Astros: Rest time is over

As long as the Astros don’t have any rainouts along the way, they will play 17 straight days starting Friday night against the Angels at Minute Maid. Most of those games are in a controlled atmosphere here in Houston or in the lawnmower shed in Arlington. Outdoors they play four games in Anaheim (it never rains in Southern California) and three games in Oakland (it pours) right before their next and only day off down the stretch.

Manager Dusty Baker has raised the ire of the fans with his one size fits all, “if I tell a guy he’s having a day off, he’s having a day off no matter how hot he is” approach to his lineup. The latest was Alex Bregman sitting out the day after his dramatic 9th inning homer tied a game that looked like it was long lost. He did drag his ancient body off the bench to line another 9th inning homer in the game he was sitting out, but that was after the cows had left the barn.

Now, one would think that days off for the best players would be rare in this stretch run. Hopefully, those days off along the way will have meant this is a fresher team than in the past.

The best news is that some of the bats that had been slumbering through August, like Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel, have been heating up the last week. Throw in the return of the prodigal third baseman in Bregman, which is a big boost to the team.

Unfortunately, none of those heating up resides in the bullpen, and it feels like the ‘pen will continue to be the biggest concern for the team’s fans. Ryan Pressly, who had been sterling for so much of the season, has just yakked up critical 9th inning runs two games in a row. Kendall Graveman has given up twice as many earned runs in his 16 games with the Astros as he gave up in his 30 games with the Mariners. Ryne Stanek is great, except when he isn’t. Phil Maton looks like a so-so reliever, Cristian Javier looks shaky, and Blake Taylor and Brooks Raley work best as situational lefties, which doesn’t work as well when they have to face a three batter minimum.

While the Astros have a decent hold on first place in the division, they seem to lose to anyone at any time and anyplace. More importantly than expanding their lead (though that would be nice), the team just plain play better, is more consistent, smarter ball, and shows a bit more heart and enthusiasm.

Perhaps the Astros can loll along and then turn things on in the playoffs, but if they loll too much, they may be watching the playoffs like their fans will….on TV.

34 comments on “Astros: Rest time is over

  1. Bregman seems to have returned to being Bregman. To take him out now, unless there is health concerns is a travesty. He is seemingly healthy for the first time since 2019. When he is healthy, he is the most feared player on our team. I like most, like Dusty, but his time with us should be over. Please make Meyer the starter

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We can scream and cuss and stomp our featt…but it’s this team who ultimately decides their fate, I know that’s an oxymoron. BUT in the end, it’s totally up to them. Trust me, they KNOW who’s chasing them…but are they going to try to widen the lead or are they just hoping Seattle and Oakland lose? So far it looks like they are HOPING the latter is the case. WE know they are fully capable of turning on the jets, they’ve done it many times before…BUT will they do it this year, for THIS manager? We better hope they can, because they’ve had a pretty successful year up to now. Who knows how this season will end up…they have 2 VERY HUNGRY teams chasing them.
    We can only hope Crane will find another manager next year that won’t be afraid to light a fire under their butts. I know you guys don’t like Hinch, but if there was ever a manager like Hinch this team sorely needs him. Even with all the past sins, I would be over the moon to have him back.
    Otani pitches tomorrow night…good luck fellas your gonna need it.
    Sorry I rambled on, but you guys know I’m not afraid to voice my opinions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep as the sayings go, “Time to make hay while the sun shines”, “Press your pants while the irons hot”, or that other one which I can’t say in this forum. We’re about to find out if these guys really want it. Do whatever you can do to win (short of “IT”). A slap hit to the opposite field is still a hit, as is a bunt, and a walk also puts a man on base. Find a way to score with RISP instead of a K, Pop up, and a ground out , for a big nothing burger. Show the fans you want it as much as the do.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The 2021 Astros do not play baseball; the game they play instead is a form of slow-pitch softball with a slightly smaller spheroid. Offensively, like in slow-pitch, there are two main options: home run or pop-up. And, of course, with the ‘Stros, most days we see a whole lot more of the latter than we do the former.

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  4. We trained hard—but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. — Petronius Arbiter

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    • Good one AC! Haven’t heard that in quite awhile. We used to use it in work related matters but it applies to this situation too. Very apropos!

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  5. The only thing that concerns me is the number of head-to-head games against the A’s (6) and Mariners (0) remaining. Over the last two weeks we had 6 against Seattle and they gained 0 games in the standings off it. We’re up 6 games in the loss column against the A’s. If we can do the same thing and split with them, while not as satisfying to our fanbase, it will be very hard for them to gain the ground necessary.

