This is a hitting slump

One thing you can say about the Houston Astros’ offense. They truly work as a team. Unfortunately, that means that along with hitting so well for most of the season and having the best offense in the AL and at times the MLB, it also means that when they choose to stink it up, they do that in lockstep with each other, also.

There were inklings of this a few weeks ago when they lost a couple games on the road to the Tigers and came home to be swept by the Orioles, scoring between 1 and 3 runs in 5 of those 6 games. They did a bit better job scoring after that but have hit the skids in the last 7 games spanning the All Star game. They had a couple spurts in there, including the miracle 6 run ninth inning against the Yanks and scoring 7 runs in the first game against the White Sox. But in the other 5 games, all losses, they scored 0 runs 3 times and 1 run twice.

It does not take long to find some culprits.

Jose AltuveWhile Jose has had several heroic moments this season, including the walk-off against the Yanks, he has fallen into a “yank” swingfest in the last month plus. In the last 34 games, he has been slashing a 2020-like .226 BA/ .329 OBP/ .847 OPS. That included 12 HRs and 29 RBIs, but many at bats that did not result in the lead-off man getting on base or doing anything constructive. In the last two weeks, that has been an even worse .184 BA/ .205 OBP/.574 OPS. Jose gets in these funks where he tries to be George Springer, and the team needs him to go back to being Jose Altuve as he was earlier in the season.

Carlos CorreaAfter playing brilliantly, Carlos started slumping and then missed time due to the health protocol and has been hitting badly (though amazing in the field) since his return. In his last 13 games he has been slashing .114 BA/ .231 OBP/ .435 OPS. That is a bad bat in the middle of the lineup, but Carlos seems to always struggle when coming off the IL over the years.

Yordan AlvarezYordan is truly facing the first real slump of a young career. In his last 8 games, he is in a 2 for 30 crash and burn slump, where he is striking out half the time (15 Ks) with no walks. His slash has been awful in that time – .067 BA/ .067 OBP/ .134 OPS. Yikes. Please come back, Yordan.

Yuli GurrielYuli’s numbers for the season are still top-notch, but he has been struggling lately. In his last 16 games, he is slashing a below-average .200 BA/ .279 OBP/ .513 OPS. He was bound to cool off some time, but, unfortunately, it occurred in conjunction with his compadres.

Michael BrantleyUncle Mike never looks like he is slumping with the prettiest swing on the team, but after peaking out with a .356 BA, he has been hurting too. In the last 16 games he is slashing a poor (for him) .222 BA/ .269 OBP/ .618 OPS. Having watched Brantley for the last 2-1/2 years – this too will pass…

Alex BregmanBregman was in an 18 game slump (.174 BA/ .272 OBP/ .572 OPS) when he went on the IL more than a month ago. The Astros did a good job continuing to hit when he was first out, but they sure could use a bit of vintage Alex back in the lineup at some point.

Now Kyle Tucker (who did miss some time with illness) and Myles Straw have been two positive notes during this drop-off, but they need help from the veterans (plus Alvarez) to get this offense rolling again.

So, who breaks out of the funk first, or do they go on an assault as a team?

70 comments on “This is a hitting slump

  1. Sure can be frustrating, but it is the ebb and flow of a long season. We’ll hit again. We’re still at the top of most offensive league statistical categories, even after all of the slumping you’ve just mentioned Dan. In the meantime, we’re also still 3.5 games up on the A’s.

    I’m far more concerned about our pitching. Seems like we keep springing leaks. Did Grienke really throw 84 pitches last night, only 49 for strikes? Javier does not seem to like his present job. Odorizzi highlighted our common theme this weekend. We can’t throw strikes. And almost everyone seems to have that same malaise. Quiet James Click, we’re counting on you!

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  2. Brantley and Alvarez looked really good last night – albeit against a pitcher who came in with an ERA well over 7.00. Altuve made contact and got one hit in four trips. Carlos Correa looked totally lost again – racking up three more strikeouts. He did manage to reach base on a walk.

    Unfortunately, Tucker joined the ranks of the slumpers’.

    Robel Garcia? Well, what did you expect?

    We struck out 11 times. We are apparently trying really hard to catch up with the rest of the league in this particular offensive stat.

    All in all, it definitely wasn’t our best offensive performance, but it was enough to eek out a win – slump or no slump!

