A perfect storm of bad….


It is so strange how the fortunes of sports teams can change so completely in the matter of a few days or weeks.

Two weeks ago the Astros were riding a huge wave of good news and great actions. At the trade deadline they had picked up the biggest plum in pitcher Zack Greinke and then also picked up another pitcher Aaron Sanchez, who might be a Charlie Morton steal and a solid reliever in Joe Biagini. They had also upgraded backup catcher with Martin Maldonado and they had the super bonus of finding a real Designated Hitter (Yordan Alvarez) over the last couple months to replace their Designated Misser (Tyler White). Their injured position players (Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz) had all returned and assimilated themselves back into good production. Plus Yuli Gurriel was so hot you could feel the heat from a few thousand miles away.

But in a perfect storm of bad luck, bad timing and bad performances the Astros have a big challenge facing them on the pitching side of the ledger. What all happened simultaneously to lead to at least a short term crisis?

  • First of all their closer Roberto Osuna capped a couple months of declining performance by handing away a get away game to the terrible Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. There is something about blown saves that is both psychologically depressing to the team and often contagious to the other folks in the bullpen.
  • Also, their oh so crucial pitching coach, Brent Strom is not with the club as he recovers from emergency gastrointestinal surgery.
  • Then the nicely laid out rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, Wade Miley and Aaron Sanchez got side swiped by a rain out in Chicago, which forced them to play a doubleheader on Tuesday against the Pale Hosers.
  • Part of the unlucky circumstances was that they would not have another day off for 13 days. This was after having two days off the week before. A day off would have let them skate past the doubleheader issue.  
  • The doubleheader immediately meant they would have a TBD for one of their weekend starts against the A’s if they were going to keep everyone on normal rest. On top of this it meant they would have to use up most of their bullpen in one day as they were likely going to need an inning from three or four relievers in each game.
  • Then in another bad break 2nd game starter Gerrit Cole went lame with discomfort in his hamstring (Can we explore transplanting un-pullable hamstrings into all our Houston athletes? We do have one of the biggest med centers in the world here.) This meant that the Astros had to use multiple relievers for multiple innings each, burning them for use in the day(s) that followed.
  • So when the Astros really needed a good, long outing from Wade Miley on Wednesday – he put up by far his shortest (3.1 innings) and worst (7 runs / 3 earned – but most of the unearned was his fault) performance of the season.
  • On top of this, the Astros pitching in this game, 5 times allowed the White Sox to score in the bottom of an inning where the offense had scored in the top and where All-Star Ryan Pressly gave up the dagger blow, a James McCann tie breaking grand slam with 2 outs 2 strikes in the bottom of the 8th.

The Astros now totter off to Oakland for the kind of four game series that could bury the A’s for the rest of the season or give them new life against our hometown heroes. Will the ill winds continue to blow against their ship?  

One can only hope that the Astros can stop the bleeding. But will they have to wait for Cole’s muscle to heal first?

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94 comments on “A perfect storm of bad….

  1. A hunting rifle, a 20 gauge, three pistols and a grease gun have disappeared in the last week. Also can’t find anything but butter knives in the kitchen and my zip ties have not turned up.
    Mrs. 1op is not taking any chances.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I posted this yesterday, and I haven’t changed my mind.
    These guys might have to wear 2 or maybe 3 games playing the A’s this weekend. I *really* hope I’m wrong, but our starters are leaking oil all over the place, and the vote of confidence in the bullpen is a minus zero. Becky

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Well, the good news is that the Astros head into this speed bump with a 9.5 game lead over the A’s. Last season…..heading into our Aug. 15th game we had a 1.0 game lead over the A’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems to me that our pitchers are not hitting their usual location. The bad weather, double header, Bregman bruised up, Coles situation, have gotten the team out of it’s routine. This team is a much better defensive team than we’ve seen over the last few days. That said, I hope that our pitching coach hurries back. Also, I hope they didn’t take the White Sox lightly or in Bill Parcells words “Don’t eat the Cheese.” They can reflect their greatness after the season.

