The Astros’ biggest series (so far) in 2020

The last time the Astros saw the A’s back in early April………August they were coming off of road series against the Dodgers and D’Backs that had dropped them from 1/2 game up in the division to 2-1/2 games back of Oakland.

Three games later after having various pieces of clothing including their jocks handed to them, they left Oakland 5-1/2 games back of the A’s. Since that time they have gotten as close as 2-1/2 games back after an 8 game winning streak, but have now settled back to 4-1/2 games behind the A’s as they start a three-game series tonight with Oakland at the Juice Box.

We’ve written about the 2020 Astros until our fingers have fallen off – so today here is a quick synopsis of their opponent…..

  • The A’s at 22-10 are the best club by far in the American League and only a game and a half behind the Dodgers for the best record in the majors.
  • Despite having the third-worst BA (.223) in the AL, the most K’s (322) and a league average .733 OPS, the A’s score a fifth-best 4.97 runs per game, a bit behind the Astros (5.35 r/gm).
  • While Matt Chapman (9 HRs / 22 RBIs) and Matt Olson (10 HRs / 22 RBIs) supply a chunk of the power, they are getting a lot of help from Stephen Piscotty (26 RBIs), former Astros Robbie Grossman!!(.977 OPS) and Mark Canha (.849 OPS).
  • While above average in hitting, it is the A’s pitching that is carrying the bigger portion of the load in 2020. They are 2nd in ERA (3.35) in the AL and third in runs allowed per game (3.69). They give up the least homers in the AL (1 per 9 innings) and give up the second least walks (3.0 per 9 IP) compared to 1.2 and 4.3 for the Astros.
  • After Oakland voted to not play last night, their starters for the Astros series are not all announced. Their best starter Chris Bassitt (2-1, 2.97 ERA) is announced for the opener and their second-best starter Jesus Luzardo (2-1, 3.74 ERA)is likely going to pitch on Sunday. If things fall to the norm, Saturday the Astros will see Frankie Montes, who has struggled a bit (2-2, 5.22 ERA).
  • Their relievers, as the Astros could vouch for from the series in Oakland, have been brilliant. They have seven pitchers who have pitched 12 innings or more with ERAs under 2.25. They are led by closer Liam Hendriks (2-0, 10 saves, 1.10 ERA in 16 games), Jake Diekman (0.00 ERA in 12 games) and T.J. McFarland (2-0, 0.71 ERA in 14 games).

It does not take a brain surgeon to tell you that the Astros’ best shot is to make some headway against the A’s starter and have their own starters go deep.  If it comes down to a duel between bullpens they will be at a disadvantage. This should be a close and entertaining series and for the Astros at least, a very critical one if they have any hope of winning the AL West.


46 comments on “The Astros’ biggest series (so far) in 2020

  1. Well it looks like there’s not going to be a game tonight. I sincerely believe that Jackie Robinson would have played in this situation. I’m tired of all the politics and hatefulness that we are being exposed to. If they don’t play then I won’t watch another game this year. It’s rime to make a stand and I making one now. I plan not to ever watch a NBA, NFL, game again. As much as it pains me I won’t watch the Astros either.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree. A cancer came into Minute Maid Park tonight, in the form of the Oakland Athletics. They did the same to the Rangers last night. I will still comment here and chastise them all. I will not ever watch any of their games anymore. I had quit watching the NBA when they backed allowing boys and men into girls and women’s’ locker rooms, dressing rooms, and restrooms. I quit watching the NFL when they knelt for the National Anthem but criticized Tim Tebow for kneeing to pray. Now, the MLB is killing itself.

    So sad. Baseball has been a wonderful retreat for me all my life. Now, it does not exist as I loved it.


  3. I don’t know how to do this right now. A few people know that I have been trying behind the scenes to lower the political rhetoric on the blog and then this happens with our home team.
    Here is how I feel rigbt now – if you need to vent politically go ahead. If you need to disagree with each other on this go ahead. But be respectful. Everyone deserves to have an opinion here – and we are not going to promote a cancel culture where only certain opnions are respected. People here have earned the right to have different opnions and to express them. None of us has the right to attack someone here personally

