Astros’ pitching: A short-term mess


Warm-up Tyler White! See if Max Stassi can extend that 0.00 ERA he has over 1/3 of an inning to another inning or two! Find out if anybody else on the 25-man roster ever pitched in the minors, college, high school, little league or on a video game.

The Astros are not only all hands on deck to begin this week, they are all arms on deck.

The Astros knew coming into this week that they would need to piece together something to cover Tuesday’s game with the Angels. But the news that Brad Peacock was heading back to Houston with some soreness in his pitching shoulder meant that he would not be coming off the IL to start Monday’s game. Since, Jose Urquidy and Cy Sneed were sent back down to the minors and have not been down the required 10 days (Urquidy sent down on the 9th, Sneed on the 11th) they cannot be called on to help. Other pitchers who have been up to the majors and/or on the 40 man roster – Brady Rodgers and Cionel Perez are on the injured list and Rogelio Armenteros if called up for Tuesday’s game would only have had 3 days rest since his last start. Dean Deetz is on the 40 man, but is just back up to AAA after an injury and young Bryan Abreu has been knocked around at AA. Reymin Guduan? Oh lordy we hope not.

The Astros plan for Monday is to start Josh James (who pitched two strong innings on Saturday) and follow with Framber Valdez (who couldn’t get out of the first inning on Thursday in his last start). Best case would be to get a couple innings out of James and maybe five out of Valdez. Worst case…..we won’t talk about that.

Tuesday will be a very interesting day for the Astros who seemed to have all sorts of days off the last few weeks, but not this week. This might be some kind of of Armenteros / Chris Devenski / Joe Smith / White / Stassi sacrificial lamb game where they hope that the bats that came awake in Arlington the last three games continue to pound the opponents.

Or of course the Astros could finalize a trade for someone who just happens to have Tuesday as his day to pitch…..

Your guess is as good as this writer’s at this point. How do you think the Astros will bridge across the next couple games?

 

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131 comments on “Astros’ pitching: A short-term mess

  1. Can I throw something in here please. I just looked up the rules and if Brad Peacock is determined today to be further injured, he can be placed back on the 10-day IL and one of the players just sent down can be called back.
    That is the reason James and Framber have been lined up for tonight’s game and Peacock is getting re-evaluated today so that someone could be called back up from the 40-man to replace Peacock in the rotation and start on Tuesday.
    Just to clarify, if someone gets put on the IL, the team does not have to wait 10 days to recall his replacement.

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    • This is what I read:

      A player who is optioned to the minors generally must remain on Optional Assignment for at least ten days. (A player optioned to the minors during Spring Training generally must remain on Optional Assignment for the first ten days of the MLB regular season). The only exceptions are if the player is recalled as the “26th man” for a doubleheader (second game of the doubleheader only if two games were scheduled after a postponed or suspended game from the previous day), or is recalled to replace a player on the 25-man roster who is s placed on an MLB Injured List, Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List, Paternity List, or Restricted List (for a player who has been suspended for violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy or for a violation or possible violation of the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy), or if the player is traded or is claimed off waivers.

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      • Absolutely correct 1OP. Cy Sneed last pitched on July 11,so he will be at 5 days on Tuesday.I would think he would be the logical choice.

        I think they can retro Peacock back to the day he was eligible to return from the first 10 day stint, although I’m not sure what date that was.

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  2. dan, i think there are many paths possible for the short term pitching. can james and/or valdez hold down the #5 slot? can mchugh come back and be #4? can they work out some sort of tandem? will peacock be back next week? will they go even deeper into the minors? maybe some combination of all of the above? it seems all paths end up leading to a trade. so for about 2 weeks we will experiment and see what we see till a trade happens.

