Astros 2020: What are the positives?

As Dusty Baker said after the Tuesday night loss to the Giants (in Brian McTaggart’s post in mlb.com) “They say one of the biggest downers in sports or in baseball is when there’s a blown save — and then the opposition, it gives them energy.”

And that downer is as big for fans as it is for a team. In the last seven games, the Astros are 1-6.

  • Tuesday they had a 6-2 lead headed into the 7th and managed to give back 3 in the 7th and 1 in the 9th before losing in extra innings (again).
  • Monday (their only win in those 7 games) they had a 6-0 lead headed into the 8th and ended up giving up a run in the 8th, 3 in the 9th and ended the game with the Giant’s winning run at the plate.
  • Friday they had a 2-1 lead in the 13th and had the A’s down to their last strike and gave up two hits and two runs to lose 3-2.
  • Thursday they had a 4-3 lead over the D’Backs after a dramatic Alex Bregman 2 run homer in the 8th and gave up 2 runs in the 9th to lose the game.
  • Wednesday they were cruising early against Arizona with a 4-0 lead in the 4th when Lance McCullers and Nivaldo Rodriguez combined to give up 9 runs in the 4th. The Astros never got closer than 3 runs the rest of the game.

But, hey as Scarlett said, “Tomorrow is another day.” And so is today. So what can we possibly cling to as positives going forward?

  • The offense (just not the offense in extra innings).  The Astros are tied with the Yankees for the most runs per game (5.18) in the American League.
  • More help for the offense… The Astros are scoring runs despite the fact that Yordan Alvarez has not taken a swing for the big club yet. They’ve done this despite George Springer missing a quarter of their games and not hitting well when he did. They’ve done this with Jose Altuve hitting the worst of his career (.187 BA/ .598 OPS). They’ve done this with Alex Bregman getting off to his normal slow start to every season (.232 BA). They can get better.
  • Even with all the bad stuff that has happened – the Astros are just a 1/2 game out of a playoff spot. For optimism’s sake, we will ignore they are 1-1/2 games out of last place.
  • They have had some good pitching performances from youngsters that may bode well for the future. Cristian Javier (yes he had one really bad inning – so what), Framber Valdez, Brandon Bielak, Blake Taylor (yes he had a bad Tuesday night) and Enoli Paredes have particularly stood out.
  • After some so-so early starts, Lance McCullers was quite brilliant in his last go against the Giants.
  • At some point, the Astros may get Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy and Brad Peacock back. Any and all arms would be welcome.

In the end, there is no reason to give up on this team as long as they don’t give up on themselves. They have only been out of a very few games this season and they have an opportunity to turn things around in a hurry.

So there is your list from your Polyanna scribe. Anything that you would like to add to the positive side?

20 comments on “Astros 2020: What are the positives?

  1. The positives I see are those young guys getting a real extended chance to play for the next month and a half. Obviously there have been some bright spots. A couple of guys have disappointed to date. And a few guys will take themselves out of considering for next season. Don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this whole exercise is about answering some questions going into 2021. I don’t care what they do in the standings this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was watching that. It was unusual to say the least but he still got the out. Got to like Greinke. Bull pen did their job last night and some timely hits. Much better play overall. Even Straw had a great catch in center field.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some thoughts about the game and all
    – Communication – Raley the new guy from the Reds (who grew up in Uvalde and pitched for A&M and lives in College Station) was supposed to only pitch the end of the 7th in relief of Greinke. No one told him he was not going back out for the 8th. Baker and Strom look up with the plan to put Josh James in the game (maybe not the best plan) and Raley is already out there for the 8th. At this point he has to pitch to at least one hitter and since he gets that one out they leave him out there and he has a 1-2-3 inning. Baker said he went over to Raley between innings and told him good job and fist bumped him and this was the signal he was done. Need to work on that Dusty.
    – Trust – I thought after the rough time Blake Taylor had on Tuesday – giving up the 3 run homer to Pence that it was a strong point that Baker sent him right back out in the 9th pitching to Hunter. You can’t give up on the guys when they have a rough game or stretch.
    – It is funny to see how everyone talks about Greinke like he is from another planet, because he is quirky. I have a son with high level autism and I just nod (one of the Aspie web sites is called Wrong Planet.com). Let’s see – social anxiety – check. Socially awkward – check. Quirky (calling his pitches out loud) – check. Brutally honest – check. Has problems making eye contact – check. Brilliant in certain areas – check. I’m not a doctor, and it really does not matter at this time in his life since he seems to be functioning fine – but I think that Greinke is a lot like my son.
    – Weird to see Altuve up in the stands watching in full uniform. My sons said it would be funny to see him sitting back with a brewski in his hand. I was thinking about him chomping on nachos with cheese drips on his uniform.
    – It sure felt good to have Springer back. Springer, Bregman, Straw, Reddick, Correa and Toro all got on base at least two times and Maldonado only got on the one time – but the 3 run homer gave everyone breathing room.
    – Tucker played the first hit of the game into a triple, but later on made a nice diving catch in left center field. Straw’s catch was pretty terrific

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OK, Dan, you asked for positives:
    -Starting with an old friend, Framber Valdez. Framber is starting to show that he can be a major league pitcher, yikes, even a starting pitcher! Yikes, even a LH starting major league pitcher! Think of the ramifications of that.
    We are going to need five of them for a long time. At least, until baseball geniuses decide we need six of them. Framber could be a real positive.
    -Brandon Bielak could be a real positive. He doesn’t even have a full year at AAA. Yet, he is getting major league hitters out in a very twisted crucial season, where he didn’t get a real spring training to make the team. At the very least, we know that he belongs, even if he ends up belonging in the bullpen.
    – Jose Urquidy brought the Washington Nationals freight train to a total slowdown last year. We haven’t had his services yet. But when we do, a good pitcher who is currently starting now will head to the pen, where we really need help.
    -Cristian Javier held the Doggers(a spelling error that seemed to work after I noticed it) to almost nothing after pitching just two games in AAA. And he does it during a totally screwed up spring/summer camp thingy and with no recognition from baseball prospect geniuses.
    -Brandon Bailey. He’s never pitched in AAA. He’s not a Top 30 prospect. He was a CC Hook last year, and Oriole in spring training, and an Astro in summer camp and was one of the last guys added to the roster. Now, he’s getting major leaguers out. Maybe by next spring training he will be even better, since he has so little experience right now.
    -Andre Scrubb- He’s obviously NOT in the best shape of his life, but he’s getting MLB batters out in the late innings. What if he trains in the off season and gets into shape? Would he be even better? By the way, Scrubb has never pitched at the AAA level. And yet, here he is.
    That’s just a little. Later

    Liked by 3 people

  4. its positive the team has not been subjected to all the BS that would have happened in a regular year with full stands. as dave pointed out, very little (that we know of) in covid related player news. lots of playing time to help evaluate lots of young players. and when else would you get to hear greinke call out sign selection during a game?

    Liked by 1 person

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