Astros 2019: The week before and the week ahead


The week of 4-1 through 4-7 in review.

The week before, the Astros stumbled out of the gate with a 1-3 road stop in Tampa. They then moved on to Arlington at the beginning of the week and further dug a hole by going 1-2 against the Rangers.

Coming home to play Oakland they needed to play well or risk being deeply buried after the first 10 games of the season.

The irony of the week is that it seemed like a slam dunk that the Astros would perform better in the two games in Arlington started by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole than the other four games they played last week. NOT!

The Astros lost the two games started by their twin aces 6-4 and 4-0. Luckily, they won both games started by Brad Peacock, the first game against the Rangers 2-1 due to Peacock’s great start and the last game against the A’s 9-8 despite Peacock’s struggling start. They also won the first two games of the A’s series for a solid sweep due to excellent starts by Collin McHugh (6 IP / 1 R / 3 hits) and Wade Miley (5.2 IP / 0 R / 4 hits), 3-2 and 6-0.

Their sleepy bats were finally waking up in the last two games of the Oakland series as they scored as many runs in those two games (15) as they had in the first 7 games of the season. Due to the Mariners hot start, the Astros at 5-5 ended the week one-half game farther back of the M’s than at the start of the week, but they certainly had to be feeling better about themselves than they did after the Ranger series.

The week of 4-8 through 4-14 in a preview.

It is hard to label anything as critical this early in the season, but the next week is important if the Astros wish to make some headway in their battle for the AL West lead.

First they host three games against the 5-4 Yankees, who like the Astros with the M’s are trailing a surprise team in the solid Tampa Rays. The Yanks also are coming off a 3 game sweep of the O’s, but certainly expected to be a bit better than 5-4 after playing 6 games against the tanking O’s and 3 against the suspect Tigers.

The Yanks have had to overcome some early season injuries and like the Astros are just beginning to have their bats warm up. This will likely come down to offense as both teams have solid starting pitching and bullpens. Then the Astros start an eight-game road trip in Seattle against the M’s, who have been a terrific offensive team to date scoring more than seven runs per game. Their pitching has been adequate, giving up about 4.5 runs per game.

The key to this series may well be if the Astros pitching can slow the M’s down at all. The 9-2 M’s will undoubtedly slow down at some point, but the Astros really need to plant a seed of doubt in their minds before they stretch out to an even bigger lead in the AL West.

Players of the Week: Two players had excellent weeks in different ways.

  • George Springer had good slash numbers: .320 BA/.357 OBP/.957 OPS and a very productive five runs scored, two HRs, one double and three RBIs.
  • Alex Bregman had unworldly slash numbers: .550 BA/.615 OBP/1.265 OPS with a little more pedestrian production numbers: three runs scored, two doubles, two RBIs.

Stat focus: One Man / One Game Baseball is just such a weird game, it is hard to describe. New Astro Aledmys Diaz entered Sunday’s game with a stat line that Bluto from Animal House could appreciate. His BA? .000; OBP? .000; OPS? .000…..0 hits, 0 walks, 0 HBPs, 0 runs, 0 RBIs, and K’s? Oh he had 4 of those in nine ABs. But on Sunday at home after sitting on the bench for 5 straight games, Diaz had two hits including a three-run homer, a career-high four RBIs and two runs scored including the walk-off game-winner. So he leaves the game with as many runs scored as Tyler White, Yuli Gurriel, Josh Reddick, and Max Stassi combined, as many HRs as White, Gurriel, Reddick, Stassi and Correa, and the third most RBIs on the team, which is more than Jose Altuve, Bregman and Carlos Correa. Just weird….

Pop Song That Should Have Been a Hit. “Someday Someway” by Marshall Crenshaw.

One of the things that seems to be missing in the modern music world are songs that reach back and pull from another era. “Someday Someway” was one of those songs that could have easily been sung by Buddy Holly, who Crenshaw resembled. It only made it to #36 on the Billboard 100 in 1982 and it is hard to figure out why. It is upbeat, energetic and just plain fun. But it was what it was.

So…. that’s a look at last week, this week, plus a look at some moldie, oldie music. All comments are welcome!!

