CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

And now a few words on A.J. Hinch


There is this old saying that I think I invented, that goes something like this. The only people who don’t make mistakes are those people who don’t do anything. So, when it comes to managers and managing, they have many chances to make mistakes through both their actions and inactions.

In general, if you get beyond the actual won-loss record and get into game management, the managers most affect the game in the following ways. The lineup, the decisions on when to take out and when to leave in pitchers and their bullpen and bench management in longer games.

Ironically, when it comes to most managers and A.J. Hinch is no exception, the most criticism comes to them on lineup choices and handling of pitchers. Once in a while there is criticism on bullpen and bench management in longer games, but the first two get the most focus.

Lineup

Let’s be frank, before this season, most problems with the Astro lineups under Hinch were venting. He was making the best lemonade he could out of lemon scented Pledge. When you have four above average hitters and five black holes of Calcutta, the order is just not that critical. There is more grounds for criticism this season with a lineup that features solid to great hitters in all spots in the lineup.

I’ve led the complaints about George Springer leading off in place of Jose Altuve. It seems wrong statistically with Altuve being an on base machine. But perhaps this is more about getting the heart and soul of the team up first, something that has to do with the emotions of the team and not the facts on a computer. In general this has not had much affect as once the game gets in a few innings it is all about flipping the lineup anyway and getting hits, walks and scores from anywhere in the lineup. They have been very effective so far this season.

There were complaints by some about Marwin Gonzalez getting too many ABs, especially when he was slumping. MarGo has slapped those complaints down by being one of the best hitters on the team in 2017.

Pitching decisions

There have been quite a bit of complaints about Hinch’s decisions when they don’t turn out just right, such as the decision to start Dallas Keuchel in the 9th the other day as he loaded the bases and Ken Giles could not put out the fire until four runs had scored. Perhaps the bigger problem here was not having someone warming up as Keuchel had been quite effective and was around 90 pitches heading into the 9th. Hinch’s modus operandi this season has been similar to the best manager in Astro’s history, Larry Dierker, who left pitchers in games longer so that they could learn to work through troubles and adjust.
This decision backfired on Hinch this time, but other decisions to stick with Charlie Morton and Joseph Musgrove after early inning melt downs resulted in those pitchers pulling it together for a decent amount of innings and avoided dipping into the bullpen in the 1st or 2nd inning.

Something to remember is this. Hinch’s 53.5% winning percentage to date is the second best (behind Dierker) in the history of the team. His team over-achieved in 2015. They did not panic despite a terrible start in 2016 and still had a winning record despite losing their two best starting pitchers down the stretch. In 2017, they stand 21-11 under Hinch, the fourth best record in the majors. His calm demeanor has meshed well with his combination of cool veterans and younger players and they lead the majors in come from behind wins.

He is not perfect. He makes mistakes. He bleeds when you cut him.

A few questions:

  • Is Hinch a good manager for this team?
  • Where can he improve? Where is he already good?
  • If not Hinch – who? Of candidates who would have come here – who would have been a better manger?

 

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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.

98 comments on “And now a few words on A.J. Hinch

  1. Mr. Bill
    May 8, 2017

    The fact that they are 21-10 on the 8th of May sort of sticks out. I don’t know if A.J. Hinch can be credited for that, but it is hard to blame him for it either. I do still have questions about his use of pitchers, Marisnick and Springer, but I am a firm believer that you don’t mess with what’s winning for you.

    The Yankee series looms huge – as it will show us if we are really as good as our record indicates or just good enough to beat up on mediocre and struggling teams. So far the only series we have played against a really good series was against Cleveland, and we lost that series 2 games to 1 (albeit without Springer and Altuve in the two losses).

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      May 8, 2017

      ‘really good series’ should of course read ‘really good team’

      Like

  2. Tim
    May 8, 2017

    If there is one thing I have learned from being a baseball fan since I was 8 years old is that the manager gets blamed for losses much more than he gets credited for wins. You notice the moves, or lack thereof, when they lose, but the changes made in wins don’t get recognized. For me the most important job of the manager is managing 25 egos in the dugout and trying to make everyone be on the same page. Some players are going to be unhappy if they are not in the lineup on a particular day or a pitcher may be disappointed if he feels he is getting taken out too soon, but as long as the manager communicates the reason he is doing what he is doing I think he will get buy in from the players. One thing can’t be disputed, which Mr. Bill addressed above, is the team is 21-11 and has a 5.5 game lead on the 2nd place team in the division. I like A.J. Hinch and I think he’s the right manager for this team. I don’t even recall who the other managerial candidates were at the time, and I remember being originally disappointed when they announced Hinch got the job, but I am not disappointed any longer.

