Astros 2018: The week in review, the week ahead


The week of 9-10 through 9-16 in review

The Astros lead was a tenuous 2.5 games over the A’s heading into this big week. The Astros swept the Detroit Tigers on the road and came back from a first game loss to win a three-game series with the Arizona D’Backs.  The Astros in reversing a season-long trend took four of their five wins on the week by one-run margins. The A’s split the week 3-3 and the Astros finished Sunday with a 4.5 game lead over Oakland and now face the next week with a magic number to clinch the division of 9.

The week of 9-17 through 9-23 in a preview

The Astros finish their home schedule with six games against division rivals, three against the Mariners and three against the Angels at Minute Maid Park.

The M’s had their first winning week in a month. After a four-game sweep of the Astros (at Minute Maid) the second week of August they were 4 games back of the Astros and only 1.5 games back of the A’s for a playoff spot. They have steadily sunk out of the pennant race since then, coming to town 12 games back in the AL West and 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race.

The Angels beat the Rangers 2 out of 3 to begin last week and then lost 3 of 4 to the Mariners through the weekend. It is hard to remember that the Angels were tied for the division lead in mid-May. They then fell behind by 10 games by late June and now start the new week 20.5 games back of the division-leading Astros.

Player of the Week: Justin Verlander

The Astros had a very hopeful week as both Jose Altuve and George Springer began hitting like the 2018 MVP and 2018 WS MVP that they are. But the player of the week was Justin Verlander. JV struggled in August while he was working on earning his 200th career win. In September he has won all three of his starts including two this last week. For the week, Verlander was 2-0 in 14 innings with 9 hits, 3 runs, 21 Ks and 3 walks and looking a lot like the pitcher, who came to town last September and carved his way through all the teams he faced.

Stat focus: Home Sweet Home

After the Mariners completed their 4 game sweep of the Astros on August 12th, the Rockies followed that with a 5-1 beating of the good guys and Houston was an anemic 31-29 at home on the season. Since then the Astros with tremendous pressure on them to outrun the streaking A’s have put up a beyond solid 10-4 record in their last 14 home games. During those 14 games, the Astros have scored 79 runs (5.6 runs/game) which is much more in line with what has been expected from them this season. They will need to keep that home field play going as they race to and through the playoffs.

Pop Song That Should Have Been a Hit – “Three Roses” by America

Back in  1971, I was a freshman in high school and was just loving this new Neil Young song on the radio. However, that Neil Young song turned out to be “A Horse with No Name” from the debut album of the pop/rock group America. The group consisted of three US military brats who ironically formed their trio in the UK. The debut album also included the hit “I Need You.” One of the hidden gems on the album was the song “Three Roses”, on which the boys sounded a lot more like Crosby, Stills and Nash than Neil Young with lovely harmonies and even a Stephen Stills-ish guitar solo towards the end. The song never was released as a single, though at least one unpaid critic believes it should have been.

Anyways, back to baseball. By the end of this coming week, there is a chance the Astros will have wrapped up the division, a chance the A’s have closed the gap or a chance the Astros will have set the table to clinch in the last week of the season. What do you think the next week will bring?

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129 comments on “Astros 2018: The week in review, the week ahead

  1. Yep I stayed up to see what the Angels / A’s, ended up. Angels 9 A’S 7!!
    It took the Angels 7 pitchers to get to the end of the game. This weekend should be fun with the Angels coming to town! I’m still in awe of Josh James..WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. -I believe that basing the presumed power of a team based on run differential can be folly. I strongly believe in the theory of winning your division and 11 playoff games to determine your power rankings.
    -Alex Bregman is in a batting slump.
    -Giancarlo Stanton’s 2018 WAR of 3.6, compared to last season’s MVP WAR of 7.3 includes a BABIP that is 46 points higher than last year’s. In layman’s talk, he been much worse, while being much luckier.
    -I’m very interested in how Whitley and Bukauskas perform in the Arizona Fall League.
    -Marisnick’s slash line for August: .421/.560./.842/1.402
    Marisnick’s slash line for September: .100/.136/.100/.136
    -Carlos Correa is Jake Marisnick, without the power and speed.
    -Can Joshua James throw strikes in the playoffs?
    -Chris Devenski did nothing last night to convince me he is ready for playoff hitters. His fastball gets hammered.
    -I would strongly consider having Brad Peacock on the playoff roster if he is completely healthy. His numbers this season are great and I remember him in relief in last year’s playoffs.
    -Ken Giles got a save for Toronto last night.

