Astros 2018: The week in review, the week ahead


The week of 9-17 through 9-23 in review

The Astros began the week with a solid 4.5 game lead over the unbelievably hot A’s. The Astros started the week in a wobbly fashion losing 2 out of 3 to the Mariners at home. But they cranked things up with a 3 game sweep of the Angels. If they do clinch this division – the 9 run rally that turned a 5-1 loss to a 10-5 win on Saturday against the Halos may be the game that kicked them over the top. The A’s came so close to cutting the lead to 2 1/2 games, but by the end of the week, the lead was jacked back up to 4.5 games and the magic number to clinch the division was down to three.

The week of 9-24 through 9-30 in a preview

The Astros finish the regular season in their most comfortable place – on the road. And if they can’t manage to clinch while playing the lowly Blue Jays and the miserable Orioles – there was never going to much hope for them anyway. The Blue  Jays after getting swept in a four-game series by Boston have played well lately against two good teams, the Yanks and the Rays and one abysmal team, the Orioles.

The Astros will play “abysmal” four games in Baltimore. The O’s are bringing back memories of the bottoming out Astros. After Sunday’s games, they were 45-110 – enough said.

Player of the Week:

We will give it to the oldest second-year player around, Yuli Gurriel (yes – the third season played, but he was an eligible rookie last year so Nah-nah-nah-nah). As best I can tell working off my phone, he scored 8 runs and knocked in 10 and had 2 doubles and 3 home runs for the week. He was a critical cog now that Bregman has returned to earth.

Stat focus: K!!!!!!

Saturday night was a K affair for the Astros as Justin Verlander set a career high for himself with 280 Ks in a season, the Astros starters set a mark with 1069 Ks on the season and the staff set a record with 1615 Ks on the season. And more to come…..

Pop Song That Should Have Been a Hit – “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me” by Linda Ronstadt

Ronstadt’s 1976 album “Hasten Down the Wind” topped out in the top 3 albums on the Billboard and was a mix of covers from oldies “That’ll be the Day” by the late Buddy Holly and “Crazy” by Willie Nelson and newbies by Warren Zevon, John Hall (of Orleans) and three songs by Karla Bonoff, including “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me”.

The final song on the album, it is a perfect blend of Andrew Gold’s frenetic piano and Rondstadt’s most haunting and mournful vocals. It is a beautiful piece that is song crafting at its best.

So what do you think about last week?

Will the Astros clinch and when?

Will they have to go forward without Charlie Morton and if they do is Framber the Manber?

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

  1. Old pro – you were asking about the article with Giles talking about the Astros – I googled “Ken Giles and Toronto” and an article by Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star popped up – I can’t do a link with my phone here.

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  2. I just noticed that Patrick Sandoval, who never cracked the Astros Top 30 prospect list, is the #20 prospect in the Angel’s organization. AND Sandoval now has the same overall grade, a 45, as Framber Valdez does in the Astros organization, even though Framber is mowing down major league batters.
    It seems like some major league player evaluators are at least as good as weather forecasters.
    To add to my argument, longtime Astros top prospect, Frances Martes has accumulated negative.9 WAR in 54 MLB innings. Framber Valdez has accumulated a positive 1.1 WAR in 34 MLB innings. That is like night and day, even considering Valdez’s walk rate. In the big leagues, it’s about not giving up runs.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dan, you know I have no thoughts.

    That said, I’ll say a couple of things before I go quiet again. Our three biggest bats from 2017 are wounded to various degrees, all significantly. Our rotation is missing 2 of its 5 parts. The best number 5 starter in the league has forgotten how to get outs in the first inning. Our 8th inning guy has forgotten how to get outs. And there are other issues. Yet, the Astros have produced the best September record in MLB at 16 and 4. In contrast, the red hot A’s are 13 and 7.

    Management has developed the deepest organization in MLB. Kemp and White have been invaluable. Maldonaldo and Pressley, excellent acquisitions. James and Valdez have been remarkable. Did any of us see Framber showing up this month and having such an impact? Our group of cave nerds should never be undervalued.

    I don’t care about a team record for most wins. The players don’t either. They are gearing up for the post season. I said this earlier in the month. There is not another team I’d rather be right now than the Astros.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This is for you Dan.

    Following in your steps for the love of good music, I give you the following:

    On September 9, 1985 an aging Carl Perkins, probably best known as the original writer and performer of Blue Suede Shoes, stepped on stage at the Capital Theatre, in Passaic, NJ and for the next hour proceeded to bring the house down with a combination of brilliant guitar work, solid vocals and the support of an all star band. In my opinion it is the greatest concert ever staged and it holds a top spot on my music playlist.

