Good job Astros…

Again this is YIE ….The Ultimate YIE Series for the Astros | CHIPALATTA, but there are a lot of things to like about the Astros so far in 2021.

  • If you went up to 100 Astro fans before the season and offered them a 4-2 road trip to start the season against the A’s and the Angels, I’m betting 90 of them would have taken it. Well, 5-1 was a top-notch way to start the season and about all, anyone could have expected from this team.
  • The one loss on the trip was disappointing as the bullpen yakked up a lead late, but the Astros immediately turned it around the next day with a solid effort to get out of LA with a 1-1 split. There are a lot of teams who after a heart-wrenching loss and then falling behind 2-0 in the first inning of the next game would have folded like the country of France in any war you can name. The Astros hung tough and won the most satisfying game of the season.
  • The Astros offense has been dominant in the first six games. They are first in the AL with 45 runs scored. The White Sox are second (42 runs) but have played seven games. The Astros are leading the AL with a .295 BA. The Royals are second at .269. The Astros are first in the AL with a .371 OBP. The Royals are second with .357. The Astros are first in the AL with a .893 OPS. The Royals are second with .819. The Astros are first in the AL with 12 HRs. The Angels and Blue Jays are tied for second with 9 HRs. Sense a pattern here?
  • The Astros’ offense was this dominant despite some of their everyday players struggling a bit…..Martin Maldonado (.050 BA), Kyle Tucker (.192 BA) and Myles Straw (.200) all are bound to hit better. Well maybe not Straw, but if he doesn’t he may flop spots with bench dweller Chas McCormick. This extends to Carlos Correa, who despite his .250 BA had not had an RBI until his 9th inning 2 run homer broke the tie and won their 6th game. The point is that even if some folks cool off, there are other folks that may ramp up.
  • The offense has been led by three players (Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman) who were bad in 2020, one player (Michael Brantley) who was very good in 2020 and one player (Yordan Alvarez) who was injured in 2020. Altuve leads the AL with 9 runs scored. Kyle Tucker is tied for 2nd in RBIs with 9 despite only having 5 hits. He’s tied for the AL lead with 3 home runs. Bregman has a heck of a slash line with .429 BA/ .478 OBP/ 1.240 OPS which is only a shadow of Brantley’s insane (though in only 3 games) .667 BA/ .727 OBP/ 2.172 OPS.
  • The Astros’ starters have been not quite as dominant as the offense, but they have plenty of good. They are third in the AL with a 2.76 ERA. They are second in the AL with a 1.02 WHIP. They are tied with the Red Sox for third in total innings at 29.1 IP, though the A’s are ahead of them after playing 7 games instead of 6. This is good considering that this is a team that is missing Jake Odorizzi and Framber Valdez. Oh, and Justin Verlander….
  • Zack Greinke was wishy-washy about pitching opening day, but his performance has been anything but wishy-washy. He leads the AL with 13 innings pitched, just ahead of some guy named Cole and has put up a super-strong 1.38 ERA and 0.692 WHIP, while striking out 8 hitters for every walk he had given up. Lance McCullers in his one start threw a strong 5 innings only giving up one run.
  • Similarly, the Astros’ bullpen even with a blown game against the Angels has been very good. Their 2.76 ERA is third in the AL as is their 1.14 WHIP. Their performance has been critical especially in the early parts of the season, when every starter not named Greinke, has been struggling to get beyond that 3 to 5 inning range.
  • Ryan Pressly, Ryne Stanek, Brandon Bielak and Bryan Abreu have all been particularly strong out of the bullpen – none of them giving up any runs up to this point.

It has been enjoyable watching a team that seems to have a clue/plan when they are hitting or pitching. Have they been perfect? No, but they have been darned good and leaving the fans wanting to see more.

