Astros 2021: Two for Tuesday

Today we will hit on a couple topics and see where it leads.

By this time next week, we should know…

Today the Astros have a seven-game lead in the AL West Division over the Oakland A’s, which ties for the largest lead they have had on the season. The Seattle Mariners are lurking behind the A’s at 8 games back. The Astros will play 3 more games with the Angels in Anaheim and then 3 against the A’s in Oakland before a day off next Monday.

If the Astros can hold that seven-game lead until Monday, they will have clinched the West. Of course, going head to head with the A’s allows them to chew into that lead. And also, what is giving the A’s a bit extra hope is that if they can slice into the lead a bit, the Astros finish the season at home with three against the excellent Tampa Bay Rays and three more against the hopeful A’s.

So by this time next week, we should know that the Astros are in or…..we should know to start sweating.

To rest or not to rest…..

The Astros roster this season indeed does not contain a Ripkenish iron man. In a supreme piece of irony, it appears they may be led in games played by one of their previously most fragile players, Carlos Correa, who could max out with 150 games played. Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez should all finish in the 140s someplace with injuries knocking Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman even farther down the way.

Dusty Baker has driven the fans to distraction by giving players days off consistently throughout the season, no matter the situation. Was the team slumping and needed a spark? Too bad. Was the player on fire coming off a game with hits and RBIs galore? Sit down, young man. Did they just have or were about to have a day off as a team? Take a two-day vacay, Mr. Millionaire.

But frankly, it has not hurt the team substantively and may have done more good than harm in the end. The players are going from a weird as all get out 2020 with 60 games total to an entire season. Giving them rests may keep the increase to 162 games from hurting them or leaving them gassed. The team has shown the most depth in a long time with varying good performances from Aledmys Diaz, Abraham Toro, Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, Jose Siri, and even Marwin Gonzalez. Giving the bench more playing time has helped strengthen them and provided the fans with confidence in a reasonably long stream of options.

I know we would like to have seen every top hand on deck for every game, but if the team is rested and solid heading into the playoffs AND….plays like it, all will be forgiven.

76 comments on “Astros 2021: Two for Tuesday

  1. For the most part, this particular bench has been productive when giving rest. When Garcia and Wilson and others were still around, I didn’t like it as much. But when Altuve sits and Siri immediately puts a run on the board, no complaints here. And for what it’s worth, we should have a healthy rested roster with a solid, game ready bench at least offensively and defensively. Pitching might be another story.

    If the Astros go 5 and 7 the A’s have to win every game for a tie. Should that happen, I will not be watching the playoff game!

    Liked by 2 people

      • What an UGLY, UGLY 7th inning. Maton comes in and loads the bases with NO OUTS had to be rescued by Graveman and now it’s 5-3 and they’re still batting! WOW😠…Garcia didn’t have his best stuff but finished 6 innings with no runs….and this bullpen has had 2 days of rest! JEEZE. I really hate to lose like that.

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  2. As our trusty scribe has written,

    “Dusty Baker has driven the fans to distraction by giving players days off consistently throughout the season, no matter the situation. Was the team slumping and needed a spark? Too bad. Was the player on fire coming off a game with hits and RBIs galore? Sit down, young man. Did they just have or were about to have a day off as a team? Take a two-day vacay, Mr. Millionaire.”

    This fan, and his wonderful wife, are beyond distraction about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So I need to change my writeup – “Dusty Baker has driven most of the fans to Distraction, while he has driven the rest of them to the next exit on the Astros Freeway, Apoplexy……”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Curiosity has set in. Is Dusty resting guys at their request or does he just decide, “hey I know you went 5 for 5 with two home runs and 6 RBI’s but I think you need a day off an extra day off even though we’re not playing the day after tomorrow”? I need to give the guy who’s hitting .185 a chance to better himself. Why do I think I already know the answer to this question.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Forgot to tell you guys that Korey, Lee was promoted to Sugarland yesterday! Quite the accomplishment for that kid!
    Dan…PLEASE don’t get me started on this manager, I’ve already has to ask God for forgiveness for the amount of cuss words I’ve spewed about this guy.
    He is just sitting in a recliner managing this team…by the way Hinch should be a leading candidate for manager of the year, he’s brought the Tigers to a 500 season and his “baby” pitchers are simply awesome! After they started out pretty dismal they really turned it around the last 2 months.

