Astros and Redemption Sunday


Earlier in the day Sunday, the other active Houston team, the Texans had a redemption Sunday where they came back from turnovers and mistakes to beat a tough KC Chiefs team.

Sunday night there were a lot of redemptive themes to the Astros 3-2 walkoff win over the very tough Yankees team.

– The Astros as a team had played a sleepwalking first game in a 7-0 loss that had the intensity of a preseason game. Sunday they played a tight game where every pitch, every play had meaning and the Astros played it like the must win it was.

– George Springer, who had been having a dry spot reminiscent of his 2017 run against the Yanks cranked out a first pitch game tying home run against Adam Ottavino in the 5th inning to inspire the sellout crowd.

– Justin Verlander who had said he was good to go on short rest in Game 4 against the Rays (and wasn’t) pitched a vintage JV game – holding the Yanks in check except for the obligatory Aaron Judge 2 run HR.

– The bullpen which let a manageable 3-0 deficit balloon to a 7-0 blowout in the first game – held the Yanks scoreless over the last 4-1/3 innings to earn this critical win.

– And Carlos Correa, who had been on the fan’s skeptic list for oddwad injuries during the last two seasons – knocked in the first run with a screaming double into the corner, and then walked it off with a first pitch 11th inning dinger off former Astro J.A Happ.

Now it is on to NYC and an attempt to regain home field advantage. If they get swept like they did in 2017 this series will be over. If Gerrit Cole continues his Al Davis – just win baby – run against Luis Severino, they will regain control of the series. Who starts games 4 and 5? Neither team has announced those pitchers and neither team needs to look beyond Game 3 yet.

What happens next – we will see.

 

78 comments on “Astros and Redemption Sunday

  1. glad you have returned from e-mail purgatory. i sure wouldnt bet against cole in game 3. if we do indeed win #3 that takes some pressure off us and puts some on the yankees.

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  2. These playoff series, first TB and now NY, have been stressful. First, I despise openers pitching with a passion. Those pesky Rays pitchers were a pain in the butt. I believe if every tm went to Openers I would quit watching baseball. Lo and behold, NY did their own version with all the pitching changes last nite, literally emptying their BP, thank goodness to no avail.
    My stress comes not so much from our pitching per se, but our offense, or lack thereof. I understand playoff pitching is tough, but Astro offense has gone into hibernation. 22 MLOB last nite & 7 the nite before to score what, 3 runs? I hope last nite was a breakout gm because watching our guys stumble at the plate has been grueling. This blog have been like the fans at MMP, muted during games.
    Com’on team, loosen those cheek muscles and give us more to cheer about pls. I can handle stress better when you are banging those bats win or lose.

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    • Recall in the offseason there was a proposal that relief pitchers would have to throw to a minimum of three batters or finish an inning. Cash and Aaron Boone are trying their hardest to make such a change a reality.

      To be honest, I didn’t think there was anything MLB could do to lose me as a fan. We’re getting close. I don’t want to watch teams whose sole interest is scoring by HR. I don’t want to watch an entire bullpen enter a game.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Surprise, surprise!!Severino will be on a pitch count, probably 75-80 pitches if he makes it that far. He’s only been back for 4 starts. Germain really put them in a bind when he got suspended. Too bad.

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  3. The rule you are referring to Devin_ will begin next year. Yes….it ticks me off what the Rays, and yankees did. BUT….you gotta hand it to our bullpen last night they were AWESOME! Here’s what concerns me:
    You Can’t expect to win if you don’t hit, and if you have a chance to move a guy over….DO IT.
    You can’t live and die by homeruns!
    I’m not worried about Cole, but I am a little worried about Greinke. We’ve never seen him react (except Friday) to the MASSIVE LORD crowds that will greet him in New York. Maybe he should put ear plugs in his ears!
    Alveraz appears a tad over matched…..maybe it’s just me, do you folks?
    Three games up there will be a real test for our guys, but they can’t wait until the 11th inning to hit a game winning run. I really want this series to go all the way to 7 games….it gives us 2 more games at home!
    That’s all I have right now! But I’m sure I will get another case of the nervous ninny’s this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not too concerned with Greinke. He’s played before packed houses for years. He knows his job is to get us into the sixth inning and anything deeper is a huge bonus.

      They’ve been pitching Alvarez tough. I think it’s more a matter of pitchers really not leaving the ball where he wants it. I’m more concerned with any at bat involving Kyle Tucker. He’s striking out on pitches that never had a chance to even resemble a strike out of the pitcher’s hand. If the Astros manage to move on to the World Series I would strongly consider keeping Straw on the roster in his place – you lose some offense but he was capable enough.

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  4. Almost think Grenkie is good for no more than twice through the line up if that many. He’s almost a Keuchel Lite. I’d be happy to get 6 out of him unless his stuff was electric.