    On another note, I watched Dusty’s teams implode during October in Washington because their bullpen fell apart. Guys who were lights out in the regular season were just awful. I feel as though our offense is going to need to be hitting on all cylinders to overcome our bullpen this year. As such, I’m more concerned with Bregman and Brantley being healthy for the last week of the season and first postseason series than keeping them in the lineup a day after they were hot at the plate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ya know, I was looking over this Sunday losing streak for the Astros and this is what I have found out. The Astros’ Sunday losing streak goes back to the first Sunday AFTER the All-Star break. Before that loss, they actually had a good winning record on Sunday. Even with the current long losing streak on Sundays, their Sunday record is 10-12.
    But, why is their record on Sundays so poor in comparison to their overall record of 81-58?
    I figured out the answer. The Astros are so poor on Sundays because almost all of their Sunday games are day games. The Astros are lousy in the daytime! Not Sundays, but all the time during the day.
    Day games Astros: 22-24
    Night Games Astros: 59-34.
    The real question is: Why in the hell are the Astros so poor playing in the daytime. I’ll betcha there is a good reason for it, but it is going to take some more investigation. Anyone have some good answers?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OP – let’s see…
    Reasons the Astros are bad in the day time…
    – The guy who bangs the trash cans for them has a day job
    – To keep them rested – Dusty makes them take an afternoon nap and they miss those on day games
    – They are all mad they don’t get to watch Dr Phil after the naps they are not getting
    – They are distracted thinking about what they are having for dinner

    Liked by 2 people

    • If the Astros played day games as well as they play at night, they would have the best record in baseball.
      I know you are joking and I get that, but they are doing(or not doing) something to cause this discrepancy and it needs to be fixed.
      You might remember last year’s playoffs when MLB made the Astros play all day games during the playoffs, so that the Yankees and Dodgers could get all the prime time games.
      This lousy record in day games could turn out even worse in October, if they make it that far.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Two things:
    Just like they did Uncle Albert…WALK Otani every time he comes up
    he’s already hit a homerun tonight.
    I’ve already had to ask God for forgiveness because of a few cuss words I’ve said today because this manager will NOT put his best players on the field in a series they absolutely have to win.
    Give a guy a day off when you’re playing a team like the arlington little league…NOT a team like the Angels….I don’t CARE if the guy DOESN’T have “good”numbers against the pitcher. I’ve said more than my share of “bad” words today😠

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m in the minority here. When you’ve got a guy like Diaz, you’d really rather sit him and let the “starters” take us through September? And with Jake Meyers, he’s off to a good start in 96 at bats, but is that enough to pull the plug on Chas? Our bench does not include names like Garcia and Wilson at this point. Our compromised lineup chased Ohtani after just ten outs. We had 16 hits, a batch of them going out to right field. Instead we should be concerned about starters going 3 and 4 and 5 innings with the schedule we’ve got in front of us. That’s our most scary proposition right now. And I hate to see 4 errors in a box score, although I know one of them was on a pretty good throw by Alvarez.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Diaz and Chas both earned some semi-regular ABs with their performance the last couple months. It is tough to keep everyone sharp and you will need everyone when you get to the playoffs. They may be falloffs from those they replace, but not large ones and against certain pitchers maybe not at all.
      We have been having some problems with short starts lately. I think Framber might have easily gone another inning with some better fielding behind him. Not all the errors extended the innings but a couple made him throw quite a few more pitches. Can’t get down on the Astros fielding – they are normally one of the best around – sometimes these games happen and the big thing was that they came back out there and scored the runs to turn it around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • DaveB, my opinion about the young outfielders has not changed since mid-season. It appears that if you were blindfolded and used “pin the tail on the donkey” – Straw, McCormick, Meyers, Bryan De La Cruz, and maybe even Suri – they are all different but in the end very similar. I think the trades of Straw and De la Cruz did not hurt the team. But currently, out of Siri, McCormick, and Meyers – two have to sit unless you remove Tucker or Brantley.

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  10. I stand by my previous comments. As long as we score 8+ runs each game, I like our chances of winning. The Astros pitchers have 7 shut outs for the year. The Brewers lead with 17. Astros are 5th in fewest runs allowed – 563. That is an average of 4.02 per game. But with all my complaining, the Astros rank about 4-7th in most pitching categories.

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    • 45, seems the roster is all pretty healthy, but we don’t know that for sure. I just think at this point we’ve got excellent bench depth on the offensive side of the game, except for the catchers position. So I think using Diaz and Chas and even a bit of Marwin will not weaken the lineup very much during the 17 day stretch. It will keep those guys sharp too. The eye test tells me Brantley is probably the most worn out guy on our club. So he might sit a couple of days a week. But we’ve got quality outfield depth to compensate for that and we should use it.

      On the flip side, Urquidy is not ready to give us 6 innings yet, and it’s likely Grienke won’t be able do so when he comes back. We’re going to be relying on the pen to give us a lot of good innings. I think someone deserves some credit for producing the really good team pitching stats you note, with a whole bunch of obstacles to overcome while doing it. But yeah, I’m more concerned about the arms holding up than the bats.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Has anyone realized that Carlos Correa might end up leading MLB in WAR by the end of the season? Of course there is different methodology to contend with, but he’s right up there in the top 2 or top 4 depending on where you look. And with a 2.3 DWAR on multiple sites, no other shortstop in MLB comes close.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Generally speaking you don’t win too many games committing *4* errors
    I hope. …but not HOPEFUL that Baker lit them up for such sloppy play.
    Greinke is scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Arlington, he said he DID have covid even though he and his entire family are fully vaccinated.
    Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like Jake Meyers has “wally pipped” Chas.

    Liked by 1 person

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