2017 playoffs: How each Astro helped win the whole enchilada


When a team somehow winds its way through the many land mines of three playoff series to win the ultimate prize it is easy to fixate on the few big heroes. But the Astros win was more than an Altuve, Correa, Springer, Verlander production. Here is a look at how each Astro helped the team grab the ultimate prize.

Brian McCannMcCann was well below average hitting in the playoffs with only 1 HR and 7 RBIs in 17 games and a .175 BA/ .277 OBP/ .593 OPS slash. But he had a very important role as he was the rock that the pitching staff clung to throughout the playoffs. He also did have some critical ABs, none bigger than in WS Game 5, with an eighth inning homer followed by a 10th inning HBP that led to Alex Bregman’s walkoff single scoring Derek Fisher in their classic 13-12 win.

Yuli GurrielGurriel had an impactful playoffs. The Red Sox could not keep him off the base paths (9 for 17) and though that resulted in only 1 run scored and 0 RBIs, it helped turn over the lineup. In the WS he only had 6 hits in 7 games, but he had two huge HRs, starting the assault on Yu Darvish in Game 3 with his second inning HR and hitting a psychologically huge three-run homer against Clayton Kershaw to tie the fifth game at 4-4, but also showing that Kershaw was vulnerable.

Jose AltuveWhile George Springer was the WS MVP, the MVP of the overall playoffs was Altuve. His 14 runs scored, seven HRs and 14 RBIs with a .310/.388/1.021 slash led the way for the Astros. He set the tone against the Red Sox with three HRs in the first game, came up big in Games 6 and 7 against the Yankees and though he slumped against the Dodgers, he still had huge HRs in both the Game 2 and Game 5 classics.

Carlos CorreaCarlos was a solid performer in the playoffs with 10 runs, 5 HRs and 14 RBIs and a .288/.325/.886 slash. He had a big four RBI performance in Game 2 against the Red Sox, but was super critical against the Yankees as he was involved in all four runs scored in the Astros duplicate 2-1 wins in Games 1 and 2. Oh and like Jose, he had huge HRs in both the Classic Games 2 and 5 against the Dodgers.

Alex Bregman. A glance at Alex’s slash numbers during the playoffs (.208 BA/ .256 OBP/.657 OPS) would lead you to believe he was pretty meh in those extra games. That would be completely wrong as he scored 11 runs, hit 4 HRs, and knocked in 10 runs with his 15 hits. He played super defense at third base, including gunning down runners at the plate. He had two huge HRs against Chris Sale in the first and fourth games of the Boston series and knocked in runs in 5 straight WS games including the game winner in Game 5.

Marwin GonzalezThe Astros’ regular season RBI leader was bad in the playoffs with a .180/.275/.570 slash. But he had arguably the biggest hit of the WS as his 9th inning game tying HR against Kenley Jansen in Game 2 saved the Astros from the brink of a 2-0 deficit. Without that HR, the Astros may not be World Champs.

George Springer. Springer’s playoffs were the story of two George’s – the Great George (.412/.474/1.180 against BOS and .379/.471/1.471 against LAD) and the Putrid George .115/.233/.349 against the Yanks. He set WS records for total bases and home runs in five games and of course hit the game winner in Game 2. And of course he was named the WS MVP.

Josh ReddickJosh had a good series against the Red Sox (.375/.444/.819) and then forgot how to hit, going 1 for 25 against the Yanks and 4 for 24 against the Dodgers. Maybe it was bad karma from his celebration “outfit”. His big clutch moment was his eighth inning single against Craig Kimbrell in the deciding game of the Boston series to give the Astros a 4-3 lead.

Carlos BeltranAfter a great career, Beltran had become mostly a liability in his last season with the Astros as a DH. By the time the playoffs came around, he was a minimal part-time DH who had three hits in 20 ABs. But…..one of those hits ended up plating the winning round in the deciding game against the Red Sox as he went the other way and lined a double off the Green Monster.

Evan GattisGattis had a fairly quiet post season with McCann doing most of the catching and Evan again not hitting that well as a DH. However, the only hit he had in the Yankee series was the HR that got them rolling to a seventh game win against the Pinstripers.

Derek Fisher. Fisher officially had no ABs in the postseason, walking in his one plate appearance in the Yankee series. But no Astro fan will ever forget him pinch running for Brian McCann and scoring the walk off winning run in the fifth game of the World Series.

Cameron MaybinThe “other” guy picked up at the end of August by the Astros had little exposure in the playoffs as mostly a late inning replacement and/or pinch runner. But he had a couple special moments in the playoffs. First he pinch ran for Evan Gattis and scored the go ahead run on Reddick’s single during the Astros eighth inning rally in the fourth game against the Red Sox. Then in the eleventh inning of Game 2 of the WS, he led off with a single, stole second and scored on George Springer’s huge game winning homer.

