Astros 2017 recap: The Top 10 games of the year


There are many tasks in the blogging year that are real chores. Picking out the top ten games of a year that ended in the Houston Astros’ first World Series title was more a labor of love. There can be a lot of different opinions about this list, and that is the point. This is one person’s shot at this and it won’t hurt this writer’s feelings if y’all head off in different directions.

#10. Astros 8, Rangers 7. May 2 Minute Maid Park.

For two seasons the Rangers had the Astros number. Their record in 2015 against Houston was 13-6 and that felt so good they upped it to 15-4 in 2016. If the Astros had just split with the Rangers, say, going 9-10 in 2015 and 10-9 in 2016 they would have won the division both seasons. Instead, they were a Wild Card in 2015 and were left outside looking in, in 2016. Taking care of the Rangers was a psychological barrier the Astros needed to put behind them if they wanted to have a special season in 2017. The Astros first series with the Rangers started well as they rallied for five runs in the 7th to beat the Rangers 6-2 on the first day of May. The second game looked a whole lot like many of the games the previous two seasons. The Rangers were taking batting practice against Mike Fiers early, turning four home runs into a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning. The last couple of years this could easily have resulted in a 11-2 rout.

But not this time. Jose Altuve‘s two-run homer started the comeback in the bottom of the fourth and Marwin Gonzalez‘s right handed solo shot narrowed the score to 5-3 in the 5th inning. The Astros bats then went quiet until they loaded the bases in the eighth inning. Marwin came up left-handed with two outs and his grand salami just inside the RF fowl pole became one of the defining moments of the season shoving the Astros ahead 7-5. George Springer added an RBI single a few hitters later and the Astros took an 8-5 lead to the ninth inning. Luke Gregerson gave up a walk followed by a two-run homer to Nomar Mazara to raise the angst level. Will Harris walked the tight rope for a save, stranding the tying run at 3rd. This game was a clear signal that 2017 was a different year for the Astros and their enemies to the north.

May 4 blog: Nothing is too late.

#9. Astros 16, Twins 8. May 29 Target Field.

The Astros made this particular Memorial Day extremely memorable with a rally for the ages. Brad Peacock had pitched scoreless ball for 4 innings and then ran aground leaving the game trailing 3-2 and watched as Jordan Jankowski turned that into a 7-2 deficit in the matter of a few hitters. By the time Ervin Santana finished the seventh inning with an 8-2 lead, the Astros had a win probability of 1%. Two outs into the 8th inning the Astros had closed that lead to 8-6 but still only had a 14% chance of winning the game. After a walk, a balk and four hits including a three-run homer by Carlos Beltran the Astros were winning 13-8 and had upped their chances of winning to 98%. The Astros had sent 14 men to the plate in the eighth inning and turned two walks, a hit by pitch and eight hits (and only one HR) into 11 runs. The additional three runs they scored in the ninth further deflated the Twins, who had to wonder why AL Manager of the Year Paul Molitor could not stop the bleeding after removing Santana.

This was the game that put the Astros in a special category – a team that made no lead impossible to overcome no matter how late in the game.

May 28 blog: Yes, the Astros are that good.

#8. Doubleheader Astros 12, Mets 8. Astros 4, Mets 1. September 2  Minute Maid Park.

After not adding any help at the July 31 trade deadline, the Astros had wobbled through an uneven 11-17 August. Towards the end of the month Hurricane Harvey hit and the kindly Texas Rangers were so understanding they made the Astros play three games in Tampa as home games. And then two unexpected things occurred. First, the Astros pulled off a trade out of nowhere for Justin Verlander at the second trade deadline on August 31. Second, the Astros decided to go back to Houston and play a series with the Mets even though much of the town was underwater and evacuees were filling the George Brown Convention Center a few blocks from Minute Maid.

There were some who complained about doing this in the middle of the mess, but the instinct that the city and the team needed something to deflect the mind from the mess won out. The team went out and rolled over the Mets twice including starting pitcher Matt “Harvey” in the first game and this was part of an eventual seven-game winning streak and a 20-8 record in September. Though Justin Verlander did not pitch in either of these games, the psychological lift of trading for him was evident and the team went out and won not only this doubleheader, but the whole enchilada for their beloved city.

Sept 1 blog: Jeff Luhnow’s finest hour.

Sept 3 blog: The Verlander boost.

#7. Game 2 of the ALCS. Astros 2, Yankees 1. October 14 Minute Maid Park.

This was the kind of game that the Astros’ fans were picturing when the Astros made the improbable trade for Justin Verlander at the last second (or was it two) before the Aug. 31 deadline. Verlander gritted his teeth and threw nine innings of five hit, one run ball with the only blemish being a ground rule run scoring double by 3B Todd Frazier in the 5th inning that wiped out the 1-0 lead that Carlos Correa‘s fourth inning blast had provided.

But Verlander’s 124 pitch effort left the Astros tied headed into the bottom of the 9th and with Aroldis Chapman coming in to shut down the Astros. Well, Chapman is still looking for the 2nd and 3rd outs of that inning as Jose Altuve hit a one out single and then scored on a double by Correa, that the Yankees did not (by these eyes) smoothly relay to the plate. When Gary Sanchez treated the ball like a goalie treats a puck, Jose scored to put the Astros up 2-0 in the series.

