Five questions on an Astros righting the ship weekend

As we’ve discussed before, the baseball season is a marathon and the Astros are turning for the home stretch of the last couple miles of their race. The hope is they will be around for a couple extra miles after the regular race finishes.

The Astros are aiming to clinch in the next couple games and as we wait for that blessed event here are five questions to ponder.

1) Even if healthy is it too late to insert Lance McCullers Jr into the rotation?

At this point with about 15 games to go could he get it together enough to be a dependable option in the playoffs? Pitchers just don’t show up after injuries and turn the switch on as the M’s James Paxton showed Friday night. Does he make their rotation better or worse?

2) Is the Justin Verlander pickup the most significant in-season trade since Jeff Bagwell was picked up for Larry Andersen?

Yes, the Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran  trades were significant at the time, but they were both rentals. The answer to this may lie in whether the Astros are the last men standing in this or the next two seasons.

3) Would you rather be the Astros or the Indians? 

In other words would you rather be the super red hot team, who may cool off in the last couple weeks entering the playoffs or the team that seems to be righting the ship after injury and performance adversity produced mediocre results?

4) Jose Altuve is the front runner for AL MVP. But is he the Astros MVP??

There is no doubting the diminutive ones value to the team. But arguments could be made that the guy who puts the team into overdrive is named Carlos Correa or George Springer.

5) Often in the playoffs heroics come from  unexpected places. Who under the radar player could be a critical cog in an Astros playoff run?

Think of Chris Burke‘s walkoff Crawford box winner. Could a Cameron Maybin or a Brad Peacock outperform the bigger names on the roster?

Anyway, here’s hoping the Astros clinch that title this weekend and surge back ahead of the Indians.


89 comments on “Five questions on an Astros righting the ship weekend

  1. If McCullers can give even five innings of what he is capable of during the post season, he might be the second starter I’d want out there.

    Verlander is our ace right now, essential to our post season prospects. And if he’s healthy most of the time next year, we’ll be happy to have him. So yes, it’s a bigger deal than the rentals.

    I’d rather be the Astros because I’m a homer.

    Altuve is still the club MVP. Easily. He’s been there all year and really helped keep the team competitive after the break.

    If Gattis gets at bats, he’ll be a difference maker. He has not had his hot streak yet. Now is the perfect time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. * I would shelf LMJ maybe an inning in the pen maybe? He needs to get his crap together for next year or time to move on..
    * I liked the JV trade months ago because I still believe he has 2 good years left, and we didn’t loose some of our best young guys.
    * I hate to say this, but Indians right now their pitching is stronger 1-12
    * Tuve , but I could argue that Reddick is right there
    * I think Peacock has that shot at being the unsung hero of the playoffs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am amazed at the siren song that is Lance McCullers. We have two dependable starters in Brad Peacock especially and Charlie Morton secondarily who have outperformed him in the marathon but yet we still long for that sprinter who just MIGHT flash a few innings of brilliance. I’m not sure I would even have McCullers on the playoff roster. Plus there may be something rotten in Denmark when Hinch cites arm fatigue and McCullers claims he’s fine.

    I think its possible that Verlander could be super significant especially if his professionalism rubs off on some of the other starters. Keuchel could use a dose of Verlander’s toughness and perform on the mound instead of carping at the front office for not doing enough at trade time. Would really like to see Dallas put up or shut up today and for the rest of the season.