Juan CentenoYes the third catcher only had one unsuccessful AB in the post season, but….. it is likely that his presence on the roster gave A.J. Hinch the guts to pinch run for Brian McCann with Fisher, who scored the winning run in the WS Game 5 win.

Dallas KeuchelIt would be easy to let his last game, a short 3.2 IP, 4 runs 3 ER appearance in the 13-12 Game 5 win be the lasting memory of Keuchel in the playoffs. But he pitched very well in wins over both the Red Sox and the Yanks and his game 1 loss to the Dodgers was well pitched except for the two gopher balls he allowed.

Justin VerlanderEven though JV pitched very well in the postseason, it is hard to remember that he did not win a WS game. After beating the Red Sox as a Game 1 starter and a Game 4 reliever and then holding the Yanks to one run in 16 innings in a Game 2 and Game 6 win, he ran into bad luck as his six inning 3 run and six inning two-run outings ended up as a no decision and a loss respectively.

Charlie MortonHe was the man who was on the mound when the Astros put the demons behind them in the 7th game of the World Series. But did you remember that he started the deciding games against Boston and New York? He held it together despite giving up seven hits and two walks in 4.1 IP against Boston and allowed the team to stay close and eventually win that one. He also won the seventh game against NYY with five shutout innings. It is true he got bombed before that in Game 4 against the Yanks (which makes game 7 more impressive), but he also threw 6.1 great innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the WS.

Lance McCullers Jr. He was last seen being pulled after 2.1 IP in Game 7 of the WS due to hitting four batters more than anything. But he also won Game 3 of the WS and was most notable for being the tandem reliever clinching a spot in the WS with four innings of one hit ball against the Yanks.

Brad PeacockHe was used seven times in the playoffs, the first time in an unsuccessful start against the Red Sox, but thereafter as an important piece out of the bullpen. His two best moments were…. first a 3.2 IP scoreless save in Game 3 of the WS. Then a solid two scoreless innings in the clinching Game 7 of the WS.

Ken GilesHe was falling apart so badly that he was not used after Game 4 of the WS, though there was certainly a need for help in the bullpen. But he did have his moments in the playoffs, including two saves against the Red Sox that were both more than one inning long.

Colin McHugh. He slid from the starting rotation to a bullpen piece that was only used twice in the playoffs. The three-run homer he gave up to Cody Bellinger immediately after Gurriel’s HR had tied it in the marathon Game 5 of the WS will always be remembered. But he also helped immensely against the Yanks with a four-inning stint in a lost game that saved the rest of the bullpen for another day.

Will HarrisHe was used six times for only four innings of work during the playoffs with mixed success (like most of the bullpen). His best moment had to be throwing a scoreless seventh inning in the 7-6 Game 2 win over the Dodgers.

Joe MusgroveOh, Joe…. we hardly knew ye. He will be missed with this team in the future. During the playoffs he was used seven times and put up a none too consoling 8.10 ERA. However, he threw a scoreless eighth in Game 2 of the WS and another scoreless 11th inning in winning the marathon Game 5.

Chris DevenskiHe ended up with a 9.00 playoff ERA, but that might have been due to having him pitch in 10 of the 18 post season games (and likely warming up in a few more). He may be remembered for blowing the three-run lead in the WS Game 5, but he also had some good moments in a number of games, including coming out in the Game 7 clincher and getting a big out with two runners on base. He also earned the win in the Game 2 WS classic.

Luke GregersonHe was not used that much (3.2 IP in 5 postseason appearances) but Gregerson had a clean record in the playoffs. He gave up no runs and he did not allow any of the four runners he inherited to score. Folks will not remember it that way, but it was true.

Francisco LirianoHe had one bad appearance in the playoffs as he gave up a go-ahead 2 run HR in a game 3 loss to the Red Sox. But he came out of the bullpen four other times, faced 7 batters and gave up a single walk and that included the first game win vs. Boston and the last game win vs. LA.

So, there you go a synopsis of the big heroes, the quiet heroes and the almost invisible contributors. How does this match your memories?

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128 comments on “2017 playoffs: How each Astro helped win the whole enchilada

  1. It is so dead on the blog today – thank you for the comment ac45 – it makes me assume:
    – Everyone is at church or watching football
    – Everyone is sick of Dan P’s posts
    – This post did not interest folks
    – Only ac45 had internet access
    – Everyone is digging out from the great blizzard – even daveb
    – There is a really good sale at Macy’s

    Is there anyone out there?

