Observations on an Astros’ 2-0 lead in the ALDS


Talk about your small sample sizes. Here are some observations after two whole games, both wins (6-2, 3-1) by the home team Houston Astros.

  • Only an engineer would notice this, but based on the numerical progression, the Astros should win the third game 1-1/2 to 1/2 a run…..
  • The Astros’ pair of aces outdueled two very good Tampa Bay Rays starters. How do you compare Gerrit Cole’s totally dominant outing (7.2 IP, 0 runs, 4 hits, 15 Ks, 1 BB) to Justin Verlander’s totally dominant outing (7.0 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 8 Ks, 3 BBs)? Tyler Glasnow (4.1 IP, 2 ERs) and Blake Snell (3.1 IP, 1 ERs) were both solid with some great stuff, but recent injuries meant the Rays had to go to the bullpen early for both.
  • If Verlander/Cole continue their domination all the way to a World Series title, who is going to care if Jim Crane has to pay a bit of luxury tax in re-signing Cole? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/10/astros-rumors-luxury-tax-gerrit-cole.html    Yes, the Astros may not want to sign Cole to a 6 or 7 year contract based on their previous history of avoiding long term commitments to pitchers. But if they were going to make that step would Cole be the one to earn that honor?
  • The Astros’ fielders have not committed an error, while the Rays have made two big errors that bit them in the butt. In the fifth inning of the first game, Brandon Lowe missed a two out pop-up that moved the needle from 2-0 to 4-0 and really put the Rays in catch-up mode.  In the 7th inning of the 2nd game, SS Willy Adames made a throwing error on Yuli Gurriel’s ground ball. He came around for what ended up being the winning run on Martin Maldonado’s single later in the inning.
  •  After a single and three Ks in the first game, Carlos Correa proved to be a valuable 7th place hitter (who would have believed that statement two years ago) as his double set up Gurriel to score the second run and his two out single in the eighth brought in the third and final run.
  • In the off-season, non-tendering Will Harris who was going to get a fair raise in arbitration after a middling 2018 was a consideration. At least a consideration for some of us fans (and I may have been one of those some), but the Astros settled on a $4.2 million salary with Harris and he has rewarded them with a top season out of the bullpen (4-1, 4 saves, 1.50 ERA, 60 IPs). He has turned in two critical firemen performances coming in to put out a fire started by Ryan Pressly in the 8th inning of game one and even more critically coming into a 3-1 second game with the bases loaded and 1 out (fire courtesy of Roberto Osuna) and getting out unscathed.
  • George Springer is 0 for 8 and a walk in the first two games. After the 2017 playoffs, I’m willing to wait for George to go nuts in the 2019 version.
  • It was just not a surprise to see Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman get the team off the scheid in each game with a home run.
  • How much do we blame Robeto Osuna for his 9th inning meltdown? He pitched great in game one. In game 2, he got out of an 8th inning jam left to him by Cole and then had to sit waiting through a very long bottom of the 8th inning. He then almost spit the bit in the 9th inning before being rescues by Harris.  Playoff jitters and meltdowns ended up causing the Astros to sit down Ken Giles two seasons ago. We witnessed top notch relievers like Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen hiccup under the pressure of close and tight in the playoffs. A.J. Hinch will need all his relievers in these playoffs and he is not likely to switch out closers after one scary outing. Now if Osuna has a second scary outings…..
  • It would certainly behoove the Astros to win this ALDS in Tampa in the next game (or at worst) two. Their best case scenario will be to head into the ALCS with Verlander and Cole in the first two games. If they go to a 5th game, then Verlander is used up until the 3rd game of the ALCS if the Astros do win the ALDS.

The Astros are a better team than the Rays, but they go to Tampa knowing that Charlie Morton is a heck of an opponent in the third game and having to put faith in either Jose Urquidy or Wade Miley (or both) in the fourth game. Again the Rays were a 96 win team in the regular season playing in a very tough division. The Astros need to play their best and hope that their offense revs it up and makes their pitcher’s lives easier.

How do you see the rest of this series playing out?