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    • -Yes Bregman is in a slump. Not sure what the issue is.
      -Marisnick’s batting has deteriorated. I think a lot of it is maybe not playing everyday. But his glove in the outfield is Super.
      -Correra is still a black hole and who knows what the reason is. I’d hit him 8th right now.
      – If JJ can consistently find the plate, he needs to be on the playoff roster.
      – Devenski should not be on the roster.
      -Peacock should probably be on the roster but it’s not a sure thing.
      – I actually hope we don’t see Giles pitch in Toronto, but I wish him well.
      – Marwin is heating up and that’s good.
      – Wish we could clinch the division by weeks end but will probably be middle of next week unless the A’s collapse. We could possibly clinch on Sunday (wouldn’t that be nice) but we have win all 4 and the A’s lose 3.

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  3. After last night’s performance I am absolutely convinced that JJ makes the playoff roster, for at least the first series. Either McCullers has a sudden “setback in his rehab” or McHugh and Peacock find themselves duking it out down the wire for the final spot. JJ’s ability to throw heat (what would his velocity be if he didn’t have to worry about throwing more than one inning?) and his excellent secondary stuff are just too tempting to pass up.

    I don’t think they carry more than 11 pitchers, especially in a best of 5. If they do, Gattis will be left off, as they will need more PR speed options than just Kemp and Marisnick.

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  4. I like tonight’s lineup. It gives us excellent OF defense and gives CC a rest, while keeping Marwin’s bat in the lineup. However, I would rather see White in the 4 hole and MG in 5.

    I expect some runs on the board tonight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Speaking of chipping away…has anybody heard from Chip? I love your updates Dan but just realized I haven’t seen any of his posts for a while

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  5. GAME OVER dayoff tomorrow, means they will lose the first game in the Angels game. They are nor playing like a team who wants to play in the post season.

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  6. Would love to see some offensive consistency heading into the postseason. This offense reminds me of a yo-yo, brilliant one night then stinky the next. Hope Bregman gets over his slump quickly. How is AJ going to handle DK postseason with the way he gets hammered early on?

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    • Hate to hear that op – even for one of our competitors – he was a good pitcher and really gave us fits at times. Losing a year plus what he has missed this year is a tough pill to swallow.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A friend of mine made a remark that got me thinking. He said the other teams swing at the pitches given them and have some pretty good luck finding holes, while the Astros seem to be waiting for a particular pitch that they usually don’t get.

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    • Heck, I’m shacking in my boots! The Astros have 10 more games to play. If they continue to play lifeless as they did against Seattle, then we should be shaking. I hope the Angels give the Astros runs like that also!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not to be a pessimist but our magic number is 7 which is a combo of Astro wins and Oakland losses. There are 10 games left so we just need to keep winning because I’ve got a feeling the A’s have put their game into 5th gear. We get to 4th and then fall back into 2nd gear. Not going to win that way. Winning 7 completes the deal so we need to play like our proverbial life is on the line. We only did it for one game in the Seattle series, so it’s time to fish or cut bait. The A’s are not going away. They have 3 with the Twins, M’s, and Angels. I could see them going 7 – 2 or even 8 – 1. They want the division championship. Do we? (rhetorical question).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Quick analysis (I hope I got this right) current records Astros 95-27; A’s 92-61
        Ways to win
        -If we win 7 of 10, we’re in regardless
        -win 6 of 10, A’s 8-1
        -win 5 of 10, A’s 7-2
        -win 4 of 10, A’s 6-3
        -win 3 of 10, A’s 5-4
        -win 2 of 10, A’s 4-5
        -win 1 of 10, A’s 3-6
        -lose 10 of 10, A’s 2-7
        If we have tied records a one game playoff in Houston on Monday October 1. Yes the A’s have to play near perfect ball but we but need to do also to clinch as early as possible. I don’t want to put the losing numbers there because I don’t eve want to consider it. I think all can figure it out.

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  7. Ok Dudes and Dudetts…..”maybe” just maybe we can win tomorrow ‘S game, since they used 7 relievers today.My Lord what a beat down the Angels had today! Sooo are we up 3 games now? This club is its own worst enemy over the weekend. I realize Hinch wanted to see the minor league guys had to offer, and really Josh James was the only one who succeeded in showing Luhnow and Hinch he has the stuff to pitch in the majors. Time to put some fire crackers in their underwear!

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