Oct 13 blog: Astros must live in the present.

Oct 15 blog: The plan and the destination.

#6. Game 6 of the ALCS. Astros 7, Yankees 1. October 20 Minute Maid Park.

The team was reeling. The fans were reeling. But after losing 3 in a row in New York including choking away the fourth game with a four-run Ken Giles blow-up in the ninth, Verlander was not reeling. He was dealing. He threw seven shutout innings of five-hit ball, while the Astros gave him three 5th inning runs on a ground rule double by Brian McCann and a two run, two out single by Jose Altuve.

Brad Peacock gave the Yanks some hope with an Aaron Judge moonshot in the top of the 8th, but a homer by Altuve, a two run double by Alex Bregman and a sac fly by Evan Gattis put the game away and set up the Game 7 matchup for a trip to the World Series.

Oct 19 blog: It ain’t over until C.C. Sabathia sings

#5. Game 4 of the ALDS. Astros 5, Red Sox 4. October 9 Fenway Park.

This was the beginning of the Astros late inning playoff madness. games 1 and 2 of the ALDS were matching 8-2 poundings of the Sox by the Astros, while Game 3 featured the Red Sox making a series of it with a 10-3 shellacking of the good guys. Game 4 was important, so important that both teams brought back their Game 1 starters, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander in relief in this game. Heading into the 5th inning, Astros starter Charlie Morton had pulled a Houdini by only allowing a run on a 1st inning solo homer by Xander Bogaerts that tied the game at 1-1. He somehow had escaped a bases loaded no out jam in the second and in the third gave up no runs despite allowing a single, double and single. In the third he was helped out by a line drive double play and by Marwin Gonzalez gunning down a runner at the plate. After he walked the second hitter in the 5th, A.J. Hinch had seen enough and brought in Verlander to protect the 2-1 lead. Verlander in his first relief appearance in his major league career, immediately gave up a lead shifting HR to Andrew Benintendi, but then settled down for the next 2.2 innings. The Astros rallied against one of the best regular season pitchers, Chris Sale and one of the best relievers in Craig Kimbrel.  Alex Bregman repeated the blast he hit in game one against Sale as he tied the game 3-3 in the eighth. Josh Reddick then had a clutch two-out RBI single against Kimbrel to put the team ahead and grizzled vet Carlos Beltran whacked a run scoring double in the 9th to give the Astros a 5-3 lead. They needed it as Rafael Devers hit a Springer assisted inside the park home run against Giles who then put them in the ALCS with 3 final outs at Fenway.

Oct 7 blog: Astros’ foot on the throat time.

Oct 9 blog: It’s April again in Houston. All about the lore.

#4. Game 7 of the ALCS. Astros 4, Yankees 0. October 21 Minute Maid Park

This may always be known as the tandem pitching game. As much as the Astros’ fandom has hated tandem pitching, it was worked to perfection here as Charlie Morton threw five beautiful two hit shut out innings for the win and was capped by four equally beautiful one hit shut out innings by Lance McCullers Jr. for the save. The only drama came in the top of the 5th when Alex Bregman gunned down Greg Bird at the plate to preserve a 1-0 lead at the time.

Evan Gattis got the ball rolling for the Astros with a solo homer leading off the fourth. Manager Joe Girardi looked smart as he replaced C.C. Sabathia with Tommy Kahnle with one out and two on later in the fourth as Kahnle coaxed an inning ending DP from George Springer. Girardi’s IQ dropped in the fifth as Kahnle gave up a solo shot to Jose Altuve and a two-run double to Brian McCann to give the Astros their final margin of 4-0. On to the World Series!

Oct 21 blog: Sports Illustrated prediction is on the line.

Oct 21 blog: Holy Toledo! Astros win! Astros win!

#3. Game 2 of the World Series. Astros 7, Dodgers 6 (11 Innings). October 25 Dodger Stadium.

This was the game that allowed us all to think that the Astros could win the World Series, but heading into the 8th inning it did not look too winnable. Dallas Keuchel had pitched well in game one and lost 3-1. Justin Verlander had pitched even better in game 2, but had allowed three runs on just two hits (both home runs) and the Astros were down 3-1 which had been a death sentence against the Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen prior to this series. Correa drives in Bregman with a single in the eighth to draw the team within one and then Marwin Gonzalez mired in a terrible slump in the playoffs (6/42 for a .142 BA) hit the improbable tying HR in the top of the 9th.

Altuve and Correa hit home runs off former Astro Josh Fields to lead off the tenth, but Ken Giles burped up the 2 run lead in the bottom of the inning. George Springer knocked out the eventual game winning two-run homer in the top of the eleventh, but not without some drama in the bottom of the inning as Chris Devenski got two liners for outs followed by a homer and a game ending K. This would be one of the greatest games in WS history, and the Astros first WS win ever, but was surpassed four days later….

Oct 25: Game 2 live blog.

Oct 26: Insanity: Greatest win in Astros’ history.

#2. Game 5 of the World Series. Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 Innings). October 29 Minute Maid Park.

