Astros’ thoughts

Somedays a writer’s brain is over-flowing with thoughts. OK, maybe not overflowing, but enough thoughts to make up a new post…..

Is Yordan trying to be the next Uncle Mike? Granted that Yordan Alvarez strikes out way too much to be truly compared to Michael Brantley, yet. But the 24 year old Alvarez is 10 years younger than Brantley and may have some developing to do. But watching him hit in Friday night’s walk off win over the White Sox made me think he may be learning a bit from one of the finest hitters around. First, he hit down the 3rd base line to beat the shift. Then when they took the shift off – he lined one up the middle for another single. Finally, he won the game by golfing a low inside slider from the toughest left handed reliever around into the right field corner.

Alvarez is not hitting with the consistent power he showed in 2019, but he may be taking the sage advice from Brantley on how to be a complete left handed professional hitter.

Maybe this is why they are talking about a 6 man rotation….. Friday night gave another hint at the toughness, poise and talent of Luis Garcia. He struggled mightily to get out of the first inning with only giving up a run and held the White Sox off during 2nd and 3rd inning rallies on his way to a 7 inning / 1 run outing. The 6 hits he gave up in the first 3 innings was tied for the most he had given up in any full start on the season. In his last 7 starts he is 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA. In his 12 starts he has not given up more than 3 earned runs in any start, has not given up more than the 7 hits he gave up last night, and has not given up more than 3 walks (and not more than 2 in his last 10 starts). This far into his rookie season he is 5-4, with a 2.82 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, 10.2 K/ 9 IP and 2.8 BB/ 9 IP.

It will be a tough decision if they decide to put Garcia into the bullpen. It will certainly be a boost for the bullpen, but what will it do to the rotation?

Stat that flew off the page…. Friday night as the game was sliding towards the late innings the TV staff put up a stat that showed that Yuli Gurriel was leading the majors with a .420 BA from the 7th inning onward. This came to mind when Yuli came up to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning with one out and no one on. He did looked pretty bad swinging and missing on the second strike, but then he battled and fouled off some offerings and squared up a slider just outside and lined it up the middle for a single. He then judged Alvarez’s hit correctly and motored all the way around for an exciting walk-off win.

When Yuli signed that two year contract in the off-season, a lot of folks including me were wondering if he was washed up. Now the only thing that looks better than the $6.5 MM the Astros are paying him this year is the fact they can keep him with a $8 MM team option for next year.

Big things come in small packages – After a terrible 2020, when Jose Altuve was fighting through the cheating accusations from “IT” and was also straining to be worth the uptick of his contract from $9 MM to $29 MM (prorated), the mighty might is looking quite a bit more like the 2017 AL MVP and 2019 ALCS MVP in 2021.

Watching him touch home plate on his walk off grand slam the other day reminded one of how small this guy is compared to his teammates. But it is amazing how much power he has. The home runs he has been hitting lately have not been Crawford Box – Myles Straw-ish pop-up home runs. These have been shot out of a cannon no doubters. He is a wonder, whose 16 home runs to date have put a bit of a lie to the buzzer accusations.

Anyways – those are just some thoughts today on our favorite team. What do you think?

50 comments on “Astros’ thoughts

  1. A couple thoughts. Until we catch the A’s, if ever, let’s hold on the accolades. Yordan has the disadvantage of only getting 2 strikes per AB. He will almost certainly get cheated on one call on an outside or a low and outside pitch. Right now, the hitters for the most part are making solid contact. Lots of hard hit balls that get caught.

    Like

    • Yesterday in the minors. No Sugar Land pitcher could keep the Chihuahuas from being Pit Bulls. Bryan De La Cruz has cooled some in June but is still hitting .315. Siri has cooled more and is down to .303. In Corpus, Marty Costes is still sitting at .333 with an average of .296 in June. Norel Gonzales is sitting at .298. As to HRs, Matijevic has 9, Norel 8 lead in Corpus

      Like

  2. While Yordan battles his strike zone, he’s still managed to put up an .881 OPS and a .311 BA and a .365 OBP. If MLB ever goes to an electronic zone, he’ll lead the league in OBP annually. And he’ll see more pitches in the zone finally.

    We’re so lucky to be watching a batch of baseballs best hitters everyday, all so different. Yuli, Brantley, Jose, Alvarez who is wise beyond his years, Correa when he’s hot, Bregman when he’s patient and now we see Tucker emerging as a special bat. Who am I missing?

    The cherry on top would be an early departure by Keuchel today. It’ll likely depend on what kind of strike zone he gets to work with.

    Like

    • I thought Keuchel in his mid-game interest last night sounds like he has lost a lot of his edge or whatever. He spoke kindly of everyone especially LMJ and the Astros. I remember him as almost being combative in his actions.