    Like

    • Devin
      May 8, 2017

      Tim, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m in full agreement. As to the other candidates, I don’t recall if there were many that go-round. I think Ausmus turned them down at one point…and the TCB cuckoos were calling for Biggio to be promoted from HS coach to MLB manager…but I thought Hinch was under the
      radar and a pretty quick hire once the process started. My only real complaint is we don’t see much reduction in bad base running and boneheaded plays in the field under him.

      Like

  3. daveb7
    May 8, 2017

    As I noted to Zanadu earlier this morning, we’ll have plenty to complain about when the club has its inevitable first slump of the season. I’ll wait.

    Dave Hudgens is a great example. Right now, we don’t need to fire him.

    Like

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      Did we ever really need to fire him or was it more just fans being impatient and frustrated by players performing like they normally perform? We have definitely seen some improvements by Gattis and Marwin.

      Like

  4. daveb7
    May 8, 2017

    My own take is that when major leaguers don’t hit, the hitting coach gets more blame than he should.

    Like

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      That’s a take I am 100% in agreement with.

      Like

  5. 1oldpro
    May 8, 2017

    He’s done well.

    Like

  6. Dan P
    May 8, 2017

    I have been a Hudgens critic because I kept seeing no changes/adjustments in players approaches at the plate.
    I will say that this year (and no this is not related to the new pros brought in) – I have seen real changes in the ways that both Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis approach their at bats – much better plate discipline – more working of the counts – less strikeouts – so I will give him credit there.

    Like

    • sandy
      May 8, 2017

      I’m more willing to give that credit to Beltran. You know these guys are asking his advice.

      Like

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      The improvement in Gattis started last year. Note the increase in his BB% from 2015 to 2016. Marwin has started this year, but it’s such a short sample size that I want to wait it out before I determine if this is for real or an anomaly.

      Like

  7. Gov
    May 8, 2017

    Where can Hinch improve?

    Isn’t it interesting that Bannister out managed Hinch last year – several bloggers noticed things then.

    Aside from the Rangers being a shell of the team they had … ‘Gone are some of the problems in our lineup, pen and rotation; and, In! are the big arms and boppers.

    Yes, sir! One becomes a veritable genius once he has options. We could go right down the line with the maturation of Ken Giles, or the serviceability of Tony Sipp. Hitters becoming locked-in, instilling a never-say-die ethic, not being satisfied with anything less than the trophy.

    Hinch can improve as much as Jeff lets him, basically. He can improve as the players improve, and as long as they’re doing what they’re being asked to perform.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      Sipp sure has regressed under Brent Strom. Maybe it is time to fire him (so much sarcasm in this comment I just made).

      Like

  8. sandy
    May 8, 2017

    The most important thing is the players enjoy playing for Hinch as opposed to Porter for example. That goes a long way.
    The olny thing I find fault with, as Dan pointed out, is base running and swinging for the fences at every at bat.

    Like

  9. Dan P
    May 8, 2017

    And this takes us around to the question about the basic worth of a manager. If Tony La Russa was the manager instead of Hinch – would they have more than 21 wins? If Bo Porter suddenly was thrust in this spot (going “Wow is this what it means to manage a real major league team”) would he have a lot less than 21 wins?
    How much is luck, talented players etc?
    I do like that Hinch does not spend a bunch of time throwing players under the bus like Porter did. I think the players respond to that better.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 1oldpro
    May 8, 2017

    Astros career vs Colon: http://www.espn.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/3602/bartolo-colon
    Braves career vs Morton: http://www.espn.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/29155/charlie-morton
    Morton has a lot of motivation for Tuesday. It is a chance to show the pitcher he has become.

