Astros 2019: The week before and the week ahead


The week of April 8  through April 14 in review.

Starting last week, the Astros had just finished taking out the broom in their sweep of the A’s that brought them back to the .500 level. Well, the broom got plenty of work last week as the Astros swept both the Yankees at home and the M’s on the road.

Heading into the Yankee series, the Astros were a 1/2 game behind the 5-4 pinstripers with a 5-5 record. At the end of the week, the 11-5 Astros were 4-1/2 games up on the 6-9 New Yorkers. In the opener, the Astros helped get Justin Verlander off a 3-1 hook with a two-run Robinson Chirinos double off Zack Britton and an eighth-inning run on a Carlos Correa squibber leading to a 4-3 win. The second game featured another rally this time from a 3-2 deficit as Michael Brantley and George Springer both had huge late inning doubles on the way to a 6-3 win. In the finale, the Astros rode 2 homers from Jose Altuve (his 3rd and 4th in 3 days) and a homer and a double from Carlos Correa to a 7-2 lead before hanging on for dear life to an 8-6 win.

The Astros jetted off to Seattle with a six-game winning streak but were facing the M’s who had a six-game winning streak of their own, which had left Houston 4 games behind in the AL West. In the first game, the Astros rode 3 big swings (2 run homer by Springer and two Grand Slams by Altuve and Yuli Gurriel) to a huge come from behind win 10-6. Wade Miley had struggled mightily, but Brad Peacock picked up the win with 3.1 innings of 1 hit, 1 run relief. The Astros then swept the series with a pair of near identical 3-1 and 3-2 wins. Both Verlander and Gerrit Cole had strong starts with six innings, 11 Ks and 0 walks each. Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna closed out with a strong inning each in both wins. On Saturday, Altuve and Chirinos had HRs and Brantley knocked in the third run for the 3-1 win. On Sunday, Brantley knocked in two and Aledmys Diaz hit his second critical HR of the season to give the Astros a sweep and bring them back to within one game of the Mariners.

The week of April 15th through April 21st 

This is what the business world calls a short week for the Astros as they follow up a day off Monday with two road games against the 10-9 Oakland A’s, another day off Thursday before finishing the road trip with three games at the (currently) 8-7 Texas Rangers. The Astros take a nine-game winning streak into Oakland and send out McHugh and Miley in the two-game set.

The Astros swept the A’s at home, but the A’s have won 4 of their last five thanks mostly to the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers took 2 of 3 from the Astros earlier in the season and are 3-4 in their last seven games, but will likely be facing Verlander, Cole and McHugh on the weekend series.

Player of the Week: This is the easiest award to date to choose.

Jose Altuve went bat-guano crazy this week. He batted .400 BA with a 1.527 OPS. He had 10 hits, including 6 HRs, 8 runs scored and 10 RBIs. It seems like a long time ago (after game 9) when he had only 2 runs scored, 1 RBI and 2 RBIs. He now leads the team in runs, hits, HRs, RBIs, BA and OPS.

Focus on Stats

Ryan Pressly has been pretty much a revelation since coming to the Astros. After giving up 2 runs in his first 5 appearances for the Astros in 2018, he has gone 28 consecutive appearances over 2 seasons without giving up a run. In that time he has only given up 11 hits and 3 walks in 25.2 innings with 35 Ks. This season he has an 0.00 ERA and a microscopic 0.391 WHIP as he has only let 3 of 26 hitters reach base. He has helped the Astros along with Roberto Osuna to put up one of the best 8th/9th inning combos in the majors in 2019.

Astros History

The focus today is on one of the best pitchers no one ever heard of – the late Don Wilson. After making his debut at 21 in 1966, he became a hard-throwing workhorse for the Astros pitching at least 184 innings for eight straight years and showing an ERA of 3.28 or less in 6 of those 8 seasons. But due to lack of support, he only had a 104-92 record with a career 3.15 ERA.

Wilson tied a major league record at the time and set the Astros club record with 18 strikeouts against the Reds in 1968. He was the only pitcher in franchise history to post two no-hitters, 2-0 over the Braves in 1967 and then 4-0 over the Reds in 1969. The second no-hitter was a “revenge” game as Jim Maloney (who ironically also had two career no-hitters) had no-hit the Astros the game before. In September 1974, Wilson had the misfortune of having Preston Gomez as his manager. Four years earlier, Gomez had pulled his Padres pitcher Clay Kirby for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning while trailing in a game he was throwing a no-hitter. He repeated this move with Wilson in 1974 with the Astros trailing the Reds 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth and Wilson heading for a 3rd no-hitter. The Astros did not win and the no-hitter was lost in the 9th inning by Mike Cosgrove. By the way, the Astros were 16 games behind first place at the time…

Wilson would only pitch four more games in the majors, finishing with a complete game 2 hit shutout against the Braves. That January he would die in what was ruled an accident when he was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his car inside his garage. His alcohol level was over the legal limit and his five-year-old son, who was sleeping above the garage also died. Wilson was only 29 years old.

So…. that’s a look at last week, this week, plus a bit of Astros history.

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

  1. Don Wilson… One of my favorite players. Left us too soon. He was going through some personal issues at the time, as I recall.