63 comments on “Good job Astros…

  1. The Astros have the best record in baseball after a six game road trip against the two best rivals in their division.
    They have the advantage in the loss column that they now control over other division leaders. Getting back to 10-team playoffs rather than 16 teams makes the loss column something to watch. You can add wins but can’t subtract losses.
    If Brantley is back, the entire lineup is back in synch with the RLRLRLR batting order in the top 7 that Baker prefers.
    The A’s arrive in H-town and open the homestand with two more lefty starters.
    Then AJ Hinch comes back to town with his new team. This is going to be
    a very interesting week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We knew these guys would hit. Tucker will be fine. Of course he’s given us 9 RBI’s. Yordan really has not gotten into a grove yet. We’ve gotten good production off the bench from Castro, Diaz and McCormick. Martin won’t keep hitting .050. In fact, he’ll hit this weekend. So even as guys like Yuli and Brantley become human again, we’re getting good at bats from most everyone.

    Overall, our pitching has been better than I expected. We are going to have meltdowns. But once we get Baez, Framber and Odorizzi in the fold, then things should stabilize for the most part.

    We’ve got a pretty good club.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even better – they were ready to go out and take it from the A’s. If they had been lackluster in that series it would have given me concern given they should be pretty angry that Oakland took the division from them last year. Hopefully they continue to beat them tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see the Dodgers lose. It’s even better to see them lose a game Bauer started. If MLB decides to start giving him suspensions for using foreign substances that would be the cherry on the cake. I know some people like him, but I’m obviously not in that group. He likes to go out and point fingers at other people cheating, but when the camera is turned on his actions pleads innocence with the best of them.

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    • Bauer was chastising the Astros for using foreign substances in 2017 to increase spin rate for Gerrit Cole and Verlander. Now, we see a different Bauer hiding under the umbrella of a false positive test.

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  3. All is forgiven the first week of the season – especially in light of our 5-1 record on the road trip. BUT we are going to need Joe Smith to be ‘right’ before this year is over. Did anyone see the games enough to spot the problem with what he was doing to get himself in trouble- other than hitting people?

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    • I saw more of a momentum change in the game, and Joe didn’t have his best command. It could have gone so differently as Garcia carried a no-hitter into the 4th and got 3-2 with Trout as he had previously done, and walked him. Instead, he got greedy tried to bite off too much of the plate and Trout tattoo’d one. Easier said than done, he could’ve walked him and tried to induce Rendon grounder.

      But Dusty even let him stay when things were unraveling a bit, which eventually happened. I try to see positives, and Baker stuck with the kid, the pen couldn’t save us. We ended up bringing in Blake Taylor bases loaded no outs. Just too much pressure on the pen that night, it happens.

      One of the rare misses because I gotta tell ya, having Bill Murphy and Josh Miller together coordinating it for Strom is like magic so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Other than Brantley (2.172), Bregman (1.240) and Yuli (1.127), who would have guessed these other guys would have been in our top 7 in OPS so far this year?

    2. Jason Castro (1.250)
    5. Chas McCormick (1.083)
    6. Aledmys Diaz (1.051)
    7. Robel Garcia (1.000)

    Our team OPS for 2021 so far is .893. Last year we were at .720 but I think we will end up closer to 2019 when we were at .848.

    Our team ERA/WHIP for 2021 is 2.72/1.075. Last year was 4.31/1.315 and in 2019 it was 3.66/1.130. Let’s keep it going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here was the best player on a bad team. He was an outstanding pitcher, and pitched over 200 innings. He died very young from an auto accident. (I too listened to the radio back then like 1OP. And we might accuse Loel Passe of a little embellishment.)

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  5. I remember listening to most of the games on my transistor radio and being amazed by Farrell’s amazing stuff and amazingly bad luck. The Colt 45’s just could not hit a lick except for Mejias. But Mejias was just one guy. Time after time Farrell would throw a complete game and lose a heartbreaker.
    But, it was the same for guys like Jim Owens, Ken Johnson, Don Nottebart and Bob Bruce. The new Houston team had a knack for losing games, making errors, not hitting and trading away their best players for years.

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    • I remember as a child listening incredulously to Ken Johnson actually get an “L” though throwing a no-hitter. Those were the ‘no offense’ days, for sure!

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    • MIL, Padres, Rays, Nats … decimated!

