2 Topics: Tucker and the rotation choices

The Astros’ New York/New York tour continues on Sunday after the good guys rebounded from a Thursday heartbreaker loss with a solid win on Friday behind another great start by Justin Verlander. Then they followed it with the Cristian Javier, Hector Neris, and Ryan Pressly no-hit win on Saturday. The team is now 4-1 on this nine-game run through the Yanks and Mets.

Today, based on Dan P being in control of the subject matter here – we will talk about a couple subjects of Astro interest…to me.

Kyle Tucker. Offensive problem?

This is the ultimate troll heading. Kyle is not an offensive problem, but one of his statistics demonstrates a terrible problem with the Astros’ offense. Besides being one of the best fielding right fielders in the majors, he is also one of the best hitters. He would be vying for the best hitter on the Astros except for one Yordan Alvarez, who is helped by the fact that he has Tucker behind him.

Kyle is second with the Astros with 14 HRs (T 13th in AL), second with 48 RBIs (T sixth in the AL), third with  .851 OPS  (14th in the AL) and first with 13 SBs (T 8th in AL). The stat that shows a big Astros offensive problem is that he has only scored 28 runs this season – tied for fourth on the Astros but tied for 48th in the AL. Lord knows where he would be if he was not unprotected in the fifth or higher spot in the lineup. And that is the rub.

Think about it. He has knocked himself in 14 times with his own home runs, so his compadres have only knocked him in 14 other times on the season. Outside his 14 HRs, he has been on base with hits 46 other times, including 12 doubles. He has taken 33 walks on the season, and he has 13 stolen bases with only getting caught once. So ignoring any time he may have gotten on base on a fielder’s choice or an error, his teammates have only knocked him in 14 out of 79 times, including an approximate 25 times where he got himself to second or third base on his own.

It doesn’t take long to figure out who is falling down here. Of the folks hitting behind him, 2021 batting champ Yuli Gurriel is hitting .127 with runners in scoring position, Jose Siri – .172, Chas McCormick an almost robust .226, Martin Maldonado – .162 and Jason Castro a Blutarsky-ish .000. One guy who is injured right now but was hitting .304 with runners in scoring position is Jeremy Pena. Maybe moving him up in front of Gurriel will help, even if it further weakens the back three in the order. Or perhaps we could get a real hitter to play catcher and possibly CF.

Note 1. Yes, I know Siri and Chas are now down in Sugar Land, but they had a lot of at bats behind Tucker on the season.

Note 2. Rather interesting that in a game where he was given a rest, Yuli Gurriel came off the bench late for a big RBI hit after seeing his sub, JJ Matijevic, hit a critical home run in the seventh inning. It was a bloop of a hit. Competition is good?

Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs?

Yes, I’m jumping ahead here, but Cristian Javier’s brilliant seven no-no innings, along with his very good performance to date as a starter, brings to mind a daisy chain of ifs. If Jake Odorizzi comes back and picks up where he left off and if Lance McCullers Jr. comes back and pitches like he’s capable, and if the Astros make the playoffs and if the Astros go to a four-man rotation in the playoffs, who would those four starters be?

YIE (Yes, it’s early), but how are these pitchers performing?

Name W-L ERA WHIP IP K/9 IP
Justin Verlander 9-3 2.22 0.873 89.1 8.5
Framber Valdez 7-3 2.90 1.126 87 7.8
Cristian Javier 5-3 2.73 1.053 62.2 11.6
Luis Garcia 5-5 3.68 1.070 71 9.4
Jose Urquidy 6-3 4.68 1.455 67.1 7.0
Jake Odorizzi 3-2 3.13 1.168 31.2 6.0
Lance McCullers** 13-5 3.16 1.220 162.1 10.3

** Lance’s stats from 2021

This gets very interesting if all of these pitchers are available and pitching, as shown above. Urquidy would be the sure thing to be out in this scenario. Verlander and Framber would be the sure things to be in. Then there are decisions to be made for the next two spots.

McCullers – He would be likely in the rotation if he is healthy, performing like normal and stretched out, though remember he did have some significantly important appearances out of the bullpen in the Astros 2017 to run to the World Series and the 2018 run to the ALCS.

Javier has been excellent no matter what role they have asked him to take on since his debut in 2020. You would think the way he pitched in the starting rotation this season would have earned him a starting role in the playoffs, but who knows.

Garcia – He has been a solid addition to the Astros rotation since his debut in 2021, but he has not been that great in the playoffs and would seem to be the odd man out in a playoff rotation set-up.

Odorizzi – When he went on the IL, he had been on the best roll since he came to the Astros. He had two relief appearances with the Astros in the 2021 playoffs, one of which did not go well and one that did.