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78 comments on “Astros 2019: The week before and the week ahead

  1. I have had to do a lot more of that life work thing sadly. You all still make me chuckle Thanks! I’m just happy that after 7 games you all put you razor blades away. The organization and team are in great shape for years to come, don’t sweat the small stuff!!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The matchups for the 3 games against the Yanks….
    Tanaka vs Verlander
    Loaisiga vs Cole
    Paxton vs McHugh

    Meanwhile Luis Severino who is on the IL is having problems in injury rehab and is headed for an MRI

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  3. I honestly don’t know what the hell is going on with the K zone. Verlander has thrown at least 10 pitches for strikes that weren’t called and we’re having K’s called that are no where near the zone.

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  4. Astros take the lead against a tough righty – Ottavino
    Bregman works hard to get a walk. Brantley with a solid single to right center and Correa fights off an all-English squib shot for an infield hit and the run

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  5. By the way, when you price your tickets so high that they are too high for the fans in your market to afford them, you end up with a crowd of just 27,000 against a team that should have been a sellout.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, due to overzealous dynamic pricing, younger brother Eric picked up two good seats cheap at 4:00 PM and dragged me out there again tonight. Nice to see the guys owning home so far. Nice to see Verlander battle tonight when he again did not have his best stuff. And nice to see us come back from arguably the best pen in the game. And once Nephew drew that walk, I told my brother that he was going to have to score from first on a gapper. My new favorite. Astro catcher made me look good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a game! Kudos to Chirinos, Bregman and Correa! Bregman is just a ball player. PERIOD! The game tomorrow is on ESPN at 7:00. It was a real treat for me to see the game tonight. Let us hope Garrett Cole has a good game, with no Ump problems. GO ‘STROS!!!!

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  8. Jeez, it took more than three minutes for some guys looking at replay to determine that Virginia should be given the ball in an out of of bounds play, initially correctly called by the refs on the court, unless a definitive camera angle was withheld from the national audience. No way to know what the outcome would have been, but Tech would have had the ball down two with a minute plus to play. Those kids on the court from both teams had the true outcome of the game taken away from them.

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    • It’s bizarre it takes so long to review the plays so often. Especially in an event like the NCAA tournament that generates so much money they should have review personnel who do nothing other than review every play and are ready to render a judgement in 30 seconds or less. Also, why is it in the last couple minutes they can spend 3 minutes reviewing a simple out of bounds play but can’t review whether a player double dribbled or had the ball knocked away and could legally enter into another possession? FWIW, I had not rooting interest once we got to the Elite 8 and just wanted to see competitive, quality games.

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  9. For some reason or other, my DVR recorded the ESPN broadcast and not the AT&T Astros broadcast. It was the third inning before the announcers mentioned who the Yankees were playing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started watching the ESPN and luckily I was able to get the MLB.com game with our announcers. I don’t what’s worse, listening to the biased announcers on ESPN or just having to watch the Yankees or Redsox whenever they get televised on the east coast. Hey, Monty, “I’ll take door #3”.
      “Let’s see what you’ve won. (Announcer) Zanuda, you’ve just watched the Astros come from behind to beat the New York Yankees”! Yes, you and all of the Astro fans can celebrate a great and gutsy come from behind win as your Houston Astros win another game”!

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  10. Something to consider anytime you look at the stats of minor league pitchers, especially relievers is that in extra innings, the inning always starts with a runner at second base.
    The other night, an Astros minor league pitcher came into the game to start the tenth and gave up a single to his first batter and the runner from second scored. Bingo! an earned run. The pitcher got the next three batters out.
    In the twelfth inning the same pitcher gave up a ground ball and a fly ball to his first two batters. Bingo! an earned run. The runner on second moved to third on the grounder and scored on the fly ball.
    There are times almost every night in the minors when a pitcher comes into the game in extra innings and doesn’t put anyone on base but gives up a run and gets the loss. It’s ridiculous.

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    • Old pro – I remember hearing about that before the season and totally forgot about it. I’m guessing our organization is so stat crazy that they have an ERAR – (ERA revised) where they decide whether the guy would have given up the run with no one on base.
      I know that ball games can “inconveniently” go on an indeterminate amount of innings, but this is a weird way to address it. Yes, it makes it more likely a team will score, but it also makes it more likely the other team will tie it back up. It’s kind of like the college football overtime shootout where they start off in field goal range at the 25 yard line. You’ve played the game by the rules up to that point and suddenly you are playing a wholly different game.

