Over the weekend, the Astros easily won two bookend games from the Toronto Blue Jays and lost the middle game when they fell behind, kept rallying and then had a bullpen meltdown bury them late.
So what’s up right now as the Astros prepare for a 3 game series against the very best team in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels. Well, they must be the best team in the division, or the press and TV reporters wouldn’t be giving them 10 times the exposure of all the other teams in the division, would they?
Some “stuff” to bat around…
- Will Carlos Correa regret not taking the Astros up on their five-year/ $125 MM extension offer? Will the Astros be relieved that Carlos did not take them up on that offer? Now it is not always fair to judge someone after 6 weeks of the season and immediately after a 1-for-27 slump, but Correa’s slash to date (.246 BA/.294 OBP/ .715 OPS) is not that far off his slash for the mini-season of 2020 (.264 BA/ .326 OBP/ .709 OPS). He had similar numbers in 2018. In 2017 and 2019, he was much better than that but only played in 109 and 75 games. He is not playing like the $300 MM man he thinks that he is. With several shortstops hitting the FA market with him (Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, etc.), he could be looking at a limited market anyway and certainly if he does not show better this season.
- How good is Yordan Alvarez? Every game he plays, the stat folks come up with more comparisons with all-time greats in the game. Yesterday they were showing how he was better than Albert Pujols through the same amount of games. He is an amazing hitter at his age (23 y.o.), able to turn on the inside pitches, go the other way, take full swats, lighten up and make contact. If he ever gets some respect from the umpires, where they don’t keep extending the strike zone against him, it will be something to see.
- Joe Smith and Brooks Raley have been struggling mightily this year. Smith’s ERA has been dropping lately from a catastrophic 14.54 to a bad 7.84 ERA. But the other measure of a reliever has not improved for Smith as he has let the last nine runners he inherited to score. Raley has been much better at keeping inherited runners off the home plate (only 1 of 8 have scored), but his ERA has been on the climb lately to a current 9.24 ERA. Smith has a terrible 2.032 WHIP powered by giving up an unthinkable 15.7 hits per 9 IPs. Raley’s numbers are almost normal in comparison (1.421 WHIP and 9.2 hits per 9 IPs). One or both of these guys have to be on the hot seat as the injured return, and talented youngsters beckon.
- Raise your hand if you thought that Zack Greinke would be the biggest question mark in the rotation at this point in the season. His 2-1 record and 4.23 ERA are decent and not really a problem. Being pulled after 4 innings in three straight starts as his ERA has soared from 2.76 ERA is more of a concern. With the Astros bullpen, they cannot live with four-inning starts from their very expensive ace.
- Was Kyle Tucker’s 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs a portend of better things to come? His six HRs and 20 RBIs have been solid but make one wonder where he might be after a hot streak.
- The Ryan and Ryne show is looking pretty good so far. Ryan Pressly has been darned good at 2-0 with 6 saves and a 1.80 ERA. Ryne Stanek has become a fine set-up man option with his 1.76 ERA, one save and a great 0.723 WHIP. Fans are feeling good when either of these two gentlemen come out of the bullpen.
- The Angels (.260 BA/ .319 OBP/ .746 OPS) have almost an identical slash to the Astros (.260 BA/ .323 OBP/ .747 OPS) while scoring a tad less (4.76 runs/game for the Angels vs. 5.06 for the Astros). It will be strange to play the Halos without Albert Pujols, who has been a thorn in the Astros’ side forever.
- The Angels have the worst starting staff in the AL (5-13, 5.12 ERA), while the Astros are top 5 (10-9, 3.94 ERA).
- LA’s bullpen has a 2nd worst 5.12 ERA while somehow putting up a 10-5 record. The Astros bullpen sports an 8-7 record with a 4.02 ERA.
- The pitching matchups will be interesting for the week. With Alex Cobb going on the IL, the Angels have the famous TBD listed ahead of the game, turning into a bullpen game for the Halos against Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA). Tuesday is Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) against phenom Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA). Getaway day on Wednesday has lefty Andrew Heaney (1-2, 4.11 ERA) against Jose Urquidy (3-2, 3.51 ERA). It would seem to favor the Astros, but….paper is paper.
Anyways, all things considered, what’s on your mind today?