following players are UNTOUCHABLE:
    Altuve
    Bregman
    Gurriel
    Correa
    Musgrove
    Devinski
    LMJ
    Marwin

    If someone wanted Springer, I’d let him go for the right price and hope we can cultivate another .250+ starter to take his place. He may be perceived by others as a future all star. I think 5 .250+ hitters and some adequate pitching can create the potential for a good “hot streak”. If that hot streak occurs at the right time….you can get there.
    Am I mistaken in that the Stros will have a bit more financial latitude this offseason for the acquisition of some more quality players given that some large salaries have been jettisoned ?
    Luhnow is obviously going to have another year and some money to right the ship.
    Will he be able to add any wins ?? Like maybe extended post season play ??

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    • We all like Marwin for what he is, but why would you make him untouchable? He is a very nice super utility guy, but he’s not an everyday player, or if he is then the Astros are in trouble.

      I’ve already given my thoughts on Springer, but he would definitely be in my untouchable category, even more so than Bregman. How many OFers put up an .800+ OPS and plays as good defense as Springer? Mike Trout might be the only one. If it’s up to me I am not trading Springer.

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  5. OK I quit dreaming and will wait to see Uncle Jeff make some B moves to tease us and he and you know who will convince us that they are stellar, and 2017 will end up where I stated 84-78 and no playoffs

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  6. One of the fascinating things is when you look at stats and don’t let your opinions shade what you see.
    We are always talking about trading for a #1 from somebody. An interesting fact is that of the pitchers who “qualified” this season in the AL (pitched 162 or more innings), only 18 had an ERA of under 4.00. That means somebody with a 3.99 ERA is one of the best #2’s in the league theoretically. I don’t know that anyone here would think that a guy with a 4.00 ERA was anything better than a middle of the road #3. The top 15 qualifiers (theoretically all #1’s) have ERAs of 3.69 and under.
    So what is my point? I guess I would say that explains why teams want the moon for a top pitcher – the alternatives fall off in a hurry. The Astros may be better off not trying to get someone else, but see if a Devenski or a Musgrove could come in – in that #2 range. Heck if you have four guys under 4.00 (and I can see Keuchel, LMJ, Devenski, Musgrove and/or McHugh getting there) you have a very good staff.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan, I think the rules have changed on us. Did you know only 12 pitchers in the AL threw a shutout this year and only one of them (Corey Kluber) managed to throw two? Dallas Keuchel was our lone representative in that list. Did you know only 21 players in the AL threw a complete game? Sale had 6, a Boston knuckleballer had 4, Rick Porcello (are you kidding me? He may win Cy Young…) and Kluber had 3, and four other guys had 2.

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    • Dan I agree #1 SP just cost to much these days. It’s just fun to dream. I hope they can get someone for the rotation than can at least hit 90 mph on the gun. Me personally I’m over any pitcher whose name starts with an F on the 25. for a while.

      Hopefully one of the kids steps up in ST.

      Which means we will need a line up that scores 1-1.5 runs more than we did in 2016 to make the dance

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      • The Astros have 3 guys potentially in the 2017 rotation that throw over 90 (McCullers, Musgrpve, Devenski). Paulino and Martes are options for 2018.

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      • I would be surprised if a rotation of McCullers, Keuchel, McHugh, Musgrove and Devenski for instance had a higher ERA than the 4.37 this season’s starters put up (if LMJ and Keuchel are well). So maybe we don’t have to score a bunch more runs – though they do need to score more….

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  7. Appreciate the comments and would prefer to be an optimist. Love Altuve to death and not willing to part with any core guys, certainly including Springer. Given that, and knowing Nolan Ryans are not readily attainable, reality gets the best of me. With all the bloodcurdling things going on in the world, I was hoping these Astros would pull it off and pull me out. Doddering old age will do that to you.

