Can the 2017 Astros run away and hide from the AL West?


First, Happy Mother’s Day to every mom. Those reading this and those ladies you call mom. My mom just turned 82 and you can see a little tribute on Instagram or Facebook this morning. Honor your mom today!

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Now, to the question of the day!

Can the Astros run away and hide from the rest of the American League? Or at least from the rest of the AL West?

Jose Altuve isn’t yet hitting like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa is picking up the pace of late, Carlos Beltran has a .685 OPS and Superman Marwin Gonzalez leads the team in home runs (9).

And, yet, the Astros are just a smidgen away from a double-digit-game lead in the division. Of course, no other team has a winning record and the Rangers have shown a few signs of life lately to stay within eight games of Jeff Luhnow’s boys.

Yes, yes, yes, I’ve noticed that Dallas Keuchel is pitching like 1972 Steve Carlton and is on a pace to finish 27-0 with 265 IP. And, yes, it hasn’t escaped my attention that Lance McCullers Jr. may be solidifying his position as that #2 stopper that the team has needed since Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens backed up Roy Oswalt.

Can the 2017 version of the Astros — the one Sports Illustrated predicted would win a World Series — run away and hide? Would it be prudent for the Astros to run away with the division title?

To be sure, not every player has hit his stride.

Heck, Collin McHugh hasn’t thrown a pitch, Alex Bregman hasn’t hit a home run and Beltran is stroking a “wonderful” .248/.285/.380 line. Two starters have 5+ ERAs and the team’s chosen closer has turned in a 4.20 ERA (though he has saved 10 games).

Still, the Astros are on pace for a franchise-record 113 wins.

Can the organization you’ve followed lo these many years actually run away and hide from the Rangers, Mariners, A’s and Angels?

Dallas will stumble along the way, and Marwin will not lead the team in home runs come September. Can Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock and Will Harris be lights out for an entire season? Who will step up if they do?

Has Luhnow finally pieced together the magical combination? Can this unexpected array of characters do something no other assemblage of Houston teams has ever done? Six times in history, the Astros have won their division, and the ’98 and ’86 teams stand out among those.

But this team may be special. The ’98 team had the Killer B’s with Bagwell, Bell, Biggio and Alou. There was a pitching staff anchored by Mike Hampton until Randy Johnson joined for the last-half run. Of course, the unforgettable ’86 team had the Cardiac Kids with Glenn Davis, Kevin Bass, Billy Hatcher and, of course, that pitching staff. (Shane Reynolds, Nolan Ryan, Bob Knepper and Jim Deshaies).

While those two teams — and perhaps a few others — have been special in Astrodom, this 2017 team may turn out to be the specialest.

Can the 2017 Astros run away and hide?

Yes, the could. But Keuchel won’t be 27-0 and Marwin won’t hit 40 home runs. Not every player has to hit on all cylinders for the entire season. But it will require that 2-3 position players carry the load at any given time and it will require Joe Musgrove or Mike Fiers (or McHugh) to stand up when Keuchel or McCullers stumble.

Your turn: Can the 2017 Astros run away and hide from the rest of the AL West? What will it take?

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130 comments on “Can the 2017 Astros run away and hide from the AL West?

  1. I had my son take me to the ER Monday morning for what was considered to be a “cardiac event”. An ambulance ride later, I’m admitted to the big Mercy Hospital and they put me through the ringer. After all the hullaballoo my heart is great, but I am not allowed to swing a pick ax any more and the blood pressure issues were apparently from the pain.
    I was able to watch the Astros game on ESPN last night in the hospital and toward the 8th inning they actually started talking about the game.
    After I post this I will go back and catch up with the comments.
    It’s great to be home again.
    If you have to take a nuclear stress test with the dye that dilates all your blood vessels for several minutes, be prepared for a Stanley Kubrick experience. Just, Wow!