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  3. I’m personally concerned about these couple games against the Angels. The tragic loss of Tyler Skaggs has been a rallying point for them. On top of that they get to have the Astros featuring Jake “Bundy” “Manson” Marisnick come to town and the Astros are taking a bandaid, gum and tape approach to pitching – it feels like the perfect formula for a beatdown.
    I’m not worried about the two weeks leading to trade deadline – just the two days we are facing right now

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, am with you. One day at a time. James has to step up for a few innings tonight, and then Framber has to do the same. If either guy gets pounded tonight, it just makes things that much more difficult tomorrow. But, Collin has thrown just 15 game pitches since the 7th of JUly. He’s bound to be a pretty big part of the equation over the next couple of days. While not stretched out, he might be able to go 3 innings. I suppose that’s why Hinch used him so sparingly against the Rangers.

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  5. I said the same thing yesterday. I would NOT put Marisnick in the lineup for these 4 games. Don’t give one of their pitchers the green light to hit him in the head with a pitch. I don’t have a good feeling about this AT *ALL*. I imagine Hinch has already talked to Ausmus about this. Yes…..I’m nervous….VERY nervous.
    Luhnow is talking to the Diamond Backs about Robbie Ray. Stay tuned.

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  6. Meanwhile, while the Astros hope for a miracle of arm strength in Anaheim, the A’s, who are 6 games back, are off tonight, then have two laughers at home vs. the tanking Mariners. They get after another day off Wednesday, but then they have to play four games against the powerful Twins in Minnesota before coming to Minute Maid for three head-to-head contests.

    The Rangers, who are 9 games back, get tonight off, then host the Arizona Diamondbacks for two games before returning to Minute Maid for three more head-to-head battles.

    The Angels, who are 11 back, host us for four games, then get to relax for three against the Mariners while they prep for the Dodgers to invade for two nights.

    In other words, we really need to at least split this series with the Angels and win at least two in the 3-game series with the Rangers – or we will probably lose ground to at least two of our division foes.

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    • Strike that about the A’s having a day off Wednesday. That’s when their series in Minnesota starts. [Eyestrain, I guess!]

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  7. Thank Heaven, Aldemys Diaz and Carlos Correa are both supposed to begin their rehab assignments tonight at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The 55-39 Express will be hosting the 37-57 Memphis Redbirds. Urquidy is scheduled to pitch for the Express, which would pretty much eliminate him from a call-up Tuesday in event Peacock goes to the IL.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This entire week and next weekend are unbelievably pivotal. These guys can NOT afford to drop 4 or 5 games. The A’S have addressed their pitching, since Cotton and Menea are both expected back this week. Trading for Homer Bailey was an ok move…..he can be that innings eater they need. Remember….the arlington little league can beat anybody any day of the week.

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  9. Urquidy has given up 8 runs tonight against Memphis.
    Diaz has a hit but CC 0 for 3 so far.
    The Astros inability to develop pitching is really strange. Some they’ve traded away have done well. But back on the farm not so much.

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  10. There is no pivotal point. The A’s, Rangers and all of the rest of the West are second rate teams. They will not stand up when the games start to matter. The A’s adding Cotton and Menea is adding 2 #5 starters. They help you in the dog days but do nothing for you down the stretch. Talent always wins in the end and the Astros are far more talented than any team in the West. The Astros will win the West without a serious fight. The question is will they win the AL and will they win the WS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kiss this game goodbye. Framber can’t go more than an inning w/o giving up runs and we can’t get runners in when there sitting on the bases with opportunities galore. Gosh we suck right now. Please make me eat crow guys.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Geez, I flipped the game off tied 3-3, come back in the 7th and Angels still scoring runs. What a cluster! Don’t need to wait until the deadline to get pitching help it seems.