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    • 1) I go to church on Saturdays and despise football
      2) I think the world of you Dan
      3)good topic
      4) I work tech support for Comcast. ..I will always have internet access
      5)nah I’m fine
      6) I’ve boycotted Macy’s ever since my 90 year old aunt (who raised me and is my mother in every way except biology) got treated rudely at the Baybrook location. ..she accidentally used the wrong card to pay with, and it was declined, and the cashier told her it wouldn’t have been declined if she hadn’t been a “deadbeat ” who couldn’t pay her bills. Manager laughed it off (literally laughed ) . I have not nor will I ever step foot inside a Macy’s again after corporate blew me off.

      I’ve just been busy, and there’s something else bothering me too. ..I’m having a hard time accepting the fact we are champions . Of course I’m happy, but it’s like I’ve already got the pinnacle and I just can’t get fired up for this season yet. It’s weird.

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      • Sorry about the Macy’s treatment Billy C. Some places don’t deserve the customers they have.
        What you are feeling is pretty normal. We’ve searched practically our whole lives for a championship and now what’s next. I think it was in Die Hard that the late Alan Rickman said about Alexander the Great – he surveyed all he had conquered and wept for their were no more worlds to conquer.
        No one can ever take that season away from us – our team will always be the 2017 champions

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    • Dan, actually an uneventful island day. Late breakkfast, grocery shopping, a swim, game one interrupted by a power outage in the first quarter, lights back on with Jags up 20-17. NE then doing what they do. Now game two. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You made so many good points, no need to comment. Maybe you should get a couple of things wrong every now and then so we can get on your case. I’m looking for a trade this week to spice things up. For any of the gamblers out there, picking the over in this NFC game is looking pretty good right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When everybody was hurt, Mike Fiers’s 8 wins helped.
    Jake Marisnick’s good contributions helped us get home field advantage to help us get past NY.
    I think everyone on this team helped us get across the finish line.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the hard work on this post, Dan! As for me, I have hopped into the DeLorian, and am zeroed in on solely on 2018. I am just chalking the 2017 World Championship season up to finally having a little more talent overall than the other teams in the league, a lack of serious competition in the division allowing us to get us our big lead and swagger, and a boatload of good baseball karma and just plain luck.

    I’ll always fondly remember the year our Astros won Houston’s first world series. But as ST nears, it has hit me that 2017 is over, and 2018 is here – and that all the title ‘World Series Champions’ means at this point is that we have a whole lot of hard work to do, and a whole lot of good baseball karma to court, if we have any chance of wearing it again.

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  4. Have to apologize for being a bit mopey yesterday. I know it is just not prime time for baseball, except when a big trade or signing occurs.

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  5. It was a long weekend for me. After the Gala Friday night, there was the long flight to southern California for the wedding, and then the even longer flight all the way to New England on Sunday.
    I couldn’t have made it without Tom and Gisele’s generosity. Getting Kraft’s jet to pick us up save the Mrs and me a lot of time waiting in airports and sleeping in suites. The game was worth all the effort, and getting the game ball from Bill was just icing on the cake. .
    In between all the hoopla, I still took time to comment a few times on these fine threads.
    Case called and apologized for his offensive line’s performance and I reminded him that I’m a Texans fan and was used to it. He thanked me for watching and said he understood why I had to go to NE, but sent me four passes for the big game in the Twin Cities in a couple of weeks. He asked how I was going to get there. and where I was staying, but I told him Mr. Kraft was taking care of all that.
    We will be going early in order to make it to Justin’s party. He is excited to be doing the halftime show and about us and JJ all being there to accept the Walter Payton Award. Bob and Cal are just as proud of JJ as I am and we will certainly raise a glass of bubbly over all this.
    Got to run. JLo is sending over some potential Grammy gowns for Mrs1OP to consider and I promised I would make an appearance and put my two cents in on which to choose.
    Call me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But how was the wedding? It must have been exciting being George’s best man!
      And then they presented you with a duplicate WS ring. Nice!!!!

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      • I’m actually not supposed to discuss the wedding publicly, but I can tell you the ring is not a duplicate.
        By the way, Forrest tweeted out the other day that he is 6’7″ but has not been at 240 lbs for two years, as was reported recently. Sure enough, the Astros have Whitley now listed at 6’7″ and 195 lbs!

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      • I have been working directly with Forrest. Part of that has been my Run Forrest Run training program and part was the unique liposuction transplant from Mr. Whitley to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the ready reference, Dan!

    1. Marwin’s Gm 2 homer. Without it, we could’ve only held serve by winning out at home, and that would’ve been pretty daunting. It reminded me of a double he hit vs the Mariners in a 1-0 loss to SEA (2016) top of the 9th. Super clutch.

