Astros’ offense: Finally, what the front office had in mind


Looking at certain numbers, the Houston Astros offense may not seem that improved over 2016.

  • In 2016 the Astros had two players with more than 100 runs scored (George Springer and Jose Altuve). So far they have no players on track for 100 Runs scored.
  • In 2016 the Astros had four players with 20 or more HRs (Springer, Altuve, Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis). To date they have three players on track for more than 20 HRs (Brian McCann, Springer and Marwin Gonzalez) and good money should be bet on the fact that MarGo will not be over 20 at the end of the season.
  • In 2016 the Astros had three players with more than 80 RBIs (Altuve, Correa and Springer). So far they have two guys (Springer and Gattis) on track for more than 80 RBIs.
  • They are a little better in runs scored as a team as they were 8th in the AL in 2016 and are currently 6th in the AL in runs scored.

So, is the offense better this season than last? And is this more the type of offense that Jeff Luhnow was hoping for? The answer to both is yes.

Jeff Luhnow and the front office have a vision of how a team should produce the most efficient and best offense. That vision includes a good batting average, a very good on base percentage and OPS (on base + slugging) and low in Ks. Here is how the Astros have improved in all those areas.

  • 2016 – 13 of 15 in AL in BA (.247) / 2017 – 1st (.273)
  • 2016 – 8th in OBP (.313) / 2017 – 1st (.343)
  • 2016 – 9th in OPS (.735) / 2017 – 2nd (.771)
  • 2016 – 14th worst in Ks / 2017 – 3rd best in Ks

So, why are they not higher in runs scored? The best explanation is that it seemed to take them a little while to get their traction and incorporate all these new parts (McCann , Nori Aoki, Josh Reddick, and Carlos Beltran) into a cohesive unit. Indeed they started the season in an offensive funk scoring only 2.6 runs/game the first 8 games of the season. They have been on a tear ever since at 5.53 runs/game for the last 15 games. And it is not like they are riding some bat that has put up 8 HR and 15 RBis in those games. They have been on a run despite the fact that Alex Bregman has not hit a HR, Correa has been in a funk that he is just starting to hit his way out of and with Springer missing games with his hamstring injury.

Right now the Astros look like they will have a very balanced lineup that will be tough from one end to the other.

Here is a comparison between a lineup from late April 2016 and Friday night’s Astros lineup

 

2016 2017
Altuve – 2B Springer – CF
Springer – RF Reddick – RF
Correa – SS Altuve – 2B
Colby Rasmus – CF Correa – SS
Gattis – DH Beltran – DH
Tyler White – 1B Yulieski Gurriel – 1B
Preston Tucker – LF Gattis – C
Luis Valbuena – 3B Bregman – 3B
Jason Castro – C Aoki – LF

I’ll give you one good guess which lineup is less of a black hole as you get to the second half of it and that is with Brian McCann sitting out this particular game this year and Carlos Gomez sitting out that particular game last year.

So how do you feel about the offense that this front office has built for 2017?

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92 comments on “Astros’ offense: Finally, what the front office had in mind

  1. Definitely an improvement over last year.

    I wonder if restructuring the order would cut down on guys left on base or is it their approach when they come to the plate seeing a possible RBI.

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    • Sandy – I don’t agree with a number of things in the lineup especially think Altuve should be leadoff. But Mr Bill hits on a critical.spot below – the two guys in the big RBI spots are not doing their job yet. Maybe Gattis should be moved up there – a lot of RBIs in fewer ABs.

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      • I’ll re-post my last comment. Do anybody think that Springer should not be the lead off batter? And what’s to both him and Correa? A cause for concern or just a hitch in their giddy-up?

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      • Springer’s OBP is .286 / Altuve’s OBP is .398.
        Even last season when Springer had a good OBP, Altuve was a lot better when batting leadoff.
        So, yes Springer should not be batting leadoff

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  2. We are vastly improved over 2016, when we finished third in the division. Heck, we are vastly improved over 2015, when we made the playoffs.

    But we will not become a legitimate world series contender until Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran – the guys in the middle of our order – start driving in runs when they come up with runners in scoring position. Altuve is one of the best players in the game, but, like Mike Trout, he cannot carry the team to greatness on his own. His supporting cast is vastly improved this year, but the one thing we don’t have – yet – is somebody in the middle of the order carrying the big bat that drives in the big runs.