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    • Sandy – I can’t blame management for applying the shifts. If your stats tell you that 75% of the time they hit to one side of second and 25% to the other side – it makes sense to have 75% of your infielders to that one side.
      There is a good chance if the pitchers are putting the ball where they are supposed to that the ball will be hit to the right place if hit at all.
      Now if going the other way on shifts becomes a trend you have to adjust to it, but so far we have seen very little of it.
      I don’t think this is all low IQ – sometimes sh(aving cream) happens

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I think the Osuna 9th inning performance in Baltimore Sunday was a bit of a gut punch, not just for us, but for his team.

    Hinch needs to make sure he picks a game or two of this series to put all of his best resources into. Getting swept would not be the end of the world, but it sure would be ugly and maybe a bit demoralizing too.. So let’s focus on winning a couple even if it means Sneed has to go four innings and give up 10 one night.

    We’ve got a whole bunch of good hitters, all healthy today. They need to carry this group for a bit. They need to get hits when the bases are loaded. They need to do it early and often too. It would be nice to see our guys take charge against Fiers tonight and end any big ambitions coming out of the A’s dugout.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Since the ASB the BP is still out of sorts. While the SP will throw a stinker occasionally, like Miley yesterday, they give this tm chances to win esp during the inj plague.
    Dave, I agree with your assessment the lineup needs to do a better job of helping carry this tm like the SP had to do. We watch this lineup, to our horror, continue to leave ducks on the pond with regularity. Opponents get past Yuli then carve up our back 9, who most times can’t hit the broad side of a barn with a Abrams tank. How the hell do you fix that? Nothing more deflating for fans to watch GIDP’s & leaving RISP with 1 or no outs.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Writers Passan, Doolittle & another guy discussed the big 3 for WS. Astros, Dodgers & Yanks. One of the writers expressed a concern about the Stros, GIDP & RISP (leaving so many on base). I didn’t know we led the league in GIDP

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  6. This ump has a wide strike zone calling pitches off the plate, and I mean completely off, not partial. See how that turns out. Thus far a pitchers duel.

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    • Like this one in you AC, this was cool, lol.
      Oh hell, what’s up with the HR barrage tonight. Grossman, the former Astro trying to prove something. Back to back, my god!

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  7. I don’t have a real problem with Sanchez’ intent to get Grossman at second on that comebacker. His execution was poor though. A good throw had him easy. I’ve never seen the starting pitcher screw up a play in three straight games that led to a big inning though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well, we didn’t think Sanchez was going to be fixed as soon as he put on an Astro uniform did we? I hope he gets that high 90’s heater back at some point, but he might not be much help the rest of the way in 2019. Almost midnight here. I’m following 45. I’ll hope to wake up to a late win in the morning. Have a peaceful evening all.

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  9. Correa another homerun! Taking Fires out of the game. Ok you rubes get with it so our pen has some runs to work with! *NOW*!

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  10. Brantley & Correa swinging hot bats tonight. YA pressing in his mini slump 1-15. The offense is scoring runs but the BP promptly comes in & gives the runs right back. How is Hinch going to fix his BP? You hit it on the head Zanuda, guys popping up like crazy chasing low pitches out the zone or swinging & missing on high cheese. Some great def plays going on. 2 outs in the 8th & RC at bat, uh oh!!!

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    • OldSchool62….Hinch nearly ruined Harris in 2016 because he used the guy 4 out of 5 days. He is starting to do the same thing to Devinski. You remember that Devo was so danged spent in 2017 he was held off the playoff roster. One of my main gripes about Hinch is the way he uses his bullpen, and refusing to play small ball.

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      • Becky, I agree wholeheartedly. How many times with either 1 or no outs and runners on 1st and 2nd do we hit into a DP. How about moving them over and possibly getting 1, 2 or more runs instead of a rally killing GIDP. As for Devo, he has 2 pitches, a so-so fastball and a change up. If I’m at the plate I’m going to be right 50% of the time and that’s all it takes. Our guys are so predictable in their pitches or so it would seem. If anybody hasn’t noticed, these mediocre pitchers who we face look like Cy Young because they continually mix it up. Keep the hitter off balance and occasionally throw some off speed junk up there. It sure seems to work for the other pitchers.

