10 Questions for our blogging friends

You are a very smart, thoughtful, and at times cynical and feisty audience. Today we will ask you to answer ten intelligent and thoughtful Astros’ questions created by your wise and kind host.

  1. If you had a choice between the Astros failing in the first round and letting Dusty Baker go or another run to but not winning the World Series and having him return – which would you choose and why?
  2. As good friend of the blog, Mr. Bill asked, when Lance McCullers returns to the roster, who goes down? Seth Martinez? Bryan Abreu (not sure if he has options)? An everyday player like Mauricio Dubon?
  3. Let’s say McCullers returns to a six-man rotation and is good – ERA below 3.5 and going decently deep into games; which two of the other five starters is dropped from the starting rotation for the playoffs? Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy or Justin Verlander? OK – just checking who is awake as Verlander and Framber Valdez are the two sure things.
  4. Heading into September, the rosters expand from 26 to 28 players. Which two prospects are likely to be brought up for the Astros? Possibilities include P Hunter Brown, P Peter Solomon, P Brandon Bielak, C Korey Lee, INF Taylor Jones, and INF J.J. Matijevic. Note that Brown is the only one not on the current 40-man, but he is unsure whether he can be called up without being put on it.
  5. Let’s say Michael Brantley’s shoulder miraculously heals, and he returns to taking regular ABs in the lineup. Who should he take the most ABs from (directly or indirectly)? Aledmys Diaz? Yordan Alvarez? Chas McCormick? Jake Meyers?
  6. It is a tight playoff game in the seventh or eighth inning, and the opponent loads the bases with nobody out. Who do you bring in? Ryan Pressly? Ryne Stanek? Hector Neris? Rafael Montero?
  7. The Yanks and Astros would have byes to the second round if the playoffs started today. The Guardindians or Twins would be central champs (they are tied but trailing the Wild Card) and Blue Jays, Rays and Mariners would be Wild Card teams. This could change as the loser in the central is only 1 game out of the Wild Card, and the White Sox and Orioles are close behind. But of the teams playing in the Wild Card round – who would you fear as a matchup for the Astros, and is there any team you would yell out – c’mon down?
  8. Similar to 2019, it is late in the season, and Verlander has a no-hitter through seven innings, but he is already at 100+ pitches (let’s say 105). Would you send him out to finish the game, or would you pull him, or would you see how the eighth goes and decide on the ninth? If you pull him, who would you have tell him that news, and where would you be standing?
  9. It’s the World Series and the bottom of the ninth of a tied home game at Minute Maid. There is a runner at third base with one out. Which Astro do you want to be at bat to walk it off? Would your choice change if there were two outs? Would it change if it was one out, but the Astros were down a run?
  10. Of the three pickups at the trade deadline, Trey Mancini, Christian Vazquez, and Will Smith, which one will bring the team the most value down the stretch and through the playoffs?

There you go,….plenty to chew on there.



81 comments on “10 Questions for our blogging friends

    • That is because:
      – I know y’all can handle it
      – There are no correct answers
      – Y’all are difficult people so you deserve difficult questions
      – Everyone will forget what everyone answered by Friday
      – If I came up with these how hard can they be

      Thanks for the compliment, OP

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Number 1. I say go to the WS and bring him back because he has done a better job with this team than with his previous two Astros teams. Lots of injuries and still tied with NYY for the best record in the AL and have the tiebreaker.


  2. Regarding #10: “Which deadline pickup will bring the Astros the most value?”

    I vote for Mancini, because I’ve not been impressed with either Will Smith [why did he slap Chris Rock anyway?] or the Red Sox catcher who can’t wait to leave us. I still would rather have a healthy Brantley and a hot Gurriel -but we have neither, so Mancini – and strikeouts galore in between booming home runs -it is.


  3. 1. Above all, I don’t want an early exit. I don’t think any team has ever been to six consecutive ALCS.

    2. I live in the SF Bay Area so I follow the Giants a bit. This is something I haven’t been able to find an answer for: Dubon was out of options. If the Giants didn’t trade him, he would’ve had to clear waivers. Now that he’s traded to the Astros, I assume he’s still out of options, right?

    3. Too much season left to guess where everyone winds up in the pecking order. If I had to say now, I’d say Garcia and Javier go into the bullpen.

    4. Barring any position player injuries, Solomon and Bielak.

    5. It should be Jake and Chas, but that’s not going to happen because one of them has to play center. Didn’t Tucker play center field a few times in the past?

