There is Superstition…

Apologies to Stevie Wonder. But not everyone believes in Superstition, though there is probably some of that sentiment in his song. And on a side note, did Stevie who has been famous since his early teens ever consider changing over to Steve or Steven? “Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for Steven Wonder!!” Doesn’t work, kind of like when Dwight Shrute on The Office references William Joel. But I digress. A lot.

It’s hard to not believe in Superstition when you write an Astros blog and every time you complete a post it appears to trigger an opposite reaction in the team. Praise the team for their 6-1 start with a post about their good job and start a 1-9 avalanche slide to the bottom of the AL West. Dun them for being rotten as a team during that stretch and they immediately take two in a row from the Angels, including their improbable three-run 10th inning rally to snatch victory from the certain jaws of defeat.

What’s a blogger and fan to do? If I praise their performance will it result in another death spiral spin into the depths of despair? Or will their subsequent performance result from their actions, not mine?

The only way to make this work is to trod onward ignoring what the team does after negative posts or positive posts. Hey, if this writer really had that power he would be writing negative posts about his 401K right now.

The Astros mini-streak came at exactly the right time for the team. They came home off the road limping into Minute Maid Park and got two very different but solid starting performances from Cristian Javier and Zack Greinke with a ton of hitting in the first game and just enough from a variety of heroes in the second to vault the team to 2 and 0 on the homestand.

Who would we like to praise?

  • Mr. Anonymous, Robel Garcia, who slapped a ball into center field to send the fans and the team home happy with a 5-4 victory last night
  • Myles Straw who knocked in 2 runs in the first game and then somehow beat the throw to first on what looked like a routine grounder to first to keep the Astros hopes going in the 10th inning in the second game.
  • Jason Castro for whacking a ground-rule double that set up a Correa sac fly to tie the game and Garcia’s single to win it.
  • Cristian Javier toughing it out for a scoreless outing in the first game.
  • Zack Greinke for giving up double-digit hits but only two runs in the second plus going 7 innings.
  • Yuli Gurriel for his continued offensive excellence especially his 2 run homer that launched the Astros into its first extra-inning game of the season.
  • The usual suspects in the first game – Correa, Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley triggering the offensive eruption on Thursday night.

OK there I’ve done it – jinxed them to the max.

64 comments on “There is Superstition…

  1. Yay! Mention of Myles Straw in the positive! Well done, Dan.

    In the words of Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious. But I’m a little stitious.”

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    • Michael Scott – one of the greatest characters in TV history.
      George Springer one of the greatest characters in Astros history reportedly is close to debuting for Toronto. Will he burst into flames when he enters the playing field?

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      • I’d give pulling his oblique again as a very real possible this season. Better to be safe than sorry for TOR since he’s tied up for yrs to come. Much as I luv Georgie, I’d be really ticked if we had re-signed him, given this injury stuff. I mean if people can be upset at Whitley, why can’t they surmise that Springer keeping himself in optimal health was paramount? 150 million dollars worth! Hindsight is 20/20 but how many times did I say (or other fans), “George, dial it down a little, pal. We need you for the long haul”?

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  2. I suppose I still care, because I keep flipping back to the Astros’ broadcast at commercials of other programming.
    I suppose I still care because I turn the broadcast off when they give up two in the top of the tenth, and then go to Gameday to watch them come back and win.
    My love is never ending. I can’t help myself. It is awful to be this in love.
    There is so much to be hopeful about because they have been terrible(and good) with 143 games left to play and so many decent pitchers scheduled to return in the next month.
    In two weeks I will have minor leagues to keep me busy. Cannot wait!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I just watched the replay. He threw about 5 pitches. Nothing really visible. He was shaking his pitching arm a little after each pitch. Then before his last pitch, he pushed his right (pitching) hand very hard against his glove. Looking like he was trying to push his fingers back to stretch his forearm. Castro called out the trainers as John mentioned.

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  3. Astros up 3-1. Only Angels run was a home run by Pujols. However, we have seen that about 62 times. As Blummer said, when Albert goes into the Hall of Fame, he needs to give a nod to the Astros organization.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not very superstitious, but Straw did play better the past few games after I dissed him in the last post.

    Dusty is thinking of giving Carlos the day off tomorrow; if so, who should bat leadoff? I prefer he use Brantley or Tucker, but I think he would use Straw. I think that would be a bad idea, so I hope he proves me wrong again.

