Decisions, Decisions: Short, mid and long term quandaries for Astros

Every front office has a myriad of decisions to make during and after the season and the 2018 Astros are no exception. Here is a look at a set of decisions that this team may face in the upcoming months.

Short Term

  • Derek Fisher return from “gastrointestinal discomfort” DL stint. Fisher is on track to come off the DL in early June.  Does Fisher return to the big club? Does he get sent to the minors? If he returns to the big club – who goes down? Tony Kemp? Jake Marisnick? J.D. Davis?
  • Josh Reddick return from the infected leg DL stint. Right now they are acting like it will be longer than the minimum 10-day stay. But let’s say he is back by 2nd or 3rd week of June. Who goes down? Kemp or Marisnick if one of them is still up? Fisher if he is up? Davis? A relief pitcher? For awhile it looked like the Astros had a surplus of relievers until the last few days of over-use. This is probably not likely now.
  • Brian McCann return from the sore knee DL stint. There is no real decision on what they will do when he returns as Max Stassi is going nowhere and Tim Fedorowicz will obviously go down upon McCann’s return. The real decision is how long to keep him out. If you are waiting for a 34-year-old catcher to have no soreness in his knees, you may be waiting until about 5 years after he retires. But they may give him 3 or 4 weeks of rest.
  • With the recent overuse of the bullpen. might the team dip into the minors and bring someone up to help them through the tight times? If they do – how do they handle that – does someone go on the DL or do they send down a position player for a short respite?
  • The Astros have to decide how to handle the draft this year, which starts less than a week away on June 4. This time they have only a late first round (#28 pick) and no supplemental picks. Will they grab the best player available? Will they lean towards college or high school in the early rounds (overall they always take more college players)? Any position needs glaring at them?

Mid Term

Do the Astros…

  • Consider trading for a steadier DH between now and the deadline? I know that Evan Gattis has warmed up a lot, but can they afford to rely on a guy, who when he goes cold, is icier than Bud Selig’s feelings toward Houston (and vice versa)?
  • Consider trading for a veteran outfielder to stick in left field? Do they give the job full time to one of their youngsters, like Kemp? Do they bring up the Holy Grail of prospects, 21-year-old Kyle Tucker
  • Look at picking up a longer-term catcher than McCann, who if he does not take a big cut and reduced role will likely be elsewhere in 2019?
  • Chase a big-time arm for the closer’s role even if it is a rental? Do they stay pat? Do they pick up an arm, but not necessarily a closer? Who goes out if one comes in?
  • Look to bolster that underperforming starting rotation? (I can’t find the sarcasm font) But do they look at the situation with possibly losing Dallas Keuchel at the end of the year and trade him for prospects rather than give him a qualifying offer at the end of the season?
  • Consider sending Marwin Gonzalez out on a rental prior to free agency if he does not improve his hitting between now and the trade deadline? Do they consider 2017 a one season anomaly?

Longer term

What would you decide if you were in charge?

What else would you be considering?

Why do the Astros pay the M and GM the big bucks, and are they looking at extending Jeff Luhnow and/or A.J. Hinch? Or did they do that already and it flew under the radar?

114 comments on “Decisions, Decisions: Short, mid and long term quandaries for Astros

  1. Why would Justin remind you of Nolan ? Just because he grew up idolizing him? And Nolan kept his eye on him? I wouldn’t send Kemp down. Don’t know much about his fielding but he’s had some good hits and I loved the enthusiasm and encouragement to teammates he showed last night.

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    • I know that Justin is physically different (much bigger) than Nolan, but there are a number of things that I see as similar:
      – Desire to pitch into their 40’s
      – Both pitchers have grown from relying upon just blowing people away to becoming complete pitchers with devastating breaking balls
      – Very stoic on the mound – can’t tell if they are ahead or behind
      – Very good mechanics – proper use of their lower bodies to take the strain off the arm
      – Nolan likes to raise beef and Justin likes to eat it??

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      • Oh Dan, that was tongue in cheek. Of course the Ryan/Verlander comparison is apropos. I keep thinking peeps understand my weirdness and of course they do not.

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      • Diane – my half of the species will never understand the other half of the species and probably that is a good thing.

