The writer of these posts is definitely a normal human being with a normal human being’s level of ego (or more). I believe my thoughts about the Astros are as critical or more than anyone else. Just ask me.
So, what am I thinking about today after the Astros followed up brilliant play for the first five games after the All Star break with another stinker against the Oakland A’s?
- You could see this coming. The Astros geared up to take care of business against the Yankees, who had the best record in baseball, and the Mariners, who were flying high with a 14-game winning streak. Those five games were before amped up crowds of an average of 40,000 per game. They then go to the funereal depths of Oakland Coliseum with an announced crowd of 4,105 (with 3000 of them disguised as empty seats) and play with the urgency of a team on vacation. Hopefully, they will jack things up in the next few games.
- Fifth wheel (sixth or seventh wheel?) Jake Odorizzi continues to separate himself from the rest of the pitching rotation, not in a good way. On Monday night, he pushed hard to stay on the mound while fidgeting around with a blister between every pitch and getting knocked all over the place in a 7-5 loss to the A’s. I’m not sure why everyone at home could tell he was uncomfortable and not pitching effectively while the coaching staff let him pitch the team into a 6-0 hole before finally pulling him. This came on top of a fairly effective outing where he derailed himself with a terrible fielding play that ended up with a bit of a meltdown. They can’t trade him after his blister problem, but can they afford to use him in games that matter down the stretch or in the playoffs?
- The hardest part of predicting the Astros’ potential moves heading into the trading deadline …..
…..revolve around what the Front Office knows about the various injured players. If Michael Brantley is coming back soon and fully recovered, that affects how they will rotate players through the outfield spot and DH spot, which affects the log jam that might occur with a Josh Bell trade. Will Yordan Alvarez be dealing with this hand issue the rest of the season? Should he be spending more time at DH? Is Lance McCullers Jr. going to return as a starter, or will they put him in a Cristian Javier 2021 role? Is Jason Castro through? If so, does that change what they do to fill the “other” catcher spot?
- As a friend of the blog, Dave B (Uncleknuckle) pointed out in the last post set of comments – Chas McCormick has been hitting much better the last month with more consistent playing time. Glad to see Jose Siri not taking those at bats. The same thing has happened with Aledmys Diaz, who is hitting near .300 in July with an OPS over .900. Now, when/if Brantley returns, the question will be how that will affect the beneficiaries of his absence (along with the absence of Yordan Alvarez).
- Another blog friend, Steven, has been emphasizing some critical points relative to the trade deadline. If the Astros are picking up a two-month rental, they don’t need to risk the whole career of a Hunter Brown or Joe Perez, for instance. Now, if they have a well-thought-of prospect who is blocked or doesn’t intend to use a 40-man roster spot-on, that might be someone they want to risk. This is a touchy issue. Can a Josh Bell or Willson Contreras make enough of a difference to justify giving up some good prospects for them for only two months plus the playoffs? Well, if the one or two games they help you win put the team in the World Series or beyond, the answer might be yes. Of course, a trade deadline trade makes no difference or worse. It’s the kind of decision that forces James Click to earn his salary.
- The latest Jeremy Pena / Carlos Correa comparison chart….
- Correa – .280 BA/ .351 OBP/ .807 OPS with 41 runs / 12 hrs/ 34 RBIs ~ $35 MM per year
- Pena – .265 BA/ .310 OBP/ .777 OPS with 42 runs / 15 HRs / 37 RBIs – $700 K per year
- Pretty darned even, Correa with a slight edge on his slash numbers, but not a $34 MM+ difference
- Kyle Tucker has been slumping in July. A part of me wants to blame it on the fact that there is rarely a reason to throw him hittable stuff with Yuli Gurriel hitting behind him. Of course, that is no different than what happened in June when he was hitting so well with the aforementioned Gurriel hitting behind him. Maybe it is just a regular baseball slump, and he will get it rolling again soon. Perhaps he needs batting gloves. Maybe batting gloves don’t matter if you are swinging at the wrong pitches and trying to pull too many of them.
What thoughts do you have here as the season rolls to the end of its fourth month?