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  5. Becky, I’m feeling you. Is there anyone watching the Nats/Cards series? Nats will bunt bunt runners over (pitchers mainly) giving the top order 2 chances to bring the runners home. (The Cards should get swept I might add) because the Nats play small ball, they beat the shift POKING hits over the def or aim to hit oppo of the shifts. The Nats are hot, confident w/great pitching. The Cards are mistake prone w/ a weak OF & are getting punched in the mouth like they did the Braves.
    Becky, I’m seeing how small ball works, helps to get a rally started. I’m watching great things happens, an offense ignite doing the little things to to score runs. This NL series has helped me to see diff aspects of BB I hardly ever paid attention to or dismissed being a lover of offense.

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  6. -Redemption. When nobody else stepped it up, Correa saved the day. -I haven’t forgotten that two starts ago Greinke took a no hitter into the ninth.
    -Just like the Yankees are better than when we won all four games at MMP in 2017, I would hope that we have grown and are good enough to win in their ballpark.
    -I’m encouraged that Springer and Correa homered in game 2. It’s ok if a few other guys on our team break out, too. How about tomorrow?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nat’s up 3 games to none. No team has EVER come back 3 games down.
    Remember….the game is at 3:05 central tomorrow. GO ‘STROS!!!

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    • Remember that next time you think of Josh James. He seems to be the forgotten guy from Gm2… his first full rookie year, on the biggest stage, vs the best hitters from the best hitting team in baseball. And he held the line.

      Forced to give Sanchez not 1, not 2, but 3 chances after two strikeouts and a foul that hit the roof. Priceless in his development.

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  8. We are leaving New Jersey today and headed back to Houston – will miss today’s game.
    They are talking like tomorrow’s game may be a washout. If so it would move out game 4 and 5 and allow Verlander to start game 5 on normal rest

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  9. Had head about Yankees fans but didn’t know how bad it is. From Josh Reddick:
    “It’s brutal … they use Google really well.” Meaning they used his wife’s name and his mother’s name. This week in right field, he figures they will know his infant twins’ names. He is unable to repeat what they say.

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  10. If you get a chance, look at the Cole press conference on the Astros site. Here we have someone who could be the face of the team articulation-wise. From one extreme to another: Greinke, who uses 67 words in an interview, to Cole, who is remarkably expressive (no Bull Durham catchphrases). As they say, it takes all kinds, and this is a beautiful example of that.

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    • You might enjoy his interview with Collin McHugh on his podcast

      “12 to 6.” Cole talks a lot about his decision to go to UCLA, instead of play for the Yankees. He also seems like the type who is committed to testing the free agency market, and raising children near his and Amy’s family.

      When the Angels are exposed for their involvement in Skaggs’ case (6 other players have already been named in pain relief/drug abuse), I think Gerrit will choose LAD. We’ll see.

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      • ” (6 other players have already been named in pain relief/drug abuse”

        6 with the Angels?! Or 6 with other teams?

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      • https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/27828247/los-angeles-angels-employee-details-team-knowledge-tyler-skaggs-drug-use-federal-dea-investigators-espn

        When I heard his wife speak after his death, I did not trust this organization. She should have known if there was a problem — they were too tight. When I watched Angels press conference with that suspicion, it confirmed my thoughts. This info is further damning, and why his family seeks damages.

        What I’ve written about from the beginning is teams dealing with player pain. When DK didn’t tell his shoulder problem in 2016 until after the season, one thing he mentioned is how you are a “sissy” for missing a start, or being on the trainer’s table all the time.

        Teams had better figure this out, before it becomes like North Dallas Forty. When trainers and personnel are implicated, it has to be much deeper than is reported.

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    • I’m trying, Diane, but these websites are awful. I guess MLB making record profits and teams charging ridiculous prices for tickets/concessions these days aren’t enough…we’ve got to pack every square inch of real estate with advertising for merch that I’m not going to buy.

      Thanks for the recommendation, though, I look forward to listening once I get through all the chaff.

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  11. Let me remind you how DISGUSTING “some” yankee fans are.
    A.J.’s wife and daughters were in the stands in 2017….and they were pelted with beer, and anything else they could think of. The *FINAL* straw was when someone *SPIT* in their hair.

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  12. I am at work and they’re not showing the game this time, so if anybody can post once in a while will appreciate it. Apparently we have a run in the first.

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  13. Garrit Cole is having trouble with his signature 4 seam fastball.
    He’s already walked more guys today, than I can remember. Command is a little off today.

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  14. *Y E S*!!!! Boy did we need that 4th run!! The whole complexion changed in our favor in the 6th.!! I’m a nervous wreck!
    Thank you daveb!! See….it’s the little things that matter!

