An Astro’s Brain Dump

Sometimes this writer’s brain gets clogged up with too much “stuff” and needs a day to dislodge all the stuff floating around his brain.

So here goes….

  • The last time the Astros swept a seven-game homestand was when they took out the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals back in August 1987. Back then, they outscored the opponents 43-13, while this time around, they squeezed out the opponents 28-8. The 1987 team had come off the run to the NLCS against the Mets and had fallen a bit, ending at 76-86. Ironically, that team scored many more runs in their homestand sweep than the current team. That team was 11th out of 12 NL teams in runs scored that season. And that team played in the Astrodome, where offenses went to die.
  • Where would this bullpen be without Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and, in a considerable surprise Rafael Montero? Neris has appeared 15 times and has only given up 1 run in 14 innings of work. He did not allow his one inherited runner to score and has only allowed 9 base runners in those 14 innings, 7 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit by pitch. Montero has appeared 12 times and gave up one run on a solo home run in 12.1 innings. He did not allow his two inherited runners to score and has allowed 11 base runners with eight hits and 3 walks. Javier has started two games but has not given up any runs in his four relief appearances in 11.1 innings. He inherited no runners and has only allowed 9 baserunners with 5 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBPs. That is a lot of value for a team that has not been scoring many runs.
  • No one has benefitted more from the calendar flip to May than Jose Altuve. He was a bad .167 BA/ .268 OBP/ .518 OPS in April with 2 runs scored, 1 HR and 3 RBIs. In May, which corresponds to the seven-game winning streak, he has been on fire, hitting .409 BA/ .519 OBP/ 1.337 OPS with 7 runs scored, 3 HRs and 3 RBIs. Maybe worrying about re-pulling his hamstring has forced him to stay a little more solidly on the ground when hitting?
  • Then there is the Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jake Odorizzi, who may need to change his name to Jekyll Odorizzi. He was awful starting the season and looked like the answer to the question, who will Cristian Javier replace in the rotation? In his last 3 starts, he has pitched 17.1 innings with a 0.51 ERA and a 0.577 WHIP. This is like Justin Verlander not only talked to him but gave him a blood transfusion. During this run, Jake has had an unsustainable 0.116 BAbip (batting average on balls in play). But even if that trends towards normal, the team certainly would take an ERA in the 3 range from Jake.
  • This has to be the worst significant time for a single position in memory. “This” is, of course, the catcher’s position for the Astros, where Martin Maldonado’s horrible 0.85 BA looks relatively better than Jason Castro’s bottom feeder 0.69 BA. They have a cumulative seven hits on the season in 29 games, which means, on average, they go about 4 games between hits. That is pretty insane.
  • However….. The weirdness of early season stats. Yuli Gurriel has 27 more ABs than Maldonado, is hitting more than .100 pts higher and has the exact same number of RBIs.
  • And…..Michael Brantley has 38 more plate appearances than Maldonado and is hitting almost .200 points higher, and has one less walk.

Well, my brain feels pretty empty now. Now it’s your turn….

64 comments on “An Astro’s Brain Dump

  1. Some of my thoughts:
    *Nico Goodrum has looked like one of the worst MLB batters I have ever seen. Where are you, Taylor Jones? Never thought I would say that.
    * Wondering how good this bullpen could be if Hunter Brown and Josh James were to be ready by September and a trade for a power lefty reliever at the deadline.
    * As long as Gurriel struggles, Alvarez will not see many pitches to hit.
    * Bregman’s HR in Sunday’s finale didn’t mean much in the game, but it could mean a lot to the Astros offense going forward. They need Bregman to hit the ball.
    * Korey Lee’s bat could be the #1 most important prospect development in the Astros system. They need a good hitting catcher for the future.
    * Bryan de la Cruz is not starting for Miami, but is on the bench.
    * It feels very weird having the Angels in first place. I keep looking at the scores waiting for them to revert to their past.

