Astro’s Twofer Tuesday: What we thought we knew


Today’s two for Tuesday looks at two topics from the off-season and or early season where the pundits opinion has been proven wrong. This writer was one of them and has been as much a pun as a dit…..

1) The importance of the good health of Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr.

In almost every column, post, tweet, and smoke signal, sent out this off season, one message was clear. The most critical component to the Astros’ 2017 season was the health of their top two starters, Keuchel and LMJ. Now this could still be proven critical to the overall performance of the team, but Lance has just come off the DL and Keuchel is about half way through what looks like a 6 week stint on the DL and the team is still the best team in their division, league and all of baseball.

Truth be told the two pitcher’s performance to date, a combined 16-1 record with the team putting up a 22-3 record in their starts has been the biggest boost to this team’s record. But the team has not melted down with either of these pitchers going on the DL and this was not what was expected coming into the season. They go down and the Astros go down – NOT!

The Astros are 30-22 (the equivalent of a 93 win season) when someone else starts a game. And 15 of those starts (about 30%) have been by a combination of David Paulino, Francis Martes, Dayan Diaz and Brad Peacock, three of whom did not start the year in the majors and none of which was expected to be making critical starts this early in the season. Their combined 6-2 record in those starts is just another symbol of how resilient the team has been.

Yes, the Astros can’t afford to play the rest of the season without their best two pitchers, but they have been able to keep the boat afloat with them missing time despite the conventional wisdom to the contrary.

2) George Springer is not a leadoff hitter

Actually the argument about Springer more revolved around that he was not as good a leadoff hitter as All Star Jose Altuve. But what has happened to date with Springer has a lot of us dits scratching our heads. He does not have as good a batting average as Altuve. He does not get on base as often as Altuve. He doesn’t steal bases like Altuve and in fact to date trails Brian McCann in SBs.   But because of the Astros new full top to bottom lineup, he has turned into a huge weapon and the straw that stirs the offensive drink.

Beyond the fact that the Astros are 50-21 in games where he played, look at these mind boggling numbers. When he scores a run they are 32-8, which is an 80% win rate. When he knocks in a run they are 25-5, an even better 83% win rate. He leads the team in runs scored, home runs and is second in RBIs. In previous years, the team went as Altuve went. This year the bellwether is Springer.

So where do you stand on these two items coming into the season?

Are there any other items that have made you go “Dang, I sure missed on that one?”

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153 comments on “Astro’s Twofer Tuesday: What we thought we knew

  1. Had a chuckle on this quote from mlb.com

    “Five days after Astros starter Brad Peacock and his wife, Stephanie, gave birth to their first child, the right-hander will rejoin Houston’s rotation for Thursday’s series finale against the A’s at Minute Maid Park.”

    Unless things have changed in the 23 years since my wife delivered our last one – I would say that Stephanie gave birth and Brad did not….

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  2. I cringe when Jed Lowrie comes to the plate against us.
    Oakland is the best bad team in baseball.
    I’m telling you, the Angels are not as bad as people think and the Dodgers are not as good. A walkoff wild pitch strikeout error!?
    Think the Astros can sell out all three games against the Yankees?
    George Springer is hot.
    Josh Reddick is feeling it.
    I’ll be glad when Derek Fisher is back. We will actually have a player who wants to steal second base.
    I thought we were playing in Colorado the way the ball was flying in MMP last night.
    Where was Paulino’s curve last night? I know where his fast ball was, mostly over the outfield fences.
    If you can, look at Framber Valvez’s performance in his start last night for Buies Creek. Okay, he piitched 8 innings, three hits, 1 run, 11 ks, 2 BBs and a win. He’s a lefty. I said: He’s a LHP!
    Forrest Whitley had a good start for Quad Cities last night, too. He’s 19.
    Derek Fisher and Colin Moran made the PCL All-Star team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • On Reddick, I would never imply that he was dogging it in the past, but he appears to now be with our core youngsters in WANTING a pennant. He was most impressive in all aspects last night. He made his old team look like they made a serious mistake.

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    • I agree about the base stealing. I would like to hear Luhnow explain why Springer, who stole 92 bases over a four year period, to include 45 in 2013 and 37 in 2012, has only stolen 30 over a four year period in the majors.