    6. I’m shocked at this, but Abreu has the highest K/9 rate at 13.5. Since I put Javier in the bullpen, can I chose him?

    7. The winner of the central will probably be the weakest team in the playoffs. I mostly fear the Jays, Rays, and Yanks.

    8. I’d leave it up to Verlander.

    9. Altuve, Altuve, Altuve.

    10. Looks like Mancini so far. I remember Will Smith when he was with the Giants. He’s a team first guy. He’ll help. Vazquez job is to keep Moldanado fresh for the playoffs and pinch hit late in the game. I think he’s going to play way more than Castro or Lee did.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Before I comment on the questions at hand, both of our deadline offensive acquisitions are sharing the bench tonight. We’re blessed to have Frenchie Dubon back where he thrives in centerfield. I’ll be honest, Mr. Happy will be extra happy when Dusty heads back out to the farm, once and for all. I really wonder if our manager actually wants the guys that James Click went out and got.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Regarding Q #9 – Who do I want up when we need a run late …

    If his hand is healed, I want Yordan Alvarez up. If not, I want Tucker at the plate. If the opposing pitcher is a tough lefty, I want Altuve or Diaz.

    An easier question would be who we DON”T want up in that situation.


  6. I’m just now reading question #1 after my 3:06 PM comment regarding Mr. Baker. Indeed, tough questions.

    1. We’ve gone deep and won everything but a World Series since 2017. But it’s a hollow feeling. For that reason, I’ll take the opening round loss if that’s what it took to send our manager into retirement. Even as we continue to win in 2022 my thoughts on Dusty have evolved. I hate to use the term “playing favorites”, but heck, I don’t have another explanation at this point.

    2. I think a pitcher goes down and it might be Abreu because Martinez can throw more innings if Lance gets beat up early. And Abreu continues to be used sparingly regardless. But if he’s out of options, I’d be shocked if they let him go.

    3. I think Javier because he can come out of the pen and go 5 innings or strike out the side for a save. Got to wait to see what Garcia and Urquidy do over the next two months.

    4. Do we need more position players? I’d hope Brown gets a look. And another starter, to help keep the innings count down on a guy like Garcia.

    5. This is the easy question. I don’t know WHO Brantley should take at bats from, but Chas will lose the most at bats while Meyers continues to play center more than anyone else.


  7. McCullers is to now officially slated to start for the Astros Saturday night against Oakland. Someone does indeed have to go. Frenchy Dubon is JV’s personal centerfielder, and we need all our pitchers, so I would say Jake Meyers has three games to start turning it around, or he may be the odd man out.


  8. 6. Heck, who’s ready in the 7th? I guess right now my guy is Montero. But our secret weapon, Abreu, is a 13.5 per nine guy. Course he might walk the run in, but nobody in our pen strikes guys out at that rate.

    7. The Rays always make me feel antsy, but if the Jays get hot with the bats, both clubs can be tough match ups. You know that one of these years we’re not going to get the the ALCS.

    8. Pull him after 6. Honestly though, Verlander is the one guy that might get to decide what happens in that situation at this point in his career.

    9. You did not say if a lefty or righty is on the mound! But our best hitter right now is Yordan Alvarez. Our second best hitter is Jose Altuve. One or two outs, regardless of the situation, those are my guys.

    10. This is the toughest question of the whole batch, because so far anyway, the manager is not allowing Vasquez and Mancini to have a significant impact. An injury to Maldy or Yuli would change things, but I don’t want that to happen. I’ll say this though. I think Vasquez is a significantly better catcher in most (I have not seen him throw) facets of the game.

    Dandy questions Dan!


  9. Some of these are funny – because there is going to be a difference of opinion about what I would like Dusty to do and what I think Dusty will do –

    1. Farther the better. WS. I don’t mind Dusty, quirky in his lineups sometimes, but in the end its up to the dudes with their names in the lineup card or on the bump.

    2. I would option Martinez – Abreu hits triple digits at times, and that can be an important out or 2 in a playoff scenario, but then again, its the Astros. They probably send down Martinez.

    3. I would go with JV-Framber-LMJ-CJ. I expect the Astros to use CJ out of the pen and put Garcia in there. In the end the Astros will be able to avoid the dreaded game 4 bullpen game that we have seen in the past, lets hope the opponents can’t.

    4. Solomon and Bielak – start pulling innings from the rotation for a playoff run.

    5. If Brantley is there I’m unconventional – I’m going Brantley in RF, Tucker in CF and Mancini in LF with Yordan at DH. I would give Gurriel the at bats over Chas, Meyers or Diaz. Interesting though that the Astros have not penciled Mancini into the OF yet. Baltimore had used him only 13 times this year in the OF. In my WWDD (what will Dusty do) I’ll say he puts Meyers in CF and Brantley back in LF – and Mancini gets 3/4ths of the starts at 1B in the playoffs, and its Gurriel and Chas that are relegated to spot time and pinch hitting.

    6. Stanek – with no outs and men in scoring position the strikeout is your biggest weapon. Of course, the walk is also your worst enemy but in that spot you got to roll the dice.

    7. C’mon down Twinkies. They are not built for the playoffs, and never succeed there, and being the team that sent home the big money man at SS would delight me. Stay away from the Jays, they can hit anyone, and the Rays, because they always perform.

    8. I’m letting him decide. He has been at this long enough, he gets it, and no one knows him better than him.

    9. Brantley if he is healthy. Best chance to put the ball in play. Yordan if there is two outs, will put the most EV on it to give it the best chance of landing somewhere.

    10. Vazquez would if Dusty would play him more, but Maldy is his guy. Smith will probably get some high leverage spots in the playoffs, not sure how it will go, but he will probably be sent out there. Mancini will play more than Vazquez, but still not enough for my liking.

    My question back at you Dan – do you think Click and Dusty are on the same page when it comes to Mancini and Vazquez? Do you think Click intended for Dusty to only play Mancini half the time and Vazquez a third? If so, Valdez seems to me an expensive price for that.


    • That’s a good question back to me Steven. In my mind I have to believe they are on the same page or close to the same page.
      But I look at this a little differently – I’m not thinking that Vazquez is necessarily here to take ABs from Maldy or Mancini taking them from Yuli. I think they see Vazquez taking at bats from Castro and Lee and Mancini taking ABs from Matijevic and Dubon (I hope) and more importantly if someone goes down they have a very good sub ready to go.
      Not sure if they are truly aligned but my hopeful side is leaning towards it

      Liked by 1 person

  10. With the firing of Al Avila I’m pretty sure Hinch will get canned by the new GM.
    Since this blog is all about questions, my answer to the obvious question is: not only no, but hell no!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jed Lowrie, lifetime .257 hitter who made over $60 million and cost his teams another $60 million in medical bills. He will probably get injured at his retirement party.


  12. McCullers threw a bullpen today and I would bet he threw much harder in front of the brass than he did the other night in Sugarland.
    Anyway, he is scheduled to start Saturday and I don’t know who gets demoted, but Niko Goodrum is a candidate to be DFA’d and maybe Seth Martinez optioned back to Sugarland.


  13. 1. Win the World Series and let Dusty retire.
    2. Abreu, Martinez, Maton & Stanek all have options. I would send down Maton.
    3. I think it would be Garcia and Javier. But depending on how Will Smith does the rest of the year, I might use Urquidy as the lefty specialist (his splits are better against LHB than RHB).
    4. Solomon & Bielak will eat up innings and give our regulars some rest.
    5. It should be Meyers, but it will probably be Chas.
    6. Earlier in the year I would have said Stanek, but he seems to have regressed so now I would say Montero.
    7. Not afraid of anyone. Bring ‘em all down!
    8. If it’s in the World Series leave him in; if not take him out.
    9. Altuve, but wouldn’t the opposing team just walk him?
    10. Tristill Manvazquith, because all three of them will be valuable.


    • It’s really time to build a line up using our best resources. Yuli has had 110 plus games to figure things out. Pena really needs a reset. Dubon was released by a mediocre Giant team. He won’t help in Houston. Jake has shown no indication that he’ll be hitting. It’s time to make adjustments and gear up for the stretch run. It’s tough to watch Verlander and others work so hard while the offense fails to take advantage of so many opportunities.


  14. 1- 10 RISP says it all. Many chances to win the game last night. Time to sit Yuli, he’s killing us. Chaz, Jake, Dubon; all are disappointments. When was the last time Yordan played in the outfield? I know there is concern here but he seems to hit better when he plays a position. Is there anybody we can bring up to play CF? And yes, Pena needs a reset too. Flaying away at pitches outside the zone. Opposing pitchers have realized that the way to get most of us out is to nibble at the edges and count on the hitter being over anxious thus swinging at bad pitches. Of course Phil Cuzzi’s K zone was bad last night. We were hosed on several calls.