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  15. This kind of playoff baseball is painful to watch but ultimately damn rewarding. Our pitchers have taken charge as our offense has struggled. That’s team baseball. A huge must win. Cole fought his way through the Yankee line up in the Bronx on a day he did not have his best game. What more can we say about the guy? Incredible. Incredible.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Just a huge, momentum swinging victory for our guys. Not just redemption for the 1st gm shutout, but ensuring the series returns to MMP. AJ hints a gm 4 being a BP day, ditto according to Boone. Would love to see us close it out in NY but another win would loom even larger for the boyz. Dan, missing your gm countdown.

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    • I remember several of the pundits picking the Nats to win the NLCS. I thought it possible but after getting by the Dodgers, they obliterated the Cardinals. I just hope we can whoop the Yankees so we can face them. Their pitching is a s good as ours.

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  17. Nats sweep Cards. Hope to meet them in the series because growing up the Expos were my second favorite team, at least until the Rockies came along

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  18. Josh Reddick’s homer was the deciding run.
    Cole was awesome.
    The two wild pitches in a row was surreal, especially with the ump saving a run, and then Sanchez getting beaten again by the very same pitch.
    Gurriel knocks in a run with a sac fly and saves a run with a great tag at first base. That at-bat by Gurriel was was a big winner.
    The reason the Yankee crowd is so nasty is because there are very few women in the stands. I noticed this in 2017 and it is even moreso this time.
    Look at other playoff crowds and there are as many women there as men. It’s not that way in Yankee stadium.

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    • Interesting about women in the stands; did not know that. The Reddick homer was to me the most satisfying and the look on his face rounding the bases (photo) speaks volumes — absolutely serious and chin almost in a crumple as if to cry. He has been sufficiently disturbed by taunts that he has looked toward security guards, but they never gave hint of help. OP, did you watch in real time or record?

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      • I always record it and then start watching a half hour in so that I can fast forward the commercials. Last night I watched most of it in real time because they had the lead in the first inning. I’m much easier to live with when the Astros are winning.
        There is a photo out there of Reddick making the catch against the wall last night with a great picture of the crowd above him. In that picture you will see a hundred guys and three gals in the crowd. It’s the same thing all over that stadium. In MMP and other stadiums there are almost an equal proportion of men and women and a lot of kids. Not in Yankee stadium.

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      • OP, that photo is a full pager this morning and I have it on my desk. I spot 2, maybe 3, women. I have to say the looks on the faces of these particular fans do not seem threatening or particularly angry, but this is a very limited view. One guy even with chin in hand, leaning on wall, looking down at ball. I agree it’s close to a spectacular photo.

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    • Yeah, those gorillas don’r have, not would want to waste a ticket on a wife/girlfriend/significant other human, largely because they do not have such relationships. I chuckled this morning when I saw the photo of said gorillas hanging over the railing as Reddick made the warning track catch.

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  19. Their fans overall were despicable.

    They cheered when Bregman was hit (IN THE BACK, no less). They screamed Eff U to all our players. We know this because bloggers who were at the game reported it. Their fans hung around post game just to shout Houston Sucks. Some Yankee fans wrote they were embarrassed to be a part of it.

    That’s the culture they foster there. Dispensing with them will be a joy.

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  20. It is a strange situation when you think about it. You would think that a fan base that cheers for a team that has won 27 world championships, including 5 since 1996 could afford to be gracious winners.
    I know this is not all Yankee fans. We stayed with my wife’s aunt and uncle and he is a big Yanks fan, but was praising the Astros and was talking about the big Correa HR in positive terms. He is just a good baseball fan and a gentleman.
    I think the stadium location may have a lot to do with this (though there is no doubt that the folks up in NY/NJ can be a prickly bunch in general). The Bronx is not the best area at all to be in and perhaps that is why the shortage of women. Of course maybe they stay away because of fear of the Yanks own fans, not fear of the area.
    Perhaps these folks are playing one-up-manship type games. Bad behavior breeds bad behavior especially when no one is standing up to the boors in the crowd. I have witnessed some bad behavior by fans at Astro games, but it is the exception. Folks will boo of course, but throw stuff?? Yell inappropriate things at the players about their wives and kids??
    You know folks in NYC think we in the hinterlands are bush league, but there is nothing more bush league than what the Yank fans are bringing to the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are good points, and background, Dan. Thanks.

      I sure know how it feels when the season is slipping away, too. The more rested our two aces are, that’s another stranglehold they have to overcome.

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  21. The more success a franchise has, it appears, the more toxic their fan base becomes. Witness the Yankees [27 WS Championships], the Cardinals [11 WS Championships], the A’s [9 WS Championships], the Red Sox [8 World Championships], and the Dodgers [6 World Championships].