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  8. My thoughts:

    1. Package a good major leaguer or two with prospects and go after a real #1? I have said I would be willing to trade Springer IF we spend money/trade to replace with 2 OF (not named Colby Rasmus).
    2. Wait on 2014/2015 Keuchel to return? I am not holding my breath on this one. Shoulder issue combined with rumors of shrinking strike zone in 2017 sets off warning bells that he may never be 2014/2015 again.
    3. Pray that Mr. McCullers heals up entirely? I’m thinking the man above (and I don’t mean JL) may have bigger problems to deal with. I am afraid to rely on LMG for a full season, 200 IP.
    4. Add Devenski and/or Joseph Musgrove and/or Michael Feliz to the rotation? I think at least 2 of the 3 will spend a significant part of the season in the starting rotation with reasonable success as #3-5 pitchers.
    5. Re-sign Fister and trade him before he goes south? Fister played out of gas at the end of the season. I could see resigning him while keeping in mind he will probably wear down as season progresses. But he could buy time for Martes or Paulino if we still have them after #1 happens.
    6. I can live with bullpen as is sans Neshek. But I would name Giles closer and leave him there. None of the “we’ll decide at spring training”.
    7. I would resign Castro because of his familiarity with pitchers. But I bet he wants to go elsewhere.
    8. Unrelated to pitching, but I think the Astros need a veteran to lead the team the way Adrian Beltre does. Maybe we could get that in one of the OF requested in #1.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nance, I can’t go along with 1 and 7, because I want Springer around and I don’t want Castro around. 2,3 and 4 I’m totally in agreement with and I fear you might be right in regards to Fister. But if the guy has another first half left in him, then it would not be all bad, as long as Luhnow could unload him at the break. And I’ll take a veteran, as long as he can still hit. 15 million for a guy on his last legs might not be worth the potential cohesiveness added.

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  9. Springer is a 27 year old .260 hitter. He is as good as any defensively. He has good trade value. If he could help land a TOR starter, I would make that deal assuming that the rest of the deal is reasonable. It has been suggested that he will command $150 million or so in a long term deal next time around. In my opinion, he is NOT worth that.
    Bregman should be untouchable because he has the potential to be a high OBP guy. Lord knows this team needs that. I happen to think he will be an all star within a couple of years based on his rate of improvement. This guy is going to be huge before its over.

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    • “Bregman should be untouchable because he has the potential to be a high OBP guy.”

      Springer is a high OBP guy. Springer will put up a higher OPS than Bregman, hit more HRs and play better defense. Using batting average to determine a players worth is a poor measurement. Springer may command $150M when he becomes a free agent, but he is still under control by the Astros for 3 more seasons and his price will be very affordable, even with arbitration. Once he’s eligible to be a free agent he will be 30 and, at that time, you let him go as he won’t be worth it, but he is one of the most valuable players to the Astros right now and he should NOT be included in a trade for anyone, unless it’s Mike Trout.

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  10. Here’s my problem with trading Springer. Because Springer is a power/rbi guy, his misuse as a leadoff hitter has stymied his value as an RBI machine, especially when you bat four miserable hitters at the bottom of the order in front of him that eliminate his RBIs. Because he is one of the top defensive center fielders in all of baseball, his value has been stymied by his misuse in RF.
    A guy like Springer is somebody that other teams should be talking about giving up 4 top prospects for. Instead, we’re talking about mixing him in with prospects to try and land a pitcher. The whole scenario sucks!
    Even as he is being misused, Springer is incredibly valuable, especially at $530,000, and delivering the 18th highest WAR of all position players in the AL.
    I’m totally against trading Springer, because he is a core player, even though he is not being treated like one, and we won’t get enough value for him until we use him properly and show everyone what we have, instead of showing them a leadoff hitting corner outfielder.
    Watching Springer with the Astros is like having to watch a Boone and Crockett buck in a zoo, or Arnie in a putt-putt tournament.

    Liked by 3 people

    • George Springer hit 19 of his 29 doubles, 19 of his 29 home runs and 3 of his 5 triples with the bases empty.
      Part of that is his tendency to over-swing and strike out with runners on, but the majority of it rests with his leadoff position and our terrible bottom of the order.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I just want to clarify. I don’t “want” to trade Springer. But I do want a #1 Pitcher more.. That will cost us from our core. Altuve, Correa, and Bregman just rank higher on my “must keep” list than Springer for now.

