CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Now or never: Houston destiny in the hands of Hinch and 25-30 players


We’re living in kooky, wacky, insane times. Don’t believe me, just turn on the TV, check your favorite Internet site or stop by the water cooler at the office tomorrow. It’s crazy. Teams that are supposed to win are losing. Players that should be on the field are not. Expectations are topsy-turvy.

Yes, we live in kooky, wacky, insane times!

Besides that, there is Irma, Jose, Harvey, fires in the west, earthquakes to the south and more. Yes, it seems that the world is in stormy, turbulent upheaval.

But let’s stay focused here. The Astros are at the crossroads. Something has to give. Someone has to take charge. Now is the time. Indeed, Jeff Luhnow may have earned himself the Executive of the Year awards with piecing together a should-be winning roster. But to what end?

Frankly, a division title is little victory if the Astros aren’t playing in late October.

Now, the focus is clearly on the field. The pennant is in the hands of A.J. Hinch and the 25-30 players who will take the field over the next few weeks. This time next month, we’ll gather on these pages to lament what could have been or celebrate the next season of baseball.

The Astros, once at the head of the class of the American League, relinquished that seat weeks ago. You wanted a race? You got it! Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully. Stay tuned.

Injuries aside, here are a few things the Astros must do to regain their swagger.

  1. Play to win. Everyday. Every game. No more days off. No more complacency. No more “we’ve got time”. No more “there is tomorrow”. No, the time is now. The playoffs have begun.
  2. Someone must step up. Closed, players’ only meetings, sure. Extra batting practice, yep. Playing when you’re hurt, you bet. Who will it be? Who’s going to take charge? Who’s going to say “let’s do this!” Justin Verlander? Brian McCann? Dallas Keuchel? Or will one of the young guys like Jose Altuve, George Springer or Carlos Correa or even Alex Bregman stand up and say “Enough already!”
  3. Hinch must take control of the clubhouse. Yes, the game still needs to be fun. Yes, the stretch run doesn’t need to be a grind for these guys. But Hinch has to clearly communicate that the season is on the line and that he expects players to bring their game face every pitch, every inning, every game. Now more than at any point of the season, it is incumbent on Hinch to find the right combinations, make the tough decisions and consistently put the best team 0n the field. There’s a fine line he has to walk. Too much pressure, too big of a squeeze will take all the life out of the team. But too loose of boundaries brings no structure and scatters expectations.
  4. If he truly believes he’s hired the best guy for the job, Luhnow should be hands-off with Hinch. If he isn’t already, let the guy manage the game from the first pitch to the last out. Sure, check with him everyday to make suggestions or ensure he has all the tools he needs, but when the game starts, sit in your suite and enjoy the beverages and nachos!

To be sure, most of these players are in a pennant race for the first time. Many have taken on roles in recent weeks they have never had to take on before. And some are dealing with the adversity of slumps and/or injuries, at the wrong time of the pennant race.

And, yes, injuries have played a part. Some players probably missed time they didn’t have to because of the huge lead. Now, there is not that luxury. Hinch needs to find the players who can win now, not in October.

Make no mistake: If the Astros can’t put it together now, they won’t have a prayer in October. Yes, we live in kooky, wacky, insane times. But the playoffs are underway.

Luhnow is in line for his post-season award. Now, Hinch and a few players need to push their way back to the front of the line for theirs!

Questions for you:

  • Who or what is responsible most for this late-season swoon?
  • Which player(s) do you believe will step up in the stretch run?
  • What one thing can Hinch do to keep the team between the lines?
  • Your prediction: How does the season end for the Astros?
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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.

83 comments on “Now or never: Houston destiny in the hands of Hinch and 25-30 players

  1. Kevin
    September 10, 2017

    Love the post, Right on the Button, Now to think of the answers HMM

    Like

  2. Mr. Bill
    September 10, 2017

    *Who or what is responsible most for this late-season swoon?*

    The only players who have been consistently good for the Astros in the 2nd half are Reddick, Bregman, and Altuve [though Jose has by no means been himself, at his worst he’s still been better than 90% of MLB players and everybody else on this team.]

    The entire pitching staff has looked like 2013-14 revisited. The rotation after Keuchel has been constantly on the verge of disaster. Occasional good games by Peacock, Morton, and McHugh tease us, but just set us up for the inevitable collapse. Beyond that, it is duck and cover. McCullers has been the biggest let down – with Fiers a close second. Welcome to our mess, Justin Verlander! At least the first half Astros – who appear to have been abducted by aliens – left us a sizeable division lead!

