Fans of the 2018 Astros: What’s bugging us?

It’s kind of unfair. Fans wait forever – up to 56 seasons (depending on our age and when we began cheering for them) for their Houston Astros to win a World Championship and then after they do, in a blink of an eye, the celebration is over and the angst over the next season returns. Is this why Yankee fans are sometimes the most miserable human beings on the planet. The 27 championships are in the rear view mirror and here they are in misery because their team falls short of the apex. Nine-year drought! OMG!!!

Yet here we are. Despite the fact our favorite team has been at the head of the division for the majority of the season, the lead has been tenuous due to the better competition in the division this season. In 2017, the Astros cruised easily into the postseason. Yes, we had some doubts when the team slumped in August, but September brought a rebirth behind the Justin Verlander trade and the team put on a great run of clutch play throughout the playoffs.

On September 20th, the Astros are 95-57 and if they go 6-4 against the Angels, Orioles and Blue Jays, all of whom are playing out the string, they will match last year’s record.

So what’s bugging us about this team and should it?

  • The Astros offense is not as good as last season and seems to disappear at the drop of a hat
  • However……Please, be reminded of the ALCS against the Yanks. The team had let a 2-0 lead in the series drop to a 3-2 deficit. Even their two wins were both 2-1 squeakers. They had scored only 9 runs in the first five games and were coming off a 5-0 whitewashing headed into two – win or go home games. But they got enough offense and a ton of pitching and took those last two games.
  • The relievers meltdown at the wrong times
  • However……Please, remember that there is no good time for relievers to meltdown and that frankly, the core of this relieving corps has been very good in most situations. This bullpen is a lot deeper than the one that melted down a ton of times in the 2017 playoffs and there will be pitchers left off this playoff roster that would be in their competitor’s ‘pen if they had them.
  • The starters are older and after being lights out earlier in the season have shown holes in their game in the last month or so.
  • However……Last season heading into the playoffs the team did not know how pitchers like Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers would react in the playoffs. Even with some rough spots, those two helped win some of the biggest games during the playoffs. They have them plus veterans Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel and overall they should be in good shape in the starter area (most games).
  • In 2017, the Astros were the Kings of the Late Innings coming back over and over again even with large late deficits. That has not been happening this season.
  • No “Howevers” here……If a fan wants to worry about this team, this is the area where they should be concerned. In many of their greatest seasons, the Astros rode late-inning magic. There is something about those comebacks and walk-off wins that not only energized the club, but raised their own expectations that games were never over. In 2018, that has just not been happening nearly as often as in 2017.
  • The Astros no longer have the best SS/2B duo in the majors.
  • No “Howevers” here either…. Carlos Correa was not up to snuff before his stint on the DL and has been a negative offensive force since his return. Jose Altuve is down (for him) and not near the offensive catalyst he has been the last few years for the Astros. Having a great SS/2B combo was a big advantage over most teams. Not this year.
  • The Astros play dumb and can’t play small ball.
  • Partial However…… In 2017 they were running into outs too, just like this year, though it is still a bother. The number of double plays they are grounding into is also a concern. Old ball with bunts and move-overs maybe will not return wholesale, but there will be times in the playoffs where getting one run in may be the difference in a game.

So what is bugging you this year?


114 comments on “Fans of the 2018 Astros: What’s bugging us?

  1. Ok…’s what Hinch said….Charlie’s, velocity was down and they didn’t want to risk it so they took him out. Really and truly, I think they were prepared to lose this game, but Valdez had NO INTENTION of losing today!! Good job kiddo!
    I’m not worried about Charlie.


  2. Framber may possibly have the best stuff of any of our pitchers. His movement is so violent and so late that it is barely controllable. His 2-seam sits around 93-94 and takes a hard, late left turn. His slider is a high 80’s wipeout 10 to 4 with late bite to the right and his curve is a mid-to- high 70’s classic 12/6 with big break. His 4-seam, which he rarely throws tops out around 97 but is as flat as a 12 year old cheerleader. When he develops control and learns to mix in the high heat at the top of the zone he could be very, very special. Right now I’m not sure that he, the catcher, or the batter really know where anything he throws is going to end up. They just all know that its tough to hit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But what really impresses me is his enthusiasm and his appreciation for the game. Even when he tries to give the JV stare after a K, that infectious smile breaks through and steals the moment.

      The heart felt tip of the hat and open acknowledgement to the One that gifted him with ability as he walked off after a dominant performance really sold me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Speaking of the two young pitchers, we now have 5 starting pitchers in the bull pen to take into the playoffs. Even if you only pitch them 3 innings, you still have a pretty deep bullpen. The guys will clinch on the road, and I won’t be able to see them this year….bummer. We were at the game last year when they sealed the deal….and I became a whistling, clapping, crying, fool! That was one golden memory that I will take with me forever. All they have to do is take care of business. We will be here on this blog when they do! I can’t wait!! Becky⚾

    P.S. Anybody watching this Indians, Red Sox game???
    Tough bullpens! Been tied 3-3 since the 5th inning.😨


    • Becky, I’m glad you brought up the Boston/Cleveland game. Cleveland won, by the way, which brings me to my point:
      Boston has the best record in baseball. Two weekends ago the Astros took a series win in Boston over three games.
      Last weekend, the Yankees took two out of three from Boston.
      This weekend, the Indians took two out of three from Boston.
      I’m just sayin’!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think our bullpen can stack up with Boston OR Cleveland. If Correa can’t come back, that’s one BIG bat out of our lineup….and it will, hurt us. The one thing we have, is our starting rotation. And I’m going to hope McCullers can come back without losing focus when a game is on the line. If not, I don’t want him in to pitch. Thank goodness for Tyler White, Tony Kemp!
        I read a piece about Giles this evening…..pretty poisonous about his time here in Houston. I guess he didn’t get the memo about not trashing your former club when you get traded. All I can say is thank goodness he’s a looong way from Houston.


  4. The Astros bullpen has the lowest ERA and the lowest WHIP in MLB. They have pitched the second fewest innings in MLB and are 25th in throwing wild pitches this season, compared to being #1 in number of wild pitches thrown last season.
    What the Astros have going for them in the playoffs is their depth in the starting rotation that can be added to the bullpen.
    I believe the Astros stack up with other team’s bullpens.


  5. The Angels have 46 stolen bases this season and their big center fielder who hits so many HRs and doubles has 24 of them. That is a crazy stat.


  6. If the Indians, who lead MLB in number of SBs, steal three more bases this season, they will equal the number of stolen bases as a team that Rickey Henderson had by himself in 1982.


  7. -The Astros have the third fewest ABs of all teams this season.
    -Even with his injury, Jose Altuve would have a lot more hits than he does if he stopped swinging at pitches so far out of the strike zone. His hit yesterday was a dribbler he hit on a pitch around the ankles. His DP ball was a pitch six inches high and six inches outside. His patience is at the level it was four years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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