2019 Astros: Great expectations


Astro fans are struggling with something this season they never had five seasons ago. Great expectations.

Back in 2014, the team took a toddling step out of the darkness of three straight 100+ loss season, including the depths of Hell 51-111 record in 2013. They ended 2014 at 70-92 and then slipped into the playoffs in 2015, regressed in 2016 and then won it all in 2017.

It is hard to remember as the team has cruised towards a possible third straight 100+ win season, that this team had only won 100 games once (102 games in 1998) in the history of the franchise before this strong run. And thus the result is almost unreasonable expectations by all of us and maybe by the team itself. Show up and beat everyone every series, every game, every match up.

But baseball is a tough marathon of an ever-changing landscape. Teams often go on runs when they beat teams they have no business beating (note the Seattle Mariners start to this season) or go into slumps against teams they should own (note the recent struggles of the Astros). Sometimes a single injury can trigger a fall as the Gerrit Cole hamstring has done. Fans can expect that teams play at the same high level for 162 games and six months, but it just does not work that way, at least not as long as baseball is played by humans and not machines.

The Astros are in better shape this season than last as they have a 7 1/2 game lead heading into Saturday’s games with a heck of a team (on paper). They had a chance to bury the A’s this weekend, but it is not happening after losing the first two games. If they lost two more this lead would get throat tightening to 5.5 games. If they split the last two it will be a reasonable 7.5 games and if they beat the A’s twice they will leave as they came into Oakland with a comfortable 9.5 game lead in the AL West.

There is a lot to be thankful for these days and it is hard to always see that. The Astros are 78-45 today with that 7 1/2 game lead. It seems another lifetime (2013) when the Astros were 41-82 after 123 games, 29 1/2 games out of first place and already mathematically unable to go .500 for the season.

It is OK to have high expectations of this team, but it is also good to remember that they have performed at a high level to get to their current spot.

74 comments on “2019 Astros: Great expectations

  1. Yes, Dan, great expectations can sometimes lead to not so great gratitude. Billy, I know you’ve been dealing with this for years and it’s exhausting. I’ll remember you in prayer.

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  2. Same from me Billy C

    Diane – like you say – folks have a right to complain about their team’s faults or be blind to them – just trying to remind folks that we are pretty dang lucky now.
    Interesting stat – as the Astros try to win 100 games for the 3rd straight year… the Yankees, golf standard for franchises has only won 100 games three times in a row once.
    (However – remember this was tougher before the leagues went from154 to 162 games in 1962.
    Still the Astros have been historically good these three years and we are lucky to be able to witness it

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  3. My expectations are to play smart baseball and then lets the games play out. I do not understand (nor will I ever) what Osuna did by putting the tying run on first for no reason. I know for 100 years baseball was played improperly by playing “no doubles” in a tight game late. When you get beat with a simple single to right field (not down the line) and it turns into a double, you have reversed the rules by saying “I had rather give up a double late, than a single.” Now if that is being harsh, and ungrateful, so be it. Players, managers, GMs, and fans make mistakes. But if this team is going to play like the 2012 team, we are wasting contract years of good talent.

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  4. Good morning….NOT. I assume I was the only idiot that stayed up to watch (listen) to last nights game. BOTH teams used nearly every guy in their bullpen, and the only guy still on our bench was Maldonado. They find themselves in the same position they were in about 3 weeks ago…..limping along with a bullpen that’s gassed, no days off and a rotation in flux. Verlander was AWESOME last night….only runs he gave up were the usual homeruns that have dogged him all year.
    *game is on FS1 today at 3:05*

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  5. As Becky is so fond of saying, “SMALL BALL” is not in Hinch’s vocabulary. I didn’t see the game last night but I noticed the bottom of the 13th for Oakland. Single, Sacrifice bunt, Strike out, Single; and that’s the ball game. The old rule used to be go for the big inning at home and play for the 1 or 2 run inning on the road to get the win, especially in the late innings.

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  6. In retrospect, smaller ball might have helped last night. But this club is not going to become that team. I’m sure the nerd cave has determined that it is not analytically sound practice. And let’s face it. Chances are we will need a batch or runs today to escape with a win. As far as expectations go, my thought going in was that we needed to win at least one game of this series. I hope that’s not over the top.

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    • I am in agreement with the nerds use of stats and shifts and whims. No one is asking Springer to walk in the first inning and Altuve sacrifice him to second. But when a walk, a bunt and single win a game, it gets disturbing to watch all the swings for the fences. If the nerds are paying attention, they have to see all the stranded runners that we see.

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  7. The 1st half of the season them playing at a high level was facilitated by callups who, along with the SP, help them win gms with so many out with injs. A testament to the depth of this org and some great luck. While some things are out of sort now—no tm is immune from slumps & the tm will weather this storm. I do not expect them to win every series but when all facets of the gm are clicking on this tm, SP, OFF, BP (we are usually leaping with joy).
    But win or lose when they GIDP, LMOB & fail to score with RISP like they have done to our dismay, they get on full blast (fans & me included). Nothing personal, just fandom being at their finest.
    My god Bassitt’s big looping curveball is 1) effective/nasty 2) embarrassing!

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  8. I had to outside…..I just couldn’t see this. It’s a series like this that a team can go sideways. The nice lead we had is dwindling fast. I hope it doesn’t come down to fighting these guys in a 1 game lead, but from the looks of it….that might be where they end up. Armenteros is just going to have to wear this game, no one can help you. I can’t even.

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  9. I think I’m done this year til the playoffs. I’m so honest to God depressed that trying to follow baseball is not really working for me right now. We’re better than this and I know we’ll right ourselves . Not so sure about myself anymore. I may be back in a few days, maybe sooner, possibly later. You folks be good to each other. This is a s****y world we live in these days and so much hatred and outright meanness. Never add to it. I gotta say you guys are good people. Always stay that way. Don’t let the team get you down too much.

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    • Billy, you sound really down about life right now. We can give you positive thoughts and say prayers for you, but that’s about it. If you really are able to help your God help you, then you’ve got to do everything humanly possible from a physical standpoint to get better. You have to keep losing weight. You’ve got to eat an impeccable diet. You’ve got to try. You’ve got to move. Every single day! All day! If you’ve already done everything possible, then pray some more. If you have not, then give it a shot. The shot of your life.

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    • Sorry BC, didn’t c ur post until today. I’m nearly 63 (9/9) with prostate cancer, diabetes, bad back, palpitations,GERD, cataracts, ect with surgeries pending. Wife & I retire (me med), caretakers for two 90’s elders (one w/dementia). Eldest grand molested (crushed me). Every day is a challenge but my faith keeps me going (Phil 3:14).
      Dave said it best, learning to deal with illnesses as they evolve (diet, exercise, keep moving, Faith & trust in it). If God never does another thing HE’s already done enough. The enemy wants me depressed, I fight back by doing the above. I pray u do the same.
      This tm does not depress me. I put them on full blast when mad & am relieved win or lose. Chipalatta is an outlet that allows me to discuss my favorite tm with good people that teach me things. Don’t go. You hang in there & hope you hang with us

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    • He has shown us absolutely nothing worth trading even one prospect for in his first two starts. He’s just been a warm body and BP tosser for opposing teams. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. If you have anything to show, Mr. G., please show it soon. The ship is listing to port, and taking on water.

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      • Dave, did you even read my post? I spoke only to what Greinke showed us in his first two starts in a Houston uniform. Nothing I said had Squat to do with his ‘season WHIP’. This is why I have really slacked off on posting on this blog after over a decade of participation – because of constant bull crap like this.

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  10. Yeah, we’re putting a real burden on Greinke today. Going home up 7.5 sounds great right now. But even if we go home with our tails between our legs, we’re still up 5.5. Ugly when compared to 9.5 just a few days ago, but there will be a recovery. Our club is not going to fold. If it makes anyone feel better, we are 8 and 5 against the A’s on the year. And we’re still going to have that nice 4 game series at home against them in September.