    The 2nd half bullpen has been downright ugly. Giles has three or four good games; then totally crashes and burns. Mr. Inconsistent. Even Will Harris, after his return, has been on again, off again. Devenski? The league is suddenly full of dragon-slayers. Musgrove has been better than Devo. Gregerson? He must have hung around Tony Sipp too long.

    Springer has looked like a whipped puppy. He is getting manhandled by rookie pitchers. But he is doing one heck of a Carlos Gomez imitation.

    Correa has not been a factor since his return – and appears to have been brought back at least two weeks too soon.

    The call-ups – Kemp, Davis, and White – have once again failed to impress, either offensively or defensively.

    Gattis has been gone – but wasn’t good before he left and went 0 for the minor leagues in his rehab stint.

    McCann has apparently checked out for the season – too many years out of the playoffs, he appears to have forgotten what a kick toward the finish line looks like.

    But it appears to me that with all these failures, the buck really stops with A.J. Hinch. He has not managed. He has failed to inspire. He has not kept this team focused. He has let adversity beat this team into a cesspool of wasted talent. He has let this team dissolve into – and below – mediocrity.

    Oh well, at least we won’t have to play the White Sox or the As – bad teams who we let beat us like a drum – in the playoffs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin
      September 10, 2017

      OMG I’m speechless that was an epic evaluation and articulation of everything a lot of us have been posting and seeing for weeks. Youi nailed it Mr Bill, we can move on to the next post. Nice job of taking of the white cloves and just being brutally honest.. TY

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sandy
    September 10, 2017

    * Who or what is responsible most for this late-season swoon?
    The Astros have trouble hitting left hand pitching also not very good handling breaking balls. The opposition has figured this out. Without the great offense the pitching is revealed as what it always was. Mediocre.

    * Which player(s) do you believe will step up in the stretch run.
    Hope it’s the bullpen.
    * What one thing can Hinch do to keep the team between the lines?
    Not much at this point.
    * Your prediction: How does the season end for the Astros?
    They will be eliminated in the ALDS.

    I’ve said it repeatedly. This team needs better coaching.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin
      September 10, 2017

      Go Sandy respecting everyone’s thoughts here. The way they are playing right now one and done sadly! I lost a lot of faith and respect with some players in the way are so called leaders acted and played after we didn’t get anyone at the trade dead line. Since then there has been zero leadership on this team and its has showed , sub .500 team since the break

      Like

  4. Mr. Bill
    September 10, 2017

    *Which player(s) do you believe will step up in the stretch run?*

    I do not expect a ‘stretch run’ from this team. I expect a weak limp toward the finish line, hoping nobody in the West has enough in the tank even if they walk slowly and eat pistachios the rest of the way.

    I do expect Josh Reddick, Jose Altuve, Alex Breman and Marwin Gonzales to keep playing hard. I expect Alex Bregman to start a fist fight in the locker room with George Springer if he doesn’t get his act together. And I expect Carlos Correa will start to swing the bat reasonably well the last week of the season.

    But my surprise pick for the best improvement down the stretch is Carlos Beltran. I think he will see this club needs veteran leadership, will dig down deep, and will go out with style.

    Like

    • daveb7
      September 10, 2017

      Hey wait a second. Yes, Springer is slumping but I’ve seen far worse. He’s still having a career year. He’s become the best non leadoff guy leading off in the league. The OPS is still well over .900. He’s still hitting .290 plus. His OBP is .370 something. He’s great in the dugout. He tries, always. He plays out of position and does not complain. Is that on Hinch or Luhnow? Anyway Bill, if you pick on Springer, you’ll hear from me.

      Like

      • daveb7
        September 10, 2017

        I was going to add a happy face, but I don’t know how.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 10, 2017

        Dave, you can defend Gorgeous George anyday. I wish I could, because I really like the guy. He, like Keuchel, just seems to collapse at the very moment the tough get going.

        Like

  5. sargeh
    September 10, 2017

    OH NO! Now Keuchel has the walk-in-a-runitist.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      September 10, 2017

      NO MAS! NO MAS! White towel flying!!!!!!!

      Like

  6. Becky⚾
    September 10, 2017

    Mr. Bill…..I agree with you on who it should be to have a team only meeting.
    Beltran has the respect of ALL these guys, and they SHOULD listen to him. Will he do it??? Maybe not…..but the only other guy who could reach them, would be Altuve.
    I said the first game yesterday, that it would not surprise me if these guys got swept these 4 games……looks like I was right. There are guys who have NEVER been to the playoffs, and they want it so bad they could taste it…..I hope they pull it together to make that happen, but I’m not hopeful😣.

