It’s your turn: Fill in the blanks

Some of the best Astros’ minds in the world are the readers of this blog. At least that’s what y’all have told me. So, today Chipalatta will ask you to “write” the post based on starter statements as shown. You are welcome to explain why on anything/everything in your comments.

1. For the playoffs, the Astros under the radar secret weapon will be_________

2. The biggest surprise of a player that will be left off the playoff roster will be ________

3. My favorite Martin Maldonado hair style/color is ________

4. Hunter Brown’s role in the playoffs will be ________

5. The fourth starter behind Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Lance McCullers Jr. will be ______

6. Having Aledmys Diaz back and healthy is going to cut into the playing time of _______

7. The Astros are in a tight game heading into the eighth inning in the playoffs. In the bullpen is Bryan

Abreu, Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, and Hector Neris, who all are similarly rested (along with closer

Ryan Pressly). The reliever who comes in for the eighth is _______

8. Chandler Rome, Dusty Baker, and Yordan Alvarez all have a different take on the truth behind Hand-

Gate. I believe ______

9. The player who will go off in the playoffs like a 2017 World Series version of George Springer will be


10. The Astros likely will play one of the following teams in the ALDS, provided they win their division

and hold onto the top AL seed – Mariners, Guardians, Rays, or Blue Jays. They secretly would like to

avoid ___________   They secretly would be happiest playing __________

Have fun……


73 comments on “It’s your turn: Fill in the blanks

  1. 1. Yuli. Think about “regressing to the mean”. At this point, he’ll have to bat .900 to get back to his career average.

    2. Luis Garcia

    3. Bald

    4. Starting pitcher

    5. See number 4

    6. Yordan, but only in left field

    7. Hector Neris

    8. Yordan

    9. Mancini

    10. Avoid Mariners. Play Guardians


  2. 1. Javier. Assuming he is in the BP, he will bridge 3-4 games in a series, and without having to watch pitch counts and free to do his thing, he will be the second best pitcher on the staff.

    2. I don’t know they will leave Smith off, maybe Dubon only because of how much PT he has gotten.

    3. Orange.

    4. Mixed into the bullpen. Might be left off unless he has 2-3 more starts like these first 2 and forces his way on.

    5. Urquidy.

    6. Chas/Dubon in combo.

    7. Stanek is where I would go, I believe Dusty will lean on Neris.

    8. It’s Yordan’s hand.

    9. Alvarez has the most talent in the box, so bets on him.

    10. Blue Jays – they have the offense to scrap some against superior pitching, Mariners (really or Guardians) they match up well with.


  3. Secret, under the radar weapon: I sure hope it is a. Jeremy Pena out-Correa-ing Correa [looks unlikely right now], or b. someone like Seth Martinez or Christian Javier – i.e. a multi-inning reliever that bumfuzzles the opposition to close out a game like McCullers did to the Yankees (24 strait curve balls) in the 2017 ALCS. or like Peacock did in the WS that year (a string of 3 2/3 hitless IP).


  4. This is a very difficult assignment because Dusty will be very predictable with how he uses his roster. For instance, I think he’ll start Dubon just to offend me.

    1. Hunter Brown.
    2. no surprise.
    3. unknown to me.
    4. under the radar secret weapon.
    5. determined based on match ups and could be Javier, secret guy or even Urquidy/Garcia. In fact, we could see two or three of these guys scheduled in the same game, if Dusty does not have full say.
    6. Chas of course.
    7. I can’t decide unless I know if we are up, tied or losing by a run. But I do think Abreu will be getting used more and we’ll see has fast ball.
    8. Yordan has the most credibility.
    9. Jose Altuve but 3,4,5 are also going to be very much involved.
    10. They secretly don’t care either way, but I’d rather miss the Rays or Jays and play the Indians.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Biggest surprise player left off playoff roster: Mauricio … Okay, I know, I know – NOT A CHANCE, right?

