Now Is The Time….

The Astros have been a considerable puzzlement during the 2021 season. They score a run per game more than the second-place Seattle Mariners and 3/4 of a run per game more than the third-place Oakland A’s. Oh, they also score the most runs in the majors per game.

They also give up .15 runs less than the A’s and 0.6 runs less than the M’s and are second best in the AL in runs allowed per game.

That should have put them in a great position to win the division easily, but nah. The A’s fell out of the division race yesterday, no thanks to the Astros, who couldn’t put them away with just one win over the weekend. Their magic number over the M’s is two, but the Mariners have been as hot as the Astros have been cold, winning eight of their last nine. The Astros have lost four in a row when winning a couple would have ended this race, and that included three one-run games and two walk-offs.

But that is the past. All that matters is tonight’s game and every game until the Astro put this thing away or go home for the offseason with their tails between their legs.

Now is the time…

  • For Dusty Baker to motivate this bunch of talented players to play up to their talent
  • For Jose Altuve to get on base like a leadoff guy should and not twist himself into a pretzel trying to be George Springer Jr.
  • For Alex Bregman to rise to the level that a former MVP candidate needs to reach
  • For Yordan Alvarez to lay off the out of strike zone stuff even if he is afraid they will ring him up.
  • For Carlos Correa to nail down that $300 MM contract
  • For Yuli Gurriel to push through and win that hitting title (while helping the team win)
  • For Kyle Tucker to continue to square up those pitches like he has been doing for the last five months
  • For Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick to give some of that spark that made them so valuable a few weeks ago
  • For Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro to guide those pitchers through a challenging last 6 games
  • For Aledmys Diaz to pretend he just got off the IL again with the hottest bat in the universe
  • For Marwin Gonzalez to channel some of that 2017 specialness from his best season ever
  • For Michael Brantley – please, please, please get better soon
  • For Zack Greinke work on transplanting your great attitude (I’ll be glad to help out of the bullpen) on to Jake Odorizzi
  • For Jake Odorizzi, while there are two I’s in Odorizzi, there are none in Team. Act accordingly
  • For Lance McCullers Jr. to quit the snowflake melting every time, there is adversity
  • For Framber Valdez to continue the excellent ace pitching, he showed last time out
  • For Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia to step up and stretch out in their next starts
  • For Ryan Pressly to shake off the problems of his previous two outings and stop failing when there is no save in sight
  • For Kendall Graveman (after he returns from maternity leave) to find the stuff he showed in Seattle.
  • For Ryne Stanek to avoid the long balls that plague him off and on
  • For Cristian Javier to bring that great stuff every time out
  • For Brooks Raley and Blake Taylor to take advantage of every opportunity vs. lefties or righties
  • For Yimi Garcia or Phil Maton to bring some value rather than a gas can to the mound

Oh and maybe for the fans, it is time to have a little faith. I know, I know, you have as little faith as possible.

 

70 comments on “Now Is The Time….

  1. Astros crazy rally for a huge win!
    Two balls that travelled about 100 feet each for hits – an intentional walk and two unintentional walks!
    As my son said, if the Mariners lose they can pop the champagne about 3 AM

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  2. A lot to love in the bottom of the 9th
    Alvarez and Correa running their a$$e$ off to beat out their hits
    New York after as long a review as you’ll see giving Correa his hit
    Chas and Castro working and Working and spoiling pitches and drawing the bases loaded walks to tie it and win it.
    Ugly but huge win

    Liked by 2 people

  3. After watching Wacha mow down our guys through the first four frames, I chose to read a book instead of agonizing over our feeble Astro bats.

    But two thoughts this morning: Urquidy is ready to help us in the post season as a starter. Give their guy credit for the homer he hit in the first. It was a good pitch, out off the plate that got one handed into the Crawford Boxes. Both hits in the second were flukes. From then on, Urquidy was solid.

    Second is I simply can’t accept the premise that our hitters are done for the year. I don’t know what they’re waiting for but whether it be regression, progression or maybe a simple lack or aggression, they will hit. I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael Wacha hails from the town and was a star pitcher for the school district in which I now live. While he has lost a lot of velocity as he has aged, he is still capable of occasional dominance – especially if, as last night, the home plate ump is giving him strike calls on anything close.

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  4. Thank you, Rays. We couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield, so you made sure we didn’t have to. I am guessing you would much rather see ice-cold us than red-hot Seattle in the ALCS.

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  5. Oakland is 4-14 against the M’s this year. They’ve lost 11 straight games to them including 8 since August 23. Seven of those games they’ve lost in that streak were 2 runs or less.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The starting pitcher for the Rays is pulled after 5 innings in the middle of a no-hitter.
    The Rays have the best bullpen in the AL.
    The Astros score 4 runs off their bullpen and win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting bullpen usage last night. I wondered why Maton, after closing out the 8th inning was brought back out in the 9th. I knew Graveman was on maternity leave, but after the game Dusty said Pressly was not available, which is troublesome after a day off.
      The Rays put a guy out there for the 9th inning who had a 10+ ERA in the 9th inning for the season and no saves. (I’m not checking this – this is what they said on the broadcast).
      Luis Garcia starts for the Astros tonight – the Rays go with Drew Rasmussen who has not pitched in 8 days.
      Rasmussen since moving to the rotation in mid August has been very effective but not stretched out in 7 starts
      4 innings 1 run
      4 innings 0 runs
      5 innings 1 run
      4 innings 1 run
      5 innings 1 run
      5 innings 0 runs
      5 innings 2 runs
      He has topped out at 74 pitches in that time and threw 70 pitches last time out