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  3. Maybe the Astros need to grant a waiver to the other team and encourage them to use the Sticky Stuff when they play. It appears that honest pitching really hurts the team, so bring back the cheaters.

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  4. Obviously I wrote this piece before last night’s game, so it looks like there was maybe the beginning of the slump lifting
    – The most important at bat for Yordan may have been the walk in his first AB – he hadn’t had a walk in 30 ABs and had showed lack of plate discipline throughout this slump. Looked back on it last night
    – Can’t get on Tucker’s case too bad – he did have a hit last night. First time up strike two was below the zone and strike three might have caught about a milimeter of the plate – ball was almost entirely off the plate. Same thing on strike three on his second AB as again the pitch might have caught a smidgen of the plate
    – Yuli had a real Yuli hit with his double knocking in Brantley
    – Brantley looked like Brantley
    – Correa had been so locked in and now he looks like he’s playing pinata
    – Garcia just does not belong
    – Maldonado with a big hit to bring in Chas

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  5. One point concerning the previous posts about Pedro Leon et al. I love Aledmys Diaz. But he is a utility player. He has never played in 70 games for the Astros. So at some point can you afford to pay $3-4-5 million to that type player. Sort of a Marisnick thing. So my guess is Leon?, Kessinger? Wielinky? NOT Garcia, becomes the bench player in the near future. None of them right now are equal to Diaz. But somebody has to make league minimum so the Astros can pay the Stars.

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    • Right now, every team is struggling to win games. The hottest team in baseball currently is the CWS. They are 8-2 in their last 10, but 3-2 in their last 5.
      The Dodgers got walloped last night at home by SF and both starters lasted 3 innings.
      Ohtani was the Angel’s starting pitcher/DH last night and they got beat.
      Facing Cole, Giolito and Rodon in a span of six or 7 games is a good reason to be in a slump.
      Every team is hurt, every team has slumps and every team gets beaten. The trick is to be standing in a good spot come the end of September.
      With a ton of players out the Astros have been good at home, good on the road and great against teams over.500.

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      • Totally agree on the ups and downs – slumps followed by tears, etc. I did want to show that for most of these individuals they have been on a down slope since before facing Cole, Giolito, Rodon – most of them for two weeks or so.
        But to your point the Orioles ever the spoilers beat the Rays last night.
        I did see where the Nats scored 6 FGs vs. the Marlins single extra point, while the Mets had 5 FGs and the Reds put up a FG, a TD and a two point conversion.

        I wonder if Correa went back to his too big leg kick accidentally while he was out or if it is just that the ball looks like a BB to him.

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  6. It seems the Astros are fast forwarding Leon as to where he might can be the replacement for Correa next season. Has anyone on this forum seen him play shortstop. Correa has spoiled us all with his defense, I was hoping that with all these contracts off the books after this season, that we might make Correa a reasonable offer. Do you think the Stros have moved on from him? Leon can compete for an outfield position.

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    • Larry –
      1) Have not seen Leon play SS, but like I wrote the other day it would not surprise me if he was a stop gap for a year or so. I do know this – there is no way he is or will be as good a SS as Correa – the guy is terrific in the field.
      2) I think the Astros can match other teams on $$/year on a contract – but I don’t see them matching the number of seasons.
      3) What if…..let’s say other teams are offering Correa $300 MM over 10 years…. Could the Astros offer him a tiered 10 year contract – 5 yrs at $40 MM per year, an opt out after 5 yrs and then 5 yrs at $20 MM per year. Still gets to $300 MM but pays him a lot more for his “prime” years so if he moves to 3B later – not as big a hit.

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      • No way is he worth $40MM a year in any form or fashion. Tatis got 340 for 14 which is about 24 a year. Correa would say sure, I’ll take your 200MM for 5 and then I’m out of here. I may be “frugal” (the accountant in me) but I’d offer him 25-28 per year for 6 with a option for year 7. I like him and he’s a great defensive SS and a good hitter, but should he get much more than Bregman/Altuve? I just don’t see the value. If he took that he’d only be 34 at the option year so he could still make more.
        I’d rather go after an elite starting pitcher if he doesn’t sign but the market seems to be somewhat limited. What a conundrum we face.

