10 reasons not to panic about the 2019 Astros (Yet)


At the beginning of any season, wins and especially losses are magnified just like batting averages (.000 for Aledmys Diaz and Max Stassi or .462 for Josh Reddick) might be slightly unsustainable. It is easy to micro-analyze every outing, every at bat, every failure and start looking for call-ups, releases, trades, Dallas Keuchel signings or divine intervention. Here are 10 reasons not to panic (yet) about the Astros 2-4 start to the season and the cliché “It’s early” will not be used.

  1. This (and worse) happens all the time. In 2018, the Astros season which ended in a club record for wins included streaks of 1-5, 1-5, 1-4 and two 0-5 streaks. The first two 1-5 streaks occurred before May 6th. In the Holy Grail season of 2017, the Astros had streaks of 1-4, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6 and 1-5 and the first 1-4 happened in the first 8 games of the season.
  2. The Astros are not alone. The World Champion Red Sox (who are not helping the Astros in their quest to beat the Mariners and the A’s) are a robust 1-5. The high hoping Yanks? 2-3. The NL hopefuls Nats, Cubs and Braves? All 1-3. Will these teams continue these paces. Don’t go to Vegas (or a nearby sports gambling state) and bet on that one.
  3. The Captain appears back. In his first 3 games of the season, Carlos Correa has four hits, but more importantly, he has had two of those hits with exit velocities of 112 mph or more. In all of 2018, he only hit two balls that hard which kind of solidifies the theory that he came out of Spring Training last year as damaged goods.
  4. The end of the bullpen looks strong. Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Josh James, Will Harris and Hector Rondon have thrown a combined 11.1 innings and given up 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk and rung up 14 Ks.
  5. NBC is not the only ones with a Peacock. Brad Peacock made a move back into the rotation after a 2018 season pitching out of the bullpen and looked like he thought he should be the #3 starter, not the #5 starter.
  6. The little man will warm up. Jose Altuve has started off with a puny .174 BA and .588 OPS, which only means that there will be hell to pay some time soon.
  7. The slightly bigger man will warm up too. Alex Bregman unfortunately often begins the season slowly, but he will start hitting and that will really kick this team into another gear.
  8. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will produce. Cole let an unforced error throw him off his game in his first start. Verlander pitched great in game 1, but never seemed to get his breaking stuff working in his second start. It says here that this will be an unusual occurrence and these guys will get things rolling next time around.
  9. The leadoff man will continue to lead. George Springer has been good for the Astros. He feels ready to take that to another level as he starts the season leading them in HRs and RBIs.
  10. The goose eggs will be gone. Reddick, Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White have 0 RBIs after the first 6 games. Here’s betting that changes in the next 6.

The Astros do get to come home after tonight’s finale against the Rangers. Hopefully, they will reverse their trends of 2017 and 2018 and play better at home than on the road. Hopefully, they will start the homestand with a 3-4 record. Your turn now, what reasons do you have to panic or to not panic this early in the season.

(OK, that was almost like saying “It’s early”)

44 comments on “10 reasons not to panic about the 2019 Astros (Yet)

  1. True, of course – there is certainly no need to panic. Panic over what we have seen on the diamond so far would actually be pretty stupid anyway since, after all, what we are talking about is only a game – a wistful distraction from matters of health, family, business, world peace, and everything that actually matters. So panic is OFF THE TABLE.

    On the other hand, I think reigning in the division championship and WS crown hype and expectations a little is probably in order. The 2019 Astros are not exactly Murderer’s Row, the Big Red Machine, or even Reggie Jackson era Oakland As. We are a pretty good club, but not by any means a dominating one. We need virtually every player on the team, including the bench players, to [a] be healthy, [b] stay focused, and [c] play at or close to his best every night. If they – or at least 2 or 3 of them don’t, we wind up looking pretty stinking average. On paper, we should contend for the AL West crown, or at least a wild card spot. But on the field, it is another matter altogether. Us contending for either of those things would require us to be significantly better in all phases of the game than we have shown the capacity to be thus far.