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      • Normally a guy who gets 3 hits including a home run is not running on fumes. Normally a guy who has played 20 games with about 3 or 4 days off thrown in is not running on fumes.
        On the other hand this may be the most games he’s ever played in a row without getting hurt.
        I once played YMCA basketball where our coach signed us up for three overlapping tournaments over the Christmas holidays, where we ended up playing 9 games in 4 days. The last game went into overtime. We won them all – now we were running on fumes.

        Liked by 1 person

    • What a long road for Emanuel. Perseverance. Only the 4th guy in history to come in with 1 out in the first and get the next 26 for a win. And in his first ML appearance. I’m sure they tested him right after the game!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kent Emanuel…was able to get his point across today to MLB. I couldn’t be more proud of that kid! Now the 64 thousand dollar question is will Dusty let him have another start, I certainly hope so. Dusty handles these guys like they are made of glass…who knows maybe Correa is. I do know that Tucker needed that homerun more than we know, let’s hope that woke his bat up.
    I don’t have any stats before me, but I can’t remember the last time these guys scored that many runs! The resident “drama queen” pitches tomorrow, I’m betting Uncle Albert will take McCullers deep …man does that guy love hitting at Minute Maid. Might be too much to ask, but wouldn’t it be AWESOME to sweep these guys tomorrow!! Becky⚾

    Liked by 2 people

  6. ON THE THEME of the Post:

    When I was just in little league;
    runnin’ out to center field;
    my papa yelled ‘Son, tag second as you pass by.”
    And that became my bad luck shield.
    That became my bad luck shield!

    And I can remember steppin’ into the box;
    every time the same routine;
    touch the bat to the plate, bounce three times and swing once;
    then finish with a menacing lean;
    had to finish with a menacing lean

    Down by Bray’s Bayou!
    Down by Bray’s Bay-ai-ai-yooo!
    Down by the Bayou!

    Wish I was back on Bray’s Bayou;
    playin’ on my first baseball team;
    dreamin’ aboout my big league debut,
    Lahd, the crowd’ll stand up and scream –
    Lawd, the crowd’ll stand up and scream.

    Down by Bray’s Bayou!
    Down by Bray’s Bay-ai-ai-yooo!
    Down by the Bayou!

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  7. *After yesterday’s performance, Fangraphs has Emanuel with a -0.1 WAR. You figure it out.
    *I liked one of the comments after an article about Odorizzi’s exit. A fan wrote “Odorizzi lasts one batter and Houston pulls another pitcher out of their a$$”. Must have been an Angels’ fan.
    *I followed the game from my phone at a family gathering. Am anxious to see if Emanuel’s performance was luck or command. Hoping to see the same thing I saw from Solomon: the ability to locate multiple pitches on the corners upon demand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He had the ball going where he wanted it to go most of the time. And once the game got out of hand, the Angels didn’t work him too hard either. 90 pitches, no walks. Regardless, a heck of an effort.

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    • It was a great outing for him – and badly needed by the overworked pen. Sure, he got a good number of swings birthed out of the frustration, on pitches that probably would have been taken in a game that was still in dispute, but he kept the ball pretty close to the zone, and kept changing speeds and eye-level looks, and that was what he was supposed to do. Don’t expect 8 2/3 innings on 90 pitches from him or anyone else very often, though – that’s averaging just a little over 3 pitches per out.

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  8. I was watching the Kent Emmanuel highlights this morning. Nothing fancy, just went out there and pitched a great game. And he’s a lefty too. Very unassuming. And on the last out he punches his glove and casually walks off the mound. I love his attitude. Just goes out there and gets the job done.

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  9. I watched a lot of Emanuel’s starts in college. His best pitch has always been his changeup. In my opinion, he often didn’t throw his fastball enough though. He’s most effective when he’s pitching in the Tom Glavine style. When the opponents are not patient and the umpires are not squeezing he has the ability to cruise…like yesterday. If he’s not getting the benefit of the doubt on close pitches and hitters force him to come over the plate he can struggle. I’ve been critical of Castro for his offensive contributions, but he did a really solid job working with Emanuel yesterday.

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  10. FRIENDS . . . WITH BATTING CAGES!