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  12. OP….I agree that the whole scenario sucks. But it’s where we are. This team cannot compete with the pitching staff as currently constructed unless they happen to perform better than their histories would indicate. They simply must acquire another sub 4 180+ inning guy. You nailed it in an earlier post when you suggested that we still have to beat the rangers. Without more better pitching, that is unlikely.
    Springer is the best chit we have to achieve that acquisition.
    Folks suggest that basic measures of performance like BA are an insufficient measurement of a players worth. I submit that they are extremely telling.
    The more modern units of measure like WAR and OPS are useful, but fail to address the basic elements of the game…putting the bat on the ball for a hit. Its how they recognize batting titles and HOF candidates based on BA. Teams with 5 or 6 guys with .250 BA’s generally fare better with more wins. I perceive Springer more as a guy that is fun to watch but , in fact, is a guy that swings through a lot of pitches while coming out of his shoes resulting in a lot of critical strikeouts. That’s been the scourge for the Astros since their days in the dome.
    Believe me when I state that I really like having the guy on the team. But more important to me is winning.
    I am already in the mode of having to commit for next years season tickets and it is becoming increasingly difficult paying increased prices for “the new good “(mediocrity). Unfortunately, I am invested in Altuve, LMJ, Musgrove, Bregman, Correa and ,yes, Springer. I want to see them succeed. Just not sure the FO is capable of creating that path.

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    • I respectfully disagree with you about Springer being the best chip we have to achieve that goal of getting a #1. I think teams are going to want either Devenski or Musgrove in that deal, because they have actually shown the goods to be in a major league rotation and that is what they are going to want back, young pitchers who have shown they can pitch with success and have 5 years of inexpensive control.

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    • TNT,

      Here are the slash lines for 3 players with their respective wRC+. You tell me which player is more valuable.

      Player A .254/.401/.694 87 wRC+
      Player B .251/.508/.827 119 wRC+
      Player C .261/.457/.816 124 wRC+

      I’m sorry, but batting average is not a good measurement to determine a players worth. It is a tool to look at, but if you’re using batting average as a strong measure of a players worth then you are saying Player A has about the same value to his team as Player B and C, which couldn’t be further from the truth. By the way, all 3 of these slash lines were the final statistics for Astros players in 2016.

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  13. Just so everyone willing to sell Springer is aware, he’s almost irreplaceable when you’ve taken the time to look at his stats. He’s legitimately a rare 5 tool guy. And as noted above a couple of times, he’s one of the best in the business and that’s not an opinion, it’s fact based reality. Let’s hold on to him now and if need be, move him at some mid season point when we are assured he won’t be signing a long term deal in Houston. I’m pretty sure I’ll be around to watch him play center for the Sox or Yanks. So unfortunate.

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    • I’m in agreement here. I want everyone who is willing to trade Springer to look at all the starting pitchers in baseball and state which ones you would be willing to trade Springer for straight up. I think the list will be much shorter than you anticipate. The guys on your list are not guys their team will be willing to move.

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      • Devin, I can’t answer that question without access to medical information. That is the biggest risk in my mind of giving up Springer and prospects such as Martes and Paulino for a #1 pitcher such as Sale or Archer.

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  14. My suggestion for coming up with a # 1 pitcher is to go out and trade for a stud first baseman, sign a stud free agent DH, sign a stud outfielder, sign or trade for a stud LH reliever, sign a decent hitting second catcher. Then hand the ball every fifth day to LMJ, Keuchel, Devenski, Musgrove and McHugh and see which one of them turns out to be your #1 with a good hitting lineup behind them.
    Stick somebody like Peacock in the bullpen as a swingman and start Feliz, Martes, Rodgers, Paulino and Hauschild every fifth day in Fresno and let them pitch more than five innings so that they learn to become more than just five inning pitchers. Then see if you have a potential second #1 from that group.
    Then give the ball every fifth game in Corpus Christi to the five best pitchers you have between the former Lancaster roster and the CC roster and let them pitch like starters do, going as far into a game as would be normal in a regular organization and see if you have a potential TOR prospect there.
    If you don’t have the will power to sign or trade for #1 starting pitchers, then you had better have a plan to develop them in your system, because if your #1 can’t go eight innings when it’s called for, he’s not a #1.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. All kidding aside, Tim. JL could have redeemed himself in the eyes of a lot of fans ( me included) if he had made some coaching/managerial changes. You said yourself that you wanted to see the hitting coach replaced. For instance, if he can’t see
    the difference in Carlos Gomez after moving to the Rangers and others that have moved on and became better hitters, then he’s not the right man for the job.

    But time will tell and if he makes a good move I’ll be right back here admitting I’m wrong. I don’t want to be right I just want this team to finally become competitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you want to fault Hudgens for Gomez, then you have to credit him for the improvement by Altuve, Gattis and Valbuena. I have my concerns with Hudgens, but I’m just a fan with no inside information on what the players think of him. I’m not going to condemn Luhnow for bringing back the hitting coach if he feels he’s done more good than harm.
      Also, thus team is already competitive. They have had back-to-back winning seasons with a playoff berth mixed in. I don’t know how you can say they are not competitive.

