Astros 2019: The week before and the week ahead


The week of April 15  through April 21 in review.

The Astros roared into this week on a 9 game winning streak that they immediately stretched to a 10 game win streak with a 9-1 bashing of the Oakland A’s, which pulled them into a 1/2 game lead in the division for the first time this season.

They then floundered through a 1-3 end to the road trip that left them trailing the Seattle Mariners by a game and only 1/2 game up on the Texas Rangers. The first three games of the week featured excellent starting pitching by Collin McHugh, Wade Miley and Justin Verlander. McHugh and Verlander walked away with wins over the A’s and the Rangers, but Miley was saddled with a 2-1 loss by Oakland in the wrap-up of the two-game series. The Astros then got horrendous starting pitching out of Gerrit Cole and McHugh in losing the last two games of the Ranger series 9-4 and 11-10. The team turned a churning offense of more than 6 runs a game into a not so great 2-3 week.

The week of April 22 through April 28 

In the idiotic world of baseball scheduling the Astros have had 3 off days in the last 11 days, but now get to play 24 straight days without a day off. On the plus side, the Astros get to spend the next week in the comfort of their home base as they play 7 home games against the AL Central elite Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. Considering the Astros are 6-0 at home and 7-8 on the road, this is an opportunity for the good guys to get their wheels back on the road.

The Twins are on a bit of a roll winning four of their last five games and seven of their last 10, though three of those games were against the putrid Orioles and the other seven against the so-so Blue Jays and Tigers. The Twins are 12-7 and in first place in the AL Central and have a couple familiar names with Marwin Gonzalez (not hitting so far, but look out) and backup catcher Jason Castro (not hitting and not likely). They are riding top three BA, OBP and OPS to top 5 in runs scored in the AL. Their pitching staff is smack in the middle of the AL in ERA.

The Indians are 12-9 and second in the AL Central and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They recently swept the Mariners in Seattle and then lost a series at home against the Braves. Their hitting has been horrible: bottom 2 in the AL in BA, OPS and runs scored. Their pitching has been a mixed bag of good and bad with a few more on the good side.

The Astros need to re-establish their home dominance this coming week.

Player of the Week.

They had quite a few hitters putting up decent numbers last week including Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick. But the player of the week is George Springer. He slashed .310 BA/ .480 OBP/ 1.375 OPS with 6 runs scored, 2 doubles, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs and 6 walks. He was a real weapon on the week.

Recent History.

In the magical 2017 season, the Astros were 14-7 after 21 games, just a game ahead of their current 13-8 record. They would be 16-9 at the end of April and a steamy 38-16 by the end of May on the way to a 101-61 record.

Last season the Astros were also 14-7 after 21 games, but due to starting earlier (like this season) they were all the way up to 20-10 at the end of April and a solid 36-22 at the end of May on the way to a club record 103-59 for the season.

So ….any thoughts on last week, this week or any other Astro subjects.

 

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

    • Great news Dan, glad to hear you’re all clear. Know you have to be greatly relieved. Praise the Lord for blessing his children. I’ve been battling prostate C going on 3 yrs June, but it’s low risk. Lord said go this far and no further. Had cervical fusion surgery back in Nov for bone spurs, still recovering and might have to let neuro guy work on back down the road. But I’m good with happy feet, not laid up, Lord keeping me strong despite some setbacks. I pray for all you guys for good health & to overcome setbacks. Keep the faith
      Sorry, originally wrote this on the previous post, just moved it over

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  1. I like the glove you used for the heading. I have an old “pillow” type catcher’s mitt, without the hinge. I used it as a kid when I played to get sharp and played third base with it. I would like to loan/donate it to a baseball museum but cannot locate one…

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    • Our pitching has been hittable, no matter who’s on the mound. White, Diaz, Kemp not exactly tearing it up at the plate. It would be nice to see 1-9 raking altogether during a game. Hate to see our guys flailing away on breaking pitches, like Carlos did yesterday, that was embarrassing.

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  2. It’s amazing how this tm battles back only to come up short, like yesterday. They still have a chance to…oops, Twins hit another homer as I type this to go up 9-5, wow. Mariners, Twins & Astros top hitting tms. I’ve been keeping an eye on these Twins and they can rake. Don’t know how good their pitching is but they can hit with the best of them.

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    • Considering our pitching was supposed to be a strong point, so far it looks like we missed the mark:
      A total of 106 innings pitch with an ERA >4 with 2 starters > 5 and the relief core has a 4+, 5+, 6+ and a 7. Obviously we need some help in long relief or another starter. I don’t think has confidence in the “middle relief corp” so that’s why he left McHugh, and Cole in there to “get embarrassed” (IMO). We better straighten this out soon as we aren’t acting like the big dog in the neighborhood.

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  3. Farm Report: In a rare occurrence, everyone agreed that five roosters was a nuisance. We are having fried chicken tonight.
    Ranger is three weeks old tomorrow. His chances to make it get a fraction better every day. One of our new bred heifers had a baby bull a week after Ranger was born and it is already bigger and more active. Keeping a rejected calf alive is not easy.
    Wild Blackberries blooming everywhere. With all the rain, this could be a blackberry heaven year.

