Wait long enough and your post changes.

This was going to be a post about a struggling ball club, the Houston Astros. They had looked pretty bad in losing six of eight games, especially losing at home against the lowly (this year) Minnesota Twins. But life intervened and Dan P’s post partially written lingered in writer’s limbo.

When your loyal servant was able to return to his “job” the Astros had turned things around with two solid wins against the lowly Colorado Rockies at home, but so much better than two disappointing losses to the lowly Colorado Rockies at home. So what did we see in the last couple of games from a team that had been floundering?

  • Almost flawless starting pitching – Jake Odorizzi, who had been awful lately chasing a mechanics problem was really, really good in five scoreless innings on Tuesday. He gave up three harmless hits in five innings and got back in the win column. Framber Valdez struggled a bit giving up a run in the first inning, but put it in gear after that striking out eight and toughing out six innings for the team.
  • Those “other” guys – Tuesday night, Chas McCormick and Taylor Jones came up big with two hits apiece scoring two runs and knocking in three. In the Wednesday matinee, Aledmys Diaz who has been on fire since coming back from the IL had three hits and three RBIs and rookie Jake Meyers in his first MLB start played aggressive small ball to score a critical run in an inning where his single was the only hit.
  • That bullpen is rounding into shape – On Tuesday, Cristian Javier, Blake Taylor, Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez (in his Astros debut) combined for 4 scoreless innings giving up 2 hits and 3 walks. Wednesday Ryne Stanek, Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly combined to give up 0 runs, one hit and one walk over three innings.
  • The older “coots” – Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa combined for 9 hits, 5 runs scored and 2 RBIs over the two game sweep of the Rockies. It was especially good to see Jose and Carlos warming up after being pretty frigid lately.

It was a positive way to bring a 1-3 homestand up to a 3-3 split. Now on to LA and a three game weekend set with the Angels.

58 comments on “Wait long enough and your post changes.

  1. My advise, save the column. In the next 2-3 weeks it may be relevant again. And 1OP posted the Luxury Tax figures yesterday. It continues to be amazing that Oakland with 1/2 the Astros payroll refuse to roll over and play dead. And of course Tampa Bay continues each year to do what they do. I would expect the O’s and D’backs to be terrible but money doesn’t ALWAYS make a big difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t feel bad about the team looking better by the time I posted. There is no team out there that does not go through ups and downs in a 6 month regular season and frankly all teams when they are down can lose to anybody and when they are up can beat anybody. The Astros have just taken it to the extreme this year.
    This is a prime time though for the Astros to turn it on. They play the A’s in 6 of the last 9 games of the season and it would behoove them to build up a lead before then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Astros have already decided what their path is going to be by the deals they made at the deadline.
      They decided that they were going with what they have in position players, shore up their bullpen and roll the dice on this year’s playoffs with the pitchers they have now and whatever pitchers on the farm who might lend a hand come September.
      However, they showed their cards by making sure they were under the luxury tax line and reset their draft spots for the future.
      The Astros run started in 2015 and has come to decision time with the players who got them here. The scandal has altered the plan a lot because they had to start a new front office, a new leader in the clubhouse and a new direction when it came to which core members to keep from the seven years of accomplishments.
      The Astros don’t need to tear it down. They have Bregman, Altuve, Alvarez and Tucker as a solid foundation to build around starting next season and they have Brantley and Gurriel under contract for 2022, the year they line up who is going to replace them. They have two old catchers for next year while they groom two replacements for the future.
      No matter what happens this year, I see the Astros trying to find a TOR starting pitcher and a replacement SS until one of their prospects is ready to take that spot. Leon’s and Pena’s injuries definitely put a question mark on 2022 instead of an exclamation point. Their late season return or Winter ball participation might speed up their movement.


  3. Bregman going to the Rockets facilities to work out on specialized equipment… I must ask, Astros management, why do you NOT have this equipment already???

    Then, Mark Berman reports Bregman is consulting with Australian doctors to figure out why he’s had soft tissue issues, to which I, again, ask, Astros management, why have you NOT looked into this already??