    2. Gurriel’s 3-run blast off Kershaw. Up until that point, I really thought we’d lose that game.

    3. Springer homer following the misplayed hit to CF. It was immediate and with consequence. The same as when he faced KC’s Volquez after the beaning that ended George’s season. There’s something truly fierce about Springer when he’s motivated.

    4. The plays at the plate by Bregman and Marwin. I didn’t think anyone could top the arm strength of some of the throws I witnessed by Correa, but the Money, daft touch they both displayed was immense.

    I have a harder time now calling anything the Stros did lucky, mainly because I’ve realized there are less accidents in creating a winner. The kind of planning, coordination and execution it takes is what has attracted McCann, Beltran and Verlander. What we’re all soon to see is the natural outcropping of the talent we’ve been cultivating under this sustainable system.

    Keep in mind when the Rangers went All-In with Beltran, Lucroy and Gomez, those few months when we stood pat, took our lumps from a season that started 7-17, and allowed the system and maturation process to happen.

    As I think over that time period until today, it occurs to me that we had the great nucleus, we just needed those sparks of energy. We needed that oxygen boost in the clubhouse, and to start seeing the winning results that Altuve and Hinch discussed.

    I see that correlation in the 3 HR’s Jose Altuve hit to set the tone vs BOS. Both men have a unique leadership style, something very humble and inviting.

    They say the Phils rotation with Cliff Lee, Roy Oswald, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels was the best assembled. Because the Astros have an overriding philosophy to win games before they try to aid their players’ personal stats, I don’t think the 2018 rotation will equal the Phillies mentioned. But it won’t surprise me if this debate comes up this year, as I think the biggest story is our rotation depth.

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    • Grayson – a few things that I remember as luck that could have flipped games or momentum.
      – The Game 2 ALCS double by Correa that scored Altuve to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. If the throw is better or Sanchez does not have hands of stone – Altuve is out by a mile.
      – In Game 2 of the WS, Maybin just barely steals 2nd and then scores on Springer’s HR in the 11th for two runs that they had to have.
      – Earlier in Game 2 – Off the bat I thought Bellinger had won the game with a 2 out ninth inning HR off of Bellinger. He must have missed it by a fraction of an inch because it stayed in the park somehow.
      – Even earlier in Game 2 – Bregman’s eighth inning ground rule double that Puig just barely missed catching – led to Correa’s seeing eye single to cut the lead to 3-2

      And I’m sure there were others. Not that the opponents did not have luck at times, but for once after all these years of falling short, the Astros had more things work for them than against them.

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      • I think that anyone who has watched the New England Patriots over the years knows that they must manufacture luck in a secret sweat shot in Foxboro, because they are prepared to grab it by the throat every time it appears.

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      • There are always more than one way to look at things, sure. On the stone hands Sanchez play, I’m ok thinking we made our own luck there by being aggressive. Altuve has run that play 100 times in his life and knows the Yankees have to go Bang Bang to beat him. Correa stretches it and disrupts the throw, and Sanchez has to field a short hop and tag that’s not an easy execution on the biggest stage for a first full year guy.

        Not to quibble (as if there’s anything else to do in the offseason?), but my main reason for changing what I see now is knowing how determined the Astros are to create a certain outcome, rather than just hoping for the best.

        The best way to describe in layman’s terms is to see an extreme shift, and to watch the pitcher hit a spot that he knows the batter will hit the ball directly to a positioned player. That kind of design keeps the guesswork lessened, so we can concentrate on executing.

        I think it’s the essence of McCann’s comment to DeRosa after the WS. In the back room, what they’re studying and working on is, “big time.”

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    • Good – this is the first step to understanding that some stats, like BaBIP don’t really tell the story and get relied on a bit too much. They’re great over the long run, but when it comes down to one AB, one play on defense, etc., you want the guy whose not going to let the moment be bigger than him…not the guy who managed to hit a couple HR when his team was trailing by 7 runs in an early August game that padded the stats.

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      • I could see that trade working if they don’t want a whole lot more than Tucker – maybe someone in the A.J. Reed area, but I’m betting they want pitching and I’m not sure who I would allow to go there. Yelich is attractive at 4 years (if you kick in the option) for $52 million. He’s basically been a guy who hits for better average than Springer and a little less power, though he just turned 26 and more power may come.