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  12. Angels-9
    Astros-6
    I’m not trying to be a smart a$$ but WHERE in the world are they gonna find another pitcher for tomorrow? ALL the guys who could help tomorrow, were used tonight. *JEEZE*

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  13. Just watched the condensed game after a good nights sleep. I’m guessing we won’t see Framber back this year. This kid had all kinds of movement on his pitches when he showed up last year. He’s got nothing at this point. Maybe Strom screwed him up.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have to wonder why they haven’t chosen to stretch out Josh James instead of Framber. I know they think Framber’s control problems make him a poor choice for the bullpen but they also make him a poor choice for the rotation.
    And with all that – if he had not made a bad throwing error leading to 3 unearned runs they might have won last night despite him.
    Today may be an even bigger mess. I wonder if they send Framber down and bring Armenteros up.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We might give up our led over the next couple of weeks. But we are pretty fortunate as Astro fans to almost always have a cushion. Pennant races don’t usually go that way though. We might end up in a real race. The A’s challenged last year, but we ultimately shrugged them off. This will be a very interesting two weeks, to see how well we hang on, but but more so to find out out what the roster ends of looking like. This situation is perhaps Luhnow’s toughest challenge as GM to date. A whole lot of things have not gone his way in 2019. And so many others want what he needs. I’m looking forward to it.

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  16. Hey, I’m a lefty and I think I can get the ball over the plate, even at my age. I’ll sit by the phone and wait for the call. On second thought my velocity is down to about 35MPH. Maybe not such a good idea.

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  17. There was the Branch Rickey story of a young pitcher in Spring Training. Wild as a March Hare. Rickey was standing next to the manager and said, “Tell the kid I will bet him $50 he can’t throw a strike on his next pitch.” Manager told his pitcher and he drilled one dead enter over the plate. Rickey handed the manager the $50 bill and said “Concentration.”

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  18. I was thinking about JJ being the opener last night. Why let him pitch just one inning? Let him go through the batting order at least once. We might get 3 innings out of him. Yes I know he won’t be available for a couple of days but do we have other alternatives at this point?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leave a pitcher in as long as he’s getting good results.
      I think the Astros try to plan too far ahead. You have to play the games one at a time.

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  19. What messed up the opener plan for the Astros last night is that James was throwing in the bullpen for a half an hour while the Astros watched the Angels pitcher try to give the game away in the very first inning. Then James sat for another half hour while the Angels pitcher tried to give the game away again in the second inning. But Astros batters would not allow the Angels pitchers to give the game away as they decided to not hit with all those guys on base.
    Then Framber came into the game after sitting in the dugout for an hour without being able to warm up. He was awful, let the game slip away, the plan imploded and the Astros were content to receive nine walks and do nothing with them.
    The team that scares me the most in the AL West is mine!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This may / may not be a big reason for Framber’s struggles last night, but I have other ideas too.

      1. James could’ve gone more than 18 pitches, but Hinch wanted to save him in the short and long run.

      2. Framber lacks a full arsenal, and shouldn’t be a standard rotation pitcher. Without another out-pitch, he’s at best a LOOGY Plus, and is being misused. A bad pitcher, NO! Bud Black (COL Manager) said he’s got one of the best curves their team has seen. [Op was the first to notice years ago.]

      3. Likewise, Hinch was tardy with the hook by the 5th inning. Valdez’ poor decision to throw to 2B (and hit Ohtani) was a back-breaker when he induced the exact outcome he needed. [Unrelated to pitching]

      4. Luhnow has failed to bolster the pitching staff after months of fans debating ‘who, and when?’ Partly because we needed to see all the rookies, unforeseen injury, and because trade partners don’t want to help the step-sister not named Yankees.

      5. The Angels’ best attribute is their bullpen (Ausmus told Berkman), so coming back from a lead — one need only tip your cap.

      I don’t like that loss any more than the rest, and I place more blame on Hinch than Framber because Valdez isn’t suited for rotation yet. Ausmus had the wherewithal to pull their rookie, Canning, yet we didn’t have the option of doing so with limited resources. I wrote elsewhere that I hope this is the straw that broke camel’s back, and that the fit Hinch / Keuchel threw to get JV is hopefully ringing in Luhnow’s ear today.