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      • A few years ago, Verlander’s parents gave him a Christmas card. One side had his career numbers; the other side had Ryan’s career numbers. And they got Nolan Ryan to sign it. JV said it just showed him he had a ways to go. When asked early on who he admired most, he was quick to say his father. Second was Nolan Ryan.

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  2. * Love Kemp in the 9 hole and the fact he has great at bats and doesn’t K.
    * the Jake experiment needs to go, he is what he is AAAA
    * I’m sure I’m in the minority but DF would be in a package for a closer
    * Send JD down for now so he can hit everyday, Gattis replacement
    * After the season sign Morton maybe Margo, depends on $$ and who else is ready for that role
    Extend
    * CC while he is still affordable
    * Love to see JV and Cole hear another 5 years
    * maybe extend Bregman next year

    The rest not sure

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  3. Short term: find a way to beat the odds and escape NY with a win today in a ridiculous mismatch of their best starter and the MLB’s best offense vs. our worst starter and an easily overwhelmed, fit-and-start, all-or-nothing offense;

    Mid- term: find a way, against all odds, to win at least two games of the Boston series;

    Longer: if we somehow find a way to stay within 3 games of the division lead as June draws to a close, around the trade deadline pull out all the stops to: 1. significantly improve the bullpen slots presently held by Smith and Sipp; 2. replace Giles as closer; 3. find a more consistent DH than Evan Gattis [assuming, as I do, that this current hot streak fizzles out by mid-June and he returns to the Mendoza line hitter he was in April]; and 4. never, ever again give a start to Jake Marisnick – even if it means bringing up Kyle Tucker in his place a year before he is ready.

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  4. Mr Bill, I like your comments. Last night in NY hurt and Sunday in Cleveland was terrible. I would bring in some help if possible. The TV team suggested that the Astros might trade for a closer. At the present, I think that if Mchugh would have been brought in last night, he would not have walked the first batter in the bottom of the ninth and he would have probably saved the game for us. I wish Hinch would use him more. I have always liked Kemp. Every team needs someone steady who makes contact and he is serviceable in the outfield and can relieve Altuve’ at 2nd. If the Astros can get a good deal for Keuchel, I would trade him. I like Mchugh about as well anyway.

    From the mock drafts I’ve lately seen, they have the Astros selecting a HS outfielder. The best two catchers will be gone before we select. I suspect that the Stros have their eye on a HS pitcher and that’s what they’ll do.

    After the season, I hope they keep Morton., and work to extend everyone except Giles. I’m unsure about McCullers because of his immaturity.

    I would not trade for a veteran outfielder. Give the job to Kemp until Ted gets here next Spring.

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  5. Fisher is not ready for prime time. Kemp is more ready. Keep Kemp.

    Davis is not ready for prime time. But he’s a ton more ready than Marisnick will ever be. Keep Davis.

    Reddick needs to come back strong, and let his carry the offense for awhile – since no one else, even with a hot streak [see Altuve, Jose, and Gattis, Evan] have been able to do so.

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    • Mr. Bill, if you have hopes of Reddick carrying the offense, I think you are asking too much from the guy. What we need is 5 or 6 guys to all be hitting at the same time. And I think that between Springer, Bregman, Altuve, Correa, Gurriel, Gattis and Reddick, that’s realistic.

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      • What I really mean, Dave, is for Reddick to get his BA up from .227 to around his career average of .260 + [which means he needs to scorch it for awhile] – and for at least three of the cadre of him, Altuve, Correa, Gurriel, Bregman, and either Gattis or Margo to all get relatively hot – especially with RISP – and stay that way through the rest of the year.

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  6. Concerning this upcomomg draft, Zach Hess of LSU is projected for the 2nd round. Last year he was unhittable as a reliever until the final game of the college world series when he had been overused. This year, Paul Manieri has been forced to use him as their Friday night starter with far less success. He is usually unhittable for a few innings and then falls apart. Last year, the announcers repeatedly stated that he was MLB ready as a reliever. He’s 6’7″, has a moving fastball between 96-100MPH and an unhittable slider. His changeup is a work in progress. if still there in the 2nd round, he might help us. He reminds me of Brad Lidge.

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  7. Wow, that’s a whole lot of homework. I can’t respond to everything.

    We need a real closer. Giles does not have the chemical, mental, whatever you want to call it, make up to do the job. Anyone that gives himself noogies after blowing a game is not stable enough for the role. He’s also forgotten how to strike guys out. He may be 9 of 9 in saves, but does anyone feel like he’s our savior?

