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Looking ahead: It’s not all about 2017 for the Astros


I’m still a Jeff Luhnow fan. His resume as the Astros’ general manager is replete with success stories. Yes, sure, just as with any leader in an organization, you can point to weak spots or failures. Overall, though, Luhnow has guided the Astros to the best record in the American League. He has used every tool in his belt — including an open check book from the owner — to navigate the hazardous stream to the top. Yes, it took him several managers, a few dozen trades, countless minor-league signings, some high draft picks and even a few radio and TV teams, but today, the Astros are one of the best organizations in all of baseball.

No one can argue otherwise. No one can take that away.

While the focus is on the short-term goal of a World Series championship, Luhnow also has the same focus — and responsibility — for the long-term. Continued, stable, steady, repeatable performance, year-in, year-0ut. Quite frankly, it’s one reason he may not have wanted to mortgage the future. And, honestly, he does have the roster here to win it all. Now, if that roster isn’t healthy, we have another story of course.

But let’s look forward just a bit and past 2017. Yes, yes, the story line can change. If the Astros falter down the stretch, lose the division, get kicked out of the playoffs in the first round, can’t recover, have more injuries, can’t pull off a big trade this month, players revolt, then Luhnow may be more than just on the hot seat. But Jim Crane has been on one crazy roller coaster ride for several years now and my guess is that he’s committed to Luhnow and The Plan for the rest of the decade at least.

But Luhnow has a bigger problem than winning the World Series in 2017. He has a bigger challenge than pulling off a trade in mid-season. He has a bigger mountain to climb in 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond.

It’s much easier to get to the top than to stay on top. Just ask the Giants, Mets and Royals, all World Series participants in the last three years. Brief stops at the top aren’t the long-term goal. Sure, everyone wants to get to the pinnacle and in baseball, the World Series is the pinnacle. But many “in the business” are striving to produce a winning product year-in and year-out. That means a steady hand at the helm and a delicate balancing act. By my judgement, that’s some of what we have seen this summer. The delicate balancing act, that is.

The big trades and the names that we know about were too much to give up. And, in the case of the Orioles, they apparently nixed trades because of some so-called health issues in certain Houston players. Otherwise, Zach Britton may have been in the fold by now.

And, you can bet that Luhnow was looking at 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond and just got queasy.

Do you mortgage those years from one shot at winning it all? Do you give up three top picks like the Yankees to pick up a pitcher you can argue may not be a top-of-rotation guy? Do you dig into the stash or a minor league system you have built so intricately over the years to solidify an already-best record in the AL? Or do you try to mitigate the injury damage by putting your finger in the dam, praying, crossing the fingers on the other hand and holding your breath?

Here are some thoughts of what Luhnow may be looking at in 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond.

The threat of a $200 million payroll.

  • Yes, Crane has opened the check book this season as he said he would. But there is a limit, especially in a market like Houston. Where is the limit? Have they established that limit, even as a percentage of revenue? Does Luhnow know the limit for the next few years? Even if that magical mark hasn’t been set, it’s obvious that Luhnow faces that bottle neck I predicted a few years back. Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa are all faces you’d like to build around, but will Luhnow have that ability?

Depleting a farm system.

  • By virtue of living at the bottom for the past several years, Houston has had the advantage of living on top of the draft. Correa, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and others are part of the harvest. But those days are over, at least for the immediate future. Now, the real work begins. Finding — or getting lucky with — a Roy Oswalt in the 20th round isn’t the norm. Even more of a challenge, though, is taking that diamond in the rough that most organizations didn’t see and molding them into something useful for the majors. That requires building a strong coaching, teaching and scouting organization. Are the Astros there yet with that? Me thinks not, or at least we haven’t seen a lot of fruit of that.

He knows his weaknesses.

  • Yes, if they’re good, they know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Luhnow can read the tea leaves just fine. He probably doesn’t believe he’s as much of a failure at trades as many of us do, but he knows it’s not his strong suit. And, he has a vested interest in the Bregmans, the Derek Fishers, A.J. Reeds and even the Colin Morans and Francis Martes. Those guys are, indeed, part of The Plan to build an organization through draft and the minor leagues. No matter what you think, it’s difficult to part with those homegrown pieces that you know will be in the big leagues someday.