    But what do you say that as long as each of us has breath, we all pitch in together and do our part to make sure the Astros fan base is the exception to that rule?

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    • Amen, Mr. Bill. Let’s keep the ‘Stros the good guys. Both the team and the fans. If we turn bad, I say success isn’t worth it. And the photo I have from yesterday looks almost like a Norman Rockwell painting. Congrats to Brett Coomer, photographer.

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  22. On a more serious note, re the animal kingdom out in right field, Hinch might well hesitate to start the rookie out there and stay with Reddick. Right now, from my standpoint, any guy that hits a homer on our squad automatically qualities for another start next game. I’d love to see Reddick drop another one into those seats on Thursday.

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    • Hinch seems to have gotten the most out of each RF. Reddick was slumping badly when Tuck was called-up. Then, both players earned playoff spots in September, responding well to the competition.

      Besides the experience Reddick brings to the pressure packed playoffs, the more WPA, and WAR he accrues on top of 1.2, the less we have to trade in prospect value for another team to take on his $13M salary next season. 1 WAR is roughly $8-12M value, so that is looking better than mid-Summer.

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    • Yes, Dan. The picture in the paper is a tight shot of the six fans directly above Reddick. The one fellow leaning on his chin, the young boy to the left, and the different body positions of the other four, with Reddick below, are what give it that Rockwellian feel.

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  23. Pretty good chance Ausmus knew Madden was his replacement when he got his waking papers. If the drug questions surrounding that club get confirmed, Ausmus might not get a Major League managing job again. But what can Joe Madden do for that club?

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      • This gives me the same feel as the Matt Lauer situation. Folks up top knew this was happening and enabled it through inaction or through cover up. It does not take away from the personal responsibility of Skaggs or Lauer in either case, but the culture of the network/ baseball team can either make this unacceptable behavior or behavior that is allowed because of who is doing it…..

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  24. DANG IT!! I was hoping we could have played today. All the yankee bullpen will get a little rest….now they have an edge tomorrow against us now.
    BUT….if this series comes back to Houston, Verlander and Cole will be on regular rest ( am I right)? My Memphis grandsons are here! Tucker (13) and Tate (10) are HUGE Astros fans!!! They claim I am responsible for that!!

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  25. The Astros gave up a lot for Greinke. You go with him, Verlander and Cole on full rest.
    The game is won on the field. You put your best out there and put your faith in them.
    When it comes to playoff baseball, your scary lineup is scary, not because they all will hit, but because they are all capable of hitting. In game 3, it was Altuve and Reddick who hit. In game 2 it was Correa.
    You pitch your best pitchers and wait to see if the scary lineup delivers.

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    • Fully agree. If the offense wakes up and gives Greinke some support, he’ll give them some innings. I think our guys will be better prepared for Tanaka after seeing him last week.

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    • OP, you say they gave up a lot for Greinke. My understanding is farm but since I don’t know farm, in your opinion, did they give up too much?

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      • the trade for Greinke came at a high cost for Houston, though, which gave up three of its top five prospects according to MLB Pipeline: first baseman Seth Beer (No. 3) and right-handers J.B. Bukauskas (No. 4) and Corbin Martin (No. 5), in addition to infielder Josh Rojas (No. 22) and cash going to Arizona. Martin recently had Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.

        “We gave up four legitimate prospects that we were very excited about,” Luhnow said. “To get a future Hall of Famer like Zack Greinke on our team for the next 2 1/2 years, we had to give up a lot of value, and it was painful. That’s why it took so long. We were really resisting giving up all four of those guys and tried different permutations and different replacements, but at the end of the day, that’s the deal they insisted on and that’s the only deal that was going to get done. We ended up conceding at the last moment.”

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      • hi diane, thats a quote from a story on the trade. high cost, high return if greinke pitches as well as his track record. if he wins game 4 and gives the yankees a near last nail in the coffin for this series (up 3-1 with 3 to go, 2 of which would be in houston if necessary) then for the near term it was worth it. not to mention he had a pretty good regular season for us.

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      • Thanks to rrj and OP. This game tonight will be what I call a tense situation. Will try for one, maybe two innings, that’s it. Otherwise no or little sleep.

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  26. Yankee press keeps pumping out conspiracy theories about sign stealing. Even cameras in the Astro bullpen and whistling signals.

    Can you really whistle over a full house of screaming fans? And if there are cameras in the pen, why did we get shut out 7 zip in the opener and only scratch out 3 runs over 11 innings in game two?

    The Astros are leading this series two games to one because we’ve had superior pitching to date. I don’t think there is a sign stealing concept for that, unless we are successfully confusing their sign own stealers with fake signs. And that’s just good espionage.

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