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  4. So, the last three games with the Astros giving up at least 9 runs in each game made me wonder about the last time they did this.
    2018? Nope – amazingly they never gave up 9 or more runs in more than one individual game – never even two in a row.
    2017? Yes. While our memories tell us that after they picked up Verlander, they took off like a rocket (20-8 in September) the WS title shades the fact that in early September they had a lost weekend in Oakland where they gave up 9 or more runs in 4 games and lost all 4 (or 1/2 the amount they would lose the whole month).

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  5. I hope this “cold” our pitchers have caught isn’t CONTAGIOUS, because our weakest pitcher takes the ball tonight. JEEZE…I hope this isn’t effecting the clubhouse!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t shoot me, but now that Dallas Keuchel is willing to sign for a year, is it time to think about talking to him? Just a thought since I think Peacock is more suited for long relief out of the bullpen. How long would it take for him to be ready, if he signed a one year deal? I sure with Josh James was more consistent.

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    • It is not a suggestion that should lead to shooting you Becky – it makes sense from a team standpoint – they really weakened the bullpen when they pulled both McHugh and Peacock out of there.
      The big questions are as follows:
      – Does Keuchel want so much for one year that he moves the team into the luxury tax area? Remember they are likely to be in mid-May by the time he is ready if he signs today
      – Does he want so much that they are close to the luxury tax area and it would impede them from making another move during the season?
      – Is Keuchel not interested in returning here?
      – Has the front office psychologically moved on from him?
      – Is he too much like Miley? Would other teams feast on the second one they see in a series?

      Part of me thinks it would be a good move – the heck with the money.
      Part of me wonders if he will come in with a positive show-em-all attitude
      Part of me wonders if he will come in with a negative – I should be a 9 figure guy attitude
      Part of me knows that I should just stop here because I never can guess what this front office will do

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      • If you think the last three Astro starts were ugly . . .

        Here is my take. Whoever Dallas winds up pitching for is in for a lot of stem-to-stern blow-out games like our last three. The game has just changed. The ball is juiced now big-time, and the umpires are under instructions from the league to make sure nobody can live on the corners. They have to come into the fat part of the zone, or they will get zero calls.

        The game has moved on, and in the process, it has left guys like DK, who gets absolutely massacred anywhere but on the edge of the black, far behind.

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  7. Meanwhile, back at the farm. The pitching ranks at Corpus just got a little more crowded. Bryan Abreu has been promoted from Fayetteville to the Hooks. Maybe a 1-2 punch with him and Tyler Ivy can help turn the Hooks’ season around a bit.

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  8. When they decided to add him to the 40-man, I said that he would be put on a faster than normal track. His position on the roster makes them have to do it, because of the option thing.

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  9. Lord have mercy…..Miley just put our guys behind the 8 ball in 10 seconds.
    Not sure I can hang with them tonight.😢

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  10. I love watching Bregman and Brantley bat one after the other. They don’t always get hits but boy do they give you great ABs that end up with solid contact!

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    • Z – I don’t know the whole rule book but it felt like it either was an out or you send the runners back – I have to think the umps (other than Angel Hernandez) know the rule book

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      • I figured that they would send the runners back but didn’t agree with the out call. We’ll have to get the ruling on that. I agree it was a “brain fart” moment for CC but didn’t think he’d be called out.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Correa just did something I’ve never seen – guys on base and he’s batting – ball in dirt – and he grabs at it to give it back to the ump – fumbles it and the runners moved up
    After a long conference they called him out which I can’t argue with

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  12. I’m pretty sure Club Astros is going full blast tonight! Justin on the bump tomorrow thank goodness! Gosh, watching the salute the Astros gave Marwin last night made me cry. I miss him, and Charlie.
    Think Wade Miley is our 2015 version of Collin McHugh? He really went to another level after that 3 run homerun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is really strange op – Looking back they announced his TJ surgery on August 15th and said that it normally takes 12 to 18 months recovery. This is only a bit past 8 months. Plus isn’t he suspended for 80 games for PEDS? I am confused.

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      • #1. Just because they announced it on August 15th doesn’t mean the surgery didn’t happen months before that. He disappeared much earlier. You know how the Astros are in not providing information.
        #2. He is suspended from MLB because he is on the 40-man roster. He is allowed to rehab in MILB. Remember Deetz last season was suspended for 80 games but was allowed to pitch in the minors to work his way back into playing shape. Same with Cano last year for the Mariners.