    Like

  7. Kevin
    September 10, 2017

    I cant remember the last time I turned off 3 straight games in the 6th Bummer. Angels probably licking their chops to face this current defeated team..

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      September 10, 2017

      I quit when Keuchel walked in the first run……I went in the kitchen, sat down on the floor and cried my eyes out.😢 Healy just hit another homerun, and the game is completely out of reach now. I’m soo sad and defeated…..it will be hard to listen to their next game, no matter WHO is pitching. Sooo sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mr. Bill
        September 10, 2017

        Becky, after 55 years of humiliation, I don’t have tears for this team anymore. Just sighs of ‘oh well, here we go again’.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. sandy
    September 10, 2017

    I guess they used up all their luck in the first half. Can’t get a break no matter what they do.
    They just look clueless.

    Like

  9. daveb7
    September 10, 2017

    I said last night that I can’t figure these guys out. I still can’t. Keuchel self destructing? He should be terribly embarrassed. Our Cy Young lost his composure over a bad call. Wonder what Verlander thinks of him? So I point one pretty big finger at Dallas. He should be the leader of this group.

    And does it matter if we have a Madden or a Hinch? I think so, to a degree. If all of our guys get hot again at the same time, they might carry their manager, But I don’t know if our skipper has the personality or insight to get the best out of all 25 guys when they have to get it done. So far, we still don’t know, because there has been not one must have situation all season.

    Sandy, I’m as clueless as they look.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dan P
    September 10, 2017

    Chip – that was one heck of a post – really made me think a bit.

    I guess I don’t give up as easy as everyone else here. Yes, I know they are not playing well now. But they did win 7 in a row – not very long ago. I know they are struggling in a lot of areas, but I have watched a lot of baseball in 50+ years and no team avoids having a down period. They do need to get a little mojo back before the playoffs start.

    – Mr. Bill I respect you in a lot of things, but for instance Mr. Inconsistent – Ken Giles. Since June 6, he had saved 14 games and blew only one save leading into Friday’s blown save. In that time he gave up 3 runs in 28 appearances. That is very consistent and very good.

    – George Springer and Carlos Correa are notoriously slow starters and have been struggling after the time on the DL …..I believe sometime in the next two weeks they will get it back and start cranking.

    – I am hopeful that Justin Verlander will be a solid rock for them – I was very surprised that Keuchel imploded today. They need those two to be their rocks.

    – I am concerned about the bullpen more than the rotation. But with travel days in the playoffs, there is more of a chance to put your best arms out there. I am also concerned about them trying to shove starters into the bullpen (other than Peacock).

    – I feel bad for this team – they have been thrown out on the road for a lot of games, including three they shouldn’t have and have the stress in the back of their minds of what has happened in Houston with Harvey. Coming home against the Mets was not a restful time home.

    As far as your questions go…

    Who or what is responsible most for this late-season swoon?
    – Some expected fall back to reality
    – Injuries to All Stars Correa, Springer, Keuchel, McCullers plus 2016 All Star Harris
    – Too many people being used out of their roles
    – Some guys relaxing too soon
    – Some guys tightening up under stress
    Which player(s) do you believe will step up in the stretch run?
    – Verlander, Springer, Correa
    What one thing can Hinch do to keep the team between the lines?
    – Not look like he is panicking when he is jumping around trying to find someone to play well
    Your prediction: How does the season end for the Astros?
    – I think they will win their division (going out on the limb there), will right the ship, but still lose home field advantage to the Indians – beat the Red Sox and lose to the Indians.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Chip Bailey
      September 10, 2017

      Dan, yes, they did win seven in a row recently, but even then, the Astros are 26-28 now since the All Star break and 17-21 since August 1. And that includes a 7-game win streak!

      This is more than a slump unfortunately and they just can’t seem to put it together. If they can’t, it’s going to land at Hinch’s doorstep IMO.

      I agree they shouldn’t panic, but he must right the ship and steer it into the right direction. When you examine what has them here in the first place, you realize they shouldn’t be here at all. The Indians can’t possibly maintain their pace, but the Astros won’t do diddly in October at their pace either.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Mr. Bill
    September 10, 2017

    *Your prediction: How does the season end for the Astros?*

    We have 19 more games. Considering the competition, I expect 6 wins out of that.

    That means we would go down 13 games in the loss column. We are presently 13 games ahead, though, and I don’t expect the Angels will be able win out, so that means we should still win the division.

