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?