Unloading the stuff: aka Astros’ brain dump

Some days the overwhelming overload of stuff in this pea brain of mine just pleads to be dumped. Today is one of those days.

  1. Some interesting Jeremy Pena vs. Carlos Correa statistics.
    • They have played a similar amount in 2022 – Pena 92 games and 381 plate appearances, while Correa has played 89 games with 385 plate appearances
    • They are very close on major stats – Pena (48 runs/14 doubles/ 15 HRs/ 41 RBIs)  Correa (49 runs/ 15 doubles/14 HRs/ 39 RBIs)
    • Correa has a much better slash (.271 BA/ .351 OBP/ .790 OPS) vs. Pena (.251 BA/ .292 OBP/ .716 OPS) but somehow Pena (in baseball reference) has 3.8 WAR vs. 3.1 WAR for Correa
    • From a fielding side – Pena has gotten to a lot more balls than Correa, 248 assists vs. 204, while making a lot more errors, 13 vs. 7. But that does equate to about 37 more outs from Pena
    • Of course, Pena has better speed and seven SBs vs. 0 for Correa. One number that is quite interesting is that Correa has grounded into 13 double plays, while Pena has only grounded into 3
    • Any way you look at it, Carlos is not bringing $34+ MM more value to the Twins than what Pena is bringing to the Astros.
  2. Watching the ball come off Alex Bregman’s bat lately is bringing back strong flashes to the 2018-2019 All-Star, near MVP Alex. In the last 35 games, he is slashing .302 BA/ .389 OBP/ .940 OPS with 24 runs, 11 doubles, 7 HRs, and 24 RBIs. And in a hallmark of vintage Bregman he has 18 walks vs. 14 Ks.  For the first time in a couple years, he looks right when he is at bat, and the results are plain to see.
  3. Baseball is just such a weird/streaky sport. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago when the Astros’ offense seemed like Yordan Alvarez with a side of Kyle Tucker. Lately, Alvarez and Tucker were struggling, and suddenly, the offense is coming from other places. Newcomers Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez have 3 hit games. Pena has a couple multi-hit games, and the ball is snapping off that bat again. Chas McCormick does what he does best, which is to jump all over left-handed pitching. Tucker heats up with some big-time hits against lefties. Maldy continues a recent hot streak. Bregman hits like vintage Bregman. Altuve is solid. Diaz is one of our hottest hitters. Yuli isn’t great, but at least he started hitting a little. And suddenly, this lineup is looking much better even with Alvarez coming back to earth.
  4. The Astros team Hall of Fame has a problem, which this writer could see coming from the very beginning. When you let in 16 people the first year and then follow up with 6 more the second year, you start running out of Hall of Fame-worthy folks in a hurry. This third year they enshrined Tal Smith, who was there early on as Roy Hofheinz’s right-hand man in building the Astrodome and then being the architect of the Astros’ first playoff team in 1980. I can see that. And then they also chose Terry Puhl. I always liked Puhl as a solid, dependable player for 14 seasons with the team. He usually hit for a good average and next to no power. His 162-game average over his career was 72 runs, 7 HRs, and 46 RBIs. It almost felt like this ordained him for the Hall because he got super hot for a five-game playoff series against the Phillies in 1980 (10 for 19 with 2 doubles and 0 HRs). I mean, if they had let in – let’s say 8 people the first year and maybe 2 the second year, they would be able to sustain this a bit better over time. Maybe it is just Dan P getting a bit snarky over things, but it just doesn’t hit my threshold for the Hall.
  5. Christian Vazquez has 5 hits in his first 20 ABs with the Astros. Just as a reminder, Jason Castro had 1 hit in his first 22 ABs this season and 5 hits in his first 40 ABs. Just sayin’…..
  6. The Astros have had 21 players take the mound for them this season, and only 3 of them have put up ERAs higher than the 4.05 ERA of Luis Garcia. That is pretty remarkable. For comparison, in 2021, they had 15 pitchers under 4.05 and 17 pitchers above it for the season. The three this season who are/were above 4.05 are….. The long gone Pedro Baez (11.57 ERA). The long banished back to the minors Robel Garcia (7.11 ERA). And the third is newbie Will Smith (4.76 ERA).

This is my “stuff” to be unloaded today. What about you?

68 comments on “Unloading the stuff: aka Astros’ brain dump

  1. Frenchy Dubon leads off with a base hit and scores the first run. What do I know?

    1. Obviously our brain trust made the correct decision on Correa. And he’s sure not going to get the kind of contract he’s looking for.