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    • Quite a few 91’s out of Paulino last night, and some 92’s, 93’s. Nothing approaching his advertised max of 98 or even 96, but I did miss the first couple of innings. I hope that’s not a trend. I’d like to see him fill out a bit and hit those upper 90’s on a regular basis.

      I agree, Springer is hot, but improved too. Not quite one of the best, but if he keeps playing his defense and gives something in the .900 OPS range on a regular basis, he’s a 20 plus million guy too.

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  3. On the 40 man roster are 20 pitchers. Only Brady Rogers has not seen action in the majors in 2017. 20 pitchers have worked including Gustave who is now on the 60 day DL. Currently Devo is on course for 100+ innings again. The rest are on course for 60-70 innings. Same as last year. Last year 23 were used to include Erik Kratz and Tyler White.

    It would appear that a couple of bullpen arms would improve the club more than adding a starter. We may wear out the relievers that are effective. Lets hope we don’t have to use several that would approach 50 innings as they are not effective relievers. They can take a blow out and make it a close game.

    Neshek is on the market again. Believe it or not, he was effective overall last year with a 0.936 WHIP and 3.01 Ks/BB. He is pitching better this year but for a last place team. Others that are similar are available. A couple of them would make Astros comparable to Indians bullpen.

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    • When Keuchel, Morton and McHugh come back, the Astros will have more reliable pitchers to place in the bullpen. If Luhnow makes a trade for another starter, there will be another reliable arm to be moved to the pen. I don’t think arms for the bullpen will be a problem.
      When our starters return, there will be arms moved back to Fresno, also, if we need them in September.
      In the short run, the Astros have a day off next Monday and a week after that is the All-Star break. I think there will be rested arms.

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      • It’s in several interviews. ..in most of them he comes across as in my opinion, an entitled jerk. Basically was implying that he should’ve been the main guy in the bullpen and that the Astros were fools for not realizing it. Not word for word but that’s how he came across

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      • Yes Sandy. He said that the Astros cut his role as a reliever from a late inning guy to a situational reliever. He didn’t like that and failed to mention that he was getting hit hard as a late inning guy and they were forced to do it. He also did not mention that his underhand delivery started to deliver the ball up in the batters middle zone, rather than the knees and below, which was where he pitched in St. Louis.
        He came off sounding like a bearded Bud Norris.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandy, Neshek stated he was unhappy with the way Hinch used him out of the bullpen. He was very happy to leave Houston.

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  4. The Milwaukee Brewers are leading their division by a couple of games over the Cubs and the Cards.
    Last night the Brewers lost one of their starting pitchers to an oblique injury suffered while batting.
    If I were the Astros I would be scouting the Brewers system with specific looks at #8 prospect RHP Brandon Woodruff and #24 prospect Demi Orimoloye, a 20 yo OF.
    Milwaukee is in the NL, needs a starting pitcher, has a top 10 farm system and has a chance to win their division. They also have a relationship with Jeff Luhnow, who just may have an extra starting pitcher in the next few weeks to move and maybe Luhnow could use more ammo in his farm system if he wants to trade for a TOR starter for the stretch run and beyond.

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  5. So, it is starting out like one of those games where the Astros pitcher is skunking the other offense while our offense is being skunked by their pitcher. Usually we find a way to pick up a couple runs second time through the lineup …..

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    • Weird game – 10 batters up 10 batters down for the Astros and not one strikeout. I guess they picked up the bats today and the gauge was pointing to empty after 17 hits last night.

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  6. Yikes! Peacock has got to STOP missing so many bats! I hope we get five out of him. Six K’s and 6 walks? Did I read that correctly? On a positive note, once we can get him back in the pen, he’ll be a heck of an upgrade over a guy like Hoyt.

    Today would have been the day to get six or seven innings from him though. We’re going to lose an inning or two from Devo against the Yankees.

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    • Get Peacock back to the pen? Why would we do that? He’s our #3 starter until someone knocks him down to #4. He’s has stretched out over 100 pitches, and will likely be 5-1 after today. He has a 13.3 SO9, compared to McCullers, 10.7. His stats place him ahead of Fiers, Morton, Paulino, Martes and McHugh.

      Hoyt will be the next reliever to Fresno. Hopefully.