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    • Double L: I watched parts of most games. He has 7 errors at short with a .943 fielding. I have seen him charge and throw. I have watched the short hop play. I watched the DP pivot. He has a great arm. Not embarrassing at short but lacks Correa and Bergman skills currently (in my opinion.) You know how Chas can be completely fooled on a pitch and hit the next one for a double. Then you have seen León bat. He and Korey Lee have impressed me with their raw skills. But I don’t think either is ready yet.

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    • I read that article after watching the Astros game and was stunned by the irony of it.
      Twice I resisted commenting about it this morning and you opened the door.
      I’m going to hide in the storm cellar.

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  7. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Carlos Rodon is making $3M this season and this is his walk year. Not more arbitration and could be a free agent after this season if he chooses.

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    • And in case you hadn’t noticed, the White Sox actually non-tendered him in December before resigning him in January. That sounds like a pretty big gamble that paid off for Chicago. Even if they had an informal agreement, he had every right to sign with another team. He’s going to get paid this offseason for sure.

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  8. There is not a guy on the planet anywhere close to Carlos Correa defensively. And when he plays, his OWAR numbers are excellent. But when I look at what Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon and George Springer and Francisco Lindor are doing to date at the beginning of their combined 951 million dollars worth of contracts, I’m already convinced the only organization willing to pay him what he wants will be the Yankees. As I’ve been saying since ST, hope Carlos helps us win a world Series. And then if he goes to NY, I hope he gives them 87 games a year for the next decade.

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      • Becky, I don’t see how the Yankees could afford Correa. If they trade or non-tender half of their roster they could probably get it done.
        Their farm system is one of the worst in baseball right now, so they wouldn’t have replacements for all those players.
        It will be a very interesting offseason.

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  9. Just my thought, but does Altuve HAVE to swing on the first pitch? It seems to me lately when he does he grounds out…or SOMETIMES he hits a homerun. AND…Correa wants the same deal Lindor got….unless Crane has lost his mind, I don’t see that happening. Brantley is who he he is…a professional hitter, thank goodness we will have him next year! I can’t wish hard enough for Bregman to get back….the experience at 3rd is horrible.
    Presley remarked yesterday there are good relievers out
    there, let’s hope Click finds one OR two. Right now the bullpen is a crap shoot, hoping the guy that comes in doesn’t blow up, which we’ve watched over and over again.
    Garcia and McCullers had better go deep, because Javier won’t be available to help them. By the way I’m not sure Javier is too happy with his new assignment. ..again my opinion only. Let’s hope for another win tonght and a loss for the A’s!
    Do you remember when the Astros used to lay their bats on blankets in the clubhouse in hopes they wake up from their sleep?!!! Maybe they should do that again!

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  10. This is going to sound like Bopert, but each year I can’t believe our owner(s) are so cheap and fail to keep our Stars. They then go and lay an egg for another team. YES I want to keep Correa, but these “ All In” owners will continue to outbid the Astros.

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  11. 10 Years of Altuve. Maybe he can bunt for a base hit to celebrate.

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  12. NOPE! He hit a lead off homerun! By the way the A’S won today. Good to see our guys starting to hit! Brantley and Yuli both got hits in the first inning, but stayed there. Garcia appears to be pitching very well…what do you guys see?

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      • I think it is this simple Sarge. They are paying him $4 MM this year – owe him about a little above half of that for the rest of the season. They would love to have the Joe Smith that was a strategic veteran arm in the 2019 bullpen. But failing that I think they would have liked for him to show that he is back close to normal and trade him. That is looking less and less likely now with only 10 days to the trade deadline. If he was either making minimum or had options – he would be sent for assignment.

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      • It may be getting to the point where his 40-man roster spot becomes more valuable than his arm. They are going to have to pay Smith, whether he is on the roster or not.

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      • My suggestion is they trade Joe Smith to West Coast for his final months (SD, SEA?). It’s my understanding he’s owed less than half pro-rata actually.*

        How? By adding prospect value with, say, Dawson and Macuare who are both Rule 5’s anyway. It’s the “classy” thing to do to make these players continue to have imaginary value, because frankly we paid what for Ronnie Dawson (instead of picking Pete Alonso?)$1.0568 million bonus. It’s a way for players to get a change of scenery and spread wings in an org that may be able to use them, a la, Jack Mayfield, or Tony Kemp. Recall we shipped off Stassi who’s doing well,…for Rivas and Raider. Who?! Exactly!