Free agency.

  • For all that it is, Luhnow, Crane and the management team may have already made the call on Keuchel or others. Perhaps they’ve decided they won’t ante up when Keuchel becomes a free agent and that they’ll need the farm pieces to bring in that top-of-rotation stopper. It’s quite possible that Keuchel, McHugh, Lance McCullers Jr., Brad Peacock, Evan Gattis, Brian McCann, Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez and/or others will not be part of the lineup on opening day 2019 or 2020. Gulp! That lineup could include Bregman, Correa and others like J.D. Davis, Tucker, Moran and other as-yet-undisclosed players.

Just a few thoughts to whet the conversation appetite on this Tuesday. I’m sure you have some thoughts. Stay clean. Keep it above-board. And let’s have some fun out there.

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

98 comments on “Looking ahead: It’s not all about 2017 for the Astros

  1. drbill14
    August 15, 2017

    Chip: You might want to edit your first sentence in paragraph six, “It is much more difficult to get to the top than to stay at the top.” I hope you meant just the opposite as it’s tougher to stay at the top than get to the top.

    Like

  2. Dan P
    August 15, 2017

    Dan’s thoughts –
    – Considering the Astros are in their 56th year of existence with no championships – maybe it is harder to get to the top than to stay there. 🙂
    – Well at least for next year it will help that Carlos Beltran’s $16 million will be coming off the payroll along with Luke Gregerson and others.
    – The Astros are headed for about a 20% increase in home attendance – I am pretty sure from the last time I went to a game that their ticket prices also increased as did concessions and they have sold a truck load more jerseys, etc. from looking around the stands. There is more money around to spend.
    – What does Dallas Keuchel’s injuries do to his asking price this time around?
    – Altuve is the one I worry the most about right now (Correa is too far out). He could ask for the moon from Space City based on being the biggest bargain in baseball.
    – I agree that Luhnow has a different perspective than the fans, but Jeez Louise we have waited way too long for the big one.
    – Great writeup Chip!
    – Thanks to folks for praying for Mrs. Dan P – she is home sleeping right now – looks like everything is going to be OK

    Liked by 2 people

    • sandy
      August 15, 2017

      That’s great news Dan.

      Like

    • sandy
      August 15, 2017

      I have agree Dan. Let’s get that championship one time and then we can concentrate on hanging around the top.

      Like

    • Chip Bailey
      August 15, 2017

      Dan, on Keuchel, unfortunately injury won’t play much of a role in arbitration. It’s all comparables and he’ll probably have some decent-to-very good numbers based on his hot start. He’ll get his due in arbitration. Then, barring any major injuries, he’ll get a “gross” number in free agent offers. My guess is the Astros won’t be able to retain him and his $150 million+ demands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      August 15, 2017

      Awesome Dan

      Like

    • daveb7
      August 15, 2017

      God Bless Dan. Good news. I’m also one to lean towards rolling the dice a bit more at this point. Chip, I mentioned this last week. We can contend that the Yankees might not have gotten a top of the rotation guy for the talent they gave up. But that guy has a better body of work than our own top of the rotation guy. And younger. And under team control through 2019.

      I agree though that our GM is not going anywhere, regardless of how the balance of the season plays out. He’d have to go into 2018 as a favorite and blow that one big too for Crane to make a change.

      I don’t even know where our minor league system is ranked these days, but I have a hard time accepting that we’re still one of the best. Too many holes. Too few arms stepping up and getting the job done. Luhnow has had half a decade by now and some very favorable opportunities in picking early and often.

      Like

    • Becky⚾
      August 15, 2017

      Thank you for letting us know your sweet wife is going to be ok.