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, I understand your frustration and know you are trying hard to keep it together.
    I’m gonna follow the rules. We try to keep things that are disagreeable out of the blog and I am going to follow that premise. However, I don’t think anyone is crossing the line by agreeing or disagreeing with what the players are doing. I don’t think telling everyone here what your plans are for the Astros or MLB is out of line either.
    I planned on watching the game tonight and there is no game because the players didn’t want to play.
    I don’t know what I’m going to do. I will keep up with the Astros on the internet, but I probably won’t watch all the games. I will be here to blog.
    *My son and daughter in law spooked up a mountain lion next door on the leased ranch Tuesday night. It was about three hundred yards from our front door and about 100 yards from my feeder and blind. The deer are in danger, but humans will drive these cats out of the area with their presence. Mountain lions can cover a 150 mile area so I hope us moving into his neighborhood forces him farther west.
    * The grandkids are showing their calves at a show tomorrow, but we are not going out. Six people in a small town near us went on a vacation and now have covid. We are trying to stay alive. So far, it’s working!
    * My wife’s problems have resurfaced and it is a lot to deal with, but more stressful than anything, and certainly not anything like what Becky is dealing with. Still praying every night for her.
    *I guess there will be a DH tomorrow. Hoping the Astros can win two, but definitely not expecting it.
    * We went and checked out three public lakes within driving distance this week and checked out all the facilities. Will be checking out a fourth one next week and then fall is supposed to arrive and we are going to go fishing. We will go during the week when kids are in school and moms and dads are at work.
    * One half inch of rain last night was the first in six weeks and it got up to 106 here today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1OP, I sure appreciate your sharing bits and pieces of life up in your neck of the woods. It tells we that there can still be a rhythm to ones days even as there are so many other things going on today threatening that very rhythm.

      It’s a bit ironic, I’ve been on this 36 square mile rock surrounded by water for 18 months now without getting off it. No airlift. Just thinking about a drive to check out the fishing lakes in the area brought a smile. Now I’m thinking about pulling over for a Dr. Pepper and a barbecue sandwich at some worn looking roadhouse during that fishing lake expedition.

      I’ll say a prayer for Mrs. 1OP.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I do support the players for reasons that are beyond the scope of this blog but I will say two things. 1) My father served in Korea and he would’ve supported them to but mainly above all else for us to peacefully and respectfully agree or disagree. He was moderate Republican and I’m pretty far left, but we enjoyed debating each other and often found common ground.

    2) I wish this had been announced earlier ; if this was announced a day or two previously I would’ve been completely on the bandwagon. As it is, it just adds to the divisiveness that is tearing our society apart.

    I do hope the silver lining is that the show of unity displayed by the teams leads to a solid game in baseball where some of the ugliness we’ve seen on the field disappear . My daughter’s gonna watch with me for the first time this season. Father and daughter, just like my Dad and I.

    I miss the hell out of him.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Plenty of early risers this morning. I used to be able to sleep well beyond sunrise. I was missing the most peaceful part of the day.

    I could go into a lot of detail over my own personal thoughts on what I’ve seen transpire this past week. But I’ll just state the obvious. We’re a very divided nation today. There are countries on the planet so very pleased by our growing unrest. There are others that no longer look up to us. We do not enjoy the international respect we once did.

    I’ll likely be gone in 15 or 20 years. But what happens to my family? My youngest nephew Charlie just turned two. Is he going to enjoy the same quality of life that I’ve had?

    The cancellation of a baseball game is relatively insignificant to me right now. I don’t like the politics of it. But there is a whole lot about politics I don’t like right now. Politics, more than anything else is screwing up America. I sure hope the day comes soon where we can agree on a path, most of us anyway, regardless of political persuasion. Our country is not healthy today. We’ve got to come together and fix it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I largely disagree with the format of protests undertaken by the athletes. I think it’s important to take a step back and consider the intentions, though. We have such a strong level of distrust that it’s easy to disbelieve a narrative that challenges your experiences or beliefs. Some athletes are extremely conscious of the world around them and how they can use their fame as platform for improving society. Others feel the need to take a stand lest history judge them for not doing so. I don’t begrudge anyone for turning off MLB in response. Part of free speech is living with the good and bad consequences of what you say. I’m more concerned with the people who don’t go home to their million dollar mansions though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was waiting for your take, Devin. Well said. You would make an incredible politician, because your words are so objective, I’d never known what “side” your on. Such is life, the truth is not always clearly black and white (pardon the pun).

      This group of Astros fans is truly a blessing. I appreciate the differences & civil approach to all. It’s been a place that we can all vent, and sometimes just having someone to hear our voice is all we need to feel regarded and important to the group.

      Relationships built with our parents and kids, like Bagwell said of him and his dad — that’s what our passtime affords. When it no longer serves that purpose, we can always look for other ways to unite.