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  3. Last night’s game – which the A’s won by the score of two solo home runs to one – is the perfect illustration of our glaring weakness. We are not constructed to – and almost never win – home run derbies. We have OBP guys who can hit an occasional home run, especially at MMP. To win close games against good competition – heck, against bad competition – we are going to have to start getting our high OBP guys home from 2nd and 3rd base – especially our #4 and #5 guys are given chances early like they were last night, and have been most nights.

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  4. I think we all agree with you, Mr Bill, the glaring questions are how and why we can’t seem to get even a sac fly when we have runners in scoring position.

    After 30 days it’s not just a random thing.

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  5. And to the comment I made the other day, (which Tim didn’t agree with), what’s wrong with a safety squeeze or a bunt hit to deter the shift. Good teams get key hits. Great teams win games sometimes by doing the unexpected. I don’t care if a hitter is hitting .400. You do what you have to do to win games. Nothing wrong with small ball but in the end it’s “smart” ball.

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  6. I’m glad the the Stros have a winning record with some of them under performing.
    I can’t help but feel that the World baseball classic threw some of the players out of their normal spring training routine and has hurt them to begin their season. I’m especially thinking of Bregman, who has not yet had a full spring training. This was interrupted for him to go sit on the bench for America’s team. I hope to heck that he has got that out of his system and can perform for the team that pays him to do what most experts feel he will.If Correa gets out of his slow start along with Bregman they will be in the playoffs.

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  7. I just don’t see a good flow to the batting order, this is a great lineup, just not constructed right. Beltran who is future HOF guy looks so lost or maybe Father Time has caught up at 40, Springer I’m sorry great kid , great athlete, great power and 20 holes in his swing, needs to be maybe 5 or 6th in this line up. CC have no clue except way under achieving right now, sometimes he just doesn’t look interested. What about Bregman leading off, he does work counts, starting to get his timing, Gattis needs to be in the line up more!!

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  8. Batting average is overrated, but unless Springer becomes more selective, leading off with a K isn’t giving this team a good start. I’d be inclined to make some bigger changes right now, even though order is arbitrary in the sense that – How many times does an inning begin the way it does at the start of the game?

    While bloggers here go on about keeping the lineup consistent so each guy knows where he’ll be every day, there are such swings in hitting streaks that should be rewarded with hitting #3, or cleanup.

    If that were true, Yuli or Gattis should be hitting #4, just like any slugger who might follow your high OBP, such as Aoki and Altuve. Doesn’t matter what number they are, only that they follow each other for protection and production (so it goes).

    I’d use the 3 and 4 spots as rewards for hot hitters. That way everybody knows where they stand, and how to get to the “go-to” spots. If you’re hitting 9th, it’s not to turn over the lineup well, it’s that you’re not cutting it so get in the back of the line. That’s old school, but still common to this day. If you hit, you get rewarded with another start and a move up in “importance”.

    Personally, I’d hit Aoki first all year until he loses his edge. He’ll work every count (which is our obvious strategy early), and he’s got enough quickness to advance bags. I’d hit Altuve next, then maybe Bregman (hitting 400 with men in scoring position), or Reddick 3. Next Gattis or Yuli. Until Correa and Beltran snap out of it, you don’t keep feeding them!

    It’s a tough question because everyone knows they will get back to their averages eventually. Nursemaiding them until then isn’t helping the W column, which should be the only goal. Not egos. If it ain’t working – fix it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey wait a second! No doubt Springer, Beltran and Correa are not yet hitting as they will. But we’ve gotten great help from other people though.

    We’re 7th in MLB in OPS, 4th in OBP, and 3rd in BA, which Gov correctly notes as an overrated statistic. (Gov, I knew this before Keith Law wasted a whole chapter on it).

    But most importantly, this club is 3rd in baseball at getting guys home from scoring position.

    And even better, we’re first in all of baseball at doing it with two outs. We’re hitting .341 in that situation. That’s a pretty good batting average stat and I don’t care what Keith Law says.

