When you finally eat it sausage tastes good

Let’s face facts. The old saying goes that you don’t want to see how the sausage is made. On the other hand, pro sports and, in this case, Astros baseball, is sausage making on a very public forum. Every slump, bone head play, bone head lineup, bad outing, blown save, a fielding error, bad pitching switch, strikeout and loss are all in high definition glory (or ignominy).

That goes for chunks of the Astros 2021 season, and frankly, any season as even very good teams fail in 55-70 games every season. As the Astros limped towards the finish line, allowing an 8 game lead with 10 games to go, to slide to a 3.5 game lead with 5 to go, all that stomach-churning sausage making was on full view of the world. But they righted their ship in taking 2 out of 3 from the best team in the AL, the Tampa Bay Rays (am I really typing that?) and clinched their division with three games to spare.

Folks have been pretty down on this version of the Astros for making things more challenging than they should have with the talent and stats they possess. But this is all prelude, and the key is to get into the playoffs period. This is a town and a team that used to be proud to make the playoffs no matter how it happened.

Here’s just a reminder of the modest beginnings of the Astros’ storied and not so storied history. The Colt .45s / Astros went their first 18 seasons without reaching the playoffs. In 1980, they had the best team in their history, but they did not waltz into the playoffs. They had a three-game lead with three games left in the season. Unfortunately, the three-game lead was over the team they had to face in that last series on the road, the LA Dodgers. Their lead oozed away in three tortuous one-run losses. In the first game, a one-run lead in the 9th inning went away, with the critical play being some schmo named Dusty Baker reaching base (and moving the tying run into scoring position) on an error. A Joe Ferguson home run in the 10th walked it off. They lost the second game 2-1 as Jerry Reuss spun a complete game 7 hitter, stranding two runners in the 9th. In the third game, the Astros got up 3-0 early, but with Vern Ruhle only pitching two innings, the relief corps of Joaquin Andujar, Joe Sambito and Frank LaCorte, slowly yacked up the lead, and the Dodgers won 4-3 setting up a one game playoff.

The baseball gods finally smiled on the Astros in the one-game playoff in LaLa land. Art Howe‘s three hits, including a home run and 4 RBIs, led the offense, and Joe Niekro pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run as that Astros entered the playoffs with a 7-1 drubbing of Dodger Blue.

Astro fans did not care how the team got there in 1980, just that they got there.

The entry into the 1981 playoffs was even more bizarre as a strike interrupted the season. The Cincinnati Reds won the most games in baseball (66) in that shortened season – and did not make the playoffs. The Dodgers won the NL West first half of the season, where the Reds finished 1/2 game behind them, having played one less game, and the Astros won the second half of the season, two games ahead of the Reds.

Astro fans did not care how the team made the playoffs in 1981, though we were bummed out by the Astros getting up 2-0 on the Dodgers in the West division playoffs and scoring two runs in the last three games to go home.

There were other exciting entries to the postseason for the Astros over the years…

  • 1997 – They somehow won the Central Division by 5 games with an 84-78 record while the 88-74 Dodgers stayed home in the West
  • 2001 – They took the Central Division in a tiebreaker over the Cards
  • 2004 – They wobbled around for half the season and then roared back to sneak into the Wild Card spot by one game over the Giants
  • 2005 – They were declared dead before roaring back again to slide into the Wild Card spot by one game over the Phillies and then moving on to their first World Series appearance
  • 2020 – And, of course, the extended playoff roster of 8 teams allowed them to enter the playoffs with a 29-31 record and get within one game of the World Series

The point here is that we can wish for a better, smoother entry into the playoffs, but in the end, we need to ignore how those sausages are made and concentrate on the final product.

OK, now on to more sausage-making in the playoffs.

68 comments on “When you finally eat it sausage tastes good

  1. I think the discontent with the 2021 Astros is when we continued to see the team leading the league in numerous categories. Yet, not being able to put away inferior teams. Maybe we expect(ed) too much from the team. But in the end, a better performance is required in the playoffs than what we have seen this team the past two months.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the playoffs will reveal what this team is made of. We and everyone in the league are now fully aware of both our players’ incredible latent talents and blatant flaws. Who will wilt under the pressure – and who will rise up and lead?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Turning our attention to tonight’s game against the [Team of whiners whose name shall not be pronounced]:

    Who on our team has hit the most home runs against Manaea? Kyle Tucker.

    Who on our team has the best BA [in very small sample] vs. Manea? J. Castro.

    Which Astro has the 3rd best BA against Manaea (behind JCas & KTuck)? Maldy.