    For a real possibility, try Chaz McCormick. Not because he isn’t deserving – but because he gets zero respect from the F.O.


  6. Q. Who can we believe regarding ‘hand-gate’? Yordan’s first two at bats this evening will tell the tale. Will he ‘roll over’ on Kaprielian’s off speed stuff, weakly grounding out or into a DP? Or will he send Kapriellian’s fastballs screaming right back at him – or into the upper deck – at 115 MPH?

    As for the rest of it, it’s all just words, emotion, and hype.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alvarez’s screaming double over the CF’s head last night – on a diving breaking ball which would have been easy to miss or roll-over on – makes me think his hand is doing pretty well.


  7. Favorite Maldonado hairstyle/color – whatever style/color results when a cooler of Gatorade has just been dumped on his head after he gets named MVP of the WS for the 2022 World Champion Houston Astros.

    Short of that, why not orange and blue, with an ‘H’ inside a star?


  8. 1. Secret Weapon: Chas Mc
    2. Maton or Smith should be left off the roster, but if either one of them are, I’d be surprised
    3. Favorite Maldy Hairstyle: The one he wears two months from now that has “2022 World Series Champions” carved into it
    4. Hunter Brown on Taxi Squad; resting, watching & learning
    5. Fourth Starter: Javier
    6. Aledmys over Dubon; all day, every day
    7. Eighth Inning Guy: Montero
    8. After the post-game meal, what Dusty heard from Alvarez was: “My hands hurt, they feel like hamburger.” What Alvarez said was “Hand me some of those hamburgers.”
    9. 2017 Version of Springer: Bregman
    10. Avoid Rays, play Guardians


  9. You folks with lots of interesting angles on the questions.
    Good win with Tucker, Jordan and Diaz along with Mancini and Vazquez leading the offense. Pitching with 11 KS from Lance and 3 shutout innings from the bullpen leads the way again.


  10. Another “W” for the good guys. Bull pen was good again and the offense finally put some big runs on the board. Wish LMJ could cut down on the walks, he’d be a much better pitcher. In the upcoming playoffs he might not be able to get those critical outs after walking two in an inning. Yordan, Tucker, and Diaz come through with another RBI from Vazquez.


    • Dave, the only reason the Smitherene/Gasoline didn’t give up a run last night is because Dusty pulled him mid-inning after giving up a triple to Sean Murphy. He brought in Hector Neris to face Seth Brown – a left-handed hitter of all things! Neris promptly struck out the lefty Brown, ending the threat that came about on Mr. Smitherene/Gasoline’s watch.


      • Yes indeed Mr. CC, that’s why I noted the man still scares me. He’s still a dinger waiting to happen, but he has also improved and maybe he’ll do what he did against us last year. Course we never know when that dinger might happen. But I think at this point, he’s on the post season roster.


  11. 1. The Astros secret playoffs weapon will be Aledmys Diaz.
    2. the biggest surprise left off the playoff roster will be Maton.
    3. My favorite Maldonado hair style/ color is the one nobody notices.
    4. Hunter Brown’s role in the playoffs will be cheerleader.
    5. The fourth starter will be Uquidy.


  12. I saw this exchange in a mlbtraderumors chat ….

    Steve Balboni’s Sandwhich
    2:54 The last top of the rotation pitcher the Rangers developed and had success with was CJ Wilson. Bad luck or a bad organization?

    Steve Adams
    2:55 The player development struggles in the Rangers organization in recent years span way beyond pitching. Joe Barlow is the only Rangers draftee in the past five or six years to amass even one WAR in his career so far.

    I’m assuming that is a true statement and that really is awful. I know the Astros have gotten more out of their international signees lately, but in the last 6 drafts they have more than 1.0 WAR out of Pena, Chas, Meyers and Hunter Brown is already at 0.4 after 2 starts.


