Astros 2018: Week in review and the week ahead


As you can tell, sometimes Dan P tries different things just to shake the monotony of the long baseball season. So, today this is a look at the past week, the coming week and some other odd features that will be a weekly feature until Dan P decides to do something else…

The week of 8-20 through 8-26 in review

The Astros began the week at 75-49 and a 1 game lead in the AL West. They fell back into a tie with the A’s by losing the opener in a series with the Mariners. The Astros then won the next 5 games this week, the last two games of the M’s series and then sweeping the Angels in a 3 game weekend series to get them back to a 1.5 game lead over the surging Oakland A’s. The most critical game of the week was the Astros 3-2 win over the M’s on Tuesday in a battle of the bullpens. The Astros pulled Brad Peacock from the bullpen and the Mariners pulled Nick Vincent from the bullpen to start the games, but the most crucial pitcher in this game was rookie Framber Valdez, who gave up one unearned run in 4.1 IP in his major league debut.

The Astros rode a newly regenerated offense that had multiple stars from game to game to three big scoring wins of 10-7, 9-3 and 8-3. The hitting heroes varied from red-hot Marwin Gonzalez and Tyler White to newly hot Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Martin Maldonado, Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick. The Astros topped it off with a similar game to the Tuesday win in beating the Angels 3-1 on the get-away game of the series.

The week of 8-27 through 9-2 in preview

The next week of baseball will be spent all at home (not so) sweet home (33-29 record – 8th best in the AL).  The three games against the second place Oakland A’s will be their last head to head games this season and so will probably be played with playoff urgency. Whoever wins the AL West avoids the angst of a one game, win or go home, Wild Card game.

The Astros will then play the rest of the week with four games against the LA Angels, who they have just finished playing in Anaheim. This will be the first week the Astros will not have an off day since before the All Star break.

The hope is they will bring their road record brilliance (47-21) home with them and will open a bit of a gap over the A’s, who have been on an insane 45-16 run the last couple months.

Player of the Week: Framber Valdez

Stat focus: Justin Verlander

Verlander has compiled a 13-8 record after picking up a win on Saturday night against the Angels. It is interesting to look at how he has pitched in different sets of his games…..

  • In his first seven wins he had a microscopic 0.76 ERA
  • In his last six wins he has put up a more human 3.32 ERA
  • In his seven no decisions he has a 1.71 ERA that is obviously deserving of three plus additional wins
  • Four of his losses appear undeserving as he put up a very good 2.35 ERA
  • Four of his losses appear totally deserving with a nasty 9.18 ERA

You don’t have to squint too hard to see that he has been above average to excellent in 24 of his 28 starts, but only has 13 wins to show for the superlative effort.

Classic Rock Song That Should Have Been a Hit – “Until the Night” by Billy Joel

Joel became a superstar with the album “The Stranger” and followed it up with a #1 album “52nd Street” that sported such big singles as “Big Shot”, “Honesty” and “My Life”.  “Until the Night” was not released as a single in the US, but it is a classic throw back to the blue-eyed soul of the Righteous Brothers with terrific vocal harmonies and soaring saxophone by Richie Cannata. The 6+ minutes length probably kept this song from being released as-is, but it is one of the finest examples of retro-pop from the late 70’s.

So what do you think about this new weekly format and what do you think the odds are of Dan P sticking to it?

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194 comments on “Astros 2018: Week in review and the week ahead

  1. Not happy with Springer making the out at 3rd with 0 out when he could see the CF was right there when he hit 2nd base
    Not happy with Correa taking a 3-2 pitch right down the middle with a runner on 2nd and 2 out
    Not happy with Osuna channeling the ghost of Ken Giles with a 4 pitch walk of the goahead run and then grooving fastballs to put them behind – though he did a good job of limiting it to 1 run

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  2. Damn, that was a terrible decision by George last night. Trying to do too much with the heart of the order coming up. And two walks and a HBP scored 3 of the 4 runs last night for the A’s. When playing the best teams you’ve got to play clean ball all the way around. But a win today and all is good again.