    2. Right now, Bregman is all the way back. Can he stay in the groove?

    3. And we know that Alvarez will hit again.

    4. All I’ll say is that Terry Puhl is a very funny guy. He forged his contract at 17 because his mother refused to sign it. Then he went out and played his senior year of football. The Astros obviously were not checking up on him in Saskatoon.

    5. I like our two catchers.

    6. We have a pretty good batch of pitchers.

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  2. Some people just think they’re worth more than they are (Carlos Correa). Glad to see Bregman heating up. I might have been wron g on McCormick ( I hope so). He may make it after all. Glad to see our new guys getting more playing time. I think they will make a difference. Enjoyed watching LMJ Saturday. Looks like he’s like the Terminator (I’m Back!). Pitching still performing like Allstars.

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  3. Well this one is totally on Dusty and I rarely say that.
    Urquidy is totally in control gets pulled with 2 outs in the 8th after giving up a slow roller down the 3rd base line – when a guy he struck out twice without a clue is coming to bat.
    You knew that with that much bad karma – this one was going to turn on us

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  4. Urquidy sure did own that game though. Don’t want to lose sight of that. And every manager is going to blow one of those games from time to time. But I was uncomfortable all night with that 2 run lead. We just were not able to get anything off Cueto. Crap, we almost won the opener with a compromised line up on a great performance by Jose. Got to look ahead, quite a match up tonight!

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  5. I’m not saying that we should fire Dusty because he made a mistake. If we did that with all of the Astros’ employees and players it would be an empty place over at Minute Maid. But I does bother me that Dusty is standing there all by himself – does not seem to be talking to his bench coach or his pitching coach(es) and pulls Urquidy on his instinct. Someone should have been in his ear saying that Urquidy owned the guy who was coming to the plate all night.
    I know he is old school and stubborn, but there are certain basics that should be included in his tool kit and getting some perspective from his coaches is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, Dusty is doing a pretty good job of antagonizing us right now. I hope that’s not the case within the organization. If we want to get picky, we can talk about the last out made by Dubon with two on in the 9th. I know we still had Chas and sore necked Pena on the bench. And when you put your worst hitter at leadoff, his name comes up more than anyone else. Frenchy ended up being our last chance. That was annoying too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t get to see Dusty’s after game press conference, but it sounded like things might have gotten a little heated between him and chron.com (spit!!) Chandler Rome, according to the radio guys.
    Brian McT’s wrapup …
    https://www.mlb.com/astros/news/jose-urquidy-pulled-before-astros-allow-late-rally
    ….shows Dusty owning the decision, which is about all you can ask. I don’t understand why Montero is the “most rested” guy in the ‘pen when he pitched poorly on Sunday. It feels like they are staying away from Stanek for some unstated reason – that is the part of the manager’s job we don’t know – Stanek may have to have a little time off because of a minor injury – and the dark forces in the organization don’t want anyone to know.
    But if Stanek is hurting – why not let Urquidy face one more guy, rather than dipping into a short bullpen early? It makes no sense to me.

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  7. On Saturday, the Twins LF decided to dive for a ball with two outs, the tying run on first base, and a fast rookie (Magneuris Sierra) at the plate. He missed and it went to the well. Sierra tried for an inside the park HR, but Correa took the relay and made a perfect throw from LF to cut him down by inches. It sent the game to extra innings…where the Twins lost. No other SS in the league makes that throw.

    During the broadcast last night they showed that Shohei Ohtani’s record is 1-7 for games which the Angels scored 2 or fewer runs this year.

    I don’t understand why Urquidy went out to pitch the 8th. He threw all offspeed pitches to the three batters he faced. He only threw one fastball in the seventh inning and three in the sixth. Relievers are going to blow games from time to time, but Dusty giving the hook makes me wonder if he was gassed and letting him go out there was a mistake to begin with.

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    • He did not look gassed to me after 94 pitches, but I can’t don’t know for sure. At that point of the game, Maldy would be mixing up his pitch selection so the hitters would not be seeing the same stuff. And Urquidy was getting everything over the plate all night, as evidenced by the zero walks. His last pitch was an excellent pitch.

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  8. And the other thing that bugged me was seeing Dubon hitting with the game on the line – 2 outs – the tying runs on base. The guy is hitting .195 with no power. Chas is hitting much better and I know he is a whole lot better hitting lefties, but still…..