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    • I was thinking it was the Angels’ pitching that made the difference, but it is improvement in both offense and pitching.
      Last year they scored 4.46 runs per game when baseball average was 4.53 r/gm
      This year they are scoring 4.84 r/gm when the average is down to 4.06 r/gm

      Last year their team ERA was 4.69, while baseball average was 4.26
      This year their team ERA is 3.50 while the average is 3.75

      So they have flipped both run scoring and run preventing a run each vs. baseball’s average and that kind of improvement makes a difference.
      But somehow even with the Astros scrabbling on offense they are right there with the Angels – 1 game back, but tied in the loss column.

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      • Trout and Rendon haven’t gotten hurt yet…which really helps the offense. They’ve also had some good luck. Down 4-2 in the ninth, they came back to beat the Nationals the other day because the CF wasn’t playing deep enough and couldn’t make a catch on an Ohtani fly ball at the wall. We’ll see what they’re pitching does as we get into summer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is an interesting ‘brain dump’ item. Only one current Astro has faced Twins’ starter Joe Ryan. That Astro is Niko Goodrum. Goodrum has two career at bats against Ryan, and what does he have to show for it? Two home runs, with four RBIs.

    We have officially entered the Twilight Zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is it just me, or does it seem like pitchers are breaking more bats with pitches these days? Are the pitchers throwing the ball faster? Is the ball heavier?

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    • Hard throwers and skinny handle broom bats?
      Is the new baseball they are talking about not only traveling less distances but also made out of lead?
      Who knows Astro Nut – nothing would surprise us?

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  4. Good start for the Astros – 4-0 in the middle of the 5th – knocking their ace out – JV with 43 pitches thru 4 innings

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  5. That was our best played game of the season. Verlander’s performance was a real bonus. Jeremy Pena has a 2.1 WAR to date. The kid keeps doing smart things on the baseball field. He’s intuitive. More and more I can understand why the Astros were not exactly doing everything they could to bring Correa back.

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    • Sometimes I think “hey they offered the man 5 years at 32 AAV” what would have happened if he had taken it?

      I have no idea where Pena’s season is going to go. Unless Correa spends 40 days on the IL this year I can’t imagine that he won’t get hot at some point and just flat out out perform Pena. That said, I would rather have Pena’s output at 750k than what Correa ends up at with a tag of 32M. Keeps the books open for when JV opts out, because unless he gets hurt he is going to contend for a Cy Young and will want a Scherzer type contract, and we are still going to have to deal with Tucker in 23 and Yordan in 24 on what should be rather large arby deals – or even a long term for Tucker.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Notso Goodrum would be released, except there isn’t anyone at AAA to take his spot. Everyone that is there is either worse, or needs everyday at bats. We can only hope that whatever Odorizzi changed his breakfast cereal to 2 weeks ago that he gives that secret to Goodrum.

    The first good start Odorizzi had I thought was more about taking advantage of a struggling lineup by just throwing strikes. He left some on a tee, and the Rangers just didn’t take advantage. The last two have actually been really well pitched games though. He has spotted well and stayed at 93, not worked between 91 and 93.

    I’ve always been tempered in my expectations of JV – the baseball analysts, aka “experts” were too – no one really put him in their top 10 starter list going into the year. Can’t blame writers, if you put a 39 year old coming off 2 years of not pitching on your list you will get the link to that article emailed to you every day for a year if he struggles. I saw something about the other day comparing him to Ryan in that you don’t know when he is going to lose it – well he doesn’t throw as hard as Ryan at the same age, but he is arguably a better pitcher.

    We keep harping for this offense to bust out – but offense around baseball is down. Is it baseballs? Is it the shortened preparation? Who knows the exact reason maybe a little of it all. I am sure that has lent to Neris and Montero’s success at this point.

    After the first series with the Angels I thought they were only the 3rd best team in the division. They are really good 1-5, but they have 4 spots in the lineup where the hitters are either unproven or just not very good. I think the depressed offense has helped them though because its take other teams 6 and 7 spots in the lineup and makes them look like the 8-9 spots. It has evened their playing field if you will, and helped the bottom of their rotation (like ours with Odorizzi).