    Altuve is the guy who is there every day. Right now he seems to be grinding a bit but even then he’s there. I was at the game last night and was encouraged by Springer and Correa hitting the ball with authority but a home run barrage by one or both would be the catalyst for something special.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Peacock is the upcoming hero. The guy just competes and does the job. He has proven to me that he’s for real and I think most of the fans agree. On the Stro-Poll on the broadcast Thursday night the overwhelming choice for his role going forward was third starter. Morton might be another candidate. Charlie makes me crazy with his domination through the order and then his seeming loss of concentration but even though he was true to form last night he still gave us six innings of one run baseball.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 1. I have zero trust in McCullers at this point. I think in these last few games, I would let him try a couple of starts, but unless he can show control in the zone, not to speak of his emotions, I would exclude him in the playoff rotation.
    2.I would say yes concerning Verlander. Everything about him speaks to being a #1 that can be counted on.
    3.I’ll go with the Stros over the Indians, I believe there’s a good possibility that they will be the hot team in October. I think the Indians are a really good team, but not as good as they’ve been playing and will come down to earth. I hope the Stros can overtake them and take back the homefield.
    4.Correa or Springer can give us the overdrive, but Altuve is/has been the rock.
    5. I’ll go with Morton, Peacock and our relievers.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. it would be cool if verlander’s start tomorrow is the clincher. im with dave, five innings of good ball from LMJ would be great and we all know he is capable and theres still a chance for a few starts for him, lets see if he can right the ship. look i wont even consider being anything other than astros. cleveland may find they peaked at the wrong time. altuve is mvp, this is based on what has been done not what somebody can or might do. im going with bregman for the under the radar guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, Hinch is talking about using LMJ out of the bullpen Tuesday, depending on his bullpen session today. There was also mention of letting McHugh come out of the bullpen this week to see how he fares there.
    LMJ has been hurt. There’s no crime in that. People talked about him having the stuff to be a closer years ago. If he ends up in the bullpen for the playoffs and is healthy, he’s an asset.
    The Justin Velander pickup will be the most significant one only if the Astros win a world series while he’s here.
    Would I rather be the Astros or the Indians? I think I would rather be the Astros.
    I guess Altuve is the MVP, because of his all-around performance for the year.
    I think the most underrated player, that no one is talking about, but who could turn out to be a playoff hero is Brevan McGattis.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. 1. LMJ to the BP. Too late in the season to try to fit him in to a starting role.
    2. Yes on Verlander. Even at this point in the season. And we have him for two more years.
    3. Tough question. Hmmm…let me think awhile about it. OK…Astros.
    4. Altuve, Mr. Consistent. Reddick would be my next choice.
    5. Peacock, or the 4th outfielder.


  8. 1. Tell me which LMJ shows up and I will answer the question. 2. So far, YES>. 3. Astros. I too am a “homer.” 4. Altuve. If one has any doubt, see what happens when he has a terrible game or two. 5. Someone like Bucky Dent or an injured Kirk Gibson. Therefore JD Davis or Maybin.


  9. Stupid for Hinch to leave Martes in. Seattle in line for a huge inning unless somebody can put out the fire. Martes just doesn’t impress me at this time. He gets two strikes but can’t put the batter away.


    • I think they have to get some innings out of the fire starters just to save wear and tear on the guys we really need to depend on. Got lucky with Liriano last night and Gregerson today. Keep the bats going to save the bullpen.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. *90* WINS!! First time since 2004!! All I want to see tomorrow is the unveiling of the FIRST but not last …..AL West Champions banner up at Minute Maid Park!!!!
    I absolutely LOVE this team!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Hunter Atkins said Hinch told him before the start of today’s game that LMJ would start Tuesday night if today’s bullpen session went well.
    So, now Hunter Atkins says that after today’s game Hinch said that he wouldn’t talk about LMJ’s bullpen session until before Sunday’s game.
    This whole deal with LMJ is creepy.


  12. The Quad Cities River Bandits just finished stomping Ft. Wayne, 12-2, and win the Midwest League Championship in a series sweep.
    Congratulations to the Bandits and the Astros.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. 1. Not too late
    2. Absolutely.
    3. Remember the playoff game where Joba Chamberlain was attacked by gnats? That’s Cleveland.
    4. Yes, but kind of like how George Clooney was the “star” of the Oceans 11 remake.
    5. It does seem the postseason churns out unlikely heroes. I think Peacock might be the guy when it’s all said and done.


  14. Not too much stress tomorrow! You absolutely know our guys are gonna play on a higher plane tomorrow! They want it so bad they can taste it, and so do WE!!
    I can’t wait!! I’ve never been to a game when the Astros clinched a division title!!
    Ok you guys get that win for Verlander…..and for US!!

    P.S. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the UT -USC game tonight you missed a DANG good game! Had the same energy as the Thanksgiving games between
    UT and A&M!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer

    The outlook was brilliant for the Mudville Nine this day;
    the score stands double zero, with nine innings more to play.
    When Altuve takes the field, and CC does the same,
    a sickly silence will fall upon the Mariner fans by name.

