Even with the uncertainty around Yordan Alvarez as the start of the season comes roaring down upon us, for the majority of Astro fans, the lineup is not the focus of most of our worries.
For some of the Astros, the 60-game regular season in 2020 is not that important to their career arc. Main players like Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, Zack Greinke, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly are established major leaguers who are signed beyond 2020 and really have nothing to prove. