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?