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      • Dave, I’m not willing to do that. I understand that Yelich is proven and would make the Astros better. I understand that Tucker is a prospect who is still only a prospect.
        But, I also understand that if the Astros consider him untouchable, that means that they have evaluated him with THEIR system and conclude that he will make them a player in the near future when they will get six years of control at prices that may allow them to sign Altuve and then Correa to long term deals.
        The Astros must be able to blend their top prospects into the major league team if they are to compete for years to come because those prospects provide them top performance in their younger years(as Bregman and Correa are now!) for minimum salaries, which would give the Astros the option to extend the stars THEY want to extend. That is, the guys they think will earn their big money in the long run. Tucker, perhaps performing at a level that they have gotten from Bregman, would also give them payroll flexibilty to go get a free agent or trade for a pitcher that they might need to sign to keep their machine performing at a high level in 2021, something that paying Yelich $14 million in 2021 might not allow, while Tucker is providing Miami 3 or 4 WAR at a $575,000 salary.

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      • It wouldn’t surprise me if Luhnow was willing to make that deal, daveb, but I am not enthused by the idea. Yelich is a solid, young player who doesn’t really have a weakness to point out. The real question is how much better would he make us? What if we need to fix the bullpen in July or one of our most valuable players suffers a season ending injury? At this point I’d rather hold onto my chips in case a need arises. Also, why do we want to help Derek Jeter and the Marlins? I hated it when the Astros tanked on purpose and don’t want to see another franchise succeed in that model.

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  7. We apparently just took a flyer on lefty reliever Buddy Boshers, who was DFA’d last week by the Twins. Nothing particularly impressive in his MLB stats – except that he gives up a LOT of HRs and walks a lot of people. At least he and Tony Sipp should have a lot to talk about.

    Probably just insurance at AAA.

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  8. I spoke too soon. MLB Trade Rumors says we picked up Buddy Boshers from the Twins. LF reliever with a WAR last year of -0.1, Before you snicker, Guduan had a -0.3 WAR. So we now have a lefty that should be in AAA, and he can replace a lefty that should be in A ball.

    And don’t forget (before DanP pulls them up) these are similar comments I made about Morton last year.

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      • AC, wise men say . . . don’t be cruel! I’m stuck on you, so please don’t leave me cryin’ in the chapel. Love me tender, or I’ll get all shook up, and I’ll tell the world that you ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog. It’s now or never, my friend, because we can’t go on together with suspicious minds. The next time you dis the king on this blog, I’ll hit ‘return to sender’ and petition Dan to sentence you to 30 long days in Heartbreak Hotel. And any day now I’ll personally come and put a big old Jailhouse Rock – and maybe even a hunka hunka burnin’ love – in front of the door to your room!

        Liked by 3 people

      • Well that’s allright, Dan. I never dreamed you would be the devil in disguise! And here you’ve been wondering why all of a sudden there was a little less conversation. Anyway, the truth is that I learned to stay out of both the ghetto and the gutter a long time ago. If you follow that dream and go to the ghetto, they’ll take away your teddy bear and drag you around like a puppet on a string. If you go down on in the gutter they’ll step on your blue suede shoes and make you lonesome tonight. And hey, that’s just the girls, girls, girls. So me? I’d rather have fun in Acapulco.

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  9. Ladies are you out there? Harvey Weinstein does not post here so it is safe….
    I guess Becky is still in Houma after losing her cousin. Diane / Sandy come join us?

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    • Here Dan, every day reading.
      Why must we have very, very, bad left handed relievers when we have at least a couple of righties that are actually good at getting out left handed batters?
      See…..I just needed something to complain about.

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      • I’m sorta in Billy’s place. So dang thrilled at being the champs I don’t want to spoil things by starting the season.
        And I too wonder if other championship team’s fans felt this way.

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      • Yankee fans probably don’t feel this way because they are spoiled. We feel this way because we think we are going to wake up from this dream….

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      • Sandy – it is a reasonable question about the need for a left handed reliever. The Astros certainly got by without one due to how folks like Harris and Devenski do against leftys.
        I don’t think we should keep a lefty reliever just to have one – but if you have one that performs really well – it sure is nice to bring him in for a crucial batter or an inning where 2 or 3 leftys are coming up. Back in 2015, Tony Sipp was good against rightys and leftys. But he has disappeared the last two years.

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    • i think this is more than just a flyer based on this portion of the statement. Boshers held left-handed batters in check, allowing a .224 batting average and a .258 on-base percentage. we would seem to need someone who can get left handed batters out.

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  10. I think it’s importance to realize a lot of time you all are talking statistical and some pretty heavy Baseball IQ stuff. I love reading it all , but I don’t dig as deep into some of that as you all do. Trust me we are here reading and appreciate all your work and facts crunching. I’m just ready for the season to start.

