10 games in is like…

It is hard to wrap your head around this, but 10 games into a 60-game “season” are basically the same as the first month of a six month season. So, this is like the end of April as far as where things lie at this point. Typically, April is a shaking out period. Guys get off to slow starts. Other guys are on fire. But by the end of April, teams and players are starting to reach their water level. Frankly, six weeks in is a better gauge of where everyone is heading. Of course, this season six weeks takes you to the very last few weeks of the season. Weird.

So what are some thoughts here at the 10 game pole?

  • The Astros are very lucky to be 6-4 at this point. Their pitching staff has been stripped of so much of their veteran presence. Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Collin McHugh, Will Harris, and Hector Rondon are elsewhere. Jose Urquidy, Brad Peacock, Austin Pruitt, Cionel Perez, and Rogelio Armenteros never made it to the opening bell. Justin Verlander made one start before being shut down. Chris Devenski and Joe Biagini made a few appearances and then went to the IL. Roberto Osuna is apparently done for the season after appearing in four games. Ryan Pressly is battling a thumb injury after one poor appearance. Oh, and arguably their three top hitters, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman have taken up residence in old man Mendoza’s neighborhood.
  • Carlos Correa (.389 BA/ .488 OBP/ 1.127 OPS) and Michael Brantley (.428 BA/ .514 OBP/ 1.170 OPS) are the two hitters who have been almost picture-perfect at the plate so far. They have been using the whole field and hitting the ball with authority nearly every time up.
  • The terrific relief appearance by Framber Valdez against the Angels on Sunday (6.1 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 8 Ks, 0 ER) brought to mind a terrific spot start by Brad Peacock back in 2017. The Astros had just lost 3 games in a row to Cleveland, and the ship was beginning to wobble. Peacock stepped in for Dallas Keuchel back in late May and pitched 4.1 IP of 1 hit/ 8K ball to give the team a shot in the arm that carried them through a big hot streak.
  • The Astros use (and success) with all of these young pitchers has been an absolute revelation. The two absolute standouts have been Cristian Javier and Blake Taylor. Javier has been a terrific substitute for Justin Verlander with two brilliant starts in a row (5.2 IP, 2 hits, 1 run and 6IP, 4 hits, 1 run). Taylor has been steady Eddie in 5 scoreless appearances out of the bullpen giving up only 2 hits and 2 walks in 7.1 innings pitched. All the other newbies have brought something to the table and have helped a decimated bullpen deal with three extra-inning games out of the first 10.
  • The Astro catching duo of Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau need to be recognized for two things. One, keeping all these young pitchers from flying off the rails and two for putting up some solid at-bats.

So, how do you feel at this point of the season, which is later than it seems…

47 comments on “10 games in is like…

  1. I feel great about where the Astros are. If they aren’t hurt, Springer, Altuve and Bregman will get hot. Alvarez is going to be back. Brantley will be back.
    Pitching wise, by the middle of August our rotation could be LMJ, Greinke, Javier, Urquidy and Valdez. Which would lead us to having James and Pressly back in the pen to match up with the best, young, one or two inning pitchers out there now, and having Sneed and Bielak as long relievers.
    If Verlander doesn’t have a really bad injury, he could help in the last couple of weeks in September and beyond.
    There is a lot of apprehension everywhere in the league, so the Astros are not alone. The goal is to win the division. It is always the goal.
    The bases on balls is the hiccup with the Astros pitching staff. They have to do better.
    The top of the order is the hiccup with the lineup. They have to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OP – I don’t like it too much – but I think with all of the youth we have going we may have to put up with some of this wildness until some of those guys are sent back down (cutting to 28 man roster) or replaced (cross my fingers – Urquidy, Peacock, Verlander, Devo, not Biagini…)
      Of course some of the veterans (McCullers, James, Pressly) have been walking too many themselves, though obviously Pressly in a very small sample

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  2. Based on the present roster, my expectations have been exceeded to date. But I don’t really have any expectations for 2020. Again, I’m looking beyond this exhibition season towards 2021.

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  3. Alright, I’ll be the first Debbie Downer today. On paper, this Astros team should easily win more games than Oakland…even with the injuries. The problem is that we’ve already lost two or three games we should have won and the A’s have won two or three they should have lost. It’s easy to say, yeah, the trend in those games will reverse (like Seattle at the start last year), but this is a short season and every game may count. So how I’m feeling about our start is going to largely be dictated by the three game series starting on Friday. A sweep will have me riding on cloud nine. Winning the series will have me feeling cautiously optimistic. Dropping two will have me highly concerned. Let’s not even think about getting swept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least, when the Astros play in Oakland, they, and us, will not be subjected to the drum pounding and horn blowing.