      Like

  3. astrocolt45
    August 15, 2017

    Chip, you said in several paragraphs what I was attempting to say – and I did very poorly- in a few words. We have to assume that Luhnow is almost robotic on his decisions. He weighed the cost benefit and decided most did not fit his plan. Also, during the past few years (I know the eye test does not count) but I have seen so many more Ranger hats and T-shirts in our travels. To almost -0- Astros gear. The TV deal he got from Drayton was a disaster. He needs to rebuild the broad fan base all over the state That will take a few years of being at the top, and above the Rangers. So I can live with a few years of “near the top” as long as we don’t go back to the bottom. So I think he is looking way beyond 2017.

    Like

  4. Devin
    August 15, 2017

    Keuchel – 2019 (age 31)
    Altuve – 2020 (age 30)
    Springer – 2021 (age 31)
    Correa – 2022 (age 27)

    It’s great to be mindful of the future, but the window is short.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 15, 2017

      Whitley and Tucker help extend that ‘short’ window. It looks more like 5 years than 3 unless we make a bad trade. Whitley replaces Keuchel and Tucker replaces Springer. Altuve cannot be replaced and this is where it gets dicey when he becomes a free agent in 2 years.

      Like

      • daveb7
        August 15, 2017

        Altuve can’t be replaced. I agree. But I think ultimately, Bregman’s best position will be second and he’ll be an excellent hitter in his own right. He’s already doing more at the plate than Altuve was in his first full season.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill
        August 15, 2017

        Bregman’s best position may indeed be 2nd, but right now we don’t have a single other SS in the system that has anything close to major league potential.

        Like

      • daveb7
        August 16, 2017

        I’d be surprised if Correa does not go off to the the bright lights up north by 2022. I don’t think we’re going to replace him either. But the key is the sum of all parts. Correa could get traded at some point while still under team control. Some of what happens over the next few years is going to be painful to watch. That’s one reason why I’m interested in seeing us win it all with this bunch of guys intact. Being merely contenders annually is not enough for me.

        Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    August 15, 2017

    It is a position-by-position, ‘now vs. later’ game.

    The minor leagues presently look promising for three starting pitchers [Armenteros, Cionel Perez, and Whitley]. Quiala, Franklin Perez, and Yohan Ramirez also look like long-shot possibilities. Beyond that, the guys with any potential are rare – or way too raw to call right now.

    An outfield of Fisher, K. Tuck, Cameron, and Dawson/Straw looks to eventually be about as good as we have now.

    Alejandro Garcia or Jack Mayfield might be a guy to look at to somewhat replace Marwin.

    An infield of Reed/Alvarez at first, Kemp /Birk at 2nd, and Moran/Davis/Abraham-Toro at 3rd looks doable, but there is not a shortstop in the system that even looks capable of ever starting at SS in the major leagues – much less replacing Carlos Correa.

    Catching in the future is also a problem. Nobody in the system measures up to McCann, or even Gattis. I don’t see Stassi making it, so it looks like it is all on Mr. Stubbs and Jake Rogers/Chuckie Robinson- and anyway you slice it it looks like a big step down from our current surplus of offensive fire power.

    DH? We can always find a DH if neither Tyler White or Preston Tucker work out.

    Like

  6. Dan P
    August 15, 2017

    Astros taking care of business offensively at 7-0 in the third with Peacock knocking in a couple himself and Stassi knocking in the first run.

    Like

  7. Mr. Bill
    August 15, 2017

    A 9-4 lead. The bottom 3rd of the opponent’s order up. Francisco Liriano has one job – throw strikes. Result – he walks the lead-off batter, of course! Then, after a smashed line drive, he walks yet another hitter. This dude is not right.

    Like

  8. astrocolt45
    August 15, 2017

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/estimated-tv-revenues-for-all-30-mlb-teams/

    Chip, I believe over next few years, the Astros will be forced to stay under $200 million in payroll. I don’t know how accurate this is going forward, but if the Astros need to stay around 50% of revenue going to payroll, it won’t work.

    So they have to use players at league minimum in order to support the higher paid players. Dodgers and Yankees along with a few others have a superior income stream.