    The 2017 Houston Astros are having very good at bats when it counts. More than any other team. So I’m not inclined to worry about sacrificing and squeezing at this point. We’ve already seen what can happen when we try to steal a base and give up valuable outs in the process.

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  10. As far as the line up goes, like everyone else, I’d rather see Springer and Altuve flip flopped, but I’m certainly not up for playing musical clean up hitter. This club is producing offensively. Let the quiet bats get going. They will. And a couple of other guys will correct downwards too. In the meantime, let’s not overreact.

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  11. They just flashed a graphic that Correa is hitting .394 this year on inside pitches. That’s amazing given how we keep harping on it being his weakness.

    I think we are seeing too many unproductive outs. At the same time, there are times you don’t want Correa giving himself up to, maybe, try to tie an April game. Over the course of the year he’ll come through in those situations enough…that’s what stars do. In October the consideration is different.

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    • Wow Devin – that is about as counter intuitive (or counter my eyes) as I can think of.
      Also it is obvious the team reads this blog as Springer says screw you and leads off with a hit and Correa says screw you also and knocks him in (on an inside pitch no doubt).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Think that *wasnt* my strategy, Dan? As long as I’m criticisizing a guy, you can bet he will come alive that night!

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  12. I know better, but I have to post this. First, on the end of the previous blog, I posted the quote from Hinch that batting average is “a trap.” Now we have a couple notes here that batting average is overrated. Could someone tell me what is the underrated stat(s)? I know BA is only one stat, but just don’t understand why “A” batting 40 ;points in batting average should step aside for B batting “40” points lower. (Example only).

    And on a serious note, does that mean that someone like Eddie Yost, with .254 BA, yet .394 OBP deserve a review by the HofF Veterans committee? He is #56 on all time list.

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    • 45,

      Eddie Yost would never be voted into the Hall today. The best thing he did was take bases on balls. So he had great OBP’s, which is important. But he only led the league in runs once. And 65 was his career high in RBI’s. I think he had an OPS over .800 twice in his career. He stole 72 bases and got thrown out 66 times. I think he was a nice guy too. And the game was much different in those days.

      I don’t know much about advanced stats, so someone else is going to have to come up with one of the underrated ones.

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    • The simple answer is that a guy who goes 5-20 has a .250 average and a guy at 6-20 has a .300 average. That .050 better average came off one more hit out of 20 ABs. Multiply over the season and you are looking at an extra 25-35 hits for the second hitter. If both players walk with the same frequency, then you want hitter B. If hitter A walks more frequently, you may balance the fewer hits by other valuable traits such as baserunning ability or pitches per at bat. In other words, if all you have is average it is an easy comparison, but given more knowledge the lesser average may not hurt as much as it appears on face value.

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      • And what about the guy who has 35 homers while the other has 6? I’d much rather have a .250 hitter with a 950 OPS than a 300 hitter with a 750 OPS.

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      • I am not attempting to argue. We have all seen Belichick say “We are getting our team ready for next week”, no matter what the question may be. So Hinch, or Luhnow or Stearns, or whoever give “stock” or “canned” answers also. So just to look at what happened, the Astros dumped Chris Carter. (And I thought that a good move). He leads the lead in HRs and gets dumped by the Brewers. Just for a comparison ONLY, Carter played for the Astros in 2015. His line was .199/.307/.427/.734 and 151 K’s. Those numbers compared to regular players placed him in 2015 at 9th of 9 in BA, OBP 7th, and OPS 3rd.

        In 2016 his record was .222/.321/.499/.821 with 202 K’s. For the Brewers that makes him 11th in Non Pitchers in BA, 8th +/- in OBP, and 2nd in slugging. Now both GMs are numbers guys. Both let him walk.

        So can we agree that one dimensional players with a low BA will probably not stick on most clubs?

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    • The problem with using batting average as an offensive metric is that it treats every hit equally. Thus, a single has the same effect as a HR, but a HR is a much more valuable hit. This is why people like Keith Law and other sabermetric pundits denounce batting average as a viable statistic. It’s not worthless, but there are more relevant stats like OPS+, wRC+ and wOBA. Fangraphs is a great website to use to help understand these new sabermetric statistics. They provide a library that defines each statistic and how it is calculated.

