Homecoming for the Astros

After a late-game rally against the Yanks that turned a potential ugly 2-4 road trip to an acceptable 3-3 road trip, the Astros return home for the longest homestand of the season. They will play ten games in ten days against the Blue Jays sans, the injured George Springer, the Angels sans, the released Astro killer Albert Pujols and the Rangers sans class (OK, I have to keep stirring that in-state rivalry).

Home was not a warm spot during the Astros initial 1-5 homestand, but things looked a lot better during their subsequent 6-2 hosting at Minute Maid Park. This would be a great time to continue that home-field domination against the Angels and the Mariners at the end of April.

First up are the Toronto Blue Jays in the series that was supposed to bring Astro hero Springer back to the venue of so many of those heroics. This looked like a sure thing a week ago when George returned from the IL to make his delayed Toronto debut. Unfortunately, after playing four games for the Blue Jays, Springer returned to the IL with another soft tissue issue.

The Blue Jays have been performing decently as they sit two games behind the surprise AL East leaders, the Boston Red Sox. Toronto’s offense, led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.330 BA/ 1.057 OPS/ 7 HR/ 22 RBIs) and Randall Grichuk (.306 BA/ .858 OPS/ 6 HRs/ 26 RBIs), has performed just a tad behind the Astros as Houston is 3rd in the AL with 4.87 runs/ game with the Blue Jays just behind them at 4th with 4.80 runs/ game. The Astros starters have outperformed Toronto to this point as they are 9-8 with a 3.72 ERA, while the Blue Jays are 7-9 with a 4.67 ERA. On the other hand, Toronto, behind closer Rafael Dolis and mates Joel Payamps, Tim Mayza and former Astro swingman Trent Thornton, has the best bullpen in the AL with a 9-5 record and 2.40 ERA, while the Astros are below average with a 7-7 record and a 4.17 ERA. That puts the onus on the Astros to make hay early in the game and hope that they can avoid turning this into a battle between bullpens.

On paper (the most useless place to have it), the Astros look like they have the edge in this series with their starters. Jose Urquidy 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA faces former Dodger Ross Stripling (0-1, 6.39 ERA) in the opener, though the Astros have to hope that Stripling does not follow the example of beanball Joe Kelly in attacking the team. Saturday features ace-in-waiting Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) against lefty Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA), while Sunday sports the inconsistent Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) against the “he who shall not yet be named” TBD for the Blue Jays.

The Astros would love to have the big games by Jose Altuve and Martin Maldonado in the Yankee finale to roll over into a strong performance against Toronto on the weekend. Or maybe the heroes will be Alex Bregman or Yuli Gurriel or Michael Brantley, or Carlos Correa or even Kyle Tucker. Or maybe the tale of the games will be told by the starters or the bullpen. But now is the time for the team to show that they are serious about contending this year.

 

45 comments on “Homecoming for the Astros

  1. Well on paper the Blue Jays have a very good bullpen but on the field tonight they did not.
    And their closer pitching with a 5 run deficit came out of the game with some kind of injury.
    It was fun watching Springer laughing about Maldy having to hustle into second after watching his majestic shot hit short of a home run

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This week the Astros signed four free agents to minor league contracts:

    RHP Ryan Eades
    RHP Nolan Riggs
    RHP Brandon Lawson
    INF Yadiel Rivera

    Congratulations if you have ever heard of any of these guys before (I haven’t). I guess Click decided he finally needed to replace Brandon Bailey, Humberto Castellanos, Carlos Sanabria and jack Mayfield? Oh well, throw them against the wall like spaghetti and see what sticks.

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    • Lawson and Riggs promptly screwed the pooch upon landing. There are many others who are making good & making a name in the 1st week of MiLB action, if you know who to be watching for. Those names are fillers. So many others pitching and hitting the ball well…

      Last night, my guy teetering on breaking through Top 30 came through in the clutch, CJ Stubbs.

      Here’s a proud dad posting. I’ve noted before the incredible HS/University coaching the Stubbs kids have gotten, really good pedigree.

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      • To speak in Lawson’s defense, he last pitched in 2019 and that entailed 24 starts and no relief appearances in AA ball.
        Last night he pitched the 10th and 11th innings and had a runner put on 2nd base to start both of them, something that he has never faced. The winning run scored when he gave up his only hit, a ground ball single to CF, and the placed runner scored with two outs. The Hooks had two chances to score with a runner placed at second and did nothing.

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    • As you all know, Astros Future is a common resource for daily highlighted players.

      We get to see Hunter Brown tonight in Corpus. And I’m hoping after a few lefties have pitched real well (Bermudez & Scheetz), we’ll get a fast-moving JP Lopez promoted after a few starts. He goes tonight in Ashville.

      Ty Brown made his debut yesterday. He was the young man we selected from Vanderbilt with the Down’s Syndrome baby. Big shoes to fill, since we didn’t take 105 mph throwing Luke Little. Alex McKenna is hitting the ball great again after several injury-laden seasons. AAA is probably not going to hold Jose Siri, a perpetual Quad-A player. Bryan De La Cruz I said would get a call-up before Leon, nobody believed me…looks to be on schedule. Lots of good stuff brewing.

      http://www.astrosfuture.com/2021/05/astros-minor-league-recap-may-7th-4/

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    • The way players have been dropping like flies all over baseball, we should probably just wait and see what happens when Odorizzi is 100% ready to come back. A snake got 6 chickens here yesterday, so it doesn’t pay to count your chickens after they hatch, either.

