How would a late 2020 start affect Astros?

The 2020 baseball season will start late if it starts at all. Right now, we should be enjoying the second week of the season, but NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! (Kudos to John Belushi).

Let’s assume that the season starts in Mid-May, which is MLB’s current date. How will that late start affect the Astros? In the most important question mark of the team in 2020, starting pitching, it should help them.

Let that owwa mend. Justin Verlander had groin discomfort in spring training and ended up having surgery three weeks ago in Mid-March. There is an approximate 6 week period for recovery.  So, instead of JV looking to return 4 or 5 weeks into the season, he will likely be recovered at the end of April, ahead of the beginning of the season.

Meanwhile, Justin has not been completely shut down….

It is great to see the charity efforts of the players like JV, Jose Altuve, Joe Smith and others.

Old Guys. Justin Verlander just turned 37 years old. Zack Greinke will turn 37 years old this October. Yes, they both pitched very well last season (and a number of seasons before that). But Verlander especially looked like he was tuckering out in the playoffs. JV pitched 258.1 IP in the regular season and playoffs in 2019 and Greinke threw 233 IP.  Having a shorter season would seem to be a benefit to both men who will be in the #1 and #2 spots in the rotation and may knock off 50 innings or more from their load.

Return of the Jedi. Lance McCullers sat out the whole of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery. The team really did not want him to take on a whole season of starts (175-200 IP) considering his past problems with staying on the field. The late start of the season allows them to get closer to that 120-130 IP sweet spot they had planned without having to sit him out for a month plus or skip a bunch of starts.

On the other side. The Astros had a number of guys in 2019, who were late starters. This included Alex Bregman (again), Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. If those guys get off to a similar slow start this time around, the season might be half over before they really contribute.

Using those famous words, “on paper” this delay would seem to help a team like the Astros where the starting pitching especially could use the lighter load.

What do you think?

45 comments on “How would a late 2020 start affect Astros?

  1. Dan, no intent to derail, just to point out TCM seems to be running golden age scary movies today, starting with “The Thing” first thing this morning and now
    “Them” is on. For distraction in this situation it works pretty well, at least for old-time like me who saw these as a kid. I’m working from home but guess you could say I’m multitasking.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Arness is the suit in “Them” — you’re right. But more than that, he was The Thing in “The Thing” — never seen as himself. Who knew Gunsmoke was coming? By the way, the crazy guy in the hospital seeing huge ants was Fess Parker.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think a late start will benefit the Stros. Good for our pitchers and also for the fading of some of the hate in regard to the cheating scandal.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I would add something similar but several years old and when not as much “tech” was around. We owned a flower shop. When the Gulf War I started, nobody died, and nobody was in the hospital. For about 3-4 weeks, we had almost zero business. It took about 4-6 months to come back around. People’s buying habits will change and so will other habits. Some things will not return to “normal.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • The way MLBTR has treated the Astros, including again in an article this morning, I hope they go broke and their owner has to declare bancruptcy.
      I took them off my list of go-to websites months ago.
      Bill O’brien, MLBTR, a certain political party and Bud Selig are all tied at the top of my Horse Dookie List

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan, I agree with your thought on some members being notorious late starters. Yes, if this were to happen, again, then the season would be half over before it began. Lord help us if other teams got off to scalding starts.

    The pitching staff would benefit greatly by the late start, but that would depend upon how many games would be played. There are rumblings of triple headers in Phoenix, that is, three different games between 6 different teams. All of the actual doubleheaders played could wear the bullpens out, even with the three extra players and the new “three hitter” rule.

    Ugh… we will see.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The idea of every single game played in Phenix is kinda mind boggling, when they are talking about 3 games a day! I’m sure before the season actually starts there will be more ideas bouncing around. The only thing that all of us know for sure is……NOTHING will ever be the same. Our world as we knew it is gone. No matter how much we stay home scared to leave, this virus evidently will stick around for a very long time. Who knows every other team might start off slow as well, but the Astros typically do start slow. It will be interesting to see who grabs the 4th and 5th spots in the roration, because that’s the only week spot I see with these guys. You can bet the arlington little league WILL be in the mix for Springer next year…..that’s why I want Crane to do everything possible to keep him here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Becky, there are 10 other stadiums in the area where the other teams will rotate into and out of. They are, allegedly, within 20 of one another. These stadiums will probably see the double headers.

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  4. 1.You are right, Dan about the late start to the season helping the Astros pitchers. Playng a limited number of games greatly helps keep the Astros starter from throwing too many innings. Playing in front of sparse crowds in the heat will help Urquidy, who is used to the heat.
    2. No matter what, the small crowds in Arizona would be a big advantage for Houston, who was facing the wrath of huge crowds on the road.
    3. Most importantly, a shortened schedule favors teams with tremendous talent and the Astros are one of the most talented. Dodgers projected at 55 WAR, Astros at 54 WAR and Yanks at 52.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. In my salad days, we’d sure drink a lot of beer at those occasional twin bills.

    Besides the obvious guys like Verlander and Lance, the late start of the season, assuming it does happen, a couple of other guys come to mind.

    Hopefully Alvarez can get his knee issues fine tuned, with the proper therapy and rest for his particular situation.

    A guy like Tucker sure needed to get into a ML routine. This delay does not help him.

    I think a structured environment for Whitley is essential. He might not be getting that right now. And if not, his progress could be further impacted than it has already.