    We should go into the playoffs as the division leader with either the 2nd best or the worst record – either way, as I understand it, that pits us against the Red Sox. I predict we win one game against the Sox, then lose the rest badly, and go home knowing we wasted the opportunity to do something really special this year.

    Like

    • Zanuda
      September 10, 2017

      As it stands now I dislike your post immensely, but that’s because it’s probably spot on. As Becky said previously, the bull pen sucks. Hey Becky, news flash, it’s not just the bull pen. A perfect example of going from the penthouse to the out house in only a couple of months.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. astrocolt45
    September 10, 2017

    A note to the bullpen from Casey Stengel
    “Son, we’d like to keep you around this season but we’re going to try and win a pennant .”

    Like

  13. Becky⚾
    September 10, 2017

    Zanuda…..most of the starters held their own, until the bullpen took over. Keuchel walking in runs still didn’t put the game out of reach. BUT let me show you something that will make you sick.
    Bullpen gave up: *29* earned runs in 4 games. Let that sink in.
    I wonder what Justin Verlander must think watching this teaM play so badly.
    I doubt A.J. Hinch will get much sleep the next few weeks. WHO can he trust out of his pitching staff, OR his bullpen. If the guys can’t get on base, you can get ’em in.
    I’ve starting to give up on any hopes of the playoffs, it doesn’t appear that they want it. Pretty sad 😢
    I’M watching the Indians Baltimore game on ESPN…..the Astros won’t be able to hang with the Indians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zanuda
      September 10, 2017

      That’s what I pointed out in the the previous Chipalatta posting about how bad the bullpen has been in this series. Along with the appearance of the “I don’t give a damn attitude.” I didn’t watch today’s game as I was watching the Panthers and 49ers play. Much more entertaining. Yet I was following the game on my phone. I was thinking that through 5 innings so it was only a matter of time until the inevitable happened. I watched only one highlight form the game and that was Marisnick getting thrown out. Now if a few others would do the same it might light a fire under these guys. As for all of the pitchers and position players maybe too much “rest” is a bad thing and they are losing focus.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        September 10, 2017

        I agree 100%.

        Like

      • sandy
        September 10, 2017

        I agree as well !

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 10, 2017

        The thing is, losing your temper and getting ejected from the game over a pitch that you thought was a ball but was really a strike is stupid. It just makes Marisnick look like a guy who can’t tell a ball from a strike and points out perfectly that if you are going to lose your temper, it might be better to lose it in the clubhouse, where there are about thirty guys that have been playing lousy and need to be need to be called out.
        Marisnick got a break from the ump because he should have been rung up on the previous pitch.
        The Astros stunk. Peacock came to play.
        But, they are the most rested team in baseball, because tomorrow’s day off will be the fifth day in a row they haven’t played baseball.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Zanuda
        September 11, 2017

        1OP, understand your point but I was thinking about just getting a fire lit under these guys because they are so lethargic. Yes it should happen in the clubhouse but something sure needs to happen.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 11, 2017

        I was listening to the game on the radio. Was the pitch Marisnick got ejected a strike? I agree with OP that it’s silly to argue that vehemently even if you disagree with the call. Most players will just say what they want to say and let the umpire know they disagreed with the call.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        September 11, 2017

        What you saw, in my opinion, was not his disbelief or even disagreement with the call. Perhaps it was more a symptom of the real problem and that is the frustration that is brewing in the clubhouse and in the dugout.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      September 11, 2017

      The pitch track showed it right on the outside corner thigh high – I don’t know what Marisnick said, but he slammed his bat down as soon as the call was made and you can’t show up the ump on that. He should have hit himself in the head with the bat as he should not have taken a pitch that close (that was a strike)

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 11, 2017

        FYI: so far in the 2nd half of the season this is our offensive production, player by player, from the best performer to the worst:

        – Altuve [66 games] is hitting .358/.400/.988 with 10 HR and 26 RBIs;
        – White [13 games] is hitting .325/.365/1.025 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs;
        – Bregman [53 games] is hitting .323/.377/.924 with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs;
        – Reddick [49 games] is hitting .318/.357/.798 with 4 HRs and 38 RBIs;
        – Marwin [48 games] is hitting .278/.338/.788 with 5 HR and 25 RBIs;
        – Gurriel [46 games] is hitting .272/.318/.768 with 6 HR and 21 RBIs;
        – Springer [40 games ] is hitting .253/.360/.723 with 4 HR and 15 RBIs;
        – Davis [17 games] is hitting .250/.310/.858 with 4 HRs and 7 RBIs;
        – Beltran [43 games] is hitting .245/.293/.665 with 3 HR and 14 RBIs;
        – Marisnick [38 games] is hitting .228/.311/.689 with 6 HR and 11 RBIs;
        – McCann [28 games] is hitting .224/.327/.725 with 4 HR and 12 RBIS;
        – Stassi [7 games] is hitting .222/.391/1.022 with 2 HRs and 3 RBIs;
        – Kemp [5 games] is hitting .214/.214/.500 with 0 HRs and 1 RBI;
        – Gattis [17 games] is hitting .210/.222/.609 with 3 HR and 6 RBIs;
        – Maybin [31 games] is hitting .184/.259/.565 with 3 HR and 9 RBIs;
        – Fisher [33 games] is hitting .198/.305/.612 with 2 HR and 10 RBIs;
        – Centeno [15 games] is hitting .179/.238/.418 with 0 HR and 1 RBI;
        – Correa [11 games] is hitting .171/.255/.450 with 0 HR and 3 RBIs.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 11, 2017

        Dan, you have probably figured out that this was not supposed to be a reply to your post, but an independent post which was supposed to go at the bottom of the blog.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 11, 2017

        Dan P is the greatest. Spread the news!

        Like

  14. astrocolt45
    September 11, 2017

    Casey again: “Can’t anyone here play this game?”

    We are watching something that might be good in the end. Everyone is cold as a cucumber right now. So maybe at the end of September, everyone will get hot at the same time.

    Like

  15. Devin
    September 11, 2017

    They did this same thing in 2015. The team got tight down the stretch. The playoff run was saved by Colby Rasmus getting hot in Arizona. Then, the bullpen mileage really caught up to them against KC.

    On the awards, I hope Luhnow and Hinch didn’t clear any mantle space because I can’t see either being any better than runner-up.

    What can Hinch do? I don’t think he commands the respect necessary to do anything here. The pitchers have to stop walking people. They have to field their positions. Players have to stop getting thrown out on the bases after poor decisions. These are day 1 of spring training problems. Again.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mr. Bill
    September 11, 2017

    Well, that was one ugly series in Oakland. A day off to lick out wounds and ask ourselves ‘who let the dogs out’, then our Astros – now known as the team that used to have the best record in the American League – is back at the grind, this time facing a team that is light years better than the one that just swept four from us and outscored us 41-15.

    Tuesday: Justin Verlander faces Garrett Richards

    Wednesday: Lance McCullers, Jr. vs. Tyler Skaggs [a lefty]

    Thursday: Brad Peacock v. Ricky Nolasco

    It’s probably no surprise that I am not particularly optimistic about this series going in. We gave up a lot to get Justin Verlander. Can he be the stopper – and inspirational leader – this schizophrenic team desperately needs?

    Like

    • Devin
      September 11, 2017

      We can at least take heart in the fact the Dodgers have a much worse losing streak!

      Like

    • sandy
      September 11, 2017

      Mr. Bill, all he can do is pitch a good game though at least seven innings. The hitters need to wake up and do their part before it’s too late.

      Like

  17. Robert
    September 11, 2017

    Definitely glad that that ugly series is over and we are out of Oakland.
    The bullpen and all its mileage this season is the main reason for the late season swoon.
    I see Verlander, Altuve, Bregman, Springer, and Correa as being the guys to help us break out of he slump. There is also an outside chance of LMJ also being in that category if he can build on his last start.
    Hinch can have a closed door meeting with the team and throw the expectations down in front of them. Also he could do nothing and allow some of the veterans Beltran, McCann among others take the reins of leadership inside the clubhouse.
    I’m going to be more optimistic than some of the other faithful Chipalatta readers and say the Astros right the ship and win in the ALDS and then give the Indians all they want in the ALCS. I could see them being the AL champions even as badly as they’ve been playing recently. This team has a good enough core of players to compete with and beat any team in the MLB.
    Thanks again for a wonderfully written post Chip!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tim
    September 11, 2017

    http://www.sportingnews.com/helping-houston-heal

    I believe I mentioned that the boys and I went to 2 of the 3 Mets games over Labor Day Weekend. During the game on Sunday a foul ball landed in our section and I was able to retrieve it. Shortly thereafter a writer for The Sporting News approached me as he was doing a story on the Astros returning to play in Houston so soon after Hurricane Harvey. He had decided to talk to the next person who got a foul ball. Toward the end of the article he mentions his conversation with me, Tim Cuyler, and there is a photo of me and the boys with my youngest holding the foul ball. I just thought I would share it here for those wanting to read it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Devin
      September 11, 2017