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  13. No criticism is going to change the fact that if this team were to win 15 out of every 24 games it would finish with over 100 wins.
    Soon Gurriel will slow down some and Correa will heat up. McCann will have a slump and Jose Altuve will be on fire. Reddick will have a slump and George Springer will light it up. Musgrove will win a one run game and Triggs will lose one.
    Every loss has it’s cause and every win has it’s cause.
    As long as we keep up this pace, I don’t care who is causing it.
    We still need a good left handed relief pitcher.

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  14. At this moment, the Astros have the third highest BA in the major leagues.
    At this moment, the Astros have the third lowest ERA in the major leagues.

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  15. As they say, good pitching beats good hitting. When we run into a buzz saw like Triggs having a good outing, and the whole lineup can’t produce, then the next night the bats “come alive” – it’s the same hitters – how could we all be slumping one day, then not the next day?

    I suppose wholesale change isn’t needed until we’re losing altogether. I concede.

    What always seems to get this conversation started is poor showings by the table setter. It’s pretty much a consensus that Springer belongs somewhere else, and then it feels like a free-for-all on the lineup. Fact is, we have the pick-me-ups on this team to weather the storms.

    Can we beat the Nationals???
    Can anybody beat Keuchel?!!

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    • There is a lot of truth there Gov. But if we keep up the low ERA and the high BA and OPS (OPS is more important than BA) as old pro was stating – well we can beat anybody.
      My only absolute right now is get Springer out of the top spot – I think we are really close to having Correa go on a tear. He hit one today that the wind kept in – but he has been getting a bit better every day.

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      • Now that I am on a stats rant. It was interesting that per Blummer both Correa and McCann with the exit velo, and angle, and whatever – both had a 85% chance of being a home run. So maybe we need to keep track of “wind adjusted” stats. (just kidding)

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      • Seems like with Correa, it’s all about his intensity. Some of his strikeouts looking tell me he’s expecting a different pitch. I trust that he and Beltran work closely on this, though.

        On a few positive notes I saw today, Bregman got to a ball down the line and came up firing, similar to Everett and Blummer’s comments about sticking that right leg as soon as he gloves it. Marwin ripped a long ball foul, and everyone expected a K to follow, but he delivered a massive blow from the left side instead thereafter. 5 HR’s as a platooner, pretty solid! Giles came in and made quick work. And now the big question is: how many games can Dallas win this year realistically? 25?!

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  16. We have been feeding out a steer and we take it to the market tomorrow. Looks to be about 1000 lbs. Grow my own beef!
    Have gotten a show calf for one of the kids. He is beautiful!
    Have gotten two show lambs and paid for them dearly. They are going to be nice.
    Bobcat got one of our hens Friday.
    We are now hunting bobcat.
    Spent the last three weeks building a pen for show calf. Must have AC. We aren’t near done yet. Still need to finish water and electricity underground. Also running water to the garden. Tired of dragging hoses around.
    Deer sign everywhere. Looking good for fall hunting.
    Somebody gave a horse to the youngins. Guess that’s next on the list of things to do.
    Listening to Dances with Wolves soundtrack and blogging Astros. Finally, retirement is feeling pretty good. Now, if my old body would cooperate, it would be nice.
    G’night.

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    • You brought back some wonderful memories of my childhood! I grew up on a farm much like you describe. The only thing we didn’t have was a horse! Grew our own meat….I grew up on TBONE steaks! My father was transfered to the Goodyear plant in Beaumont when I was 13, and there is where I became “a city girl”!! Started flying for Delta in 1969…..and just like you I love being retired, and blogging on this FABULOUS Astros blog! Went to the Casino today….the cards were not kind, but my telephone let me know when the game was over! I had a BIG smile on my face when I checked on the Angels game…ahhh…..life is indeed good!!⚾

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  17. I’m a happy girl…I get to watch my guys for 4 games this week!! As long as I can mute the announcers on FSN1 I’ll be ok!! Time to stand tall fellas!!!

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  18. Astros slugger, Jake Marisnick, is to be activated for tonight’s game and has returned to Houston. Tony Kemp will be optioned back to Fresno.

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  19. The Astros start the day with the sixth best ERA for starting pitchers in the majors.
    The Astros start the day with the sixth best ERA for relief pitchers in the majors.