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  11. We are all aware of the constant callups and promotions and demotions from Round Rock to Houston and back this season.
    What might have gotten lost in this is RR has been chasing San Antonio all season and finally caught them this past week and have a 2.5 game lead in their division.
    But also, with all the changes to their team, Round Rock has the best record in the 16 team Pacific Coast League at 75-48.
    A lot of credit needs to go to the players and coaching staff of the Round Rock Express.

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    • Hard to imagine, I’ve never followed the standings. With so many pitching injuries and the disruptions of call ups, still a 75 win team. That impresses me.

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  12. The OPS+ basically compares each batters hitting to the league average of 100. At the end of 2017 Carlos Beltran was at 81 with everyone of the regulars over 100. In 2018, Reddick was at 98 with all other regulars over 100. Right now in 2019, Tyler White is gone at 74, Reddick at 82, and Jake at 95. So either the league is hitting better or these 3 are not.

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    • None of that is a surprise – we knew White was hitting poorly. Even when Reddick was hitting for good average earlier this season it was ineffective and now his average is dropping like a rock. And Jake is not a major leaguer because of his bat.

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    • He fowled a ball off the big bone on the top of the foot, and went down in a heap.
      He could hardly put weight on it, and wasn’t in the next inning. I kinda thought it might be more serious than just a bump. WHO??? Comes up????

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  13. Greinke goes for his 200th win today! What a HUGE accomplishment! Let’s hope and pray our guys can get enough runs to give him that win!
    Julia Morales took a picture of Greinke when we played that 13th inning disaster.
    He was not in the dugout with the rest of the guys, but sitting on his legs outside of the dugout. Kinda odd…….but with him, not surprising!
    I watched the Twins/rangers, game last night….and the rangers pitcher and Marwin got in a shouting match. Benches cleared, and it ended quick. I thought DANG….that’s not the Marwin I knew! I think Reddick’s time will soon force Hinch to sit him, he’s hit a black hole and right now Hinch NEEDS everyone to put the ball in play. A.J. has talked to him about it, and Josh understands.
    PLEASE baseball Gods……let the Astros win today!

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  14. Cy Sneed back up (for Diaz) Peacock back from IL. If my name was Devo….I would hide in a corner, and hope Hinch doesn’t see me.

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  15. I hate losing Diaz again. I wanted to see him get his bat going again. You know, I don’t see the Yankees having the kind of slump we’re going through. They keep winning despite a suspect rotation. Not the end of the world, but I don’t think we’ll be getting home field advantage at this point

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  16. The NYY & LAD are neck to neck for best record and the Stros chasing the rear. Like you said Dave, even with suspect SP the Yanks lineup is absolutely raking. LA hits high velo better than any tm, is patient at the plate, doesn’t chase much & makes pitchers work. Our lineup as good as the other big 2 and it’s not out of the realm of thinking that we can catch them, we can. Whether they do or no is the question. I’d like to see a more balanced approach at the plate, esp against soft tossers, who seem to give us fits.

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    • But you know 62, I should not write home field advantage off yet, at least through the AL playoffs. Yankees have played 11 more at home. We’ve played 11 more on the road. The Yanks go to Oakland and the Dodgers next. If our guys get home and find their equilibrium, things can get closer quick. We’ve got an especially (at least on paper) easy second half of September.

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  17. This offense is tighter than a fully wound violin string
    And instead of scoring at least two – they’ve scored none and are losing 1-0

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  18. Astros need to go visit the “witch”, get that *STINK* off them. I’m not going to listen anymore. It’s pretty clear who is going to win this game.

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  19. Bregman did what he did the ENTIRE time all those guys were on DL.
    He put this team on his shoulder this afternoon.I really hope if the guys can hang on to win, the organization will honor Greinke when they get back home.
    CC Sabathia and Verlander are the other 200 game winners still pitching.
    Greinke really saved the broken down bullpen today. Thank you sir!