    Like

  11. Gov
    May 8, 2017

    Off subject
    Derek Fisher, OF (AAA)
    This Week: 6 G, .433 BA (13-for-30), 4 2B, HR, 5 RBI

    2017 Season Stats: 16 G, .328 BA/.941 OPS, 9 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 3 SB

    Not much else to prove in 16 games admittedly, but I sure would like his bat & base stealing in late innings for the next call up.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      May 8, 2017

      Things to like are his BB% which is up slightly from last season in AAA.
      Things to not like are his K rate which is up slightly from last season in AAA.
      Thing to be very wary of is his .402 BABIP. Way, way higher than last year.
      Thing I like best are his numbers against LH pitching so far this season.
      At 23, I think Fisher is getting closer but needs more work in AAA.
      The way the Astros are currently getting beat by LH starters, I think they are going to have to turn that around for Fisher to be a factor this year. When Teoscar comes off the DL and gets optioned out, he still remains the first outfielder in line, because of his RH bat.
      Fisher is not on the 40-man roster either, so that is a factor. He will have to be added after the season ends, if I’m not mistaken.

      Like

    • Devin
      May 8, 2017

      He’s proving me wrong – I wasn’t enthused by his selection with that comp pick. As for his BABIP, I don’t worry about it being unsustainable. He often hits the ball hard, but also has the wheels to turn routine grounders into close plays at 1B and tough plays into singles.

      Like

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      I agree with OP. While I am very pleased with what Fisher is doing in Fresno this year that BABIP and K rate indicate he still needs some more seasoning (or has been unbelievably lucky in the case of BABIP).

      Like

  12. astrocolt45
    May 8, 2017

    On Hinch, I most of the negative on his hire was what happened in Arizona.

    He has done a good job so far. I do have to scream “BS” on some of his post game comments. But if I had to listen to those stupid questions then he does better than I would do

    Liked by 1 person

  13. pencil01
    May 8, 2017

    I think Hitch is a good manager for this team and hope the dynamic duo of Hinch and Luhnow are in Houston for years to come. One of my favs is the story of him and Bregman last year.

    I believe he’ll go to the extreme in his attempts to show confidence in his players. I sometimes wonder how much is degree in psychology affects his management decisions.

    Keuchel at 93 pitches wants to go out for the ninth. How is that decision communicated? Alright, Dallas I’ve got your back. See, no one is up in the bullpen, go finish this and earn it!

    Ok Dallas, but I’ll be ready to pull you, once one batter gets on. I will be getting the bullpen ready, so don’t make a mistake.

    How much does showing confidence in your players help this team down the road.

    Like

    • pencil01
      May 8, 2017

      Hinch

      Like

    • Tim
      May 8, 2017

      Pencil, you’re a genius. Also, you and I think alike so what does that make me? 🙂

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        May 8, 2017

        When you two get through “hugging it out” please get back to some decent comments.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Devin
      May 8, 2017

      I didn’t weigh in on Friday, but believe Hinch probably told Keuchel he looked good and to go out and get them. Most managers will get their bullpen up and yank the starter if the tying run comes to the plate. The only question would be whether Kenny G could get into the proper mindset in the situation. He’s supposed to be our closer, so getting a look at how he handles these games now is worthwhile if we have October aspirations. There weren’t a lot of well struck balls by the Angels that inning, and no walks.

      Like

  14. 1oldpro
    May 8, 2017

    Kevin Chapman has been traded from the Braves to the Twins.

    Like

  15. 1oldpro
    May 8, 2017

    The 13-20 San Diego Padres beat the 13-20 Texas Rangers tonight, 5-1.

    Like

  16. 1oldpro
    May 9, 2017

    And Oakland beats the Angels, so this is how things look in the AL West:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/index.jsp

    Like

    • Dan P
      May 9, 2017

      And I like being 7 games up in the loss column over the division and 9 games in the loss column over the Rangers.

      Like

  17. Becky⚾
    May 9, 2017

    OP…… You made my day! Those standings just made me grin from ear to ear!
    Astros being 81/2 games ahead of the arlington little league is the BEST feeling ever!
    I can’t gloat too much in my family, because my sister and her family are BIG fans of that other team! It *killed* my soul last year when we were that many games behind them, and losing soo many games by one run. So I gotta tip-toe around conversations about baseball!
    The guys on this team like and respect A.J. Hinch…..until that changes he stays!