Dan P’s pick – If it’s my call – the four would be Verlander, Valdez, Javier and McCullers. This will be a crucial point to watch as the season develops.

So what are your thoughts about the two topics above?

142 comments on “2 Topics: Tucker and the rotation choices

  1. Today’s game was almost a mirror image of the 1st game of the series. Our offense jumps out to an early lead, our starter does a great job, then the offense goes to sleep and the bull pen collapses. As Yogi famously said, “it ain’t over till it’s over”. We seem to have forgotten that in these two games. The Yankees are not going to roll over and play dead. You’ve got to put the nail in the coffin. As for the line up today, it stunk. The game management was poor so I won’t elaborate. I’m happy with a split in the Bronx but we could have won all 4.

    As for the other dilemma we’re facing we need some hitters in the # 6-9 spots. I don’t see a lot happening if we don’t get some help. I have confidence in our starters but we are loaded. Could we work a trade to get a bat or two? Perfect example was walking Yordan . He should have been in the game today as the DH if nothing else. PH Castro for Maldonado! Gimme a break.

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  2. Sorry Dan, I have one unrelated comment first. I was really hoping Abreu would get the 8th today. In June: 0 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 11 K’s. That’s what we needed then.

    Man, Tucker has a tough, frustrating job. He’s got additional pressure on him to do something big without help behind him. Hopefully Pena and Jake (I’m dubious) will wake things up. Yuli gives a bit of hope and then has more hopeless at bats.

    I don’t know what to think about post season pitching. Let’s stay healthy. What’s with Urquidy all of a sudden? We’re going to have a lot of guys that can throw 3 or 4 innings in October.

    Obviously we can play with anyone, but this Yankee split feels a bit hollow right now.

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  3. I hate to beat a dead dog, but thought I would watch a little of the Sugar Land game. Korey Lee needs an adjustment at catcher. He threw the ball to the second baseman who tagged out the runner attempting a steal. If he is to replace Castro, he needs to learn to either bounce the throw or miss the baseman completely. But he is learning.

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  4. I was upset when Jason Castro (again batting .000 with runners in scoring position in 2022) was pinch hit for Maldy – who is not great but who I think knows which end of the bat to hold. I was upset a bit more when Castro made the terrible throw to 2nd base – moving the runner to third. Luckily he got bailed out when the runner went down like he was shot in the leg, but Castro almost double pumped his way out of the pickoff that was gift wrapped for him.
    Yeah I don’t see why Alvarez isn’t out there as a DH when you want to rest him.
    Despite the pop up in his last at bat (which Tucker also did) Yuli was warming up this series, maybe he and Pena can give a little life to the end of the lineup. Not sure if Meyers will bring a lot more than Chas, but he certainly should bring more than Siri.
    I could not believe that Urquidy went that deep with a no-no. Maybe I will need to revisit him for a playoff spot??
    Right now I would love to have a catcher, who could hit better than me. I know Maldy brings a lot of value to the pitchers and I’m willing to live with it, if we could have a backup who could do anything with the stick.

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  5. The lineup:
    We have got to find a catcher who can hit and bring him in to complement Machete and send Castro away.
    We need another good hitter in the lineup. There are five weeks until the deadline. We use three of them to shop while waiting to see if Meyers or Gurriel wake up. If they don’t, we need to go get another hitter.
    The rotation:
    When Odorizzi is healthy, go back to a six-man rotation and send a reliever down.
    When LMJ is ready go to a seven man rotation. Add Brown and Whitley to the bullpen as September callups, especially if we have a big lead in the West. Let those to prove themselves in short relief to give some of our relievers a break.
    For the playoffs, pick the four guys who are giving us the best starts for the playoffs and put the others in the bullpen and let the guys who are not ready sit out the playoffs.
    Trade for a good lefty reliever. Taylor wasn’t that even when he was healthy.

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    • A lot of the clubs we face have at least one “lights out” left handed pitcher and sometimes two. How is it that we can’t seem to find one to compliment our bull pen? At one time we had this guy, Josh Hader, in our farm system but we traded him away for Carlos $#@! Gomez.

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  6. Agree 100% with you OP. We could (or SHOULD) have won all 4 of these games.
    Dusty Baker makes me want to pull out my hair. Walking Judge was a no brainer, but you let him hit and you see what happened.

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  7. It’s clear that Castro has to go. But finding a hitting catcher willing to split time with Maldy is one issue. Second is getting that catcher up to speed with our pitchers. Korey Lee can catch. He can throw. Chances are he’ll hit more than .095 with a .190 OPS. He’s terrible against lefties but actually is pretty good against righties. Bring him up now to learn the staff. Give him as many starts as is prudent.