    • You can go to baseball-reference and pull up a table with draft picks per franchise that includes cumulative WAR for their careers. Going back, here’s what Texas has as leaders per year:
      2015: Dylan Moore 4.1
      2016: Joe Barlow 1.3
      2017: Bubba Thompson 0.5
      2018: N/A
      2019: Josh Jung 0.3
      2020: N/A
      2021: N/A
      2022: N/A

      As a commentary, in 2015 they picked Dillon Tate #4 overall while the Astros picked Bregman at #2 and Tucker at #5. Tate is now with Baltimore. Dylan Moore was traded the following year in an awful three team deal with Florida and Seattle that only benefited the Mariners. Was Tim Purpura drafting in 2016-2018? Those were some ugly drafts where they went high-risk on some high schoolers that didn’t pan out and seemed to avoid some of the better college kids. 2019 shifted to picking college kids at the top. Jung should give them something. 2020 was a short draft, but they signed all 5 guys they picked and 4 of them look like legitimate players…but we’ll see how they fare at AA/AAA. 2021 they paid a high price to sign Jack Leiter as the #2 pick out of Vandy. You’ll recall I don’t like that program as I feel their pitchers are overworked and eventually end up going under the knife. They also got Aaron Zavala (C) out of Oregon before making a run at a bunch of HS kids. We’ll see what happens with Jack and the bunch. In 2022 they paid a bit less to sign Kumar Rocker after he didn’t sign with the Mets in 2021 and played a handful of innings in semi-pro ball this spring. After that they did their normal run on HS kids before going after signable college kids. I think Rocker was overused at Vandy and then got a raw deal from the Mets. If he weren’t a multi-millionaire I’d feel bad for him. I don’t think he ever makes it as a starter, but power arms are always useful in the bullpen and he’s shown an ability to control his fastball and slider…so unless he ends up injured I would be surprised if he doesn’t give them at least a good return on the investment.

      In summation, yeah, it must be really depressing to be fan of that franchise.


  13. Aledmys return to the line-up should mean less playing time for Jeremy Pena and Yuli Gurriel. But that just means Pena and Gurriel will, like Yordan and Chaz, become official benefactors of Dusty’s special ‘has-a-bad-hand-and needs-to-rest-it’ IL protocol.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 8th inning of tight game in the playoffs. The reliever I choose is ….
    ‘A.B.W.S.’ [Anybody but Will Smith; I’d be okay with any of the guys you mention in your question – might lean a little toward Stanek or toward Neris in a given situation].


  15. Which Astro will ‘go off’ in the playoffs this year like Springer did in the 2017 post-season? I hope it’s Alt-Breg-Tuck-Arez [Altuve/Bregman/Tucker/Alvarez].


  16. Regarding the team we’d secretly prefer to play or avoid …

    Whoever plays us will be guaranteed to come in loaded for bear, and they’ll all be tough. On paper, the Rays and Blue Jays look strongest. The Rays probably concern me most because they will just have played six games against us [9/19/21 and 9/30 – 10/1], and with their F.O. they will surely have developed a solid game plan to exploit our weaknesses – which we on this blog all know are substantial, especially offensively.


  17. I think maybe Dusty should bench Yordan every now and then just to piss him off.

    Knocking on wood, but can any other team heading towards the post season be as healthy as the Astros?

    The Yankees coughed up an early 5-0 lead and lost the game in the 9th. They’ve got some real holes. I’m guessing our pitching staff has not given back a 5 run lead all year.

    Verlander can take a vacation and come back sharp. Not everyone can do that.