      By the way, I must be a very bad person. I am thoroughly enjoying the complete meltdown over at Lone Star Ball, the SB Nation blog for Rangers fans. I am really, really enjoying it.

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      • Ooh, Mrs1OP just went down for a nap! I think I’ll go over to Lone Star Ball and get a good read, too.
        By the way, if you subtract the Astros and Rangers games from each of the two team’s final won/loss record, they each finished 80-63 in all their other games.
        So, if the Astros want to make a huge difference in 2017, that difference is going to be in their games against Texas.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t agree. Altuve is a pure hitter. He could’ve improved on his own, Valbuena is streaky and he wasn’t good long enough to prove your point. Gattis maybe.
        But Gomez was a mess here. Look at him now, a completely different approach at the plate. I just don’t believe Luhnow listens to anyone.

        I don’t see a competitive team here. I see a team that had a good April last year. A team that played good against weaker teams and not so good against top tier pitchers. Too many downs and not enough ups. A team that was not ready for the season. Isn’t that what Spring Training is for? Not enough baseball logic and too many stat driven moves. Sticking with players who were in decline. I mean, seriously, Carlos Gomez should have been gone a couple of months before the they finally pulled the plug. And Fister starting in September when it was obvious he was done.

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      • I can make similar excuses for Gomez. You’re just trying to debunk the alternatives to prove a narrative that may or may not be true.

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  16. The fans over at LSB are turning on Jon Daniels because Beltran and Lucroy haven’t done a thing in these first 2 games. Just 2 months ago they were anointing him the greatest G.M. in the game. Some times the best trades are the ones you don’t make. I’m still glad Luhnow didn’t pay the prices that other teams did at the trade deadline. Has any team benefitted from mid-season acquisitions this year? Jay Bruce and Josh Reddick were horrible for their teams. I want Toronto to complete the sweep and then we can all say the one thing the Astros and Rangers have in common is 0 playoff wins in 2016. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim, I’m not Luhnow’s biggest fan, but here I am still pulling for him and our team and giving him terrific advice. I’m doing everything I can do, as is every other fan here at Chipalatta. Certainly he can read our suggestions and get this train heading to the World Series in 2017.
      We got this! Now, about those non-tenders.

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  17. Lucroy gave them an .885 OPS. That’s pretty good. And it’s likely they’ll sign him to a long term deal, helping to keep the club relevant. I sure wish we’d spend the same 170 million the Rangers manage to.

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  18. How big is the grin on my face after watching the Blue Jays take game 2!!! Back to Canada for game 3……granted some Jays fans are total idiots, but I’d love to see them shut the door on the other team in texas!! And watching both of the Cleveland Boston games…..made me happy to see the Indians shut the Sox out tonight! Anyway you slice it, this year’s world series is gonna be a lot of fun to watch! I am so pulling for the Cubs!
    OP….we nominate you to send Luhnow the moves he needs to make over the winter!
    You are exactly right though…..these pitchers absolutely HAVE to go further than 4-5 innings if the bullpen is gonna hold up, if these guys make it to the post season next year. And my 2 cents is…absolutely do NOT trade Springer!!⚾⚾

    Liked by 1 person

  19. In former Astros news, Jared Cosart will undergo elbow surgery to remove bone fragments, Fernando Rodriguez was DFA’d by Oakland, Jimmy Paredes was DFA’d by Philly and Fernando Abad was left off of Boston’s playoff roster.

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    • Cosart’s a jerk (and that trade is looking better and better), Abad performed fo Boston like Oliver Perez did for us, Paredes isn’t that good (and had a bad year), and Rodriguez was hurt.

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      • Hit submit before I was done.

        Abad had pitched well before the trade. Just goes to show that sometimes a trade can look good at the time, but you never know how the player will perform afterwards.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. In 2016 there were only 11 pitchers in all of major league baseball who had more accumulated Wins Above Replacement than George Springer’s 4.5 accumulated WAR. One of those pitchers was Jose Fernandez, so now there are ten.
    Springer’s WAR included negative marks on base running and defense.
    I still think Springer has not reached his stride yet and it is not yet time to think about trading him.
    Two of those 10 pitchers were Quintana and Sale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve said this before, but I will say it again. I don’t want to trade either player, but if I had to trade one between Bregman and Springer it would be Bregman. I just don’t think Astros fans appreciate Springer for all that he does. He is an exceptional athlete and baseball player and, unless we are getting Mike Trout, he can’t be replaced.