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  20. Greinke did a great job, Pressly and Osuna slightly bent but did not break. Bregman was the superstar today.
    Nice to head home with a 7.5 game lead

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  21. A few things so far:
    I’m getting pretty tired of seeing guys that were in our minors go to a team and torment our guys and play well with other clubs! JEEZE.😳!!
    It is really painful to see Zack Greinke try to talk to the media after a game😢
    Daveb7….you are 100% correct. They needed to right the ship today, and they succeeded!
    Billy…life is pretty difficult for some of us, and sometimes it feels like no one knows EXACTLY how we feel, but life is also GLORIOUS it’s up to you and me and anyone else we know that has challenges to do what is necessary to live! I’m much older than you, our youngest is 35. We have 8 grandchildren and we have two who eat, and sleep Astros baseball!! You are the only one that can take care of you….live young man, life is not a dress rehearsal! Becky⚾

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  22. Astros have won all three of Greinke’s starts and all of a sudden his acquisition takes on a lot more meaning with all the trouble with the rest of Astros pitching.
    Osuna grooved more pitches and they got hit hard, but right at people.
    The win today reminds me a lot of the times in TV shows where somebody says to another “keep pressure on that wound while I go look for something to fix this”.
    The Astros are wounded and they need fixing.
    Doctor Strom. Paging Doctor Strom to the ER.

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  23. I’m not predicting, I’m just pointing out that Jack Mayfield hit three HRs Friday night and one on Saturday and is hitting .341 in his last 10 games with 15 RBIs and 5 dingers.
    And he is a utility infielder. Just sayin’.

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  24. Nearly one year to the day, in the A’S clubhouse the team celebrated Justin Verlander’s 200th win! How cool is it that they were able to do the same for Zack Greinke today! When the season is over and Cole leaves for the bright lights and a ton of money…..I promise he will look back on this club as the most fun he will ever had!

    OP…..I’ll drink to that!! Mayfield deserves it!!!

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  25. Great game. My personal highlight was Brantley bunting on Chapman who plays a short left field. The ump had a very inconsistent strike zone. Alvarez swung at two bad pitches because he had to assume they would be strikes. So did some of the A’s. Loved the home field scoring of the Altuve swinging bunt. He had to give the pitcher an error because Altuve made it to second. So just take away a hit and give the error.

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  26. The umping in the Astros game was perfect compared to the LLWS.
    The ump sets up on the extreme inside of a RH batter. At the last second the catcher jumps out into the opposite batter’s box and the pitcher delivers a pitch right into his mitt, easily a foot outside. The umpire rings up the K.
    The strike zone is about the same size as a hockey goal.

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  27. Mrs.1op happened to be in the kitchen when I was watching the replay of Sunday’s game.
    When she heard the hoopla of Semien’s Homer she walked in to see the replay of it. When she saw it she exclaimed about how a guy could hit a home run with a swing like that.
    Semien”s arms were pulled all the way into his sides and he barreled up with just his forearms and wrists.
    Further review shows a shortstop shortarm an inside fastball from a finesse pitcher ten rows deep in one of the biggest ballparks in the league.
    What has baseball done to the game of baseball?
    That ball should have been caught short of the warning track.

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    • I’m with her on this. I think it was Olson’s first homer on Thursday in the opener and the swing and contact looked like “can of corn” and then when they showed the OFs they were facing the wrong way watching it fly out.
      When we were kids we played with Superballs – you threw them down on the pavement and they just sailed. Probably using them for the core of the new balls….

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      • I’m surprised that an independent testing lab has not tested baseballs from this year and previous years. You know the ball makers have sure tested it and know what differences if any there are between years. Kind of like the differences between the old balata golf balls and golf balls today. With the increased swing speeds of todays golfers the old balata balls would have flattened out like a fried egg. I would think something similar has happened to the baseballs. As you said, maybe there is a “superball” in the core of the baseball.

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  28. Mike Trout has a WAR of 8.3 and that ties him with the entire Pirates position player WAR and way ahead of the accumulated offensive WAR of the Royals, Rockies, White Sox, Orioles, Marlins and Tigers.

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  29. The Astros are 9 and 5 against the A’s this year.
    Greinke has given up 5 earned runs in three starts for the Astros.
    Right now I’d rather see the A’s beat the Yankees than the Yankees beat the A’s.

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