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  9. Cut all the nonsense about Dusty and the hook/no hook. It was Thursday and a 94 pitch maximum was enforced. We all know that. And just because a reliever doesn’t have it, he has to stay in the game until it is well past “lost.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cue the slick threads and the smooth moves. I’m talkin’ Shy-Lites:

      Two years ago or so,
      girls brightened up our blog;
      but now, testosterone is all we see –
      it pollutes the air like LA smog!

      We’re still here talkin’ the same ol’ trash;
      Dusty this, and Dusty that;
      we pout like children over line-up cards;
      and go flat-out nuclear over stats!

      Sure wish we had their ladies’ touch
      to keep our blog a happy place;
      to talk with Beck about hair dyed-pink;
      and marvel at Sandy’s charm and grace.

      You know, we can’t just live on memories;
      we need their wisdom, tried and true;
      We hope against hope that their still lurkin’
      out in the Woodlands, or in Channelview.

      Why, Oh Why, did they have to leave and … go away?
      We’ve been used, to havin’ some girls to cry with … when we’ve lost!
      When we’ve lo-o-o-ost!

      Doo, doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo
      Doo, doo, do0-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo,
      Have you seen them? DaveB have you seen them?

      They left their tips, with hands on hips;
      they left replies, with dancing eyes,
      Have you seen them? OP have you seen them?

      As another game gets ready to begin;
      we’re lookin’ for a comment – or somethin!
      anything that they might send.
      With all the baseball stuff we know
      we’re still just lonely men!

      Doo, doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo
      Doo, doo, do0-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo,
      Have you seen them? AC have you seen them?

      Have you seen them? Steven have you seen them?
      Have you seen them? SimonDavey have you seen them?
      Have you seen them? Big Z have you seen them?
      Have you seen them? Dan P have you seen them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do love them Chi-Lites and I do not like not “seeing” Beck and Sandy and whatever happened to Diane and Nance….

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  10. Warning – I am the curious [some might think suspicious] type. I’ve looked at just a few games – last night, the A’s game we won 7-5 [despite a 3 run 7th by the As], and the 8-4 extra inning loss to the Rangers on August 10. In each of those games, the other team had a big inning while Christian Vazquez was the catcher.

    Question: Could Vazquez accidently be doing something sloppy in his set up that tells opposing runners on 2nd the upcoming pitch and location? I haven’t researched it carefully, but we seem to have these late inning disasters occur more often when Vazquez is doing the catching than when Maldy is behind the dish – and it always looks like the opposing hitters know exactly what is coming and where. I am assuming we are not using finger signs anymore – and I am assuming that if the opposing team were electronically eavesdropping on our PitchCom, they’d have been doing so the whole game, not just in the 7th through Extras.

    Any thoughts? [Calling Roswell, NM!]

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    • Ideas Mr. Bill

      – Vazquez is still hacked off at us eliminating them in 2017
      – Christian Vazquez is Spanish for Mike Fiers
      – Maybe Vazquez should stop using those naval flags to signal the next pitch

      But seriously
      I guess I would be more suspicious if Montero had not just been knocked out on the game before on Sunday. Wait, Vazquez was catching then also?
      No, Vazquez was not catching last night when Montero melted down – Maldy was. Vazquez only came on as a pinch hitter in the 9th.

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      • Could be that Montero has been tipping his pitches – or just putting way too many of them in the middle of the plate. Of course, Maton has done quite a bit of the latter lately, too.

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    • You know Sarge, historically I’ve agreed or at least understood the decisions of the man in our dugout. I can’t say that anymore. I find myself annoyed more and more and enjoying less and less. I appreciate that we get to watch excellent baseball teams that many cities could only wish for, but at this point I’m convinced our excellence is compromised regularly by leadership. And if anyone on the ground feels the same way, then the environment will not remain a healthy one. I hope I’m overreacting. But we have Verlander on the mound tonight and I don’t feel like watching the game.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Our starters can still dominate anyone on a given night, but our bullpen and defense suddenly aren’t good enough to hold anything less than a four run lead. The Sox just wait for Dusty to make that call to the pen – then they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have us.

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  12. The White Sox had won three straight coming in on Monday. Then we let them get pumped up over the late win in the opener. Now they’re sky high for the first time in months. Sometimes you make your own bad luck and it follows you.

