Astros’ stretch run: 5 questions for the weekend


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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.

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81 comments on “Astros’ stretch run: 5 questions for the weekend

  1. Thanks once again for the great post and intriguing questions, Dan! Here’s my stab at question #1:

    * Should the Astros do everything possible to get home field for the playoffs?*

    Well . . . yes! This year, as opposed to some years, our home record [51-17] is a way better than our away record [36-31]. Moreover the only ‘youngsters’ we would need to see, to spell our regulars, would be relief pitchers – none of which are present in any quality in the higher levels of the minors. Exception: Abraham Toro should probably be allowed to start a couple of games while the team is in Toronto – since he has family from Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. By all means, go for home field advantage. As Bill notes, we are a much better team at home. So are the Yankees. So are the Dodgers. The Astros should try to put the best lineup on the field every night in order to win home field, but at the same time make sure the guys that need a day off get a day off. I would not start Toro because he’s going home to Canada, I’d start him because he looks comfortable out there. I think he will play solid baseball.
    2. There are a couple of AAA guys that I’d probably feel more comfortable with on the mound than Devenski right now. He’s essentially done as an Astro.
    3. Kind of premature to try and answer that question Dan. McHugh yes. I think Peacock is done for the year. We can only hope both James and Pressly will have a positive impact. Osuna. Harris. Framber? Miley will do most of his post season work out of the pen. Smith. Rondon? Wild Card: LMC.
    4. By all means, yes. I do want to see Correa back, at least until November 1, but our biggest issue right now is in the bullpen. Correa has become a secondary issue. I’m weary of his drama. Between Toto and Diaz and Bregman at short, we can win from an offensive and defensive standpoint.
    5. All of the above. Each guy can take over a game offensively. They will take turns. Our other guys are all also capable of coming up with a big hit. That’s why we’re not wringing our hands over the absence of Correa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. I will not be surprised to see Cionel Perez and Bryan Abreu in September.
    I expect to see Armenteros and Urquidy in September. Tucker and Straw.

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  4. Dan, you’re amazing in your energy and faithfulne
    ss to this Astroholics forum. #1 I think the Astros should go for it all, but having Tucker to get his feet wet, will only help give Brantley, Springer and Reddick a chance for a physical rebirth for the playoffs..2. I agree with the players you named. 3.Devinski should not be part of our postseason team. He just seems to have issues that are better worked out at Round Rock or Corpus. 4. Carlos is starting to remind me of the NL Rookie of the year, Bob Horner who was the rookie of the year in 78 for the Braves. He was to be the second coming of Eddie Mathews. But he could not stay on the field because of injury, usually not game related. If memory is not failing me, I think he missed significant time one year because he slipped in the bathroom and injured his hip while brushing his teeth. I would not hold my breath concerning Correa. Toro is a step down in talent, but I think we can count on him. I’m about ready to replenish our minors with a Correa trade this off-season. 5. Our franchise player is Bregman. He’s young and in the Stros control and to me is the second coming of Biggio. We have other wonderful players, but if I had to start a team with just one player from this team, it would be Alex. And Geez the kid was an all American from LSU.

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    • The family is saying it was likely a club employee who was the supplier. They are lawyering up with Rusty Hardin and believe me their target will be the Angels pocket book not the employees

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  5. Daveb7……I’ve known about Tyler Skaggs for a few weeks, but I didn’t want to say anything about it. I can’t imagine how his parents must feel.
    Carlos Correa had BETTER be healed, Luhnow and Hinch have had it up to their ears with our delicate short stop😠. IM with OP, bring up ANYONE who can pitch.
    PERIOD. I’m sure that Josh James has been stretched out, with Peacock probably down for the year Hinch needs a long relief guy not named Collin McHugh. Going into town to take our youngest to dinner and watch Miley pitch!

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  6. 1. By all means go for it. Much better rec at home, but so are the other top dogs. It’s possible to give time off while shooting for the moon.
    2. I’ll pass on this & 3. Just don’t know enough or who will return from inj.
    4. Mos def want CC playing but am comfortable we can win w/o him if need be. CC is effeminate (Greek for soft) not his manhood, but his fragility. We all know he has skilz, but inj & attitude could derail his ascent into the elite (and wear his welcome out in Astroland). I 2nd Larry Leach’s motion.
    5. A-Breg gets my nod. He has the talent, tools & wherewithal to become a perennial All-Star, future HOF. At 25 he has yet to reach his ceiling & is still learning/working on how good he will be.