    Like

  9. Zanuda
    August 15, 2017

    Dan, correct in losing the salaries of Beltran and Gregorson (22MM) but I suspect we’ll try to get a TOR or a #2 guy next year which will eat that up. McCann will be gone after 2018 which frees up 17MM and we’ll not resign Sipp for his 6MM. Morton and his 7MM will also probably be gone. That’s 30MM gone after 2018. I think Altuve’s staying around depends on Correa. I don’t see us keeping Keuchel or Marvin after 2018 but it should be interesting to see how all of this plays out.
    Glad to hear the Mrs is doing well and for us to get a “W” today.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 15, 2017

      There will be raises via arbitration that need to be included. Keuchel, Springer, Giles, Gattis, McHugh and Fiers are all due arbitration raises next year. I’m guessing they may look to trade Fiers and possibly Gattis.

      Like

  10. Kevin
    August 15, 2017

    Great game by Stassi, nice to see. Only 1 game but better than any in the last month fro McCann.

    Like

  11. Becky⚾
    August 15, 2017

    The worst part of being an avid Astros fan, is the probability that our beloved guys will leave because of money. I can’t even.
    I just got a migraine thinking about it. I’ll have to sleep on all this stuff, I just can’t go there right now. Becky⚾

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1oldpro
      August 16, 2017

      Becky, the fact of the matter is that the Major League CBA is slanted toward players leaving in free agency. The power owners for the teams that run baseball, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels do not care about the problems of other teams. This is a league run by the richest and they dictate the terms. The terms are to make it easier for the wealthiest teams to be able to afford the best players and have more of them so that they can dominate the market on players.
      Every time there is a new CBA the cap limits are raised and the deterrents to signing free agents are lessoned.
      The teams who do not have the money get the leftovers and won’t be able to sustain their success, but the above mentioned teams will always have much more money and they run the league and they will always allow themselves ways to be able to dominate the league with their money and their own personal MLB Network, combined with their own personal ownership of the organization networks.
      The things they required of an outsider team like the Astros to change hands are dictated by the rich teams and their puppet commissioner. It’s no mystery why Jeter is allowed to run a team with such a small amount of his own money invested. They need him because he’s a Yankee and will get that Miami team favors as their showboat trophy lifetime Yankee icon co-investor.

      Like

  12. daveb7
    August 15, 2017

    I was just reminded that we got Bagwell on the 30th of August. August impact deals are a bit unusual, but they do happpen.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 15, 2017

      I thought it was August 31, 1990.

      Like

      • daveb7
        August 16, 2017

        Might have been. I thought it was with a day to spare.

        Like

    • Chip Bailey
      August 16, 2017

      Indeed, it was August 30, 1990. daveb, this was a little different “August impact” deal for sure, but you have to figure Boston wishes they had not pulled that trigger! Andersen pitched in Boston the rest of that season (22IP, giving up 3 runs), then went over to San Diego the next season.

      And, it’s interesting to note that some of the rules have changed since then. For example, in 1990, the player had to physically be in the city with his new team by the deadline (August 31, 1990). Strange rule, but it made most deals happen before August 31 because of that reason.

      It’s also interesting to note that the Red Sox believed they had multiple players ahead of Bagwell, both at 3B and 1B. He was, umm, “only” a fourth round draft pick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        August 16, 2017

        Thanks for the correction, Chip. I recall a team trading for Davey Lopes on August 31st, but due to some flight complications he did not get to his new team until September 1st and, thus, was ineligible for the playoffs. Do you have any information on this?

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        August 16, 2017

        I’ll have to dig a little later, but Lopes did play for the Cubs in that post season. Perhaps it was the fact he was the PTBNL from an earlier deal (June) or the flight delay that was not the fault of the clubs, but I do seem to remember an appeal or something and MLB acquiescing. I’ll go back in history when I get a chance, unless someone else beats me to it.

        Like

      • Devin
        August 16, 2017

        In fairness to Boston (I hope to never write that again), they did have Wade Boggs and Scott Cooper ahead of Bagwell at the time. Boggs was an All Star third baseman from 85-92 for Boston, left for NYY in free agency, and made the All Star team for them from 93-96. Cooper was an All Star in 93 and 94…although his numbers pale in comparison to Bagwell. As for first base, they had a guy named Mo Vaughn in the minors crushing baseballs and decimating the postgame spread at the time. Being traded to Houston was the best thing that ever happened to Bagwell.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        August 16, 2017

        And, even in the Astros had to be convinced and finally relented to their scouts, who saw a lot of promise in Bagwell, though he wasn’t hitting HRs at the time. Fair to say that no one — not even the Astros — could have predicted how one-sided the trade would be at the time.