    And lastly, the catchers. Ouch. Castro doesn’t really have enough at bats to be concerned at this point. Anytime anyone is one 3 for 4 day from being respectable the sample is too small to be concerned. Maldonado though, ouch. The balls, the calls, and the stall are all leading to the fall. I don’t know when a change will come, but I don’t think the Astros think Castro can play everyday and they probably want Lee getting most of the season at AAA before he auditions for the part, so I think Maldy is safe to play out this season unless he is hitting sub .100 in July. At some point, even if Lee is going to hit .220, he will double the output.

    And speaking of calls – I have seen a dozen facebook shorts of the bad calls this year. One sequence had Ozuna struck out on 3 pitches – but not a single pitch was in the zone, and they weren’t even close. It’s getting ugly out there, or maybe we are just now noticing (like we are being cable news’d – you know, calls have always been bad but now someone with an agenda is making videos of every bad call to sell us something, hmmm).

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  7. An Astros fan’s brain dump:
    1. Nobody can make me read any article containing the names Amber or Sean!
    2. Falling for a convict doesn’t end well.
    3. 150,000 soldiers does not outnumber an angry, armed 10,ooo,ooo men.
    4. 10,000 reusable tank busters will eventually bust 10,000 tanks.
    5. When a group of 4 MLB umps hold a conference on the field, things will go the Yankee’s way.
    6. Mike Fiers has pitched 17 innings in Mexico. So good!
    7. “Follow the science” means how much in a country that doesn’t even have enough science teachers?
    8. My only free source of Astros news is Mark Berman’s Twitter account. Pretty sure that will have a paywall soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1. Or Depp, Markle, William, Kate or Harry
      2. I know people do idiotic things for love or lust, but really when this was first unfolding I was going – what possible scenario could the guard foresee that would work out positive for her and/or him? This is not 1963 and its not David Jansen avoiding detection in a non-technological world. I guess the only thing positive for her is that her retirement fund that she withdrew lasted until the end of her life
      3. It also helps if one side knows what they are fighting for and the other side is wondering what the heck they are dying for
      4. We just have to pray that Putin does not pull the trigger on the ultimate weapon
      5. I find when anybody decides anything related to baseball it favors the Yankees
      6. Fiers is 37 years old and has made $25 MM off baseball. What is he trying to do here? What does he have to offer? He is not JV coming off of a Cy Young year. I mean he can go to an AL team and tell them he will help them except when they play the Astros? Would any of his teammates trust him wherever he played?
      7. What passes for science these days is often science fiction
      8. Well you can always get free Astro information here at Chipalatta – but it is often 2nd or 3rd hand – and if you are somehow paying for this – please let me know as I am not collecting

      Liked by 2 people

      • I actually miss Richard Justice. He was willing to write a column that did not always make the Astros happy. And he would respond to those of us that did not always agree with him.

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      • Some of the less obvious stats from last night’s masterful performance by JV:

        1. he threw 89 pitches to get 24 outs [averaging just 4.16 pitches per out];
        2. of his 89 pitches, 63 were strikes or induced swings [70.7% strikes];
        3. though he walked two batters, he quickly induced DPs to limit damage;
        4. his pace kept the defense in the game – see highlight reel plays by Brantley and by Bregman.

        I hope Jose’ Urquidy was watching!

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      • Mr. Bill – I liked how he took 89 pitches to record 24 outs, while the Twins pitcher Ryan, who has been quite good on the young season, took 90 pitches to record 12 outs.
        Hopefully, we will wear their bullpen out in this series….

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      • Meanwhile, in Anaheim, a lefty named Detmers threw a no hitter last night where only one ball was not hit directly to a fielder. That was a ground ball by Brett Phillips which the first baseman booted. It would have been a tough play for him to make. I suspect the second baseman would have made the play, but it would have been close with Phillips running.

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    • Bad time for a delay. Unlikely Urquidy will come back out. But these guys are having good at bats. Opposite field hits. Peña again right in the middle of everything. A hell of a catch by Yordan to save 2 runs. Shame it’s raining!