    • – I would be more critical of the umpire, if most of our problems at the plate were not self inflicted as you pointed out.
      – Yuli is one of our worse hitters right now and we have him taking more ABs than anyone but Altuve. Need to slide him down the lineup and sit him more. – Not sure what to do about Pena, sit him for about 3 days? Make him do 50 pushups every time he goes fishing for a ball 2 feet outside and low?
      – I was frustrated as we sat Diaz and Mancini and then they were brought in to pinch hit (they both did get a hit) and I’m thinking why are they out of the lineup.
      – Tucker is finally hitting again and that is needed so badly
      – Yordan had the one scorcher last night – hope it is a sign that he is about to break out, but he did leave the guy at third with one out that hurt badly
      – AstroNut in his comment up above was pushing for Maton being the one sent down (this was before the game) and that was prescient
      – One thing I did not think about when I was talking about the expanded rosters in September is that they may be calling back up whoever they send down when McCullers is activated
      – We really are spoiled that we can find so much to gripe about with a team that is 10.5 games up in the division and tied for the best record in the AL. Remember back to August 11th, 2013. The Astros were 37-79 and 30 games behind the Texas Rangers. I’m sure if I checked out 2012 and 2011 I would find similar numbers. The Dark Hole of our fan lives…..


      • Dan, It’s like the saying, “Give me a gold brick and I’ll find a crease in it”. We could be 161 and 1 but if the team played terribly we’d complain about the loss. I think most of us get frustrated when we have multiple opportunities to win games but fail to execute. JV was good last night but the Ranger bats were better. Our bull pen was super until Maton in the 10th. When he’s good , he’s pretty good but sometimes he just stinks (like last night). One thing I noticed prior to Tucker’s home run. The attempted push bunt down the 3rd baseline. While it didn’t work the idea was great. When a team gives us an opening big enough to drive 4 semi’s side by side through it we should be doing it. Sometimes you take what is given to you.


      • Relievers like Maton have so little margin for error. If Stanek comes out there and isn’t hitting the spots he wants or makes a mistake and leaves it in a bad spot sometimes the fact that the pitch is a blur to the hitter bails him out. If Maton misses his spot at 93 it has a higher chance of landing somewhere (like maybe the Moon?).

        Dusty has a lot of confidence in Maton. We saw it in the playoffs last year – and to be fair Phil gave us some good playoff bridge innings. He was probably better than Graveman in the playoffs. This year I think Montero and Neris are probably in a better position to get those high leverage 1 inning gigs in front of Stanek and Pressley, but I am sure we will see some of Maton.

        Maton will see some playoff time. Our rotation are guys that either throw a lot of pitches per out or have a penchant for letting something get out of control (think Framber and Garcia in the WS). Our offense is not as good as previous seasons, so Dusty has to be even more on edge.


    • Zanuda, there are plenty of disappointments offensively, but Chas is not one of the main culprits.

      9th in BA
      7th in OPS
      6th in OBP
      7th in runs
      6th in HR’s

      And he’s got the second highest OPS against lefties on the entire team.

      Obviously his stats are not remarkable. But they are remarkable in comparison to Dubon and Meyers. He’s our best opportunity in the 8th or 9th position in the line up, especially since he’s been pretty good about getting on base, having cut way down on his glaring strike out rate and taking more walks.

      If someone can provide expanded stats that help me understand why he sits so much, please do. Maybe it’s about defense. But Chas did put up a 1.2 dWAR last year. This year tells somewhat of a different story. But maybe it’s about regular playing time. He’s certainly got a better arm than the other two guys.


      • Maybe I’m just frustrated that he seems to K a lot. 4 times last night. He strikes out 25% of the time which among active players that have more than 100 PA’s is only surpassed by Maldy and Jake. Maybe if he played everyday he’d get better. And yes he’s better than Dubon or Meyers but it’s like getting your test results back in school. Yes, he flunked the test with a 64 but the other two guys had 59 and 52 respectively. Dubon’s K rate is 8.5% but I don’t want him in there either. This is why I asked if we had any other alternatives in the minors that we could call up. At this point it’s obvious we need to look for an OF who can hit next year. And yes it’s a mystery to us all about the line ups that get put out there. Yuli batting second worked for about a 10 days and then he was right back to his usual lack of hitting. Maybe’s age has caught up with him. They talked about how hot Aledmys has been but he’s not playing everyday. I’d put Diaz in the #2 spot, Tucker #3, Yordan #4, Bregman #5, Mancini/Gurriell #6, McCormick 7, Pena #8, Maldy/Vazquez #9.
        Just saw the lineup for today. I am not impressed. Yordan starts to heat up so he gets the day off. The ‘ol switcheroo with Meyers in CF today and Yuli still batting 2nd.