    I’m a fan, so I’m rooting for that ‘significantly better’ to occur every night. But my Pollyanna glasses have been pretty much shattered. This is going to be a long and bloody war, Captain. And it is one we could easily lose, and lose badly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we have a heck of a line up that will ultimately overshadow good but not great pitching. I just hate mental errors though. When Altuve swung at a ball four that was 6 inches up out of the zone in the 4th with George already on and the pitcher on the ropes and nobody out and Bregman followed that by forgetting about where first base was for the second night in a row, well damn, I hate that stuff out of the best baseball players on the planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Let’s see, Hinch gets tossed, and if he’s not careful so will Cole. The ump and Garrett had words with the ump as he walked off the mound in the 4th, then he got up in his face the last inning. JEEZE.😳 Who??? Is telling these guys to steal?
    The only steal they tried was last night when they had the double steal.
    It’s gonna be a long quiet flight to Houston tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This tm appears to be the worst baserunning tm in the MLB still, always a step behind and looking the same from last season. These past few seasons since I’ve watched MLB on a regular basis opening season is usually slow for most, even the best tms. Most of the playoff tms from last season look horrible presently so while I’m not too worried I was really hoping to see the offense get off to a good start. This ump is killing with these fringe calls but our guys had better adjust, complaining and not hitting won’t win this gm nor will leaving baserunners stranded & running into outs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lord have mercy I’m glad this game is over! WAAAY too much drama for this old gal. I wouldn’t want to be on that flight back to Houston tonight. I’ve worked charters when this happenes, and it ain’t fun.
    Ok Dudes shake it off, and get back to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cole was not offended by the home plate ump only. Looked like he was getting on his club as he walked through the dugout after fighting his way through six frustrating innings. His club deserves it. Wins will make everyone happy (I think) again, but I’ve not seen this particular group so out of sorts. Hinch is pissed too. He blew his top, probably at least somewhat in an attempt to wake his squad up. Clearly it did not work. And unless the strike zone gizmo was out of whack, that might have been the worst game I’ve ever seen called behind the plate by anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Here’s why we miss Marwin Gonzalez,” article in this morning’s Chron, first section, NOT sports section — interesting placement. It’s more from the heroics perspective, which is okay. I happen to believe there’s even more to why we miss Margo.

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    • Sometimes it’s those “intangibles” that make a player a good addition to a team. I believe that Marwin had those. Was he worth 17.9MM. No, but could we have made a deal that could have been mutually beneficial. I don’t know. Same story for Charlie Morton. Do we miss Dallas Keuchel? I don’t think so. Right now there’s something missing from the team. Maybe it’s that “intangible” air of winning. I believe it accounts for a lot in the grand scheme of things.
      I’m not ready to panic but I don’t like the trend, 4.5 games back after 7 games and a 2 and 5 record doesn’t bode well with me.

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      • Agree Dan, if MarGo was here he would probably just be in a funk with the rest of them.

        Correa and Altuve neither one have been the same since Altuve’s contract. I know they have both been injured and battling through it but they aren’t looking any different at the plate this year than last. Altuve is still chasing, Correa still thinks since he is Correa the ball will jump off his bat.

        This team is still going to win. It’s going to hit better than the average club. I am not convinced the offense is due for some juggernaut type year but they can match last years output if Diaz and Stassi and Marisnick can be OK. They don’t have to be great, just hit at least .240 with some occasional power. If we get to June and all of them are south of .220 you have to cut their PT.

        We used to have these discussions years ago, about the impact of having multiple holes in the lineup at the same time, too many easy outs in a row. Right now the opposing pitchers are looking at getting through the first 5 than getting a breath, not having to use their best pitches, not having to exert, and they are finding rhythm. We don’t need just the top to respond, they will, and soon I am sure, but we need the bottom to help them by making the pitcher exert and not get comfortable. We need Reddick and White to help that from the 6/7 spots. We need Marisnick and Diaz and Stassi and Chirinos and Kemp and whatever combo we got going to help that from the bottom.

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  8. #1 Prospect Forrest Whitley is the headliner on the Round Rock Express roster. Accordingly, the rotation for Round Rock has been announced for the first five games:
    Rodgers
    Bostick
    Martin
    Perez
    Armenteros.

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  9. A few scattered incoherencies – after seeing our team outhit, out-pitched, out played, and, alas, completely out-classed by our despised in-state rivals:

    1. Cap’n, I’ve looked into the future, and it isn’t pretty!

    2. We can be reasonably certain that we will not lose a ballgame Thursday, April 4, 2019. Reasonably. Of course, the way things are going, the MLB umpire’s association may decide to revisit the 2 wins we somehow managed to eek out this year, and ‘upon further review’ take one or both of those away.

    3. The pitching match-up for Friday night’s home opener looks . . . well, let’s just say ‘far less than optimal’. Shall we leave the roof open and hope it rains?

    4. Why don’t we act like spoiled children unhappy with our poor performance, and call for a special counsel investigation as to who on the Rangers colluded with what umpire or obstructed our path to the World Series?

    5. Meanwhile, Danno, put an APB out for bats that hit, a B.O.L.O. for anyone with baserunning-skills, and a warrant for the most humiliating arrest possible for Ron Kulpa!

    6. How do we wash off that ‘The Texas Rangers are Your Daddy’ tatoo from our backsides?

    7. Somebody is missing Marwin? At this point, we should be thinking back longingly to the days when we had Jonathan Villar, Chris Carter, and Carlos Gomez!