    Like

    • Tim
      May 9, 2017

      I’m curious Becky, was your family cordial to you the past 2 years when the Rangers were beating up on the Astros? I would hope so since you are taking the high road this year.

      Like

      • sandy
        May 9, 2017

        Tim I’m in the same boat as Becky. All my extended family live in northeast Texas and are devoted Ranger fans.

        They had no mercy on me last year. This year none of them want to talk baseball.
        That’s OK though. The standings tell the story and I’m the one smiling.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Tim
    May 9, 2017

    The Astros now have an 83% chance of making the playoffs. I never like to get to giddy about my team, but who will challenge us in this division for the next 3-4 years. The best bet would be Oakland, but considering every other team in the AL West has a farm system rated in the bottom half of baseball I like the position the Astros are in for the foreseeable future.

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2017-mlb-predictions/astros/

    Like

    • Tim
      May 9, 2017

      that should read ‘too giddy’ and there should be a ‘?’ after ‘years’. Ugh!

      Like

    • astrocolt45
      May 9, 2017

      I would imagine the 17% comes from the lack of injuries to key Astros starters. Other than McHugh, we have had no major health issues to date.

      I complain about our starters and bullpen, but others teams are missing several bullets. As long as we stay healthy, we should stay ahead of them.

      Like

      • Gov
        May 9, 2017

        Can’t emphasize injury enough around the league, yes! But also look at our backups.

        Joey Gallo being thrust into their lineup at 3B, he’s had ups and downs, much like Reed would … If we suffer key injury, however we have five guys watchin’ like hawks, ready to swoop up, carrion some of that precious playing time. 17% is also the long, arduous season. It has in store for us adversity. How will we handle much tougher pitching?

        We have 6 guys that never knew anything about an Astros curse, didn’t bring a lot of baggage; the other core members can still taste those last, bitter 6 outs in KC, and only have championship on their minds! It’s a happy marriage to date.

        Like

  19. astrocolt45
    May 9, 2017

    Here is the DL for each team:

    Astros: Teoscar Hernandez, Gustave, McHugh, Paulino

    Angels: Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Heaney, Mike Morin, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Huston Street, Nick Tropeano, CJ Cron,

    Rangers: Diekman, Chi Chi Gonzales, Cole Hamels, Leclerc, Tyson Ross, Beltre, Hanser Alberto,

    A’s: John Axford, Chris Bassitt, Doolittle, Manaea, Mengden, Phegley, Semien, Smolinski,

    Mariners: Cisek, King Felix, Paxton, Evan Marshall, Smyly, Shea Simmons, Evan Scribner, Shawn O’Malley, Mitch Haniger

    So it is obvious that Hinch is a good manager because he does not let anyone get injured.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Devin
      May 9, 2017

      With 80% of the season remaining and how close those Angels games ended up, I’d be a bit concerned about them. Note, I’m not researching when any of those players are slated to return from the DL, but it’s a dangerous team nonetheless. Also, Boston is going to play better making the WC a tighter race. As long as Houston keeps playing .650 ball there is no way they miss the playoffs though.

      Like

  20. Becky⚾
    May 9, 2017

    Tim….my Dallas/Ft. Worth family didn’t feel one bit sorry for our team, saying any team who had as many first round draft picks SHOULD be better than they were.
    My brother in-law pitched for A&M so he thinks he’s the “fielding Bible” when it comes to baseball….so I stayed quiet when I was visiting my sister. When we lost 111 games, I wanted to take a baseball bat to his head…..but the last time I checked murder is still illegal! Watched the last 4 innings of their game last night, and smiled when it was over!!
    There’s a great article in the Houston paper today about Correa’s little brother, who plays 2nd base for Alvin Jr. College! His name is J.C. Correa, and his family calls him “Babe”. He’s not as tall as Carlos, stands 5’11 at 18yrs old. He might grow more but I doubt it, the coaches want him to bulk up more. Cool article, you should read it!
    Bartolo Colon is still a very good pitcher…..don’t go to sleep at the plate tonight fellas!

    Like

  21. Becky⚾
    May 9, 2017

    Correction: The Correa family call J.C. “Yankkee” not Babe!