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  13. Last night the White Sox did a good job hitting against Verlander late. He’s only human and they got solid hits to tie the score. Neris did the one thing that drives me crazy – walking the leadoff hitter. The bats scored early, plus Altuve’s solo shot and then disappeared.
    I think if we won Monday, we would have won last night too.

    But at least I’m not cheering for the Yanks, who are 2-11 in their last 13 games.

    I hope Framber gets us back on track tonight and Two Step Garcia follows up strong tomorrow. And it would be good if the hitters started strong and then did not fade away.

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    • Looking at the box score Cease had 93 pitches and 55 strikes. In reality I bet at least half if not more were either sliders in the dirt or off the plate. Alvarez struck out on 5 pitches with not a single one in the zone. It’s frustrating to watch these guys flail at pitches like that. Opposing pitches know that with the Astros, they don’t have to throw strikes, just be close enough on a couple of pitches and the Astro hitters will get themselves out. Right now Pena is the worst with Yordan next but they all do it. Until our hitters top swing at pitches out of the zone we can’t expect to win games. Make the guy throw you a strike. At least then you have a shot at putting wood on the ball. Instead of 9 k’s Cease should have had 9 walks.

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      • Z – Relative to Cease – remember he had given up 6 runs total in his last 14 starts. I think they said that is the first time I pitcher ever has gone 14 starts in a row and never given up more than 1 earned run in any of those starts. So they were quite a bit more patient than all these other teams he faced and worked him for 3 earned runs and got him out of the game early

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      • The hitting coaches need to get Pena in the cage and set the pitching machine to throw only outside sliders so he can learn NOT to swing at them. Similar to how Correa would set the pitching machine to fast balls and move it closer to the plate to increase his reaction time.

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  14. I wish someone would pay me for silly baseball stories. Baseball-Reference has the following: Dodgers 80 wins – 21.4% chance of winning the World Series. Yankees 72 wins – 24.8% chance of WS win. Mets 75 wins – 9.2% chance. Astros 75 wins – 17.6% chance. And the Braves at 72 wins (in 2nd place behind the Mets) 9.4% chance.

    So my take is the Mets need to lose some more games to overtake the second place Braves for a chance to win the World Series.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The Astros team ERA for the season and in this series they have yielded 10 runs in 3 games, slightly over their average.
    The problem is the same problem they have had all year, not enough hits! Chicago’s good pitching has stifled an Astros team whose management continues to put it’s higher BA players on the bench. It’s almost as though the Astros did not acquire anyone at the deadline and have no players in the upper minors who can help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There you go 1oldpro getting me started again. I suspect we’ll be seeing pretty much of the same going forward even as we enter the post season. Vasquez is specifically a replacement for Korey Lee. Trey Mancini is a part time role player. And I suspect Dubon or Meyers will be back out in center this afternoon.

      On a positive note, Framber once again came in an played the role of stopper. Heck, we’ve gotten three excellent starts over the past three nights. A split looks very good right now.

      And this Sox team must be a frustrating club for their own fan base to watch. They’ve got a better team than their record indicates. They have been an underachieving group. I’d get a newer manager!

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    • Miles Straw has a .544 OPS today. I’ll be generous and call him and Phil a push at this point. Anything we get from Yanier would be a real bonus. Still hitting, but has stopped throwing runners out. 2 for 26? His pitchers can’t be helping much.

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  16. – I heard Gilbert got injured and I know both Leon and Barber are out.
    – Yainer Diaz filling that 3 hole is nice OP as you say
    – Hard to believe Whitley is still in the top 10 – he has been horrid at AAA

    Liked by 1 person

      • If you don’t count the 5 shutout innings he threw at A Ball this year – he has not thrown well since the Arizona Fall league in 2019. But let’s face it – here is a guy who has barely thrown in the last few seasons.
        2019 – 59 innings in the minors and 25 innings in Arizona fall ball
        2020 – 0
        2021 – 0
        2022 – 18.2 innings in the minors

        Instead of Run Forrest Run – it should be Throw Forrest Throw

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      • The answer is always potential. Whitley had two bad starts against the El Paso Chihuahuas so far, but his other couple appearances have been fine. In both those games the El Paso starters also struggled. The story on his bad performances is always bad control. I think he’s too similar to LMJ in that regard…he tries to make every pitch a strikeout pitch and ends up walking people. If you want to compare him to the number 1 guy on the list, Hunter Brown, my analysis is that Whitley has 3 pitches that could play at the MLB level and Brown only has 2. Both walk too many people, but Brown has been able to keep from imploding. For what it’s worth, we’re running out of time on Whitley. Since he pre-dates Click I wouldn’t be surprised to see us sell low.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Dan, it seems to me a teams personal HOF is much different than the hall of immortals. I would prefer guys that were important to our fan base. Jose Cruz will never be in Cooperstown, but nothing is more nostalgic to me than being in the Dome at the age of 12 when Cruz came up to bat. The fanbase adored him. I like the idea of Terry Puhl, a 7 year regular, and then 7 year backup/premier pinch hitter, getting a nod.