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  21. Missed the announcement that Lancaster is now a Rockies farm team and the Astros have bought A+ Fayetteville, NC for next season. No more high altitude jet stream ERAs and BAs.

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  22. Nice when you can bring a guy in to pitch the 6th with a fastball that hits 97 along with curve and slider. Edwards had an 0.806 WHIP in 36 innings for the Cubs during the regular season. I don’t think they’ve got a mediocre pitcher.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. One thing will always apply to baseball. If you have great depth you can go very far. If you don’t have great depth, you had better be lucky as hell and have one starting pitcher who can beat anybody.
    So far, the Cubs have great depth because they just continued to go out and get the best GM they could find, the best manager they could find and pay a fortune to, and then they just kept spending money and getting better and better and then went and got Fowler and Chapman.
    Now we will see if the Giant’s version of doing things can beat the Cub’s way.
    I think the Astros are going to have to go after every good player they can find to put in place of where they have not-so-good players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Look at the AL where Boston’s lineup got shut down in Cleveland. Their pitching isn’t as strong as the Cubs, but in a series anything can happen. Before we write the Red Sox off, we should be aware they have come back from 0-2 in a best of 5 more than any other team. As for SF, I don’t think they can win three straight without cloning Bumgarneresque…but take games 3 and 4 and who knows how the Cubs will handle that kind of pressure!

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  24. My college football season ended Saturday in the rain in Annapolis.
    I’m thinking my pro football season will continue to fade away today.

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  25. Lance McCullers Jr lost only 6 games this season and by the scores of:
    2-1 to Texas
    4-3 to Tampa Bay
    4-2 to Cincy
    3-2 to Oakland
    1-0 to Seattle
    2-1 to Toronto
    Six Losses by a total of seven runs
    Six losses in which his team scored a total of nine runs.
    Six losses in which the other team scored 16 runs total or 2.6 runs per game.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. If I were the Astros, some things I would consider:
    – asking Cesar Cedeno to work with Teoscar Hernandez on his fielding and base running for a week or so this off season.
    -issuing a QO to first baseman Luis Valbuena, if they are 100% convinced he will be recovered from his surgery. Either he will come in handy in the lineup, or that draft pick will come in handy if we lose our #1 by signing a free agent.
    -not issuing one to Fister, Castro and Rasmus.
    – going after Josh Reddick. I still think Reddick was not fully recovered from his injury and will bounce back.
    -asking Jandel Gustave to work all winter on commanding his slider.
    -getting into a bidding war for Aroldis Chapman. No draft pick attached there! Chapman, Giles, Harris, Gregerson, Hoyt, Gustave. Heat, baby!
    -passing on Cespedes, because if he opts out on two $23.75 million seasons with the Mets, what would he expect from Houston?
    -checking out Neil Walker as a DH/1B. He’s a free agent. How’s his back?
    -asking LMJ to work out hard on a club approved regimen that probably doesn’t include chopping wood.
    -chasing down Rich Hill with a big offer. If you get him, that’s fine. You have your sixth starting pitcher, including two lefties. If you don’t get him, you still have the guys you have now, so you’re no worse off. No QO attached there, either.
    -being wary of Encarnacion. At his salary, he has been a steal for Toronto all these years. It may be time for him to become a thief at age 34. He will probably get a QO from Toronto, making him more expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t go near a QO for Valbuena. Do you think he can get two years at $8 million each? Unless he can get a deal in that neighborhood he has to take the QO. The biggest issue I have is where he would fit on the roster. Bregman/Gurriel/Marwin can play 3B for you. White/Reed/Gurriel can play 1B…but you have to expect Luhnow is making inquiries on bringing someone else in.

      Would it really bother you to get Cespedes for only one year? He’s one of the guys I’d be fine going year to year rather than locking up.