    Like

  22. roadthriller
    May 9, 2017

    I think Hinch has done a good job. He’s shown a deft hand with pinch hitters/substitutions during his entire tenure. Pitching moves, maybe not so much, but he’s had his share of successes. One thing I thought we would get with Luhnow was a template of the “Cardinals Way”, emphasizing fundamentals throughout the organization: bunting, situational hitting, intelligent baserunning. Can’t really see any results of that type of approach.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      May 9, 2017

      Maybe Luhnow is with the Astros because he wanted the opportunity to try things the “Luhnow Way” rather than the “Cardinals Way”. After all, he was not the Cardinals GM, so he was not able to do his thing there.
      I’m pretty sure when he showed that plan to Crane, it was his plan and his vision and it was different. A lot different.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. daveb7
    May 9, 2017

    When I’ve had nothing better to do, I’ve been muddling through the first few chapters of the Keith Law book on statistics and which are the essential (and not so essential ) for how the game might be played and how players should be valued today.

    RBI’s, BA, pitcher wins and losses, all way overrated stats, but I think most of us feel the same way, so reading a chapter on each sure sends the Law bible (not your Law bible Mr. Bill) off at a snails pace. And too many pages on that most foolish of all stats, the SAVE! I didn’t realize a Chicago sportswriter, to much acclaim, invented that stat 50 plus years ago now.

    But I did wake up a bit as the discussion turned to the stolen base. I’ve always hated seeing guys get thrown out on the bases. Outs are so darn valuable. Most of us remember a couple of weeks ago on the road when Altuve led off the 9th with a single and then promptly got erased trying to steal second. The stat geeks assure that when a leadoff guy reaches first base, the odds are significantly better if the runner makes no steal attempt, but rather relies on other occurrences to help him score. The odds further improve when better bats are coming up. Now Altuve is a pretty good base stealer. The Law book says that unless successful at least 75% of the time, base stealing is pretty much a waste of time. Our friend JFSF, one of our favorite base runners, does not meet that threshold. But Altuve does. Even so, he should not have been running that afternoon.

    So that might be my only significant gripe with Hinch right now. I think he gives his runners too much freedom. Now some will argue that he’s a players manager and he lets his guys play the game, but I think he has enough good bats in his line up that a stolen base is not so important to this club any longer.

    Ironically, dating back to 1920 when this particular stat was first kept, based on a minimum of 300 steal attempts, a Houston Astro leads the major leagues in all time stolen base success rate at 86 plus percent.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      May 9, 2017

      Dave, I am sorry to hear about your run of bad fortune. I personally cannot imagine any worse day, outside of one spent in a hospital, prison, or ISIS camp, than one spent reading Keith Law’s – or anyone else’s – book on statistics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill
        May 9, 2017

        Dave, I almost said I would rather watch Mike Fiers give up three home runs per start the rest of the year than read Keith Law’s book. Then I thought about how selfish that would be on my part. If those were the two choices, I guess I would just have to gut it up and take one for the team.

        So, since Mr. Fiers does not seem to be getting any better at all at deflecting dingers, I guess I’ll go ahead and inquire: which chapter would you recommend as a starting place?

        Like

    • Tim
      May 9, 2017

      What does Law say about hit and running? As we have all seen this Astros team has a penchant for hitting into double plays. I would like to see us do a bit more hit and running with high contact, but slow runners at the plate like McCann or Aoki.

      Like

      • daveb7
        May 9, 2017

        Tim, like I said, when I’ve got nothing better to do, I muddle a bit. I’ll probably get to the hit and run sometime late in the summer and will certainly share with you any new wisdom. But in the meantime, we’ve got much better contact guys in the line up these days. So I’m ok with the hit and run especially with guys like Bregman (6) and Aoki (7) who are very good at grounding into double plays!. Let’s change that! But then we’ve got Altuve who is tied with Aoki for the club lead. I think his problem is that he hits the ball sharply right at guys. Hopefully team GIDP will correct on its own somewhat as the season matures.

        No guess on the Astro with the all time base stealing %?