    What will Derek Fisher do if he comes back? Same thing. Let’s see if he can regain his confidence in Fresno. That will be good for his stomach too. Got to go with Tony Kemp at least until he stops doing what he’s doing.

    We have real issues. Gattis is not one of them. He had a bad start. A whole month. But he’s getting back to his career norms. He’s a good DH. Leave him alone.

    Right now, Marwin is one of our bigger problems. He’s been bad at the plate for 2 months. Our outfield is a legitimate concern. Hopefully Reddick comes back and performs. Hopefully Marwin starts to hit. Hopefully Kemp keeps doing what he’s doing. But it’s pretty clear that they don’t want Davis to spend too much time out there. And Jake, as reliable as he is at catching and throwing makes one want to throw up when watching him try to hit.

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    • But the problem is that even at their best, the guys we have in the bullpen are simply not good enough for any significant post-season success. They are deceptively good against bad and undisciplined teams.

      They were not good enough to close games last year, and they don’t look any better this year. Perhaps Jeff’s plan is to get Paulino, Armenteros, and Whitely ready to step in as ‘tandem’ relievers for the play-off run, since absolutely nobody in our pen matches up well against the Yankees, Red Sox, or Indians ‘take what they give you in the late innings and stroke it to the opposite field’ disciplined approach.

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      • Devenski’s post-season ERA is 7.20 with a HR/9 of 3.6;

        Giles’ post-season ERA is 11.74 with a WHIP of 2.217;

        Harris’ post-season ERA is 6.43 with a post-season WHIP of 2.143;

        Peacock’s post-season ERA is 5.11 with a post-season WHIP of 1.378;

        Rondon’s post-season ERA is 4.50 and his post-season WHIP is 1.429.

        Joe Smith and Tony Sipp both have very limited post-season exposure, but their post-season numbers are far, far better than anyone else’s in our pen. That should tell you something.

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      • Bill, the pen has been good. Mostly. And most of the guys in the pen will help us win 100 plus games and ideally give us some home field advantage in the post season. And a couple, or even a few of the guys presently in the pen will have been traded, injured or left off the post season roster come October. But there is real talent in the pen. You sure are bailing on the whole group of them during a rough stretch that every pen in the game has. These guys feed of each other when things are good and usually have a hard time together too when things are bad. And I’m about positive that we’ll have a new closer by late summer. And who knows, maybe a guy like Whitley plays a role too, as he’d be a whole new look for opposing hitters.

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      • Unfortunately, the stats I quoted above have nothing whatever to do with ‘a rough stretch that every pen in the game has’. Those are all career post-season stats – mostly, of course, from last year’s real playoff games, where our bullpen collapsed on itself and had to be bailed out by starters pressed into bullpen workd and a regular course of George Springer/Alex Bregman/Marwin Gonzales late innings heroics – of which we are not seeing much at all this year.

        I am not bailing on a bullpen when it is over-stretched because of one really bad game by LMJ, and some really good Cleveland Indian and New York Yankee late innings approaches. I am just trying to point out that, no matter how good the present group does – when rested – against undisciplined late-inning hitters like ours from 2nd and 3rd tier teams in our league during the season, we really have NOBODY at all in this group who has ever done anything against top tier teams at play-off levels to cause the F.O. – or the fan base – to be too hopeful for the post-season.

        If we want to even make it to – much less through – the first round of the playoffs in a year when the competition in our division and in the EAST is WAY better than last year – we need a total bullpen make-over. We have about a month to change the late-inning approach these guys bring to combat the disciplined approach of the Indians, Yanks, etc. [i.e. the exact approach that allowed the Royals to beat us in the ALCS in 2015]. Failing that, we need to retool before the trade deadline. The present bunch, following the present approach, might look good against the lower tier – but it cannot beat the good teams.

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      • Bill, you should probably pack it in then, because you are not going to get a total makeover. Why give yourself ulcers like Fisher has?

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      • I have pretty much resolved myself to the likelihood that, barring a really good 2018 trade season, we will probably bow out in the first round of the playoffs this year. That’s okay – I will still be an Astro-holic. Dan’s post was just entitled: ‘Decisions, Decisions’, and I expressed my thoughts on what decisions could and should be made, and the reasons that I think some pretty radical changes in approach if not personnel are called for. No packing it in. No worries. No ulcers.