  15. This may not have much to do with the current blog, but, Mrs. 1op suggested that if smoking accidents are causing airplanes to blow up at 3 different air bases in 3 different countries that maybe we should be donating cartons of cigarettes to one particular country which has bad smoking habits.


  16. No Alvarez in the lineup? I find it amazing at how the club will sit a player for the next game following the same player hitting a homerun. Cool those bats down. Even the Mrs. has noticed this.


  17. Dan P answers Dan P

    1. I like the AstroNut answer of winning the WS and allowing Dusty to retire, but if my choices are the two I wrote – I will pick a return to the WS and a loss there over a first round loss and Dusty is gone.
    2. I get a feeling this will be Abreu – though I think he has pitched pretty well, he doesn’t seem to rise in the pecking order too often
    3. I think Urquidy and Javier head to the bullpen and Garcia stays in the rotation, but ask myself this tomorrow and I may have a completely different answer
    4. I think they will bring back whoever they send down when LMJ is made active and then I would like it to be Hunter Brown, but believe it will Bielak
    5. Brantley comes back and I think it cuts the most into Diaz, the guy who is hitting the best. If I were doing it I would swing things around so it would take ABs away from Meyers by giving some of Chas’s ABs to Diaz and some of Meyers ABs to Chas
    6. Montero – he seems to do the best when brought into tight situations
    7. Bring ’em all on – we are afraid of no team but ourselves
    8. I think you have to let Verlander make the decision himself – he is the guy who knows himself well enough that he got himself in perfect shape for the 2021 season after TJ surgery
    9. I’m going with Yordan on the walkoff scenario – with Altuve as 1A
    10. I think Mancini will get the most chances to help the team so I pick him of the three old newbies


  18. 1. This is a weird question because it sounds like the “good” outcome from either option is Baker not returning. Is that the goal? Losing in the first round or losing in the WS is still losing. Is there anyone here who would argue Houston has ever had a manager better than Baker? My opinion is that Dierker and Hinch largely succeeded by getting out of the players’ way and letting them dictate the outcome of games…but it also cost both of them their jobs. I never liked Garner’s decisions. Who else is there to consider?
    2. Martinez will go down because of options, but he’s been really good when I’ve seen him. The playoff roster decisions will be interesting.
    3. Why would we abandon a six man rotation? Last year we lost to the Braves (my recollection) because we couldn’t hit lefthanded pitching, our top two pitchers missed the series, and our starters couldn’t pitch on short rest. Let’s keep everyone fresh as well as throwing 5 innings so we don’t try starting Framber on short rest and hoping he can get out of the 2nd inning.
    4. I’m hoping for Lee and Jones, but feel like Matijevic has earned himself another shot. With the Mancini pickup I’m not sure he fits though. Why put any mileage on Brown’s arm? He’s not making the postseason roster.
    5. He should take AB away from Diaz…who is the utility guy. Meyers and McCormick should be taking them away from each other. Brantley should rest against LHP.
    6. I like Neris. The game often hinges on a high leverage situation like this. Stanek is likely to walk in runs in this situation. I think Montero in 8th and Pressly in 9th get it done, but bringing them in earlier is less successful – just my gut reaction.
    7. I don’t want to face the Blue Jays. Let someone else send them home.
    8. I walk up to him in the dugout and without referencing the number of hits allowed tell him he’s got the ball and is in control, but we’ll have someone warming up in case he gets men on base.
    9. Tie game with one out I’m picking Bregman. This assumes the bases are loaded as otherwise the opponent will likely load them up. If we’re down a run I probably want Alvarez, but quite frankly think Bregman makes them throw strikes and therefore takes away the effectiveness of sliders/splitters low and away.
    10. I could see any of the three providing some heroics. I think Vasquez will be most valuable during the remaining season while Smith will be most valuable in the playoffs.


    • I spent quite some time this morning trying to decide my answer to question #9, and I came up with Bregman, also. And, that was way before today’s game. He just seems not to get rattled and lately has seemed like his old self.