        Like

    • Devin
      May 9, 2017

      I was watching Milwaukee and Cincinnati the other weekend and Jonathon Villar stole 2B easily off of Scott Feldman. Feldman tried his best to pick Villar off. With each subsequent attempt, Villar extended his lead more and more. Many guys do this when they’re taking a one way lead and trying to draw more attention, but in this case it was Villar basically taking every extra inch knowing the best move Feldman could produce couldn’t get him. The pitch was a good one to throw on, but he catcher didn’t really have a chance. We don’t really have a guy on the team with that ability. It would be nice to see someone from our MILB system develop who has it.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        May 9, 2017

        Jonathan Villar currently has an accumulated WAR of -0.6. So, if you saw him do something good, you tuned in at the exact highlight of his season.

        Like

      • daveb7
        May 9, 2017

        Devin, he stole almost 71% of his bases last year. Keith Law says that’s not good enough.

        Like

      • daveb7
        May 9, 2017

        Yes OP, was his coming out season last year it?

        Like

      • Devin
        May 9, 2017

        Keith Law is correct. 71% is not good enough. When you add his 18 CS in 2016 (led the league) to his 174 Ks, Villar sure added a lot of negative value … but somehow finished with a 4.0 WAR.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      May 9, 2017

      Carlos Beltran

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Becky⚾
    May 9, 2017

    No Marwin in the lineup…..probably still nursing a sore foot and look for some homeruns, the roof will be open.

    Like

  25. 1oldpro
    May 9, 2017

    Beltran has 312 steals in 361 attempts.

    Like

    • daveb7
      May 9, 2017

      At the age of 24, he went 31 and 1. In his earlier stint with the Astros, he was 28 and 0. I had forgotten that.

      Like

  26. astrocolt45
    May 9, 2017

    DaveB7, this is not directed at you, but I am an apologist for Altuve. Also, I thought Neville Chamberlain a great foreign deal maker, but I digress.

    Concerning the game the other day with Altuve on 1st and no outs. (It was determined vehemently yesterday that we can not base our opinions on outcome based events).

    Before the inning started, the best chance to tie the game was for Altuve to get on base. When that happened the best chance was for him to steal a base. That did not happen. (Altuve has a 77% chance to steal a base based on his records. The Astros have about a 1 in 4 chance to get a hit and a 1 in 16 chance to get back to back hits. The Astros never bunt to advance the runner. (Statistics was my D course, so I may be off a little on my assumptions).) Hinch and Altuve were playing the odds, and my only argument would be, if you have a bunter at all on your team, then give Altuve the Stop Sign, and let him advance on a bunt. Then it takes only a single base hit from one of the next two batters.

    Like

    • daveb7
      May 9, 2017

      45, you’ve got to go on Amazon and take a look at the Law book, if only to get an alternative opinion on stolen bases in the 21st century. But Law might be full of it too. I’d love to hear an alternative take on his numbers. In the meantime, I’ll go back and take another look at Chamberlain. To this day, I kind of feel that he was sleeping, or at least napping on the job. But let’s go back to the no politics protocol, even if it is historical.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        May 10, 2017

        Done, to be delivered by end of next week. I could have ordered the Kindle version but I am not dumb enough to ask to borrow my wife’s kindle for next couple weeks.

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        May 10, 2017

        I will save you some time. Chamberlain was the Brit that “negotiated” the Munich agreement with Hitler for non-aggression. Better known as “appeasement.”

        Like

      • daveb7
        May 10, 2017

        I know, I know. But the “Appeasement” deal didn’t work out too well ultimately, did it?

        Like

    • Tim
      May 10, 2017

      I can assure you if Law doesn’t advocate the stolen base he will definitely denounce bunting as a means of a sacrifice. Most advanced analysts despise giving up an out via the bunt to move a runner. #stopbunting.

      Like

      • Devin
        May 10, 2017

        Rob Neyer (but perhaps taken from Bill James) was the first to start writing about stolen base efficiency. You only get three outs per inning and 27 per game, so it’s easy to see why most number crunchers dislike the bunt. Under Brad Mills it infuriated me when they would bunt. Whether or not a bunt makes sense requires thining about a number of factors, though. Who is the hitter? Can they bunt reliably? Who is the baserunner? How many outs are there. Do you have a lead or trail? Is Dallas Keuchel pitching, or is it someone that can’t field his position? Who are the corner infielders? Another factor is that meaningful, sac bunts most often come against relievers (later innings). The trend has been towards flamethrowers or guys with hard, late breaking sliders. Those are the toughest pitches to bunt. It’s also tough to bunt against a guy who doesn’t know where the ball is going.