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  8. First of all I have to say I believe that the team does need to and will do “something” relative to the bullpen.
    I don’t believe that something will include ejecting the whole bullpen and starting over.
    I also don’t agree that this team cannot beat the good teams. It beat quite a few good teams during the regular season in 2017 (like the Red Sox -4-3 and the Yankees 5-2 and the Twins 5-1 – ok – not the Indians) and beat three excellent teams in the playoffs – the Red Sox, Yanks and Dodgers.

    I don’t like the absolute of cannot…it takes me back to my arguments with bopert where he said the Astros would never have a winning record under Crane and then they would never repeat it or never be the champions.

    I can’t judge players on their first exposure to playoff ball. I mean based on that I could have said that we need a new 2nd baseman because Altuve hit .136 against the Royals and he would never be a good playoff producer. That would have been a mistake.

    I do think that Giles is too emotional and might always suffer under the big lights. I think Devenski would do well his second time around in the playoffs if…..they don’t try to use him almost every day. I don’t think he gave up the big home run last night because the Yanks had some special voodoo on him. I think using him for the third day in a row was the problem.

    Bottom line – I think the Astros need to make some changes in the bullpen, but they are not likely going to pick up improvements for every darn spot in the pen, so they need to make the ones they do make count.
    And they will use a similar strategy in the playoffs if they make it this time with starters doing tandem duty.

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    • Just another example to highlight what I have said about the weakness of our late inning approach this year: The Astros are just 1-4 this year in extra inning games. We lost two out of two to the Rangers in extras, one out of one to the Indians, and now one out of one to the Yanks. The only team we have beaten in extras this year is San Diego, whose record is 23-33.

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      • We are a sterling 4-11 in one run games on the season. I’m not sure if that is former Clippers owner Donald Sterling or current Yankee announcer John Sterling. It might be Rod Serling and his Twilight Zone enveloping our favorite team.

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  9. What I have some hope for is that the geeks in our FO will do some real film analyzing, number crunching and strategizing AND that our bullpen and hitting coaches will get innovative and do some real coaching to change our late-inning approach on both sides of the ball. Our hitters need to get more disciplined, and less ‘all or nothing’ in their late-inning approach. And the geek-squad needs to come up with an algorithm for our relievers that will stand up against the really good teams’ late-inning approach of ‘make them throw strikes; foul off the fastballs close to the zone; and choke up and lay in wait to poke every breaking pitch and change up anywhere near the outside corner into the opposite field’.

    That new approach, together with a real, proven closer and one more bullpen piece [either a loogy who actually gets left handed hitters out regularly or a set up guy who won’t walk the first batter he faces half the time], and we have a shot to compete with the big guys – which we don’t do well in 2018

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    • One of my favorite movies of all time is Groundhog Day, but it does not extend to repeatedly replaying this moment in my life with Jake and the lineup.

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      • I can pick on several hitters taking strikes down the center of the plate, but yesterday was a good example for Jake. Late inning replacement, one AB. Strike one on outer 3rd of the plate but well within the zone. Strike two was dead center. Strike 3 was on the top edge of the strike zone. Never took the bat off his shoulder and then wanted to argue strike 3 with the ump. He is not a professional hitter right now. He has always had too many moving parts. He could learn from Bregman. See Ball. Hit Ball. Now his defense is good to great. But in a game, he might save one double. Do you give up 4 ABs to save the double. Just don’t see that as an even trade. But as I started, several are taking dead center strikes, and swinging at pitches that take a bounce to get to the catcher.

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  10. I don’t know what you guys are talking about. Assuming Severino was just an average major league pitcher, there would, based upon Jake’s stats this year, be a 52 % chance he would do something besides strike out.

    Of course, with Severino on the mound tonight, that per centage of chances Marisnick will not strike out is probably down about 4o to 50 points – but hey, as Jim Carey once famously said: ‘So you’re telling me there is a chance . . . YEAHHHH!’

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  11. These are in my opinion won’t be here next season:
    Marisnick
    Keuchel
    Sipp
    McCann
    Gattis
    And “maybe” Marwin. Marwin is gonna price himself out of the Astros.
    No excuse for keeping Marisnick I don’t care if he IS that good in center.
    Kemp in right tonight is questionable, he’s not a right fielder.
    I hate to be the Debbie downer….but we aren’t going to win tonight’s game.