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    • Well good news op that it is not your ticker – sorry for all the stress and strain you had to go through.
      I watched our local broadcast last night and enjoyed it a heck of a lot better than the ESPN broadcast from Sunday night. The lead announcer was good but the two analysts (Aaron Boone and a lady who I did not know) were pretty dull and not very informative. I like Kalas and Blum and I am OK with our radio duo – Sparks has improved and Ford has always been solid.

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      • Was it Jessica Mendoza? I generally think she is very good, but wish Boone would interject less often.

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    • OMG!!! We’re glad you’re back home….but DANG this is pretty scary! Your name will be the first name out of my mouth tonight when I say my nightly prayers❤!!
      With Springer and Bregman getting the night off…..I just hope Marisnick and Marwin have some hits in those bats!! I hope you will continue to have good health. ….you are mighty important to ME. Becky⚾

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    • All I know is that if you are having “cardiac events” you might want to turn off the TV for the last 3 innings each night. Take care, and everyone is praying for you and wishing you the best.

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    • Glad you’re ok and it’s nothing major. As I’ve daughter to Becky, rest up, because the Astros will need you at full strength this October.

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  2. Meanwhile, at Quad Cities . . .

    Our young Cuban 1B, Yordan Alvarez, had a pretty good second day for the River Bandits. He went 2-3, with a HR, a double, a walk and 2 RBIs today in QC’s 8-1 victory over Burlington. QC is now back at .500 for the year.

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  3. Thank you to all of you for your kindness and prayers.
    Tonight I sat in my living room and watched the Astros in amazement. They never gave a second thought to their awful defensive first inning. The next inning they just went out and took the game. I don’t like to single out a player who stuggles, but Koehler was in shock. Midway through the second inning his pitching instincts shut down and he was just throwing the baseball up there hoping for a storm shelter to hide in.
    We may have to use ours sometime tonight, too, so I had better go get updated on the weather.
    Jake, you are making this so much easier!

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  4. Keuchel had 11 ground ball outs and 0 flyball outs, according to their website box score.
    The Astros are 14-6 at home and 14-6 on the road.
    The last three times a lefthand pitcher started a game against the Astros, the Astros won that game. They are not as susceptible to that any more.
    The Astros had 9 Ks tonight, but 3 of those were by our pitchers.
    It seems the Astros actually have two of the best bench players in baseball.
    Texas has won seven games in a row and have picked up a half a game on the Astros during that streak.
    What in the world can Miami do to put fans in that stadium? They had nobody show up tonight.

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  5. They sent their pitcher back down as soon as the game was over. I don’t know about you, but it breaks my heart for a young kid trying to make it get shelled and then sent back down that very night. We’ve seen it all to often with our own club……..Peacock is a prime example of that. I hope that kid does every thigh he can to get better, and make it back up to the majors. Ok….I’m stepping off my “Mom soapbox”!
    I guarantee you tomorrow will be another Jake Day, and I hope he doesn’t dissapoint at the plate. BUT…..we can’t be having 2 errors at first base anymore….the only runs Dallas gave up were unearned, and that can’t keep happening. Don Mattingly sure has his hands full in Miami, and having Loria for an owner must be unbelievable, I hope he survives.

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    • My boys and I will be there for the Saturday and Sunday game. Also, my oldest son and I are planning to make the drive to Arlington for the June 2nd game. This team is awesome and they deserve our support. We are doing our part to provide that support. I love this team!

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  6. Is it just me, or was that a confident Tony Sipp on the mound last night. He also was very spry handling that ball topped out in front of the plate and threw a 90 mph fastball to first base to get the out.
    James Hoyt could not have picked a better time to become another reliable force in the Astros bullpen.
    I would like Jake Marisnick to swing my pick ax in the garden today.
    Two AL West games ended late, so here are the standings this morning. By the way, for those who might think our division is weak, the AL West has won more games than any other division. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/index.jsp
    According to Fangraphs, the Astros are 6th in batting WAR, 6th in pitching WAR and 27th in fielding. But they have the best win/loss percentage in baseball, for those who like wins and losses as a stat.
    Correa is #26 in baseball in in Accumulated Batting WAR, our highest ranked hitter.