    A straggling few may get up to go in deep despair. The rest,
    the Astros fans cling to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    they thought, if only Beltran could start to get his whacks –
    they’d put up even money, now, with Carlos at the bat.

    The Mariners have Cano and Cruz, the game they hope to take,
    but the former is a puddin’ and the latter is a fake,
    so upon those Mariners multitude grim melancholy will sit,
    there seems little chance of Nelson getting that all important hit..

    Then from thirty thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
    it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
    it knocked upon the mountain and recoiled around the city,
    Verlander, Mighty Verlander, will pitch showing them no pity.

    There is ease in Jv’s manner as he steps into his place;
    there is pride in JV’s bearing but no smile upon his face.
    And when, responding to the cheers, he slams the resin bag down,
    no stranger in the crowd could doubt its Justin on the mound.

    A Thousand eyes are on him as he rubs his hands with dirt;
    A Thousand tongues applauds when he wipes them on his shirt.
    Then while the lanky pitcher grounds the ball into his hip,
    defiance gleamed in JV’s eyes, and a sneer curled his lip.

    And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
    and Cruz stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
    Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped–
    “That ain’t my style,” said Nellie. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

    From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
    like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
    “Good call Mr. Ump” shouted someone on the stand;
    We knew there was two to go, when AJ raised his hand.

    With a smile of Christian charity great Verlander’s visage shone;
    he stilled the rising cheering; he bade the game go on;
    McGattis signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
    but Cruz still ignored it, and the umpire said: “Strike two.”

    The sneer is gone from Nelson’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
    he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
    And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
    and now the air is shattered by the force of Nelson’s blow.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    and Mudville will have a party because, Cruz has struck out.]

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Because tomorrow is a day off, Hinch is giving Altuve the day off today. So, the Astros are going into the game in which they can clinch their first division title in years, and their MVP has to sit it out.


  17. Seriously, you have Verlander’s first home start, a great crowd, a chance to win your division and you make your best player sit. It is infuriating.
    I don’t care what Hinch or Luhnow or Crane says about it, it’s total stupid BS and they all ought to be fired!
    Tim’s there with his kids and he gets to see a lineup run out there that is not relentless. Relentless means you give no quarter, that every guy you run out to the plate is the best you have.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Ok folks I’m back home from the game today. It was evident from the first inning that this pitcher and this team came to win today. After Verlander gave up that homerun, he got pi$$ed and told the M’s, that’s all you’re getting from me! THEN the homerun barrage started coming from every direction!! I can’t tell you how loud that park was, you got to hear a lot of it, but believe me it was deafening!
    These guys came to win THIS game!
    On THIS day! BY
    THIS pitcher!! They were on a mission, and NOTHING was gonna stop them!
    It was magical, it was loud, and when Correa made the last out, the entire park went ballistic!! I stood and clapped and cried because of the pent up years of being laughed at….. not in the conversation of playoffs,and just missing the goal in 2015.
    I can’t tell you how happy the guys were…..and how happy the fans were! I wished that every one of you could have been there with me! Nothing like being right there when their dreams came true! Even Jim Crane went on the field dancing to the music with a little girl in his arms! WOW…..THAT’S ALL I CAN SAY!! JUST…WOW!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are so right Becky. I was there in 1986 and I’ll never forget the atmosphere of that last inning. I’m happy you could be there. You’ve been through a lot and deserved that win.
      I laughed and cried at the same time.


      • I would have LOVED to share it with all of you! The Astros needed this, the fans needed this….but most of all: HOUSTON, TEXAS NEEDED THIS!!


    • Becky and Tim I loved those homers – how about that fantastic double play that Correa started and I really really loved the team walking the perimeter of the field high fiving the fans.
      I loved that you saw this in person – what fun for your kids Tim and what a highlight for you Becky after a tough year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We had a great time at the game yesterday and today. The weekend was fantastic and only the Longhorns loss last night dampened it some, but not enough to take away from seeing this team starting to hit again. My boys went down along the railing right the Mariners dugout to get high fives from the players as they were rounding the field. This is the first time I have seen a division clinching game live.