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  12. Lightning struck a tree about 25 yards from our house early this morning. It sounded like a bomb going off. We are thankful things aren’t worse.
    The PC is fried, as is the HDMI 1 port on the TV. My son figured it all out and we changed to another port and can watch TV. I will load up the computer and see what can be done with it, as he says the internet adapter inside of it is fried.
    I went next door to check out the new post and let you guys know that I will try to check in every once in a while.

    I don’t see the panic that some here see. I know the Astros are not perfect, I think Luhnow will make a move or two before the deadline. I think the Astros are better than their record indicates and when we look back on June and July we will see quite a few more wins than losses and the Astros will be in the playoff picture.
    I would like to believe that when Reddick returns Marisnick will go back down because he is not fixed. If Kemp is playing well would they send him down for a fishy Fisher? Fedorowicz was really hitting great in AAA, so he stays until McCann is healthy.
    Luhnow is looking at everybody because he always looks for ways to make
    this team better. If he were to extend a pitcher, I think it would be Cole. But, Cole has to want an extension to make it work.
    Nothing Luhnow does is any more a surprise than his last move. If he wants to make a move, he usually makes it happen.

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    • Glad you had that 25 yards OP and everyone is good, except maybe for the ear ringing. Great to have a son around that understands how to get things operational again. And I presume the tomato crop survived the night too.

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  13. How does a guy like Keuchel, who can’t even break 90 mph, throw so many wild pitches. That’s six on the year. Two walks and a wild pitch in two innings. Talk about beating yourself. Meanwhile, our offense is playing windmill again.

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  14. Haven’t been watching the gm long, did see CC and MG get pummeled by breaking pitches and have now heard Severino has 7 Ks. Is DK dealin on the bump or is he struggling?

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  15. I hear a lot of Keuchel apologists cite his ERA and WHIP and soft contact rates but all that does for me is bring to mind Mark Twain’s comment that there are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics. His ground ball rate is down and its clear he can’t/won’t compete in the strike zone. He was throwing four seam FBs at 87-88 tonight. At the very least he needs to be moved down in the rotation so he’s not pitted against #s 1 and 2s.

    Something else that aggravates me is our run differential which is otherworldly but we still only lead the Mariners by one game and their run differential is under 10 for the season. What it shows me is that we score a lot when it doesn’t matter and don’t score at all when it does. I think what Becky harps on is spot on.

    When Fisher comes off the DL he needs to go to Fresno for a prolonged rehab assignment to learn how to make contact and if he doesn’t show quick improvement just option him straight up. When Reddick comes back Jake has to go. Davis gives a FAR superior AB. Reddick in right and Springer in center is good enough defensively. Kemp is fine in left and you have to reward how he has earned and grabbed his chance whereas Fisher was essentially given his chance and IMO blew it.

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    • Jake is Luhnow’s, favorite……somehow I doubt we see him gone this year.
      The reason I say that, is he is what he is….and has really never been anything other than that. We keep waiting for his bat to show up, much like they did with J.D. Martinez….and they don’t want to take the chance of Jake turning into a slugger. I would be surprised if he is let go.

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  16. Cudos to McHugh – he took 3 innings in a game we couldn’t win anyway and gave the bullpen guys a much needed rest.

    And Cudos to Max Stassi. Dude, do you want to be a major league catcher, or what?

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  17. Didn’t see the game tonight (a blessing maybe) but CC 0 for 4 with 3 k’s and his BA is dropping like a rock. MG isn’t any better at 2 K’s and a blistering .222 average and then there’s the King of K’s who was 2 for 2 (2AB’s and 2 K’s). This is absolutely ridiculous. Time for a change or two.

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  18. Watching Correa and Altuve and Springer swing at everything…..made me say things I ask forgiveness for everynight. Beginning right NOW….we have to identify what the problem is with these guys. Identify it….and address it. NOW!

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  19. If I am GM for a day, I would look at trading “a rental” for “a rental.” Perhaps Cleveland thinks they need a lefty starter and have excess in the bullpen. DK for Cody Allen. This is probably not going to happen, but we are NOT going to get a top line reliever by trading 10 Fishers, Reeds, etc. We will have to give up something that hurts. “A rental” hurts less. Remember Chapman to the Cubs.