It is fairly rare for a team to blow a three run lead in a game. In this game, the Dodgers blew a 4 run and a 3 run lead in consecutive innings and the Astros blew a three-run lead in the 9th inning. Dallas Keuchel struggled and put his team in a 4-0 hole. A run scoring double by Carlos Correa and a huge 3 run homer by Yuli Gurriel tied it up in the 4th. Collin McHugh walks two and then gives up a three-run homer to Cody Bellinger in the top of the 5th. In the bottom of the 5th, Clayton Kershaw gives up two walks, then gives way to Kenta Maeda, who then gives up a three-run bomb to Jose Altuve – 7-7. And they were just getting started half way through this 10 inning monster of a game.

Bellinger hits a run scoring triple in the seventh, but Springer ties it with a home run and Correa follows an Altuve RBI double with a two-run homer for an 11-8 lead. The Dodgers creep closer with a run off Brad Peacock in the eighth, but Brian McCann hits a homer off of a lefty for a 12-9 lead headed into the ninth. Chris Devenski gives up three runs including a Yasiel Puig home run to tie it in the ninth. But Alex Bregman’s liner to left along with Derek Fisher‘s pinch running speed bring home the walk off run in the 10th. Astros win one of the craziest and greatest games you will ever see.

Oct 29: Game 5 live blog.

Oct 30 blog: EPIC: There are no words!

#1. Game 7 of the World Series. Astros 5, Dodgers 1. November 1 Dodger Stadium.

This was not the most exciting or most compelling game of the season or even of this series. But it did not need to be. It was THE game. The game that finally pulled King Kong off the baseball backs of the city of Houston in the 56th season of major league baseball here.

World Series MVP George Springer started the game off with a double that led to two runs in the top of the first. His two run homer in the second capped a three run rally that put the team up 5-0. There might have been no drama in this game except for a couple of facts. Starter Lance McCullers Jr. only lasted 2.1 IP after hitting more Dodgers (4) than got hits off of him (3).  The second fact was that no lead seemed big enough in a series that boasted game after game of blown leads by each team’s pitchers. The Dodgers were held scoreless through five innings despite putting nine batters on base. They then broke through for a run against Charlie Morton in the sixth, but after leaving two runners on in that inning they were toast as Morton did not allow another runner the rest of the game. Champagne, hugs and marriage proposals ensued.

Nov 1 blog: Game 7 live blog.

I’ve added some links to take everyone back to what was going on around these critical times in the Astros’ finest season.

So…..Where do you stand on this list? Wrong 10? Wrong order? Or just right?

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113 comments on “Astros 2017 recap: The Top 10 games of the year

    • It is just strange how things work. I was struggling with this post – probably started it 10 days ago and I done maybe 3 or 4 of the games. As soon as I stuck that Writer’s block post out, it came easy. Writing is weird.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I wonder if the most important game in 2017 might have been in July 2015. I don’t give Hank Conger credit for much, but when he decided to let Odor and the rest of the Rangers know the Astros were ready to fight them, that may have turned the attitude around. You have to have the desire to bury your opponent to win. And that was the first time in years that I saw that “we are tired of taking your crap” show up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Astros won the next day’s game with the Rangers 10-0. However, after that they only won 1 of the last 10 games of the season with Texas in 2015 and then won only 4 of 19 against them in 2016. So we may have been tired of taking their crap, but we had to eat a lot of it in the next 1-1/2 years….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandy. It would mean nothing if folks did not read it and enjoy it – so this is mutual appreciation.
      On a related note – I went back and read the comment section for Games 2 and 5 of the World Series – the live blogs and wow it takes me back to the craziness and how everyone hung in there for the team and for the bloggers. What fun!

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  2. Game 7 of the World Series was the most wonderful sporting event I have ever seen and I was at the Elvin Hayes/ Lew Alcindor game in the dome, which was my previous best. I guess being at the Super Bowl XV in the Superdome was my previous #2.
    The Astros had never played a game in November and watching this game, watching the crowd at MMP cheering on the Astros while the Dodgers and their fans wilted and finally disappeared into the night as the Astros took over Los Angeles and the rest of the baseball world was incredible.
    I will never forget what Charlie Morton did for this team that night.

    Liked by 4 people

    • OP
      My toughest decision on my game rankings was #1 vs. #2 – Game 5 of the World Series may have been the greatest game I’ve ever seen for having everything you could think of occure, but it still was not Game 7. Game 7 was more like how the Astros won all year and it was more of a real baseball game, not a video game shootout. Never happier in my sports life than after that game.

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      • True, game 5 was probably the most stressful, exhilarating, and emotional game I’ve ever watched.
        But game 7 of a WS where everything is one the line and winner takes all is definitely the number one game in my life time.
        The emotion I felt after that game is un describable. I was literally in shock.

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    • My dad and I were at the Hayes/Alcindor game too. This year’s Game 5 started out too rough and I turned it off second inning. Went to bed and prayed. Twice during the ensuing hours I heard shouts from a neighbor’s apartment. I hoped it meant something good was happening but could not bear to look. Next morning on way to work in the dark I still did not know anything but felt something positive in the air and way traffic was behaving. Next thing I knew the radio told me there had been a miracle.