      I agree that the Astros have lost two or three games that they had no business losing.

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  4. I saw that OP. I wonder what that was about ? Robbie Ray pitches tonight, ya’ll tell me what you see! I remember when Luhnow was high on this kid last year.
    We REALLY need a good lefty! I doubt we have anything to give for him, but tell me whatcha…think! Becky⚾

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  5. Boy that was an ugly game from a pitching perspective. I have not been impressed by LMJ’s overall performance thus far this year. Hopefully he’ll get better.

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  6. Agree with 1OP on the hitters. Brantley and Correa have been hot all year.
    Springer and Yuli have been hot lately. Altuve and Bregman are not there yet.

    Pleasantly surprised at the great production from our young pitchers. Hopeful, but not sure they can sustain it the whole year.

    James to bullpen & Bielak to start Thursday.
    Brantley will DH.
    Carlos Sanabria is the 9th Astro pitcher to make his ML debut this year.

    https://www.mlb.com/astros/news/josh-james-in-bullpen-brandon-bielak-to-start

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, I did have a good nights sleep.

    A couple of early game thoughts. Was not impressed with Straw. The center fielder should always gravitate to the ball, even when hit down the line for exactly the reason illustrated last night. Inside the park homers are usually the result of less than stellar defense. The cut off throw was bad too.

    The ball that dropped on the track between Tucker and Straw allegedly had a 28% hit probability. Catching that ball would have been a big help. Did not look like either guy really wanted it.

    Maldonado took a 5 pitch walk to open the 5th. Springer ran his count full before getting his pitch and taking it out. Ray was fully on the ropes and then got let odd the hook. Altuve and Bregman both strike out on bad pitches in bad at bats. Rally over. Will be nice when these two leaders wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lets hope that the pivotal inning in that game isn’t the pivotal inning of the season. I do not recall having seen a disaster like that for a very long time. It took Arizona 3 innings to discover that LMJ had no curve ball, and when they did, every fastball got sent the other way at over 100 mph.
    With the game he had last night, does Straw become the odd man out?
    Before last night, I had Toro pegged to get optioned. He looked like a man on a mission last night.
    As Mrs.1op likes to say: The D’backs were due. They arrived with a vengeance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed the play with Tucker and Straw in the outfield as no one wanted to take charge. That’s the difference between them and George Springer. Springer would have caught that ball (IMHO) because that’s what he does. I think that Dusty left LMJ in way too long. Me being the great “backseat manager” that I am, I felt that after 4 straight hard hits he should have sent Strom out to the mound and got somebody up in the BP. Don’t know what was going on but it was like a smorgasbord of hitting opportunities for the D-backs and they didn’t miss. Bailey at least gave up only 1 run but that was a long ball. D-backs came into the game having hit only 2 home runs thus far but got 4 last night. Maybe it was playing with the roof open. Tonight will be another test for our young guns with Bielak getting his 1st MLB start.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry I completely disagree. There’s no way 72% of time OF make that catch. We’re already talking two of the fleetest of foot. Tucker has good speed, he slides to keep from breaking himself at the wall — that’s not a question of taking charge, and really beside the point of total outcome. Is anyone actually sugesting they could’ve watched the ball, AND known whether to dive headlong at each other? To take out our future OF over a nearly impossible shot at the wall?

    On the inside the park job, it’s a FLUKE bounce, but generally Springer should have been positioned down the lines more often on extreme Pull Hitting combined with Slow Offspeed pitching to inner half. Couldn’t be more obvious to me, anyway.

    Astros yet again did not have a pitcher warm when wheels fell off. Climbing Tals tweeted today: “At this point, I’m just going to assume McCullers was tipping his pitches. How else can someone be perfect through three innings and then serve up BP the next? They hit EVERYTHING he threw at them, and they hit it hard.”

    A month ago, I had this series at 2-1. The only game missed so far of a 24-11 two month projection is LAD sweep. Need this one today!

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    • Obviously, GoStros1, I’m not a deep state stats guy. I noted allegedly a 28% hit probability because that’s what our home announcers quoted. Having watched that play a couple of times, both fielders were tentative. The center fielder needs to own that ball.

      Totally agree on the inside the park job, it was indeed a fluke bounce that caused George an extra in game sprint along the track trying to catch up to the darn ball. Straw got involved way late and then made his first of at least 3 crappy throws on the night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been wrong before. Like right here. Looks like Toro won that spot we were discussing (Mayfield and Abreu drop down).