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  7. 1. Normally I’m not huge on home field for playoffs, but this year I think it would help the Astros to have it and hope the Astros pursue that goal. Personally, I think AJ has done a good job giving the every day guys time off during the year, and several of them had extended vacations due to injury, so I’m not too worried about the lineup chugging on fumes, although it wouldn’t hurt to give Chirinos some time off.
    2. I don’t think they will load up with minor leaguers for Sept. They have in the past been keen to stay competitive for the minor league playoffs. Among the position players: Tucker, yes, Straw, and I think Toro stays when (if) CC comes back. Pitching staff: lord knows! So many to choose from. I think they have a pretty good handle on the minor leaguers that have been up during the year so there’s not really a pressing need to “see what we got”.
    3. I think Dan’s 1 thru 5 is a lock, plus Rondon, then probably Peacock and good old Mr. Pick ‘Em. As in years past we will probably see different pitchers active for each series.
    4. Yes they can win it all without him, definitely.
    5. Gotta go with Bregman for steadiness and putting up the numbers all season long. One very telling stat: in Astro wins he has hit .330 with 1.074 OPS; in losses he has hit .206 with .785 OPS

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  8. What the heck kind of strike zone does this ump have, calling strikes balls? Miley should throw balls & reverse his fortunes instead. Jeez, ump better be calling both ways.

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  9. 1. Limit the youngsters. We don’t need to see the 2022 starters. We need to win the 2019 World Series. 2. KTuck, Straw, Stubbs and someone for the bullpen. No need for a full dugout of non-players. 3. I think McHugh and/or Miley might help in the bullpen. Rondon? Tell me which one is going to show up and I will respond. Devo is out until (if he can) learn a 3rd and 4th pitch. 4. They better learn to win without him. Super talent when on the field. 5. There are very few players in MLB History that can “carry” a team. Yordan can. But at the end of the day, it is a team game. My answer is No One.

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  10. Yeah Dan, normally I’d be candid in my comments, but Rusty Hardin is an extended family friend. I will say this though. Was there no teammate aware of his issues?

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    • You know Dave B we see this over and over with celebs – like no one can control them or wants to control them. Of course it’s not like the old days when they had roomies on the road.
      I’m betting people suspected the alcohol but not the opiates
      It’s terribly sad – when I turned 27 we had two kids under 2 years old – one a newborn. So much of life this young man has thrown away.

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  11. Glad to see the team bounce back from a disappointing Thursday game. Bullpen carried the load tonight along with a decent offense.
    Weird the team scores 7 – Both Altuve and Brantley have 2 hits and don’t score or drive in a run.

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  12. No sound on the TV, so I always bring my radio. Can you guys tell me what the heck was going on with Rondon? The radio guys didn’t know what was going on.
    Chris Devenski absolutely can NOT come into a game without giving up a homerun. It’s not funny anymore. I hope all the guys we traded to the Blue Jays go on to have awesome playing years. Trent Thornton is a good pitcher, it’s a good thing…….they really need him!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The A’s sure like beating good teams. If they get a wild card they could be trouble. And the Dodgers lost. Home field is neck and neck. We’d run away with this thing if our pen was doing what we’ve grown to expect from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wonder if I am the only one that saw the three batters leading off the bottom of the ninth. The first one was Biggio. My mind said, “The TV crew made an error. Biggio plays for the Astros.” That was followed by “Oh.”

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  15. I think the Astros should strive for the home field advantage because it puts them in playoff mode. They need something to shoot for, something as a goal or a target to keep them sharp.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Seemed odd that he was pulled so quickly. This pen business has become quite a story. If we are going to win the whole thing in 2019, we’ll be seeing some unexpected contributions from some unexpected people.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love it when the Astros win.
    I love it when Springer hits a homer and the Astros win
    I love it when Round Rock wins their division.
    I love it when Fayetteville gets a playoff spot.
    I love it when the Astros lead MLB in BA.
    I love it when Trent Thornton gets beaten by the Astros.
    I love when Oakland beats the Yankees in NY.
    I love it when the Brewers lose.
    I love it when Arizona comes from behind and beats the Dodgers, especially when the winning run gets on base with a strikeout/passed ball and then scores on a balk.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just come back from Krogers to prepare a seafood fest and come back to this! Need another comeback win this eve so I can savor king crab and shrimp with Asti.