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      • I love this story, Diane. During the season when they are playing on the left coast many times I go to bed before the game finishes. I will usually go to one of the sports websites like ESPN or Yahoo the next morning and look at the MLB standings before I see the result of the game. I then check the ‘streak’ column to see if it is a ‘W’ or ‘L’ to let me know who won. If it is a ‘W’ I will then go to the game recap and then the boxscore to see how the game played out. If it is an ‘L’ my searching ends there.

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      • I could tell you some stories about how I unfolded the newspaper some mornings, like looking at the bottom of the front page and slowly going to top to see if game was mentioned, then position in layout, then photo — try to read expression on face of player, then cutline, then score before winner, although that didn’t always work for me. And I have other stories too but who needs ’em? We won the enchilada, and I love Mexican food.

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    • Your welcome Kevin – that was why it kind of sat there for a bit.

      I will throw out there I had a few other games that just missed the top 10
      – Game 1 of the ALDS 8-2 over Boston where the Astros came out of the gate hot (Bregman’s HR against Sale, Altuve’s THREE HRs, JV’s solid start and the bullpen not giving up a run)
      – Game 1 of the ALCS 2-1 over the Yanks where Keuchel pitched brilliantly on a bad foot as we now learn and the Astros got just enough offense to win
      – Game 3 of the WS 5-3 over Dodgers (kind of lost in the greatness of Games 2 and 5) where the Astros got up early, McCullers got in trouble in the 6th, Peacock came in and 2 of McC’s runners scored off Peacock, but then he settled down and pitched scoreless 7th thru 9th.
      – A May 22nd game – where due to injuries, Peacock made an emergency start without having pitched more than 2 innings up to that point in the season. The Astros beat the Tigers 1-0 as Peacock threw 70 pitches and gave up 1 hit with 8 Ks in 4.1 IP. Devo, Harris and Giles then combined for 4.2 perfect innings of relief. The Astros had just come off a 3 game sweep by the Indians and they went on to win 13 of 14 games including this turn around game.
      – A September 5th 3-1 win over the M’s – Verlander’s first start where he was as good as advertised giving up 1 run in 6 innings and Cameron Maybin hit a 7th inning 2 run homer to give JV his first Astro’s win.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Opening day is always my favorite game of the season. However, this year’s World Series was like getting seven, extra opening day games in my opinion. A few years from now I won’t remember much of game 7. I can understand why only Astros fans really enjoyed that one – the crazy back and forth efforts by both teams in the first six games gave the neutral fans something to really enjoy.

    If I had to pick a #1 for the list, however, I’d stick with Game 7 for the result. If I had to pick based on importance it would be Game 2 without question. If Marwin doesn’t stay back and drive that ball off Janson we’re probably talking about what major move Luhnow needs to make to get us over the hill instead of celebrating and talking about which minor roster hole needs to be filled.

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    • Terrific point Devin. The Astros had fired off their best two SPs in Keuchel and Verlander and were facing another 2005 WS sweep and suddenly the Dodgers were the ones on their heels.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is no doubt about that, Devin. The Astros aren’t World Series Champions if they had fallen behind 0-2 in the series. Marwin’s HR, in my opinion, will rank as the most important HR in Astros history.

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  4. Dan, I guess I’m interrupting the good flow of this post, but Sandy recommended on your previous post early this morning that we talk about our AL West competition this year and I would like to second that as a recommended post.
    I actually wrote a comment about this last night but it disappeared suddenly and I took that as a sign not to go there, yet.

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    • Don’t know why that disappeared. Did you type it with disappearing ink?
      My intent is to gather those ideas from that post and use them to fill up the time between now and spring training. The one on the AL West I would like to hold until we get farther through the free agency time to be able to judge how folks are doing – where they are headed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It disappeared because I was babysitting the grandkids and messed up logging in on a strange computer. Not only did I blow the save but I took the loss in that one. When that happens, I always take it as a sign from above that I should not have written that comment and so I got up from the computer and went to watch Storage Wars, which means I lost both ends of that double header (insert smiley face emoji here).

        Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with both you and Sandy that this is a good topic. Don’t laugh, but I’m most fearful of Oakland making the leap. If not for their terrible defense I think that club would have been in wild card contention last summer. Luckily, they sold off some good players…but the downside is that they have a few guys acquired in recent years who might be knocking down the door this year.

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    • OP that’s happened to me so many times. I now copy and save my posts.
      It’s discouraging to type your thoughts and then lose them. If I don’t save em they’re gone for good cause I sure can’t remember them 5 minutes later.

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      • Sandy, when you get a little older, you can do what I do. I come back to Chipalatta the next day and re-read all the posts. There is a guy named AstroColt45. He has some great comments. I really enjoy reading his each day, over and over. Always being brand new thoughts.

