Let’s talk about that lineup

This post is slightly shanghaied by the news that Jeremy Pena has been placed on the IL. But since this is all hypothetical, let’s pretend that Pena is back and Dusty Baker has asked your opinion about the makeup of his daily lineup. Talk about hypothetical….

There has been a lot of discussion about the construction of the lineup and the placement of certain hitters. The current lineup looks typically as follows.

  1. Jose Altuve 2B
  2. Michael Brantley LF or DH
  3. Alex Bregman 3B
  4. Yordan Alvarez DH or LF
  5. Kyle Tucker RF
  6. Yuli Gurriel 1B
  7. Jeremy Pena SS
  8. Chas McCormick or Jose Siri, or Mauricio Dubon CF
  9. Martin Maldonado or Jason Castro C

Most of the criticism of this lineup revolves around having Bregman in the third spot, though when they had Yuli in between Alvarez and Tucker, there was criticism of having Tucker so far down the lineup in the 6th spot. There have also been comments about having Pena down this far in the lineup when he has been the better hitter than Bregman and Gurriel this year. It appears that Dusty has gotten over putting two lefties in a row – as someone on the radio mentioned the other day – if a left-handed pitcher comes in from the bullpen, does it matter if the 3 hitters he faces are lefty-righty-lefty or lefty-lefty-righty? Tucker and Alvarez are hitting better against lefties than some of the righties in the lineup.

So, how would Dan P change this lineup? First off is what I would call a moderate tweak….

  1. Jose Altuve 2B
  2. Yordan Alvarez DH or LF
  3. Kyle Tucker RF
  4. Alex Bregman 3B
  5. Michael Brantley LF or DH
  6. Yuli Gurriel 1B
  7. Jeremy Pena SS
  8. Chas McCormick CF
  9. Martin Maldonado or Jason Castro C

The biggest thing this change does is make sure that Alvarez and Tucker hit every first inning, and it still lets Tucker provide protection to Yordan. Not thrilled with Bregman in the four spot, but it feels like you can’t have three lefties in a row, and Bregman is a better choice than the other righties. Brantley hits for a high average, but he is not that effective as a run producer. Even though he is hitting .300 and is third on the team in ABs, he is 6th in runs scored and 6th in RBIs. Oh, and give Chas the CF job for the time being. I don’t know how these guys do it hitting every other or third day.

A more radical approach would be the following lefty-righty lineup.  

  1. Kyle Tucker RF
  2. Jeremy Pena SS
  3. Yordan Alvarez DH or LF
  4. Jose Altuve 2B
  5. Michael Brantley LF or DH
  6. Alex Bregman 3B
  7. Yuli Gurriel 1B
  8. Martin Maldonado or Jason Castro
  9. Chas McCormick

This gets your two-speed guys/ stolen base threats up at the top of the lineup and lets you go lefty-righty-lefty thru 6 hitters. It also lets Pena hit amidst some great hitters. It has Altuve in a power spot and as protection for Yordan, which is OK as long as he doesn’t try too hard to hit for power. I bumped Maldy up to eighth because he has been hitting pretty darn well the last few weeks, which allows Chas to get on in front of Tucker on the lineup flip.

So……

  • What do you think of the proposed lineups?
  • Which one do you prefer, or do they both suck?
  • What would you propose if it was your lineup card?
  • Does it make that big of a difference?

72 comments on “Let’s talk about that lineup

  1. Bregman’s .214 BA and Gurriel’s .218 BA/.269 OBP, and the 11 GIDPs they have between them, are such rally-killers that the only places they should be slottend into the line-up based on this year alone are #7 [Bregman] and #8 [Gurriel]. Of course, we know they are both capable of far better than this, but how many games do we watch them kill rallies for us before we say ‘enough’ – get your stuff together, and work your way back up to wherever you want to be?

    My solution – when Gurriel and Bregman are both in the line-up, Bregman needs to bat 7th [until he gets that BA up to at least .240] and Gurriel needs to bat 8th [until he gets his BA up to at least .240 and his OBP up above .300]. But I would slot Diaz into the lineup for one of them every night (alternating one day for Bregs and one day for Yuli), since neither seems to be responding favorably to daily play.

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  2. By the way, Jose Siri would never start a game for us if I had my way – except maybe a double-header. He just cannot hit major league pitching. And unless McCormick was injured, Dubon would never start in CF either, for the same reason.

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  3. After trying to figure out where to move guys, especially Bregman, I gave up. If the Astros were getting ready to cough up the lead in the AL West, I’d have to shake up the lineup. But in spite of our frustrations, we’ve got the second best record in the American League. In MLB we’re 9th in OPS, 7th in slugging, and pretty much bad in most other areas. But we’re still 28th in BABip too. So we can afford to hope for a while longer that Alex and Yuli will hit, even while it pisses us off. Dan, of course I agree on Chas, but it’s almost too late for that.