      If we watch media in an election year, the sole purpose is to accentuate differences and trigger anger. I’m not buying, or biting. I’ll just take my dog to the fishin hole, crack a cold beer, and think about yesteryear: the memories that I cherish. And say a l’il prayer for those trying their best to keep the peace, or survive the best they know how.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m going to wait 28 more games, but hopefully I’ll then be prepared to say that I really did not give young Mr. Tucker enough credit. I’ll be pleased to take back anything negative I’ve said about him. He’s turning into a happy baseball player again! Maybe he should take Jose to lunch.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. After a slow start, Pressly has been pitching well lately. In his last 7 games he has 5 saves with a slash line of IP/H/R/ER/BB/SO/WHIP: 7.0/3/2/1/1/11/0.57


  10. Ramifications are that Houston will have to play 4 games in 3 days in Anaheine on the next road trip, followed by five games in Oafland in 4 days.
    On a positive note, if the Astros desire to, they can pitch Framber on Tuesday, Javier on Wednesday, LMJ on Thursday, Greinke on Friday and Urquidy on Saturday and all of them would be with at least their normal rest or more. Also, after two saves Saturday, Pressly has two days off to rest up and see who might join him in the bullpen at the deadline, if anyone.


    • Yes, sir, in a crazy season the guys need some time off anyway.
      What a difference the half season has made since we first faced OAK!

      With all the gametime decisions we’ve had to make as a family with not knowing about school openings and homeschooling, can’t imagine how these young families have to roll with so many punches. It’ll be good for them to re-group, instead of forced in hotel rooms.

      Pressly pitched so well, nice to see we have a solid closer again.

      Astros brought up, Luis H. Garcia, another Fayettville Wooodpecker to prove he’s not the 3rd best so named prospect.

      The 2021 pipeline of:

      Whitley Urquidy Paredes Abreu Conine Garcia Taylor Scrubb Ivey Solis Torres Solomon Hansen Henley Rivera Dubin Santos McKee Deason Sanabria Castellanos Nivaldo Bielak Armenteros Macaurie Gusto Ramirez Robaina Bailey Adcock Gayle Bellozo Collado Hunter Brown, Ty Brown, JP Lopez, Jairo Lopez.

      Here’s a snippet on someone you may have overlooked in the “undrafted,” a la, Jack Mayfield category. Best wishes all, stay strong!


      • Always seem to foget Jacquez, so in that grouping, I still haven’t given up on

        Franny Cobos,
        Jherson Periera older prospect had a good ’19
        Alfredi Jimenez
        Heitor Tokar
        Brett Daniels still in the mix

        Nick hernandez, Ryan hartman not much info to go on.

        I’m moving on from Chad Donato
        Caballos is no longer with the club that I can see.


  11. Did not watch any of the games yesterday but glad the guys took two. A shame they’re not playing today. The team seemed to be gathering momentum. I wish we could keep politics out of the sports arena. Your ordinary fan wants an escape from that, not continually thrown in your face. I will continue to visit the blog because of ALL of the participants who engage and Dan who makes it all worth while.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ll say, I have a good friend who’s left the Astros after MANY faithful years. This is his feeling, and I suspect that there are many others in his shoes. Take it as one man’s perspective, equal time as any other one person. The Astros/MLB had better realize without properly putting this into context, baseball runs the same risk as Get Woke Go Broke in other sports (believe that as you may).

    “I love the [TCB] community, but I absolutely cannot and will not support the Astros or MLB until they offer an apology. I don’t expect that to happen. You see, it’s not a difference of political opinion. It is a personal insult to me and the men and women that have served our communities honorably. BLM and their followers are verbally and physically assaulting police officers based on lies. I will not support any person or organization that full throatedly backs an organization that actively is attacking me, my brothers and sisters in blue, and our family. It’s not a snowflake reaction to something I simply disagree with. It is full out war against the [dookies] that wish to defund the police and support anarchy. God bless you and good luck to you and your family..”

    I wouldn’t know how to answer him except that it shouldn’t be either/or if both sides actually want, and MAKE peace happen. If I were running sports, I’d try to keep as much of the action on the field, but it occurs to me they continue to sell ad space to highest bidder — and battle lines get drawn because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not all of us are like that, just like all police offers aren’t all bad (most aren’t). It’s the bad element that ruins it for everybody. No matter what end of the political spectrum you’re on (not you specifically, just using the word in general), frankly speaking we’re being torn apart for political gain by both parties and quite frankly I’m sick of it. I’m going to keep my mouth shut further before I say the wrong thing


  13. 2020 season
    Pitcher A: 122 ERA+, 4.38 FIP, 0.951 WHIP
    Pitcher B: 122 ERA+, 5.14 FIP, 1.032 WHIP

    Thought this was impressive!
    Answer: Gerrit Cole and Cristian Javier ($34.4M cheaper, too!)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. * It will be interesting to see if clubs like Texas and Arizona have traded off key parts of their ballclub by the time the Astros take them on in September. The Astros waltzed through a Seattle club who did something similar in late 2019.
    * With Houston never hinting (truthfully) about how things are going with injuries, deals made or not made today will give us an idea how Verlander and Urquidy are really doing.
    * When will Jose Altuve stop being the worst hitter in Houston’s lineup?