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  5. Wilin Rosario appears to be moving from Korean ball to Japanese ball.
    Reading this reminded me of the game in which he personally destroyed Mark Appel and Kevin Chapman. He had three hits and a homer off Appel and a grand slam off of Chapman in a game Fresno managed to win against Albawhatever in August of 2015. Rosario had just been demoted from the Rockies and Appel was promoted to Fresno.
    By spring training of 2016, Rosario was in Korea, Appel was in the Phillies organization and Chapman was getting pounded in his last stand with the Astros.
    I thought it would be fun to go over the Fresno lineup that night August 1st, 2015:
    Villar
    Hoes
    White
    Presley
    Duffy
    Fontana
    Kemp
    Stassi
    Aplin
    ph- Grossman
    Pitchers
    Appel
    Chapman
    Hoyt
    Stoffel

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    • Man, op – that looks like an all time Astros AAAA team – Villar (sorry Becky) and Grossman are the only ones with any mlb staying power there.
      By the way Appel is considered one of the prime targets for the Rule 5 draft – it is purely because he was a 1-1, surely nothing he has done otherwise would make him that target.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Vee Yar or maybe Villareal ….
        The guys is a true enigma – more talent than most – one of those guys who would make a play in the field on a ball no one else gets to and then gunning it into the stands. He was an offensive force in 2016 – .285/.369/.826 – 92 runs scored/ 19 HRs and 62 SBs. He was an offensive failure in 2017 .241/.293/.665 49 runs scored 11 HRs 23 SBs.
        What’s amazing is he is still so young – he is younger than Chris Devenski, Tyler White and Max Stassi. He’s a guy that if you trust him – get ready to get your heart broken.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Up above I failed to mention that I too appreciate Charlie Morton more than I can say. Here’s a guy the bicoastal media and a good percentage of Astros fans know nothing about and he calmly comes in and carries Game 7 of the World Series. Even afterward, he was totally unassuming in his behavior.

    Liked by 4 people

    • There were moments during the season where he looked unhittable
      In fact most of his starts, but had that one bad inning. . I think it was Tim who called him a great pickup before the season. ..great call. Love the guy. I feel bad for McHugh
      ..he got Wally Pipped this year

      Liked by 2 people

      • It was one of my rare good calls, Billy. However, I have to give credit to that Fangraphs article that enlightened me on what Charlie Morton can bring. I think OP was also in approval of his signing.

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  7. Off topic, but the Mariners just improved pretty significantly, picking up Dee Gordon from Miami. They are going to put him in CF, since they already have a guy named Cano at 2B.

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  8. My family just gave me my birthday present. It’s an official orange Astros Jose Altuve jersey. It is the first Astros jersey I have ever had. It’s the first jersey I have had since I played ball so many years ago.
    I am full up.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Mike Fires to the Tigers, on a one year deal. GOOD!!! I’m glad he caught on with another club on a major league deal!
    Dan…..I remember every single one of these games, and how emotional every one of them were…..but game 5 from the World Series has to be hands down the most incredible! Got my World Series DVD’S today in the mail!!!
    WOO-HOO!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, I’ll say it again. Getting 40,000 people in the stands is the only way to get your core players signed. Having the two MVPs on the Astros is the way to make that happen.
    The Angels get almost exactly twice as much TV revenue from their TV contract as the Astros do. The Astros have to find a way to generate more revenue and attendance is the way to do it.
    They won the WS and have the advantage of being a desirable place to play. They need to strike now, when the iron is hot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. But getting Crane to throw around that kind of of money is very unlikely.
      He’s accomplished what no other Astros owner has done. He could build off that but my gut tells me he won’t.

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      • Crane said a couple of weeks ago that the Astros were one of four or five teams with the resources to afford Stanton. So I think he would approve a deal.
        It seems to me that Luhnow might be the guy who holds this deal back. I believe Luhnow is a smart guy and is the main guy responsible for our WS win. But I wish there was a way for Luhnow to make this happen. I just don’t think there is.
        I would hate to see the Yankees or the Dodgers pull it off.
        Altuve, Stanton, Verlander, Correa, Springer, Bregman. What a team that would be.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But don’t forget that Crane himself said the Astros were one of the few teams that could afford Stanton. An outfield of Stanton, Springer and Reddick lets Marwin be the super sub, probably makes the DH a spot for guys to rest and makes us the most awesome offensive club in a long, long time.

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      • I stand with Sandy on this one. I don’t understand how they can add Stanton and plan to retain the players they need . If Crane weren’t saying they would be players for guys like Stanton I would be disappointed. I just wouldn’t put much stock in it being true.

        Having said that, they may be counting on the Opt Out being activated. That’s a pretty big risk. I wonder what type of injury insurance a contract like Stanton’s would cost the team.

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  11. Listening to a national report on the radio they also said that Stanton has refused to waive his no-trade for the Giant or Cardinal trades. They said he has said he would approve trades to 4 places – the Dodgers, Cubs. Astros and I think the 4th was the Yankees.
    Now whether we want to go that way…. well it limits what else we were going to do – but I don’t think we were going to do a lot anyways. Fascinating to picture that lineup – no one would want to face that.

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    • We don’t get snow very often in Houston, but we had a nice little dusting overnight. Didn’t stay on the ground, but there was a good inch of it on the top of our condo parking deck. Snow is great when it doesn’t stay around long….