        Like

  13. astrocolt45
    August 16, 2017

    And don’t forget that $2 million a year to Jon Singleton comes off the books in 2019 after a 1/2 million dollar buyout. Just don’t think he will be getting that next $20.5 million in options from the Astros.

    Like

  14. Mr. Bill
    August 16, 2017

    Justin Verlander’s line in his loss against Texas last night:

    6 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 8 H [3 HRs], O BBs, 8 Ks.

    He threw 114 pitches, 77 for strikes.
    Chirinos, Gallo, and Napoli all took him deep.

    Tigers lost, 10-4. Verlander was the losing pitcher.

    There are no superheroes coming to make us finish the season like the Dodgers, folks.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      August 16, 2017

      Mr. Bill, it’s easy for us to get a little emotionally involved and want something to happen. For Luhnow’s perspective, though, he’s strictly a numbers guy. Sometimes, that’s a good characteristic to have, to be able to weed out the emotions and just look at the raw facts. In the end, my guess is that he banked on having a healthy roster and thought a player like Verlander (or others) wouldn’t improve the chances for Houston. A gamble, for sure, but he felt the odds were in his favor. I’d even bet he could give you a lot of odds, down to what trainers told him the odds that Keuchel would return to first-of-the-season form.

      Like

    • Tim
      August 16, 2017

      Although I am not clamoring for Justin Verlander I see some positives in that pitching line. The 8 Ks and 0 BBs are good signs and it is not easy keeping the ball in the park when pitching in that sauna known as Globe Life Park. I am open to getting Verlander as long as the prospect cost is reasonable and Detroit takes on the rest of his salary this year and approximately $10M for each of the next 2 seasons. I also would not want to guarantee his vesting option in 2020.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        August 16, 2017

        I saw the same list of positives. Verlander is by no means horrible, and he clearly could be somewhat of an upgrade to both our rotation [replacing Fiers], and to our bullpen [by ever-so-slightly reducing the number of bullpen innings pitched over the rest of the season]. But he is not Clayton Kershaw. And the question is, at what cost – both in the short term and in the long term – would he come, in comparison to what added value he is most likely to bring? I have to trust Luhnow to add all those relevant factors into the analysis. Emotions cannot drive the decision. A prolonged performance slump by our present players cannot drive it. Injuries cannot drive it. Perceptions of need cannot drive it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chip Bailey
        August 16, 2017

        But Mr. Bill, at this point in the season — with a double digit lead — do you gauge the “upgrade” using Fiers or do you gauge the upgrade for the playoffs? (Fiers may well not even be on the Astros’ playoff roster. When you start to figure your top 3 in the playoffs, you’d probably go with a healthy Keuchel, LMJ, and perhaps Morton/Peacock. Then, is it still worth losing some key prospects and/or taking on huge salary for this year and/or next?

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        August 16, 2017

        Excellent point, Chip [as always]. The reason I posed it the way I did is because at this point I am not sure that the 2017 version of Justin Verlander is an upgrade over any of our current play-off rotation of Dallas Keuchel, a healthy McCullers, McHugh, or Morton. I certainly do not want to be seen as publicly declaring him to be better than any of them while we are relying on them.

        Like

      • daveb7
        August 16, 2017

        Bill, the four guys you mention are all question marks as far as I’m concerned, whether from a health perspective or lack of experience in the post season. I’m encouraged by recent outings from Keuchel and McHugh, but not enough to be convinced they are going to be successful going foward. That’s why Verlander does not thrill me. Sure, if everyone else is healthy and peaking, add him if the prospect cost is not a killer. He might put us over the top. Again, I don’t care how much salary we pick up. But if our rotation is not very good, Verlander is not going to singlehandedly lead us to the promised land.. But last nights outing would not scare me away if I’m Luhnow. One more thing, if our GM is really working to make this deal happen, it could be with feedback from his boss. We sure don’t know what Crane is thinking.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 17, 2017

        Dave,

        I am basically of the same thinking. Why add Verlander if you don’t feel Keuchel and McCullers will be healthy? He is not the difference maker. I would prefer to add Verlander if Luhnow is comfortable our main 2 guys will be ready to go for the playoffs. Slotting Verlander at #3 and then either Morton or McHugh at #4 suddenly makes this team look a whole lot better.