    How much do we give up defensively with Josh Bell? Get the outfield bat. Get the lefty arm. I suppose we can justify splitting a June series in New York. But I’m sure the Yankees are already trying to figure out how the beat the Astros in October. We’re not good enough yet either. We can’t give games back come fall.

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    • Dave, I don’t think a good hitting catcher is going to mind coming to a team which has gone to the ALCS five years in a row. I don’t think he is going to mind coming to a team that is in first place in their division and has been to the WS in three of the last five WS. I don’t think he will mind joining a team with the #1 rated defense in MLB. And I don’t think he will mind being on a team with JV and Jose Altuve, two of the most respected players in MLB.
      I also don’t think he will mind picking Machete’s storehouse of knowledge, or a team with potentially seven starting pitchers.

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      • We both agree that Castro needs to go. We know we need a stronger line up. I think we agree that we need an outfield bat or a first base bat. And we need the lefty in the pen. I don’t have the solutions. But it’s time for Click to put us in a position to go deep into the post season.

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  8. In the 1st game, which we lost 7-6, the last runs we scored were in the 3rd inning. Not a single run in innings 4 through 9. We let the Yanks stay in the game til they finally lucked into a reliever who just could not throw strikes.

    In the last game, which we lost 6-3, the last runs we scored were in the 4th inning. Not a single run in innings 5 through 9. We let the Yanks stay in the game til they started an inning with a dude on 2nd.

    No runs at all in the late innings. This has been a pattern for us all year.
    We just don’t hit in the late innings. If we somehow squeak out an infield or bloop single, or take a BB, we almost never capitalize. We get a lead early, but we give it up late.

    I asked my friend Rocky what the cause of this might be. He said our guys were plenty talented – but other than Yordan Alvarez, they just don’t have the ‘eye of the Tiger’.

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    • Some numbers to back you up there OP…
      – The Astros are 14th out of 15 teams in the AL in scoring runs from the 7th inning on with 77 runs (Yanks are tops with 129 runs)
      – Their slash from 7th inning on is .219 BA (12th)/ .301 OBP (13th)/ .678 OPS (T 9th)
      – For the whole game they are 6th in runs scored – 8th in BA/ 6th in OBP/ 4th in OPS
      – They are basically a top 4 offense in the AL in innings 1-6, but suck when it counts the most

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  9. By the middle of July 90% of MLB teams will know if they are in the chase or out of the chase. Those who face the music will start the “Deadline Trade Dance” with the teams who need that piece or two to get what they want.
    Middle of the Month. There’s no need to piddle around. A guy who is hitting .220 in AAA is not somebody who is going to hit in major league playoffs.
    If you are looking for batters to fill out the bottom of the lineup you go get MLB hitters or just continue go with the rally killers who have consistently killed your rallies all year.

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  10. Thinking about the Astros lack of oomph late in the games, the thing that stands out in my mind is that the opponents can slow us down a lot with top relief pitching matchups. If Michael Brantley is coming up they can neutralize him with a lefty. He is bad against lefties and if Alvarez and Tucker come up they are OK against lefties but not great. If it is after Tucker, they can bring in a slider heavy right hander and slow down guys who are right handed and already struggling (Yuli, CF, Maldy) or righties who are good but not as good against rightys – Pena and Altuve.

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  11. I was running errands yesterday afternoon and listening to the game on the radio. Robert Ford and Steve Sparks were talking about after Brantley’s third at bat (2Ks and a weak pop up to third) that they could not remember him looking so uncomfortable in three at bats. They were kind of writing it off to facing the tough lefty Cortes, but then he got pulled for Matijevic late in the game. And we find out that he had true discomfort – in his right shoulder. So – will Chas be returning?

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  12. I find this stat amazing and even almost unbelievable.
    The team with the best record in baseball, the biggest reputation in baseball, the most press coverage in baseball and is in the biggest city in the USA is 22nd in average road attendance in MLB!
    https://www.espn.com/mlb/attendance/_/sort/awayAvg
    I consider myself very informed in regards to MLB, but was stunned at this.

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      • That’s what I was thinking and that is really the story here
        Yankees so far
        7 games at Baltimore 18th in home attendance
        3 games at Detroit 19th
        3 games at KC 28th
        6 games at Toronto 10th
        4 Games at CHW 25th
        7 games at TBR 29th
        3 games at Minn 30th

        So only the Blue Jays have even top 1/3 in MLB in home attendance

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      • Ooh I did that wrong – forgot to re-sort for home attendance – still explains it
        Baltimore – 24th
        Detroit – 21st
        KC – 25th
        Toronto – 13th
        CHW – 18th
        TBR – 27th
        Minn – 20th

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  13. If the Yankees drew exactly the average of their opponents on the road – they would average about 19,900, but instead they are averaging 23,900 or 4000 more per game about a 20% increase

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  14. I think another reason why the Yankees have a lower than expected road attendance is because many teams (including the Astros) charge more for tickets when the Yankees come to play.