      Liked by 2 people

      • Supposed to get snow here today/tomorrow as the weatherman says about a 50% chance for the white fluffy stuff. On the other hand there’s a 50% chance it’ll be rain. Just remember it only snows in Houston every 7-8 years.

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      • I’ll be glad to get it started!
        Collin McLuge
        Alex Brrrrrrrrrrgman
        Tony Eusleighbio
        Brian McCann-Dee Cane
        Carlos Snowrea
        Tyler White Christmas

        Anybody?
        Don’t be an A. J. Grinch

        I like the idea of paying and locking down the guys who brought you the title, and who’ve been toiling in the system. The only GS we need is named George, so some other team can tie that noose (Giancarlo’s contract) around their neck. Fisher has upside, and we can find a rental bat. What we need is a big time reliever, like a Brad Hand or Wade Davis. I’m a little sketchy on Giles and Harris, and until the Feliz/Martes/Paulino picture becomes clearer. I won’t mind a DH platoon, wait-and-see. For a team that’s been pretty blessed and lucky, I’m hoping it becomes evident how the whole team feels about what signing $300M plus prospects entails and implies.

        Seeing that Verlander single-handedly tipped the scales, had he gone to LA – the question is: does Stanton represent that kind of swing by going to NY, or to the Dodgers in our hopes to repeat? It’s this dangerous but realistic question that drives bidding wars.

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      • Wow that is a challenge Grayson
        Dallas IciKeuchel
        Yule Gurriel
        Christmas Devenski
        Tony Sipp of Cider
        A few weeks ago Mike Chestnuts roasting by an open Fiers
        Michael Feliz Navidad

        Liked by 1 person

    • If we were to get Stanton you have to remember that there are no guarantees. With Keuchel, Gonzales, Altuve, and a couple of others’ contracts upcoming in 2018-19, we’d be looking at a 200MM payroll. I just don’t see that happening. We’d likely lose McCann’s 17MM in 19 and Verlander’s 20MM the next year but those will be replaced by Correra, Springer and Bregman. I like the idea of adding key pieces when needed but let’s hope we have some guys on the farm that can step up and do the job for a lot less. I’m still hoping for that LH reliever, and a solid backstop.

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      • It definitely depends on what you are looking for.
        Are you looking for multiple championships? If you are , you have a shot at it if you go get Stanton. Something to remember is that in 2017 the Astros had only the second best record in their league. Now, the Cleveland Indians are in a division where Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City are in complete tear-down mode and Minnesota doesn’t have any pitching. The Astros could win 101 games again and still not have home field advantage in the playoffs. But if the Mariners and the Angels get better, can the Astros win 101 games in 2018? Maybe.
        I’d like to add Stanton and see if we can average close to 40,000 fans a game and sign Altuve to an extension. That takes care of step one of tying up your core and gives Luhnow the job of how to keep it going after 2019 with two MVP type players on the payroll long term.
        No matter what, we keep Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley, and Cionel Perez. No arguments. Work the deal without giving them up. We have the players to do that. The Marlins need young major league players and we have the players to make this deal.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oldpro…I’m almost hoping they can pull off this deal by sending guys like Tony Kemp and no real prospects so that I am forced to go back to TCB and eat crow about the ridiculous trade ideas they like to propose.

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  12. ok i believe i am without doubt the guy that rails most against long expensive FA contracts. However this one has me pausing and saying hmmmmmm. Stanton just turned 28, with 10 years left on his contract. It would be a bit of a gamble financially and lord knows who we have to give up to get him. BUT to get rid of that contract the marlins can expect 3-5 good prospects, but not 3-5 killer prospects. The astros have a bit of a bottleneck with prospects. Sounds like a match trying to happen. Now that we have a winning (read championship) team, i agree with op that attendance will be much higher and may be at the point to support a 180 – 200 million payroll. so i am waivering from my usual stance. stanton can almost sneeze a ball to the crawford boxes. im starting to think i can accept the money end of this deal, but need to see what prospects satisfy the marlins before i give a full ok lets do it.

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    • Not sure I feel about this – I figured that he would join the division, was thinking M’s were the leaders, which is silly since L.A. is probably a bigger attraction. The Angels have struggled but if they get some of their other pitching back they could be dangerous.

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  13. There are several things that keep me from embracing the possibility of a Stanton deal. First is how it might affect the cohesiveness of the very close knit group we’ve got presently. Second, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, I’m a sick homie who’d like to see a way for Springer, Correa and Altuve to stick together, at least for the next five years or so. Third, 2017 was by far his best and healthiest year. He’s averaged 121 games a season when you take out 2017. 31 homers. 81 RBI’s. A .266 BA. Maybe last year was the beginning of Giancarlo’s best campaigns. But what if he reverts back to his norm? We’ve already got 3 of 4 guys that will give us those numbers. Maybe more. And we’ve gotten spoiled by our guys making contact. Giancarlo is going to strike out more then we’d like. I’m still holding.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good shot of perspective daveb. The one thing about this front office, they don’t always make the right decision, but they make more right decisions than not. And they don’t seem to make decisions based on names or salaries. They look at performance.
      When they picked up Verlander, his overall year was worse (at that point) than 2016 when he could have won the Cy Young, but he was ripping it up in the second half of the season and they picked him up at the right time for the right price.
      I think they will put the correct value on Stanton and if the deal does not match up on it they won’t pull the trigger.