        Like

    • sandy
      August 16, 2017

      Line like that may bring the price down if Detroit really wants to get rid of him?

      Like

  15. Kevin
    August 16, 2017

    I was for Verlander 6 weeks ago and haven’t changed, experienced, bull dog, winner, and healthy. The deal if done will not be prefect , we will loos someone we really like and pay more $$ than we want, reality of the deal, or stay pat and see how that works

    Like

  16. Chip Bailey
    August 16, 2017

    From a Detroit perspective, they will have more suitors in the off season. Detroit can afford to play the waiting game. The Astros are the team at the disadvantage right now. Detroit does not have to make a deal. And if, if, there is a deal, it won’t be the same deal as was discussed back in July.

    Like

    • Devin
      August 16, 2017

      I believe Verlander has a no trade clause. The number of suitors is likely limited to the number of teams he believes have a real chance at winning the world series.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        August 16, 2017

        Yes, it’s a full no-trade and he also has the option to opt out of the last two years if he agrees to a trade! So there’s that! Still, there would likely be more suitors in December than in August. And teams on the bubble or fringe could sweeten the pot for Verlander if necessary.

        ALL THAT SAID, the guy turns 35 before next opening day!

        Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    August 16, 2017

    43 games left in regular season 2017.

    Who will lead the pitching staff the rest of the way in:
    – innings pitched?
    – wins?
    – ERA?
    – WHIP?
    and
    – K/9?

    Like

  18. Mr. Bill
    August 16, 2017

    43 games left in regular season 2017.

    Over those games, who will lead the offense in:
    – BA?
    – OBP?
    – OPS?
    – HRs?
    – EBHs?
    – RBIs?

    Like

  19. Dan P
    August 16, 2017

    I was reading that Luhnow was on 790 KBM this morning and said a trade was very unlikely for a starter.

    Like

    • Kevin
      August 16, 2017

      I concur I would be shocked if any trade happens this year

      Like

  20. OldSchool60
    August 16, 2017

    Chip, the Cards are a small market tm able to generate a very profitable share of revenue due to attendance according to the site Colt highlighted. They historically draft very well, are able to afford key components by trading or making competitive offers, without spending or trading lavishly, unlike the Dodgers/Red Sox for example. A very well oiled MLB org that is very successful. Where the Astros would like to be most certainly.
    JL’s 5 yr plan is bearing fruit, opened a door fans are clamoring for more of with a tm on the cusp of greatness, which potentially should generate the kind of revenues the Cards enjoy over time I believe (yes, if that success is sustained).
    Perhaps the Hot Stove season will give us a pulse on the spending limits of this org, esp if the post season is thwarted by pitching woes/inj. Will they pony up for more help, go bargain basement or stand pat?

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      August 16, 2017

      I agree with the post. It requires a continual stream of players from the minors being equal or near equal to your older stars. However, the Cards, like the Astros, don’t have the mad money that Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox have to throw around. So the Cards signed Piscotty at $31 million for 6 years. He is back in the minors. They can’t make many mistakes like that, nor can the Astros.

      Like

  21. Dan P
    August 16, 2017

    Good job by Morton and nice job by Clippard when Morton put a couple on in the 7th.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      August 16, 2017

      Sorry is not right with Gregerson. He can’t miss a bat if he tries.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        August 16, 2017

        Something, not “sorry”

        Like

      • Dan P
        August 16, 2017

        There’s something sorry with how he pitched

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Dan P
    August 16, 2017

    Great insurance rally in the 9th to jack the lead back up. Big HR by Reddick against a lefty.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dan P
    August 16, 2017

    They had Giles warmed up – why not bring him in even with the bigger lead.

