The Astros’ upward arc since May

It feels like a season ago, but a couple months ago at the end of May, the Astros were in a bit of a pickle. They had just placed SS Carlos Correa on the IL where he joined fellow starters  and All Stars Jose Altuve and George Springer on the list. Oh, and super-sub Aledmys Diaz was on the list already as was backup catcher Max Stassi and starting pitcher Collin McHugh. They had struggled and would continue to struggle with that 5th spot in the rotation and things got dicier when the team had to put 4th starter on the IL at the end of June.

Somehow the team managed a winning record in June (15-12) and then as the wounded began to return they did even better in July (16-8). Even with all that, the shape of their pitching rotation “Verlander, Cole and Miley and two days of your manager being Wily” scared the heck out of the Astros’ fandom. The trade pickups of Zack Greinke, Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini and Martin Maldonado has given the team a super boost that mirrors the Verlander pickup in 2017.

The changes since the beginning of May are pretty amazing:

  • Correa, Altuve, Springer, Diaz and Stassi all come off of the IL. That meant all those at bats that went to Jack Mayfield, Derek Fisher, Myles Straw and Garret Stubbs came to and end.
  • More importantly the musical chairs in the infield with Yuli Gurriel playing 3rd, Alex Bregman playing SS (or sometimes Mayfield or Straw) and Tyler White playing 1B ended also. The defense has tightened up quite a bit with folks in their rightful spots.
  • Wunderkind Yordan Alvarez owns the DH spot that Tyler White could not even rent in 2019. In 80 more at bats, White had 8 less runs scored, 10 less HRs and 20 less RBIs. Alvarez’s .340 BA/ .422 OBP/ 1.115 OPS slash has been amazing in its consistency and in its quality. His 41 RBIs in 41 games is ROY great.
  • Maldonado takes over the backup catcher spot from Stassi. Martin is not a great hitter, but in 3 games he already managed to match Stassi (in 31 games) with 4 runs scored and 1 homer. Oh and he caught 3 games that the Astros won and where the opponents scored 3 total runs and of course the no-hitter on Saturday.
  • The 4th and 5th spot in the rotation, which have been a hodge podge of Framber Valdez, Corbin Martin, Jose Urquidy, Rogelio Armenteros, Josh James and the one start disaster that was Hector Rondon is now the hopefully rejuvenated Aaron Sanchez and All-World Zack Greinke. The Astros starting depth goes from questionable to formidable.
  • Joe Biagini and his high spin rate subs in for Urquidy in the current bullpen adding to the humor rate and hopefully the performance rate.
  • They still expect the return of Ryan Pressly, Josh James and Brad Peacock between now and the end of the year.

The bottom line is that the Astros since the end of May have added in (or added back) 6 former All-Stars to a roster that was pretty strong before the additions. They have to prove it all on the field, but they have a team that can be as tough as any in the majors going forward.


101 comments on “The Astros’ upward arc since May

  1. Deep thoughts and feelings about Dan’s post.
    Moms and Dads. Looking over us.
    This faith thing just takes me over. My mind tries to rationalize things but my soul just can’t stop believing.
    God bless all of us!


  2. My parents were a constant in my life for 60 plus years, far or near. Still today, they are here daily. There is no replacement. Chip, my condolences. Bless you and the Bailey family.


  3. MLB will be building an 8,000 seat temporary stadium at the site of the movie “Field of Dreams”
    The ballpark will host the Yankees and the White Sox playing an official game on Thursday night August 13th 2020.
    Construction will begin this August 13th and MLB will promote this game for an entire year.
    Field dimensions will mirror those of old Comiskey Park.


  4. I realized over a cup of java this am the lunacy of perfect expectations. That came about after complaining about the Stros. I want them to do everything right & when the don’t I complain. But who doesn’t. I bet the Yanks fans found something to complain about when their team won all those championships. That’s what fans do & I’m cool with that.
    OP, I noticed Bregman too, back to line drive hitting. When I see the lineup card I’m impressed with the #’s I see. To think contributions from callups kept this tm winning & we’re still not 100% yet. I think we should fasten our seatbelts for a wild finish to the season.


    • 62, yeah, I try to look at our body of work. An example would be the new guy giving up 5 runs but getting a win when our offense took over. We’ve got so many legitimate stars, guys that can and do take over a game.

      It appears that Bregman really has adjusted his game to give us what we need now and not what we needed a month or two ago. That’s a rare baseball player.


  5. Mrs. Bailey was one of the most wonderful people on this earth. She missed Chip’s dad soo very much.. I told Dan last night, she closed her eyes yesterday, and when she opened them she was looking at the face of our Lord! What more could she have wanted! She will spend all eternity with Chip’s dad….singing in the Lords choir! Life is not a dress rehearsal…live everyday as if it were your last day on this earth.

    Liked by 2 people

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