Random Thoughts on an Astros’ August


As the 2018 season rolls into its final 2 months, the mind wanders to random baseball thoughts.

  • If Justin Verlander was upset about the Astros trading for accused domestic abuser Roberto Osuna, he did not show it in his Friday night gem against the Dodgers.
  • But….one would think that this could sink any chance the Astros might have had of extending JV past the 2019 season.
  • The Dodgers have to be wondering what to do about George Springer, who tore them up in the World Series and then got the big hit on Friday night.
  • Is there a goofier game than baseball where the Astros can look helpless against the crummy Rangers, but turn it around against the M’s and Dodgers?
  • Martin Maldonado came over in the midst of a Springerian slump that has continued, but…. the pitching and catching seem a lot more solid since he appeared.
  • Is Kyle Tucker a sure thing September call-up? One would think so but will they be hesitant thinking he’s too young?
  • The A’s are playing the best ball right now in the AL West and who would have guessed that?
  • A year ago the 2017 Astros were at 71-40 one game better than their 70-41 record after Friday’s game….and they were about to go on a five-game losing streak against the Chi-Sox and the Rangers.
  • It will feel so much better to have Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa back in the lineup. Even though Correa missed significant time in 2017 there were only a few games where the team had to live without both players at the same time.
  • While the starting rotation has been a major reason for the Astros success to date – the hitting and the bullpen may tell the tale in the playoffs. They can’t afford to have a five-game tailspin by either part of the team.

Any thoughts on your side?

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163 comments on “Random Thoughts on an Astros’ August

  1. I was not all that familiar with Pressly before the trade. I knew he had a high velocity fastball but I definitely did not know that his secondary pitches were so good. This could wind up being a very good trade for the Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan, for all we know with this team and its willingness to share information, Springer could be traveling back to Houston as we speak, with his severed hand in an Igloo cooler beside him. If this follows the normal course he will be day- to- day for the next month before we are told that he has had a “minor setback”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All of these injuries got me thinking about former Astro great, Kazuo Matsui. In one of the franchise’s more boneheaded decisions, they outbid themselves to get him in the offseason prior to the 2008 season and signed him to a 3 year contract at $5.5 per, which was pretty big at the time. He was a chain smoker and we used to watch him sneak down the tunnel for a few puffs between innings. Ultimately, he missed significant tie on the DL with an “anal fissure”. I was never really sure what that was but it sounded like it was a real pain in the a$$.

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  4. Again, stats normally prove what the person is looking for, but here goes anyway. OPS+ – Astros have 10 (not Marwin & Jake). Bosox 8, Yanks 9 (2 played less than 25 games), Indians 7. I did not include pitchers or players that played just a few games. Hinch has talked about how deep his team is and this would seem to prove him correct. If the Astros make the playoffs, it would appear some really good players will need to be left off the roster.

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  5. Here are the guys who are in Houston, and not with the Astros:
    Correa
    Altuve
    Springer
    McCullers
    Devenski
    This list is NOT good folks.

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    • I guess so, Mc Taggart tweeted it out this morning. I’ve got my doubts about all these 10 DL’s, they are pulling these guys to give them 2-3 weeks rest. I certainly hope that’s not the case, because the A’s, are nipping at our heels. The one I’m most concerned about is Springer. I remember the thumb ingury Correa had last year, that led to surgery and he was out for 2 months! All they need now, is Bregman to go down…..THAT would be a disaster!

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      • Yeah and Jake was out for the rest of the season and the playoffs. always tough sliding head first – gives the player more flexibility in how to touch the base, but leaves them vulnerable….

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    • Correa may be with the Hooks….I don’t know if they are back in Corpus or not.
      Either way…..we haven’t heard a word if, or when he is do back with the Astros.

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  6. Out of all these injuries, I’m slightly concerned about Altuve. We really need him at 100%. He’d be playing right now if this was October. I have no expectations for McCullers. Who knows what his elbow needs if not rest only. Will he ever be a 200 inning guy? McCann had a solid April, right out of the gate. For him, it will be his second April when he finally shows up. He’ll help. George will be fine although he was just getting his bat back. Correa needs to stay healthy. Can he? No worries with Devinski. I think that vacation is by design.