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  18. 46 men LOB, 13 BB the past two gms. If you add last gm with Rays both numbers climb exponentially (71-23). That may be league avg over x amount of games, I dunno. This is def too many.

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    • Definitely something wrong here.
      I’m starting to dread having the bases loaded.
      I also want to hide my eyes when Altuve comes to bat with runners on.

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      • Well the smart guys say there is no such thing as “Clutch.” In today’s game, a graphic shows that Altuve hits about 60 points below his average with RISP. So there has to be a thing called “Unclutch.”

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  19. Didn’t get to hear or see the game, I was busy visiting with our oldest daughter and 4 of my 5 grandchilden. Fatigue is starting to seep in every clubhouse I don’t blame it on everything but I suspect our guys are feeling it. Every once in a while one of our starters lays an egg, Miley has had a couple of games like today in a row.
    I gotta admit when Springer gets on, Altuve slaps at the first pitch…..and a lot of the time it’s grounding in a double play. Killing a rally right off the bat is deflating. We have like 18 games to clinch, I have 100% confidence that they will achieve that. They WILL win the West.
    I prayed that God took every one of those who were killed today to their Heavenly home.🙏 I just don’t understand.

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  20. Who remembers where you were at 11:59 pm two years ago? I was sitting in my recliner with my phone set to MLBTRADERUMORS.COM….when I saw “the Astros just traded for Justin Verlander!! My husband thought I was truly crazy because I ran around the den whooping and whistling and clapping my hands!
    Probably what every one of our guys did too…especially Dallas Keuchel!!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sandy, Dorian is long gone for me in the West Indies, but right about now, there are people in the northern Bahamas that will be dealing with an impossible situation, a category 5 hurricane with guests to 200 miles per hour. On some of the out islands, the storm surge may well be higher than the elevations of those islands. There is no place for people to go. And this slow moving storm will impact them for days rather than hours. It’s a terrible weather system.

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  22. Yes it it terrible. Could be devastating for the folks in its path. I have friends along the coast of Georgia and N. Carolina I’m worried about.

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  23. I did not realize the Stros are a half gm ahead of LA for home field, and a gm behind the Yanks. This will be a marathon until the finish. Becky I considered the grind has worn on every tm, that these guys are human regardless of our expectations of them. Home field is a motivating factor that is worth the effort even though we won without it in ‘17.
    I hope by the playoffs we do a better job of men LOB/RISP. Runs will be a premium in the playoffs as pitching tightens

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      • I agree Dave (exactly where r u in the islands? And be safe). Our guys really need to turn it up a notch (some look lethargic), as is the hitting lately. Relax while going for it, make it fun doing it.

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    • Geez, CR just swung at & missed 2-3 pitches in the same location, all balls for a SO. We have 2 Cy Young candidates working hard to produce the benchmark stats necessary to win. They will need every run the off can produce to help. Our offensive breakout gm is coming soon enough.

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  24. The guys seem to go way out of their way not to give Justin Verlander the least hint of run support. To have one of the best offenses in the modern era, we sure do look pathetic every fifth day.

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  25. I stayed off here not wanting to jinx it. What a fabulously pitched game. And thank goodness Yuli was replaced by Toro today (though who knows Yuli might have made some noise, too) as he hits the big HR and gets the last out of the game. Just so happy for JV!

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    • I was at work and we were watching the game on a 20′ by 10′ tv matrix that we usually watch the news on. Everyone stayed quiet about the no-no until it was completed.

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      • I watched the Yanks hit 2 HR’s, back-to-back for a comebacker. 1 to tie, the 2nd to win it. Same thing with LA, Pederson comes in and blast a HR to steal gm from Ari. A few key hits like Toro today would liven the HF quest for the Stros, esp given the level of comp we are playing the rest of the month.
        Can’t take scrubs for granted nor should we play to their level, tired or no

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  26. Round Rock didn’t even lead their division until about 10 days ago, but tonight they clinched the best record of all the AAA clubs from the PCL and International League.
    With all the injuries the Astros had and them constantly having to call up players all season, I think Mickey Storey did a heck of a job in Round Rock.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Can you imagine the nerves in that dugout when Justin Verlander has a no-hitter going and nobody can knock in a freakin’ run.
    Can you imagine the relief in that dugout when a rookie delivers what all these veteran players can’t.
    As far as I’m concerned, Toro notched himself a place in Astros lore.
    The starting pitchers for the Brewers in this next two game series both came up in the Astros farm system. And then, there’s Hader.

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