      Thanks for sharing Tim, but I’m pretty bummed you didn’t introduce yourself to the reporter as “Chipalatta Celebrity Tim Cuyler.” I’m glad you guys were able to make it down for the games. My best friend had really good tickets to the Saturday games, but had to skip because the roads in SW Houston didn’t present a safe enough route to / from the game.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      September 11, 2017

      Awesome story etc Quite cool

      Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      September 11, 2017

      Thanks for sharing. Great article and love the photos of your boys.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      September 11, 2017

      How hard would it be to say “Dan P” is the greatest?
      Despite that – this is really cool and fun to see a picture of all of you. Kiki Cuyler huh? That is a baseball name of another time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tim
        September 11, 2017

        Yes. My family did some researching back in the 70s (obviously before ancestry.com) and discovered our family relationship to him. It is really cool to say I have a relative in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as distant as he is.

        Like

    • Becky⚾
      September 11, 2017

      Handsome young men!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Mr. Bill
    September 11, 2017

    In our previous six games at LA this year, here are the stats our position players have put up, in order of the quality of their performance:

    Reddick: .438/.449/1.136 with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB and 5 Ks;
    McCann: .364/.400/.1.006 with 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, and 2 Ks;
    Gurriel: .286/.366/.880 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB and 4 Ks;
    Bregman: .286/.362/.790 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, and 9 Ks;
    Altuve: .286/.311/.763 with 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, and 7 Ks;
    Gattis: .250/.276/.633 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB and 4 Ks;
    Springer: .217/.333/.768, with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB, and 7 Ks;
    Marwin: .182/.308/.490 with 0 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB and 9 Ks;
    Correa: .182/.250/.477 with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, and 4 Ks;
    Marisnick: .167/.167/.667 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB and 7 Ks;
    Beltran: .143/.143/.429 with 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB and 6 Ks;
    Davis: .125/.125/.625 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, O BB and 4 Ks.

    Obviously, Maybin hasn’t faced the Angels in LA this year. Neither has Tyler White, Tony Kemp, or Max Stassi. Derek Fisher has three ABs in LA this year and is 0-3 with 1 K.

    So, if I am the Manager:

    1. Neither Beltran, Marisnick, nor Davis see the batter’s box in this series;
    2. Correa plays games 1 and 2, but if he doesn’t show signs of life, he rests in game three, and I let Bregman play SS, Gurriel at third, and Gonzales or White at 1st.
    3. Reddick starts all 3 games, even against the lefty Skaggs;
    4. McCann catches games 1 and 3; I start Stassi in game 2, because Gattis is notoriously ineffective against left-handed pitching;
    5. Reddick, Bregman, Altuve, Maybin, and Gurriel play every game;
    6. Bregman leads off; Springer bats 6th or 7th; if Springer cannot contribute, he gets game 3 off and Fisher starts in his place;
    7. I call upon Fisher to DH game 1, White in game 2, and Kemp in game 3; let’s see who among the three warrants more at bats the rest of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daveb7
      September 11, 2017

      It’s almost mid September. Way too late to start screwing around with Springer in the order. He’ll get it back in time if left alone. Jeez, you want to put Fisher up there? He’s 1 for his last 16, with 1 BB and 8 K. That’s a hell of an OBP for a leadoff guy. Mr. Bill, my apologies, but you do not get a smiley face on this one.

      Like

      • daveb7
        September 11, 2017

        Correction. You get half a smiley face. I did not read your post accurately. But stilll no, Springer should remain as leadoff guy. And Fisher should not get any starts right now. It’s not time to help him through his own slump. Besides, I sure don’t thiink we’ll see him on any playoff roster.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 11, 2017

        And here I sit knee-deep in smiley-face limbo, Dave! What exactly is one supposed to do with half a smiley face? Uhhhh – never mind!

        Liked by 1 person

      • daveb7
        September 11, 2017

        Mr. Bill, maybe you’ll say something tomorrow that I can buy into and you’ll get another half smiley face the old fashioned way.

        Like

    • sargeh
      September 11, 2017

      And Sipp, Fiers, Clippard, Liriano, and Gregerson need to remain on the bench in the bullpen.

