Why Houston Astro fans should rejoice (despair)


Life is great because of all the wonderful human beings we interact with each day. Unless you are someone who thinks that life would be great if not for all the annoying human beings we interact with each day.

And so it is with our dear Astros. Some fans see the child who bought us the perfect birthday gift last year. Others see the child who we just know is going to either forget our next birthday or is bound to revert to re-gifting us chintzy kitchen gadgets they got as a door prize at a Tupperware party.

So, to make all our loyal readers happy, here are two versions of the same story and it is up to you which one you want to make your own.

Rejoice. The Astros are in the top three in clubs favored to win it all.

Despair. Even with that, they have only about an 18% chance to win it all according to the oddsmakers.

Rejoice. The Astros are only 2 games behind their pace of last season and the 2017 Astros went through an August slump.

Despair. The 2017 Astros were 17 games up after 97 games and this year’s version are only 4 games up.

Rejoice. The 2018 Astros rotation includes both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, neither of who were with the Astros at this time last season.

Despair. Cole and Verlander have 18 wins as of the 12th of July, but the team has wasted 10 or more fine starts from the duo.

Rejoice. The team is on a pace to win 105 games without playing their best ball yet.

Despair. The team is only 14-16 in one-run games.

Rejoice. The Astros beat the A’s 8 straight times this year.

Despair. The Astros lost the last 3 of 4 games against the A’s.

Rejoice. The Astros are 2nd in the AL in runs scored.

Despair. They were first in all of baseball last season.

Rejoice. The Astros starters are first in all of baseball in ERA, WHIP and Innings Pitched.

Despair. They are only 2nd in wins

Rejoice. The Astros bullpen is second in all of baseball in ERA and second in WHIP.

Despair. What have they done lately?

Rejoice. With Charlie Morton‘s addition, the Astros have six players named to the All Star game.

Despair. Big deal – they did that last season.

Rejoice. The Astros know what it takes to win it all.

Despair. Why don’t they win every game if they are such a great team?

Rejoice. The Astros have a very good offense even with a number of pistons misfiring or injured (Carlos Correa, Brian McCann, George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, etc)

Despair. When those guys do hit, if they ever do, Max Stassi, Alex Bergman, Yuli Gurriel and others will stop.

Rejoice. There is not another rotation in the majors close to Verlander, Cole, Morton, Lance McCullers and Dallas Keuchel.

Despair But we are likely to lose Morton and Keuchel after this season and McCullers has Ken Giles meltdown potential.

Rejoice. The Astros have improved by adding under the radar additions from the minors and elsewhere in Stassi, Tony Kemp and Hector Rondon.

Despair. Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed and Tyler White all appear to be AAAA guys.

Rejoice. The Astros have strong minor league teams with talent aplenty.

Despair. See Fisher, Reed and White above.

Rejoice. In Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch the Astros have three strong leaders who have built a behemoth and are not letting egos get in the way of sharing credit.

Despair. They lost 3 out of 4 to the A’s.

Have at it, dear bloggers. Are you in the Rejoice or Despair category and why. I’m in the Rejoice category. They may not win it this year, but they won it last year and have given themselves a great shot to do it again.

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156 comments on “Why Houston Astro fans should rejoice (despair)

  1. I actually liked the Justice blog, because there was a real cross section of contributors. And Justice was good at baiting, which of course would keep interest at a certain level. I never felt bad about diisageeeing with him and always appreciated it when he did not respond to one of my posts. That told me he did not want to argue my point.

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    • So I have to skate somewhere in between “The only thing dumber than your ideas is you” and having us all hold hands and chanting “One of us; one of us”

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      • Dan, no you are should not have to be a mediator here. Give your two cents as we give ours. Obviously, if someone goes over the top, then you are stuck with having to be the one to say something.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Dan, you don’t have to do anything. Please keep this thing going. This is a home away from home for a bunch of us and we don’t want to lose this.
    I value the people on this blog more than I value my own opinions and I chose to make that change apparent a couple of years ago.
    Please keep this going and I will make an extra effort to be as nice as I can , while still giving ideas that I know are different than those of others.
    Thank you for sharing your time and ideas with all of us.
    I’m ready for that 2021 team whenever you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did anyone watch footage from the Futures game yesterday? Either their radar gun readings were bogus or we’re about to see a lot of flamethrowers coming into the league. My guess is the readings were pumped up a bit, but it’s undeniable there are a lot of guys throwing harder than ever before.

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    • I missed it Devin – maybe their agents paid for a souped up gun?
      I think there are a heck of a lot more hot arms around these days. The guys seem to face a lot of bullpens flinging 97 and above. Still comes down to location though.