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  11. So this weekend the Astros need their ace to step up and their quasi soft tossing ace to step up as Saturday we send the venerable TBD against Bassett, who has been nails since the All Star Break.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’d much rather be the Astros than the A’s. But this is turning into a real slump where too many things keep going wrong and not enough goes right. Baseball is a fickle game. I hope we never score 23 again.

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  13. Looking carefully at last nights box score:
    Oakland came into the game looking to hit Sanchez’s fastball. They hunted fastballs for the first four innings almost exclusively, until they caught up with two of them in the fourth to get four runs.
    Then, when Hermann drew the walk in the fifth on Sanchez’s offspeed stuff, the A’s saw that Sanchez was backing off of his fastball and they started almost exclusively sitting on his offspeed stuff and stopped swinging at his fastball. They got three hits off his curve and changeup, two of them dingers.
    When Rondon came in they went after his fastball but could not catch up with it’s heat.
    When Devenski came in they hunted his changeup and beat him on one that was nothing but a meatball.

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    • Sanchez showed me last night that he does indeed need a full make over. Can he be of much help this year? Can he develop a real fastball again? He needs another quality pitch too. Devenski will not be on the post season roster. Unfortunately, our club really does have several guys who pitch in ways that can be exploited and are being exploited. We don’t 13 arms on a post season roster, but we will need 11 or 12 healthy, solid, rested ones. Is Luhnow still still trying to massage Whitleys brain?

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    • The answer to that problem is that 5 of the 9 players in the lineup had 0-fers.
      Springer and Altuve and Alvarez were missed a lot. When the bottom two and the top two all have 0-fers, that’s a big gap.

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  14. Good luck tonight, Astros. You make it a miserable experience to stay up and watch you, so I’ll just see you in the box score.

    If I keep shaking my head in disgust every morning, will my head eventually fall off?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually kept myself from watching last night.
      It has taken six weeks to complete the hay harvest because of the spring rains. It was impossible to get to the hay. Since then there has been no rain and over 100 degrees every day so it has been crazy because everyone is calling because they can’t cut their own hay. We got 45 5-foot round bales off our 20 acres yesterday. I’ve never seen more than 21 come off that patch, when someone else was bailing it in the past. That’s how much rain we had. That field probably hasn’t had fertilizer in 20 years. We hope to work it next year and turn it into something special.
      For now, since it’s too late for a second cutting, we clear under the six huge pecan trees on the creek bottom of that 20 acres and put our feeder in it and a small ground blind in the tree line and that is my new honey hole for hunting season. Nobody has hunted it in 40 years.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Whenever we get really depressed about the Astros, OP helps get our minds off it and on to the farm report. It is fun to hear how the folks on the farm live OP. Since we moved to the condo I don’t even have a yard to care for anymore.
        Today was a bit of city time – going down in person to prove I am a citizen of the US so I could get my driver’s license (which used to prove I am a citizen of the US) renewed. We got there just as they were opening and it took about an hour and a half, but considering the crowd there at opening, this was not bad. Unlike the stereoptype the folks behind the desks/computers were very pleasant and made it a nice experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lord, how I dread the DPS. Both of us have to renew later this year and next spring.
        Fortunately, December and April have reasonable weather.

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  15. Dan, I thought it was just me who was depressed.
    Today will be intriguing. Now that the hay is done, three huge seismic units will invade the farm. They let us get the hay in first, but today there will be people all over our place pounding the ground looking for oil and gas. Every farm and ranch for miles is having this done.
    The small stuff going on is two baby goats born Sunday. Five days later, they have doubled in size. These are pygmy goats so they never grow up. They go from tiny to small. Their purpose is to clear the land and on the two acres or so of woods they are on there is not a blade of grass or a leaf left for as high as they can stand or climb. Six feet high and up the trees are gorgeous, but the bottom six feet looks like a fire came through. Fortunately goats don’t eat bark, yet. The two regular sized goats have handled everything from four to six feet up. They either balance on two legs or jump to get the leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. These last few games remind me of a quote from Darrell Royal when he was hired as a color commentator. One team could do nothing right. Interceptions, fumbles, missed tackles etc.