    Who has stunk against Manaea? Alvarez, Brantley, Correa, Marwin, McCormick, and Meyers.

    Dusty’s line-up tonight should be interesting!

    Like

    • Even if you accept him sitting guys – his lineup makes no sense. Your leadoff guy, Siri has like a .250 OBP over the last two weeks. Diaz is hitting second and has an OBP under .300 since the beginning of August.
      Does he only look at season numbers? Doesn’t he know who’s slumping?
      And more important why is he not doing this after clinching home field against the White Sox?

      Liked by 2 people

      • All you can do is shake your head and laugh; then put on your wife’s best ruby red slippers, click your heels together three times, and whisper: there’s no brain In that dome; there’s no brain in that dome; there’s no brain in that dome.’

        Then pop the cork on another bottle of bubbly, pour a glass and drink it down, and remind all around that our local nine just won the AL West, and that there is nothing the A’s can do tonight that will take that away from us!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. From Brian McTaggart:
    Jose Siri RF
    Aledmys Diaz 1B
    Alex Bregman 3B
    Yordan Alvarez LF
    Carlos Correa SS
    Marwin Gonzalez 2B
    Chas McCormick DH
    Jake Meyers CF
    Jason Castro C
    Framber Valdez LHP

    (Who looks rested to you?)

    Like

    • No &$!? Sherlock! I’m not sure Dusty could win the big one even if the other team failed to show up. As to the AJ Hinch comment I agree with that assessment too. No matter what we better have a new manager next year and I’m really interested at keeping CC but no 10 year deals.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I made a couple of decisions last night. Siri is not smart enough to go to the post season. That leadoff triple was another very dumb base running decision. He was out easy. I don’t think a 27 year old baseball player can be taught how to run the bases. It’s instinctual.

    Marwin was simply terrible at second last night. He can’t hit and he can’t play reliable defense. Better we put Stubbs on the roster so Castro can pinch hit. He’s got a 1.188 OPS off the bench against righties. And Stubbs, while not as fast, can pinch run late if the situation calls for it.

    And as much as I hate to say it, Javier is just too darn unreliable at his present job. He’s given us 100 pretty good innings as a starter, long man and short reliever. I like him. And I sure hope he gets a chance to be a full time starter in 2022. I don’t think he’s had much fun this year, but he has been as versatile as any pitcher on the roster.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you about Siri.
      I agree with you about Marwin.
      I agree with you about Stubbs.
      I agree with you about Javier.
      Now I don’t have to submit the comment I was going to submit. Thanks.

      Like

      • 1oldpro, we generally agree. I’ll look forward to your next round of comments. I did not mean to steal your thunder. Right now I don’t even care if we have to go to Chicago first. We tend to shake team hitting slumps once on the road. And I’m having too much fun watching the AL wild card festivities right now. What a diversion!

        Like

  5. If I were the Astros opponent in the playoffs, I would consider all the minor leaguer pitchers that I need to protect for the Rule 5 draft. Yes, even Low A ball. And go ahead and add them to start each game against the Astros. This year, that seemed to be a winning formula.

    Like

    • I think we all understand now why he has not ‘stuck’ with any of the organizations he was with prior to ours. Experiment: CANCELLED.

      Like

      • With Siri, I think the talent is there. There used to be a saying about players like him, “Million Dollar Bat with a 10 cent Brain.” Maybe he can grow up mentally and be a decent outfielder.

        Like

      • When Tucker came up we saw a lot of ugly plays in the outfield and swings at pitches way out of the strike zone. Bregman was flat awful for his first couple weeks, and no, he wasn’t unlucky as he had only one hard contact in his first 50ish plate appearances. Siri has shown he doesn’t know the outfields of MLB parks. He makes a lot of bad decisions that probably work out a lot more often against MiLB competition. There is almost always an adjustment period where players have to learn what they can do and when they can push things. I don’t think he’s destined for more than a spot as the fourth outfielder on a team, but quite frankly if he learns from this cup of coffee he could come into spring training next year and really position himself to be a valuable member of the team.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, the bats finally woke up – at least for one game.

    The pitching? We started Jake Odorizzi, who immediately reminded us that why there is no way he should be considered for the post-season roster. We followed with Maton, who proceeded to prove that he also cannot be trusted to wear an Astro uniform in the playoffs. We then threw four more relievers at the A’s, and not one could manage a single clean inning. Our pitchers gave up 12 hits and issued five (yes 5) BBs.

    So, congratulations on winning the division and clinching home field advantage in the ALDS. But we should have anything but confidence that this schizoprhenic bunch of under-performers will do anything but roll-over and die in the playoffs?