      Like

    • Mr. Bill
      September 11, 2017

      Dave, I agree that Fisher has been stinking it up, and that he should not be on a playoff roster. But someone has to play Springer’s position if he is given a day off, and Fisher is the best defender on the bench. As far as Fisher getting the DH opportunity in the 1st game, I would really prefer it be Tyler White, but this management team would never go for that in a million years. And we all know who is going to be the DH in the playoffs, no matter what his BA, OBP, or run-production numbers are. He obviously needs a super-sized ton of rest these days. And since he’s not contributed much offensively in LA’s stadium anyway, what could letting one of the call-ups try to do what he has been unable to do really hurt? It is not like anybody in this organization – player, manager, or FO – cares about this three game series anyway, is it?

      Like

  20. astrocolt45
    September 11, 2017

    Before we give the WS trophy to the Indians (or the Dodgers,etc) lets not forget the 1954 Indians. Record 111-43. The team had SP of Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and Al Houtteman. (3 HoF’ers). Plus Larry Doby, CF, (HofF).

    They got swept by the Giants in 4 straight. The Giants had good players, with the best being a 23 year old.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      September 11, 2017

      Yes, but the Giants had Durocher and the Astros don’t.

      Like

      • Dan P
        September 11, 2017

        Well I remember when the Astros did have Durocher and it didn’t help that much.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Diane
        September 11, 2017

        “‘Dan P’ is the greatest.”

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 11, 2017

        Yep, even Durocher couldn’t help the Astros.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Mr. Bill
    September 11, 2017

    Here is what we have gotten from our bullpen in the 2nd half, from best performers (reluctantly using ERA as the measuring rod, because there is no real performance-based alternative), to the worst performers:

    Giles – 22.1 IP, 1.61 ERA, 0.851 WHIP
    Musgrove – 31 IP, 2.32 ERA, 1.065 WHIP;
    Devenski – 21.2 IP, 2.59 ERA, 1.154 WHIP;
    Hoyt – 11.2 IP, 4.63 ERA, 1.471 WHIP;
    Harris – 3.2 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.364 WHIP;
    Martes – 25 IP, 5.04 ERA, 1.440 WHIP
    Gregerson – 21.1 IP, 5.48 ERA, 1.547 WHIP;
    Fiers – 56 IP (most as starter), 6.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP;
    Liriano – 25 IP, 6.84 ERA, 1.840 WHIP;
    Clippard – 8 IP, 10.13 ERA, 2.00 WHIP;
    Sipp – 7 IP, 15.43 ERA, 2.571 WHIP;
    Feliz – 6.1 IP, 18.47, 3.945 WHIP

    Perhaps my earlier assessment of Giles, after he imploded against the As, as ‘Mr. Inconsistent’, was indeed too harsh, Dan.

    But the bottom half of that bullpen has been pretty terrible.

    Like

    • daveb7
      September 11, 2017

      Mr. Bill, you are a harsh soul. Picking on Giles and Springer like that. Pick on someone like Cy Young. He deserves it right now.

      And you know, there is a reason why the Clip was available. It’s pretty apparent now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill
        September 11, 2017

        You mean the guy who got ticked off about a call and proceeded to lose his cool completely and give up three gimme runs by walking the bases loaded, walking two guys with the bases loaded, and hitting another with the bases loaded? Then had the hubris to say, ‘That [i.e. drawing bases loaded walks and hit-bastmen] was their whole game plan.”

        Nah – why would I pick on him?

        Liked by 1 person

      • daveb7
        September 11, 2017

        Ok, you’ve fully earned the other half smiley face.

        Like

    • Tim
      September 11, 2017

      Those are unsightly numbers. I think Harris will be fine, but just needs more work and moving Peacock to the bullpen for the playoffs will help. If you have 5 reliable bullpen arms that should be enough with all the off days in the playoffs.

      Like

  22. videoidgetcom
    September 11, 2017

    I know this will sound a little weird, but I think the recent decline in certain SPs and bullpen hurlers is actually a good thing. It will make it that much easier for Hinch to nix the likes of the following for the postseason roster: Clippard, Feliz, Guduan, Hoyt, Martes, Musgrove and Morton. Trim the fat, and this is an excellent postseason team!!

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 11, 2017

      Musgrove may be good enough in the bullpen stay. I’d switch him for Gregerson.

      Agreed about the others. I like Morton but he is too inconsistent.

      Like

      • videoidgetcom
        September 12, 2017

        I agree. Either Musgrove or Fiers should own the mop-up role come the postseason. The main thing is to settle in on THE 11 PITCHER POSTSEASON STAFF, maybe 12 (ditch Musgrove AND Fiers). Regardless, it’s time to trim the fat, and get the proper hurlers the PT down the stretch.