    Great point! Empty Arizona stadiums might be the perfect playing environment for our guys, giving them the chance to just go out and play baseball and have some fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Something else to think about for all players. If the season starts up and this virus is still active, every player will not be allowed to be with their families because the PLAYERS will be exposed to folks who are not “self distancing”.
    Many wives are either pregnant or have newborns, those guys will balk at that.
    Four months away from their families will be problematic. There’s SO much to think about and navigate with this season hanging in limbo.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A couple thoughts on theses plans. (1). My wife and I have watched several TV pastors the past couple weeks. It is obvious that some need a crowd to talk to and others do not. My guess is some players need the crowd noise also. 2. A late start in HOT weather may be the cure for the poor start for some players.

    And Becky is correct, we are going to move to a new “normal” and probably will not even notice the multiple changes that will occur.

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    • It is not unusual to reply about things I do not know. Here we go again. It appears that their are 10 stadiums for the Cactus League and Diamondback (Chase) ballpark. So to get 30 teams into action each day, you play 11 games (22 teams) and need only 4 doubleheaders (8 teams). It would be silly in my opinion to try to play back to back doubleheaders in all the parks.

      So MLB could get in a couple weeks of these games to kick off the season. But if a single player or coach turned up “positive” – you have a real mess on your hands like the NBA.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kind of a follow up on something old pro posted above about MLB Trade Rumors….Hey, I hate their coverage of the Astros, too op. But if I stopped going to web sites where I disagree with things some of the time, I wouldn’t be able to write this post (or actually get on the internet at all).
    MLBTR has been a great source to me as a one shop stop for baseball news around both leagues and I am a bit lazy that way….
    But I don’t blame you for dropping them for the reason you give.
    I’m just glad there is no “opinions” to run aground on at baseball-reference.com

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If the goal is to play in front of empty stands there is no reason they couldn’t just build a handful more fields out in the desert. It’s still a dumb idea. I don’t need 162 games to be played…or whatever they’re after. I’d rather see the players put in an environment that’s safe. It’s almost as bad an idea as playing a world cup in Qatar.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I really don’t think MLB is ready to crank it up soon. The earliest I think anything would start up would be June to go back to training camps and July to start an abbreviated schedule played in Arizona.
    I see the odds of this happening at 50% and the odds of no season at all at 50%

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hate to be positive but there are glimmers of hope on this thing but you don’t pick it up unless you sit there and just expose yourself to the barrage. Eventually someone will whisper, “O by the way, we did hear this report.” Like
    this morning on one of the network news show’s opening, an anchor said, “An encouraging note on coronavirus, but we’ll get to that later.” Understand that,
    folks, good news comes LATER.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Last night as we were going to bed, I explained to my “Non Fan” wife MLB’s thoughts on playing in Arizona. She started to laugh. She said, “So the catcher will be 6 feet from the batter. The umpire will be 6 feet behind the catcher. The first baseman will be 6 feet from the runner. In the dugout, there will be room for 5 players. In the bullpen, another 5 players at 6 feet. You were just kidding right.”

    I turned off the light and said “Yes, I was just making a joke.” As the room got dark, I heard her say “You tell some whoppers sometime.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have been asked that many times over the past 30 + years. My standard answer is “I am willing to put up with her.” (She does not read Chipalatta, so I should be safe.)

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    • Watching real baseball games sounds pretty good right now, but The Mrs. seems to be a bit more rational than the experts at this point in time.

      Seeing that things are so screwed up right now, it would be more than delightful for the Astros to announce that George has agreed to a new 7 year deal, effectively making him an Astro for life. I know it’s too long but these are strange times. 45, can you ask the Mrs. 45 if she’s okay with that?

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  13. Here’s my personal take. I would hope that the MLB season could start no later than May 15. Now yes, that depends on what our esteemed efforts to minimizing the dreaded COVID-19 virus. I would think that we might have a pretty good idea of where we stand at the end of April. I’m not sure what everybody else thinks but “WE” need to get this economy back up and running. Yes this is a nasty virus but it’s not the end of the world. The media is still working, the Congress is still working, government bureaucrats are working, the state employees are still working, etc. (substitute “getting paid” for working). This virus has done more to destroy our economy and way of life than any enemy could have ever done save for an apocalyptic event. Think of how many people in the service industries are out of a job. It’s time to get back up on the horse and start riding again.And this comes from somebody who’s in that very vulnerable age group. Sorry Dan, but I felt compelled to say something. And I’m selfish as I want to watch my Astros play baseball.

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    • Zanuda’s comment and apology reminds me of Kevin who a while back came out with an unpopular opinion and got a pretty hefty blast from several contributors. This isn’t about the opinion either way. I just wish Kevin felt like he could come back because he hasn’t since that day. Thanks.

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      • Understand Diane. I tried to keep my comment apolitical and stick to getting baseball back where it belongs. As for Kevin , I too would welcome him back to the blog. It’s tough for a lot of people to not voice their political opinions/biases because they feel so strong about them. My only advise is not to do it in the context of a blog that doesn’t have that as its prime purpose. I’m sure there are other avenues to voice those opinions. Hope I didn’t get anybody’s dander up.

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      • I wasn’t paying attention – I had moved on to the next blog post.

        Yes, I am sorry Kevin has not returned – I am sure it has to do with my harsh reply.
        Z – you know better – let’s keep this focused on sports.

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      • My apologies Dan and to others. In this case I should have parked the post and then deleted it later. It’s a frustrating time.

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      • And please, to all, I was not trying to stir up stuff. It’s just that Kevin has been around for years. We all get upset from time to time. My only point was to encourage Kevin to come back, although I know he was not regular, because according to his own words, his job situation is demanding. Thanks.

        Like

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