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  20. One suggestion would be to make a call to someplace in Detroit and get Alex Johnson to give Gattis tips on hitting. Johnson was a strong dude. (So is Gattis) His bat looked like a canoe paddle and he “Cow tailed” it. But he had an unusual ability to pretend to check his swing on pitches he did not want to hit. So in effect, he “Bunted” balls found. He did this until he got the pitch he wanted.

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  21. What Hinch said: ‘I thought when he [DK] got out of the first inning allowing one run, it was a big boost for him.’

    What he meant: ‘He’s usually been giving up at least two runs in the first inning this year, so for him to only get our team behind by one run for a change was a pleasant surprise. We knew Stassi would be able to drive in at least 3 for us.’

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  22. What Keuchel said about the Yankees: ‘Hopefully we’ll see each other in October.’

    What he meant: ‘The road to the ALCS goes through New York.’

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  23. Our guys went 3 and 4 against two of the best teams in the game. Could have just as easily been 5 and 2. And I’m still convinced that young Lance set the tone for the balance of the trip with his actions on Saturday night. But we did not go 1 and 6 or get swept. Sure, we have some issues to deal with. Guys are pressing, but there is no panic in the organization and I’m glad. I’m afraid that if this club was being run by a board of chippians, we’d be turning over the roster in the next couple of weeks.

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    • Following that reasoning, Dave, if we only lose 3 games in upcoming series vs. the Red Sox I figure that means it will be time to start printing World Series tickets.

      The 2017 Astros were on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

      The 2018 Astros? They belong on the cover of the Rolling Stone.

      Hakuna Matata.

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  24. Come on man. Step in from the ledge. Our sinking ship still has the 4th best record in MLB and we all know this group is underachieving to date. You’re going to have to wait awhile on that Rolling Stone cover. There are a whole lot of squads far more worthy than our own.

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  25. Dave and Dan, you slick tongued devils, you have . . . well, you have convinced me. I have had an epiphany. And now I know that ‘Every day, in every way, I – and of course my beloved 2018 Astros – keep getting better and better!’

    Other things I now agree to believe and declare with extreme confidence:
    1. Lance McCullers’, Jr. is about to become a mature, self-less and all-about-the-team player; in full control of his emotions and his mouth, he is about to become bffs with each member of the Astros’ infield, starting with Yuli and Jose’; in fact, he will probably start wearing flowers in his hair when he pitches, and his official name will be changed to ‘Ferdinand’;
    2. Dallas Keuchel has turned the corner, and is rapidly returning to his brilliant 2015 Cy Young winning form; his velocity is shooting up like a rocket; his command of his pitches is uncanny; and all his walks, wild pitches, and hits allowed are actually strategically planned – it is part of the great deception;
    3. Our new offensive strategy – code named ‘The Return of the Pink Panther’ – is to look so bad in important games that we make our most likely playoff opponents believe we are bumbling incompetents and let down their guard, while we stealthily plan to rip off our clever Keystone Cops disguises the moment the calendar turns to October and show bums like Severino, Chapman, Judge, and Gardiner a thing or two about how real men play baseball;
    4. Jake Marisnick is about to break-out, become our MVP, take over the club lead in hits, runs scored, HRs, RBIs, BARISP, IBBs and WAR, and march us all into the 2018 World Series wearing State Farm Insurance Company shirts; and
    5. Ken Giles is about to become so great and consistent in the closer role that the world will start pulling out their Kenny G albums again and whispering to one another: Mariano Who?
    6. Our bullpen is going to wind up leading the lead in holds.

    Vive’ le Kool-Aid. I’ll have another Sipp, if you don’t mind.

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  26. Regarding ‘underachieving’, here is an unbiased, statistical mid-term report on our offense:

    Altuve, at .335/.381 is actually producing significantly above both his lifetime BA and OBP rates;

    Correa, at .261/.345 is only slightly below both his lifetime BA [.285] and OBP [.363].

    Springer, at .284/.345, is a little above his lifetime BA [.268], but a little below his lifetime OBP [.358].

    Gurriel, at .281/.320 is right at his lifetime BA [.289], but is actually beating his lifetime OBP [.304]

    Bregman, at .266/.382, is a little down in BA [lifetime .276], but is significantly up in OBP [lifetime .351]

    Reddick, at .227/.331 is down in BA [lifetime .263], but is actually a little up in OBP [lifetime .324].

