Astros turn it around on backwards day

The Astros pulled out a very improbable win on Saturday night, beating the LA Whiners, I mean Dodgers, 7-5. The game seemed like a big reversal in so many ways for the Houston nine (well really the Houston Twenty-Eight).

How so? Let us count the ways:

1. Winning on the road. The Astros, one of the best road teams around the last three seasons, came in with a bottom feeder road record of 6-17, one of the worst in baseball. The win was a big reversal of that trend.

2. Winning on this road trip. The Astros came into this game with a terrible 1-8 record on this road trip, the only exception being a come from way behind 5-4 win over the A’s.

3. Beating the Dodgers. When the Astros last saw the Dodgers, Houston had been flying high with a revved-up offense after starting the season 3-1 against the Mariners. The Dodgers’ pitching shut the Astros down and there was definite revenge on the Blue Men’s minds for the 2017 title they feel was stolen as they rapped Houston twice at Minute Maid. This game had to feel doubly good for the ‘Stros.

4. Starters vs. Relievers. In general, this season and especially in their losses Houston has featured good to great starting pitching followed by disappointing relief work. In this game, that trend was reversed as Framber Valdez struggled through 5 innings of 5 run ball, while the bullpen tandem of Humberto Castellanos, Cionel Perez, Josh James and Ryan Pressly combined for 4 scoreless innings.

5. Freebies. One of the worst features of the bullpen has been their propensity to walk the opposition. In this game, the Astros gave up only one walk and none by the bullpen.

6. Late Offense. Even though the Astros are second in the AL with 5.07 runs per game, they have not been a late-game team, scoring only 18% of their runs in the 7th thru 9th innings heading into Saturday. They were also only hitting .208 BA in Late and Close games. This time, they busted out for 1 run in the 8th and 5 runs in the 9th.

7. Unexpected Sources. The biggest hit of the 9th inning rally was from an unexpected source, Josh Reddick. His double not only narrowed the lead from 5-2 to 5-4, but it also put the tying run in scoring position with no out. The other biggest hit of the inning was Alex Bregman’s single to break the tie, his first hit since returning from the IL.

Bottom line, the Astros, at least for a day, reversed a bunch of their bad trends to pull out a game that looked lost.

26 comments on “Astros turn it around on backwards day

  1. Saw the highlights and the comments from the play by play guys (whoever they were) said the Astro hitters were in defensive mode after the two strikes. Where has that been all year? Glad to see (although I didn’t watch) a win finally.

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  2. I think I saw the Hindenburg crash in orange and blue flames in California tonight.
    I think the words”at least for a day” were a key part of your post.
    So glad that Kyle Tucker got a day off today, as the Astros didn’t need him in their 1-8 crushing of the Dodgers. 23 year old guys needed a day off on Friday and a day off on Sunday and a day off on Monday.
    No need for Gurriel’s bat in there either, especially when you can give him a day off before a day off and stick a .146 hitter in his place. Pretty obvious they didn’t need Yuli tonight.

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  3. I watched no football and no basketball this weekend. I’m pretty sure I can do that most weekends. I actually watched a Midsomers Murder Mystery tonight and flipped at commercials to the Astros for another murder.
    As DCI Barnaby likes to say “bloody hell”.

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  4. The condensed game this gray morning was more in line with what my expectations have come to be. One thing 1OP, it seems that Yuli and Diaz are both day to day with non life threatening injuries. Tucker is one for his last 18. That explains his day off. The Dodgers went the bullpen route to attack the Astros in order to set up their rotation for their showdown against a more competitive San Diego squad.

    I suppose we’ll go back home and go 4-2 or 5-1 and continue the tease. Let’s face it. Our last 13 games are against teams with a combined 55 and 86 record. For whatever it’s worth, like most clubs, the Astros will be going to the post season.

    One more thing. Is Framber back to being the old Framber, or is he just gassed from a full workload?

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    • As for the Astros making the playoffs, I don’t think that’s a given. 7 of the last 13 are away and we’re not exactly acting like road warriors right now. Three of the away games are at Seattle and 7 of the games are against the Rangers. I’m sure they’d like nothing better than to keep us from getting to the playoffs. Did anybody else hear the announcers comment last night about “IT”. They said that there were four books in the works and an upcoming documentary to be released soon. They just can’t stop beating that dead horse.