    Like

    • If we can score 8 + runs each game, I like our chances. If we score 5 or less, it does not look good. Our pitchers are 3rd in Batting Average allowed at .228. But rank 21st in giving up walks at 548. So when if we throw strikes, we have a chance. (But we all know this from having watched this team all year. Good “stuff” and yet “wild.”)

      Like

  7. * With a broken pinkie finger on his right hand, how useful would Jose Siri be in a playoff series? He can’t hit and he can’t throw. On the play in which he broke the finger, couldn’t see if he was given the stop sign, but I did see him rounding second looking at the outfielder and not his 3B coach.
    * With Brantley, Alvarez and Tucker as locks to be on the roster, There is plenty of speed with Meyers and McCormick to use as a speedster late in the game.
    * Maldy hurt his shoulder making the diving play a few nights ago and Castro limped back to the dugout after getting thrown out at the plate yesterday. I like Stubbs on the playoff roster. He is versatile, a left-handed hitter and is an above average baserunner. And, he is a veteran player and a lifelong catcher.

    Like

  8. Brantley in the lineup, but Gurriel is not. Yuli going to back into the batting title?
    Reminds me of people telling Ted Williams to sit out the last day doubleheader when he was already batting .400. He went out and hit 6 for 8
    and ended up .406.

    Like

    • Interesting, because the historic practice on the last day of the season at home, after clinching a playoff spot, is to let the veteran starters come out, play an inning or two, then be given hugs and a standing ovation as/when they are removed from the game one -at-a- time. Tucker and Meyers are young, so we wouldn’t replace him. Diaz and Marwin aren’t ‘veteran starters. And with Castro limping we don’t dare replace Maldy. Still, I guess we just don’t have enough players to step in for Yuli.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I picked the Astros to win 95 games this year. My thinking was that they would be an overachieving bunch. As I watched the season unfold I was thinking all along that this group has been an underachieving bunch!

    But maybe I’ve been unreasonable. We got really good pitching from four starters. Our closer has been nails all year. Tucker became a star. Yuli won the hitting title. Alvarez came back to earth, but still provided DH production that we’ve never had until he joined us. Meyers and McCormick showed up and contributed well above expectations. Carlos gave us a great, injury free season. Diaz became the utility man we all hoped for. Did we really expect all this good stuff to happen?

    And we had plenty of injuries too. We might be thinking that Maldy was a bust this year, but he gave us great stability behind the plate and excellent defense. We also might pick on Altuve for having an off year. But very few teams got the leadoff production Jose gave us. And some of those 31 homers were big ones. I know that based on run differential we were supposed to win more games. But our bullpen is still a scary place. So maybe we’ve been too hard on these guys. That’s my take anyways.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Vladi, George, Teoscar, Cavan, Bo, Semien, Berrios, Ray, Matz, Ryu. All the hype and all the money. No playoffs. They get a big hug from Harold Reynolds.
    Trout, Rendon, Upton, Ohtani, Maddon, Iglesias, Fowler, Adell, Bundy. All the hype and all the money. No playoffs.
    Bassitt, Manaea, Montas, Chapman, Olson, Marte, Harrison, Andrus, Laureano. All the hype and no money. No playoffs
    Seattle Mariners. No playoffs again.
    Twins-That’s just too embarrassing to even talk about.
    Cannot wait to get to that National league. So much good dookie there for
    later.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Last night I saw a skinny, flamboyant dude with a British accent, and a thick black mustache singing for spare change down on Crawford Street. He had on an Astros knock-off jersey; the name on the back read ‘Mercury’. He sang:

    We heard loud ‘Boo’s’;
    game after game;
    They labeled us ‘cheaters’
    and called us bad names;
    Big whiffs and blown saves,
    we committed our share;
    Got hit with plastic trash cans – that flew through the air.
    (But the season rolled on. . . and on . . . and on . . . . and on …)