    To conclude, I have asked and still ask, why do the Astros still employ their current training staff with all of these health issues dogging them the past few years, especially the odd ones (Correa’s massages).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot exactly tell you the source if I give you the specifics. He is a local CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), who has worked with 100’s of current MLB, prep and college players — we’ll leave it at that. He worked with Bregman in 2019. He told me that Alex blew off his nutrition and diet schedule (think: Tyler White offseason 2019). Was it that he got his big contract & spends more time with his You Tube presence? I asked what Alex should be working on, and he said that he’s offered advice and to have him come to the HOU facility, but Bregs didn’t call back. This suggests the Astros have other ideas because what ever he’s done before has either re-aggravated; didn’t work; or first it was hammy then it was the other quad.

      The theory I have would not go over well among those who believe the current protocols are responsible, so I won’t go into why every single player is dealing with inflammation for example, like never before in history. (Mookie Betts the latest casualty). But Yuli with neck pain over a pillow this long! should have you asking a teensy bit more questions. Ironic how Dan has “that’s what they said, but what do they mean” bit, but most fans never question the public narrative on the health of players. I digress, perhaps.

      If this answer sounds like a rabbit trail, take it or leave it. The bottom line is that related to his hard work ethic, it’s been suggested he’s needed more rest than to have pushed himself too far. The Astros should have stepped in and sat him down, imo. Hard to deny the guy since we’re paying him so much, and Robel Garcia was the one option, yet giving Toro playing time helped his trade value. We hadn’t quite known Diaz would be healthy or that his bat would play up so well this year. This explantion may cover a few bases.

      Liked by 3 people

      • So he is not actually a pitcher – he is a catcher who has pitched in two games – pitched 2 innings and given up 6 runs. If that is how he throws I sure would run on him and I’m in my 60’s.


      • I imagine it’s in the blowout game two nights ago. However, I can think of 4 guys who are position players for HOU that were also pitchers in college. Jake Meyers recently said that he would be too intense if the Astros asked him to relieve in one of those games, because he would “want to win.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Next up – the Halos. We haven’t seen them in quite a while! Though their record is not good, they are 6th in the league in BA, 5th in hits, 9th in HR, and they don’t strike out a lot [18th in the league]. Pitching has been their achilles heel, as they are 1th in BAA, 19th in ERA, 23rd in WHIP, and 5th highest in runs allowed. We shouldn’t see either Ohtani [who starts today vs. the Blue Jays] or Dylan Bundy [who started and lost last night]. Right now it looks like TBD is going to ‘man-up’ and start all three games of our series. We will throw Greinke, L. Garcia, and LMJ against them.

    The Angels have been losing series’ pretty – except when they play the Rangers, Rockies, or the Twins. Mike Trout is still out with a calf-strain, but they’re getting Jared Walsh – who has feasted on Astros pitching – back from the IL just in time to face us.


  5. The opportunistic A’s are already up 3-0 over the hapless Guardians-of-Humiliation in the middle of the 2nd inning. Looks pretty likely that our lead will be down to 1.5 games by the end of the day.


  6. Someone was asking if we had anyone that would make a good infielder in the minors. Hinojosa has been hitting at Sugar Land. But tonight, he lollypopped a throw to first pulling the first baseman off the bag. It would have been the third out. However, the next batter hit a grand slam against Solomon.


  7. Totally musty Field of Dreams game as the Yanks come from 3 down with2 outs in the 9th to take the lead on two 2 run homers and the White Sox walk it off with a 2 run homer


  8. Will Wagner started Fayetteville’s game tonight at 3B and got 3 hits and a walk.
    Will Wagner finished the game pitching 1.1 innings in relief and was the only Woodpecker’s pitcher who didn’t get bombed. His performance was perfect with 2 strikeouts to boot. Fireflies beat Fayetteville 15-4 and Columbia had 15 hits, drew 10 bases on balls and a hit batsman. Fayetteville also contributed with 3 errors and a wild pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have thoroughly enjoyed my subscription to MILB TV this season. Cleveland has a few good prospects in Akron. Yankees at Somerset, etc. But what is amazing is the talent difference between the better players and the not so good players. My comparison would be Brantley vs Maldonado but both batting left handed. Or Presley vs Raley with both throwing right hardest. Yet you will see a guy hitting .100 hit one 450 feet.


  10. Mike Trout turned 30 this past week and the Angels owe him $334 million over the next 9 seasons.
    Anthony Rendon turned 31 in June and the Angels owe him over $191 million thru 2026.


