The Free Blog Weekend returns

Your loyal writer is bringing back a Chip Bailey favorite in the Free Blog Weekend purely for your benefit. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have to get an estimate package out to the client on Monday and need to whip this post out at my lunchtime or not at all today.

As a reminder, topics to discuss are up to you, dear commenters, as long as they are baseball-related and respectful of others.

As usual, I will toss out a topic to attempt to start the conversation…..

On the radio a little while ago, John Lopez, who to me can be the king of smug sometimes, said the Astros should sweep the Rangers in this next three-game series – period.

Yes, the Astros are a better team than the Rangers, but thinking this through, there are other considerations.

  • These games will be played at the Rangers new home – the “Barn”. (Ignore the fact that the Rangers are 10-13 at home this year).
  • The Rangers best pitcher, Kyle Gibson, who has been excellent this year and gave up 2 runs in 7 innings to the Astros a week ago, is facing Astros prospect Tyler Ivey Friday night in his major league debut. And Ivey has not been pitching well in the minors so far this season.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt?
  • Even though the Astros swept a 4 game series from the Rangers, only the second game (similar to tonight), where Zack Greinke faced rookie Wes Benjamin, was a blowout. They won the first game 4-3 in 11 innings in a game they came close to losing a dozen times. They had to hang on for dear life in the third game, 6-5, as the Rangers came roaring back from 6-1 down. In the fourth game, they won 6-2, but the game was tied 2-2 in the 8th inning before a late Houston rally.
  • The Astros are a so-so 11-9 on the road to date.

So, is a 3 game sweep a no brainer for the Astros? Talk among yourselves or bring up your own set of topics.

46 comments on “The Free Blog Weekend returns

  1. Sweep talk like that is ignorant from the smug guy. Clearly the starting pitching matchup favored the Rangers. 2 of 3 would be great. That’s still very realistic. On Ivey, I did not see anything from him that turned my head.

    Going back to a couple of earlier comments, it was a curious decision to use Pressly in a 10 pitch 9th and then go with Abreu in the 10th. The boys in the booth were thinking it was going to be a two inning night for our closer. As it turned out, Abreu needed one out that he could not get. It was clearly not one of his sharper nights. Could not get a breaking ball over.

    But we’re a half game out. And we might have Javier, Garcia and even Urquidy added to the pen before long. I don’ think we need to fire anyone yet.

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    • Baker doesn’t use his closer in the 10th inning because it is too hard to get out of a jam with a runner placed on second. Period. He doesn’t want his closer scarred by baseball’s stupidity.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. * I don’t ever count on the Astros sweeping, Dan, because they are not good enough to do it often.
    * Tyler Ivey may have had a good night, but he did not pitch well.
    * You can blame the bullpen or Baker for the loss but the Astros were 2 for 14 w/risp and stranded runners in scoring position in each of the final five innings of that game.
    * Oakland came from behind to win and the first-place Astros are in second place.
    * The Astros added 4 starting pitchers to the 40-man roster last fall from the minors and none of them are starting pitchers for the Astros.

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  3. The Rangers best player, Adolis Garcia was put on waivers this spring by the Rangers and no one claimed him. He has 1.6 WAR so far this season and he plays CF.
    Someone needing a CFer could have had him for the league minimum.

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  4. It was frustrating to lose that game last night.
    – Abreu walk leads to Garcia 3 run HR
    – I don’t care about Pressly’s psyche about giving up the run from 2nd in extra innings. The heart of the lineup was going to come up. I’d rather have Abreu against the bottom of the lineup in the 9th.
    – With Ivey going 4.2 innings, couldn’t you have had some of your relievers go more than an inning? Emanuel? Bielak?
    – Even during their winning streak the Astros were leaving a lot of ducks on the pond. Less than last night, but still….
    – After the Rangers error in the 10th that left guys on 1st and 3rd with one out it was tough not stepping on their throat that time. Abreu might have pitched different with a 2 or more run lead than a 1 run lead
    – Need McCullers to be the ace tonight and shut them down and we need to knock Lyles around

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    • Dan, as you stated, “With Ivey going 4.2 innings, couldn’t you have had some of your relievers go more than an inning? Emanuel? Bielak?”

      I agree, Baker using a pitcher per inning burns the pen up and we get what we had last night. That is why we “supposingly” have long relievers but he does not know that…

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  5. Last Sunday afternoon LMJ and Kyle Gibson dueled each other with McCullers winning the duel and the Astros winning the game.
    Friday night Texas stayed with their rotation and went with their pitcher on normal rest.
    But for some reason, Houston decided to get brilliant and not go with their rotation and matched up a rookie with bad numbers and called up from AAA to match up with Texas’s #1.
    Houston outsmarted themselves and when the starting pitchers left, the Rangers had a 3-run lead and Houston was scrambling for the rest of the night to find relievers, who eventually blew the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know I sound like a broken record but…..JEEZE McCullers does this cr@P every 2-3 games! THAT doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling about giving the guy $85 million for 5yrs! I’m not a fan can you tell.
    I dubbed him a “DRAMA QUEEN” for good reasons.
    81 pitches in 3 innings….and our bullpen is our bullpen 😠

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I asked Winston Churchill what he thought of the Astros, their bullpen and their manager.

    “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.”