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  4. Folks, I get a little down sometimes that is all. But thanks for sticking with this and giving me words of encouragement.
    Zanuda – perfect HeeHaw reference there.
    daveb – I normally don’t put too much opinion in my pieces (usually I ask questions) but I will always say what I think on the comments
    Oldpro – Thanks, I was in fact starting to work on the third piece – the 2021 team – need to warm up my crystal ball for that one.
    Sandy – I often feel like the people closest to you – family – and this is a type of family – can hurt you the worst. But also we don’t always cut the ones closest to us the slack we give those we hardly know.
    rray – thanks for representing Tim, who had a good heart along with a hard head (haha)
    vewill – thanks for coming back
    Becky, Astroscolt 45, Billy C, Diane, Dr. Bill, Devin, Kevin, Old School, Sarge (and if I missed anyone) – thanks for your devotion to the blog!

    Tim, Mr. Bill, Governor, Token, Steven, Robert, roadthriller, pencil, bopert, Nance, Larry Leach, John Marshall, Lester Gillis, Grayson, Coach, Astros fan 57, and a bunch more….you are all welcome back here any time. No questions asked.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan, I’m sorry you had to take one for the team here and that you’re clearly hurting. Sometimes people have other things going on, so occasionally may be vulnerable to feathers ruffled. If Mr. Bill is reading, he can take comfort that his withdrawal has clearly upset a fair number of contributors. Obviously, he is one of the heavyweights. Still, it’s not right for you to bear the brunt of this. Go home in complete peace that you are doing a wonderful job and actually performing a public service.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good question daveb – do guys that are sent down – are they given #97 like guys at the end of the bench in Spring Training?
        I wonder if he reported…

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      • MLB players have three days to report. Combine that with the ASG break and he may get a few more days. Heck IDK. Also remember that Fresno is 2 or 3 days behind us in the western time zone.

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  5. I’ve been texting with my son Adam about the Home Run Derby
    – How do you think he will do
    – My son wants him to go out early so he does not screw up his swing
    – I think if he does well as a small guy he could be a folk hero like Spud Webb winning the NBA slam dunk contest

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  6. dan im with your son on this. it just makes me nervous that he will screw up his swing for the stretch of the season. i agree with dave (from a couple of posts ago) that he absolutely deserves the chance, he earned it, but it makes me nervous. i think he has little chance to win it all since you have to go 4 rounds and with his size he is likely to be gassed by then. but you never know and i wish him well. almost time to go see how he does.

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  7. On Baseball Tonight they are interviewing Verlander…
    – He said when he joined the club last year he realized that Bregman had “it”
    – He said Alex thrives on this kind of stuff and could win it – again not sure that is the best thing
    – They were showing a video of the guys on the plane dancing – JV looked good until he ran out of moves – Bregman was good and he finished by turning around and doing a butt shake with JV patting his butt and Springer laughing like crazy – these guys have fun

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  8. I’m not sure what is worse – all the smoke hanging over the stadium after pyrotechnics at the Home Run Derby or the African Dust hanging over Houston

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  9. Before we get off the subject of trashing each other (my words, not anyone else’s). One of the best quotes that I heard long time ago, and it was in a business setting, is: “When everyone thinks alike, then no one is thinking.”

    We are mostly expressing an opinion. I have mine, which are correct, and I tolerate others that are wrong. I have no concrete FACT of who will be on the WS roster in 2018, should be get that far, but I am glad to express my opinion. But it is only that, an opinion. So I am glad to hear yours too, though wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    • O-PIN-ION. Exactly right, ac. Actually, internecine squabbles and hurt feelings aside, I think the discussions on this blog are at a much higher and mature level than most forms of public discourse these days. Too many commenters in society at large are prone to elevating their opinions to the status of fact, and too many readers are simply incapable or unwilling to separate the two: fortunately, the required hubris and the enabling simplicity are rarely in play on this blog.

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      • There is hardly a day on this blog that I don’t learn something or look at baseball and our team from a different angle.
        And that makes me happy

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think Alex will be immune to slumps, nobody is, but he’s already got such plate discipline that his version of a slump won’t wear us, or him out. Speaking of slumps, Jose has managed Jose a .300 average over the past month. Does that qualify? Whatever it is, I think he’s due to break out of it.

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    • If I were God, I would take the parts of Bregman and his plate discipline and match it with the eye hand coordination of Altuve. Whatever is the name of that clone, would be the next .400 hitter. Over time, Bregman may be the new Ted Williams who was said to have an ability to see the actual strike zone from the side of the plate, better than the umpire could from behind the plate.