    So… Go pop an Ambien, Mike Fiers!
    Pharma has mercy on liars;
    But we are the Champions, we are the Champions.
    Who needed draft picks
    – We are the Champions … of the West!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Harper, Wheeler, McCutchen, Segura, Gregorius, Nola, Herrera, Realmuto,
    Galvis, Kennedy, Gibson, Girardi. All the money. All the trades. All the hype.
    No playoffs.
    Lindor, Alonso, Cohen, DeGrom, Stroman, Familia, Cano, Conforto, Walker, Carrasco, Syndergaard, McCann, May, Diaz, Nimmo, Pillar, Villar, Loup, Lugo, Hand, Baez, Brach, Betances, Davis, Bonilla, Saberhagen. All the names and hype and signings and Money. Lots! No playoffs.
    Machado, Tatis Jr, Myers, Hosmer, Pham, Kim, Lamet, Stammen, Hudson, Melancon, Darvish, Snell, Clevenger, Pomeranz. All the signings. All the money. All the hype, the love and darling admiration. Blame the manager.
    No Playoffs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you think that Correa is paying attention to your post. Do you want to play for a winner and fans that respect (and love) you or play for a team that doesn’t make the playoffs but you get that big deal you want?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am betting there is going to be a new post coming that will talk about who SHOULD/WILL be on the Astros’ ALDS roster. I will wait for that post to address that particular issue. Let me address instead who I think should – based solely on performance this year, especially the last half -NOT be on the post-season roster:

    1. Jake Odorizzi;
    2. Zack Greinke;
    3. Phil Maton;
    4. Christian Javier;
    5. Yimi Garcia;
    6. Jose Siri;
    7. Marwin Gonzalez.

    Of course, for various reasons, I expect that at least Greinke, Javier, and Gonzalez will be awarded spots on the post-season roster notwithstanding the fact that their performance over the 2nd half of the season should make them ineligible.

    Like

    • Greinke will be on the roster. Marwin shouldn’t be but in all likelihood will be. Siri probably not. The others are toss ups but Stubbs should be but probably won’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As Phil Collins might put it:

        If Fiers told me he was drownin’ – I’d smile and walk away;
        I’ve heard him whine before, my friends; I’m up on his dossier;
        We were all here; and we saw what he did;
        how he lied like a dog on our guys;
        Now his curve has no spin, and he’s a washed-up has-been;
        who tried to take down our favorite franchise!
        – But can’t you feel the karma in the air tonight . . . just reward!
        he’ll be watchin’ from his sofa as our guys take flight –
        . . . just reward . . . just reward!

        Yes, we REMEMBER!!!!!
        We remember, don’t worry; how could we ever forget?
        He called the press in; started confessin’, and then pretended to be upset!
        But he lied through his teeth; he started this grief,
        and he never expressed one regret .. .
        – But can’t you feel the karma i the air tonight … just reward!
        he’ll be watchin’ from his sofa as our guys take flight …
        . . . just reward … just reward!

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Here is a new song from an Astro fans in Kansas:

    Don’t close your eyes; if one of our relievers climbs up on the hill!
    Leads slip a-way-ay-ay; opposing hitters feast on mediocrity.
    – Dis-gust with the ‘pen’; can’t help but feel disgust with the ‘pen’!

    Same old song; outs sure don’t come easy to our rag-arm crew;
    bases on balls … get followed by line drives of great velocity . . . .
    – Disgust with the ‘pen’; can’t help but feel disgust with the ‘pen’.

    Like

  15. Let’s see – the two games on Thursday do not have times yet. So who do you think will be the day game? Chicago – Houston or Tampa – Boston/NewYork?

    Yeah they will stick it to us again

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, my comment is directed at people who want Correa to resign with Houston and drag the team into the demise that fans of these teams face.
      Too many long term big money contracts don’t allow teams to reload and win on an annual basis!

      Like

      • Don’t know how this comment ended up down here instead of up where it belongs with my AL/NL losers.
        Oldheimers again?

        Like

      • It’s really a moot point. The Yankees will pay him more than Lindor got over ten years. My best offer would be 6 at 40. If he’s healthy and productive at 33, then he could still cash in once more.

        Like

      • I’d enjoy seeing NYY offer anything to
        Correa just to see the mental gymnastics their fans and media would pull out given how they’ve behaved the last two years.

        Like

    • Dan, The team in the playoffs with the worst day-game record in 2021 is the NYY, at 23-34. The team in the playoffs with the second worst day-game record is the Astros, at 25-26. I think the league will act accordingly.

      Like

  16. I’m just over the MOON these guys finally took this year seriously last weekend…and Yuli winning the batting title was the cherry on top!
    Daveb….I wonder what Bill Holmes would say about these guys? I don’t know how many of you fellas remember him, but I miss his insight!
    I actually bought an Astros sweatshirt that I’ve been wearing throughout this last week! I had to buy something because I trashed everything I has after “it” was exposed….I’ll be wearing it every game if, or until they are eliminated…..I hope to be wearing it when they go to the World Series this year! Can’t diss, a girl for thinking positively!
    See ya Thursday!

    Liked by 2 people

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