 

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104 comments on “Observations on an Astros’ 2-0 lead in the ALDS

  1. If the Astros don’t win today, then there is a pretty good chance it goes five games. It would be so much better all around to win this afternoon. Then our guys can be home for dinner.

    I never feel all that comfortable when Osuna takes the mound in a tight situation. But he’s our guy. Unfortunately, he seems to do better work coming into a game in the 9th with nobody on base. Hanging around the dugout does not seem to work for him. And that might be a problem going forward, because we’re in the post season and he needs to be ready for any situation Hinch puts him into. But this playoff business is tough. Seems like any single at bat can screw up a game.

    Today would be an excellent day for George to wake up.

    At some point soon, perhaps today, Hinch is going to have to trust a couple of other guys in the pen to get big outs. And I sure hope Pressly is at 100%.

    Overall, our guys have played some pretty tidy baseball. We’ve even stolen a couple of bases without getting caught. It would be awfully nice to see a repeat of what the bats did against Charlie on August 27.

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  2. *** How do you see the rest of this series playing out? ***

    I see us finally getting the offense untracked tonight, and giving our old, well-beloved friend CFM an early exit. I see George Springer breaking out of his funk in a big way, and I see him, Jose, Michael, and Yordan all having multiple hit games. I see Greinke getting the win, with minimal damage. In other words, I see an Astro sweep.

    But then again, I have been known to hallucinate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. * Morton with 4 days rest and Greinke with 11 days rest is an interesting situation. Who knows how this is going to play out.
    * What are the Rays batters going to try to do to get to a game 4? Will they try to attack the shift?
    * I see this as a game where the winner of the first inning has a greater chance to be the winner of the game than usual.
    * Springer, Altuve, Brantley, Bregman is one heck of a way to start a game.

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  4. I’m not really all that concerned about Osuna since he did put out the fire for Cole and he pitched well in game 1 albeit in a non-save situation. I thought it was curious that Hinch called on him in the eighth instead of Harris who IMO is the better fireman and then that Harris wasn’t warming up during the bottom of the eighth, especially as it drug on for a while. Harris didn’t even start throwing until Osuna had put the first two men on base. I used to be down on Harris but he has made a believer out of me this season. I can see our chances of winning today at better than even and even if we lose I think I would prefer Verlander on short rest vs Urquidy or Miley. I don’t see the Rays beating Verlander and Cole and if they do they deserve to advance.

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  5. Is there any other SS in baseball today who makes that play on the OF grass and throws out the runner at 1B like Correa did Saturday? I don’t think there is. Even Simmons doesn’t have the arm to make that throw.

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  6. Dan will be watching something else and tracking with one eye. 1OP will hit “record” and head for the storm cellar. Z-Man will pace nonstop in and out. Becky will be outside. Dave will have a mai tai in one hand and a crowbar in the other for wayward monkeys. Sandy will be where? Mr. Bill will be watching, thanks to OP. Please send in any other “viewing” locations.

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      • Dan…I bought a pretty good transistor radio a couple of years ago and I have ear buds to listen to the game. I have really enjoyed Robert Ford call the games, I’ll be listening kinda like you! I just said a prayer for Zack….put His hand on Zack’s shoulder to keep him steady. Good luck guys!

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    • Sandy goes into another room with my iPad and at bat app.
      Like OP. It’s recording so I can catch the high lights later.
      I’m a coward.

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  7. No Mai Tai today. Down here, getting into the habit of weekday drinking is a bad habit! I skipped out of the office at lunch and will not be going back. That first inning run was great, but the 31 pitches Charlie had to throw might have been better.

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  8. Apparently our team thinks that Runners in scoring position is Altuve or Bregman up to bat with nobody on.
    It is always good to score first and Charlie with 52 pitches after 2 innings is a start.

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    • The HBP was preceded by a 4-3 ground out that moved a runner to second. Altuve could have easily gone to second for the first out due to the runner hesitating, but opted to get the out at first. I kind of wonder if this threw Greinke off because his control is all out of whack right now. Probably needed a visit from Chirinos to settle down.

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      • Did the shift throw off Altuve / Correa on that grounder Devin – can’t see the game here so just guessing on stuff.