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      • Dan, if they decide to go after him, then I’ll have confidence they are doing a smart thing. The emotional asides are another story. I think George is prepared to match Stanton going forward. But if they both play on the same team, even for a year, it might be something to behold. But it almost guarantees George will be gone at some point soon.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m one of your homes who wants our core four to stay together. PLUS…..what does it signal to you other VERY GOOD players who are making league minimums when you sign one guy for $250 million dollars????

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Tim might actually agree with me that I never thought I would see this coming from Chris Perry of the Crawfish Boxes. Perry bleeds Astro-Luhnow Orange. And yet, here it is: https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2017/12/8/16752170/yes-virginia-there-is-payroll-room-for-stanton-correa-and-altuve-marlins-astros
    At least I know I’m not alone in thinking the Astros could do this.
    I will remind everyone that this is the team that shocked the baseball world with a last second trade for Justin Verlander. Also, this is the team that asked their GM to get them some help. This is the team that proceeded to win the WS with Verlander. Is this a team whose “cohesiveness” is going to be disturbed by the addition of the NL MVP to their lineup? Let’s hope Stanton would affect the team the same way. At least nobody could accuse the Astros of being complacent if they traded for Stanton.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He singles out 2021, but realistically, it’s years 2018-2020 the team has to be able to afford. Stanton will opt out unless he becomes an albatross. You have to really hope for magic from Whitley, Martes, Perez, and friends if we cut off the ability to sign FA pitching and DK is hurt/gone as surmised. Can Crane do it? I lack faith that revenue can grow as he predicts. Also consider viewership is skewing older as fewer young people watch sports each year and you have to be worried about where any media related income will come.

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  15. Well….all I gotta say is, if Crane is serious about Stanton….put your money where your mouth is, and DO IT. If not there are plenty of other options that belong to us. As for that guy from Japan signing with the Angels…..we have Justin Verlander, and I’ll put our ace up against that guy everyday and twice on Sunday.

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    • OK, let’s look at this deal from a business standpoint (mine of course). Aside from who we send to the Marlins in a trade we have to pay $25, $26, and $26MM through 2020 which is his opt out year. What is the likelihood that he will do this when he has $218MM remaining on it through 2028? That’s an awfully big “if” from two perspectives. First, there’s been talk of him wanting out after 2020 because he might want to play elsewhere or thinks he can renegotiate and get more. Does anybody in their right mind think a 30 year old player will be worth another $40 – $100MM more over the next 7 years? If so, I want whatever you’re smoking. Secondly, what if he turns into another Carlos Lee? From that standpoint he won’t be going anywhere and we will all be sitting around this blog throwing rotten tomatoes and hurling insults at Luhnow for making such a stupid move.
      If we want to hang on to Altuve, Springer, Correra, and Bregman you can assume that those 4 guys will cost us at least 100MM or more per year. So now we have, for arguments sake $140MM tied up in 5 players. Last time I checked we have 40 on the roster so our payroll would probably be $240 – $280MM. maybe the Marlins will take on $10MM of his salary but I doubt it. I just don’t see it unless we get a TV deal like the Yankees, Dodgers, or the like. Those chances are oh so slim.
      Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have this guy in our team but you’re not going to win every World Series with 5 players. I just think we should address our immediate needs for the next 3 years. Beyond that, I have faith that Luhnow will continue to bring in the pieces needed to fill the gaps while continuing to draft smart. Maybe there’s some new talent coming that will become that guy that hits 40 – 5o HR’s, drive in 100+ RBI’s and hits .325. It make take 4 – 7 years to build a contender, but after that it takes a lot more to stay on top; at least in this day and age.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior to 2017, in his six full seasons, he averaged 121 games a year. I mentioned that figure yesterday, but it is worth repeating. For the pay check he’ll be getting, I want to see 150 games a season. Going forward, chances are that he won’t average more than his career average. That’s a real consideration.

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    • I’m okay with both outcomes. Now I’m interested to see how Luhnow improves our 2018 club. He will. I’m anticipating a deal for one of the big lefties to go in the pen.

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  16. Time to go after stud pitching, either in-house or not! Good Pitching will offset those loping swings of Stanton, and Judge.

    While others spend like there’s no tomorrow, we trust in the process. It’s crazy how things turned out last season, where we didn’t get several deals done that were in advanced talks. So, you’ve got to believe Luhnow has contingencies.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I was intrigued about the possibility of getting Stanton and I am disappointed he went to the Yankees. However, it looks like the Marlins are in full tear down and rebuild mode. I would like to see what it would take to get Christian Yelich. He is under a very-team friendly contract for 5 more years and he has been a 4.5 WAR player the past 2 years. He’s not the offensive player that Stanton is, but considering his salary will be about $20M lower I would rather have him than Stanton. Of course, the cost to acquire him will be more and I wouldn’t trade Kyle Tucker for just any decent player, but I would part with him if the Astros can get Yelich. I wonder if a deal like Tucker, Alvarez and Armenteros could net Yelich. If they can get Yelich they will have much more payroll flexibility to extend Altuve and Correa when the time comes. As much as I love Springer I just don’t see him aging well into his 30s. His game and all-out style reminds me so much of Grady Sizemore and we all remember how he broke down in his 30s. I would ride out Springer through his arbitration years, give him a QO and reap the draft pick when he signs elsewhere. Others may disagree, but I just don’t see much advantage to extending Springer into his late 30s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If not Yellich maybe Ozuna who busted out Big last season? Or did he find the same PEDs that Stanton found (this is a joke but a pointed one)

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      • Dan, you may be joking, but I’ve said it before…it’s only a matter of time before a number of guys get caught and hammered. It’s not just steroids/testosterone boosters – drugs like Adderall are also in high use.