        *as with Astros possibly getting Starling Marte for less than half of his ’21 salary, for example = ~$4.75M.

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  13. While checking on some stuff for the Astros’ roster this morning, I noticed that Roster Resources (Fangraphs) has Jake Meyers ranked as the Number 1 player in AAA. Meyers is rated by them as our #12 prospect, while MLB doesn’t even have him rated.
    The #1 ranking is based on his performance this year, not on his pedigree.
    Two players who might be on the DFA bubble are Robel Garcia(28 yo) and Ralph Garza, Jr(27 yo.).

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    • Agree, DFA is likely. Will be a tough pill, but Joe knows full well what he expects of himself. Maybe next year for some other team, he’ll rekindle. The year off losing his mother, and having to watch Enoli Paredes take his spot, perhaps ’21 was always going to be a tough climb?.

      On Jake Meyers, that is exactly why ranking players takes a certain “on the field” knowledge that is often not reflected in MLB ranks, because the team has an interest too in keeping them ranked for trading purposes. For example, at a certain point it became clear Luis Santana (the “gem” of the Davis trade) or Jayson Schroeder should have never been ranked based on his actual performance. Similarly, Freudis Nova is getting beat out by Enmanuel Valdez, but is still in MLB top 10. Some people just know that is false.

      Congrats to Meyers, whose offseason is well-chroncled elsehwere. The 13th round OF that rose above them all in 2021 gets a spot in my top 10 prospects. One gentleman who has watched minor league ball for 40 years has fought me tooth and nail over him, saying, “I’m still not convinced.” There’s no accounting for taste, I tell ya!

      I had posted Pete Solomon’s interview many times in which he saysMeyers is the best fielder he’s ever seen. That was in 2018. A guy who was in W Palm Beach read it and said he just witnessed the greatest catch he’d ever seen. It was Jake. Meyers.

      Scouts always said he was too light-hitting. He put himself through rigors of tougher pitchers this Winter, more structured than Dominican ball that De La Cruz and Siri committed to. Consequently, he found his power.

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      • Thanks for the additional info on Meyers, GoStros. To be a next man up with an OF injury he would have to be put on the 40 man – so I’m thinking that is not likely. But maybe he gets a shot in spring training??

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      • Yes, I am assuming we will make some 40-man room, Meyers may or may not be this year. I could see it being McKee, maybe Bermudez or Conine added, since we don’t need an OF now.

        I’d like to get rid of Garcia when Diaz is back, and to trade at least Fred Nova (& Smith mentioned). We will have to make room in December, anyway, for Pena etc.

        I prefer we get Marte and Bleier as trade targets anyway, but we’ll see.

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  14. And Correa showed some good signs last night. He hit one to just short of the fence in right on a line. He hit one in the hole that they made a great play on and he finally got a hit late in the game.

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  15. To follow up on OP’s comment the other day about amateur draftees, here is the list so far signed. I am blown away with what we signed Quincy Hamilton (5th round), who was rated in several services as D1 best hitter overall = $47K! Way under, but then we turned around and gave others more. It’s shaping up nicely.

    Rhett Kouba jumps off the page. Very high marks from a well-coached program, Dallas Baptist. We drafted him like Joe Perez, during their TJ re-hab. He signed for $125K. Nic Swanson was another scout Jim Stevenson special from Okla JUCO Northeastern U, signed for $125K. Guys that many have never heard of..

    Astros got Billy Wagner’s son for $50K. A victory for your next-to-last pick!

    Where we really scored was UDFA, though! Last year, we found Jimmy Endersby, and two guys from Crane’s alma mater (SEMO), Jon Sprinkle 20 K/9! And Justn Dirden, who really should have just been promoted to Asheville before Zach Daniels. Patience, nonetheless.

    I haven’t added up what we’ve spent but eye test says there’s money left.

    https://www.baseballamerica.com/draft-history/mlb-draft-database/#/

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    • GoStros – do you think we will sign those first two picks, too early to worry, maybe waiting on someone else to sign…..

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      • So hard to tell with some posturing remaining. The info we had was both agreed on a number, so why the delay? I can only imagine it’s a bit of a wish list for the scouts, and then up to the player & family to discuss options. Both kids had full rides they are weighing, and who knows what will be the reason they stay or go in final analysis?