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  11. Tonight’s game is a little bit of the battle of the unknowns.
    – Yankees rookie starter (who pitched in a handful of games last season) Jonathan Loaisiga – has never faced any of the Astro hitters at the major league level. He might have faced one of the younger players in the minors, but even there it might have been some short stint at a lower level like the A- NY-Penn League or in rookie ball. The Astros and Yanks don’t cross in A+ or AA ball and Loaisiga skipped AAA.
    In his first start he pitched well (but shortly) for the Yanks giving up 1 hit and 1 run with 4 Ks in 4 innings but giving up 3 walks and throwing 70 pitches. Looks like a good kid to be patient with.
    – The Yanks have a cumulative 18 at bats and 3 hits against Cole with 2 hits and 12 ABs of that from DJ LeMahieu, who spent 8 seasons in the NL.

    It would be a good game to get a dominating performance out of Cole and a patient run scoring performance out of the offense. With Ottavino likely unavailable after a 30 pitch outing, it would be a good time to get the Yanks to go early and often to the bullpen, which might help in tonight’s game as well as tomorrow’s.

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    • Lasagna should be good, maybe excellent at some point, but they sure have pushed him along. The Yankee rotation is a real problem for them right now, and unlike us, they don’t have a lot of options.

      Our guys did not do much last night at the plate, but there was good contact made against Tanaka. We’re going to have a real breakout game soon, might as well be tonight.

      I’m heading back to where I belong on a 6:00 AM flight in the morning. It’s been nice visiting, but as they say back on the island, “got to go to come back”.

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  12. Listening to KILT 610 sports, while on my way home around 1:30pm, a segment was dedicated to Daveb’s nephew. They both agreed that White is overweight and that it has affected his hitting. They even surmised that he had hired a chef for the offseason, just as other ballplayers have in the past so they can get into shape. Instead, White’s chef cooks other delights such as desserts. Suggested he lose about 20 pounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sargeh,

      Nephew is a stubborn knucklehead. Maybe lazy too. That stubbornness might well cost him when the club decides it needs 13 pitchers. I was reading something this morning, maybe Statcast, stating that White is slower than he was a year ago. I compare that information to what Yuli has done. He’s getting ready to turn 35 and is running better. Nephew has got me a bit pissed off. He won’t have enough time to play himself into shape. His only chance is to go on a real tear with the bat, but he’s already given up a full time DH job, so that will be tough.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Cole is having another melt down. From the first inning he hasn’t looked happy.
    AND…..AN a error by Yuli didn’t help either. I’m beginning to think maybe he’s not happy with Hinch, or maybe he has a personal problem. JEEZE.😳

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cole pitched 7 tough innings. He threw one bad pitch. He also had a whole lot of on the edge pitches not given to him again tonight. When our guys are not hitting, Verlander and Cole both try to do too much. They need some easier innings. It will come.

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  15. The Yankees will be glad to leave Houston tomorrow! This has been a crazy 2 games! Bregman looked like he pulled up lame, but he wasn’t limping off the field. After tomorrow night they have Thurs off, I’m hoping for him to get better QUICK! Cole is snake bit, but you’re right Dave he will get run support.

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  16. Man, the Yankees are BIG. They will hit anybody. But I think our defense is a LOT better team-wise.

    Another good win and Cole may need to learn that complaining to the umps only gets you more bad calls. The Umpire Union is about as honorable as the Mafia.