        My personal opinion is that so few guys can really bunt that you aren’t as likely to make a productive out doing it (as you should). There is strategy involved that we could discuss for hours, but as a general rule, #stopbunting will probably win more regular season games than #getitdown.

        Like

      • daveb7
        May 10, 2017

        Without a doubt, most guys in this day and age never learned how to bunt. Or else when they were kids, they were all good hitters and their coaches, from Little League on, did not want to waste their at bats by having them bunt. I think Gregg Popovich, if a baseball coach, would have made sure all of his guys could get one down.

        Ironically the bunt can play a real role today at beating a shift. If I’m a lefty bat frustrated by having three guys on the right side of the infield, I should know how to drop one down third, even if I’m slow.

        Like

  27. Mr. Bill
    May 9, 2017

    I suspect that until the arbitrators who decide how much arbitration-eligible players are going to make stop putting huge dollar values on things like BA, RBI, wins, stolen bases, saves, etc. players will keep right on pushing the envelope to increase those numbers. They may not win games, but they make big $ for players and agents.

    Liked by 2 people

    • astrocolt45
      May 9, 2017

      I would love to be a fly on the wall during some of those arbitration hearings.

      “What do you mean that is a useless stat. That’s the only think he was good at.”

      Liked by 1 person

  28. astrocolt45
    May 9, 2017

    How’s this for a useless stat. The Indians have allowed 2 earned runs in the last 51 innings for an ERA 0.35.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      May 9, 2017

      Please insert “relievers” after Indians. It was only the relievers. Should have read my post before punching “post comment.”

      Like

    • daveb7
      May 9, 2017

      I still think ERA is a pretty good stat, but I’m pretty old and out of touch with reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Mr. Bill
    May 9, 2017

    It will be good to see David Paulino finally getting back to the mound this week. Off with a bone bruise to that powerful right arm since March 10, David is headed for Fresno and is scheduled to make his first appearance on the season this Thursday. Let’s hope he comes back strong. Not only does Fresno desperately need the pitching help right now, but the may be the Astros best call-up option if Joe Musgrove [5.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP] and/or Mike Fiers [5.64 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and 14 HR allowed in 36 IP] don’t get their act together in their next 2 or 3 starts.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      May 9, 2017

      Boy I hope he does better than Martes did last night!

      Like

  30. Billy Castillo
    May 9, 2017

    Wow…Colon is done. He seriously needs to call it a career.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      May 9, 2017

      Why?? He settled down after the first inning. He can still pitch and besides some team will still give him $millions to pitch. He’s not done quite yet.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        May 9, 2017

        That stretch after the first inning was his best of the season. He’d gotten hammered every other start.

        Like

  31. Dan P
    May 9, 2017

    We are making this closer than it should be – letting them back in the game.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      May 9, 2017

      We got those 2 unearned runs back….thank goodness!!

      Like

  32. Becky⚾
    May 9, 2017

    I told ya there were gonna be a bunch of homeruns! Thank goodness they were OUR homeruns, and not Atlanta’s!!!! DANG….I’m glad Mc Cann is on our team and not with Atlanta!! Too many times he bit us on the rear end when we were in the NL!

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      May 9, 2017

      I’m so glad we got McCann. When he was a Brave I used to always talk him up at the predecessor to this blog on the Chronicle site. Him and Reddick were perfect additions to the team.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Dan P
    May 9, 2017

    Charlie Morton is an odd bird in that he can be dominating and then suddenly come off the rails though his defense aided the slide this game.
    Loved how they jumped back in there with those extra runs after the lead narrowed.
    This team is just plain fun to follow.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      May 9, 2017

      I couldn’t believe they didn’t give an error to Correa on the first one, and then did give him an error on the second one. It was almost like the inning hadn’t started and they had two on with nobody out after two routine grounders. Morton deserved better, again.
      I am surprised that Strom hasn’t been able to address Morton’s tendency to lose himself to the opposite hand side of the plate. He almost seems to lose some balance and falls to his left. However, it does seem to throw the batter’s timing off and gets him some softer contact.

      Like

    • daveb7
      May 10, 2017

      If Morton stays healthy, it’ll be one of the stories of the year.