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  15. Been gone a long time and have had a hard time logging in with Microsoft Edge. How about using some of our pitching depth to pick up some hitting help? Could some of our young pitching pry Cedric Mullins from the Orioles? I’m afraid Yuli is a lost cause and that 2021 was a wonderful but huge fluke. Instead of an outfield or catching bat how about a first base bat?

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    • Good to see you back, Dr. Bill! I reluctantly am beginning to agree with you about our dear friend Yuli. We just saw what a championship level offense looks like in New York – and we have some work to do if we are to beat them when it counts. Our weakest link is at catcher position, of course, but that’s a weak link position just about everywhere. The deficiencies crying out for help are at 3B and 1B. Alex Bregman is under a long-term contract and isn’t going anywhere; Yuli is another story. Considering the quality of our competition, can we afford to let the July trade deadline go with us carrying an aging corner infielder who slashes a pitiful .223/.273/.645 and contributes only 5 HR and 19 RBIs?

      Baseball is a tough game. Eventually, it passes even the best players by

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      • I am seeing really positive signs with Bregman. Last 17 games he is slashing .283 BA/ .419 OBP/ .902 OPS – 3 doubles, 3 HRs, 14 runs scored, 7 RBIS with 12 walks and 9 Ks and a very average .293 Batting average on balls in play. This is a lot closer to the normal Alex.
        On the other hand Yuli has me worried.

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  16. Regarding the supposed starting pitching ‘logjam, it is realistic to expect that Odo and LMJ will both need to be stretched out slowly, and will have some short and possibly ugly games as they are re-acclimating. In that case, we are going to need a quality LONG-LONG reliever option in the pin. For that reason, I suspect/propose we keep Christian Javier ‘in the flex’ of starter/reliever/tandem starter role – i.e. the LONG-LONG guy contingency plan for Odo and LMJ.

    Or does anyone think Hunter Brown is ready for such a prime time role?

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    • I don’t trust either LMJ or Jake O to give us more than 5 IP. Sure, either is capable of the occasional gem, but the former likes to waste too many pitches, walk hitters needlessly, and get emotional on the mound. The latter lives and dies by location. Both will require rehab starts and either get some work in at Sugarland or be left off a postseason roster. Ramping them up to 5 innings seems reasonable as long as they are in games before the end of August.

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    • Mr. Bill, Javier has been invaluable to the pitching staff as the most versatile arm we’ve got. I wouldn’t hesitate to use him as a closer in a pinch. But he might be our second best starter at this point. I’d give the LONG-LONG role to Urquidy. He throws strikes.

      What if Hunter Brown helped us get a guy like Contreras to be our catcher that hits? Do we want a bat behind the plate that much? I’d probably do it, especially if there is an opportunity to sign him for the next four years at a price that does not screw up holding on to Tucker.

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  17. The Royals appear to have started their sell-off – with the trade of Carlos Santana. Anyone in on Andrew Benintendi? Right now he’s slashing .295/.365/.751 with a good number of BBs. He has been hitting very few HRs, but he has also not been striking out much.

    For the bullpen, how about former Astro farmhand, highly-respected Texas Aggie alum, and Houston resident Daniel Mengden [2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in just 4.1 innings with the Royals. Two of those appearances were against the Angels – and in neither did he walk anyone or give up any runs. In both he struck out one in one inning of work; in one case he gave up one hit; in the other the inning was clean. In his first appearance with the Royals this year, in which he pitched 2 innings, he gave up a run to Oakland on four hits; he struck out three.

    Any thoughts?

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    • Benintendi would seem to be a decent OF choice who shouldn’t cost you too much prospect capital since he would only be a rental. He has a decent 1.6 WAR thru 70 games. It would be nice to have someone who is teasing the .300 line in batting instead of the .200 line. His numbers this season are remarkably close to Michael Brantley’s.
      Benintendi – .295BA/.365 OBP/ .751 OPS – 3 HRs / 28 runs / 25 RBIs/ 1 SB
      Brantley – .288 BA/ .370 OBP/.785 OPS – 5 HRs / 28 runs / 26 RBIs/ 1 SB
      This would give you another lefty in the lineup that you could slide towards the end of the lineup to break up the bad rightys down there.

      He is making $8.5 MM – so if you picked him up near the deadline he would cost you about half that.
      Not a bad option.