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 16, 2017

      Well Giles did not start the 9th, but he sure did close it out.

      Like

  24. Zanuda
    August 17, 2017

    Great performance by Morton, Clippard and Giles. Gregerson and Hoyt, not so much. Looks like the bats are starting to return also. Hopefully a wining streak or some series wins are here now.

    Like

    • sargeh
      August 17, 2017

      And then the next day comes… the bats are silent.

      Like

  25. Zanuda
    August 17, 2017

    At this point, including the DL, what pitchers do we want going into the playoffs or better yet, who gets left off? I have my list ready.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 17, 2017

      Assuming no more additions to the pitching staff, everyone is healthy and also assuming they will go with 12 pitchers in the playoffs here is my 12-man staff: DK, LMJ, Morton, McHugh, Devo, Harris, Giles, Gregerson, Peacock, Musgrove, Clippard and Liriano. Now, I may change this and leave off Liriano and add Martes depending on how each pitches in September. Both Devo and Clippard are deathly against LHs so the need for a LOOGY is limited. Gregerson is still a veteran who is tough against most RHs. Last night he just happened to match up against 2 of the best RHs in the game in Goldschmidt and JD Martinez. He has been pitching much better in the 2nd half and I still think Gregerson will be needed in the playoffs (not to mention he is normally tough on RHs).

      Like

      • drbill14
        August 17, 2017

        I like your staff but would definitely keep Martes over Liriano. I like that electric arm and like you say Devo and Clippard would be much better LOOGYs than Liriano or Sipp. Plus Martes is a part of the future for us and exposing him to playoff pressure and hoopla would be an acceptable gamble for me. Of course he could wilt under the glare of the bright lights but I’m seeing more confidence from him and think he would hold up and grow under the pressure.

        Gregerson is horrible at Minute Maid and terrific on the road. Its not a small sample now. Keep him on the bench at home unless we’re up or down by ten and then use him on the road where he seems to thrive.

        Like

      • Tim
        August 17, 2017

        I would tend to lean your way, Dr. Bill. I want to see if Liriano can get adjusted to the bullpen and really become a true LOOGY for us, but if he continues pitching the way he has then I definitely bump him for Martes.

        Like

      • Devin
        August 17, 2017

        I want to approach the playoffs with four starters, a lot of relievers we’re counting on to be one or two out guys, and then a few guys to close down the game. Basically, if Feliz and Martes are going to make the playoff roster you tell them that their role is to come in and strike out the only guy they face, that the worst thing they could do is give up a HR, and the next worst thing would be a walk. You also tell them they are our extra inning guys if they haven’t pitched and it goes past the 10th.

        But as for now, I’d probably be telling Musgrove, Fiers, Martes, and Feliz that they are all competing for the final spot on the playoff roster…so make their outings meaningful and efficient or they’ll be watching from the couch.

        Like

  26. Dan P
    August 17, 2017

    So far Liriano seems more like a NOOGY…

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Dan P
    August 17, 2017

    On MLB trade rumors they were indicating that the Astros got Clippard by paying $1.1 million to the White Sox. Looks like a bargain so far.

    Like

  28. Russell Johnson
    August 17, 2017

    you folks that get to see the games, how does centeno look behind the plate? does he handle the pitchers well?

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 17, 2017

      I’m no catcher expert but I’ve been impressed with him – both with blocking pitches in the dirt and seeming to be able to settle guys down. Seems to show well and give a solid target.

      And is it just me or are the umpires we are getting lately really inconsistent? I don’t mind an ump having a low, high, wide or narrow strike zone as long as it stays consistent – these guys all seem to have graduated from the Angel Hernandez correspondence school.

      Liked by 3 people

      • sargeh
        August 17, 2017

        Dan, I agree the homeplate umpiring has been terrible for all teams this year. Just let the computer read the pitch as it crosses the area and if it is a strike, have an electronic prodder to prod the ump to call a strike. Say, you are an engineer. Build one for them.

        I was stunned by Stassi throwing a runner out today! How refreshing to see the ball actually reaching second base ON THE FLY instead of bouncing five to ten feet before the base.