      Like

  3. Tucker is cleared to come back – Dusty says he needs to build up a little strength before he comes back – May see him Tuesday.
    Martes comes off suspension – sent to AAA Sugar Land to work out of the bullpen

    Like

  4. Taking a moment to wish all the dad’s out there a happy Father’s Day! My oldest son reminded me that this is my 40th Father’s Day (boy is he getting old) and it has been 20 years since my day passed away – so it is an important day in a lot of ways.
    Hope y’all have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dan. Have been at a resort for a couple of days for our 50th. Was privileged to watch some of the Astros games.
      I am spent.
      Happy Father’s Day!

      Like

  5. So, first time up – Yordan Alvarez called out with the bases loaded on a 3-2 pitch that is 6 inches inside and again the umpire is sitting right there on that edge of the plate and still misses the call. Toro beats out an infield hit to bring in one run – so that helps, but still should have been a couple runs in the first.

    Like

    • I’m pleased Keuchel is gone, and gone in spite of help from the inept man in blue. Had Alvarez been awarded a walk in the first, Keuchel might have gotten blown out right then. Our guys have hung in and made them throw strikes.

      Like

    • Now 5-2 and DK is done for the day. Wasn’t that what we were wanting? Time to pound away. Glad to see Toro and Jones finally getting into the action.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Geez, Straw walks on 4 pitches. I think the scouting reports for our opponents are getting hacked. It must read “Watch out for Straw. He has tremendous power. Also swings at everything near the plate. It is better to walk him.”

    Like

  7. A great dominating sweep of a team that was on a roll before we played them. Nice to see the help from Toro and Jones.
    White Sox were their own worst enemies in the field again today

    Like

  8. So the key to the Astros success is getting enough innings from the starters and enough runs from the position players, so that the bullpen cannot implode enough to give the game away? Except when Javier or Pressly enter the game I am on a pins and needles with the bullpen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lately these guys have been decent. Hopefully they improve. Maybe too much pressure on them to make perfect pitches in high leverage situations. Relax, enjoy the opportunity to help your team. (No, I’m not a motivational speaker and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Today is Day 1 of what is supposed to be a new(old?) era. Baseball without open cheating by pitchers.
    I don’t know what that will be like, but the Skeeters game last night finished with them winning 24-15.

    Like

  10. -The Astros Team OPS reached .800 yesterday.
    -The Astros felt confident enough to rest Gurriel yesterday. That move failed to hurt them like it usually does in the final game of a series.
    -Toro looks like a different player at the plate. He is very aggressive. I would advise him to not try to steal bases, though.
    -The starting pitching seems to be helping the Astros batters to relax and the Astros batters seem to be helping the Astros pitchers to relax.
    -If Keuchel thought it was weird pitching to the Astros, he also ought to know how weird it was for Astros fans to watch it on TV.
    – Toro and Jones both lined solid hits through the wide open side of the shift.
    -In the first two innings of Sunday’s game, the home plate umpire looked like he wanted Chicago to salvage game 4 of a lost series. Then, by the end of the third inning, he looked like it didn’t matter any more.
    -Remember how poorly the Blue Jays looked on defense against the Astros in their last series? That is how the White Sox looked by Sunday.
    – For Garza, Jr’s sake, I was never so excited to see a guy with blue hair catch a pop up.

    Like

  11. His AAA slash line of .392/.497/.600/1.097 suggests he might be able to hit MLB pitching after he gets used to it.
    The Astros drafted him because he could hit. A lot!

    Like

      • I liked him when I first saw him in Spring Training, 2019. And there is no doubt that he hits everywhere, with the exception of MLB to date. Sounds like Bregman will out for months. So this is Honest Abe’s real shot. He gets another start tonight, so that’s a good sign too.

        Like

  12. I’m winnin’ in the rain
    Just winnin’ in the rain
    What a glorious feelin’
    I’m happy again.
    I’m laughing at clouds.
    So dark up as sin
    The sun’s in my heart
    And I’m ready for a win.

    Let the stormy clouds chase.
    Everyone from the place
    Come on with the rain
    I’ve a smile on my face
    I walk down the lane
    With a happy refrain
    Just winning
    Winnin’ in the rain

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Here is a head scratcher. Prospect A J Lee was hitting .122 at Ashville. He gets promoted to AAA Sugar Land. They have at least two decent prospects in Alex de Goti and C J Hinojosa. Lee does have 2 hits in 6 ABs against El Paso.

    Like

    • He might be considered an organizational player, to be used in spots where there is a shortage of infielders because of callups or injuries.

      Like

  14. Look at this draft and see how many of the players from one team’s draft have made it to the majors: https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2015/6/14/8779745/mlb-draft-2015-astros-2015-draft-pick-results-tracker-and-social
    Eshelman will start for Baltimore against the Astros on Wednesday.
    Players who have played in the majors are:
    Bregman
    Tucker
    Cameron
    Eshelman
    Ferrell
    Thornton
    Stubbs
    Sandoval
    Straw
    Garza
    10 players from one year’s draft have played in the majors. Amazing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s