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  5. Jeremy Pena is 3 for 4 tonight with 2 more HRs. The guy is legit. I noticed he is #44 on Fangraphs new Top 100 list of MLB prospects. Pedro Leon and Hunter Brown are also in their Top 100.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Suddenly the Astros are just 2 1/2 behind the Rays. Their top three in games played are Brandon Lowe with 141, Austin Meadows 135, and Randy Arozarena with 132. Dusty is not doing anything unique in his effort to give guys rest and keep others involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Getting back to Dusty, I’m not a fan of his management style but I would like to see him get a World Series win as a manager. I don’t believe he has accomplished that yet.
    I would like to see the Astros get a younger manager though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. – Astros did a nice job of getting on top and then going for the jugular last two games.
    – Urquidy pitched well until he ran out of steam
    – Becky’s right about Javier – they will need him in the playoff run
    – Nice to give the back of the bullpen some rest
    – Is there another under 25 years old – one-two punch like Tucker and Alvarez? They seem to create runs every game
    – Stanek’s on the maternity list and I didn’t know he was expecting
    – That magic number of 4 is sweet. Now with the A’s and M’s tied (until after today’s game) they can only reduce that by one – not two like the last two days. Bottom line they won’t be able to go for the clinch until they play the A’s on the weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is so exciting to see Urquidy, Framber, and Luis Garcia doing so well at a young age. (26, 27, 24) But the last time that I got excited about young players was 1969. Dierker (22), Wilson (24) and Griffin (21). Morgan (25), Radar (24), Jesus Alou (27) and Wynn (27). And some youngsters breaking into the Big’s. Geronimo (21), Bob Watson (23) and John Mayberry (20). But thankfully Spec Richardson is no longer the GM.

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  10. Janson Junk [Luis Garcia’s mound opponent tonight] looks like a bit of a magician so far. In the MLB, he has started 2 games, going 3.1 and 4.2 innings respectively. He doesn’t walk many [1 BB in 8 IP], and doesn’t strike out a ton of hitters [4 in 8 IP], but his BAA has been a pretty high .281 and he has given up 3 HRS [all solo shots?] in that same time period. He apparently pitches to soft contact, and gets a lot of ground balls, though, so his ERA is only 2.25 and his WHIP is only 1.25.

    Note, however, that in the minors he struck out a lot more hitters [97 this year in 93 IP] and gave up HRs a lot less frequently [only allowing 11 in those 93 innings]. His MiLB ERA was a little higher [2.82], but his MiLB WHIP was only 1.10 and his MiLB BAA was a much nicer .217.

    He’s the kind of fresh, young arm our guys tend to sleep against. Somebody blow the trumpet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Espanol is un poco rusty, but I think the music that was playing in the background was ‘The Birthday Song’ by two dudes named John and Paul.

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      • So you were in my neck of the woods Mr. Bill – I’m kind of cat-a-corner from the Five Guys over near the mall. My Spanish is not too good – but my Beatles is excellent.

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  11. So … what does the future hold for Zack Greinke? His last few games have been so bad that his ERA has gone from really good to over 4 [4.11]. He’s barely averaging 5 innings per start. His BAA for the year is now over .250. His BB/9 is over 2 for the first time in years. His HR/9 has skyrocketed to 1.55 [career avg. 0.95]. His K/9 is just over 6 now, as opposed to his career average of 8.13.

    Does the old magician have another trick up his sleeve?

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  12. In a little beach-front bar in the Caribbean, I heard Daveb [or someone] havinga Coctail, as the older, wiser Beach Boys were singing a little ditty something like this:

    Carlos Correa … a stone-cold Yankee-slaya;
    Altuve … and Brantley … they hit you till you can’t see.
    Air Yordan … and Marwin … they came at such a bargain;
    Aledmys … and Yuli … man, those guys are tooly!

    Down on Crawford Street … there’s a place called Minute Maid …
    That’s where the game is played to a rockin’ beat … down on Crawford Street!

    LMJ … Urquidy … Pressly and Zack Grienke;
    there’s also Framber … Garcia … Maton, Graveman, and Yimi;
    There’s Breggy … and Chazzy … Castro and now Siri:
    How ’bout Meyers? and Stanek . .. they’ll put you in a panic

    Odo . . . and Raley … give me that ukelele ….
    [the steelhammer drum can come in any time now …]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That sub behind the plate last night hit a homer and picked a guy off.
    That sub in right had three hits and made all kinds of defensive plays.
    It’s a team game and our guys seem to be playing it as well as they have all year, picking each other up again and again.
    It’s going to be tough to figure out who gets on the pitching roster for the post season. I’m sure we’ll have some disagreements along those lines too!
    I hope Graveman is tipping his pitches and it gets figured out. Otherwise, we’ve got to put someone else in his role.
    That was a good game to win. I feel pretty good about our club right now.
    sargeh, Carlos is probably going to sit today. If you were here, I’d buy you a rum punch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well the guys tied it up at 5 in the 8th before I went to bed. If you told me it went to 12 and we would keep the Angels from scoring in 3 straight extra innings I would have been surprised. Good job by the bullpen by all those not named Maton or Graveman. Not having Stanek moved Maton into the 7th inning spot and that was not great.
    Is Graveman finding his level? He had never pitched like he did the first half of this season. We bought high on him. I hope he straightens out before the playoffs, but am wondering now.
    Oh well, nothing better than waking up to a win and a magic number of 3. An eight game lead over the M’s and nine over the A’s looks pretty good at this time. We have the 6 games left against the A’s but they seem to be sagging fast
    We are 5-1/2 up on White Sox, 2-1/2 back of the Rays. We may be playing for something when we meet the Rays next week
    Would be good to sweep someone for once – C’mon gang put the Angels out of their misery.