        One young man I’m helping in Katy had offers to go to several schools but ultimately wanted Texas Tech. They told him they didn’t have the money, but the second it broke loose, their coach called Ryan Brome. He’s ecstatic.

        It may happen for HOU in that way with Whitaker and Ulloa, I don’t know. In the end, hard to “worry” in the sense that $ will go to someone else, perhaps, and those kids will do what’s best for themselves. My thinkiing on Ulloa is his timeline corresponds with some young SS we already have, so…

        One thing I find interesting is, scouts have commented that they “let another scout” recommend their kid first, like in the Bielak case. I thought it was cool to see how the drafts were from different geographical areas, so the head guys Charlie & Kris have to prioritize players, scouts and also try to figure out which kids will still be available. The one I wanted was John Rhodes at #87 from Kentucky, but Orioles stole him #76.

        Mentioned last year, I wanted Luke Little, and instead we drafted the vandy fellow with Down’s baby, Ty Brown. A great story but that isn’t looking very good right now.

        This year, I wanted us to get San Jac’s Mason Auer as a SS who went in the 5th. We could have gotten him instead of Ulloa! And which team do you think (think: smart team) chose Auer?

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  16. Rays, Dan.

    I see that Trade Rumors is floating that Astros checked in on Pirates All-Star team-controlled thru ’25, CF Bryan Reynolds.

    Apparently, Click has said he doesnt want to go over threshold on a “question mark” which is a good comment. If we go over, we should go All-In.

    I can almost feel the phantom limb cast aside though, bc they might want Hunter Brown and Korey Lee. We’ll start asking, “maybe we should have traded AJ Reed, Francis Martes and Forrest Whitley when we had the chance”? Get out the popcorn, it’s about to start getting interesting.

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    • We know that teams were pursuing Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley. Were they chasing after Yordan Alvarez, Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia? Framber? Urquidy? Its interesting to think about…

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  17. Drifting farther away from the article, Dan. The Astros should be hitting the ball more consistently, but they seemed to have run into a buzzsaw of pitching when they’re laboring. Picking on the 7 ERA last night. We had better come up with good hitting approaches from tougher pitching, and maybe when full strength, some of that comes back?

    Offsubject again, according to another retired officer, he says the Sportstrac link claims Astros have $1,713,100 left to spend. That would appear to be enough for Whitaker/Ulloa & a little extra. Will be relieved when it’s officially over.

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    • You know baseball is just so streaky at times – if you look back the Astros have beat up on some bad pitchers, but they also beat up on Chris Bassit, Sean Manea, Lance Lynn, Nathan Eovaldi and others. I can’t say that it is all approach – sometimes a guy is throwing nasty stuff and putting it exactly where he wants. If he catches your guys not at their best they will fail at times. Just the way it is.

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      • I had some red flags go up on Eovaldi, and one has to at least wonder how some of these really good pitchers started downward turns on spin rate after the crackdown. Seems like that is starting to level out, if you believe the outspoken pitchers (Glasnow, Garrett Richards) that they had to re-invent themselves after midseason, sudden changes.

        Just another element to factor in, may have a little something to do with our slump/successes.

        Looks like more than ever before, the trick is just having all your guys On the Field through September. I thought a real back-breaker for Yanks last yr was losing German (to Domestic Violence).

        You might laugh at this being a real possibily, but how about hiring a “covid infected” person’s cellphone in the lobby of the Yankees hotel before the playoffs within 6 ft of Aaron Judge. The Dodgers were lucky Justin Turner’s situation didn’t cost them a 60- game season, world title! Can you imagine the security surrounding “health and safety protocols” these guys will be under as playoffs approach?

        It’s just crazy all of the different things teams have to try to control these days.

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    • GS1, the money for the draft is already figured into that figure. They add the Astros allotted money for the draft before they come up to their figures. They also have included the $5m+ the Astros spent internationally and the bonuses for players who get them for reaching their goals, such as allstar, MVP and innings pitched etc.

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      • Are we talking two aspects of the budget?
        That is, trying to stay under tax threshold, which includes incentives as you say. But then also $1.7M remaining to offer Whitaker, etc.?

        You might also be mentioning it because if we go over the tax for Marte, per se, we also lose international monies in ’22, as well as owing 25% of the overage spending.

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      • I’m saying that when Cot’s or Spotrac tell us we have such and such amount of room below the luxury tax line, they have already figured draft signings, international signings and player incentive bonuses into their figures.

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      • Ah, well I do see we gave Whitaker $1.5M today, so as I said on draft day, I don’t think we can sign Ulloa. That would turn out to be pretty prescient.

        Now I can finish Top 30.

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    • He got hosed on the second guy at the plate by two pitches that were strikes. Should have been 1 out with 1 on. Abreu got the first two and then serves up a pitch right down the middle for a triple and 3 runs. Then we have Austin Pruitt who has pitched twice and given up two long balls. The bull pen strikes again!

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      • Inserting Pruitt there makes absolutely no sense. His 2nd outing to date, you couldn’t have put him in last night up 9-0? Gosh, I hated that trade of Battenfield to the Rays for Pruitt, now even more.

        And if Baker says you have the day off: Castro McCormick to pinch hit? Oh, no, you have the DAY OFF. Letting off steam, that was a tough loss.

        Hated seeing McCullers get rooked by the ump, too, but at least the offense didn’t quit & got us tied up.

        A day off before we host the Rangers. Will Gallo still be with them?

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  18. It’s tough when Lance can only get 15 outs with 100 pitches. We have to live with the damn umps. I know Maldonado regrets putting up that slider finger one too many times to Abreu. He was almost out of it. I admit, I’m pro Abreu. I think he’ll put it all together one of these days. But he had thrown a whole batch of beautiful sliders and Clement came up looking for one more and got a bad one. Game change. Again I ask what Austin Pruitt is going to do for this club. I’m so looking forward to the next ten days. Pitching! Do we really need help in center? I hope that is a smoke screen. I’ve actually developed a slight affection for Straw and Chas remains underutilized.

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  19. I don’t profess to understand the luxury tax and MLB salary rules. But when one loos at Sportrax and others, the Astros are on the doorsteps of paying a fine. JV, Baez, even Jon Singleton count in that total. So the Astros have little flexibility. That brings us to Joe Smith and Ralph Garza and others. Apparently if they are DFAd and no one makes a deal for them, the salary is still due and in the total. So if a minor leaguer is added to the active roster then you have to add about $250k to the total. Thus reducing the maximum you can add with a trade. I just don’t see much room to navigate short of going over the threshold this year.

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    • You nailed it! Verlander’s contract is the chokehold on this team, through no fault of his own. His elbow wore out at a late age and the guy who gave him an extension and didn’t take care of the cheating is gone and blaming it on others. Sixty six million dollars for two years of Verlander’s greatness is lost and it has strapped this team and kept it from shoring up the bullpen and wasting the last years of Springer and Correa.
      Now, we do the best we can for the rest of the season and then get rid of Verlander’s salary and try to reload for next year.
      OR, you go over the luxury tax limit this year and shoot yourself in the foot again trying to find young pitchers for the future.

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    • Astrocolt45, I found out a couple of weeks ago that a tall refreshing Stella Artois or a medium tall St. Arnolds Lawnmower (delicious by the way) both cost 15 dollars at the ballpark these days. 15 real dollars. I’m not at all sympathetic to tax threshold issues. And I do believe that if it comes down to it, Jim Crane will tell Click to go for it if a good deal makes us a stronger team.

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      • The price increases have hit MiLB ballparks as well, but thankfully not to the degree that the MLB parks gouge us.

        I have no concern about the luxury tax threshold either. I know that many of the faces have changed, but this is 2016 all over again. We see the holes that the front office needs to address. They can twiddle their thumbs and say maybe McCullers will through five gems in the playoffs, Greinke will give us some signature performances to make his case for the HOF, and the bullpen won’t even be an issue…but the Astros might as well beat the crowd and make their tee times now if we’re going to count on Joe Smith turning it around and Ryan Pressly throwing all the high leverage innings during October. Because we went over in 2020, we’re facing a penalty of 30% on anything over the $208M soft cap. Let’s say we somehow added $10M more for the remaining portion of the season…that would cost us $3M in penalties and throw us into the third tier (>40% penalties for exceeding) in 2022. Given the salaries of Verlander, Greinke, and Correa come off the books there is little chance we’re going to exceed it for a third year in a row. You’ll also get much better odds in Vegas on the Astros winning the WS in 2022 because it’s not going to get easier.