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    • I’m in favor of trading for Benintendi. That would give us 3 of the top 10 picks from the 2015 draft in our starting lineup. The power is gone from his early years, but he’s still really good defensively and hits well enough to improve our lineup. It would probably be more helpful to get a strong right-handed bat, but that is also market dependent.

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      • Did I mention that Benintendi has only struck out 42 times in 300 plate appearances this year? Or that his OBP is presently .367? He is a skilled, patient hitter that makes pitchers work hard, extending their pitch count for the overall good of the team. The only drawback I see is that he is a left-handed hitter, and we’re pretty loaded with those already. It’s our righties who have been under-performing all year.

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      • There is also the issue that Benintendi is almost exclusively a corner outfielder. He has 545 innings in his career in CF, and half of those pre-2019. We are basically trading for a younger Michael Brantley, that is also a free agent at the end of the year.

        Would your idea be that he takes his (albeit limited) innings in CF, that have been terrible in range numbers, to the expansive MMP CF? Or that Tucker would permanently shift over?

        First one to admit there is no perfect answer. Maybe we deal with someone that makes the routine plays as long as he hits. Bryan Reynolds is the answer, if the Astros are willing to part with real talent.

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      • I like Bryan Reynolds, but his BA this year is only .250 [less than Jake Meyers’ 2021 BA, and .44 points less than 2022 Benintendi] and his OBP this year is only .322 [almost what Meyers put up last year, and .45 points less than 2022 Benintendi]. He also strikes out a LOT more than Benintendi, though a little less than Meyers did last year in his rookie season). My thought on Benintendi’s use would be that he plays some in left when (as now) Brantley’s old bones and joints are aching, some in right when Tucker needs a break (and you know how Dusty is about giving even young studs a break), and doing some DH-ing when Yordan is playing in the field. He also gives us a solid option off the bench to hit for Maldonado (no mas of Jason Castro PH-ing for Maldy late in the game, please!). As far as CF, we have [a] Meyers; [b] Dubon; and [c] Tucker sliding over from RF.

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      • With you there, Benintendi is 100% a better stick. He is very much the kind of hitter that the Astros like (as well as us). Reynolds seems more like Mike Cameron, he can get around out there, has some speed, good arm, but in the box his results are always going to be a bit of power mixed with a bit of good and bit of bad. I just wonder where else can we go find a CFer with a bit of permanency.

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  18. Looking at Baltimore, anybody want to take another chance on lefty former ‘Stro Cionel Perez? In 23 relief innings, he’s got a 1.17 ERA and a 1.333 GO/AO ratio, but alas, he’s walked 11, causing him to have a 1.48 WHIP. Can the walk ratio be fixed?

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    • Cionel always amazed me when he and Framber came up. Both had devastating slider/curves and both had control issues. Framber has solved most of his. Cionel still has the problem. I don’t think we need another reliever that can’t consistently throw strikes.

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      • I’ll stay with Pena. Correa was just talking about settling in Minneapolis a month ago, said his wife loved it there. He just wants to hear himself talk. Now he’s decided to leave. So he gave the Twins one season and demanded a three year commitment. Didn’t even bother to wait until the end of the season to announce his departure. Great teammate! Yeah, he’s playing excellent ball right now, but Pena has still put up more WAR. We’ll be spending that Carlos money on guys that want to play for the Astros. And we’ve already got a shortstop.

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      • Daveb – did Carlos officially announce that he was going to opt out at the end of the year? That sounds a little silly at this point. If he went down with a season ending injury tomorrow – he would certainly not be getting the huge – long contract he wants and would likely need to stay with the Twins if he wanted the big short term salary.

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  19. My buddy at work – Justin – texted me after reading this post and was bringing up an idea that has bounced around here for awhile – moving Lance McCullers to closer due to his injury history.
    Pros
    – A lot less innings on his arm – a lot less breaking balls with that arm
    – Pressly has not been exactly lights out this season
    – Has that fiery temperament that sometimes suits itself better to closing
    Cons
    – They gave him that big long term contract
    – He may not want to do it
    – Can he bounce back and pitch two days in a row or 3 out of 4 days
    – Will he be prone to melt downs with his fiery temperament

    What do y’all think

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    • The thought has crossed my mind. If he’s not able to give starter type innings, then a late inning guy makes good sense. In 2017 he flummoxed the Dodgers with nothing but curve balls for three innings. Assuming everyone stays healthy, we’ll see a lot of different usage. But Odorizzi would probably sit again.

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    • Interesting take on LMJ. However since Pressley is signed through 2025 for 14MM/yr what do you do with him?
      I guess it’s a good thing to have too many quality pitchers but we have to do something to the bottom of the order.