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  5. Yeah, I was hoping the huge comeback Saturday would lead to a good performance on Sunday or at least a Dodgers hangover….NOT!
    – Greinke’s ERA has gone from 2.29 to 3.77 in his last four starts
    – Framber’s ERA has gone from 1.72 to 4.08 in his last four starts
    – Javier just came off two solid starts (6 IP, 1 run/ 5 IP, 2 runs) and then gets used in relief in a game that we are losing badly. I know we have a day off coming, but what the hey?
    – Tucker had to cool off – he was hitting ridiculous – but unfortunately no one is really stepping up to carry the club in his place.
    – The Astros are producing overall like a .500 club. Their BA and OPS are right at league average, their runs scored per game a little above. They are giving up a little more than league average runs per game. Their record is deserved.

    I think they can beat out the Mariners for the playoff spot, but if they don’t they will have earned that too by not playing better in 1 run games and extra innings.

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  6. Zanuda, I’ll bet you two rum punches, although I really don’t care whether or not I win this bet. Travel expenses not included. Buster Olney probably wrote one of them and ghosted another.

    I’d like to get the whole story at some point, but I’m not going waste to money on a book about it. The Saint, LeBron has financed the documentary. That’s why Bregman has changed agencies.

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  7. The reason Javier came into the game as a reliever is because LMJ is going to start in place of Javier on Wednesday. That made Javier available.

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  8. Some Astros thoughts:
    – This seems to be a tender subject but here is my take on it. Crawfish Boxes had an article about Cristian Javier in which they pointed out that Javier has had two pitches only working well and those two pitches have gotten him through the first four innings or so. They noted that as hitters get a look at him, his stuff seems less likely to work. I’m thinking that the Astros want that good stuff in the bullpen to help them get guys out in critical situations, something they have been lacking. They won’t need five starters in the playoffs, but they do want guys to come in relief and shut teams down for an inning or two. Javier has shown that ability.
    -On the other hand, LMJ has playoff starting experience and does have four pitches he has learned to trust. I think they want him to make at least two starts before the end of the regular season to see where they want to use him in the playoffs.
    -Tonight might be what the Astros have looked for: their ballpark, regular time, regular infielders, regular outfielders, regular catcher, regular DH and a guy starting that they have confidence in. It’s been a while since they had that.

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    • Yeah – since I made my comment it did occur to me that maybe they were going to move Javier into a set-up type role in the bullpen.
      Do be a smart alleck about it, is it better to have a starter that gets caught up with on his second or third time through the lineup or a starter who can’t get an out in the first inning?
      I hope that McCullers’ injury problem is resolved, but I fear that this Porsche will be back in the shop again.

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    • Who had that take on the 23 year old appearing in the majors for the first time this year? Was it someone we trust to provide legitimate analysis? For the season, Javier has only faced 22 opposing hitter three times during a game. Clearly the sample size is too small, but we can see that hitters have struck out 23 times in their first 72 plate appearances against him and only 13 in the following 90. You can look at any number of segments from his performances and see that just like almost every pitcher on the planet he does best early and trails off the more pitches he has thrown. He’ll need to focus on a third or fourth offering, but aside from Colorado no one has really hit him well thus far.

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      • Looking deeper into it, Javier has been terrific at MMP and not terrific on the road.
        But, ironically, his best road performance was in relief this weekend against the Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball.
        The Astros will not play any games at MMP in the playoffs, no matter how far along they get.
        I didn’t say LMJ should replace Javier. I am giving a reasonable explanation why LMJ is pitching on Wednesday and why the Astros thought to use Javier in relief the other day. I think the Astros want to look at all their ducks, win a playoff spot and then line their ducks up the way they think will work best in the playoffs where they will be in places they have not proven comfortable in this season so far.

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      • I understand the basis OP, but frankly I’m scared to death that McCullers does not give us the best shot of getting to the playoffs at this point. I hope I’m wrong.

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