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  7. DAM—-IT!!! SPRINGER TO THE DL!!! I’m going to go down to minute maid park and hand out* OVEN MITTS* and everyone on this club will be using them when they have to slide head first! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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  8. McCullers is an example of one of the potential downsides of moving a young pitcher through the ranks faster than he can build up innings pitched. Drafted in 2012 at age 18. Debuted in MLB 3 years later at 21. Innings pitched in MiLB were 26 in 2012, 104.2 in 2013 and 97 in 2014. This season he has set his MLB high at 126.

    He missed time in each of the 2013 and 2014 MiLB seasons for elbow and shoulder issues. He has missed time in each of his 4 MLB seasons with the same. He will need to ramp up to a 200 inning pitcher over a couple of more seasons. If he keeps getting hurt this will be tough to do. Most of the time they like to limit IP increase to no more than 20% per season.

    Things will shake out moving forward and we will find out if he has the stamina to be a middle- to- top of the rotation starter or if he will be a late innings reliever.

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    • Vewill, McCullers never would have had the opportunity to ramp up to 200 innings due to the tandem pitching philosophy of the Astronauts’ front office that is in place for the minor leagues.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I could see McCullers as a tough closer, or set up man. His two biggest problems are men on base, and going through the other team for a 3rd time.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see him having T J surgery. Fortunately we still have McHugh in reserve! Leave Peacock in the bullpen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky, first I want you to know how happy I am to hear that you are doing better.

      The main problem I see with McCullers (apart from durability concerns) is the grey matter between his ears. He definitely has the stuff to be either a front line starter or lights out closer. But if he has trouble handling his emotions as a starter I just can’t see how he would do it in a higher pressure, late innings role.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Random thoughts::
    The last two series showed me what kind of team the Astros can be.
    I hope Fisher is ready to hit major league pitching.
    Dodgers pitchers were throwing at Astros batters.
    All those AAAA players we weren’t sure about being able to use are being used.
    I’ve always been a Tyler White fan, but he needs to lose a bunch of pounds.
    Davis is looking more comfortable at 3B but, unfortunately, they don’t allow guys to hit at 3B. They have to hit at the plate.
    Not liking a sliding mitten sounds like a crappy excuse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awesome post. Here’s my response to your thoughts:
      – They are very deep and very good. The last 2 series showed it.
      – I’m hopeful but not holding my breath.
      – Why didn’t our pitchers do something to protect our hitters?
      – And they are proving they are AAAA players (White excluded)
      – It was rumored that Carlos Lee lost his Golden Corral frequent eater card in the MMP clubhouse. I think White found it.
      – Davis has a canon and more range than advertised. He’s actually quite, dare I say, nimble on the field. No chance of domestic abuse charges with him, he would swing and miss.
      – Make mitts mandatory. Selfish to risk injury and hurting the team because you don’t like it.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Yeah, the Dodgers hit our guys seven times. They gave us seven base runners. A couple of guys got it off their foot, a couple of guys took breaking balls off meaty places. Their pitchers were not headhunting. So is it stilll obligatory that we strike back? I think it depends on intent. To me, it was an effort to make a better club uncomfortable at the plate. We outplayed them in all three games. We still got what we wanted over the weekend. And it had to give the Dodgers pause that a batch of our best guys were not even available. I’m pretty confident that our pitchers will protect our hitters if the situation warrants. But there was no need to waste outs and no need to succumb to their game plan.

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  12. Vewill1…..You have the BEST. NEWS. EVER.!!! Now we just have the good doctor back on HIS feet!! Since I can’t see the guys play,I have to listen to the radio guys. I wasn’t around a television or a radio yesterday…..I have to confess we went to the Casino for a celebration!! Won a little, lost a little….but I had a fun day!! News on McCullers is he won’t pitch again until September. This kid has a glass arm, to go with his lack of focus. Didn’t this same thing happen last year??? I was totally serious about a mitt on their hands, a couple of them already have them…..Correa, and Jake both use them!

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  13. This kid pitching for the Giants, is Pudge Rodriguez’s,son!! AND…..so far he’s doing a real good job!! But….we have Charlie Morton!!

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  14. I think if the Astros load the bases with Davis, Stassi, and White, it will take back to back doubles for anybody to score. If Gattis came up and hit an inside the park homer, he would be called out for passing 2 or 3 runners.

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  15. Serves me right!! I turned the radio off and my husband yells ” Marwin hit a 3 run homerun”!!! Thank you baseball Gods for letting us have Marwin Gonzalez on our team!!

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  16. Nice to see his power surge lately, even some of the back end guys getting key hits during these last wins. Now if they can hit change ups, quit chasin and looking at strikes barreling down the middle

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  17. I really like how Maldanado handles the staff, his defense and how he calls the game.