    Here is a link to the full concert:

    Everyone will immediately recognize Harrison, Starr and Clapton, but I will give bonus points if you can name the others.

    If you have the time to sit and listen it will be time well spent!

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    • dave edmonds (of rockpile among other bands) ill say while im sitting here watching trying to figure out some of the other musicians, that i got to see Carl Perkins the numerous times he came through Austin at intimate venues. it was great each and every time. Mr. Blue Suede Shoes. when i saw him his son was playing with him. ok i cant figure the standup bass so ill WAG its the guy from Stray Cats. wow that was fun. but thats all ive got in guesses. saw dave edmonds with rockpile and when he and nick lowe were together. ‘crawling from the wreckage’ was a really good song.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thats right dan, does it remind you of the sound of breaking glass? nick lowe produces albums (albums? yeah im old) for bill kirchen of commander cody fame. saw them both at the continental club last year.

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  5. I was VERY impressed with Valdez coming out the pen and pitching 5 innings of one run ball finishing with 6 strike outs!!! Man….was he just what the doctor ordered yesterday!! If Correa isn’t able to play again this year, it will tough without his bat. Somthing tells me that’s the case. I just *LOVE* this team!!!

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  6. I have some good news! Felix Hernandez became a United States Citizen this afternoon! I’m soo proud of him nothing better than becoming a new American! One of our sons has a wonderful girlfriend who came to America from Poland as a runner in the Olympics. We were able to welcome her to our family and a new citizen in 2015!! Welcome King Felix!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I would feel sorry for you, but at least you get to actually watch some of the games, I have a transistor radio. DIRECT TV couldn’t find a signal out here in the forest.

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  8. Things I think I know:
    -The Yankees have 2 games left with the Rays and 4 with Boston. The A’s have 2 left with Seattle and 4 with the Angels. This wild card thing isn’t settled yet.
    -Five of the easiest seven schedules in baseball this season are the five AL Central teams. The other two easiest schedules were the schedules for the Yankees and Boston.
    -The Astros need their regular lineup ready to play on day 1 of the playoffs. I would be surprised to see Carlos Correa play during the rest of the regular season.
    – Tyler White should be in Houston’s lineup. Hopefully, he gets some ABs this week and comes out of his mini-slump.
    -I will be flabbergasted if Jake Marisnick isn’t on the playoff roster. The idea of having Marwin start a playoff game in LF, moving Jake to the outfield in the late innings and moving Marwin to 1B late for defense and to keep his switch hitting ability in the lineup for versatility against relievers is too good to pass up.
    -If the Astros clinch, we will see a lot of our younger guys on the field for the last few games.
    – It seems to me that Hinch will try to find a way to restore Rondon’s confidence this week.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Charlie isn’t hurt. Hinch let him pitch the first inning the other day, and pulled him because you only get 3 days off for maternity leave. This is their 4th baby and she is due anyday. They didn’t want him stuck up in Canada when his wife went into labor. So there’s that. I’m a fair woman, and I don’t judge until I hear both sides. I don’t know any details on Osuna and his wife (girlfriend) so I will keep my thoughts about today to myself.
    OP…..I have that feeling about Correa too, but deep in my soul I hope like heck he will be playing in the post season games. We *NEED* his bat! Every pitcher and every position player are nursing pains, but when they clinch the division all those aches and pain don’t exist! I’m pretty sure Reddick packed his “Speedos”……they make my eyes bleed!
    Since I can’t see the game ya’ll need to let me know how Josh James looks ok?!
    GO ‘STROS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky, I too will reserve judgment on Osuna, but I will judge Charlie. The fact that he had no velocity worried me from the first pitch. It was the same story we saw the last time they shut him down for a few days. He’s at career high innings and coming off of a short offseason. I’d like to see them shut him down for the rest of the season and bring him back fresh for the playoffs. Let the kids carry the load until life returns to that dead right arm.

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  10. How impressive have the two minor league pitchers have been!! Both gave up *one* run, and held their own facing major league pitching! I look for BOTH of them to make a case to join the rotation next year! We’ll see how they do in Spring Training, but so far I’m extremely impressed!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. McTaggart reported that Strom and bullpen coach White found a problem with Rondon’s delivery that they think was causing his location problems – much better news than a sore or tired arm….

    Liked by 2 people

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