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      • Seriously, Devin, Cespedes is not going to give up 2 years with the Mets for a guaranteed $23.75 million per year, to spend 1 year with Houston. That’s what he is signed for, if he doesn’t opt out of his deal.
        If Valbuena is healed, he is going to get a valuable contract, because he can play all four infield positions, and he has done that. This is his first try at free agency. He’s going to get paid if he’s healthy. If he walks we get a late first round pick, and if he stays we have a power hitting first baseman and we let Marwin be super sub like he’s supposed to be.
        I wouldn’t mind Valbuena accepting a QO from Houston and playing 1B all year for Houston, considering he had his best year BA and was on his way to a good SLG year, too. A QO only ties him to us for one year and we do not have a first baseman who has proven he can hit. Reed and White did not hit and I don’t think the Astros want Gurriel at 1B. If the Astros are going to contend they need to fill their holes in the lineup and they don’t need to do it with the guys who failed to fill the holes in 2016. They need to get better everywhere they were weak.
        Of the six real players we have starting: Altuve, Bregman , Springer, Gurriel, Correa, and Gattis we have no LH batting player and we need one or two. We do not need all RH batters in our lineup.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with your rh/lh thoughts. On Cespedes, I think he tries for a similar deal where he has the power and can walk. Someone will eventually get stuck with a player that doesn’t opt out, but for 2017 I think it would be realistic to expect him to opt out again afterwards.

        I just don’t trust Reed, White, or Valbuena at 1B. If I have to give one of them 450 AB, however, I think White helps us win more games offensively…which is not to say he accumulates more WAR. Then again, he probably gives a few back defensively. If I have to choose on tight budget…

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      • The Astros don’t have a tight budget in 2017. Even if they keep Neshek, they still have nearly $70million to spend before they equal their 2016 salary outlay, and that is already including raises to Keuchel, Gattis, McHugh, Harris and Marwin in arbitration.

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      • Oldpro, I’ll believe it when I see it on the budget. I could easily see Crane scaling it back with the excuse he spent so much on foreign players in 2016.

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      • I’m pro Valbuena because he’s posted an .800 plus OPS each of the past three years against righties. He’d arguably also be our best defensive first baseman. If White is successful, it will be due to his bat, ideally as a DH. I’d also rather leave Gurriel at third. That’s what he knows best. And let’s see if we can get Marwin back to being our utility guy.

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      • But the FO has all the inside scoops, all the stats in the world and the blessings of the owner. Those things alone could get common sense thrown out the window with the baby and the bath water.
        What with just sitting there working on their computers and iPads and ground control, you gotta know their huge baseball minds have to be racing at the speed of bite.
        Hell, they’re still trying to figure out how they got into the situation they got into with Jon Singleton. I figured that one out years ago. That was being dumb about baseball and people.
        You might remember when I said years ago that Springer, Singleton and Santana would never be together on the Astros because Luhnow never wanted that kind of team, with those kind of strikeouts. Never would I have thought they would let Jon Singleton would take them to the cleaners. But they did..

        Liked by 1 person

  27. When I saw Colby Lewis was starting tonight, I couldn’t believe it. His last five decisions of the season were losses to sub-.500 teams.

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  28. I am getting so much pleasure and joy out of reading Lone Star Ball right now. Those miserable imps, many who have laughed and mocked us, are about to have their favorite team get as many playoff wins as the Astros this year. This takes away all the pain from the 2016 Astros season. Oh Canada…

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  29. I’ve had company the past couple of days, oldest son and his family…..but one of the best feelings in the world is knowing that despicable team in arlington gets to sit on the couch and stew with the rest of us!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I like that the Rangers were eliminated in a one-run walkoff loss.
    I don’t like the fact that lousy group of baseball players beat us 15 times. We need to change that.
    I don’t like being happy at their loss when we sat at home for the playoffs. I want more than that.
    Let’s get started. I really don’t care who wins the world series. Toronto is definitely not one of my favorite teams but they are smarter than when Alex Anthrowhatever was their GM.
    Evan Drellich is my least favorite player on the Red Sox.
    Hunter pence is my favorite Astro on the Giants.
    Don’t like the Dodgers.
    Who thought Mookie Betts was going to be so good?
    Guess I have to go with the Cubs. Get it over with and let that poor fan who interfered with Moises Alou die in peace.
    Tomorrow’s MLBTR will be full of Ranger speculation.

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  31. Hey Rangers fans,

    Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey goodbye!

    Yes, that was smarmy, but I don’t care this morning. The Rangers gave up a ton of prospects at the deadline and it got them the exact amount of playoff wins as the Astros and that brings a huge smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

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