        To get down to the 28-man roster limit, the Astros have optioned RHP Bryan Abreu and IF Jack Mayfield to their alternate Training site. Both will remain with the club this road trip as part of the Astros five-man taxi squad, which also includes C Michael Papierski.-McTaggart

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      • Well GoStros one of the reasons you thought Mayfield would stay up was because he could backup Correa at SS, but in their minds Bregman could slide over and Toro could go to 3B – I think they saw more out of Toro from last year than Mayfield and see a higher ceiling.
        Kind of surprised Abreu went down, I know he has been pretty wild, but so have some of the other youngsters. Are they trying to hold down his service time?

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      • It shows 25 days currently, he’s got 2 options.

        I wish I understood how they are working service time this year? For example, did any of the guys who made 60-man lose a year; or how about a guy who played in only a few games?

        I’m leaning toward Astros reading poorer control than we think, maybe even soreness, because I can’t see keeping Sanabria over Abreu.

        Tell ya what, having Papierski on taxi is confirmation Astros think he’s the best defensive catcher in the system.

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      • Dan, you mentioned Bregman sliding over to SS.

        Looking forward today, if Correa somehow opts for many more millions than we can gather, this is my current projectible depth chart to open 2022 Spring Training: Bregman, Pena, Straw, Duarte, Nova, Dauri Lorenzo, Grae Kessinger, Yohander Martinez, Shay Whitcomb.

        This would allow Toro/Jones and a few others to rotate 1B/3B.

        Assuming Diaz and Yuli will not be under contract.
        Correa’s pick after he declines QO will be icing on the cake.

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  10. Arizona was a solid hitting team last season – 5 runs a game and .252 BA. This season before last night’s game they were scoring only 2.64 runs per game and hitting .194 BA. So, yes they were due. Mrs. OP (as always) was correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dusty could have set things in motion to slow the game down so Bailey could warm up. Send Maldronado out to the mound, then as he is getting back behind the plate, send Strom out to the mound. That buys Bailey maybe 10 – 12 pitches in the pen.

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      • Absolutely turned so quickly, which points to their team already having a solid plan; getting up-to-second video; perhaps LMJ tipping? Speeds showed he lost velocity on curve, ARI picked that up quicker than we could have Bailey ready, Dusty said.

        I’d say that is an internal mis-hap to not have that adjustment ready, and part of Dusty and Strommie getting a good pulse.

        With such a lopsided outcome, we have to flush that one and win an away series.

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  11. Abreu and Mayfield optioned to minor league camp. Assume they will stay on the road with the team as part of the expanded taxi squad.

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    • Looks like I’m an hour behind everyone else. At my age I need to get used to it. Not surprised about Abreu. He did not have a clue where his pitches were going in his last appearance.

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      • Quite concerning and why I’ve moved him from #3 – #9, or so.

        He’s got to find fastball command, and that’s been a knock on him.
        Must learn to “pitch,” not just throw.
        He looks like he added 25 lbs too!

        I was listening to Myles Straw on radio yesterday. He talked about how lacksidasical baseball is these days on the road. This will be a year that a mediocre team can make the playoffs, and somehow squeak into the World Series. At least the season is still kicking, and something to cheer for!

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  12. Baker on Abreu per McTaggart:

    Baker on Yordan and Urquidy:

    Kent Emmanuel suspended 80 games:

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    • I want to know about Springer myself. Watching Tucker in the field is painful. Even Mrs. Sarge can see that herself without my urging.

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  13. Raise your hand if you could tell how this game was going to end✋. Now we get to wait until Presley tells Dusty he has an injury…..so he doesn’t have to come clean and admit he’s not very good this year. NOW…..Dusty can’t trust ANYONE out of the bullpen to get an out.
    The kid who started tonight was pretty awesome! 5 innings of no run ball was better than any of us could have imagined! AND he only learned that he was going to start tonight on THURSDAY! Going to be a looong short season. I’m alarmed that we haven’t heard a word about Verlander yet.
    Night everyone…..my next surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday at 7:00am.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Sargeh……I’ve been living a nightmare since April 11th with no end in sight. I’ll be seeing an endocrinologist after my surgery to get on Osteoporosis drugs. Thank you for your prayers🙏
        *George jammed his right wrist in the 4th inning, and probably won’t play tomorrow*

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      • Prayers for you Becky. Thanks for the Springer update. Definitely got some good young arms out there but so far disappointed in the “veterans”.

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