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      • I had no problem with Altuve going to first. He would have had to make a complete pivot after coming in on that ball and then throw around a big man to get the force. Two outs, man on second, Greinke cruising. That inning was all on our pitcher.

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  9. After getting hit hard….Greinke is out of the game, Rondon (UGH) in to pitch.
    I was afraid of this since Zack hasn’t pitched in 11 days. *JEEZE*!!!

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  10. Walked in on the gm long enough to see ZG give up 2 HR’s. Was hoping the offense would step up (there’s still time) to unleash a barrage knowing our pitching could be suspect after JV & GC. We can’t afford a bunch of ofers moving forward.

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  11. I did not expect that kind of a game out of Zack today, especially after he looked so comfortable in the first. This is a good reminder though. The Rays play 38 games a year against the Yankees and Red Sox. They were not going to go down easy. This series could easily go 5 games and not end up in our favor. I don’t care what the odds are. I sure would like to see our bats wake up and shock this crowd late.

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    • Me 2! but the Rays are putting a whooping on us! Rondon gives up a hit and so does Miley, and another one. Miley 2 batters, two hits. Bad day @ black rock. Miley hasn’t recorded an out yet.

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    • Not if our bats ever show up. So far we look ridiculous! You’d think we were 10 runs ahead. I’m hoping Urquidy is up to the challenge tomorrow.

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  12. So, with Miley pitching today – Urquidy has to be the starter tomorrow. The Rays… I’m guessing they will use lefty Ryan Yarborough

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  13. Good pitching beats good hitting. Weak back-end pitching beats good front-end pitching — even if #1 and #2 are Young candidates. Not being morose; it’s just we knew it was going to get tougher.

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  14. How long can we sustain so many men LOB 15, 19 & today 14 thus far. 48 men LOB & only twelve have scored. Yet we’re up 2 gms. We absolutely have to do better with RISP to shorten this series moving forward

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I said before the roster was announced that Miley no longer had any value to us. Unfortunately, now we’re going to have to play game 4 and maybe game 5 with a six man pen, although Greinke would be available in a limited role if we end up having to play on Tuesday. And again, I can’t see any use for Mikey if we end up meeting the Yankees.

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  16. For all the gaudy #’s this tm accumulated offensively over the season, it’s a misnomer that means jack come playoff time. In short series LOB & RISP matter exponentially. Before Miley’s colossal collapse we had 3 SP who consistently kept opponents at bay. Now we are down to 2 reliable, 1 maybe and some hopefuls. One gm does not make a death kneel, but leaving nearly 50 men OB means this easily could have been a 3 gm sweep. And we’ve had 3 gms to adjust to TB’s BP. Today they are smacking out guys around. Today is our wake up call to get Giggly with it by putting TB away.

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  17. Bringing Verlander on short days rest tomorrow. The Yankees play the Twins tonight, if the yankees win tonight tomorrow’s game will be at 7:10, if the Twins win…our game will start at 3:10.

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  18. If JV wins they can have Cole lead off the ALCS and JV back for game 2 – if they lose JV’s game (notice I didn’t say he himself would lose) then Cole comes back on regular rest for Game 5

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    • I thought ALCS is 7 games. In any case, to me this speaks panic. Even if we move on, we can’t ride Verlander and Cole every other day. They’re great pitchers but also human beings.

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      • They are taking a chance – if they win this game with JV – they will be able to start the ALCS with Cole and JV on enough rest but flipped
        If they had held back JV and had to use him for a 5th game – they would not have him until the third game of the ALCS
        The risk is if they lose game 4 they will use up Cole in game 5 and in trouble starting the ALCS
        Not panic right now but if they don’t win Game 4 they will be up against it

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Man, what I said I saw happening [before the game] could not have been more wrong. George Springer most definitely did not rebound. He is still 0 for the NLDS -and hasn’t hit a ball hard, or even had a decent at-bat, yet. Without him hitting, we will not win this series. Altuve and Alvarez cannot win this by themeselves. Meanwhile, Zack Greinke pitched almost as badly as Wade Miley. He had no command – and the Rays massacred his junk. Wade Miley proved to be exactly what the fan base thought he was before the NLDS started – about 4 outings past done for the year. Carlos Correa made a couple of great plays in the field, but is not badly out of sorts offensively. Carlos Everett, I call this version of our Captain. Alex Bregman? Ugh. He did not look even slightly like an MVP, either offensively or defensively. Brantley looked terrible. Chirinos contributed nothing. Reddick and Diaz were both useless.