      For a team that practices Tandem in the minors in order to spread innings to a deep farm , it sure acts clueless about how to handle a staff that max’s out at 60 pitches. We currently only have 3 starters who can go deep, so the natural plan should be to give guys 40 pitches or 3 innings each, instead of 1 inning, then a “bulk starter”. Making Armenteros go on 3 days rest is a problem.

      Again, trying to make a guy who’s not equipped into your version of ‘what a Starter should be’ is a misallocation of resources. Same with Urquidy, Martin, McHugh and Peacock. Over usage! Had we used them in smaller stints, things might have turned out better. In theory, like with James. Easy for me to write, our Marwin (Diaz) is hurt, so that 8th man in the bullpen option hasn’t been consistently available. Thanks for reading.

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  20. Let’s look at options for tonight –
    – Place Peacock back on the IL, send bring Cy Sneed back for a start
    – Don’t place Peacock on the IL – send Framber down and recall Armenteros to start on 3 days rest

    Behind them – you would assume:
    – Smith and McHugh pitched two days in a row are out
    – James might be available for an inning (maybe that is why they only pitched him one inning last night?)
    – Devo last pitched 0.2 IP (poorly) on Sunday – would be available
    – Rondon last pitched 1 IP on Sunday – would be available
    – Harris last pitched 0.1 on Saturday – has been struggling lately – but available
    – Pressly and Osuna pitched 1 IP on Saturday – would be available
    – White and Stassi should be well rested….

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    • Might as well start White for a couple of innings followed by Stassi. That way we’ll be so far behind we can forfeit the game and rest the remainder of the bullpen. It’ll be just like a day off.

      Liked by 3 people

  21. If there was anytime this team needed a shot in the arm trade, it’s right now.
    Right now the temperature in that clubhouse is a minus zero.

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  22. Last night felt like one of those warning track races against the Flash. The Angels spotted us a big lead, but everyone in the park had a pretty good idea who was going to be ahead at the other end.

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  23. Sneed v. Armenteros – over their minor league careers:

    Sneed:
    ERA – 4.19
    WHIP – 1.334
    K/9 -7.9
    BB/9 – 2.8
    HR/9 – 0.8
    BAA – .264

    Armenteros:
    ERA – 3.40
    WHIP -1.24
    K/9 -10.08
    BB/9 -3.24
    HR/9 – 0.90
    BAA – 2.36

    I think Armenteros’ is entitled to a little preference.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sometimes 9:00 start times are a blessing.
    Since I can’t keep my eyes open after 11. I’ll save the misery until tomorrow.

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  25. I need to quit binge watching but my brain went to “Better Call Saul.” Now what good is a King that goes to battle using a kid with 5 stones. Nope, no great “Saul” pitchers. Then I thought maybe it should be “Better Call David.” Now that is a better choice with Price, Cone, Wells, etc. etc.

    So for you youngsters, be ready when you retire for your brain to quit working properly also.

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  26. I keep hoping that, in order to get the attention off of our most prized prospects this trading season, before the season started Jeff Luhnow instructed Whitley, Bukauskas, Perez, and Armenteros to all take pitching lessons from, and try to emulate, Tyler White. Come August, our big four will all be lights out again, right?

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  27. It’s just about 7 here now. How am I supposed to stay awake until game time when game time is after 10:00 PM? Too bad we didn’t just get put in the AL East. Then we’d really hate the Yankees and Sox too but I’d be watching more games. 1OP noted this morning that when you get 9 baserunners handed to you, well then you should score a batch of runs. Would be nice to see our guys have a big night and help a crippled rotation out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Before I say yes, let me run it by a respected opinion.

      I would say yes initially, only because of the recency around Bryan Abreu’s struggles, but my biggest hesitation is Thor’s durability and whether he truly is “elite.” If the Astros said yes, for example, it’s probably bc they think Strom would love to work with his spin rate/velo.