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    • I don’t like some of the excuses I hear from the broadcasters and others – “Oh, it took a perfect throw” “A.J. wants his guys to be aggressive” “Altuve and Correa struck out anyway” etc.
      It did not take a perfect throw, but the 3B easily caught the throw on the home plate side of the bag and dove across to tag George well short.
      The play was in front of Springer, the CF was about to get the ball on the bounce when George got to 2nd and you never make this first out at third, especially in a tie game late in the game.
      And even if those two do strike out (and you never know what would have happened if there were two guys on and no out), you still have a 3rd hitter behind them.
      Terrible decision by George as you said daveb

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frustrating part is that George makes two great plays on defense and then suffers a severe brain fart on the base pads.

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      • Dan, that is horse bleep. If the announcers feel like they must be homers in fear of not getting a contract next year, that’s a shame. They can certainly tell it like it is in a subtle way. As is his MO, Hinch certainly did not throw George under the bus post game, but he let it be known that it was not a great decision. Maybe Stanton can shut up for 30 seconds and then add something pertinent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, just to be clear, that horse poop comment was not directed at you, rather it was further making your point about the commentary, or lack thereof from our broadcasting team. OP makes further good points along those same lines with Brianna and Stanton. I have the luxury of turning on the feed from the other club and turning off our feed. Maybe that’s what I should do. No doubt Luhnow understands more than any of us, but his continued lack of candidness gets old. I don’t think his approach necessarily breeds loyalty. And I sure don’t want to hear a half inning of marketing plans rather than a baseball game.

        Liked by 2 people

      • No problem – daveb – I knew where you were coming from – but on the other hand if anyone wants to call BS on anything I write, I probably won’t agree with them – but I certainly think it is their right to call it if they believe it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. -Here’s the game. Take it. We don’t really need it. Two outs in the 3rd, 0-2 count on Lowrie and you walk him. You hit Davis and then hang a curve over the middle of the plate and give it to them. And you do this right after the team scores a run on a bloop, a passed ball and two groundouts to go ahead in a critical game. Then you have two on and nobody out with the MVP ready to step into the box and you decide to make a stupid move and go to 3B and get thrown out. Then you say you’d do it again. Then you walk the rookie on four pitches and put the winning run on base without even throwing him a strike. Here, take it. We don’t want it.
    -What a day. Whitley goes on the DL and the GM spends a thousand words saying nothing. He’s talking about what the kid might do next year to make himself available and never says anything about what is actually the reason for him going on the DL.
    -We’re happy with our team the GM says, just hours before his team vomits the game. A really great day.
    -The Astros hit one ball hard all game. Bregman’s double.
    -Not only do we have to put up with Morton’s three run giveaway, we have to do it while listening to Brianna’s chainsaw voice telling us about how great it is gonna be with everyone’s cute, little, furry, pooping dog at the ball game.
    -Then we get to listen to Kalas urging Luhnow to tell us nothing about nothing and then thank him for saying nothing. And Stanton to tell us everything about nothing.
    -Another huge crowd goes home happy! At least they didn’t have to listen to the broadcast.
    -Edwin Jackson? Really? Fernando Rodney? Really? Mike Fiers?
    -Here’s a 91 mph fastball right down the middle! Oh, you don’t want that? Well here, swing at this pitch around your ankles. Oh good, you do like that!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Amen, every time she comes on I go to the MLB stations until she’d done, really dislike the booth going on and on when I’m trying to hear gm talk, not selling trinkets talk

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    • op1 – you made me laugh out loud with your Stanton telling us everything about nothing comment….

      It was a bad game, but I have to say they have not been having as many of those lately. They need to win today and send the A’s packing with a 2.5 game deficit, not a 0.5 game deficit…..

