Astros playoffs: 3 reasons to worry or not


Fans are humans (we will ignore Oakland fans at this point). Humans by nature are pessimistic. Therefore, as any logic professor will tell you, fans are pessimistic. So, this post is a public service for those who worry deeply about our local 9 (or local 25).

Reason #1 to Worry. The Astros are heading into the playoffs with a giant question mark like the Bat signal hovering over their heads – who will be the #4 starter? A few things have changed since this article came out…..

https://chipalatta.com/2019/09/12/astros-in-search-of-the-fourth-starter/

…..as Wade Miley may have pitched himself off the playoff roster. You can’t have a fourth starter who is as likely to pitch 1 inning or less as he is to pitch 5 innings or longer and that is what he has become. Jose Urquidy has certainly pitched better and mostly longer than Miley and his 6 shutout innings on Friday night will be the last thing that is in the manager’s and front office’s memory as they set the playoff rosters.  The Astros needed a #4 starter to win the 2017 WS and the question is in 2019 do they trust the guy who was great for 5 months and putrid for one or the guy who is a lot less experienced, but has gotten better every start out there?

Reason #1 to Not Worry. With Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke the team can afford a 4th starter who is not optimum. The twin Cy Young runs of Verlander and Cole ……

https://chipalatta.com/2019/09/21/verlander-cole-when-a-tie-is-not-like-kissing-your-sister/

….. mask the fact that Greinke is a half step behind them. Combined his D’Backs and Astro numbers are 18-5, 2.93 ERA, 208.2 IP, 0.982 WHIP and you have one of the best pitchers in all of baseball backing up the two best pitchers in baseball.

Reason #2 to Worry. The Astros offense gets a case of the “sputters” way too often. They are 26th in the majors (5th most) in leaving 3.55 runners in scoring position per game. They get tons of runners on base with their .353 OBP leading all of baseball, but are not very efficient with runners in scoring position.

Reason #2 Not to Worry. Quantity over quality. The Astros are leading the majors in BA (..274), OBP (.352), SLG (.494) and OPS (.847). They have dragged themselves up to #3 in the AL in runs scored (906) behind only the Yanks and Twins after languishing down around 5th or 6th for a chunk of the season. Nobody wants to face their full (real) lineup. Nobody.

Reason #3 to Worry. Are the Astros “ready” to play the best teams in baseball right now? In their last 25 games they’ve only played two teams with winning records – splitting two with the Milwaukee Brewers and getting whacked 3 out of 4 by the Oakland A’s (who they may have to play in the ALDS). They are 50 games over .500, but 17 of those 50 games over came at the expense of the Seattle Mariners only. They are 33-6 against the five last place teams they have played this season.

Reason #3 Not to Worry. The Astros have had a few hiccups along the way, including three one run losses in a row to the Reds on the road and losing six of their last eight games with Oakland after beating them 9 of their first 11 meetings. But overall they have been a consistently successful team winning more than they lost each month (17-9 in April, 20-8 in May, 15-12 in June, 16-8 in July, 19-9 in August and 17-6 so far in September. With their rotation, their lineup and with a bullpen that is performing well down the stretch they will be a handful for any team they face.

It is ok to worry about your team, but it is a lot more fun to sit back and enjoy them.

15 comments on “Astros playoffs: 3 reasons to worry or not

  1. My problem is that I know how good this team is and I get steamed every time they don’t play like I expect them to.
    I’m trying to look at the playoffs as reward time for them and me. I want to remember all the years they did not get in the playoffs. I want to remind myself of all the disappointments I’ve had as an Astros fan and then think about how the rest of baseball now respects and admires my team.
    The 2019 season was a fabulous meal. This is dessert time. The Astros’ playoffs are my cherry cheesecake. I’m going to savor it and then get ready for next season’s feast.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Urquidy seems to me as the obvious choice as 4th starter. He may have the jitters in his 1st playoff start, but he will probably come through. I just think Miley is done for the season and most likely as an Astro. What outfielders are the Stros going to keep for the playoffs? Tucker is our rightfielder of the future and it just seems to he has more value right now than Marisnick and Straw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Larry, I’m trying not to comment on the roster, as I know Dan will ask for our thoughts on that soon. But I will say that there likely will not be room for both Jake and Straw. If that is indeed the case, I think we know who stays.

      Like

  3. The table is set. But there is a moat full of alligators between us and the banquet.

    By the way, all not being sure of our 4th starter means is that we have to win every game pitched by our 1, 2, and 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It really is a totally different season. Bregman is right in that regard. The games are played a little bit differently. We are not going to stop swinging for the fences, but we might see a bunt in a tight game. Every team has holes. I just hope our pen pitches like it has for the past week or more. Maybe coach Strom has got them peaking. And in the post season, anything goes. We might see Cole come in to get an essential strike out on his day off. Guys will be used differently to an extent. Our bats? I just thing they are ready to go on a run at the perfect time. I like our chances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that’ll give Theo a year or two. But now it’s his turn to be in the hot seat.

      I love the thought of Charlie Morton throwing 7 tough innings in a win against the A’s.

      Like

  5. The Pirates have got to be the stupidest. They fired their manager an hour before game 162 started and then asked him if he wanted to manage their final game.
    He left.
    Goodness gracious! How low can a GM go?
    Who would want to work for this team? OK, maybe somebody from last year’s Marlins might.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim Anderson of the White Sox won the AL batting title.
    Anderson walked 15 times in 516 PA’s for a cool 2.9% BB rate. That was the lowest walk rate in the AL among qualified batters.
    His .337 winning batting average was accompanied by an unbelievable .402 BABIP.
    So, Tim Anderson, AL batting champ finished with the top BA in the AL and was only 20th in OBP.
    Prime candidate for regression.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s rumors flying around that Brad Ausmus might be surfing for the next couple of years while the Angels pay his salary.
    Hope he makes them pay every penny!

    Like

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