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    • I like Yellich. He fits the Astros in that he hits a lot of doubles and gets on base a lot. He strikes out a tad below league average and he is an above average fielder. The biggest way he fits into the Astros lineup is as a LH bat.
      Now that the pressure is off Jeter’s payroll with the trade of Stanton, Yellich’s trade value is higher because there is less pressure for the Marlins to move him.

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  18. Heck, I’ll take Yelich. I’d try to avoid Tucker and sell them on Fisher and others, but in the end, I’d give them Tucker. Tim, I’m not looking to see anyone in their late 30’s, including Springer, maybe with the exception of Altuve, who at some point might turn into the best DH in MLB. But I do want George around for his best years, which are on the way.

    If the Yankees had to give up Castro in order to make the Stanton deal work, it might well be that Jeter required Bregman. If that happened to be the case, I’m feeling pretty good about that non deal.

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  19. Steamer gives the Astros 3 more wins with Gattis as the DH this year in place of Beltran.
    Now we know why the Astros might be looking at LF as a place for an add on to the lineup. A proven LH bat added to what they have could add the WAR the Astros need to top last year’s team in wins.
    I believe the Astros ended up with 29.9 war from their position players last year and are projected right at 30 currently for next year.
    I think they are looking to complete that lineup again by landing a proven LFer, counting on Verlander to add WAR to the pitching staff and add two dependable arms to the bullpen, either by signing two relievers or adding a starter and moving current starters to the pen.
    An article I read recently naming LMJ and Morton as two of the very best RH starters who slay LH batters adds to the Luhnow reflections that they are looking for arms and not necessarily LH arms for the bullpen. Peacock’s curve added him to the top 10 of that list of RH pitchers who get LH batters out at an above average rate also.

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    • Not to rain on the 100+ win parade but I’ll gladly give up a few wins to return to the World Series. The Yankees almost made it with 91 and the Indians (102) didn’t get there and we beat the Dodgers (104). Totals wins doesn’t always equate to a WS victory.

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  20. So the biggest questions with the Yellich suggestion are whether they are going to continue to trade off folks after Gordon and Stanton and whether Yellich is someone they want to build around.

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  21. Two interesting things about the Stanton trade:
    -One of the prospects the Yankees send to Miami is Jorge Guzman, who came to the Yankees from the Astros in the McCann trade.
    -Miami only sends the Yankees $30 million if Stanton does not opt out of his contract in 2020. So Miami sends no money until then. If Stanton opts out, Miami isn’t out any money at all.

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    • Stanton’s deal was so intractable that anyone given in trade was simply ‘saving face’ for the Marlins. What a sweetheart deal for the Yanks.

      I’d take Corey Dickerson, if we can’t get Yelich. If Jeter is trying to imbalance things for his old team, I doubt they’ll do an favors for the Astro.

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      • The Yankees made out like a bandit because they had to get rid of Castro’s contract to stay under the cap. They even gain room under the cap with the Marlins pro-rated cap break on the $30 million. Then they gave up low level league prospects, instead of high level ones.
        The Yankees are in a good spot. Now Boston HAS to make a move.
        Luhnow will add. He knows the game.

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  22. Well…..the Yankees just got a lot more interesting, and to their advantage Stanton doesn’t strike out as much as Judge does. I had to laugh when I saw they included Castro in that deal! That kid has a bad case of attention deficit disorder. When he played for the Cubs, the manager would pull his hair out trying to get his attention, and THEN look over and see Castro day dreaming with the bases loaded and no outs!! Completely over rated…..the Yankees should shake Jeter’s, hand for taking him off their hands!! The BIG dog is off the board, time to get with it and sign a couple of arms for the bullpen!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Luhnow will continue to put an athletic team on the field. Bruce does not quality in that regard.

    I’ve been reading the various takes on the Stanton deal. No doubt it makes the Yankees a stronger club. And the Angels got better too. But top to bottom, I still like our line up as much as any. Let’s not forget that Bregman and Correa are just getting started. Their own ceilings are years away.

    I’m pretty confident our GM will strengthen this club and once we’ve seen how, I don’t think we’ll be very concerned about losing out on Stanton.

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  24. What’s wrong with our lineup the way it is? It got better by elimination ( Beltran).
    Looking back at the playoffs, pitching is our weakness. Look at game 5 of the WS. How many times did we have a substantial lead only to lose it?
    I’d like to see one more good starter and a couple of really good relievers.

    Liked by 1 person

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