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  4. Yuli gets my nod for the start at 1B in the first game vs. Chicago because he hit a HR yesterday. But if he does not show us anything impressive offensively in that game, I’d give the game 2 start (against the righty Cueto) to left-handed hitting JJ Matijevik. Yes, I’d bat Matijevik 8th in that game.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Astros game tonight on Apple TV+ – so be aware it won’t be on our AT&T Sportsnet. I think you can watch it on the Astros mlb web site when it is on Apple TV+.
    Giolito has pitched solidly, 4-2, 3.88 ERA to this point, Framber has been better 6-2, 2.64 ERA. Again it would be nice if the offense got rolling early. We shall see how that goes.
    Then we get Verlander (8-2, 1.94 ERA) vs.Cueto who is an unlucky 0-3, 3.53 ERA
    And then Javier (3-3, 3.20 ERA) vs the dreaded TBD.
    White Sox (4.16 runs/game) and Astros (4.19 runs / game) are even so far in 2022. Astros bullpen 2.66 ERA is superior to White Sox 4.21 ERA, but Astros bullpen has been a little less shiny lately.
    Its a good time to kick it into gear and keep rolling after the good last two games in Arlington.

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  6. This business about immaculate innings, am I the only one not very impressed? Historically, we always expected pitchers to try and make the hitter chase a bad pitch on an 0-2 count. If you got the swing and a miss great, but the goal was to make sure nobody got a hit on that count. If it was such a big deal, I think guys like Ryan and Carlton and Koufax and so many other big arms would have done it hundreds of times collectively. And really, isn’t a three pitch inning more impressive and valuable if the other team is dumb enough to let if happen?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point Dave B – I think the Astros were retired in a 4 pitch inning the other day – which hacked me off since Javier was coming off an inning where he threw a lot of pitches
      And being Catholic – we normally reserve Immaculate for Mary
      They were saying on sports talk that the chances of having an immaculate inning in a game are one in 40,000 ( a perfect game is one in 10,000) but the chance of having two in the same game was one in 1.6 billion

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave B – I grew up going to St. Jerome in Spring Branch and my wife and I went to St. John Vianney when we were first married. Was laid off and spent 7 years in Arkansas. Since we returned we started off at Holy Family in Missouri City and now go to St. Laurence in Sugar Land. Don’t know how devout….
        So did you know me at St. John Vianney…..

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      • The Mrs. and I have been members of St. Catherine of Siena, in Spring Branch for decades. Sometimes, we went to St. John Vianney. A great friend, Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt is a member there. Now, that we have moved to Fulshear we have to start anew.

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    • I like it when anyone affiliated with MLB recognizes an Astros achievement. They rarely do, so this was a breath of fresh air for me.
      As for the strike three pitches, Maton’s strikeouts came on a check swing in the dirt and two fastballs above the zone. For that inning, he deserves the credit, in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. The batting average for the 2005 Astros for non-pitchers was .262 and OPS of .749. They made it to the World Series but lost every game. The 2022 team is batting .237 and OPS of .734. The 2005 had to hide Ausmus and Everett. The 2022 teams needs to hide at 4.

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  8. As a side note, Jonathan Bermudez had a decent game last night going 6 innings. But this year his walks are up per 9 (4.9 to 3.6). His hits per 9 (10.6 to 5.8) and his WHIP this year is 1.723. Ks are also down (8.4 to 11.1)

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  9. Gurriel is having a rough year. It is his last season under his current contract. He is beloved by his teammates and Astros fans. I hope this entire situation turns out well for all of us.
    His WAR per Fangraphs is -0.2. The guy has had a stellar career. It would be great if he had a great second half of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As Bobby Sherman would probably express it:

    Yuli, Yuli, Yuli will you leave me?
    Are you ready for a rockin’ chair?
    Yuli can’t you see how much it grieves me
    to know that next year you could be elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As done as I am with Jose Siri, at least he did not come to us in a trade package that included Mike Fi .. Fi .. Fi … Fi … [sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say that horrible name!]

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Just to bring you up to date, our minor league affiliates are no longer all in last place in their respective leagues. The Fayetteville Woodpeckers of High A are now in 4th place in their division, not 6th. Also, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys have won six in a row [alas, even with that, they are still in last place]. The Hooks are now in last place by a mere two games, and the Tourists are now just in last place by 1/2 game. Don’t everyone shout at once, now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All I could do was laugh at the Tourists last night as they were beaten 22-1 by Rome, the same team they had walloped earlier in the week.

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  12. As we discuss the Astro line up, trying to figure out a way to coax more offense from our squad, I’m thinking ahead to the four games we play in the Bronx next week. Right now, I’m watching the Jays get crushed by the Yankees who just beat the Rays 3 straight. I’d be perfectly happy with a split. But we’ve got to make these guys hit some ground balls. And we can’t help the umps by swinging at crap off the plate. The Jays, a pretty good team, are handing it to them in their own park.