    When asked to comment, he replied “When the locust come, they eat everything green.”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. The Astros are using the GCL Astros and their ST headquarters to work their injured pitchers and their prospect to improve their pitching.
    Today, Cionel Perez made his 1st appearance in 6 weeks in a rehab for the GCL Astros. In that same game, Jayson Schroeder, who I believe the Astros are in the process of rebuilding, made an appearance and got his first Pro win.
    In that same game, Alex Palmer, 2019 20th round draftee from SFA finished up the win.
    In the last month I have seen box scores where Brandon Bailey, Tyler Ivey, Forrest Whitley and several other Astros pitchers pitched there.
    I believe the Astros are teaching new stuff there.
    Perez gave up two hits in his 1 inning, but one of the two hits was a grounder to the catcher. Perez then picked that guy off of 1B.
    By the way, Whitley is listed as the starter for Corpus Christi tonight. The Hooks are in the middle of a hot playoff race in which they are tied. The winner of the race between them and Midland goes to the playoffs and the loser goes on vacation until the spring.

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  18. I learn a lot from you folks – your thoughts and observations. That is an interesting one OP. It would be right in line with how this organization works to have a “special” spot where they focus on things they have gleaned from their statistics, their special equipment, etc.
    Cutting edge is a fun place to be…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, I said a month ago that I thought the top pitching prospects who were not producing good numbers were throwing their weaker pitches and would show up in August and September pitching well.
      So far, Ivey Bailey, Whitley, Abreu, Paredes, Perez and Conine are all working their way to AA. I believe that is where the Astros want them, rather than the AAA hellhole.
      They all seem to be throwing better, except BJ Bukauskas who is having some problems in AA for Arizona.

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  19. And here from the 17th floor of the building I work in downtown Housotn we just had a nice rain shower, which unfortunately will probably do more towards raising the humidity than anything else. I think the trees are doing a scene from “Oliver”. “Please, sir, can I have a little more?”

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    • Dan, we are under 15 inches for the year. Typically we get about 55 plus annually. I’ve gotten very good at taking a shower out of a 5 gallon bucket. I take fewer things for granted in this life.

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    • A thunderstorm/rain in August, in Houston reminds me of pouring water on the hot rocks in a sauna. In only makes the sticky-ness and the humidity worse. Ah, fried eggs on a hot Texas sidewalk. Now there’s a tasty treat. The only thing that I came across that was hotter was walking on the sands at Half Moon bay near Dhahran, SA where we could only go about 20 yards before out feet started to burn. Then it was dig as fast as you could to escape the heat and then start over again.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I needed some good laughs today, because I feel like the stuff my dogs leaves in my back yard! FOLKS….Verlander is a fly ball pitcher, and it is VERY warm in the Oakland area….and balls are FLYING outta there, like last night. I have no idea who will start tomorrow….let’s hope he can give us at least 5 innings.
    Note to Hinch: Don’t even LOOK at Devo until Sunday.

    OP…we never had any goats on our farm, but I can tell if we did my brothers and sister would have made a pet out of them! My father bought some rabbits, BIG mistake! To my knowledge we never had “rabbit stew”!

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      • With all those grandkids around I can imagine….PLUS he’s safe in your house!
        I remember when my mother would go into “town” (big town..maybe 35,00) she had her hat and gloves on…..and thought of what we would have for supper.
        THAT’S when she would get out of the car catch a chicken…wring it’s neck, and put a 3 ring tub over it until we got back home. It’s a wonder I didn’t grow up hating chicken! I’m sure I had bad dreams about that as a kid!!!

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  21. This post is so far off topic, it should be in the “Energy” section of the Spit.com. During our golden years, we have decided to spend as if we were both working and making more money than when we actually worked. Our scam is to sit in our RV and log people in and out of ranches in South Texas. Almost no landowner has any mineral rights. They make most of their spending money off hunters. Now you talk about a difference of priorities – A Hunting Ranch versus an Oil well being Fracked in the Fall and Winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, ac45, I know about priorities. I once owned 40 acres on Big Bend Ranch that I bought after an unusual set of circumstances brought me to a remote and run down motel miles down a gravel road and there was one lady next morning in the kitchen and she turned out to be a real estate agent and she talked me into going with her in her jeep to look around and dang if I didn’t end up purchasing that acreage next to the lot of an Alpine astronomy professor and that was back in the early 80s before anybody knew anything. In later years, I couldn’t get out there very often and I decided to give it to a ministry. I loved that land where you could actually reach up and touch the stars at night and I often wonder what they did with it.