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  20. It was good to see CC break out of his ‘RISP slump’ a little yesterday by finally notching his 8th RBI. I sure hope the Captain makes up for lost time in that regard over the next 7 games! #getreadyforaCorreanDeclarationofWar

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  21. Who is hot – and who is not – for the Rangers?

    They only have one guy batting over .300, and that is their backup catcher, Robinson Chirinos. He only has 25 ABs, so he technically doesn’t qualify for the team lead.

    Their highest slashing regulars are Choo [.274/.391/.829] and Andrus [.274/.303/.745].

    DeShields has an OBP of .378 [BA .258], and Gomez has one of .333 [BA .245].

    Joey Gallo [.213/.330/.880] leads them in both runs with 16 and HRs with 7. He also has 4 2Bs, a 3B, and 16 RBIs. But he has also struck out 32 times in 92 PAs.

    Mazara [.229/.282/.667] leads them in RBIs with 18.

    Odor has been relatively cold [.196/.243/.614], but he has 13 RBIs [3rd on club];
    [talk about making your hits count!]

    Lucroy hasn’t been tearing it up either [.204/.242/.528 with 1 HR and only 4 RBI], but you know he’s better than that.

    Napoli has been quiet so far [.146/.224/.505 with 3 HR and 9 RBI].

    Rua hasn’t been effective for them either [.175/.214/.429, 1 HR, 4 RBI].

    The secret to keep their offense in check:

    1. Keep DeShields, Choo, Gomez, Andrus, and Odor off base];
    2. Keep Gallo and Mazara in the park;
    3. Keep Lucroy and Napoli swinging at air.

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  22. One thing that to remember about 2016 was that at the end of April the starting catcher was Castro and the backup was ……Erik Kratz – who had started 6 games in April and was rolling along with a .053/.100/.153 slash line.

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  23. Man I miss Kratz and Conger, Herman Munster doing the Zombie dance with the Cong, and Castro striking out and yelling at ump about strike 3.. NOT

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  24. On another note, did you know that the Fresno Grizzlies’ offense is averaging 5.5 runs per game – and that the team is still just 10-14? The pitching there is really, really bad. And who is the Griz sending to the hill against the Reno Aces tonight? NOT A PROSPECT. It is 26 y/o Edison Frias, who is sporting a 5.59 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. He has walked 13 and struck out the exact same number – and given up 21 hits – in 19.1 innings.

    No, Virginia, I do not recommend staying up late to follow the play-by-play on that one.

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  25. Oh, man,… Kalas out for a week re: the death of his mother. Come to think of it, he seemed a little down last telecast. He’s doing a great job and condolences.
    Separately, Bill Brown fills in, and I’m ecstatic! Really miss the master of ceremonies. As we begin to exercise the Rangers’ demons, Lance in a white uniform.

    GAME ON!!

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    • How sad…..I know the feeling😢 I’m listening to our radio guys, and I have an ear plug in my other ear, so I don’t have to hear the other teams guys!! I’m soo spoiled!

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  26. Why am I not surprised that their *JERK* manager would lead his idiots on the field?? McCullers didn’t indent to hit Napoli, at least I didn’t think so. This other team are SCUM BAGS…….AND SO IS THEIR JERK FACE MANAGER. Better be real glad you’re not sitting in my living room right now….spit, spit, spit. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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  27. Throwing behind a guy serves no good purpose, even if two of your guys have been hit earlier. We’re losing to the Rangers again. It’s time now for our guys to take control of this one sided rivalry and quit being embarrassed.

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    • How is it that you are that good, Dave? Every time you write about coming back, we do.. that’s really uncanny.

      On throwing at Napoli, I have to disagree on two fronts. First is, we’re talking about an already amped up LMJ. [Stanton is actually trying to say he thinks Lance was throwing inside?! Get real. And Correa in the post game saying “a pitch got away from him”]. These are pros who can control within inches.

      Also, given that it was intentional, he sends it as a message that you don’t just hit our batters. McCullers would’ve been shamed in the clubhouse for not “policing” and evening out things. The second, we needed to get the team and crowd into the game … and it worked!