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  10. Guys, I wasn’t trying to make Marwin a key component to winning, or at least I don’t think I was. I personally was never that attached. But he may have been a part of the glue — how much of one, can’t say. Would not have made the observation but for the article. Have another thought later if time, from my strictly amateur fan’s viewpoint.

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    • Hey your guess is as good or better than ours as far as off the field team glue goes – we just don’t know what makes them tick, but right now the clock is only right twice a day

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    • I’m not going to go read the Chronicle. However, I would suggest it might have been perceived poorly by many in the organization that Marwin, Morton, and Keuchel were jettisoned in that fashion while Alex Bregman was awarded a contract far exceeding his on field contributions to this point.

      …but I don’t think that is why we’re losing. I think it’s early and Luhnow and Hinch don’t have a coherent plan in place to prepare for the start of a season. Let’s get ten games under our belt and then check back with the results of the following ten. If we’re still not swinging the bats and losing to teams far below our talent level we can talk then.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Maybe …..
    – A day off is all the team needs
    – Angel Hernandez lives a double life and has an alias of Ron Kulpa
    – Success Spoiled Rock Hunter
    – There is some jealousy about who did and who did not get extensions
    – Goofy Charlie Morton was the pitching glue / buffer for the staff
    – Fielding does matter (especially when hitting is struggling)
    – Base running has become strained rather than instinctive with so much failure
    – This will go away with a 6 game home stand
    – The team better pull their heads out of their nether regions before playing the A’s, Yanks, M’s and A’s (again) in order…..

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    • Diane – I love your Alchemy Diaz call out – that will be his new name from now on….at least I can spell it
      Maybe……
      – Alchemy will finally get a hit
      – Cole is going to mope all year because he knows he won’t get Bryce Harper money after the season
      – The M’s are a whole lot better than yours truly thought
      – The hitters miss Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran a lot more than we will ever know
      – This team will get booed at home (for the first time in forever) if they don’t show some life
      – Going to Tampa and Dallas was not the best way for this team to start the season
      – We will all be holding hands and singing Kumbaya when they rip through a 6-0 home stand
      – We will all be holding tar and feathers and singing Hang ‘Em High when they trip through an 0-6 home stand

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  12. I’m not trying to point fingers with this, but one of Garrett Cole’S spring training last starts he had “words” with an Ump. I’m not sure if that was the game Hinch got tossed, but I kinda thought what’s going on here. It’s spring training for goodness sakes! Hinch might be the only manager who has ever been ejected in a spring training game. It was evident from the get go that Garrett was not happy with Ron Kulpa last night I saw his anger in the dugout, but I don’t know if it was because of the Ump…or the lack of support from his guys. I hope it’s going to be a one and done kind of situation. NOT cool.

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  13. Last night multiple calls went against Cole. He was obviously upset by them. On the other hand – when JV gets a bad call, he looks off into the distance, and then goes back to work.

    No question that Cole let it get to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Quad Cities wins, 9-2 on the road.
    Fayetteville Woodpeckers win their first ever game, 15-0 on the road.
    CC Hooks win, 5-2 at home.
    Round Rock’s opener is rained out. Makeup DH on Saturday.

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      • Unfortunately, they were the victims of a group of Corpus Christi fishermen. They have other chances to spit the Hook this weekend, however. Stay tuned, as it is much less frustrating to follow young players trying hard to win versus following rich players going through the motions.

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  15. I know I’ll get pushback on this but I’m still a believe in George Springer batting 3rd in the line up. Is he a good leadoff player? Yes, but I would like to see him come to the plate with more men on base. A guy that’s capable of hitting 40Hr’s a year would be better suited at the 3 or 4 spot. I want a table setter in the #1 spot. Personally, I’d like to see Nick Tanileu in the leadoff spot as the DH.
    18 for 51 – .353, 5 HR’s, 18RBI’s. OPS 1215. OK yes it was spring training and yes it’s early but I think this guy is going to be a “ball player”.
    Line up:
    Tanileu
    Altuve
    Springer
    Correa
    Bregman
    Brantley
    Gurriel
    Reddick/Marisnick
    Chirinos/Stassi

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve complained about Springer in the leadoff before, but when he turned into the WS MVP I shut up. Still I think you are right Zanuda – he would seem to fit down the lineup better.
      I think this team will start scoring when Altuve and Bregman get going.

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    • Zanuda, Nick has overcome some real physical issues. But his minor league numbers are unremarkable. After seven games, it’s not time to give up on either Kemp or White. Both guys have shown the ability to hit at the major league level and have far superior minor league numbers.

      And although Springer has done a good job as a lead off hitter, I agree that we’ve got better options. I’d put Altuve there ask him to provide us with a .400 plus OPS. He would be a much bigger force offensively if he could be convinced to become much more selective at the plate. Putting him at the top of the order might help.

      Like

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