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great post OP.
      I wish our announcers were more like you. I understand it’s their jobs but insulting my intelligence ( although I admit I don’t have much ) is infuriating.
      I’m about ready to join Becky on the radio. It least it’s not a circus.
      Anyway. Your post made my day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you guys. Right now I can’t stop chuckling over the last few comments. They were all spot on. We want to see good quality baseball not a bunch of excuses for stupid mistakes. As Becky pointed out last night. What’s going on with the pitch counts for Morton, Cole, and JV. Oh, I forgot. We want to keep our guys on that 5 day rotation so we’ll be “fresh” for the playoffs. I call BS on that one. I could see Morton ‘s release point was bad just watching and knew it might be a short night for him. Throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion and after doing it a thousand plus times the body is going to break down. Give them some additional rest. And to pile on the Stanton parade, this guy talks more and says nothing more than a Chatty Cathy doll. What a narcissist! Where did they dig him up from. And speaking of Catty Cathy, you’re right about Brianna. Her voice is so obnoxious it would make a freight train take a dirt road. At least when Bagwell comes in the talk is pretty much about players, their approaches to hitting and Baggy is a pretty humble guy. Alex Bregman needs to be the hitting coach because he has the best approach to the plate that I am aware of these days. Ok, I’ll stop piling on now, but like you, I’m disgusted at our play and agree with the above consensus of opinions buy my fellow bloggers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Look, Zanuda, I am so jealous of you being able to post an apostrophe backwards. See Morton’s in your post. Dangit, how do you do that? I can’t even figure out to make a smartphone ring instead of buzz, and you can make backwards apostrophes.
      And to make things worse, you agree with me on some things and then make other good points, too.
      Next thing you know, you will be making ice castles with your wand and be singing well, too. This is not fair!
      Hrrrumppp. I’m going to the senior citizen’s luncheon and when I get back you had better be normal!

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG! Now I’m hysterical! The folks at the dealership where my car is being serviced are about to have me committed.
        You guys are priceless. I’m so lucky to know you all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beats the hell out of me how I did that. Sometimes I just type and zappo! Stuff magically appears. I just woke up from my nap so I may be normal now (not saying that I never was).

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    • We’ll start seeing spot starts anytime now, I think even if it effects the minor league playoffs. As we’ve discussed, Morton, at 34, has never thrown so many innings over two seasons. He needs break more than anyone.

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  5. Marketing plans and commentary have not added any sparkle for me for a while now. When I watch, it’s with no sound, and sometimes with no pitcher.

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    • This was my biggest complaint about the Milo Hamilton era. He had a Hall of Fame voice and had all the background and knowledge you could wish for….but it was basically like listening to the baseball version of Mattress Mac. Sell, sell,sell. Drove me up the wall.

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      • We didn’t pay for cable TV back in the 80’s so I listened to all those 1986 games on the radio. It might pay off to force our TV announcers to listen to some games in the same manner.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Jeff Luhnow announced that he expects Morton to miss one start with shoulder discomfort.
    However, FedEx just delivered Morton’s shoulder to me in an Igloo cooler and I was asked to put it on ice back at the condo. Kind of tough as Springer’s thumb was much easier to fit in my undersized freezer….

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  7. I think I have September figured out.
    When Morton returns, Cole develops Mullet Discomfort. That’s a neck rash.
    When Cole returns, Verlander goes on preemie paternity leave because his baby is due in the offseason, denying him a normal Paternity Leave.
    When JV returns, Keuchel goes on the Discomfort List for Name Discomfort. Apparently he is having trouble dealing with the name Dallas. The symptoms are such that he wants to bleach his beard blond and make it real poofy and he wants to redo his kitchen countertops.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Seattle loses to San Diego. The Mariners are 2 games over .500 with Robinson Cano in the lineup this season and 13 games over .500 with him out of the lineup. They trail the Astros by 8 games.

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  9. From mlb.com

    White’s homer was hit at 96 mph off the bat with a 44-degree launch angle, which is a hit probability of one percent, according to Statcast™.