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  22. Gotta ask….with the talk about a bullpen starter or calling up Valdez tomorrow….why not Cy Sneed?! Has to be a better option than a bullpen game but I don’t get paid the big bucks to think of these things.

    Bit of a bad mood. Seizure caused blackout , fell and cracked ribs. Spent my 41st birthday in pain, ended up going to hospital and found out that completely unrelated I have a severe kidney infection, oh and they had a hell of a time finding a good vein thanks to plaque and hardening of the arteries. I’ve already had two strokes and am on enough meds to give a pharmacist dry heaves. quite frankly I’m worried as hell about my future never mind the money I’m losing out from missing work and praying my FMLA goes through so I can still have a job. So with that in mind please forgive me if I get a little testy when I say I don’t understand all the sky is falling talk with this team at all. Come at me again if we get swept, but my God we have one of the best records in baseball. We seem to expect the team to win every game. Yeah we’ve lost a few games after winning 23-2 but every team slumps. Last slump we had to as a couple of months ago…we’re due. Still on a pace to win 104 games , mind you. Barring injury we should make it to the ALCS easily. So seriously, what the hell is up with the pessimism? I made the comment about Saturday’s starter because I want us to sweep but even if we only take 2 out of 3 that’s a 67% winning percentage. What’s wrong with that?!

    This isn’t the Brad Mills Astro’s guys. Can we lighten up a bit and enjoy the ride?

    Note: this post actually belonged in the old thread from a few days ago but I’ve been holding this in

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Good news….Peacock is very close to getting back. He threw a scoreless inning last night! Tomorrow’S starter is Armenteros. Again, let’s hope he can give the bullpen at least 5 innings.
    Cole played catch today, but I’m not as optimistic as some….I think he will miss 2 starts. Get some runs for Verlander….*PLEASE*!

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    • Think they’ll score runs Becky, hopefully no more ofers from the top of the lineup, and that the BP can hold the lead once they get it. You’re right BC, there will be slumps, no biggie. Fans will be fans no matter what. Win, lose or draw we’re with’em. But whether slumping or just playing bad ball I complain. I’m cool with that

      Like

    • That certainly didn’t take long.

      Meanwhile Max Stassi is the Angels starting catcher. Also only has one hit in about 25 or so at bats

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  24. I’m watching the Twins / rangers, game……Lordy I miss Marwin😭
    Everytime I see him I miss soo much….we don’t win the World Series without him. Can you tell how desperate I am….. watching the idiots in Arlington because that’s the baseball game I can actually see. What a drag.

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    • I liked Marwin but I think Diaz is better, personally.

      Speaking of which has anyone noticed that for the first time in his career he actually has a good BB/K ratio?

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    • Except the lefties. All three have gotten on base against Roark, who started out with 1st pitch FB’s right down the middle of plate, now throwing more breaking balls 1st pitch and trying to nibble corners.

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    • No joke! I feel for the guy. It’s maddening to watch him pitch a game like this just to lose because our guys can’t give him any runs. Makes me crazy, and I’m sure it makes Verlander crazy too. *JEEZE*.

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  25. You probably know how this ended. Both bullpens were spent, I think we knew going into this series it was going to be tough, they will be lucky not to be swept this weekend. It’s 1:30 am, I’m done😠

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  26. This is a theory that I can not prove.

    Theorem (a general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.) 498: “If you blow a couple games you should have won, you will then blow a couple more games that you should have lost followed by a couple more blown games.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • 45, for guys like me, I think it safe to call it a slump at this point. Hinch really wanted this one. He used all his best resources and still came away with a loss. We need about four guys to step up today, starting with Rogelio!

      Pleased to see the pen have a good night, but damn, most of the effective guys are likely off today. And we’ve got a whole bunch of professional hitters suddenly looking totally flummoxed by unremarkable pitching. Come on guys, kick some ass! Everything is going as well as the A’s could hope. It offends me to be getting schooled by these guys.

      Like

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