    Marwin, at .222/.297, is significantly off his lifetimes, which are .264/.315.

    Gattis, at .236/.303, is down at BA [lifetime .257], but is up a little in OBP [lifetime .303].

    McCann, at .219/.313, is significantly down in both BA and OBP [lifetime .264/.338].

    In summary, with the exception of McCann – whose lack of production has been offset by amazing production from Stassi – and Marwin, we don’t have any offensive players that are substantially underachieving this year. So, as I see it, we can’t expect a whole lot more from this particular group. The most likely candidates to step it up a little are probably Marwin, Reddick, and maybe Correa. It would be nice if McCann would pick it up a notch when he gets back, but he’s not getting any younger, and like most catchers, his production historically starts fading when the hot weather sets in.

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    • The issue is not necessarily are they performing up to past standards, but are they performing when the situation calls for performance. Becky continually points this out and she is spot on, “Situational Hitting is Killing Us”!
      What good does a 12-2 win do us when the next 3 games we can’t score 5 runs total.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think it was Dan who made a good observation about this team yesterday – their Pythagorean expectation still puts them north of 115 wins for the season. The reason they are playing below that is because they have simply given away a handful of games…and to make it sting worse those games were largely to the teams we expect to challenge for best record come September. The silver linings are that:
      1. Bullpens are volatile – it’s unlikely they’ll be this bad all year. Hinch will make adjustments to their routines and how they’re used or else Luhnow will replace them.
      2. We have a lot of streaky hitters. Gattis has already started producing. Bregman will heat up. Gurriel will get better. Correa is a lot better than he’s playing right now.
      3. Reddick is a great defensive, corner outfielder. His return will make the pitching staff better overnight…and the starting pitching has been fantastic. His offensive contributions will also help win games. His numbers will surely be down this year compared to last, but that’s ok. Also, don’t discount the importance of his voice in the clubhouse.
      4. Seattle is playing above their heads. The Angels have already fallen back to Earth a bit.

      All the team needs to do now is go out and beat the Red Sox to make our confidence jump back into the good territory.

      Like

  27. Mr. Bill there is a component missing when we just look at BA and OBP and that is the power component that leads to OPS, which is why OPS is a better tracker of offense in my opinion. Let’s look at the folks – we will skip catcher since McCann is down and Stassi is up

    Yuli – .672 OPS in 2018 – career .766
    Altuve – .849 vs. .817
    Correa – .797 vs. .855
    Bregman – .807 vs. .816
    Marwin – .625 vs. .729
    Marisnick – .454 vs. .633
    Reddick – .740 vs. .761
    Gattis – .746 vs .781
    Springer – .834 vs. .837

    So for the major players only Altuve is running a better OPS than career numbers. Springer and Bregman are slightly down. All the rest are significantly down. And if we compared them to 2017….they would even look worse than their career numbers.
    The team’s power is way down as a whole – HRs and 2Bs and that means it is tougher to bring those runs around.

    Like

    • One other area I presume, based only on ‘gut’ observation, has hurt us offensively so far is a significantly increased susceptibility to the strikeout. Quite frankly, I thought that would be borne out by a significantly reduced OBP, but that did not pan out. My suspicion, thus, is not just that we are striking out more than we did last year, but that we are striking out more at critical points when the game is on the line than we did last year.

      And there is no question that Marwin’s regression has really hurt. Last year he was always there, it seemed, to drive in that much needed run, or even hit that much needed home run. This year, he’s just not been doing that.

      Like

    • Looking closely at those OPS comparisons, the only guys who are down from lifetime OPS numbers in any meaningful amounts are Marwin [down 104 points], Yuli [down 94 points], and Marisnick [off the charts]. I don’t even want to talk about Marisnick -fortunately, Stassi has stepped in and offset Jake’s disaster of a year. I think we all know Yuli can hit better than he’s been doing. He’s making plenty of good contact. So the real question is, can Marwin bounce back to respectability, or should we relegate him to being ‘JUST’ a late-inning sub – like Jake should already be – and let Kemp, Davis, White, and/or Tucker have more of the at-bats A.J. Hinch has been giving to Marwin?