    Well played, CFM. You deserved not only to win, but to gloat. Morton > Greinke – by a country mile.

    And now Hinch announces that we are seriously going to start Verlander [at 36 y/o] tomorrow on 3-days rest? This sort of thing smacks of desperation, and almost never works out. I see an elimination game in Houston, with the Rays coming it with swagger and momentum.

    We will soon see what this team is made of.

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  20. Verlander has never come back on short rest to start a game. The only other time he pitched on short rest was in 2017 out of the bullpen in Boston.
    MAN….I’m nervous about tomorrow.
    We have *GOT* to take one of these next 2 games.

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  21. I was initially surprised when I heard Verlander would be starting tomorrow. But Verlander knows far better than me what he is capable of. And the idea is to win this series, without even thinking about setting up the rotation for a series they have not qualified for.

    So, I take Cy V. Young on three days rest.and Cy C. Young on regular rest over Jose Urquidy and Cy C. Young as my best chance to win the series we have to win in order to move on.

    And it could all be a moot point regardless. Our offense has to show up and do their fair share. It’s time.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pretty active crowd in DC again tonight. STL and ATL going 5 games. Nats and Dodgers are leaning in that direction right now too. This playoff business is no automatic thing.

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  23. It won’t matter who pitches for Houston tomorrow if the bats don’t show up.
    You see it in their eyes they are searching, and pressing HARD. All we can do is pray for them to play their best game. I know I will.

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  24. Here is some interesting season long stats showing Hits, RBIs, Runs, and Sac.

    Astros 1538 – 891- 920 – 10
    Yankees 1493 – 904 – 943 – 10
    Dodgers 1414 – 861 – 886 – 55 (Pitcher Batting)

    So it would appear that for every RBI for the Dodgers it takes 1.64 hits. For the Yankees 1.65. And Astros 1.726 hits. That is a variance of about 4.5% fewer RBIs over the course of the season. That is how you have more hits, fewer RBIs, and fewer runs actual than the Yankees and on a percentage with a pitcher hitting, not driving in the same amount of runs as the Dodgers per hit. (Astros also have more total bases than the Yankees)

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting/seasontype/2

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  25. normally i would be against starting verlander on short rest, it just usually doesnt work out. however given how our rotation is lined up and the schedule ahead, i think its a good calculated move. if jv loses this game then we have cole on normal rest to take the final game of this series. if jv wins this game, we have cole for game 1 of the next series with extra rest and verlander ready for game 2 on normal rest. that looks like a good scenario for us.

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  26. The bigger question mark for me is whether or not the offense will wake up and take some of the burden off of our pitchers. If we want to keep playing October baseball, it’s got to be a team effort.

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    • I’m with you on this 100% Dave. I’m less worried about pitching wondering when this vaulted lineup will show up. Leaving 49 or more potential runs on base is to darn many! Just slow down and breathe, show some love on the off side of this equation

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  27. Man…I’m not comfortable with Verlander pitching tonights game. When Hinch used him out of the bullpen in Boston….he used 40 pitches, and labored through 2 innings. This has the hallmarks of disaster…I hope I’m wrong.
    You can bet your blue booties the Rays will try to ambush Verlander….. take that to the bank! LORDY….I’m nervous!

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    • I think the difference here is that Verlander will be able to get ready for his start vs the uncertainty of his bullpen cameo in Boston. Missing a day of rest certainly does upset the routine but by him knowing this far in advance and kind of suspecting it I think he’ll do fine and give us six good innings. The real key will be how many good innings the offense will give us. the Rays pitching staff is good but not this good. Time for Springer and Brantley especially to show up.

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