This is one of those “hurry up and write something” posts that are crammed into an ever-shrinking lunch hour break. But your not-so-humble writer wants to nourish you with something to fill your days with deep Astro thoughts pulled from my nether regions. Without further ramblings here are 5 questions for your long Labor Day weekend.
- Should the Astros do everything possible to get home field for the playoffs? Should they limit the playing time of youngsters brought up or should they limit the playing time of veterans feeling slightly frayed at the end of a marathon 162 game season?
- Who gets the call after the first of September? Besides activating the injured if and when they heal (Carlos Correa, Ryan Pressly, Aaron Sanchez, Brad Peacock, and Josh James), who gets the call from the minors? Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, and Garrett Stubbs are no brainers. Rogelio Armenteros? Cionel Perez? Jose Urquidy? 2 out of 3 seem likely. Jack Mayfield? Likely not needed with Abraham Toro up. Bryan Abreu or Dean Deetz? Not likely. Non-40 man switchouts like Forrest Whitley or Cristian Javier. This front office has surprised us before.
- Who will be in that 7 or 8 man bullpen, if the Astros make the playoffs? Part of this is hard tied to folks recovering from injuries. 1. Roberto Osuna, 2. Ryan Pressly, 3. Will Harris, 4. Josh James, 5. Joe Smith, but…… 6. thru 7. or 8. “This space for rent” – is it the veterans – Peacock, Collin McHugh and Hector Rondon? Is there a spot for Sanchez if he comes back or the struggling Joe Biagini or Chris Devenski? If everyone continues to melt-down and/or the injured do not return is there space for one or more of the youngsters Armenteros, Framber Valdez, Perez or even a Whitley or Javier? There will be no tougher or more crucial roster decisions to make between now and the end of September.
- If Carlos Correa does not heal, can they win it all without him? He is super talented. He has been a top-notch performer (when well) this season. If Correa can’t recover from his back injury (and he is not swinging a bat yet) can the Astros cobble together a lineup with Mr. Toro at 3rd and Alex Bregman at SS and ride it to the promised land?
- Who is the Astros best everyday player? Is it Alex Bregman, who is leading the team in HRs, OBP and OPS? Is it steady Eddie, Michael Brantley, who has a good shot at a batting title, while getting hits almost at will at key points in the game? Is it Yuli Gurriel, who is leading the team in RBIs and has been their best hitter in the second half of the season? Is it Jose Altuve, who has a career-high in homers despite missing a month of the season and who has turned a bad start of the season into another .300+ BA season? Is it Mr. Everything George Springer, who is the straw that stirs the offense? Or is it Mr. RBI per game, Yordan Alvarez, who has full-season numbers (21 HRs, 62 RBIs) in less than 40% of a season?
Anyway, come to the Astros post buffet hungry. Eat, discuss and enjoy.