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      • I was always told moth balls will keep the snakes away but then again I’m not a herpetologist. Obvious a hungry critter he is. I was down at the coast last week for some R&R with my girlfriend and we came across a 5′ black snake. That was no big deal but I walked right by a water moccasin (the venomous kind) and didn’t even see him until I was past it. Lucky for me there was about 3′ between me and him so no harm, no foul.
        Good game for the bats and starting pitching. I see Emanuel gave up a long ball for 2 runs but when you haven’t pitched since April 24 I’m very understanding of that. He need to pitch more often. I feel like we can have a good rotation this year. Hope I’m right. If so we’ll be candidates for another DCS and more.

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  3. Amazing to me that Yordan has walked just 4 times and struck out 27 but still has his OPS up to 1.006.

    I know that the BB/K ratio will improve as the season goes on, hopefully with a little bit of respect from umpires that have been consistently ringing him up on balls outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, that game sucked from the very beginning. Playing catch up and when we get close, they mess it up.
      We also need a center fielder.

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      • I think we’ve got to get McCormick off the bench more regularly. And if it’s deemed viable enough to put Diaz and Brantley in the same outfield at times, then maybe that’s an option too.

        But I think Straw is safe for now, if only because overall, we’re hitting as a team. I’d like to see Straw get some rest though. He’s wearing me out.

        Happy Mother’s Day, moms!

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  4. An interesting statistic; we are 10-1 when our starting pitcher gives us a Quality Start (6 or more innings with 3 or less earned runs). This also means we are 7-15 when we don’t get a QS.

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  5. I felt good about the Astros going into the ninth down only a run until they were down by 4. It’s going to take awhile, but the human resources in our pen will be changing throughout the season.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yordan hits a ball 347 feet for a 2 run homer. Semien hits a ball 349 feet for a 3 run homer. The Crawford boxes giveth and the Crawford boxes taketh away. (Jays 5 hits but 8 runs)

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  7. Interesting stats today for shortstops in AL. (Top 10 only)

    OPS goes from 1.011 to .696: Bogaerts, Story, Bichette, Rojas, Turner, Baez, Seagar, Anderson, Correa, DeJong.

    BA: .361 – .259. Correa is not in the top 10. Bogaerts, Anderson, Story, Turner, Rojas, Bichette, Iglesias, Crawford, Seagar, Baez. (CC #11)

    CC 9th in RBI

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These Blue Jay youngsters are going to go up there swinging against Grienke this afternoon. I hope our Hall of Famer has enough working to flummox them. And I hope our bats don’t help the rookie Pearson look like an All-Star.

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  9. Mike Fiers placed on the 10 day IL which means he won’t be able to take his turn in the series against the Astros a week from now.
    What a surprise!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Another melt down inning for Greinke….started the 5th with a 7-0 lead and promptly gave up 4 runs. Now our lame bullpen takes over.
    What gives with Zack??? No longer can you feel good about his starts.

    Happy Mothers Day to all your wives and to Sandy too!
    Our HEB cooks crawfish every weekend and my husband just walked in with 5lbs of those yummy mud bugs!! Best part? I don’t have to COOK!
    CROSS YOUR FINGERS FOR A WIN TODAY⚾!!

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  11. Man, I’m bad luck, but when we only get 12 outs from our ace in three consecutive starts that’s not ideal. 1OP, thank you for reminding me that we’ll never have too many starters.

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  12. Myles Straw needs a break. That’s one of the dumbest base stealing decisions I’ve ever seen. What a selfish, stupid time to run. I’m done talking now. I hope our smarter professional baseball players hold on for this win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like to bash anyone in a win. But Bagwell used to talk about situational hitting. Every play, every player has to know the situation and what his job is on the next pitch. The bonehead play of letting a player score from first on a grounder and Straw today show a complete lack of knowledge of the situation. That is on the manager and coaches too.

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      • 45, it’s the kind of thing that Straw would not even consider if he really understood the game he plays. And it’s not the kind of thing you learn at his age. And when he swings at a bad pitch after the guy on the mound has just thrown 11 balls in a row, it’s the same thing. He’s just not a smart baseball player.

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  13. Good job by the bullpen to hold the lead and really not let the Jays get much going.
    Base running – bad decision by Straw to go – cost us at least a run. But who is supposed to correct him? The same coach who sent Maldonado into an out at the plate a few minutes later?

    Greinke is worrying me big time

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question. Did Straw go on his on or did the 3rd base coach say come on? Somebody goofed for sure. And I think we’re all concerned about Greinke. I saw an article where Verlander says he has no intention of retiring. I’d have him back but not at $30MM considering he’s made $66MM for 6 innings of work for last year and this year. Maybe he’d give us a nice discount but I doubt it.

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  14. Just saw where the Pirates designated Michael Feliz! Not because he’s been bad but he’s an odd man out! Wonder who will grab him? My guess in the AL is Rangers or the Angels. Who do you guys think will claim, or trade for him??
    By the way the crawfish were DELICIOUS!!!
    PLEASE…..find another centerfielder…..pleeease😣

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  15. * When Greinke doesn’t pitch real well, but the team wins, I call that a win-win.
    * It’s early, and it’s Albuquerque, but Jose Siri is tearing it up for Sugarland the way he did in Dominican Winter League. Siri is a CFer.
    * The Asheville Tourists game was cancelled today because one of the teams had stomach virus affecting a number of players. Not sure which team.
    * Tampa Bay beat Oakland today.

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  16. The only reason the Astros aren’t in first place in our division is because they are 0-5 against the two worst teams in baseball, Colorado and Detroit..

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