      I will agree that if it continues into the season, it’s going to come to fisticuffs. In that way, unnecessary. The propensity is always going to be there though anyway bc of Showboat Gomez.

      Ok, there’s the man to stand up and shoot straight, Hinch said in post game “baseball takes care of itself,” after being asked if he condones the pitch. “I don’t condone Yuli and Altuve getting hit.”

      Just think about the losses our team has had over the years with Bagwell and Springer broken hands. You better nip that in the bud pronto is my take!!

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      • I think LMJ threw that pitch intentionally and I’m perfectly fine with it. It wasn’t thrown at his head, it sent a message that you’re not going to hit our guys and without retribution and it may have lit a spark under this team. I also loved Hinch’s reply in the post game interview saying he surely didn’t like Altuve and Yuli getting hit. Hinch seems to have developed a tougher demeanor and I love it. It’s time to start bullying the bullies and this game was a first step in the right direction.

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  28. Astros win 6-2, in a game where the Astros had twice as many hits as strikeouts and the Rangers had twice as many strikeouts as hits.
    Correa with the big RBIs tonight.
    LMJ was not trying to hit Napoli. He was trying to throw behind him to send a message. I firmly believe that.
    Astros by 3.5 over Angels, 5.5 over the A’s and by 6.0 over the M’s and the Rangers.
    Rockets with a large lead in the fourth quarter.

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    • I agree he wasn’t trying to hit Napoli, but to send a message.

      Otherwise, Lance wouldn’t have been defiant and would’ve acted sorry.

      Napoli “taking exception” as Hinch said, is a little bit disengenuous. Of course he’s going to be upset. Every player on the Rangers is fair game when “coincidentally” they hit our two hottest players.

      I agre with Becky, they are scum bags for playing that cheap! And they deserve what revenge we’re bringing this year.

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  29. If you were wondering who got Gomez all crazy…….it was McHugh taunting him from the dugout!! LOL!! I had to laugh when I saw McHugh standing on the steps yelling at him!! Good on ya McHugh! AND…..I was not dissapointed, when Gomez tried to screw himself in the dirt at home plate! *PRICELESS*!!

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    • I didn’t see that, Becky – Ha!

      It makes sense that McHugh has incentive also, seeing as how Gomez gave his Astros pitchers so little run support last year. And knowing Gomez plays the game like a child in a man’s body.

      The best line by Hinch was answering the Rangers’ twitter comments by saying we don’t give a [expletive]”

      Is that the demeanor you wrote about, Tim? Maybe our Manager is coming of age, too!

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      • It’s exactly what I’m talking about regarding A.J. Last year it seemed he was so concerned with not offending or insulting the Rangers. It was like he was afraid of them. I like the tougher talk and stance A.J. is taking. It’s his way of saying that the Astros are not going to be pushed around any more and I love it.

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  30. Tonight we have to take care of business against Cole Hamels. Since we are offering up Mike Fiers, we are probably going to need a bunch of hits and a bunch of runs to keep up. I presume Hinch will start RH hitting Jake Marisnick in place of Nori Aoki [big drop off in offense there], and that he will slot Gattis will catch [nowhere near the sparkplug McCann is]. Considering how bad our DH has been, Gonzo may get the call there. Carlos Beltran just cannot seem to break out of his funk.

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  31. Just a few thoughts about the dust-ups last night – particularly at MMP and at Fenway. Stuff is always going to happen on the field. Words will be exchanged. Nonverbal messages will be sent. Baseball is intense and is driven by momentum – which involves emotion. But on the field is where it needs to stay. Cameras, microphones, and social media make it look/seem like more than it is – and they tend to get people involved who do not have invested in the game anything close to what the players do. Their lives and livelihoods are at stake; let them handle it.

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    • As of last night, I would say that the de facto captain of this team is Brian McCann. Watch him during the altercation. What a leader. What a hoss!

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      • Completely agree on McCann!
        Did you also see that he had a “pleasant looking exchange” initially at Gomez’ first AB?