        Like

  29. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Who is next off the DL?

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      August 17, 2017

      Probably Gattis…..if not, McCann.

      Like

      • Dan P
        August 17, 2017

        I read Gattis is due back on this homestand

        Like

  30. Kevin
    August 17, 2017

    Just turned on the game oh Crap awesome #5 guy Fiers

    OK boys we need to score 8

    Like

  31. Kevin
    August 17, 2017

    Wow only 1 way to go Mikey

    Like

  32. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    I wouldn’t count too heavily on those 8 runs, Kevin. Today we are making Corbin look like Sandy Koufax.

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 17, 2017

      Yeah they are not even running up Corbin’s pitch count – they will need to get something going against him because he’s not getting pulled anytime soon.

      Like

    • Kevin
      August 17, 2017

      I concur never seen such talent that cant ever hit lefties crazy!

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        August 17, 2017

        All this dude throws is junk. Slider, changeup, slider.

        Like

  33. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Mr. Fiers is looking pretty rough today. Musgrove time?

    Like

  34. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Sit . . . on . . . the slider!

    Like

  35. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    It looks like Fiers is back to being a home run slot machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Devin
    August 17, 2017

    Hey, let’s throw an All Star a first pitch, 89 mph fastball on the inner half! I bet he can’t hit it out of the stadium…

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Astros concede.

    Like

  38. Kevin
    August 17, 2017

    At least Hinch acted like we are in a playoff race and not the Club med Tour and yanked him before it was 6-0

    Like

  39. Dan P
    August 17, 2017

    Man, Bregman hit it on the screws – came so close to tying it up.

    Like

  40. Kevin
    August 17, 2017

    Sadly so far the LLWS games have been a lot more entertaining

    Like

  41. Dan P
    August 17, 2017

    I cannot believe how inconsistent the home plate umpiring is today.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. astrocolt45
    August 17, 2017

    The Astros did not deserve to win that game, but they didn’t deserve the umpiring on balls and strikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Hey, the inconsistency of splitting a series with the D-Backs, being shut out twice and twice scoring 9 runs, is sure better than being consistently bad like we were against the White Sox [who swept us], the Rays and Tigers who took 3 of 4 from us, and the Rangers who took 2 of 3 from us. We will soon see if, without Correa, we can even beat the A’s.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      August 17, 2017

      Well, actually the Tigers just took 2 of 3 from us.

      Like

    • Devin
      August 17, 2017

      At least the DBacks are a really good team that could be dangerous in the postseason. That ridiculous Greinke contract isn’t looking quite as bad right now.

      Like

  44. daveb7
    August 17, 2017

    An uninspired effort today. Kevin, I think it was you that I disagreed with about effort last week. Today I was wrong. Lethargic would be the polite term I guess. But how much of that might be attributed to a relatively empty stadium yesterday and today? Are the bandwagon fans gone already? Would they have stuck around if Luhnow had made a big splash at the deadline? Regardless of why it did not happen, it sure seems that the wind has been knocked out of the collective sails of players, fans and even some of us here.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Mr. Bill
    August 17, 2017

    Following Forrest Whitley’s first start at AA. I guess he is doing okay for a 19 year old. 🙂 But that Corpus Christi lineup after Tucker is REALLY, REALLY BAD.

    Like

  46. Becky⚾
    August 17, 2017

    Not a good game today, and Hinch let the umpires know it. First time i’V ever heard him diss an umpire. I’m gonna say it one…more…time:
    WE. NEED. ANOTHER. PITCHER. !!!!

    Like

    • Tim
      August 18, 2017

      Agreed, and once McCullers returns from the DL we will have that pitcher. When your 5th starter only gives up 2 ERs to one of the better teams in the NL I would lean toward our starting pitching is fine, once healthy.

      Like

  47. Becky⚾
    August 17, 2017

    Forest Whitley’s, line in his debut in Corpus:
    6 innings
    2 hits
    0 runs
    *11* K’S
    *0* walks
    Good heavens, what a way to make a statement!! The Hooks lost 2-1.

    Liked by 1 person

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