    Sometimes being lucky is OK too!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. – Altuve had as many strikeouts(4) as the rest of the lineup combined.
    -If you projected Tyler White’s season out to 500 ABs, he’d have 40 HRs and 100+ RBIs.
    -Tony Sipp and Joe Smith saved Brad Peacock and the Astros today. Something to store in the memory card.
    -Chapman is a terrific fielder, which makes it more ironic that a ball that Correa hit down the line in game one that Chapman couldn’t come up with, shifted the momentum our way in this series. Oakland was up 4-0 in that game when Correa got it past Chapman.
    -Oakland scored exactly 4 runs in each game of the series.
    – Sometimes all we see is our team’s failures to deliver in the clutch, but the A’s were 2 for 13 today with RISP.
    – Qr you could say our pitchers were really clutch in clutch situations.
    -If the Astros played on a larger field, Tyler would have hit it with just a little lower launch angle. He had it all the way.
    -As poorly as Correa and Altuve looked today, they still had an RBI each, in a game the Astros desperately needed RBIs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I missed the walk off as I had a dinner engagement but saw it on replay before I went in. Loved it and yes, Daveb can get credit for the win. As for my strange backwards apostrophe, here it is again (for 1OP). ““““ Actually on my laptop there’s a key for it and a ~~~ just to the left of the 1. And I thought I had discovered something new and wonderful.

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      • `stros! OMG, I can do that, too. I am richer in knowledge tonight.
        Thank you, Zanuda.
        Umm, I guess you are back to normal. And I’m ELSA!!!!! The snow never bothered me, anyway!
        Ernesto Jaquez came in to relieve Brett Conine tonight and may be in line for the win. Imagine a guy who never was out of the DR, pitching for the GCL Astros and then finding himself in Lowell, Mass pitching in a pennant race for Tri City. In his debut he went 3.1 scoreless innings, allowed 1 single, a walk and struck out 3. His first pitch was a WP but he recovered, got the final out of the 4th and pitched the next three innings. He left with a 5-0 lead.
        I’d bet he had some butterflies. Just a kid from Santo Domingo, living a dream.
        That game has just ended. Tri City beats the Lowell Spinners in Lowell and Ernesto Jaquez gets his first Tri City win. It drops the Valley Cats’ magic number to 3 to secure a playoff spot. They have a 3.5 game lead with 4 games to play.

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  11. A walk off was just what the doctor ordered! When you leave 11 guys on bases, you’re probably not going to win that game. Now the fellas have a bit of wind in their sails when the Angels come in for 4 games. Peacock needs to join Charlie for a few days, because he has been less that stellar. I personally think walk offs are my favorite games to watch…. I couldn’t watch the game, but Robert Ford really made it come alive for us today. Tomorrow Verlander goes up against Heaney tomorrow…..they have their work cut out for them, BOTH teams!

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    • Kinda sucks to be the Angels:

      Pujols is in the seventh season of a mammoth 10-year, $240MM contract that calls for him to earn $28MM in 2019, $29MM in 2020 and $30MM in 2021. In addition to the remaining $87MM in guaranteed money beyond the current campaign, he also earned a $3MM bonus upon reaching 3,000 hits earlier this season.

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      • I would almost expect the Angels to start a rebuilding process and begin dumping salaries. Next year they start with 6 players already locked into 116MM. They have Trout, Pujols, Kinsler, Calhoun, and Upton accounting for almost a 110MM of it. They are stuck with Pujols (3 more years)but I would not be surprised to see them try to trade away any of the aforementioned players. The dilemma would be trading Trout. Kind of like us trading away Altuve. Talk about a potential riot.

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      • op had a good comment a few posts back about the astros pulling off a trade for trout. maybe we can help the nagels out `wink wink nod nod`

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      • I actually had the Astros signing him as a free agent in the 2021 segment of that 3 year prediction post we did. I don’t remember the numbers I mentioned but he is the best baseball player in the world and would be worth the biggest annual salaried contract in baseball. He would be only 30 in 2021. I would offer him 6/240. He would earn it. He would replace Springer.

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