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  15. Playing around with numbers today and was looking at payrolls vs standings. Dodgers with highest but can manage to get a WC spot. NYY at #2 with a possible WC. Astros at 3 with a division lead. The best bank for the buck is TB at 83mm, #26. The worst is LAA at 198.7, #7 and not even playing .500 ball. Of course 70MM is tied up with Trout and Rendon. SDP is #4 at 205 and probably is out of playoff picture. It’s oh so interesting sometimes. Good comeback win for the guys last night. Playing like they’re motivated now.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Watched some of the replay from last night
    – My Lord, Alvarez is a monster – that ball he hit in the 1st – like Dusty said that was a Stargell or McCovey-esque shot – 459 ft? Then in the 8th he didn’t get all of it and the ball still came within a foot of going out to left center field – hitting off the top of the wall that got them within 1 run and then scoring the tying run on Yuli’s clutch single – huge at bat for Gurriel
    – Like Dave B said above – the subs – Castro and Chas made big impacts. Chas had three hits including the one that set up 1st and 3rd no outs in the 12th. He made a diving catch in right center to end the inning with a guy on third to end an inning, made a diving catch at the RF line with two guys on to end the inning and made a nice non-panic play on the fly to right in the 10th – set up to make a very nice throw home to get Ohtani. Lots of outfielders panic with a very fast runner on third and air mail it.
    – Even though he went 0 for 6, Correa made a nice play in the 10th right before Chas’ play – bases loaded – no out – infield drawn in – ground ball up the middle – Carlos gets to it but his feet slip and he ends up getting the force play at home on a throw from his knees.
    – Loved Meyers at bat in the 12th – got down 0-2 in the count, went down and hit a good pitch for the single that brought in the go ahead run, could not believe Chas made it from first to third on that hit to the left fielder, but the LF seemed to have a noodle arm
    – Mr. Bill is right – the team is winning games they weren’t winning earlier in the season. This 12-4 streak is hitting at exactly the right time

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you saw the score from second by Yordan on Yuli’s single in the 8th, you can see the terrible arm in action. Phil Gosselin had trouble with everything in left. Not all infielders can move to the outfield and do well. And Gosselin can’t.

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    • Obviously, the writers opinion is somewhat different than the ones we sometimes share on this blog. I just wonder what the players think but I doubt we’ll find out anytime soon. Not saying that Dusty is a bad manager, just somewhat old school and it’s sometimes hard to figure him out, but we are about to clinch the division title and hopefully win a World Series for him (and us).

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  17. I’m so angry with this manager I could “spit fire to save matches”.
    Yordan is “sore” in a “lot of places”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! He’s 24 yrs old he’s been our BIGGEST run producer…and Brantley has “slowed down” in his rehab. Look…if Brantley is soo old and slowed down, do we expect he will actually PLAY next year? I’m sorry…NOT sorry I vented AGAIN but they better find another manager next year before I REALLY lose it😠!!!
    STOP PLAYING FAVORITES!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Jeremy Pena played in his 21st game for Sugarland. He was 3 for 4, with a double and a HR. It was his ninth homer in those 21 games. Skeeters win 8-2.

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  19. Cobb pitched a good game last night. So did Lance. And he really got screwed on that walk to Ohtani in the 6th. But Lance continues to let his frustration get the better of him in key situations. He grooved that pitch to Mayfield. It’s hard to settle for 3 out of 4 when you’ve won the first 3, but that was a pretty good series for the Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Top of the 4th; score still 0-0. A Siri infield hit; a Bregman bloop single; a walk to Tucker – bases loaded with ‘Stros, with only one out. Yuli watches a called third strike. Correa rolls over one and grounds into an easy force. Big opportunity. Big bats. Zero runs. That’ll kill you every time.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. The thing is, if we had won only about 1/4 or 1/5 of those seemingly unimportant daytime/getaway games that we gave away to lesser teams for the taking earlier in the year, we would have the Division all clinched right now, and could rest anyone we want, any time we want.

    Liked by 3 people

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