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    • ac45 – you made me wonder about how big these Yanks are – here are some stats from baseball-reference including some guys who are on the IL

      Betances – 6′-8″ 265#
      Judge – 6′-7″ 285#
      Stanton – 6′-6″ 245#
      Sabathis – 6′-6″ 300#
      Montgomery – 6′-6″ 225#
      Ottavino – 6′-5″ 220#
      Happ – 6′-5″ 200#
      Paxton – 6′-4″ 235#
      Bird – 6′-4″ 220#
      Chapman – 6′-4″ 212#
      Volt – 6′-3″ 225#
      Tanaka – 6″-3″ 215#
      Green – 6′-3″ 210#
      Tuulowitzki – 6′-3″ 205#
      Gregorius – 6′-3″ 205#
      Heller – 6′-3″ 205#
      Britton – 6′-3″ 195# (that weight looks suspect to me)
      Holder – 6′-2″ 235#
      Sanchez – 6′-2″ 230#
      Tauchman – 6′-2″ 220#
      Severino – 6′-2″ 215#
      German – 6′-2″ 175#

      That’s 22 guys 6′-2″ or taller. I don’t know whether to send them against the Rockets or the Texans….

      I’ll give some numbers on the Astros next

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    • Now here are Astros 6′-2″ and taller

      Jose Altuve….. OK just kidding

      Verlander – 6′-5″ 225#
      Harris – 6′-4″ 250#
      Cole – 6′-4″ 225#
      Marisnick – 6’4″ 220#
      Correa – 6′-4″ 215#
      Rondon – 6′-3″ 230#
      Springer – 6′-3″ 215#
      Pressly – 6′-3″ 210#
      Devenski – 6′-3″ 210#
      James – 6′-3″ 206# (206? only guy who is weight is not a 5 or a 0)
      Osuna – 6′-2″ 215#
      Smith – 6′-2″ 205#
      Brantley – 6′-2″ 200#
      Reddick – 6′-2″ 195#
      McHugh – 6′-2″ 190#

      So – 15 Astros 6′-2″ or taller vs. 22 for the Yanks. The Yanks also have 7 guys 6′-5″ or taller and the Astros only have JV.

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    • Well 5′-6″ Jose Altuve ain’t bad. And 6′-0″ Alex Bregman (who must have been wearing 1970’s disco boots when that measurement was taken) might make it in the league.

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      • Randy Newman – big Yankee fan that he is – had this to say about Alex Bregman:

        Jort people got . . . no reason . . .
        jort people got . . . no reason
        jort people got . . . no reason to live!

        They got little bitty pants on their little derrier;
        they got little bitty eyes, that throw a great big stare,
        Oh I . . . don’t want no jort people . . .
        don’t want no jort people . . .
        don’t want no jort people ’round here!

        They got tiny little hands, but swing great big bats;
        accumulatin’ lots of bigtime stats;
        with their little hits, and their little home runs;
        they strut around havin’ way too much fun, so I . . .
        don’t want no jort people . . .
        don’t want no jort people . . .
        don’t want no jort people ’round here!

        Liked by 1 person

      • In case anyone did not get this – Bregman was shown recently wearing jorts (short jeans?) to the park.
        So as usual Mr. Bill is brilliant…

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      • Speaking of brilliant -I think it was the truly brilliant ghost of the truly brilliant Jim Croce that had this to say about Jose’ Altuve:

        Brooklyn’s got its monsters; the Bronx has lots of scum;
        but up on one-sixty-first the stiffs from there are the worst,
        they talk big but can’t walk and chew gum.

        Yeah, their big and dumb as a squad can come,
        so they muscle for a mafia boss;
        but when they come to the show at the Juice Box they know
        they’re gonna walk away with a big ‘Loss’,
        — We’re their ‘Dad’, ‘Dad’, ‘Padre’, ‘Pop’;
        we gonna score so many runs you’re gonna beg us to stop;
        Well, you hate to see us take your guys deep!
        But sit back and watch us finish the sweep!