    95 and 50 looks pretty healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Dan P fills in the blanks

    1. For the playoffs, the Astros under the radar secret weapon will be Aledmys Diaz.

    2. The biggest surprise of a player that will be left off the playoff roster will be Luis Garcia. This may tie to which opponent we have, but he might be the least trustworthy of a ton of starters

    3. My favorite Martin Maldonado hair style/color is blonde – blonde’s have more fun?

    4. Hunter Brown’s role in the playoffs will be doing what Phil Maton can’t do, which is come in an shutdown the opponent for 4 innings

    5. The fourth starter behind Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Lance McCullers Jr. will be Jose Urquidy. I think this should be Cristian Javier, but he has been the best guy to switch to the bullpen and so I think that is where he will be

    6. Having Aledmys Diaz back and healthy is going to cut into the playing time of Chas and Dubon

    7. The Astros are in a tight game heading into the eighth inning in the playoffs. In the bullpen is Bryan Abreu, Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, and Hector Neris, who all are similarly rested (along with closer Ryan Pressly). The reliever who comes in for the eighth is Stanek or Montero depending on who is the most rested

    8. Chandler Rome, Dusty Baker, and Yordan Alvarez all have a different take on the truth behind Hand-Gate. I believe Yordan of course and after hitting 1329 ft of homers in last night’s game, who would believe anyone else

    9. The player who will go off in the playoffs like a 2017 World Series version of George Springer will be Yordan

    10. The Astros likely will play one of the following teams in the ALDS, provided they win their division and hold onto the top AL seed – Mariners, Guardians, Rays, or Blue Jays. They secretly would like to avoid the Rays, who have been a very tough opponent the last few years. They secretly would be happiest playing the Guardians.

    However, they know that any one of these teams will play them tough, but also they know that they will not face anything they have not faced in the last few seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. We just don’t have enough bats to keep up with the number of runs Urqidy gives up when he had an ‘off’ night. If cole Irvin can shut us down completely after the 1st, just think what a top-of-rotation starter on a playoff team will do.


    • Urquidy was so bad last night – making so many ‘in-the-hitter’s-sweet-spot’ mistakes – that a half-way decent playoff team would have scored 10 or more runs against him in the first four innings. That’s two truly horrible games in a row.


  19. The A’s starter today will be Ken Waldichuk, a 24-year old southpaw ‘Futures Game’ Selectee that the A’s were able to coax from the Yankees’ organization in connection with the Frankie Montas deal. Waldichuk has thrown 15 innings since getting the call-up. He has allowed 16 hits (3 HR, 7 DBL, 1 TPL), and 5 BBs over those 15 innings, with 14 Ks. Other teams have been swinging early and connecting, so he averages less than 4 pitches per plate appearance. Other teams are hitting .262 against him, with an OBP of .328.

    Nothing personal against Mr. Waldichuk, but it would sure be nice to see our guys shake off last night’s collapse by Jose Urquidy and continue the young man’s MLB ‘baptism of fire’ today.


  20. Tony Kemp is a pain in the ass.
    We tried to give the Yankees a game back last night but they had no interest.
    The Jays are now just 4.5 games behind the Bombers.
    Our #2 catcher was throwing like a # 3 catcher last night.
    Mancini did not look terrible at first base.
    Hensley seemed a bit confused by the shift last night.


  21. The rumbling noise on the porch of the cabin woke my son-in-law up and he got out of bed and went to the living room window that looked out on the dark front porch. He put his face up to the glass to see what was out there as the huge bear stared back at him from two feet away through the window.
    As both of them must have yelled “Oh, Crap!” my SIL jumped back and ran to get his flashlights and the bear reached down and grabbed the empty ice chest sitting below the window with his mouth and carried it off the porch.
    My daughter ran to my room and awakened me from my slumber as Mrs 1op slept on in her dreams of the trout we had caught that day.
    The first view I had of the bear was through the same window, as he stood on all fours by the 400 gallon propane tank about 25 feet away from us as we shone the two flashlights at him. His body was bigger around than the tank and his eyes glowed yellow as the light reflected off them.
    We watched him lumber off behind the cabin as we all began to realize what had just happened and how vulnerable we were. One of us decided to turn the porch light on to protect us and my SIL went back to their room to get his 9mm, which he has a permit to carry.
    Meanwhile my daughter and I were standing by the window looking out and debating whether the porch light would keep Big Boy away. As I said that I didn’t think he would be back and immediately she screamed as we watched him strolling back below the porch, ten feet away from us.
    My daughter let out the loudest scream I have ever heard as we pointed two LED lights in his eyes and SIL hit the key bob and his horn started honking and all the car lights started flashing. Big Boy didn’t want any part of this and he headed up the mountain as we watched him until he was out of sight.
    Behind us, Mrs 1op stands in the bedroom doorway and asks us “What are you all doing?”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. 15 Games left in Regular Season 2022. No more division foes.
    6 vs the Rays
    4 vs the Orioles
    2 vs the Diamondbacks
    3 vs the Phillies