        Also, it is great to see DFish hitting again. That would be a huge lift if he continues this into the playoffs. He is helping his case on making the playoff roster and if you had asked me a week ago I would have said he would not have made it. His speed is an asset and if he can hit I definitely want him on the team.

        Also, I have been thinking about the starting rotation. I am in the minority on this, but even if McCullers is not able to be in the starting rotation I would like the rotation to be DK, JV, Morton and McHugh with Peacock in the bullpen. I know how good Pea has been in the starting rotation, but I’m not as comfortable with Devenski as our multi-inning reliever as I was earlier. Musgrove has looked good, but I still am not sure how he would handle the pressure of the playoffs. Peacock just seems so easy going that I think he would handle the pressure of the playoffs fine. I also realize that, in the playoffs, it seems to be an attrition of the team with the best bullpens and Peacock would add such a huge weapon for us being able to bridge the gap to Giles. I am very comfortable with a rotation of the 4 I listed above, assuming McHugh is healthy and ready to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCullers left off the ALDS roster if they aren’t sure he is healthy. You can’t take a chance on having a spot filled by someone that you aren’t sure can help you. They may even go with 11 pitchers and 14 offensive players for the ALDS, especially if McCullers isn’t ready. I am going to keep an eye on Moran to see how he does these next 2 weeks. He did a great job for QC in the playoffs, granted it was low A baseball, but if he looks like the hitter he was prior to the injury I can see him being added to the playoff roster.

        These next 2 weeks are going to be fun. I just want to see the team continue playing well and then carry it into the playoffs.

        Liked by 2 people

  19. Just got finished watching the game on Congratulations to our Houston Astros and we hope this is just the first step to becoming the 2017 World Series Champions. I’m jealous of Becky and Tim who got to see this in person but we all can celebrate in the victory. Now lets continue to get things going even better as it looked like Correa and Springer are starting to heat up and a big thanks to Crane and Luhnow who went out and got JV and a couple more who helped get us over the top. Look forward to see the next couple of weeks and who will be on that 1st playoff roster. Once again Congratulations!


  20. IT ws awesome even the wife watched the 9th inning and celebration and she had a tear for the boys. How fun so Jealous Tim and Becky, I would have been there with you if I was still in The Woodlands, you brought us great luck TY.

    round 1 as of today JV, DK, CM, Pen Peacock, Harris, Giles, Musgrove, Gregerson, Morton, Liriano, Devo ?


  21. Laughing. Crying. Shaking my head. Checking and rechecking the box score, the standings, and the stat sheets.

    It’s been awhile. This is the little boy in me – the one whose whole life was baseball – coming back to life.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Me, too. I also looked up the schedule for the playoffs. The Astros last game is Sunday, Oct 1 against the Red Sox and their first playoff game will be Thursday October 5th.
      The Astros pitching staff now trails Cleveland in strikeouts and the Astros pitching staff is now 12th in MLB in ERA, at 4.25. The Astros finished 11th last year in ERA at 4.06.


  22. I was able to snag 3 tickets for game 2 of the ALDS today. I was offered a password to purchase tickets via presale from 11:00-11:59 AM today, but there was a glitch in the system and my password never worked. Fortunately, someone on one of the Astros Facebook pages noticed my angst and sent me his password, which worked. I was able to get 3 tickets at 11:54 AM. They are in section 427 so not great seats, but we are in the stadium and that is all that counts.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I sure miss being around for the post season. I’ve had some very memorable moments in both the Dome and downtown. Still might make it in for The Series if we get that far. But in the meantime, we’re going to the mats again in Nevis. Maria, just elevating to category 4 status, will be passing much too close to us over the next 24 to 30 hours. We’re in the cross hairs and will be getting some real weather. Might be a couple of days before I can check in once she makes her presence known. In the meantime, I’d like to see our guys win 100 baseball games and have momentum going in. Talk soon folks.


  24. Thanks guys, safe here. Power has come back on for the time being, along with internet. Say a prayer for our island neighbor Dominica. Maria has become a cat 5 and they are taking a direct hit. There is no good outcome for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I’m still walking on air today! OMG…did you see the videos of the clubhouse celebration!! As weird as Rasmus was….Reddick might just give him a run for his money! Somehow I can’t picture Luhnow walking around getting hammered with beer and champagne by these guys, but there he was just not in a Speedo like Reddick’s!! I’m still concerned with the whole McCullers situation. He won’t pitch in the next series, and Hinch is real tight lipped about him. I don’t get it.
    Tim glad you were able to score some tickets, they sold out in 2 minutes this morning! Any seat is a good seat for the opportunity to watch these guys in a playoff game!
    Daveb…..stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Some thoughts:
    Lots of people are putting together playoff rosters for the Astros. LMJ is a big deal.
    If the Astros are matched up against Boston, the first two pitchers they see will be lefties Sale and Pomeranz. Count on it.
    I will be surprised if Marwin Gonzalez is not in LF for those two games. Why would you not want his bat in the lineup, along with Gurriel’s?
    Of course the next 13 games matter and a lot will be seen in them, but based on the entire year, how is Brad Peacock not the third game starter? We do want to win game 3, right?
    What worries me most about the Astros, injury-wise? Gurriel’s leg. We need Yuli ready to go.
    Correa’s defense has looked so good lately.
    Alex Bregman is our starting third baseman, ladies and gentlemen, and he is only 23 and his slash line in his first full season in the major leagues is .279/.348/.460/.808. Think for a minute about the Astros and their third basemen for the last decade.
    Chris Sale has been tough on the Astros. He’s tough on everyone. But, he has not pitched against this particular Astros lineup. He is having a rough September and has reached the 200 inning mark already.
    Mike Fiers has over 150 innings pitched, but no other Astros starter has more than Mortons 134.1.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. *Even if healthy is it too late to insert Lance McCullers Jr into the rotation?*

    Yes. There simply aren’t enough games left now to get Lance back up to strength. Reasonably speaking, for the good of the team, he should be shut down the rest of the year, and his playoff roster spot given to someone else – probably Joe Musgrove.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. * Would you rather be the Astros or the Indians? *

    Well, I am the ultimate ‘homer’, so of course I’d rather be the Astros!

    But comparing the line-ups, there is support for my choice:

    C – McCann/Gattis vs. Gomes/Perez – advantage Astros
    1B – Gurriel vs. Santana – draw
    2B – Altuve vs. Kipnis – advantage Astros
    SS – Correa vs. Lindor – advantage Astros
    3B – Bregman v. Ramirez – tough call; probably leans toward Indians
    LF – Maybin v. Brantley – advantage Indians
    CF – Springer vs. Jackson – slight advantage Astros
    RF – Reddick v. Chisenhall/Bruce – advantage Astros
    DH – Beltran/Gonzales v. Encarnacion – strong advantage Indians

    Pitching – advantage Indians, in all phases, but not by much in any phase.

    In other words, position by position, we are superior to them in more than we are inferior to them.

    The one thing that bothers me about an Astros/Indians match-up (assuming it ever happens) is in the area of in-game management. Mr. Hinch will have to take it another level to win that battle over Mr. Francona.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kipnis is coming off the DL and they’re putting him in CF! So, now he’s matched against Springer.
      Ramirez is matched against Altuve because they moved him to 2B.
      Now, Diaz is matched up at 3B against Bregman. That moves 3B to the Astros side.
      Brantley is on the DL and they don’t know when he’ll return. Where does he rehab? So now match up Gonzalez in LF against Chisenhall. Don’t forget to look at Marwin’s stats again!
      That leaves Bruce and a platoon in RF against Reddick.
      DH, Beltran vs Encarnacion is the big advantage for Cleveland, unless the 2004 version of Beltran reappears.


  29. Kipnis is coming off the DL and they’re putting him in CF! So, now he’s matched against Springer.
    Ramirez is matched against Altuve because they moved him to 2B.
    Now, Diaz is matched up at 3B against Bregman. That moves 3B to the Astros side.
    Brantley is on the DL and they don’t know when he’ll return. Where does he rehab? So now match up Gonzalez in LF against Chisenhall. Don’t forget to look at Marwin’s stats again!
    That leaves Bruce and a platoon in RF against Reddick.
    DH, Beltran vs Encarnacion is the big advantage for Cleveland, unless the 2004 version of Beltran reappears.


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