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  13. Wow – Anthony Rendon is having wrist surgery and will miss the rest of the Angels’ season. That’s after missing a chunk of last year’s season with hip surgery.

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  14. Enmanual Valdez hit his sixth HR in his ninth game in AAA last night. He also played the entire game at 1B. According to Baseball Reference, it was the first time he has played that position in his professional career. Playing some 1B is something I believe will enhance his future with the club.

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  15. Some things to think about:
    This season, in Corpus Christi, Yainer Diaz has thrown out 12 base stealers and has allowed 24 steals in 199 innings at catcher. Luke Berryhill has thrown out 3 base stealers and allowed 40 steals in 195 innings at catcher. Berryhill has 6 errors and 2 passed balls, while Diaz has 4 errors and 2 passed balls.
    Diaz has been a better hitter, while Berryhill walks more and strikes out more.
    Berryhill is one year older at 24.

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  16. Tonight’s starting line-up for our Stros features five hitters with BAs under 2.20. Advantage – heavy, heavy advantage – Kopech. The best question is not if we will get beaten like a yard dog again. The best question is whether our injury depleted offense we even manage to get a ball out of the infield against Michael Kopech.

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    • Dave, as you know, I always hope our Astros beat all the odds, and absolutely love it when they do. Way to go Christian Javier, JJ Matejevic, and Mauricio Dubon! Even Jason Castro got a hit, broke the .100 plane in BA, and scored what turned out to be part of the winning run combination that came with Dubon’s Du-bomb. What were the odds?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t usually bother with the ball and strike calls but the guy back there just took the Astros out of an inning. High, low, outside, 4 bad calls. No consistency. No beneficial calls. All bad. Even Dusty is barking. And then Citron gets throw out during the commercial!

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  18. Solid win tonight for the good guys. Everyone who bet Matijevic and Dubon would hit the big blasts today raise your hands. Pitchers did a very good job. Neris a bit unlucky in the 8th as a broken bat caused Dubon to duck out from one out and a weird bounce off the scoreboard helped the two runs to eventually score.

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  19. It was great walking away with a win last night. Lot’s to overcome. Besides the ball-strike issues we had two obvious strike outs called no swing by the third and first base umps. We lost a run on a ground rule double. Chas gave up a run by diving for a fly ball that was a first down away from him. He should have cut it off. Dan mentioned the shattered bat. Bregman and Yuli remain painful to watch. But the new kids carried the day!

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  20. I might suggest you try what I did. Last night I watched on my laptop MUTED so as to not disturb the Mrs. as she watched Bridgerton. So with no commentary, you will back up 15 seconds time and time again to make sure you didn’t go blind on so many pitches. He was consistent. Consistently bad.

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    • I don’t know the entire story, but Ashville had a catcher go down with injury. So JC Correa has caught 31 games this year. He has 16 passed balls and 43 stolen bases off him. It would appear that he is truly an infielder. He is still hitting slightly over .300.

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      • Are you allowed to have 16 passed balls? I give JC credit. He’s having a hell of a time back there, but is apparently willing. As we say locally, bless up!

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  21. When Enmanuel Valdez was promoted to AAA, he was at the top of the stats in the Texas League, was held out of the lineup on Sunday, had an off day on Monday and was in Sugarland’s lineup on Tuesday.
    Yainer Diaz is near the top of the heap in Texas League stats and was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Today is an off day. Let’s see where he plays on Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. And I enjoy what some websites show. Baseball Reference, as an example, the Astros have won 1 more game than the Dodgers (41-40). The Astros lead their division by 9.5 games. The Dodgers lead San Diego by 1/2 game, Giants by 3 and even the 4th place D’Backs are 9.5 games back. But what are the Percentage chance for the Astros to make the playoffs – 97.7 and 8.6 chance to win the WS. The Dodgers – 98.9% chance to make the playoffs and 22.7 chance to win the WS. The Yankees with 49 wins have only a 21.8% chance to win the WS. (I know all of this means nothing but when they give you WAR or FIP stats, it makes you wonder if they know anymore than some random guys and gals on Chipalatta.)

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  23. The ‘Statistical Advantage Story’ of the Next Nine Games
    [a/k/a Du-Bomb Does New York]

    Our next nine games will be against the two behemoth/juggernauts from New York. Offensively, the Yanks or Mets are at the top of virtually every offensive category – all except doubles (Red Sox lead by a mile) and stolen bases (the Rangers also lead by a mile). In pitching, the Yankees lead in almost all categories, with Houston just a couple of places behind. The Mets’ pitching is in the league’s top ten, but a little below the Yankees and Astros in statistical dominance.

    In other words, our next nine games – with potentially a decimated line-up – look to be the biggest test of the year of the mettle of the 2022 Astros’ team and coaching staff.

    Win/loss predictions, anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • By the way, while we are facing the behemoths, the Angels will be playing exclusively against teams with losing records and the Rangers will only play 2 games against a team with a winning record [the Phillies are 36-32].

      Like

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