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      • Because I think Luhnow will get another starter and our rotation will ideally include Keuchel, McCullers, Morton, Fiers and New Guy. Peacock has done a marvelous job, but I think we’re ultimately a better club using that K ratio out of the pen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grayson,

        I agree with Dave. A bullpen with Devo, Feliz and Peacock gives us 3 guys with high K rates that can go multiple innings out of the bullpen. I’m in no hurry to move him there, but once everyone is healthy and if we acquire another starter at the deadline I like having Peacock in the bullpen. In the past 5+ years, a playoff series usually goes to the team with the best bullpen and once our starters are healthy not only will we have a top tier rotation, but will also have one of the best, if not the best, bullpen in baseball.

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  7. Well Reddick (double) and Correa’s (HR) bats were not missed in the last inning – so good guys up 2-1, but jeez Louise another day depending on the bullpen it looks like.

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    • Correa hits back-to-back homers (5-1 now). The last one to dead center over the star! We had a few rough innings in which we didn’t put up crooked numbers, but ‘Stros sure look like a team just cruising along.

      I don’t know what his status is, but one guy I’d love to pluck from the A’s is their lefty in the pen, Doolittle! He mopped us up Tuesday night.

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  8. I’m at work – but “watching” on Gameday – Astros load the bases with 0 out in 5th – Jake strikes out and Springer lines into a double play. Seems like we have had a lot of hard struck outs in this game.
    Devo coming on to pitch – what do you think – 2 or 3 innings???

    Liked by 1 person

  9. They left Mr. Gossett in one too many innings. It is now 5-1 Astros, Correa has his second HR of the game, and there is still no one out in the bottom of the 6th.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As always watching the game.

    * Our All Stars are special
    * Liked Brownie HOF’er, but he was getting tired I could tell, really enjoy Kalas and Blumm. Kalas has some really good people and baseball insights
    * How long do the Astrso have to show Beltran respect. He is a future HOF’er , but man he is looking old, slow and tired. When his Average hits .220 ?

    This is a really good team man. No DK or Morton for almost a month wow. What a great signing Spider man Reddick.

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  11. Game, set, and match. Astros 6, Athletics 1. Peacock won it with 5 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 6 BBs, and 7 Ks. Correa two HRs and 4 RBIs.

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    • With today’s power explosion, Carlos Correa has now taken over the club RBI lead from George Springer. George still has him on HRs though!

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  12. I got busy with grand kids today and forgot to mention that the Astros led all of baseball in the big four slashes: BA/OBP/SLG/OPS, as well as leading the majors in HRs and fewest Ks, before the start of today’s game.
    Texas got whipped today by Kluber and the Indians.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. For me the play of the game was Reddick on first. Altuve hits outside slider to right field wall for a double. Reddick read the ball perfectly and scored from first with 40 feet of cushion.

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  14. Good evening everyone……I left for my appointment to my oncologist just as the game started, and got back in the car as Hoyt was in to pitch. Hoyt needed Hinch to trust him again….good managing. Two games in a row, where our starter was pretty awful, and our bats were very good! Had to go to the treatment room to set up my treatments in July….(not my favorite place to be) I got it set up for first one on July 11th. Soo glad the arlington little league got beat again today!! I’m a happy girl!

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  15. Neshek mouthing off might set up another Carl Garret- Duane Thomas situation. Garrett was traded from Patriots to Cowboys. Upon arrival he said “Thank God I don’t have to run behind that Patriots line anyone.” The next day the trade was rescinded and both returned to their former teams.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. If you go to the Astros site on MLB.com they have a link to a wonderful Mike Lupica article where he praises Springer to the hilt and begs people to put him over the top for the ASG voting.

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  17. Joe Musgrove has a shutout going through 7 innings in Fresno. He’s allowed 1 hit, 2 walks and has 7 Ks, 7 ground outs and 2 fly outs. He has thrown 85 pitches thru 7.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And Ashur Tolliver finished the shutout for Musgrove. Tolliver threw the final two innings. Huge difference between AAA and the majors.

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    • That’s fantastic. His comments following the game were very positive. I still think he has a chance to be a fixture in Houston’s rotation. Maybe he can show the other Fresno guys how to prevent runs as well!

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  18. The Dodgers beat the Angels and the Astros are 13.5 ahead of the second place Angels.
    The Yankees are still playing at 12:30 pm CT against the White Sox. Then they catch a plane to Houston and play the Astros Friday night.

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