        On the tussle, I saw a bunch of leaders on our team, in order:

        1. Lance, for not backing down and coming right after Napoli!

        2. Springer for running in and holding him back with cooler heads (and Reddick).

        3. Beltran, when it was all starting to dissipate, he was the guy standing between all of them telling old teammates they were wrong (he hit his own forearm with some sort of gesture). [Also, did anyone else see the article yesterday about how Carlos Beltran has encouraged by long texts, and worked in off-season with Yonder Alonzo, A’s 1B? True to his academy, he tries to help anybody’s career.]. That’s a real leader.

        But, I’m going on a limb to say Brian McCann (dollar-wise) is the most valuable player on this team this year so far. He’s that much better than Castro as a driving force, big bat and calming effect on every pitcher – commanding their respect.

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  32. Couple comments. Astros lead the league in HBP 15. One star lost time and a second star got drilled by A’s dead center in the back. LMJ was sending more than a message. He was saying I can throw 97 and might have control issues. DK can’t do it. Now if Giles comes in tonight and throws one 100 mph 3 ft behind someone- that is a message from Hinch to the league. And Giles can have control issues. Old times rules were you can pitch inside IF you have control- otherwise stay outside.

    If you hit Trout or Harper, it better be 78 mph change up. I don’t want anyone hurt, but you have to protect your players if the umpires don’t issue a warning on 2nd HBP.

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  33. Their pitcher hit two of our players. Our pitcher didn’t hit anyone, but sent a message.
    They said Lance threw behind Napoli’s head. Apparently they don’t know their heads from their tails, because that ball wasn’t behind Napoli’s head.
    My favorite part of it was the Astros scoring five in the seventh to put the game in our favor.
    I would like to see Fiers pitch his very best tonight.

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  34. Let me add a little on what I see with the Astros hitters (and of course a poke at Tim). For past few years we have watched guys especially in the late innings try to hit three run HRs with no one on base or with 2 on base. The philosophy is “knock it out of the park.”

    ( And here is my cheap shot – there are times a single is equal to a HR IF you win the game). So we as fans say “he has a 1 in 4 chance to win the game with a single. Or we say a Sac fly or bunt scores the run at 1 in 2 chances. Or we say “Why a home run with only a 1 in 18 chance of winning?” But that was and still is the team batting philosophy.

    A couple years ago, Bagwell did some color in the booth. He would say “situational hitting ” then explain (as an example) “now with runner on 2nd and no one out, his job s to go to right to at least advance the runner.” Then you could see the batter was trying to hit everything over the left field wall and a Baggie would add “it is easier said than done.”

    I just see that as team hitting philosophy. Couple games ago, Altuve leads off 9th with a single. He knows there will be no sacrifice so he gets thrown out trying to steal 2nd.

    So we have to understand and maybe not like, statistically they believe this gives the team the best chance to win. And so far, it appears to be working.

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      • In the interest of fairness, I guess I should acknowledge that last night’s victory was not wrought with opposite field hitting, either.

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    • I mostly agree with you, but still am not on board with the safety squeeze idea. You play those at bats according to how the defense is positioned. Correa needs to know that he is young and has the physical tools to beat them with power or speed, though. If the third baseman isn’t playing in you should absolutely consider bunting for a hit down the line (and to score the run). If he’s playing tight, you should absolutely swing away.

      As for Altuve, I know he led the league in steals a couple times, but he really isn’t fast enough to take a bag at will. It’s a simple numbers game. Luhnow should have the data – if a pitcher is not slower than some number to home, Altuve is only going to steal a bag on a bad pitch or throw by the catcher. This is the same thing with Springer and Marisnick. Getting thrown out with no outs in that situation was terrible, but I’m not surprised given this is the first year there has been any veteran leadership on the team.

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  35. At this moment, the Astros have the second highest team BA in the major leagues, .271.
    At this moment, the Astros have the second lowest team ERA in the major leagues, 3.33.

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    • Last time he pretty much did his part. We lost that game, of course – but that was mostly on the [lack of] offense, not on him. I vote for bringing ‘no hit Mike’ back again – at least for this one game.

      Liked by 3 people

  36. Reading box scores, the Grizzlies survived Frias’ 4 innings, 7 runs. Guduan and Jankowsi gave up nothing the rest of the way.

    Big night at plate for Preston Tucker, Aplin, Reed, White and Fish. Centeno is 14 for 46 with an .857 OPS.

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