      But I do have a BIG opinion of Tucker (not like this blog), and watching him for the next 10 years raking somewhere is a huge risk. Luhnow thinks he’s the best prospect in baseball, and I won’t challenge the data & equipment Astros have to make this determination.

      One last thing, I still believe the Mets got the better of the JD Davis trade, and many vehemently disagree with me. That trade hinges on Luis Santana, who looked great in Corpus as a fill-in, but struggling now in low-A. Ross Adolph, I’m not hi on, but he has won 2 Player of the Week awards in QC, and was recently promoted to Fayettville. This is long-winded, but I have a bet with a friend about him. I think Chandler Taylor, OF, who we drafted from Alabama in the 10th round will be better than Adolph, who Mets drafted in the 11th from Toledo. That will be fun to see which team got the better athlete when it’s all said and done.

      Be right back…

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      • I think it’s way too soon to trade Whitley. Big questions about his mental state myself, if that’s where y’all are comin’ from — yes. Taking the adderall, and Luhnow sending him to Florida to get away, point toward immaturity.

        But he has a freak arm, and 3 plus plus pitches. Most of his problem in AAA stemmed from frustration, and I have to believe that’s “pressure-related.”

        My theory is that if we could get a better version of Keuchel in Wade Miley for 1/5 of the cost, there are still guys available who we don’t have to leverage future for, like Mets’ Seth Lugo, or Orioles’ Dylan Bundy.

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    • Becky, I can almost guarantee the Angels (Ausmus) will let it pass for several reasons.

      1. They already had a chance to bean him after the collision, and they didn’t.
      2. The league has meted out their discipline, and Jake was the big loser.
      3. The boo’s he receives will serve in its place.

      In fact, what I’d prefer is they handle it like that Astros probably would and that is to throw behind him Once (as a gesture to Lucroy). At least then, it could be squashed.

      If they do decide to throw at him, Jake is sharp enough to elude it. And Angels run the risk of just *pissing off the Astros that much more. I don’t think it’s smart strategy at all!

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      • I wanted to post this Rizzo collision real quick to show how unfair the suspension ruling was against Marisnick.

        Rizzo was NOT suspended, and this is CLEARLY going out of his way to dislodge the ball.

        In this context, the Astros believe it is unfair, and Jake is appealing the decision. If the Angels try to add insult to injury, they are the ones who need prayers.

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  28. If anyone asks, Rondon the Opener looks a lot like Rondon the Closer.

    And I hope Hinch is making notes in his book saying “Guys, this is what hitting in the clutch looks like.”

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  29. This is what I get for staying awake long enough to see how the first inning worked out. I know this is second guessing, but why not just give the ball to Armenteros from the first pitch? Good night my friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I cheated. I was looking for a three run shot from Springer to cut the lead in half. Optimistic? Not really. Shutting down the lap top I was thinking bad thoughts. This pitching problem, especially as highlighted since the break is going to make it tougher for Luhnow to get a fair deal done. What if the league holds the Astros for ransom? I don’t think our GM folds. This next two weeks does not look encouraging. Then we could see a two very ugly months of baseball. We can’t win 12-9 three or four nights a week even if we do get the entire line up back. Then we could see Cole leave over the winter. The nerd cave has got to be a pretty tense place right now. The plan is unraveling a bit. Am I losing my objectivity?

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  31. I wonder who thought this was gonna work. I guess it’s a good thing I couldn’t see this game, or I would have already thrown a brick and smashed my television in 1,000 pieces.
    I’m done.😠

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  32. I TOLD you this was going to happen…..they hit JAKE then the dugouts emptied. FINE YOU HIT HIM.😠 NOW SHUT UP.
    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

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    • The play is under replay in New York.

      Just in, they determined intent was there and Ramirez will be shot at sunrise. Date to be determined. The Angels are appealing the decision.

      Like

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