      Tatis, the top player in the game hurt himself get this, merely swinging a bat. Springer can’t get back on the field.

      Boy, talk about the team with last man standing to survive this deluge, War of Attrition. It has to be hard enough with their own bodies, and then we finally get uncle Mike back after getting plunked.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if he had one of those Springer revenge games vs Volquez? A’s are back in town, and uncle Mike goes ballistic on them!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That sucks. I have no problem with a guy not trying to get out of the way, but clearly it was a strike and clearly, Comforto moved into the pitch. Smart play. He got away with it. A shame though. So few umps have the ability to call a clean game behind the plate. When is the computer taking over? What happened to that discussion?

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  7. Even though it was a few years before we moved here I was always amazed that in 1962 (when two All Star games were played) the Astros rep was Turk Farrell who went 10-20.

    I guess the other part of amazing is having a 3.02 ERA and losing 20 games.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I noticed no one was wearing a mask behind home plate including Bags, Bidge and Jim Crane and someone must have noticed because suddenly Crane was wearing one.

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    • TK and Blummer mentioned that you had to have a mask to get into the ballpark. I was surprised that more people were not wearing masks and a lot of fans were sitting in close proximity but I don’t know the specifics of how the tickets were allocated. I would probably be wearing one if I were in close proximity to others and I’ve had my vaccinations too.
      In other news, we’re now 6-1 and looking good. Good pitching by Javier, Stanek, and Taylor. HR’s from Atuve, CC, and Alvarez with another dbl from Correa, a timely hit from Straw (finally) and a great catch in center by him and another by Brantley.
      Finally, I didn’t have to stay up till 1:30 to see the finish of the game.

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  9. Excellent outing by Javier, but Myles Straw gets my player of the game. That was a big two out hit that pretty much put the game out of reach. Pretty much.
    When Raley threatened to provide us with a 9th inning meltdown, Myles made an excellent catch in the right center gap on the track to slow the rally. As it was, Presley had to get up and throw. But another solid, crisp win, excluding the 9th.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Someone commented earlier that we were going to need Joe Smith to be “right” before the year was over, and Joe Smith was very right last night.
    Raley could not throw a pitch below the waist last night and it cost him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The wily vet, Joe Smith responded well.

      I commend ol’ Dusty for making those guys who struggled last to get right back up on that horse; Raley Smith Taylor Paredes. Hope Enoli is alright, but if two of these guys say Raley peels off too, it opens the door for Solomon, maybe Scrubb in a week or so. Having so many guys with options in the pen is a real blessing.

      Now let’s talk about Ryne Stanek. Wow! What an acquisition.

      You know I was trying to hold my tongue as long as possible on Myles Straw. The Astros know what they’re doing, put it that way. It’s only costing $11 million for Jackey Bradley to hit .053 for MIL for some perspective…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Some thoughts –
    – Nice thing as I was saying, is that now we are getting contributions from some folks that had not done much early – Smith, Correa and Straw in a game where Bregman and Gurriel were a combined 0 for 8.
    – Javier sure came into the game pumped up for the home opener and was able to control it – he ran out of gas towards the end but Dusty let him get through the 5th to pick up the win
    – I hate it when someone goes out like Paredes – you hope it was just like a minor tweak in his side but you worry with someone who puts so much effort into his pitches
    – I think Raley is still not through his back problems – everything up points to someone who has a problem (pain) following through
    – Stanek looks like such a stud. I was having trouble remembering much of him when he was with the Rays, but it seemed like he was one of those one or two inning “openers” against us. So I looked it up. In his career he pitched 5 games against the Astros – 3 as the reliever as starter. He gave up 0 runs in 7.1 innings and had 7 Ks against us. We “slashed” .043 BA/ .154 OBP/ .197 OPS against him – which is practically nothing. He did not face us in the post season.
    – Fun watching the three types of home runs last night – Correa going the other way again to sneak it into the first row in right field. Alvarez effortlessly arcing one into the upper deck in right field. Altuve slashing one up above the pump in left center field.
    – It was fun to see and hear a crowd again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jake Odorizzi threw 90 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, and allowed 3 earned runs on five hits in last night’s Alt. Site Team loss to the Rangers AST. All indications are he will rejoin the rotation in the Tigers series.