    • Here is the way I see things with Verlander:
      1. The Astros have to have been slowly nursing Verlander back to health in August. It wouldn’t have made any sense for them to rush him because the most important thing was for him to be ready to start pitching in practice by late August.
      2. From the point that he is healthy, they get him to two innings in simulation. then a bullpen session and
      3. You get him to three innings in simulation. Then a bullpen session and if he is healthy:
      4. You get him to four innings in simulation. Then a bullpen session and
      5. You get him to five innings in simulation. Then a bullpen session and
      if he is healthy you bring him up and give him a start.
      It is important to remember that he is in spring training now and if he is healthy, it is just a matter of working on his stamina. With a 28 man squad now and through the playoffs, there will be no reason to ask Verlander to go more than five innings in either the regular season or the playoffs.
      If Verlander is healthy and returns, the Astros would have JV, Greinke, LMJ, Urquidy, Framber and Javier ready for the playoffs. The first series is 3 games, which means that you are going to have at least 3 of those six pitchers in the bullpen. The next series would be a five game series and you would need three of those guys starting and the other three in the bullpen.
      If you make it into the ALCS you will need four starters and two of the others in the bullpen.
      No matter what, with the DH league-wide in the playoffs, you still stack your bullpen because of the 28 player playoff roster. That has to help take the pressure off needing Verlander to go 7-8 innings, unless his return is like that of Superman.


  15. OP….thank you my friend for your prayers, they are very much appreciated.
    Here’s where I am with the STUNT this team pulled off last week…yes, I called it a stunt….I don’t care if you think differently but that is what I call it.
    After the scandal “it”…broke my heart.
    I am NOT a racist! Never have been, never will be, but if “they”want to paint me in that corner, I will take my love for this team and put it where it needs to be in my own health.
    I will not be invested in this team ever again. If by chance they are on television I will probably watch them….but TRUST me I won’t go out of my way to do that.
    I don’t care who gets traded, or who stays. I just don’t care anymore. Evidently “they” don’t give a dam about us. It doesn’t matter anymore….because I’ve been charged as a racist. That is the most REPUGNANT thing I’ve ever been called😠.
    No…..”they” didn’t mention MY name, but “they” chould have, it’s the same thing.
    THIS hurt me to my core….so go ahead and tell ME I’m a racist but IM DONE with this team and major league baseball. All of you keep caring….I’M DONE.
    I’m looking forward to seeing Jordan Lyles…we went to see his first start when he came up. It was my opinion then, as it is today that he wasn’t ready then, and it affects him now. I loved that kid, and it wasn’t his fault, our front office really screwed that up.
    So best of luck to all of you, but I’m probably not going to be commenting on here very often. Just in case you didn’t hear me…I’M DONE.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OP….I’ve lifted you and your wife in prayer, since I saw she was dealing with another health issue. I hope she is better soon….you are her hero, as my husband is. I love reading your posts about the everyday life on your farm! I can remember the same things of my childhood! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well Becky, it’s good to know that YOU’RE not done.

    And now we’ve got your favorite team coming in. Things have not worked out very well for them this year. Jordan sports a 9.25 ERA as we speak and the club has to pay him another 8 million for his services in 2021. Your pal Stinky Odor is hitting one Hundred and fifty. He’ll get 12.3 million next year. That’s generous of the Arlington organization. Kyle Gibson, who they had high hopes for, has given them a 6.16 ERA so far and he’ll get another 10 million in 2021. Our pal Robinson Chirinos is hitting one hundred and nineteen! Did we use up the last of his legs in 2019? Elvis Andrus is sitting at .184. He’ll get 14 million. Those guys don’t seem to be real over achievers. Maybe it’s the water.

    If one is a Ranger fan, there will be quite a bit of payroll room next year for them. Who knows what they’ll spend it on though. If one is an Astro fan, we might be thinking piggy right now with expectations of a 3 game sweep, assuming of course there is no lightening bolt, or a pandemic or a one day work stoppage or something else out of the ordinary. Even pesky Mike Minor has left town. He’s got to be a happy guy today. Now if we can get Jose and George going, it might be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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