    Blame Hofheinz and Smith – I bought into the myth –
    & fell head-over-heels for the game.
    Found a six-fingered glove, and a jersey I loved
    with a number below my last name.
    I was just eight years old; and too small I was told,
    to be able to start for this nine;
    but it didn’t take long; I soon proved ’em all wrong,
    yeah, I got their attention just fine . . .

    . . . Cause I had friends with batting cages,
    & a pitching machine -so we turned up the gauges,
    and took swings all day . . . and we did okay!
    We could care less about funny pages, tv shows, concert halls, or stages,
    cause we had friends . . . with batting cages!

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  11. Speaking of Myles Straw . . .

    Does anyone remember song by the Who – “I can C-4 Myles . . . .”

    Well, he’s been bad, but he’s not been THAT bad.

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  12. Lance has been around for 5 plus years now. He personally loads the bases, visibly stressing his own composure. Then fate steps in and gives away two runs. Are we ever going to see veteran leadership from the guy at some point in time? And if his hair is bothering him so much, someone should cut it off.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My take is that you make a move at the top of the lineup and it works great and you win three in a row. Then you make a change and prove how dumb you really are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I noticed Albert over at first base for the 4th consecutive game of the series. That’s a 41 year old guy showing quiet leadership. Our self proclaimed leader preferred to watch. And please don’t tell me Carlos could not have insisted on being in the lineup today.

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  14. I may be alone here but if you told me we could get 6 innings with 2 runs allowed (3.00 ERA) from every starter for every game from here on out – I’d take it and take our chances.

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    • I agree fully. But Lance McCullers has been around long enough to hide his emotions on the baseball field. Or else he can continue to create his own misfortune on the baseball field. He acts like a rookie at times. Indeed, we’ve got rookies more emotionally mature than him. If he does not get better in that regard, the Astros have made a bad investment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LMJ is not the only pitcher to have these issues (but he does have a double portion). We have watched many pitchers hit a batter. Then walk a couple to get the bases loaded. Then a dink single scores a couple runs and they get upset. Mature adults should realize that a dink hit scores NOBODY if you don’t put those runners on base.

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  15. NOT EXACTLY INSPIRING

    Jose’ Urquidy so far this year? He has started 4 games and pitched 21 innings. In those 21 innings he has averages 17.71 pitches per inning. He has given up 22 hits – one more hit than innings pitched- as well as 7 BBs and 12 earned runs. The league is hitting .272 against him, with a .330 OBP.

    Let’s just say the offense had better show up big time tonight if we are going to have a chance to win this game.

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    • Is Jose a flash in the pan with 91 mostly good career innings, including some impressive post season work, coming into 2021 and showing his true self? I can’t accept that. Speaking of composure, that’s one thing he’s got.

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      • I know not the man’s true self; I do not presume one whit of ‘true self’ discernment for anyone. I merely offer an observation concerning how uninspiring Jose’s 2021 stats have been, and a comment on what a continuation of that trend would require of our on-again, off-again offense.

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  16. It’s an Astros tradition to not put your best lineup out there on Sundays. Hinch loved doing it. I think Jake Marisnick started every Sunday game he wasn’t on the DL. Regarding Correa and people here not liking that he had a day off, the correct move would have been to plug him in at DH. The problem is Gurriel is the other guy you don’t want to remove from the lineup right now, so it forces Alvarez to the bench. If it’s September and we need a win, they find a way to keep Correa in the lineup. 20 games into the season there really isn’t a reason to stress over it. Also, consider we just had a West coast road trip with a day off and then a stopover in Denver before the series against the geographically challenged Angels. We now host Seattle in four straight before travelling to Tampa for two before our next off day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seemed like a golden opportunity to PH Correa late in the game. I suppose when Dusty says you have the day off, he means it. Have to remind myself they aren’t as sturdy as years’ past, and if they don’t do full pre-game routines, they’re much more likely to “pull something,” besides a game winner. And anyway, if we cannot support a quality start any better than that as a unit, we should tip cap to LAA. It’s not like David Fletcher hitting the game winner (and especially on 48 mph exit velo) is any surprise at all. A relatively average player otherwise, we have had No Answer for him for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Peter Solomon will apparently be taking Odorizzi’s spot on the active roster; no word on whether he, or Emmanuel, or whoever (Garcia? Abreu?) will get the nod to start.

    Liked by 1 person

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