        Like

  23. videoidgetcom
    September 11, 2017

    Fiers to own the long-relief mop up role…

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      September 11, 2017

      Hmmmn. The 2nd half stats that I see sure don’t lead me to that conclusion, V-man:

      Musgrove – 31 IP, 2.32 ERA, 1.065 WHIP;
      ***
      Fiers – 56 IP (most as starter), 6.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 11, 2017

        Yeah the only thing Fiers should be owning this point is a bar in Minnesota.

        Like

      • Zanuda
        September 12, 2017

        And the specialty of the house is a gopher ball cocktail.

        Like

  24. Russell Johnson
    September 11, 2017

    tuesdays game is the reason you go get a verlander. you want an ace that will stop a slide. well here is the game. lets get back going in the right direction.

    Like

  25. Becky⚾
    September 11, 2017

    I know it shouldn’t bother me but it does ,when you hear announcers and writers making fun out of the Astros slide. Remember when we played the M’s, and got no hit by Miranda? He lasted 1 1/4 innings in arlington tonight. The only reason I’m watching this game is to see if the M’s, can get to the wild card. NOTHING would please me more, to see the arlington little league get hammered. My advice for Verlander……pitch a complete game, ’cause this bullpen is broken.

    Like

    • sandy
      September 12, 2017

      Bothers the hell out of me as well.

      Like

  26. Mr. Bill
    September 12, 2017

    Congratulations to the Quad Cities River Bandits! Good luck in the Midwest League Championship Series!

    Like

  27. astrocolt45
    September 12, 2017

    Wanted to throw out a suggestion on JFSF and him blowing a gasket. First, he was probably comfortable being the 4th OFer with Aoki. Then Fisher comes up and gets playing time. Then Maybin comes over and does well. And Kemp and Marwin play some in LF. So it would appear that Jake is now the 5th or 6th or 7th OFer on the team. He is just starting to enter his “money” years and is riding the bench. It would be up to Hinch to explain what is going on. AJ may have, but Jake looks like a guy that knows his limited hitting is not going to get a big contract, and WAS probably content being 4th on the early 2017 team. That is no longer the case.

    Like

    • Devin
      September 12, 2017

      There might be something to this. Of ten September games, JFSF has played in only four, and recorded PA in only two. He’s 0-5 with 4 K in those at bats. His defensive value will certainly earn him a spot on the postseason roster(s), but being in a real slump will limit his innings and at bats. This will also limit his earning capability in arbitration this winter.

      Like

    • Zanuda
      September 12, 2017

      If that’s the case that sucks. JFSF has been a vital contributor to the success of the team this year and to be treated like this (if true) doesn’t speak well for the organization. Remember a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Maybe he has already had the conversation with Hinch but I doubt it. If the team doesn’t at least make it to the ALDS and even the WS after all of this I think we need a new manager. Hinch may be great with the new guys but I don’t think he’s the guy to get us to the next level. I hope I’m wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sandy
        September 12, 2017

        I have to agree. If he’s truly the decision maker.

        Like

    • Devin
      September 12, 2017

      Sorry, I don’t mean to fan the flames. Don’t be like me – remember that JFSF has been dealing with a strained groin for the last ten days. I don’t think it’s fair to pin any blame for his lack of usage on Hinch. The team may be a little cautious knowing that healthy players on a team that limps into the postseason are likely to bring better results than a banged up lineup that throws it all out there to win the division by 15 games.

      Like

  28. Mr. Bill
    September 12, 2017

    Hoping for a big bounce-back series for Springer and Correa! We really need those guys to catch fire and make their presence felt again – and we need Altuve, Reddick, Bregman, and Gurriel to keep doing exactly what they have been doing.

    Like

  29. Chip Bailey
    September 12, 2017

    Hello all. Yes, I know I put a lot of load on Hinch. And, yes, he needs to step up over the next few weeks. But, barring some circumstances we are not aware of, he ain’t going anywhere and he shouldn’t be going anywhere, whether the Astros make the WS or not.

    Yes, tensions are high I’m guessing on a team that ran away from the league in the first half but is playing under .500 since the break. Hinch is probably trying combinations now and who knows what may have happened behind the scenes. The way that Luhnow keeps bringing in “extra” outfielders, however, tells me he’s not satisfied with everything he has. Marisnick is making $1.1 million this year as a fourth, fifth and/or sixth outfielder. He will make more next year and he’s not exactly at Marwin, so he’ll likely price himself out of arbitration…at least in Houston…

    Like

  30. Diane
    September 12, 2017

    I kept being bugged by Tim looking like somebody I know. It’s Michael Keaton.

    Liked by 1 person

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