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    • AC, the real dilemma about going over the tax is not so much the money. Crane could care less about 25% of a few million dollars. One such example is international signing of Elian Rodriguez 2017. He paid $2M, which carried another $2M penalty. Recall this was an All-In yr already with Beltran McCann Morton, after we stood pat 2016 deadline. He also partnered with Nats for a new WPB facility and with foresight they’d reduce minor leagues, he BOUGHT the hi rise and converted from business to luxury apartments for what’s now the Florida Coast League! A nice draw for those coming stateside, or amateur draftees.

      The issue more so is exceeding the threshold *two yrs in a row*, our draft picks get bucked down a few levels too. That will effect which picks we get for QO’s for Correa and Verlander! (Greinke was already offered a QO, and we cannot get a pick if he walks.) Evidence below, we can still do some damage in later rounds, the Astros are uncanny, and yet there are cumulative effects of draft penalties losses. We curtailed it this year with Pedro Leon — one other way might be to sign a Marte or Haniger until the Leon window is open and uncle Mike is gone?

      If we are talking OF, and pitching though, there are guys trying to breakthrough in-house, like Meyers & Solomon. We would need all hands on deck if we don’t make a blockbuster deal. The tipping point may be that Padres have already exceeded so many thresholds, and Preller says they’re willing to go over it again. Can we sit idly by? Surely there is a faction inside advocating these playoff chances are rare, and we have several yrs of “case study” like the Greinke trade to judge whether we are truly hurting the future.

      To dave’s point, Astros are not a revenue sharing team, counting on ticket sales, advertising & winning with a fickle/”scandalized” fanbase. One has to wonder if Crane’s personal businesses got bailed out, bc lord knows R/E and fine dining have taken a hit! He just doesn’t strike me as anything like the Grocer=too frugal. I agree, we’re going to make a move.

      Here’s a note from scout Jim Stevenson today re our new names:

      “Fortunate to get 2 guys in the 21 draft & signed 3 more free agents. Day 3 & FA guys are my favorite, these are the ez guys to pull for. I’ll take this group of guys and bet on all of em.

      Congrats & Welcome aboard:

      Rhett Kouba
      Nic Swanson
      Ray Gaither
      Kasey Ford
      Jaxon Hallmark”

      Maybe there are some discussion points here?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. As to trade chips, my opinion only, we have multiple “average” outfielders to “AAAA players.” Straw hit .308 in the minors (OPS .773). ChasMc .276 (.760). Costas .273 and .772. Siri .278 and .772. All the minor leaguers are doing better this season and Chas Mc has also. With Tucker plus any two, you have your outfield set for the near term. I don’t see what harm is done in trading the rest if you can get reasonable return. My two untouchables today would be Korey Lee (Catcher) and Pedro Leon. Leon only because there is something about watching him that makes me think he has the potential to be as good as Springer or Correa at the plate. But not as a SS in the field. (They are all almost the same age and Tucker is the youngest.)

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    • Fat fingers. It is .305 for Straw in the minors. Also to consider. Siri has 16 SBs this year to CS of 2. Meyers 10 and 3. Costas is slower and with less range or ability in the outfield. Probably equal to Straw as a hitter or less. (Again, only my opinion, but a trade for a AA reliever or better is a trade I make today.)

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  21. I said last winter James Click had ONE task over the winter, and that was to “fix” the bullpen, he did NOTHING. His job before July 31st is to “FIX” the bullpen….we need a guy to put OUT fires…not fire STARTERS. I don’t care one tiny bit about luxury taxes….this team CAN win a World Series. …but the pitchers can’t do it ALL! Right now the only glimmer of a fire fighter in the bullpen is Presley, but he can’t pitch everynight!
    CLICK….DO YOUR JOB! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. By the way I saw McCullers very short media appearance last night.
    Talk about the most pompous sanctimonious little snit I’ve seen in a VERY long time. I’m not taking back my thoughts about him being the ultimate DRAMA QUEEN….he lived up to that name after the game.

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      • I watch last nights game and it seemed every borderline pitch was called a strike when Cleveland was pitching and called a ball when we were pitching.
        It seemed that way to this biased fan, anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

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