        Cause out of south Venezuela came a hungry boy,
        said ‘I hail from down in Maracay’;
        at only five foot six, I’ll never post for the Knicks,
        but with a Maple bat ? Yo soy Gigante’
        Well I’m lookin’ for a lefty wearin’ pinstripes,
        makin’ those ‘little boys with little toys’ cracks;
        I know you’re makin’ big money, and it may sound funny,
        but I’m about to take you over the tracks!
        — Call me ‘Dad’, ‘Dad’, ‘Padre’, ‘Pop’;
        We’re gonna send you runnin’ to the nearest bus stop;
        ’cause the Juice Box is your Temple of Doom;
        And we’re ’bout to sweep you out with a broom!
        Yeah the Juice Box is your Temple of Doom;
        And we’re ’bout to sweep you out with a broom!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Big road trip coming up. 3 in Seattle, 2 in Oakland, 3 with Rangers. The 3 with Seattle is key to the early division race. If the Astros prevail then I think we’re off and running but if the M’s do the same, look out! A 40 run differential at this time of year is nothing to ignore.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. As to the height and probably also weight thing in baseball. I remember many years ago when Monterrey Mexico was on their way to the Little League World Series. It was pointed out to their manager that their opponents outweighed them by ??? number of pounds each. His response was – we have to play baseball against them. Not carry them.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. *McHugh was wonderful tonight. His slider was so good that the Yankees were looking for it and they couldn’t time his fastball.
    * I don’t think Josh James got enough work in spring training.
    * Carlos Correa guessed right on a curve ball from Paxton.
    * Coming into a six game homestand against Oakland and NYY you would figure the Astros would need to get their runs early. They hit those bullpens hard!
    * Nick Tanielu has really been struggling in AAA but hit a bomb in extra innings to win a game Wednesday night. Yordan Alvarez hit his fifth homer last night.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. It seems Alvarez and Beer could be the future OF of the stros. It will be interesting to see what the future of KT will be?

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    • I don’t think that will happen – both of those guys should eventually be in LF. Then again, Alvarez could be moved back to 1B. It should make us question the future of Tucker as well – we can’t play everyone in LF and apparently that’s where Brantley will play for the big league club.

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    • This is just the thoughts of the old guy. I see Alvarez in LF in a year or two.
      I see Toro at 1B in a year or two.
      I see Tucker in RF in a year or two.
      I see Beer tapping out somewhere else.
      If the Tanielu we saw in the spring somehow shows up in the major leagues like that, I see him as a DH in a year or two.
      But these thoughts are only based on the strengths shown by the prospect enhanced by the knowledge of the contracts of the Astros current players expiring in the next year or two and the knowledge of who the Astros have tied up for years.
      The Astros may put up with an overweight DH now if his salary is low and he produces decently at age 28. They are definitely going to move on from that guy who is 30 years old and isn’t producing.

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  21. As baseball fans, we’re a fickle bunch. I take a look from time to time at what the customers over at CFB are saying. Last night some were expressing relief that George has not been extended. A couple wanted to sit him for awhile. I’m pretty sure George had a big double on Tuesday night that was the difference in that 4-3 win. How soon they forget.

    James gave us four good appearances before these last two stinkers. But this is a guy who is learning a new job on the fly. Hopefully he’ll settle into the role. We know he can get guys out if he refrains from hanging things.

    Alas, I do need prayers for Nephew. He’s looking more and more the odd man out. Now he’s pressing and certainly not having any fun out there. But he did bring his present woes on himself.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. One thing that I notice about Springer and Correa that Jake and some others are doing. When they get down in the count they look to just put the bat on the ball to get it into play. Doesn’t always work out but maybe better than chalking up a K. Springer and Correa seem to still want to swing for the fences. Look how many left RISP we’ve been having. Sure would go a long way to help take the pressure off the rotation.

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    • Yep, would be nice to make things easier on our starters. Having a lead takes away a lot of pressure from having to throw a perfect pitch every time.

      On the flip side, we’re getting tough pitching and we’re getting different guys getting the big hit most nights. That’s a great sign and sure has helped us win 6 in a row.

      Zanuda, this will be an interesting road trip. Can we keep owning the A’s and slow down Seattle?

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      • It’ll be some late nights (early morning) for me here on EDT as I try to stay awake to cheer our guys on. And yes we need to stop Seattle and dominate both to get us back on top of the division. We’re poised for it so let’s do it!

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    • I’d like to know what the organizational philosophy is and what management has been telling Springer and Correa. The big knock on Springer from his MILB days is that he completely lacks a two strike approach … which results in a lot of unnecessary strikeouts. My theory is that guys like Springer and Correa know they’re playing for the big extension and or free agency offers down the line. Batting ten points higher isn’t worth sacrificing a few HR to them when it comes down to future earnings. Heck, it’s the same reason people aren’t taking singles to LF and instead ground out to Jose Altuve in shallow RF when we put the shift on them.

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