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      • A couple of interesting stats while at the All Star Break. So far, 7 of 8 regular Astro batters have an OPS+ over 100. Marwin is the exception at 87. The STRangers have only 2 – Choo and Mazara. And they have that daring base runner “Stinky” Odor who has 5 stolen bases while being thrown out 6 times.

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      • And for Ks, Joey Gallo leads all of baseball with 132 (actually tied with Judge). While Marwin leads the Astros at 80. That ranks as tied for 65th in MLB. Gallo has a .187 BA. Also there are 4 of 8 Rangers with more Ks than Marwin.

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      • 45, God is too busy to worry about those guys right now. However, maybe Alex and Jose can both become better hitters just by watching each other.

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  11. What I hope they figure out in the second half:

    I hope George figures out that the best way to end a slump is NOT to just swing harder.

    I hope Altuve figures out that a little plate discipline does a hitter good.

    I hope Marwin figures out that to be successful you should swing at strikes and let balls go by, not the other way around. Also hope he figures out that the umpire always wins.

    I hope Bregman figures out that the hitter we have seen the past couple of months is who he is, not the slow starter we have seen the past couple of years.

    I hope White and Reed figure out that an occasional salad is not a bad thing. Man can’t live by Krispy Kreme alone.

    I hope Tucker figures out that you only get one pitching mistake per AB at this level and you better capitalize on it.

    I hope Hinch figures out that bullpen pitchers need to have an established role and know what it is.

    I hope the whole team figures out that you have to be a little more selective when hitting with runners on base. You can’t chase a pitch that you have to roll over on to make contact.

    Just my 2 cents

    Liked by 3 people

    • That last observation is interesting. Indeed, we’re only 12th in MLB in BB with guys on base, 15th with guys in scoring position.

      However, we’re 2nd in BA, 5th in OBP, 3rd in SLG, and 3rd in OPS with guys on base.

      Further, we’re 2nd in BA, 5th in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 2nd in OPS with guys in scoring position.

      I’m okay with our approach and okay with our results.

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  12. Things I think I know:
    – The Astros will play the same as they did before the break because nothing has changed with them. They will not be any more rested than they will be after one day off, and we know what that is like.
    -Everyone one knows that Baltimore will trade Machado. All the leaks are coming from the Orioles, because that team wants every other team to think that their offer is second best.
    -Harper is worn out. That swing takes everything he has in his body. It is a max effort swing. How he managed to win is a wonder of baseball.
    -The home run derby is a giant magnet and I am steel. I swear every year I won’t watch it, but the idea of 50,000 people paying to scream at 8 guys willing to do something abnormal that could hurt them is too much to resist.
    -I think the Yankees will not go over the payroll ceiling because of what they are planning to do in the offseason. They need a starting pitcher this year and I think they will do that.
    – Because of the Mariners’ playoff drought, I think they will get busy in the next two weeks.
    -The one guy who really needed this break is Kyle Tucker. It is a great time for him to contemplate what he has seen and adjust to it.
    -Patrick Sandoval of Buies Creek gave up six runs in one inning last night without getting bombed. It was one of those innings where you look back and try to figure out how you didn’t come out of the inning with two on and no runs in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandoval’s night makes me think of JV’s last outing. He was absolutely killing them with the Ks, but every mistake he made got drilled – 4 of them into the stands.

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  13. An All Star Game reminder…..
    The Astros are represented by:
    Justin Verlander (who will be inactive)
    Jose Altuve
    Alex Bregman
    George Springer
    Gerrit Cole
    Charlie Morton (who was added to the roster)

    Also on the AL roster are former Astros
    J.D. Martinez
    Jed Lowrie
    J.A. Happ

    On the NL roster – former Astro and Astro farmhand respectively:
    Mike Foltynewicz
    Josh Hader

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  14. I hope for his own good Ken Giles reports in time for the Thursday/Friday – Taco Truck Throwdown – the self professed world’s largest taco event at Fresno’s Chukchansi Park.

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  15. I would like to the Astros make the following trades:

    1. Trade 2018 Marwin for 2017 Marwin
    2. Trade 2018 Reddick for 2017 Reddick
    3. Trade June/ July Springer for April/ May Springer

    I think these three trades make us a lock to repeat.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Astrosdaily.com has a twitter line that has a bunch of cool photos of our guys and their families! Charlie really does have a VERY young family, and his wife is going to have their 4th child sometime this year. Cole’S wife is a knockout! Altuve’s little girl looks EXACTLY like him!! Pretty cool video of them too!
    I’ve been texting with a guy I went to high school with and he swears that Correa had back surgery. Anybody know anything about this??? He said their is a nurse on his “fan site” that works for the doctor that did the operation.

    Like

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