Work has been a jumbled mess this week with your faithful servant having to be downtown at 5:30 AM for teleconferences around the world. So my thoughts are jumbled up as much as work, so it is time for a bit of a brain dump.
- Starting pitching “problems” – The Astros on this latest cycle through the rotation have gotten less than stellar starts from Brad Peacock (3.2 IP and 7 runs) and Collin McHugh (6 IP and 4 runs). Is it time to look at a change? The 6 IP and 4 runs on a bitter night was not a bad start. In fact the start where McHugh gave up 9 runs was really his only bad start this season. Heck, Gerrit Cole has a similar start under his belt. Peacock may be more problematic, but remember they have jacked him in and out of the rotation. The two starts before his problem on Thursday, he went 5 IP and 3 runs and 6 IP and 1 run and that should be acceptable for a 5th starter. Let them settle in a bit more and then re-look at this after about 50 games.
- Starting pitching options – If the Astros had to do something, what would it be? Yes, they could go and sign Dallas Keuchel, if they wanted to and if they could agree and if they could wait until he was ready. It feels like they would only do this as an extreme bargain and if Keuchel was taking extreme bargain offers he would have been gone by now. The only starting pitcher at AAA, who is excelling is Corbin Martin (1-1, 1.40 ERA, 11.2 Ks/9 IP), but that is only after 19 innings and he is not on the 40 man roster. Among 40 man prospects only Brady Rodgers (2-0, 3.10 ERA in 29 IPs) has really performing and he is a 28 year old among much younger pitchers. Forrest Whitley? (0-2, 7.71 ERA) J.B. Bukauskas? (0-3, 9.56 ERA). Framber Valdez could be an option, but both he and Josh James have been pitching in relief. It would take them a few starts even to get to 5 innings and with Framber’s control problems, maybe longer than that. It feels like the Astros will more likely wait until the trade deadline unless someone gets hurt or just under performs every time out.
- Josh Reddick and RBIs – Is there anybody doing less with his hits when it comes to RBIs than Josh Reddick. He has the highest BA on the club at .344. He has the second most hits (33) one behind George Springer. But he only has 7 RBIs, 9th most on the club and three of those RBIs are himself on HRs. Springer has 17 more RBIs with one more hit and he hits leadoff. Yes, Reddick has only the 7th most ABs on the club, but even Aledmys Diaz has 10 RBIs in about 1/2 the ABs. It is a puzzlement.
- The DH Curse of Bud Selig? – The Astros have been one of the worse DH teams in baseball since being forced to join the AL in 2013. The fixation on Tyler White going this far into the season until earning his first RBI has made this feel like another bad season for the Astros and the DH. However, because other players have been hitting in that spot (Springer 30 ABs, Michael Brantley 21 ABs, etc.) along with White (41 ABs), the Astros are doing OK at DH – .269 BA (4th in AL), .810 OPS (5th), 20 runs scored (3rd), and 16 RBIs (9th). So, maybe A.J. Hinch knows what he is doing when he mixes and matches the DH spot?
- The Astros head out to uncharted territory playing the Angels in Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday and Sunday. Wonder how the Angels feel about that home game (1500 miles from LA), which is only 450 miles from Houston? The Estadio de Beisbol was built in 1990, holds about 27,000 and was host to a no-hitter by the Dodgers over the Padres last May. The stadium is 325′ to left and right and 405′ to center and is at approx. 1700′ elevation – higher than Phoenix, but far below Denver. It has fairly new artificial turf. Should be an interesting series.
- The Astros hit a stretch where they need to make hay, playing the 15-17 Angels, the 11-21 Royals, the 14-15 Rangers and the 13-15 Tigers. Whether the currently 14-18 Red Sox are still easy pickings a couple weeks from now remains to be seen. But the Astros have had a tough set of games up to now and are still in 1st place by 0.5 games in the AL West.
So, anything you want to dump out of your muddled brains today?