  19. I am glad Yordan got the day off today. I hope his hand is healing. I hope Jeremy Pena gets the entire A’s series off. He doesn’t even look like the same player that started the season.

    Seth Martinez made a pretty good case today to be the one sent down to make room for Lance McCullers’ activation. But I don’t think he did enough. Our bullpen is so thin on anyone who can pitch more than one inning, he needs to stick – especially since we can expect McCullers to get short stints his first few times out. I still think the one to go will be Jake Meyers.


    • Sorry, Bill. The Astros can’t carry more than 13 pitchers on their active 26-man roster until the Sept, 1 callups. If LMJ is added back to the active roster Saturday, a pitcher has to be sent down.
      Also, the Astros 40-man is full, so somebody will need to come off of that before LMJ can come of the 60-day IL.


  20. Question #3. I think you let management decide who they want to start in the first playoff series and let the other two starters go to the bullpen. With Odorizzi out of the picture it is easier to see all six starters making the playoff squad.


  21. Good game for the guys yesterday. Now let’s go take 3 from the A’s this weekend. Tired of us getting beat by last place team.
    Answers to questions:
    1. Just think it’s time for a new mgr regardless of outcome.
    2. Maton if he has options, otherwise Martinez.
    3. Javier and Urquidy but LMJ has to be as good if not better than them. Here’s a thought. Pitch a 5 or 6 man rotation in the playoffs. Why restrict yourself to just 4 starters?
    4. Probably Bielak and Matejevic.
    5. Meyers
    6. Neris, like Abreu but he’s unpredictable. (After I’ve made critical comments on him).
    7. Playoffs are a whole new ballgame. Kind of like “a box of chocolates”.
    8. JV’s call but sit him if he gives up a hit.
    9. Bregman, Atuve, Brantley (if he’s playing). You want a guy who can put the ball in play.
    10. Mancini, whose already in the lead. We won’t see much of Vazquez and Smith in just a few games.


  22. Quite a bit of discussion floating around presently regarding how Dusty Baker has managed his post deadline roster to date. Si.com, Fan Nation, Even Chron.com and the Crawfish Boxes have chimed in. And who is Sportskeeda? But what I found most interesting was a short clip posted by McTaggart on Twitter yesterday. I can’t quote Dusty, but when asked about using Mancini, he clearly said when Framber is on the mound throwing ground balls, he needs his Gold Glove on first. And when there is a fly ball pitcher on the mound, he can’t have Mancini out in left.

    I’d like to hear what his other thoughts are, such as Vasquez and centerfield. My own belief is that to Dusty, the August 2 acquisitions are more of a burden than a benefit. To revisit a question asked yesterday, are Click and Baker really on the same page?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well daveb that seems to put the lie to my answer to Steven way up above when he asked whether Click and Baker are on the same page. On the plus side the new guys improve our bench quite a bit. But if Baker thinks of Mancini as only an emergency infielder or outfielder he does not have much room for playing as Yordan has to be sucking up the majority of DH ABs to protect him with his health problems.
      All the complaining about Yuli and he pops up with his first 3 hit game in a long time.
      I’m not leading the parade for Dusty to be gone. I wasn’t always thrilled with Hinch’s lineup cards and they won a lot of games under him. And maybe Dusty is doing the right thing in how he is using what players he has been given.
      Again it would be wonderful if they won it all and Dusty could retire on top.

      It is hard to get down too hard on someone who is on pace to win 103 games.


      • I see it a little different. As I see it, Dusty hasn’t won a single game of those (potential) 103. He hasn’t pitched to a single batter; he hasn’t stroked so much as a single; he hasn’t caught either a fly or a grounder. I haven’t even seen him playing pepper with the guys.

        To me, the issue is not how many games the team has won despite Dusty being Dusty; the issue is what our record could have been if he had just followed basic protocols and let the hot hitters hit and the cold/aching players sit.

        I am all for occasional days off for these guys – but as I see it the day off should be a chance of regathering/recalculating after a few down days, not a slap in the face after an up day.


      • Dan,

        But based on what Dusty said yesterday, then he should be able to justify Mancini in left when his ground ball pitcher is on the mound and Mancini at first when his fly ball pitchers are on the mound. There, it’s all settled!


    • Mancini is here to hit situationally. Baker is going to run him out there enough to keep him fresh. It won’t be as many PA as Mancini wants. That’s been the case with a lot of in season acquisitions during Baker’s tenure in every city. I’m sure most of those writers would like to see some discord in the Astros’ clubhouse.