    Bosher will be in AAA when this season starts, just some depth , when Sipp stinks again. Hell of wedding Springer had. Nice.

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    • Kevin, my pal, you said it. Half the time I don’t understand what they’re talking about. For me, it’s like did he hit the ball; if so, how far in which direction? Did he catch the ball? Is the pitcher able to throw heat? (Am I cool or what?) And finally, did the Astros win the World Series?

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    • Hey Kevin, I’m trying to stick to the more digestible stats, but sometimes wander off into the twilight zone. Please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if I begin to get annoying. Sometimes I try to be as brief as possible as typing on the magical pocket computer (they also can send and receive phone calls!) can be frustrating. Also, I don’t think we place enough emphasis on what Diane mentions in her comment.

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  11. I confess that I didn’t do any of the things I said I did this past weekend.
    But some things I did learn in the past seven months are the truth:
    1. People who have smart phones aren’t always very smart.
    2. Five people in a household consume three times as much as two people do.
    3. One person drinking from a wine bottle can easily make it last a week. Two people drinking from a wine bottle have trouble making it last a night.
    4. Earplugs are worth the time, the trouble and the money.
    5. Thirty acres is not enough acreage to hide out. Kids will find you.
    6. People in their late sixties are from earth and people in their mid thirties are from another planet. or vice versa.
    7. Children leaving the nest for a second time are God’s greatest gift.
    8. Want to spend your life trying to impart wisdom? Forget about it. Few listen and none seem to remember because of a game on a smart phone.
    9.When you make a suggestion about what to do to fix the problem in June, you’re just a dummy. When they do what you suggested six months later, they are brilliant and you are ten years older.
    10. My computer is a happy place.
    11. Jeff Luhnow came around to our way of thinking and we are finally the champions. But, time marches on, and we need to do it again. If we just dilly dilly, the old Astros could come back home to roost and I will not be able to live with that. It’s time to get going after that trophy again, so let’s all pitch in and get back to work. Trebek, left fielders for $8 million!

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    • Why would the Stros make Fisher untouchable in the Cole trade if our interest were in Yelich, or his ilk?

      I got my wish of ‘cheap & under team control’ in Cole over Yelich, and content with Marwin getting half his own starts in LF. MMP’s short porch doesn’t require blazing speed and while his routes are as suspect as any who convert from IF to OF in terms of adjusting angle at sound of bat, he makes up for some of that by being athletic with a good (not plus), accurate arm. His AB’s have increased over the last three years because Luhnow’s likes him in the lineup. I think it’s a perfect situation to have Fisher and Marisnick to interchange, as offensive or defensive needs be. Both are cutting their teeth, and affordable.

      Beyond trying to keep our core in-house and saving money for who brought you a championship, here are the reasons we’re not trying for more moves. If each of these falter, there is a “backup plan.”

      Stassi – Gattis, Stubbs, Castro
      Sipp – Boshers, Guduan, Devo
      Giles – Smith, Peacock, LMJ, Rondon

      [A side note on Gattis. I think he’ll still get 25-40 starts at catcher, despite the plan going in to allow Stassi about the same. McCann is still a hoss, but having three backstops is optimal to allow plenty of reps and rest for each guy.]

      As a rule this season, we have enough firepower everywhere to be able to play more fringe players; like White who may start at 1B on OD (Gurriel suspension), or a pitcher we want to fast forward like Martes, or Paulino. That goes for over-extending pitchers in a new age of baseball, where 200 IP is the exception.

      Not to burst the bubble of touting our division, as though they’ll be tough, the simple fact remains that we’ll play several “minor league” teams, comparatively speaking, to be able to showcase guys like J D Davis, or to try and sprinkle in first wave of up-and-comers, like Brady Rodgers, or Cionel Perez.

      Last season, guys took breaks who were slumping, or we simply made room by trading them. Aoki and Teoscar come to mind, relating to Fisher’s emergence.

      Best Acquisition for 2018
      Joe Smith, very Chad Bradford, Kent Tekulve-esque!

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      • This landed in wrong spot. It’s a response to OP’s post about smartphones, smart people, 30 acres, and how many it takes to polish off a bottle of wine at any given time.

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  12. Totally off topic, but the Academy Award nominations came out and one of them made me chuckle.
    If any of you were fans of the TV show “The Office” (which was great until it wasn’t) – there is a scene where Kevin the not so smart guy from accounting talks about gambling. He says something like this – “If someone offers you 10,000 to 1 odds on anything – you take it. If John Cougar Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar I am going to be a very rich man”

    What made me laugh was Mary J Blige getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination and me thinking somebody out there might have her at 10,000 to 1 odds.