    So . . . who do you think should/will go on IL or be optioned?

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  13. The Astros have the third highest team batting average in baseball, trailing the Red and the Dodgers. But, the Astros BA might be the most sustainable because:
    1. The Reds have a .316 team BA with a BABIP of .354.
    2. The Dodgers have a team BA of .310 with a BABIP of .380.
    History shows us that those BABIPs are not sustainable.
    However, the Astros have a team BA of .289 and a BABIP of .314, which is much closer to the average BABIP of .300 for an MLB team.

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    • For those of you who do not speak Mushmouth from Fat Albert,…

      Hey-BABIP. Wha-buh we-buh go-buh do-buh?
      {translated} Hey Baby! What we gonna do?

      Justbee- Winnbee BABIP!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I hope Enoli Paredes is going to be okay, but something has definitely been wrong with the young man since the season began. He has faced 12 hitters this season; he has walked six of them, and given up two hits. That makes his WHIP a cool 6.00, with opposing hitters hitting .400 against him.

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    • He tried to climb up to 100 mph in his 3rd Spring outing iirc., then the next one only hit 92. I’d had said fatigue and arm droop mechanics, but it may have been his oblique too? I haven’t investigated because it’s for the better he step aside and let in … my sneakers, Solomon or Ivey.

      Last night after the Strom visit, he seemed to allay Brent’s fears apparently, and really got on top of the next pitch. The 2nd one looked like his side was hurt. I just wish Astros would act quicker where they leave a guy in limbo, and then 5 days later they 10-day them. Seems like it’s a wasted space that someone who CAN play be on the 26. I’m hoping Click is a hawk on this.

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  15. How are you folks feeling about LMJ tonight? He sure looks stronger to me every single time he’s progressed from surgery!

    IN Gm 3, we won 9-1. Can the A’s solve him this time?

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    • But Lance needs to maintain control of the game. That pain in the ass Lowery hit the solo shot and Lance was not the same. He has all the tools to be an elite pitcher but too often we’ve seen him go from cruising to grinding.
      Then Abreu comes in and gets 7 outs, gives up a bases empty single and ends up with the loss.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This:
    I’m soo happy for Joe Musgrove…what a pitching gem! It broke my heart when he got traded, it broke his heart too. Congratulations kid!
    Bull pens happen, but like you Dan I’m just glad Lance didn’t melt down.
    Isn’t it odd, after Bauer trashed our pitchers for spin rates and accused them of putting “something suspicious” on baseball’s that a whole LOT of his baseball’s have been collected for an investigation about a “suspicious” substance on HIS baseball’s.
    I JUST LOVE KARMA!
    Always reading, Becky⚾

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    • I was also super excited to see the announcement of the no hitter on the crawl last night! You’ll all recall I was upset we traded Musgrove away and groused that he would probably be better than Gerrit Cole. I guess I missed on that part.

      Regarding Bauer, he originally railed against the usage of sticky substances. He held the position the league needed to legalize it or penalize/prevent it outright. Then he started trying it and won a Cy Young award. Now the question is whether he is the knight in shining armor trying to save baseball by bringing attention to it or just another cheater capitalizing on MLB’s indifference to enforcing some of the rules. A shame in this entire mess is that his agent is defending him pretty hard and getting drug through the mud for it. I don’t know her, but I do know there aren’t many women employed by the major players in the industry. She’s clearly done a good job for him thus far and it would be a shame to see her go down with his (probably) sinking ship.

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  17. I had forgotten that Joe is practically a home town boy. He’s from El Cajon, right in San Diego county. His present situation could not have happened to a nicer guy. With a lifetime WHIP of 1.202, he gave the Padres a local discount at 4.45 million.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So Baez came off the Covid IL list and put on the regular IL list with shoulder soreness.
    Pruitt moved to the 60 day IL to open a spot for Baez on the 40 man roster.

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