  23. Why is Beating the A’s such a problem for us?

    Coming into this weekend’s series the A’s have been a tough opponent for us.
    Back in May/June we swept the first series with them. Since then, however, our record against the cellar-dwellers is a dismal 3-6. Last time out they got big games from Elvis Andrus, Tony Kemp, Skye Bolt, Steven Piscotti, and Chad Pinder, they swept us away like we were little league.

    To the rest of the league, they are meek as lambs. Their offensive leaders are Sean Murphy and Seth Brown, who are slashing all of .242/.316/.740 and .238/.296/.757 respectively. The guy who has hurt us most – former Astro Tony Kemp – is slashing all of .216/.290/.598. Against us, however, he and fellow-former-Astro Laureano [.225/.304/.707] look like the incredible hulk and green lantern [hey, those two are the only green superheroes I can think of].

    Will we shake off the Kemp curse? Will we overcome the Laureano mojo? Will we survive the Skye Bolt lightning? Will we enforce Ed Sullivan rules on Elvis’ shimmy? Stay tuned – the evil invaders are on the doorstep!

    We’ve clinched the Silver Boot; what about the Green Weenie?


    • I think the A’s formula against us has just been pitching and defense. You hear it during every March Madness, but if you let the underdog keep it close and stick around they only need one or two big plays (hits) to win the game. The Astros need to adjust their approach at the plate to get as many baserunners as possible and not depend on the HR. The more pitches the A’s throw, the more likely we will score and put the game out of reach.


    • Uh we will give Mr. Bill the benefit of the doubt here. I think he is just commenting on the lack of quality of ball park food in Oakland.

      That does bring me to a point I’d like to make. It is a pleasure not having to “correct” folks around here about language or how they treat others. I look at other blogs and I can’t believe how low they can go. Occasionally we have a conflict here, but overall these are thoughtful, quality comments and I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill, I’m relieved. I thought you had gone down into your archives and dragged out the Green Weenie music video.

        You know, one thing. I’m not prepared to condemn Dusty Baker. We could be stuck with a Tony La Russa. I believe that Dusty’s big strength lies in keeping this club on an even keel. I won’t take that for granted. Too many managers screw that part of their job up. I also think details of the game are not our managers strength. Like all of us, I just want to see our best guys on the field. At the same time, I don’t have a problem with most of the rest days. If Dusty gets us through 162 games with the best record in the American League, then he’s managed that part of the game well too. But I hate to see a guys like Vasquez and Mancini wasted. I don’t think it’s fair to either guy. In the case of Vasquez, I wish Click had just found a veteran back up catcher rather than a starter, because Vasquez even as a professional, can’t real happy right now.


    • Or Yordan, to put Mancini at DH. But again, Dusty don’t care. We have a catcher hitting .187. Our 1B is up and down but mostly down. We don’t have an option in LF or CF that he has been playing that can hit. And Vasquez and Mancini do a lot of sitting. Those sites are right, why?


      • Since coming over, Mancini has only not played in one game. He has pinch hit in 3 games and started 5 games – 3 at DH and 2 at 1B. My only quibble here is that Yordan has started 3 games during that span in LF. Unless this is a situation where Yordan wants to play the outfield I’m using my rental out there and hoping he doesn’t hurt us on defense too much because if our MVP candidate gets hurt and misses the playoffs the season is effectively over.


      • Adding to the What The Heck wonderment, Dusty has two infielders playing the outfield tonight… Diaz and his favorite player, Dubon.


  24. Well that answers one question going forward, if not the way we would have liked to have it resolved. We were winning before Brantley went out. We were winning when he was out. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The loss of Michael Brantley hurts this team at so many levels. First of all, he has been a stabilizing influence on the field and bench. The consummate professional, on his worst day he was a better hitter than anyone on the team except Alvarez (when the latter is healthy and hot). He was great with two strikes. He took what was available, instead of trying to pull everything into the seats. He worked the count. He anticipated the pitch. So good. We took him for granted. Chaz, this Position should now be yours to lose. Meyers, this just might give you your last chance to be the Astros center fielder next year.


    • I agree. It’s not that he would have been great in the playoffs (he wasn’t last year) but he definitely gives you confidence that in a big moment he is going to put it in play – and I don’t get that from Chas or Meyers or Gurriel – and the Astros are not going to put Mancini in LF in the playoffs (they have yet to do it since acquiring him but I think he will probably see a game or 2 out there in September).