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    • The McCullers conundrum is complicated. But he has never been, and most likely will never be, a guy who averages even 6 innings per start. Right now his lifetime average is about 5 2/3. He’s usually good for five innings, then … well, not as good. What that means is that if he’s a starter, we need to team him with a tandem starter (like Christian Javier was for Odo at the beginning of this year). That is a ‘no glory’, career dead-end job that not many people will want- maybe a young hot shot who is willing to pay some dues for the good of the team if he knows that, assuming he does a good job in the ‘LONG-LONG’ reliever role, he will be given every chance to advance to the rotation and leave that role to some other young hotshot a year down the road.

      The problems I see with LMJ as a closer are that 1. he walks way too many people, 2. he has a history of totally imploding when things go south, both from an emotional standpoint and from a standpoint of control and command.

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      • Keep in mind, however, that LMJ is nowhere close to being back. He hasn’t even been cleared for a rehab assignment yet – and here we are in July. His presence is not imminent, and there is no guarantee that he will even make it back to the major leagues this year. Trade deadline decisions have to be made under the assumption he returns in 2023 at the earliest.

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      • The conundrum of a curveball pitcher. Batters work the count, specifically on days he isn’t on and hitting every spot.

        17 mil a year is a bit for a closer, especially when you have one at 14. In addition, relief pitchers face a different kind of strain on their arms, and I am not convinced that it would assist in keeping him healthy.

        He has performed well in recent years the first time through an order, and his stats have been better in high leverage at bats through his career, so one could argue he has the make up for a good closer. Who knows what changing his pitch sequencing/selection would do to his overall stat lines though. I assume, like most relievers, he would key on 2 specific pitches and use them to offset each other when he doesn’t have to worry about seeing a guy more than once or twice in a series.

        None of us have a vote, but if we did, I would vote to leave him in the rotation understanding that as long as he holds one of those 5 spots, we have to address depth a little more.

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      • And he did throw to actual hitters this weekend, I would guess he will start rehab assignments by 15 July though that is not announced. I think he is back in the majors by 15 August, but that doesn’t mean he starts any games in the playoffs. Given their investment I would guess he will be in the pen for the playoffs.

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    • Enoli has great stuff. He can strike people out, and is extremely hard to square up. But he also has ARD -i.e. Astro-Reliever Disease. He only throws a strike 59% of the time, resulting in him walking 16 in only 29 innings. No matter what we do, we just can’t seem to train up relievers-who-can-actually-throw-strikes.

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  20. I just wanted to throw in Chas Mc and even Siri demotions. I think that is best for them and also the club for the rest of this year. Apparently the Astros are going to keep Aledmys and Duhon for the rest of the year. Yordan needs to play some LF. Meyers apparently has CF to lose and Tucker in right. I had rather the two above have playing time in the minors than sitting in the majors.

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    • As I said a day or two ago, Jake might end up providing similar offensive numbers to Benitendi. I would not mind a big acquisition though, maybe in rightfield, moving Tucker to center.

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    • Neither. Benitendi is a rental and not a guaranteed big bat. We don’t want that! If we are going to sacrifice future players, we need to do it for a star.

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      • I am not one, but if one is to complain about Brantley’s bat, Benintendi is slightly less of a bat.

        Also when comparing his stats over time, his closest match per Baseball Reference is none other than Dusty Baker.

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    • I would definitely be willing to include Chaz in a trade for Benintendi. Chaz is a credible back-up/reserve outfielder, but he is obviously going nowhere in this organization. Neither Dusty Baker nor the F.O. seem to have any faith in him. He has had some chances to showcase his skills to them, and unfortunately he has failed to do so. Keeping him in this organization under these circumstances is neither in his best interest or in ours. Free Chaz McCormick.

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  21. Another great Framber outing tonight. Bats are coming alive and it looks like Yuli and Bregman may be finding their stroke again. Tucker is being Tucker with his 3 run bomb and Yordan is just unreal. Jake had a couple of hits but looked bad on a couple of K’s. Maldy did his Maldy thing as did Chaz. Now Dusty needs to rest his hottest hitters (NOT) so we’ll be ready for the Stankees on Thursday.

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  22. Some thoughts:
    -Angels reliever Archie Bradley appears to be lost for the season with a fractured elbow suffered during the big brawl. Ridiculous.
    – Colin Moran out of a job.
    -It appears Freddie Freeman has fired Casey Close for the handling of his free agency. No love here at all for Casey Close!
    – Jeremy Pena’s play tonight as the Astros SS was remarkable.
    – Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez are playing fantastic baseball.
    -Mets fans were absolutely stunned by what they saw tonight.