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  8. Too bad we won’t have a chance to finish this one tonight. We lose Urquidy after three innings and the Twins were getting ready to bring in a guy for his first ML appearance. Seems we were getting ready to blow them out.
    Now it’s long day tomorrow.

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  9. Speaking of Urquidy, he sure was not fooling anyone last night.

    Are we going to see Javier take over the suspended game today after his 45 pitches on Sunday? That would screw up the 6 man rotation but everyone is pretty well rested right now.

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  10. Pena swung at a pitchers pitch, at least 6 inches off the plate, realized he was fooled – leaned into, slowed his swing to barrel it up, and just casually flicks a line drive into right field. Results in 2 ribbies.

    This kid is mature as a hitter. And strong. A lot of hitters would have just grounded to 2B in that spot.

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      • He made enough contact on a 3-2 pitch in his first at bat to get that sac fly. Then he’s got the bases loaded and goes 3-2 with two outs before poking that ball out to right for two more RBI’s. He runs the bases like a veteran. He makes plays that a lot of guys don’t make. The more we see, the less chance there is that he’s an early season fluke. He’s just too smart and focused.

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      • It is of course a small sample but he’s batting .375 with runners in scoring position and .308 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs

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  11. McTaggart reported in an overnight article that Correa told Pena after last year’s WS loss that Pena would probably be playing SS and being a leader on the Astros this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bryan Abreu will start the 4th inning of game 1 today and Garcia will make his regular start in game 2. Seth Martinez is added to the team for the double header today.
    Being able to adapt to situations is a big advantage for a club with a six-man rotation. Adding an additional pitcher helps alleviate the diadvantages for the bullpen.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nice rally here in the 6th to stretch out this lead, plus maybe we can eat up their bullpen heading into the second game.

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  14. It is sure nice to have a good lead anytime, but especially on a day like this- especially after seeing several of our pitchers become ‘unavailable’. We can’t use Urquidy – 44 pitches (last night); Abreu – 45 pitches today; Maton -38 pitches over two long innings today, and now Stanek 23 pitches in one inning today. That means we really need everybody else to be more efficient.

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  15. Wow, Winder got chased like no other team has been able. Garcia 4 shutout innings, 2 walks and 4 hits, but 80 pitches? I missed the beginning of this interesting game. Hopefully we get one more inning out of Garcia. Then Seth Martinez? More runs!

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  16. The pitching thus far has just been super! And it looks like the bats are starting to wake up. All in all it looks like the guys are playing smart baseball. Hoping that Tucker and Gurriel can start to bring their averages up soon. Looks like Atuve has made some adjustments and is starting to get back to his old self.
    Oh one question that I have is, who was our SS before Pena? I’ve seemed to have forgotten his name.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Let’s see, that prior SS was … Adam Everett? Rafael Ramirez? Ronny Cedeno? Craig Reynolds? Dickie Thon? Miguel Tejada? Rodger Metzger? Don Buddin? Bob Lillis?

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  17. The Nats vs. the Astros …

    BA – Nats are 4th in the league at .258; we are 24th at .224;
    OBP – Nats are 9th in the league at .317; we are 17th at .306;
    Runs/game – Nats are scoring 4.03/game; we are scoring 4.09/game;
    HRs – we are 4th with 40; Nats are 24 with 24;
    SOs – we’ve whiffed 259 times; they’ve done it 244 times
    BBs – we’ve drawn 123; they’ve just drawn 96

    Our team WHIP is 1.09; theirs is 1.44;
    Our team ERA is 2.73; theirs is 4.77;
    We’ve allowed 3.03 runs per game; they’ve allowed 5.03.
    Their staff has walked 132; ours has walked only 87;
    Their staff has given up 30 HRs; ours only 23.

    Summary: Oh no – on paper we should win this series! [Hint: That never bodes well for us!]

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    • As Oddball said in Kelly’s Hero’s, “Always with the negative waves.” Keep ’em coming Mr Bill. Need more wins.

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