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  13. It is amazing that with so many free agents sitting out there, the only signings every day seem to be marginal players or guys being signed to minor league contracts being invited to spring training.

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  14. By the way, OP and anyone interested, the current Time announces the Fins have a word for sitting at home in your underwear drinking by yourself. It’s kalsarikannit.

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  15. The panel of commentators on MLB Network were absolutely gushing over the Astros offense a few minutes ago. I could not believe what I was hearing. Peter Gammons said that the Cora hire by the Red Sox was to try to bring the Astros Fomula to Boston.
    OMG, who were those guys and what the heck happened?!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dean Deetz gets 80 games. Singleton 100. If Singleton got nailed for being a pot head again, he’s an idiot. But seriously, if he got 100 games for smoking pot, then the rule is as idiotic as he is.

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  17. Deetz is a tough hit. He really got his game together in Corpus last year. I don’t think being ignorant of the rules will get him off the hook. I sure hope the minor league system did not fail him in educating on PED’s. Paulino had a real chance at significant ML innings in 2017. Hate to lose guys that way, but it’s flat out dumb whether it was a mistake or intentional.

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    • “I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity.” Deetz

      My question is: how can it be a “mistake”? Because his letter of apology sure sounds like he’d been injected before without knowing what it was.. maybe cortisone – is that possible that he’s telling the truth? Is his contention of being from a small town and not letting his supporters down, a question to the organization of “what happened?” I’m asking because, this could be a way to shelve pitchers. Dare I say it?

      The Yankees sure knew about Clemens, according to his testimony about the trainer. Anyway, it always smells a little fishy when the act of cheating for results can benefit the team.

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  18. . I personally think the law is full of you know what, and I don’t think it qualifies as a performance enhancer (otherwise I’d be an MVP!) but Singleton should’ve come to his senses. Either be a baseball player and earn millions, or a human with (some)rights. Cant always have it both ways

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, Singleton has had it both ways. But that gravy train is fast leaving the station. Come the end of the season we will say goodbye to Mr. Singleton permanently. I will be surprised if he is allowed to play in our organization, even after the suspension is served out.

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  19. A couple thoughts
    – Apparently smoking weed makes you so relaxed that you either strike out or walk all the time. What a waste of talent JS has been
    – I’m sorry – but I just never believe guys that say they didn’t know what was entering their body – these guys are 100% about their bodies
    I think Deetz needed an edge and thought he had a way to mask it. Brian Cushing used up all my naively believing in these guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just playing devil’s advocate, there is little to no regulation of the supplement market. He could have bought what he thought was legit/allowable from Amazon and received something that contained substances he didn’t bargain for.
      …but unless he can provide proof on that I will assume he knowingly cheated, got caught, and made the most expensive mistake of his life.

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      • https://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2016/4/24/11497244/dehydrochlormethyltestosterone-what-is-this-crap

        Here’s a little about Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone Deetz is claimed to have knowingly taken. The same defense is made by Jays’ Colobello. The comment section is rife with arguments for and against what a player can unwittingly do, and sheds light on testing.

        I suppose judging from the numbers, Deetz had incentive to bounce back from Fresno. But the test was scheduled and the substance is incredibly easy to detect.

        I’m still leaning toward believing Deetz, and assume he took something tainted. But that’s now two guys who were literally on the cusp of breaking through (Paulino). If they both come back and pitch in the majors, it will only beg the questions further.

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      • So Deetz pitched excellently at AA last year (1.82 ERA), gets promoted to AAA and pitches poorly (6.80 ERA). Was he hurt at AAA or was he just not able to perform well enough? Did he take this stuff knowingly to heal from an injury? Did he take something because he thought he needed a boost to continue to climb the ladder? Did he take something else and it just happened to be tainted with this? Did (big conspiracy moment here) the Astros really want that 40 man spot back and sent a guy in a trench coat and a fedora with sunglasses to sell him steroids without him knowing it? Did trenchcoat guy sprinkle his Cheerios with this bad stuff?

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      • I’ve commented frequently that there is a day of reckoning coming for a number of athletes. The truth of the matter is that every time the leagues institute a new test to stop usage of particular PEDs the players go look for a new source. The providers of these drugs are not, generally speaking, working out of an office or laboratory. The sad/funny thing is that for every guy like Deetz or Colabello who get caught taking something like Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone there are probably a handful taking nothing but sugar pills, but convinced they discovered the holy grail. This is also why I say Deetz could have been swindled – he may have tried to purchase a wonder drug and been given something that’s amazingly easy to detect instead.