    The last 4 games he has caught. 4 wins, 36 IP, 4 total runs, 0 passed balls, 0 steals. The only pitcher that hasn’t gone 7 IP is McCullers who was pulled after 4 with an injury.

    He and Stassi make a pretty good catching tandem.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Marwin is really on a nice streak. It is amazing to me how he has the ability to carry a team when he is hot! We saw it last year and we are starting to see it this year.

    He has also been a season saver in providing infield flexibility to cover multiple injuries.

    It sure is nice to see him break out of a season long slump.

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  19. Nice way to wake up.
    Morton remains exceptional.
    Rondon is not ready to hand over the ninth quite yet.
    Marwin is invaluable right now. And he can still save his big money contract.
    The best teams respond to adversity.

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  20. Thoughts this morning….
    – Went to sleep after 5 innings last night wondering if either team was going to show any offense
    – Large elephant in the room….the winner last night was Roberto Osuna
    – Rondon is still in the closer’s role
    – Morton/Maldonado were a very good pairing last night
    – When I think of long hair pitchers I usually think of stringy, sweaty, yucky Randy Johnson hair. Pudge’s son had gorgeous long locks – looked like he was ready to make a shampoo commercial
    – Tough to win with only 4 hits, but the Astros went down to the last out and Marwin continued the power surge he has shown lately
    – I like Kemp at the top of the lineup – he gives good at bats and is usually good for a couple hard line drives a game
    – Reddick and Gurriel are not what you want in the 3rd and 4th spots in the lineup, but not much choice right now

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    • My thoughts on your thoughts.
      -Stayed to the end (nice being a retired bum).
      -Smart move having Osuna pitch in an away game in a NL park. Few fans, if any. knew his story. (So boos did not rain down).
      -Osuna, Rondon, and Pressly make a good end of a bullpen. (So far)
      -I am so glad I fully endorsed the signing of Morton. (Please do not go back and read any old posts)
      -Being bald, I do not comment on hair.
      -Note to Will Smith (Not the actor), Marwin can still hit a fastball.
      -Kemp is a better choice for a MLB team than any other AAAA player from the farm.
      -Gurriel walked so Marwin got to hit last night in the 9th.
      Added notes.
      -Fisher is lucky to be hitting .173.
      -Currently, this team is living proof, that “it is better to be lucky than good.”
      -Nice to see Gattis used as a pinch hitter in a NL game.
      -Currently Kemp and White are 4th and 5th in OPS for the team. (Very limited sample)
      -Last night in the Astros Straw poll, most fans think the Astros will win more games this year than last. Hard to see that will all the injuries, but fingers crossed and prayers going up.

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      • Good post 45, but I disagree with one point. The Astros, if anything, have been relatively unlucky. And in last nights game, they got great pitching again. That was not lucky. And they did not give up. They patiently took two walks in the 9th and put pressure on a good pitcher. Then Marwin got his fastball with a 1-0 count. He’s been hitting too well lately to call that homer luck. Like a said earlier, a very good team is showing resilience in adversity. They might be a great team when healthy.

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    • Dan, I wonder though if they’ll bring up a spot starter, even with the days off, so that a guy like Morton can get an extra day of recovery. At his present pace, he’ll obliterate his career high in innings. Not really concerned about the other three guys. They’d refuse to hand over the ball anyway. And I’d like to see Peacock and McHugh keep doing exactly what they are doing now. No starts for them.

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      • Maybe “tandem” McHugh and Peacock for a start.
        Right now, it appears that some really good players will be left off the play off roster and any September call ups will just be watching from the bench.

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  21. Random thoughts:
    -I was looking at Gameday and noticed it was the ninth and Stassi had made the first out. I had wondered all night whether any of the Astros World Champions would step up and help out his pitchers. I decided I would watch the last two outs. When Marwin hit that fastball into the stands, I hit the pause button and went and dragged Mrs1OP out of bed to see her beloved Marwin save the day. We watched Rondon close it out and went to bed happy.
    -A bunch of Astros AAA players have hit against Bumgarner in his rehab assignments over the last two years.
    -The Mrs and I watch Hallmark movies. Last night, one of our children plus four of our granddaughters were packed into our tiny living room to watch one we had recorded over the weekend. We don’t ask them to watch, they ask us if they can watch. G-rated romances still have an audience around here and seem to be part of the summer fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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