Astros Playoffs 2018: Mission difficult, not impossible


We’ve all seen those movies where Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise battle through an impossible labyrinth of obstacles to defuse the bomb with one second left. Or were they being taken up into heaven by an alien race? I’m getting my L Ron Hubbard books mixed up. But the point being is that the Astros’ job is much easier than those type heroics, but unfortunately non-fiction.

The plus side is that the Astros’ task after a disheartening 8-2 loss Tuesday is the same as it was Sunday. Win two at home and then win one of two in Boston.

That task is now more difficult (but not impossible) after a Gilesian meltdown by Roberto Osuna in a non-save situation during a 5 run Red Sox eighth inning. Luckily the failure did not include Osuna either punching himself in the face or calling his manager some kind of fire truck.

In their most critical game to date, they turn to a familiar playoff face, Charlie Morton. Yes, Good Time Charlie who won not one, but two game sevens during the 2018 World Series run. Wednesday, they will not expect Morton to last long enough to earn a win this time around considering he has only thrown four innings since mid-September, three of which came Sept. 30th almost three weeks ago. Will this be another Morton/McCullers tandem job?

The bottom line is that to have a reasonable shot to return to the World Series, the Astros need to win the next two at home and Game 4 may be a desperation all hands on deck kind of day.

It would not hurt anyone’s feelings if the Astros offense showed up against Rick Porcello and the Red Sox bullpen. It has been a rough go lately as the Red Sox mostly pitch around Alex Bregman and dare Yuli Gurriel to do something. Jose Altuve is gamely tromping on with one bum knee and Carlos Correa continues in power outage mode. The Astros’ catchers are bringing little to the table, Josh Reddick has slid back to his 2017 playoff self, Tyler White and Evan Gattis are not hitting and Marwin Gonzalez seems to be the most clutch hitter they have besides Bregman.

The Astros face two almost must-have games in Games 4 and 5 so that they don’t have to go home after Game 5 or go to Boston needing two wins. The plus side is they have Justin Verlander waiting in the wings for Game 5 and Gerrit Cole waiting to vindicate himself in Game 6. But that is way off in the future. Game 4 is the game they need and must have first.

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211 comments on “Astros Playoffs 2018: Mission difficult, not impossible

  1. We can be thankful that none of our pitchers went down with elbow problems and no position players have to go under the knife. Correa might have a band aid procedure, like I had a few years ago. I would give just about anything to walk into that clubhouse tonight and give every one of these guys a BIG hug and tell them how very much they are loved❤ Think about where we were one year ago! We were stunned and absolutely giddy about what was in store for these guys! They won the biggest prize you can win, and all of us were wild with pure joy! Yeah….we are sad, but not as sad as those guys in that clubhouse are. THINK about this….if this is McCann’s, last year he leaves with a World Series ring! If Verlander never gets to pitch in a World Series game again…he won 2 games last year! I love these guys, and I also know not all of them will return next year.
    Time to wash my Springer shirt, and put it up until next year.
    I only have one wish for the World Series this year, and that would be the Dodgers beat Boston and get those rings like we did last year!
    Good night folks, Becky⚾

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Can only speak for myself. But I am spoiled. The minor injuries kept this team from being at its best. No excuse, just stating the obvious. We will lose some good players and lets hope we get a few good ones in return. My goal was always for the Colt 45s/Astros to be in contention. Now that they have done that for last few years, I am SPOILED. I want to see them in the World Series every year.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And so, the 2018 dream dies. On to 2019 and beyond.

    Who will stay – and who will go?

    Who will get qualifying offers – and who will become free agents?

    Who will avoid arbitration – and who will go through it, at what cost?

    Who will be traded – and who will be acquired by trade?

    Who will be courted in free agency – and who, if anyone, will be signed?

    Will the ‘Batter’s Eye’ area of MMP be ‘tweaked’ to suit Jose’ and Carlos?

    Will the wall be raised high enough to prevent Joe West syndrome from rearing its ugly head ever again?

    What coaches will stay – and which will -or need to – go?

    What MLB Rules need to change – and what need to be left alone?

    What is the next phase of the Luhnow Plan? And what does our future hold?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good questions all Mr. Bill. I’m already gearing up for the Hot Stove season. Congratulations to our Astros for an exceptional season. I expect additional ones to come our way and I believe that we’ll get back to the World Series again.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. JB Bukauskas made his second start for Scottsdale yesterday and was the winner. His line was 4 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 3 groundouts and 3 flyouts. Bukauskas has allowed no earned runs in 2 starts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Starting my day at 4 EST, I made the long trip in yesterday, stopped at an old haunt, Demeris Barbecue on Shepard, then headed straight to there ball park. I think I was as tired as our Astros looked last night. Boston still does not look better to me on paper, but they are the better team today. I must admit though, someone is going to make Kimbrel pay next week!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My game experience was a bit of a comic tragedy. Not a bad crowd, but it appeared many of the attendees were those who had been given tickets from others who just did not have it in them to make it out to the park after Wednesday nights debilitating marathon. That game was the one that took all the soul from our team.

    In the third inning, a group of six arrived in the the row behind us. They must have been delayed at their pregame warm up festivities. The language was bad, especially with kids around, plenty of F bombs. It continued. Maybe a couple of innings later, the first beer trickled down my back. But then a guy, maybe 250 plus, pitched out of his seat, falling forward in obviious drunken stupor, and landed on the guy just in front of him. That was me. I survived, but the back is sore today. The fat guy could have smothered me. I was lucky. His compadres dragged him out. Soon enough, I was then visited again, this time by an equally inebriated young lady, who lost her own equilibrium and landed between me and my brother. Heck, in the old days, we were much better drinkers.