    What I hope they don’t start doing is to recognize passerbys. Clemens won a Cy Young in Houston, and we probably don’t make that first series without him. But it was 3 years, that was it.

    I do agree though on the high number in 2019 being a bit premature on their planning. Obviously you have to recognize Bagwell and Biggio, but they should have capped it. Pretty soon John the peanut guy is going to have to be considered because he has been going up and down the isle selling those peanuts for the Astros for 40 years.

    I am assuming Jeff Luhnow won’t have to check his mail looking for his invitation. Too bad, in many ways you can argue he has been the single most important person ever to work for that franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true that the club HOF is different than Cooperstown and maybe I’m just being a bit of a baseball snob about this.
      I think I would be fine if Puhl was joining in the 10th class, but to have him in the third class seems way too early, but again this was driven by having 16 people in the first class and 6 in the next. If it was like 8 and 4 and then 2 each year afterward we’d be looking at Terry around 2027 or ’28.
      I mean next year it will be Ed Wade and Woody Williams (where is my sarcasm font)?

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I think folks know this, but I didn’t put this in the comments above – but Aledmys Diaz was put on the IL yesterday and J.J. Matijevic was called back up.

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  19. The lineup today

    Altuve 2B
    Gurriel 1B
    Alvarez LF
    Bregman 3B
    Tucker RF
    Mancini DH
    Pena 2B
    Vazquez C
    McCormick CF

    This may be the strongest lineup we have available with Diaz out, though I would still move Yuli down …. a lot

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  20. It has always been interesting how a team puts their club together to include the high farm teams. As an example, if you leave Niko Godrum out (which is fine with me) there are no 30 year olds on the Sugar Land Roster. Nashville (Brewers) has 9 over thirty to include Jon Singleton and one is 35 years old. Gwinnett (Braves) have 11 to include Tyler White, Preston Tucker, and DDJ. Memphis (St Louis) has 5. Norfolk (Orioles) have 2 to include Matt Harvey. Durham (Tampa Bay) have 6.

    I have no idea how many of these are rehab assignments. Some apparent use their AAA as the extended MLB bench. Others use it for prospects almost exclusively.

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  21. HI Dan and all,

    Sorting through old emails to finalize stuff, just found this:

    Diane
    April 3, 2017

    I’ll go on record: I don’t see it happening for us. I hope I am wrong and will be happy to eat crow or any other bird you want to flip at me.

    You don’t see us winning the World Series or you don’t see us even winning the division (of course, if it is the latter then the former probably applies as well)?

    Don’t see the division and don’t see us sneaking in. Sorry, I know it’s negative. Just put the best possible spin on it and call me a jinx jouster.

    If I was that wrong then, can be wrong again. Miss you guys but just can’t keep up anymore.
    D.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey, Diane – if being right was the requirement here – there would be no one writing this post.
      I famously wrote about how they should try to trade Altuve – I think back in 2013 or so. Oh I also wrote about how Luhnow and Hinch had solidified a long stay in Houston – months before the scandal broke.
      Stop by anytime Diane – you don’t have to be up on everything – just let us know you are doing OK.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Glad to see the bats come alive. Garcia just ran out of gas but Maton and Smith are like a human gas can. Wouldn’t put either on the playoff roster.

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  23. Yikes, this is an interesting game. The bad guys have been a slam away from being back in it two innings in a row. Maton and Smith both managed to squiggle out of it. Smith is scary. Abreu has been lounging since Saturday. Can we get him out there for the last 6 outs? I think I’d feel better.
    Jake took over center. Is that because he’s better out there, or because he does not really play left?
    Does Chas have to sit tomorrow?

    Like

    • My question is: Do you make Vasquez sit tomorrow?
      I’m thinking the horrible call against Bregman and then the ejection may have woken up the sleeping giant today.

      Liked by 2 people

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