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  2. We forgot to say Happy 100th Birthday to Jackie Robinson yesterday!
    You know what I absolutely *love* about this club, is after a pretty ugly start to the season…..they very quickly turned it around. I really thought we would really miss Marwin (I kinda do) but it looks like everyone is mixing and matching different bases, are excelling!! The big piece we are missing right now is Charlie, or another pitcher of his talent, which brings me to what Luhnow is doing with Miles Straw and a few others.
    Teaching a centerfielder to be a short stop, 2nd baseman! I’m positive that Luhnow IS going to trade for another pitcher, and Straw will be included in that trade. Take it to the bank!! Becky⚾

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    • I hope you’re wrong. Straw deserves a shot at playing for the big club. Trade that other highly touted prospect, K Tucker who’s hitting a blistering .108. It would appear that he’s not all he was hyped to be, while Straw is hitting .311, .489, .869 with 5 stolen bases. I know it’s a crap shoot as to who’s going to make it to the big leagues but lets give the guy a chance. KTuck had his as did Derek Fisher and it’s his time.

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  3. I don’t think there is any intent to prepare Straw for a trade. He’s more valuable to us if he can play excellent defense in the outfield and adds serviceable defense in the infield. On the flip side, the more valuable Straw becomes to us, the more other clubs are going to want him if we are looking for a trading partner. Nothing wrong with that either. As far as Tucker goes, the longer he languishes, the more we’ll wonder whether or not he really is that can’t miss guy the experts seem to think he is. I’ve just never seen that spark out of Tucker that we get from guys like Altuve, Correa, Bregman and Springer. It’s an intangible thing. One thing for certain, when Luhnow went out and got Brantley, it became clear then that the GM no longer had the same expectation of Tucker that he had at this time last year.

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  4. Every team has tragedy along the way. But it seems the Colt 45’s/Astros had more than their share with pitchers. Starting with Umbricht and coming down through Wilson and JR.

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  5. McHugh has a steal bar inside of his cap. He did that a couple of years ago when J.A. Happ got hit in the face. Also tonight is when one young man named George Springer came to play 5 years ago today! The guys set a record tonight with their 3rd grandslam! This is a very good team!

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  6. 9-0 lead, bottom of the ninth. You can’t be a relief pitcher and not throw strikes. Sorry. The catcher’s mitt is set up – dead center over the plate and that doesn’t even help.

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  7. Astros win their 10th straight and the Mariners lose their fifth straight.
    Astros are now in first place in AL West by a half a game.
    McHugh was amazing!

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  8. Notice that we’re hitting the ball pretty hard. Some just have to be right at the opposing players. However, I consider that a good sign. JFSF and Reddick both hitting over .300. What a great thing to have at the bottom of the order. McHugh pitched with a lot of confidence last night which really showed. As I once heard a Pro Bowler comment, “Trust is a must or your game is a bust”. I believe that holds true for pitching too.

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  9. Mrs 1op is doing a crossword puzzle. She is stumped and says out loud “Beaver’s dad?” I asked her how many letters and she says four. I turned around and said “Ward”.
    It is amazing the things an old person remembers and the things we forget.
    I absolutely cannot remember the words cucumber and cantelope when I want to use them in a conversation, which is more often than most for a family with a vegetable garden.
    Apparently, 70 years of traffic in a brain creates memories and traffic jams.

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    • The brain is so weird. A guy walks up to me that I worked on a project for two years with and it is like I can’t pull that name out of whatever file cabinet my brain placed it. On the other hand play me a song that I haven’t heard in 20 years and I know every note and word….

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    • Reminds me of an old episode of the show Coach. Luther was doing a crossword puzzle and asked “what’s a 3 letter word for ‘insect hive worker?” Hayden glared at him and said “I don’t know , I wonder what it could BEE” (emphasis on ‘bee’)

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    • What I’ve read on this is that memories stored years ago in your “younger” brain are more indelible than those you’re trying to cram into your “calcified” brain. True? Don’t know.

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  10. Never thought I’d be wishing it was Jake in the lineup rather than Kemp! He’s had hot streaks before but he hasn’t looked this locked in before even when he’s had homer binges

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  11. I hate to lose- ever. But I take my hat off to Frankie Montas. That was one well pitched game, young man! For awhile, I really thought he was going to no-hit us. Then shut us out. But for the free pass to Springer, and the timely single by Brantley, with all our offensive weapons, we still would not have scored against him. Three hits in 6 1/3 innings, with six Ks. That effort deserved a win. No mas!

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  12. Hey everyone – I had my biopsies yesterday – I am in take it easy mode – waited a long time to be seen but were sitting with a couple who had the same first names as us. They were waiting longer for a different doctor stuck in surgery – he was in a more serious situation than me.
    The tests come back in like 10 days – but I have to make an appointment with my original doctor for the results – might be two weeks.
    Thanks to all – I would add Billy C, Diane and Devin to those I thanked before.
    Just trusting in God right now

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same first names? That’s a tip o’ the hat, right there! Okay, so I can see why you’re in take it easy mode right now, but still, every oncst in a while you go back and work a little on the next bloggit, right? We can’t have too much Dan AWOL. LOL.

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  13. Hi Dan, glad to hear from you. I had a couple of biopsies (the main reason I was in Houston) just before opening day. My GP had me a bit freaked out with her fears of Melenoma. Ultimately my news was all good and I hope yours will be the same! I dealt with prostate cancer a decade ago. And I’m sure there will be something new down the road a bit to deal with too. I guess the point is that we’ve got to be positive and keep on living as long as the main man upstairs gives us the opportunity. Stay well!

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  14. Being off work this morning – I have a new blog post ready to go for y’all – should see it a bit later today.
    It is always good to hear about the health issues you folks have stared down. Hope it rubs off on me

    Liked by 2 people

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