      Like

  34. 1oldpro
    May 9, 2017

    Remember when the Aoki pickup was hardly talked about, like he was just a guy looking for a place to play?
    Remember when all of us wondered if our ace would ever be an ace again?
    Remember when we talked about our MOR and BOR guys just keeping the runs down and we could score 6 or 7 and still win?
    Remember when Morton was mowing ’em down in ST and we wondered if we really had found something?
    Remember a week ago when we asked “what if Correa wakes up?”
    Remember when we hoped the Astros could get off to a good start?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gov
      May 10, 2017

      Watching tonight’s game, I remember in 2007 the fantasy question was posed: who would have a better offensive career – Nick Markakis, or JR Towles? My, how far we’ve come!

      Like

  35. Becky⚾
    May 10, 2017

    LOL!! Some wrestling organization sent Beltran *2* wrestling belts, one for the player of the game and one for the pitcher of the game! I asume club Astro has been replaced by the wrestling belts! I don’t care what gimmick they pick up, as long as they are playing and winning like they have been!!

    Like

  36. 1oldpro
    May 10, 2017

    The big difference I see in the Astros this year to account for their turnaround in the standings is that their batters are now 29th in all of baseball in striking out. Only the Red Sox have struck out less times.
    The great thing is that they have not sacrificed power to do this They are 5th in baseball in SLG%.
    Now, it doesn’t hurt to have the second lowest ERA in baseball either, but they also had a good ERA last season, so that’s not a huge change.

    Like

    • Dan P
      May 10, 2017

      I was looking things over and the Astros have had big improvements in both runs scored per game and runs allowed per game over last year.
      Here is how things look vs. the last two years.

      2015 2015 2016 2016 2017 2017
      R/G Rank R/G Rank R/G Rank
      Astros Offense 4.50 5 4.47 8 4.88 4
      Astros Pitching 3.81 1 4.33 T4 3.73 1
      Differential 0.69 2 0.14 7 1.15 2

      Like

      • Dan P
        May 10, 2017

        It did not look like that when I typed it in – it was in readable rows. Basically they are scoring about 0.4 runs per game than 2016 and giving up 0.6 runs less per game – so a one run improvement in differential

        Like

      • Diane
        May 10, 2017

        You mean this isn’t readable? I just took one look at it and thought wow these guys are so blamed smart.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Dan P
    May 10, 2017

    Let me try this again
    Astros offense
    2017 – 4.88 run/gm (4th in AL)
    2016 – 4.47 r/g (8th)
    2015 – 4.50 r/g (5th)

    Astros pitching
    2017 – 3.73 r/g (1st)
    2016 – 4.33 r/g (T 4th)
    2015 – 3.81 r/g (1st)

    Run differential
    2017 – 1.15 r/g (2nd)
    2016 – 0.14 r/g (7th)
    2015 – 0.69 r/g (2nd)

    Like

  38. astrocolt45
    May 10, 2017

    DanP: Maybe you need to give us a tutorial on how to make rows and numbers line up. Also how to make “autocorrect” quit making Josh Reddick’s last name two words. And while you are at it, some quick way for us to insert “not” or “no” when our posts are the exact opposite of what we meant.

    Like

    • Dan P
      May 10, 2017

      I think the best advice I can give you is line up the offending line on your computer screen and pull out your white out and a black marker – but don’t ever go to another web site …..

      Liked by 2 people

  39. Dan P
    May 10, 2017

    Cannot believe we won again – franchise best 23-11 start and another come from behind win

    Like

  40. Becky⚾
    May 10, 2017

    For today…..this team owns the best record in MLB!! Man, does THAT feel good!!
    Musgrove had WAAY too many pitches today, and gets a win! I love that kid⚾!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. astrocolt45
    May 10, 2017

    The are a thousand answers to the question, “How do you win a division?” But one answer that will go a long way is when your 3? or 4? pitchers are good enough to get you two wins. We need wins and good starting performances from all 5 of our starting pitchers.

    And watching the Braves was like watching the 2013 Astros. They shot themselves in the foot several times.

    Like

  42. 1oldpro
    May 10, 2017

    Last night the Angels knocked the A’s to 7 games behind and today the A’s knocked the Angels to 7 games behind. Seattle still 6 GB.

    Like

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