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  13. I sure hope Nephew stays in the lineup for now.
    .297/.435/.786

    I left the slugging number out because he really does not have one. But if he hits .275/.375/.475/.825, will we all be happy? I think it’s a realistic set of numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. * The ridiculous error given to Bregman on that grounder Monday night has been changed to a hit.
    * Corpus Christi stole seven bases last night, including a steal of home by Duarte.
    * I believe it was Keith Law of ESPN who left Yordan Alvarez out of his Top 100 Prospect list. Alvarez is doing everything he can to make Law look stupid.
    * You can bet there is a lot of studying of video being done by the Astros to see where their own pitchers might be tipping pitches.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Studying video of the pitchers is good. But they should not stop there. They should also be closely scrutinizing video of the Astros’ catchers methodology, location, and pattern of giving signs – and the same relative to whoever on the Astros’ bench is relaying signals to those catchers. This is a real problem – but a fixable one. It involves, but it goes a whole lot deeper than, merely the pitcher ‘tipping pitches’

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      • I agree.
        My comment was because of Cole’s opinion that he was tipping pitches, Astros starters getting bombed in the first inning for several games in a row and the Ranger’s manager giving his players public credit for stealing signs and recognizing when pitchers are tipping pitches.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sarge, Hinch does have it tough right now. He’s got to keep everyone in the mix in order to give them all a shot, because someone is going to have to go soon, unless they try to keep rotating the 12th pitcher in and out of Round Rock. And even if Jake and Diaz don’t hit, I can’t see how it will not come down to Kemp or White if they let a bat go.

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  15. Verlander is just AWESOME! Let’s hope Cole gets back on track with his next start. I love the way our guys are keeping the line moving tonight!

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  16. Great game. I must say that the Astros’ coaches from the past were vindicated tonight. The Twins’ coaches can’t teach Castro how to block a pitch in the dirt either. Blummer used to rail about that. Was very quiet about it tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I just got back from seeing some late arriving guests in. Long day, but great to have such a tidy Astro win. Has Reddick really reinvented himself? If he can continue to effectively use the whole field, the defense is flummoxed and pitchers frustrated. Had he ever hit a dinger up in the Crawford’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tonight for Round Rock, Akeem Bostick came on in relief of starter Ryan Hoffman with a 7-0 lead and gave up 6 earned runs. He was relieved by Kent Emanual, who gave up 5 earned runs and Round Rock loses to the Baby Cakes, 11-8.

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    • Baby Cakes sounds like:
      – A strip club
      – A 6 yr old vaudeville act from the 1920’s
      – A fancy shop that sells baby shower desserts
      – Anything but a baseball team

      Liked by 1 person

      • I try to use their name every chance I get. I’m pretty sure today’s ballplayers love it, knowing how baby boomers feel about it.

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      • I once had a roommate who used “babycakes” as an expression of approval. And since he spoke a little German he would sometimes say “kinder kuchen”. He was a weird guy.

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  19. I’m pretty sure when Jeff Luhnow says that Yordan Alvarez “is not that far away” he is talking about the driving time from Round Rock to Houston.

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    • Here is something that Jeff Luhnow may be thinking about.
      – Josh Reddick is owed $13 million in 2020 and about $2 million per month for the rest of this season (around $23-24 million at this time)
      – Alvarez would be paid a little less than $100,ooo per month
      – Reddick is not likely to hit .373 for the rest of the season
      – Reddick (unlike last year) may actually have a market interested in him
      – So maybe they might be interested in getting Reddick off the payroll – have more flexibility for an addition in an area of need at the deadline and move on from there or……

      When they think Alvarez is ready and White has 0 RBIs still – would they bring Alvarez up, let White go or try to trade him – stick Alvarez in LF and Brantley at DH with them switching off now and again??

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      • Not to be argumentative, but as long as the Astros have one of the best records in their league and are performing well, I don’t think Luhnow will mess with the team chemistry by subtracting. Reddick offers the team real good chemistry. Luhnow is a guy who seems to believe that adding for a stretch run is the way to go.
        Then he adjusts during the offseason.
        I think that if Alvarez forces Luhnow’s hand, it could be Kemp who goes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the second part of my suggestion – that they would keep Reddick but bring up Alvarez in White’s (or Kemp’s) place is much more likely. Just trolling a little with the Reddick trade thing….

        Liked by 2 people

  20. * How do you figure that 24 games into the season the Astros would lead MLB in team BA at .282, with Altuve hitting .277?
    * How would you figure that Tyler White would have zero RBIs as the primary DH through 24 games?
    * How would you figure the Astros would be 15-9, with Cole sitting at 1-3 with a 5.22 ERA? Especially with him having 44 Ks in 29.1 innings.
    * Who picked Josh Reddick to have the highest BA among qualifiers in the AL at the 24 game mark?
    * The Pacific Coast League team ERA leader, San Antonio, has an ERA of 3.94 and is the only team under 4.00. The next best team ERA is the Baby Cakes, at 4.26. El Paso has a league leading team BA of .319.

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    • Always odd stats to be found 1OP. Love the Reddick number. I’d take .277 from Jose if he stayed on the Ruthian 60 homer pace. Cole might not get a batch of runs scored for him tonight either. No way would I have thought Nephew could be shut out in the RBI category after 24 games. He gave us 42 in 58 starts last year. But in his defense, (I know I get tiring) our primary DH has only 11 starts to date. He needs to be more primary.

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