      Like

  28. Well then look at 2018 vs. 2017 for these same folks
    Yuli – .672 OPS in 2018 – 2017 – .817
    Altuve – .849 vs. .957
    Correa – .797 vs. .941
    Bregman – .807 vs. .827
    Marwin – .625 vs. .907
    Marisnick – .454 vs. .815
    Reddick – .740 vs. .847
    Gattis – .746 vs .767
    Springer – .834 vs. .889

    Almost everyone is way down vs. last year

    Like

  29. Well, it appears Mr. Hinch expects the Marisnick Miracle to start tonight. Get ready to shout it out: MVP, MVP, MVP.

    Like

    • I was wondering if he would start since he has had 2 HRs in 12 ABs against Pomeranz and the rest of the team has a bagel.
      (Note – past stats are no guarantee of future performance – your mileage may vary)

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Just like Becky is hung up on situational hitting my hang up is why the whole team has regressed at the plate. It was expected for a few guys but the whole team?
    I don’t buy it. Someone or something is missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Brett Oberholzer gave up 10 hits and 8 ER to Fresno last night in 4.1 innings.
    K Tucker hit 2 HRs off Ober. Fresno won 12-11 in 12 innings.
    CC won 11-4 as Taylor Jones homered twice.
    Buies Creek lost 1-0 and Quad Cities lost 13-6.
    Draft is next week.
    Computer is in the shop. Cheaper to fix than replace. Will have to go without it for a few days. Lets beat the Red Sox!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. That lead off at bat by George Springer is typical of the way things go when a team is not playing well and is not focused on baseball. The count goes to three one, and ball four is on the way, inside, and impossible to do anything with. Springer swings anyway, wasting the advantage – and grounds out weakly to 2nd base.

    Like

  33. I just won $20 I knew LMJ could get through 3 innings with out losing our lead, he is looking more and more like a back of the bull pen guy. He has not learned a thing from how Cole and JV battle in their starts and even Salty. He has the stuff but man his mind is like a bad neighborhood, you don’ want to go in there. He is head case.

    Like

    • Yes, he was 3-0 in the count, took two fastballs for a strike and then stuck out on a high knuckle ball. What I want to know is why he was batting right handed against a right hander.

      Like

      • Do you recall when Carl Everett faced Glavine he would hit from the left side? The reason people switch hit is mainly to get a better view of the incoming pitch, but also to take away the advantage of a breaking ball moving away from them. Marwin is naturally a RHH, so he may have felt like he was not giving up much against the knuckleballer and playing to his own strengths.

        Like

      • Devin, but its like Lance Berkman who was a natural right handed hitter – but was a better left handed hitter in the majors. Maybe Marwin felt he could stay back on the ball better right handed. There is no real advantage either way because it is not coming in very fast and it could break either way.

        Like

      • On the radio Sparks explained it similar to Devin’s comment: Marwin expected the knuckleball from a righty to be moving from the inside toward the barrel of his bat. With a knuckler, you don’t expect to see much else, although I think the 2 pitches he took for strikes were fastballs.

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  34. Ok……Giles just lost his job. Rondon will take over the closers role. There was no dang excuse for him to nearly blow this save. Thank goodness for our outfielders! McCullers lost his knuckle curve…..it’s somewhere in California.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mookie Betts and Dustin Predoria are both out of the lineups for the next 3 games! Waaay tooo much drama in the 9th.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Altuve’s most hits in a season is 225. He is on pace for 223.448. I personally think he plays better without trying for the home run every at bat. He will never lead the league in stolen bases again. But if I am picking a team, he is my #1 choice. (A response to the Decisions, Decisions, – questions.)

    Liked by 1 person

  36. One thing I’ve noticed about our hitting lately. Initially this year pitchers were starting us off with off speed and breaking ball pitches. They only threw a fastball when needed and usually for a strike. This kept us off balance. Now they seem to have gone back to the 1st pitch fastball and we’re “behind the curve” again. Good hitters recognize the pitch, others are guessing, and some haven’t a clue. How do our hitters rate?

    Like

  37. Major cudos to Jake Marisnick last night. Three plate appearances – zero strikeouts. Great defense as usual. A nice squeeze bunt to add an insurance run. And a solid hit to boot. Here’s praying that the Marisnick Miracle is underway indeed.

    Now to initiate the Marwin Miracle.

    Like

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