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  7. Today is no time to slow down or back off the engines. The guy they are throwing at us has a 1.98 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP. He throws hard, and almost never throws anywhere close to the top of the hitting zone. He therefore gives up very few home runs. Indeed, few have hit the ball hard against him. He is also good at holding runners, as he hasn’t had a single base stolen on him yet this year.

    Full steam ahead – ‘Oye Mi Canto’, now, and don’t let the Miami Sound Machine ‘Turn the Beat Around’. Before we leave Miami – the Bad Boys from Houston need do the ‘Conga’ round the bases singing ‘The Rhythm is Gonna Get ‘Ya.

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    • Mr Bill, the guy we are facing today got his good stats as a reliever. He has been hit hard as a starter. I noticed it when I looked him up earlier this morning.

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  8. We have a new RBI leader. I guess it might be time for me to revise my pre-season projection of Brian McCann’s RBI contribution upward just a little.

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  9. It is obvious that Jake Marisnick has fallen through the looking glass. He was overheard after last night’s game uttering the following quotable quotes:
    – “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
    – “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”
    – It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
    – “If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

    Heard down the hall:
    – How long is forever? Sometimes, just one second.” [A.J. Hinch, a/k/a the White Rabbit].”

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  10. Also overheard in the Astros clubhouse this morning: “Shhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet, ev’wyone. It is pink flamingo season, and Jake and Jose are hunting pink flamingos.”

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  11. So winning is such a hohum event that no one commented on it.
    Great pitching and just enough hitting – now fly home guys and rest.

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  12. Another sterling start for McCullers, even though you know he had a heavy heart standing on the mound that his BEST friend owned. Who would have thought this club would be 29/12 on May 17th. Yes Dan, they are in need of a day off tomorrow!
    Later. Becky⚾

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Rest up, guys – there is what looks like a very tough stretch of schedule coming. The first 41 games have told us a ton about this team’s talent. The next 29 games – all of which are against teams presently at or near the top of their divisions – will tell us even more about this team’s character. At least 19 of these 29 contests are at MMP. Here is how the games ahead break down.

    3 hosting the Indians
    4 hosting the Tigers
    3 hosting the Orioles

    3 at Minnesota
    3 at Arlington
    4 at Kansas City

    3 hosting the Angels
    3 hosting the Rangers
    3 hosting the Red Sox

    Yes, take a deep breath guys. Now is your time to shine!

    Q. How do you eat an elephant?
    A. One bite at a time.

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  14. Let’s talk turkey about Luis Robert.
    The Astros have the best record in baseball. No matter what, they are going to be picking very late in the draft in 2018, so they are not going to get one of the top guys in next year’s draft.
    The Astros aren’t going to be able to sign any top level foreign free agents for two years because of the great year they had signing them this past year. That is the gamble they took.
    Because they won’t have huge bonuses for draft picks while they are winning, and because they won’t have huge outlays of cash going out for big free agents, they might want to take future money budgeted and spend it profusely for a guy right now., who figures to be a star in this league.
    Then they can go after the best arms available in next month’s draft, where they will have a number of higher draft picks than they will in subsequent years.
    It is a long shot, and I learned my lesson on Lourdes Gurriel coming here, but if the Astros see Robert as the best prospect they might possibly have a shot at in the next three or four years, they might pool money from those years to go after him and then let the chips fall where they may from here on out.
    The price a team pays for a rental arm for August-October is in prospects, not salary. You’re only paying two months salary on a two month rental. So adding a big asset to your stable makes your stable of prospects look good, even after you have to raid it for that rental.
    Having a Kyle Tucker and a Luis Robert for your team a few years down the road, really would be exceptional.

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