      I hope Brantley is back on a 1 year next year. He might retire. He might look elsewhere if he really wants to keep going and wants multi-year. When you look at the free agency list for 2023 there are no answers to replace him.


  26. The lineup tonight with Luis Garcia o the mound

    Altuve 2B
    Gurriel 1B
    Alvarez DH
    Bregman 3B
    Tucker RF
    Diaz LF
    Peña SS
    Vazquez C
    Dubon CF

    Against Adam Oller 1-5 7.63 ERA


  27. We have faced Oller twice this year – once on July 17 and then again on July 25. In both cases his mound opponent was Jake Odorizzi. The A’s wound up winning both of those games. On the 17th of July, he pitched 4.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits [HR Tucker, HR Pena]; they came back late against Stanek and Montero to beat us. On the 25th of July, Oller pitched 5 Innings, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits [HR Pena]. He still won because both Kemp and Bolt hit homers off of Odorizzi; those two combined for 5 Runs Batted In.

    Moral of the story: if we are going to beat this guy, it appears that we need to score at least 5, if not more, runs off of him – because Kemp and company absolutely feast on our pitching.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m not sure how Garcia got through those first three innings without imploding.

    Had the A’s not lost three guys on the bases, we would not have won that game.

    It was good to see Vasquez be so animated last night.

    Tucker has the OPS back over .800 and Bregman is close.

    Chas came in as a defensive replacement for Diaz. Why wait 8 innings?

    Stanek is having a hard time right now. We need the first half version back.

    Our lefty is scary against righties. Funny thing is, he’s the one new guy Dusty is using every chance he gets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • – After watching Garcia in those first three innings – five innings looked unlikely, but to his credit he settled down and gave them a solid outing.
      – Yes, losing three guys on the base paths really hurt the A’s, but some great fielding on our side had something to do with it.
      – Vasquez’s reaction to the Tucker slam was good to see – as they said his reaction to the trade was probably a bit of shock after spending his whole career with one team
      – Good to see a bit of warming up from Yuli, and Pena and especially Tucker who is the one bat along with Yordan that can carry this team. Bregman has been on a long arc of hitting better
      – Chas would have caught the two run double by Skye what’s his name
      – No way Stanek could sustain that and he isn’t
      – Yeah Will Smith is hittable by the righties, though he did get a nice strikeout with an inside sinker on one of the righties
      – I was proud of the small ball run by the Astros in the ninth. Pena with his third hit of the game and then a stolen base (but c’mon Jeremy try not to come off the bag) and then the excellent at bat by Vazquez ending with that deep fly out the other way that could have been a double, but did get Pena over. Dubon really did not hit the ball very deep (at least he didn’t K or pop it up), but Pena put on the afterburners to beat the throw.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. -Pena got hot with three hits last night, so I look for him to maybe be benched tonight.
    -Maybe your relievers are so worn down because the manager waits too long to pull his pitcher and then the reliever is asked to get out of a no-out-runners-on-second-and-third-jam, when he could have come in with no outs and noone on base.
    -Six starting pitchers and only seven one-inning relievers is a nightmare scenario for a bullpen. When you need three innings from a reliever with that number of pitchers you never have one available.
    – Yuli Gurriel’s offensive numbers for August are shockingly bad. In 39 plate appearances he has 8 hits for only 10 total bases and 1 walk. He has not had a HR since July 1st. The idea of trading for a player like Trey Mancini at the deadline and then benching him for a player with an August OPS of .501 is stunning. Then you put the guy with the .501 OPS second in the batting order.
    -Why do you wait seven weeks for a guy with a torn labrum in his shoulder to have surgery? That is a clown show.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Now I’m worried! My granddaughters have to sometimes treat their show animals for ringworm. Will their prize show animals get suspended for using PEDs?
    Who knew that baseball and FFA were so closely related?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah it is maddening that these guys who are making tons of money (yes Tatis is “only” making $5.7 MM this year, but guaranteed $332 MM) and they want us to believe they just willy nilly throw meds into their bodies without checking on it. And its always taking medicine for some odd condition like ringworm or whatever.
      There are so many people in the news that I think are lying to me and certainly Tatis is one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Starting at the age of 20, he put up some remarkable stats. But are they tainted? If he can’t continue to produce similar starts going forward, the Padres are not going to want to pay that contract through 2034.

        Liked by 1 person

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