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  8. Lance McCullers is the enigma. In spite of having one of his odd days, he somehow found the safety of his clubhouse after throwing five very strange innings, leaving with a precarious lead. I give him some credit for that. Did holding him back for a day screw up his sensitive psyche?

    I can’t say much good about our veteran hitters and defenders. We needed 10 runs and our bats should have scored ten. We made errors. We already know our pen sucks. It’s going to be that way for awhile. So we have to do other things better. And if we don’t we won’t win, even against last place teams.

    I hope Tyler Ivey is not remembered for being the guy that set in motion a sweep by the Rangers of our formally first place club.

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  9. I know I am abusing Free Blog Weekend, but if a team is stat (%) driven, one would think they would play the odds. If a batter is hitting .250 or below, we would expect him to make an out 3 out of 4 times. One below .200, then 4 outs in 5 chances. So if they sacrifice bunt, then at least he advanced the runner(s), or even if they bunt foul on a 3rd strike, they are striking out 20-35% of the time anyway. I just don’t statistically understand why you ALWAYS expect a poor hitter to get a hit. (If you don’t expect Maldonado to steal a base with his abilities, then why expect Straw to hit a 3 run homer with his abilities).

    https://www.fangraphs.com/teams/astros/stats

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    • Not abusing it at all – the whole idea is to write about what you want to write about (baseball related and respectful of others).
      The bias against the sacrifice bunt are stats that show (overall) that it is not the best percentage play. However, it may for specific players be a better bet, if…..the guy can bunt successfully much more often than he can hint.

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  10. I do think it’s time to give Chas McCormick the majority of playing time in CF. Straw has had his chance, now it’s time to look at another player.

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    • The Astro’s Bullpen’s ‘Walk-Up’ Medley now also features:
      Walkin’ to New Orleans;
      Walkin’ the Dog;
      Walkin’ on Sunshine;
      Walk Like an Egyptian;
      Walking in Memphis;
      Walk like a Man;
      I Walk the Line[up]; and
      Walk Away.

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      • Yes it was fun seeing the “old” guy win the PGA. I’m getting old when the old guy used to be the young guy. What a crazy and tough golf course. Half the time it looked like they were playing in Jurassic Park. It seemed like when they were teeing off that you couldn’t see the fairway from the tee. And the incessant winds made them have to adjust every shot. I know Mickelson’s brother was caddying for him and he gave him a lot of credit in dealing with the winds.

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      • Our guys weren’t up to par. They brought a putter to a driving range. They triple-bogeyed the series. Unfortunately, unlike in golf, in baseball it is never the guy with the lowest score that walks away happy.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I have been watching golf since the sixties. I was there on the 18th hole when Julius Boros became the oldest player to win a major.
    But, I have never seen a better tournament than this year’s PGA Championship and have never seen anything like Phil Michelson’s final hole yesterday to become a legend in my sport. The scene was like a modern version of Arnie’s Army.
    I am so delighted to have witnessed the Astros win the WS and to have seen what happened yesterday on The Ocean Course.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Forgive me for beating a dead dog. But the 10th inning yesterday was a perfect example of “sacrifice” or “situational hitting” or “know your role” or something. For the Astros, after two failed bunt attempts, Altuve redeemed himself with a single to center. Castro had to wait to see if the centerfielder had a play so he only made it to third. Runner on 1st and 3rd with no one out. (Please note that because Brantley was the DH, Dusty HAD TO bat him 4th, but OK). So what was the “situation for Carlos and for Bregman?” No pop ups and no strike outs. Even a double play for Carlos scores the run. When it became Brantley’s turn, there were already two outs and a sac fly wasn’t going to happen. Now the “situation” for the Rangers. Key at bat. Lowe knows he needs to hit the ball to the right side. He grounds out in a harmless looking ground ball. But it is now one out and runner on third. Do you walk one or two and play for the double play or do you bring the infield in and play for a ball hit directly to an infielder? Garcia was not a hard hit ball. But it won the game AFTER Lowe advanced the runner. Little things win and lose ball games. (Blummer talks about this in almost every game. The Game within a Game. Baggie was even more outspoken when he was on the telecast.)

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  13. Adolis Garcia basically beat us by himself. He went 5 -10 with 3 HRs, a DBL, and 8 RBIs – two of which were walk-off hits. Call him Astros-Kryptonite. Call him Pujols II. But please, call him a cab … and get him out of my sight!

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  14. I thought it was a somewhat arrogant decision to start Ivey in the opener on Friday night. I’m sure the Rangers were not impressed by that decision by our experts. And Dusty is not great with our crappy pen, but once again, I’m putting Click on the clock. What has he done since showing up? I know, the injuries are not his fault, but he seems like a non-factor to date.

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  15. VERY interesting article on MLB trade rumors by Eric Katz about Dodgers sign stealing in 2018..as well as the Rockies! I’m so computer illiterate I don’t know how to repost the article….one of you computer geniuses can do it! BUT…it is very interesting and telling!
    By the way our guys are in for it with the Dodgers.
    Kershaw -Tuesday
    Bauer Wednesday

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  16. It was nice to have the night off from watching baseball. Our little island nation, until now spared, is having its first bout of community Covid-19 spread, apparently initiated by a family that came in from Argentina and was under quarantine. But now it is out. And getting our citizens to vaccinate has been a battle. Cases are popping up with no rhyme or reason, which means containing the initial cluster might not be possible. I’d rather be in the Astro bullpen.

    Like

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