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tampa Bay currently has three starting pitchers on the 60-day IL, nine relievers on the 60-day IL and 3 relivers on the 10-day IL.
    They also have the best record in the AL and are #26 in payroll in MLB.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If Tucker doesn’t move the runners up to second and third with his first out of the ninth, Diaz doesn’t get the intentional walk.
    If Diaz doesn’t get the intentional walk, then the bases aren’t loaded and maybe the pitcher doesn’t walk in two runs.
    Both walks came after lots of pitches and finally wore down the pitcher.
    The Astros scored the tying and winning runs in the ninth without getting a ball out of the infield in their half of the inning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps he will crush four home runs, and just do some light jogging. But more realistically, I hope he does have to run, because that will mean he’s slashing like the Mike Brantley we all know and love.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Here’s the lineup as of 4:40 today….

    Jose Altuve 2B
    Michael Brantley DH
    Alex Bregman 3B
    Yordan Alvarez LF
    Yuli Gurriel 1B
    Carlos Correa SS
    Kyle Tucker RF
    Jose Siri CF
    Martin Maldonado C

    Luis Garcia – SP

    A pretty deep lineup when you have the guy leading the league in batting average hitting 5th and your 6th and 7th guys have 88 RBIs apiece….
    Now it would be nice if they could get a hit before the 5th inning…..

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That moment … when you realize your team is just flat out of gas. Declare a forfeit and Go take a nap, guys; you are embarrassing yourselves. And please don’t let Jose Siri set foot in centerfield ever again.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The headline on the Astro’s website this morning reads ‘The Wait Continues’. I think it should actually read ‘The WEIGHT continues’. The players look pained, bored, and uninspired. I call the phenomenon ‘Siri-ous trouble’.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So, today’s opportunity comes down to a dual between Lance “Snowflake” McCullers and former Astro Collin McHugh, who has a 1.60 ERA but has not pitched more than 3 innings all season. So, this will likely be a few innings from him and then on to the bullpen.

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  13. I missed the game last night. Fortunately I was invited to dinner. It was excellent. Thank you Peter and Louise. Siri sure did screw up that fly ball, but Garcia did not have very good command at any point last night. That’s my larger concern. It seems more and more clear Siri is a bit of a hazard on a baseball field. Maybe he should get some rest.

    Suddenly the Astros are just a half game ahead of the White Sox for the 2 seed. That’s not really a big issue though, as at this point, I can envision a loss to the Rays today and a sweep by the A’s. And who knows what Seattle will do? They might not settle for a wild card game.

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    • A very strange story as they had been celebrating the divisional title. On radio they were speculating that someone may have stood him up for a “date” after the festivities.
      Can we get Jose Siri to punch a wall?

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  14. Graveman is back and Peter Solomon to the Taxi squad.
    By the way WHERE would this club be without those two long relief starts for this club?!! I’m more impressed with him everyday. Baker would like Greinke to have a 40 pitch start for Sugarland tonight….let’s hope he can.
    *They either want to win tonight or they don’t…no amount of cussing and fuming will help now, simple as that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Solomon has been great, and he’s done it when we needed great the most. He’s picked up his teammates when they were struggling. He’s managed a 1.29 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. The league is only hitting .217 against him. He’s struck-out 10 in 14 innings, and given up zero home runs. Like all our pitchers, it seems, he’s walked more than he should [8 BB in 14 innings pitched], but once he calms down, I think that will drop to a more acceptable level.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Now was the time for:
    Lance to show us he is worth $85M/5 and he did.
    Captain Correa to show us he might be worth $30M per year and he did.
    Stanek, Graveman and Pressly to put up zeroes in high-leverage innings and they did.
    Dusty to start all of his best players and he did.
    The Astros to get some close calls overturned in their favor and they did.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes – nicely done Astro Nut – it was a good game for the team to show the formula for winning (though a bit more hitting would not have hurt).

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  16. Time for me to give Lance some credit. He pitched an excellent game, marred only by a pitch at the bottom of the zone, maybe in a bit too close, to a guy that hits homers. What’s it, 326 off that foul pole? He’s going to be our guy when we open the post season. If he steps up and our bats remember how to hit, we’ll be competitive. If Framber, Urquidy and Garcia keep us in games and the pen is successful, then we’ll play with any club. We’ve just got to figure out how to do all these things at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am biting my ‘tongue’ big time. This is a good day – and there haven’t been that many of those kind of days lately. I don’t want to spoil one of the few good ones, so I will just smile and say ‘Mazel tov’. Even tonight, when we have to play host again to the team that pays the despicable Mike Fiers, and whose fans throw objects at and spew curses at our players, I will remain in good and generous spirit. My tongue may bleed, but my will is strong!

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    • On pages that are rich with golden comments, the likes of Mr. Bill can always polish them off for a superlative shine.

      Now, if we can just get a trophy in front of you to knead in more illustrious luster. Lots of lost years and hardaches to account for, it’s not only greed that I ask..

      Like

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