    Can we go 10 and 5?


  23. Framber Valdez gave up 6 runs and 4 walks on April 19. Toss that one out and he’s kept us in every other start on the season. That’s pretty good.

    I’m sure glad that starting tonight we’re playing some teams that need to win. It would be reassuring to play a good game in a crappy park against TB with an excellent pitcher on the mound.

    Judge sure has had his career year at the correct time. The Yankees are pretty much screwed. They’ve got to pay him, even though it won’t pay in the long run.


    • Dave, what do you think happened to the Yankees to cause their spiral [not that I am complaining]? I shake my head as much over their return to earth – despite the talent on their team – as much as I do over our Astros’ ascension [Houston, we have lift off!]. They seem better on paper than they have been playing; we, on the other hand, seem to be performing significantly better in real time than we appear to be in fantasy land.

      By the way, even though most of what I write consists of ‘Mr. Billisms – in the character of the ultimate clay figure of woe – what I have written above is intended as a serious question. With all the talent on that team, why aren’t the Yankees killing it the way they did early in the year? Does it really have to do with ‘baseball mud’?

      Liked by 1 person

      • They’ve had a whole lot of injuries. And they still have the second best record in the American League. It would be wrong to write them off. But they have less talent than the Astros. And I don’t know if they know exactly what they are doing. Why would a team hurting for starting pitching trade Jordan Montgomery to the Cards? Frankie Montas was damaged goods when they got him. They don’t have a reliable closer. And they have too many guys that can’t seem to hit on a regular basis. They are forced to play Judge in center because they don’t even have a Chas. Marwin is their Diaz. He’s worse at the plate than Frenchy is.

        We’ve got some weaknesses on our club that never fail to get pointed out. We are astute observers! But we’ve got a heck of a lot more depth in most all areas than the Yankees do.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Filling in some blanks:
    * I believe that one of the main reasons for the downward spiral of the Yankees was the reality of their head-to-head matchups with the Astros in the middle of the season
    * The Giants were 16-5 in games that Mauricio Dubon played with them before he was DFA’d this season and the Astros are 50 and 22 in games he has played with them since he was picked up on waivers. Adding it up, when Dubon played this year, his teams went 66-27. The Giants are 35-51 since he was DFA’d. They were 20-12 before he was DFA’d on May 13th.
    * When Crane bought the Astros, his new GM said that the long term goal was to eventually contend every season and to steadily raise payroll. Crane said he would spend and eventually be in the top tier of payroll. Those things have happened. Right now, the Astros are 45 games over .500 with 15 to play.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think injuries have been tough on the Yanks and I really did wonder why the heck they traded Montgomery at the time. But I remember looking at their early season schedule right before we were going to play them in mid to late June and it seemed like they played almost all their road games against the weaker teams and played the tougher teams at home. Now they still had to win those games, but it seemed that they were going to face a much tougher row to hoe starting mid-June.


  26. You guys forgot to tell me tonight was a clinch game. Well played game against a team that can’t afford to be losing right now. What I saw from Brown tonight makes it easier to justify using Javier as the 4th starter. And Garcia threw too many pitches and not enough strikes, but did not give in. Things seem to be coming together.


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