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  23. Forrest Whitley’s second rehab start for Fayetteville was tonight:
    3 innings, no hits, walks or runs. 5 Ks, 37 pitches, 24 strikes, 1 groundout, 3 flyouts. Faced 9 batters.

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  24. What I see when I look at Chas, is a guy that debuted at 26 that is the exact same piddly hitter all the fantasy baseball projection sites told you he would be. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Same with Siri.

    That said, they aren’t going to all be All-Stars. Someone has to fill the 24th spot, and someone has to be at AAA providing depth in case of injury. This is where the McCormicks and Siris of the world belong – which is exactly what they have done for us until Meyers returned, and now Chas will come back and do that until Brantley returns. All I ask from the 24th spot is give me something. Something you are good at that a manager can try and put you in that spot to succeed.

    Think of the OG Jake. He could flat out play CF, arguably the best defensive CF in the league. He is a .230 hitter, at best, but he could run into a mistake pitch and park in the boxes. He was a great baserunner. You just couldn’t give him 600 plate appearances or he would bog down that part of the order. The test is can you figure out how to get 700 innings in CF from him, knowing that defensively he can make a play that can change a game, while limiting the times he bats. This is where a guy like Luhnow or Hinch got it, where current management lacks. Eventually arbitration and such prices limited talents out of town, but you get what you can out of them while you have them. Then some “smart” guy goes and gets them and thinks we just didn’t give them the opportunity, they give them 600 plate appearances, and bam, they promptly prove they are who they are.

    Now in Bakers defense, McCormick and Siri were the hands he was dealt, and they are pretty much the same guy. Siri might be slightly better defensively, McCormick might hit just a tad better, both have mistake pitch power, but they aren’t terribly different, he couldn’t play their strengths and sit their weakness, he just had to write a name in and hope today would be a good day for one.

    I would agree with Bill, Benintendi changes the formula, gives Baker more tools to work with. The question is what do you have to give up? We have the cap space to take him on, and it would show the rest of the roster you are serious about giving them the tools, but what is the price? We don’t have much attractive at AA or AAA, and would you dip into the well of pitching depth – the Royals are not taking on Odorizzi to dump Benintendi. It would be someone like Urquidy, and thats too much for a half year rental that isn’t going to make a HUGE impact.

    Also Benintendi bats from a side that doesn’t fit the lineup everyday. The problem is the other side. So much more pressure to Gurriel and Bregman to earn their salaries.

    It’s not a perfect fit, but he is available, and if the Astros pay the price, he will be value added.

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  25. Hopefully Yuli and Jake – whose bats we really need to come alive, and both of which had rare two-hit games yesterday – can build some momentum today. Taijuan Walker will probably not make it easy on them, so this will be a good test of whether they have really turned a corner or just got lucky.

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  26. Jason Castro is catching today. He is presently striking out in over 52% of his at bats. He’s grounded into 6 DPs. His BA is .095 and his OBP is .190. He’s committed 3 errors, 1 passed ball, and has given up 12 SBs and only caught 4 attempted base stealers in the 29 games in which he has appeared (in some of which he was just a pinch hitter). Could Yanier Diaz or Korey Lee – or OP1 for that matter- possibly be worse than that?

    Like

    • Part of me says, its just 84 PAs. The other part says he is 35 with some mileage on those knees and some injury history. There is a point where people are just done.

      Lee – I think the Astros want him going every day. I suppose if you call him up you could literally split the time more, assign certain pitchers to each one, but he may not get the playing time you hope for.

      Diaz is a guy I am more willing to give a shot too, he is likely at best a career back up guy anyway.

      One catcher is hitting .095. The other is hitting .144. The Astros are still winning a lot of games in spite of it. I am not sure they want to upset the apple cart that their pitching staff is right now by introducing a new catcher that would probably start catching more than the other two.

      I would agree with you, its unacceptable. I would make the change. I just don’t think the Astros will. I think they think the catcher has some ownership in the results so far from the staff, and as hit and miss as the offense has been the staff has carried us to 19 games over .500 in less than half a season. Lots of teams would love to be in a spot where their worse starter is 6-3 with a just above 4 ERA.

      I am also positive OP would provide more offense and better defense than Castro so far.

      Like

      • Steven, I would love to take a long drive in the country with Justin Verlander. One of the main things I would want to ask JV is how he, who has been caught by Jason a few times, would feel about letting Jason Castro retire gracefully at the ASB and take on some other, non-player role in the organization. We could call that new job ‘catcher development coordinator’ or some such moniker.