  11. Commenting on GoStros comment way up the post – very good stuff GS. It is sure not soothing to think the Astros pulled out the big wallet for Alex and he is not doing everything to keep himself in shape. I hope they figure it out – because the Bregman we got in 2019 for instance was only behind Mike Trout in productivity.
    Maybe with Yuli they said – he might be ready in 3 to 4 days, but the guy is 37 and why not just add a few days to his sit out on the IL and let him rest up a bit.


    • Kudos to Yuli for doing whatever he had to do to get back into tip top shape and play at the level that he’s been playing. “We call that a Bargain, the best I ever had”.
      As for Bregman, the jury is still out but something ain’t quite right. I wonder with Springer, Correa, and now Bregman’s injuries and their missing playing time what in the world is going on? And let’s not forget the $66MM man, Justin Verlander. When we hear of trades and contract extensions we sometimes hear the words “upon passing a physical”. What do they do, send them to a “Doc in the Box” for a quick check up or do they do something more in the lines of x-rays and MRI’s. Sure doesn’t seem like a lot of money to insure that large contract, but then again I’m just throwing it out there for thought and comment.

      I was also noticing that Max Stassi is hitting .289 and slugging 868. How is it that some of our players can’t get out of the batters box but tear it up after leaving. Is it mechanical, psychological, both, or something else. I see Raider Uceta was released but Rainer Rivas is in the FCL . These were the guys we got for Stassi.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Z
        I can’t comment about he injury side of this too much – its not like we are the only team with injuries, almost any team you go to has injury problems. I suspect some of it this year is a combination of going from 60 games to 162 plus the fact that Covid has disrupted how these guys get ready for the season.
        The note about guys moving on and doing better…I think one thing that helps all these players is getting consistent work. Chas McCormick and Aledmys Diaz are getting consistent playing time now and their hitting is following that arc. You get somebody like Stassi and he gets a start once a week, he is not going to be as a good a hitter as if he moves on and becomes the main catcher.
        It doesn’t always work that way and let’s face it water will find the proper level, but especially for young guys – consistent work will at least prove whether they belong or not.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. We face an ex-Astro battery tonight. Max Stassi is catching -and hitting in the clean-up position. Lefty Peter Solomon, who came up through our system, is Zach Greinke’s mound opponent.


  13. In the game of Shortstop musical chairs, the Giants will not be in the market for one next season as they extended their SS for two more years. Brandon Crawford get a straight 2/32 deal and he will not face free agency.
    SS Javier Baez is due to be a free agent and so the Cubs traded him to the Mets and he goes on the IL today. Just what the Mets needed.
    Yuli has not been activated and is not in the lineup for Houston tonight.


  14. Bryan De La Cruz is playing right field and hitting .300 in the very limited time since the trade. We should wish him well because we needed a reliever more than we needed a right fielder.


      • And Jose Siri continues to hit at .305 in Sugar Land. It is difficult to compare players over different years, but Siri, Straw, and McCormick over the latter’s last year in AAA. Siri .305, CMc .269, Straw .321. Stolen Bases/Caught Siri 21/2, CMc 16/4, Straw 19/4. Errors Siri 4, CMc 0, Straw 4. Range Factor Siri 2.20, CMc 1.97, Straw 2.59. And Siri is 25, with the other two putting up those numbers about a year younger.


  15. The new Astros Top 30 Prospect list is out from MLB:
    1. Korey Lee Catcher. Was placed on injured list Wednesday.
    2. Pedro Leon OF/SS. Is on injured list.
    3. Hunter Brown RHP. Is in AAA and not injured yet.
    4. Jeremy Pena SS/2B. Is on injured list.
    5. Forrest Whitley RHP. Is on injured list
    6. Tyler Whitaker OF. Still using training wheels.
    7. Tyler Barber OF. Is on 60 day injured list.
    8. Alex Santos RHP. Doing fine in Low A. ETA is 2024
    9. Jake Meyers OF. First time on list! Already here.
    10. Joe Perez 3B in AA. ETA 2023. Rule 5 eligible? This December!
    The list: https://www.mlb.com/prospects/astros/
    Nobody on Astros top 30 is in MLB’s Top 100!


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