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  20. Unless I am reading it wrong, Big John makes about $300,000 after his suspension and then gets a $500,000 buyout. Not bad money if you can get it. Still short of the $10 million number

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  21. After looking into the Buddy Boshers waiver claim, I think the Astros might have noticed something about him in the innings he pitched against them this season, especially the innings he pitched in MMP.

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      • The Astros have some incredible technical equipment at MMP. Boshers has had experience in the majors three times and has lost 2MPH on every pitch he throws from 2013 until now. He has cut back on his fastball usage each year and has started going more to his change up as he decreases that fastball usage.
        I’m hoping some guy has noticed the changes on video and they think they might be able to add back his missing velocity.
        Either that or they are just grasping at as many straws as they can reach.
        Boshers threw a bunch of innings against us this season and not all of them were good. They just might have spotted something they think they can fix.

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    • It’s the kind of pickup I’ve been clamoring for. Boshers isn’t expensive like a Brad Hand would be. He’s had a lot of success against lefties. If he pitches well and makes the team, great! If Sipp and/or Gose beat him out for a spot, well, at least we tried.

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  22. We are back home, and I just sat down to read your entry Dan. I had my head inside a washing machine all day. Loved all your posts you guys and girls.
    I am excited to get this season started, and like all of you I’m still basking in the warm sun of the greatest World Series EVER! The guys are chomping at the bit to get back to the sweet smell of Spring grass and the heavenly smell of a new glove! And no…….not the same grass that has just costs Singelton a whole lot of money, and the chance at ever being a MLB player. As for Deetz let’s hope Luhnow is more forgiving, and he can keep going as a major league pitcher….word to the wise, don’t be stupid and you will get your chance to pitch.
    MY sweet Nancy was the MARDI GRAS queen in 1995, and her children buried her in her gown that she wore in the parade, she looked soo beautiful. This was an extremely tough funeral for me, she was like a sister to me…..and my age we were very close. When my brother passed away he was cremated and did not want a service. It’s kind of like he never existed, that’s why I was so teary at Nancy’s, service. I had no closure with my brother Van. I asked the Lord if it would be ok if the dark cloud of death would move away from my family….I pray he answers my prayer🙏
    You folks have really weather some major storms with me over the last few years, and your support meant everything to me when I was going through those dark days of chemo treatments. If I don’t say it enough, I cherish every single one of you…..even if we get sideways on how we feel about this crazy game we love so much! Now I will try to get some much needed rest.
    Much love to all of you❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Becky we all miss you when you are gone and we all wish the best for you. You have had WAY more than your fair share of challenges the last couple of years. Life sometimes seems to move in cycles, here is voting for you to have a long smooth spell on the peak and very little time in the valley.

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  23. Deetz’s vcomment:

    ““Let me say first and foremost that I have never knowingly taken a performance enhancing substance of any kind. I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity, or betray those who have supported me along the way, by trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage. As I explained to the arbitrator in my appeal, I have no idea how I could possibly have tested positive and although I am disappointed with the outcome, I will abide by his decision. I would like to apologize to my family, friends, the Houston Astros organization, coaches teammates and fans that have been impacted by this situation. I will continue working diligently to clear my name and, in the meantime, rebuild the trust of those who have been affected by this result.”

    Singleton’s comment;

    “Nah, Really, WOW, Man, anybody seen my Cheetos?”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Speaking of Jack in the Box…anybody else find it weird that they cater to stoners in their commercials but they’re the only fast food company to drug test their employees?

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  24. Some thoughts;
    * Averaging 29.4 seconds in-between pitches, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs says Marwin Gonzalez is the slowest working batter in baseball, and thus, will be most affected by a pitch clock.
    * I do not understand where the perception comes from that Marwin has a weak arm in LF. He doesn’t.
    *If Gonzalez had been the starting LFer all year long in 2017 he would have been on the All-Star team.
    *He had a career high .343 BABIP last year and this year will tell us if he made adjustments that changed his career or if he was lucky.
    * According to Roster Resource, Verlander, Cole, Keuchel, Peacock and Morton were all in the top 32 Starting Pitcher Power Rankings in 2017. That is stunning to me. LMJ was 53rd despite missing almost all of the second half of the season.

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  25. Non Roster Invites are out!!

    NRI outfielders include Jon Kemmer, KTuck, Alejandro Garcia, Drew Ferguson, and Myles Straw.

    NRI infielders include Jack Mayfield, Nick Tanielu, and Randy Cesar.

    NRI catchers include Garrett Stubbs, James Ritchie and Tim Federowicz.

    NRI starters include Rogelio Armenteros, Framber Valdez, and Trent Thornton.

    NRI relievers include Brendan McCurry, Riley Farrell, Jacob Dorris, Mike Hauschild, and Matt Ramsey.

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