    Finally security took this remaining group fine of Astro fans and walked them out and HPD took over. Believe me, this group could not walk. I guess it was a busy night for Houston’s finest, as the end result was to show them the door and send them wobbling out into the night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry to hear about you bad experience. Nobody should have to put up with that kind of garbage. If they can’t get their act together and and behave in a civilized manner, I’ve got my good buddy Joe West who can eject them in a heartbeat.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Oh Dave, I fully understand and appreciate what you went through. Mrs. Sarge and I went during the last Oakland series, when we got our world series rings, and the group around us was just as rowdy, drunk, and foul mouthed, even with kids around. Just another reason why I choose to stay home and watch the games.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I see quite a bit of change this winter. Martin Maldonado might have failed his final audition test. Does Realmuto come back into the picture? I have a feeling that with growing family, Verlander might ask to be dismissed from his club option, giving him the opportunity to live on the West Coast. I’m wondering if my own nephew has been figured out. That happens more often than not. We’re not going to pay Gattis again, are we? What do we do with Osuna, the guy with the 11.7 K rate in 2017, and a 7.6 K rate in 2018. Huge red flag. James might be our guy. Are Smith and Harris and Rondon and Peacock all pissed? Do they want to play here any longer? Do we want Keuchel to play here any longer? Is Reddick aging too quickly? Is Tucker really going to be our Christian Yelich? What will Marwin cost? Is first base a question mark once again? Yuli will go home and play ball all winter, but is he past his prime? I think he’s already shown us his best. I could go on. As noted above, I just want to see our guys get fixed and mend well and rest. No post season parades, appearances, just time to reflect and understand better what it takes to win multiple championships.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I see dugout changes, too. Unless Espada is a terrible interview, he will probably get one of these managerial jobs. I think Cora has all but guaranteed that after the ALCS.
      I know there are changes coming. Luhnow is no longer the GM of a WS winner and he can’t be too pleased. He won’t go outside of his plan, but that plan was to win multiple championships and one of his best chances has disappeared. Look for him to make some moves.
      There is so much time to discuss all this so let’s see what Dan has for us next, before we jump the gun.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. It’s still way to early to jump to off season considerations but I will observe that what I see in the Red Sox is Astros 2017. They hit the ball throughout the lineup, don’t strike out a lot, keep their pitching staff together with duct tape and baling wire, play great defense -especially in the outfield-get production out of the bottom part of the lineup and seem to want it. The common denominator between last year’s Astros and this year’s Sox? Alex Cora, who seems to be able to get guys to buy into the consistent ABs and steady pressure on offense that we so sorely missed this year. Can you imagine Altuve and Correa employing Bregman’s approach (who BTW was 2 for 12 with one walk after he posted his smart aleck video of the back to back to back homers off Eovaldi – how did that work out?)? Our inconsistent offense is what prevented this team from being great. I have ZERO trust in this coaching regime being able to reach Altuve, Correa, Marwin (if he’s here) or Yuli. We reverted to pre-2017 offensive philosophies and where did it get us? A great year in terms of win totals but an unsatisfactory year in terms of quality of play on offense in general and overall at home.

    Finally, we were beaten by a better team that came into our place and took three straight. There’s really no shame in that. I personally hope the Red Sox beat the snot out of the Dodgers or the Brewers. After watching a lot of the NLCS I am so over National League baseball in general and all the excess strategizing and machinations of Counsell and Roberts in particular. Rooting for the Brewers though just so whoever makes it to the series is gassed and ready for the slaughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I tend to agree with the good DR. We seemed to have lost something in this series that we had with the Cleveland series and other games. Hats off to the Red Sox. They beat us on all counts. Even with the Joe West debacle they still came back and beat us after being behind. The hitting seemed to disappear and I personally believe that putting Bregman in the lead off spot was a disaster. I could see #2 but the reason that Bregman didn’t see quality pitches is because NOBODY BEHIND HIM WAS HITTING. White didn’t do squat in the DH role and neither did Gattis (fewer AB’s). Yuli and Marwin had their issues too. The thing MG has to learn is to stop flayling at pitches out of the zone. You throw him one strike and then it’s in the dirt on the left side of the plate. Back to Bregman I’m not happy about the video but I sincerely he believed that he had to do more in this series for us to win, thus the added pressure and low performance. A couple of other issues we need to address is that everyday outfield. I love Reddick but his hitting ain’t doing the job and we need an everyday left fielder too. Is Tony Kemp the answer? I don’t know but I hope there is a place for him. He could be the DH. Who says it has to be a guy who hits 30 home runs a year. I’ll take a guy who gets 175 hits and 30 walks a year. Keuchel will probably be gone (big $$)and so will McCann. Maldonado? I’d rather us look elsewhere. As for coaching we need someone who can compliment Hinch. I don’t know if he needs to be a kick butt person or an even keeled typed but someone is needed. I’ll pause for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve finished the post – should get put up today.

    Jeez – daveb – that sounds scary – I don’t need to lose one of my most loyal readers under a drunken Bartolo Colon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Astrocolt45.. you are so right the Astros had a FANTASTIC YEAR! I get FURIOUS when someone says “they weren’t very good this year”!! GOOD LORD….do people understand how difficult it is to win 103 games?!! Makes me crazy!
      These guys have NOTHING to hang their heads about. Who knows they may never get this far again in our lifetime, but nothing can take away the joy these guys gave us last year, and almost the same again this year! I still have a big smile on my face because I lived long enough to see them win it all!!

      Like

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