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      • Mr. Bill would that new position consist of Jason showing low-light films of his 2022 and saying “Don’t do this – don’t do that”?
        It is weird that Castro went from being a very clutch hitter the last half of 2021 and into the playoffs and turned into an almost sure out here in 2022. His caught stealing rate is close to league average, but when he misses he misses big (he is no Machete).

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    • Mr Bill, you could have posted something on politics or the Supreme Court and it would not have been so sad to read. I think Jason Castro is a fine family man. But he is no longer a major league catcher. In the past, we would at least give Stubbs a chance. Not sure why Click and Baker keep putting him out there. He is “sunk cost.”

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      • Jason was an Astro when being an Astro wasn’t cool [well, I guess being an Astro still isn’t all that cool, especially if you ask the folks in the cheap seats in places like NY, LA, and Oakland!]. And he’s just a back-up catcher now, making spot appearances to give Machete’ a much-needed break, so if everybody else was doing their job offensively [esp. Gurriel, Bregman, and whoever we put in CF], we could live with and overlook his rapidly-diminishing skills. Unfortunately, he’s not just a black hole in the line-up – he’s just by far the worst of several black holes.

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  27. As I said earlier, no YA in the line up. I’ve had enough of this BS. I respect Dusty but this is ridiculous. He does this all the time. A player is hot, gets hot, or is heating up and what does he do? Sits them. 🤬🤮

    Like

  28. How about we trade our top 10 prospects to the Angels for Mike Trout?
    A deal I would make in a second because we would still have all our present players and Yainer Diaz and Enmanuel Valdez, too.

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  29. Why is Castro hitting and why is he hitting ahead of Meyers? I’m at work – so I can just “watch” progress on the computer. Verlander woking his a$$ off as usual and not getting support as usual. 7th inning – two outs – runners on 1st and 3rd and Castro up instead of Meyers.
    Castro again is hitting .000 for the year with runners in scoring position. After a rare single earlier in the game his is hitting .105 overall. And he has 1 RBI on a sac fly in 74 at bats. Wanna bet on what happened next?

    Like

    • What were the odds that Castro hits a 9th inning home run to win it? JV was great, again. I’ll have my crow sauteed in a a basil cream sauce please. A really good road trip. Hopefully Yordan and Pena will be OK.

      Like

  30. Hmmm, Verlander is looking over at Framber like, this is still my rodeo kid, like I told the last one, don’t be trying to compete for my awards.

    Like

    • Worse things could happen than Reynolds patrolling our CF for the next 5 years….

      Send the Pirates Urquidy, Whitley, and Perez contingent on a 3 year, 60 mil extension, and let Mike Cameron, er, Bryan Reynolds, bat 7th and patrol CF for the next 5. He solves CF, he solves lefty relievers killing us, and at 27 there is a chance he gets better.

      I know its not happening, but a guy can daydream?

      Like

  31. Well, it’s fair to say Castro was overdue. We’ve pretty much rubbed the Mets noses in it over the past week. Be nice to see one more nose rub tomorrow. I sure hope our guys were just shaken up and don’t have concussions.

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  32. So, what do you guys, I mean, persons think?
    * Will Verlander be able to come back from his surgery?
    * Will the Astros young pitchers be any good without Strom?
    * If Pena and Alvarez ever collide, who will bounce farther?
    * Will the Astros ever get back to the WS without Springer?
    * How may more Cy Youngs for Dallas K?
    * Will Gerrit Cole no-hit the Astros and Javier?
    * Will Kyle Tucker turn out as good as his brother?
    * What are the chances Castro hits a homer with two out in the ninth to win a game?
    * How will the Astros ever replace Roberto Osuna?
    * Will anyone ever cheer in Citi Field again?
    * Do the Rangers need a third very expensive SS?
    * Will Mike Trout hire a personal pitching coach for the team?
    * Was Joe Maddon the problem, or not?
    So much time. Not enough questions.

    Like

    • On Verlander … what – he had surgery?
      On Strom – that’s what I do on my guitar.
      On Pena and Alvarez – unstoppable force meets immovable object.
      On Springer – Sure, but it won’t be [wasn’t in 2021] nearly as much fun.
      On Keuchel – what, is there a new beer on tap in Arizona called ‘Cy Young’?
      On Cole – up the down staircase; watch out for catch 22
      On the Tucker brothers – as good at checkers?
      On Castro-Nomical (Astro-Comical?) odds – they don’t measure odds that high
      On Osuna – no, but Pressly’s not a bad next man up
      On Citi Field – Nah … Mighty Casey did the thing
      On the Rangers – As Lauper never said: Money changes … not much of anything
      On Trout – he’s heavenly; but the guys he plays with are no angels
      On Madden – I think Dave was the problem
      On Time … I’m out of it now

      Like

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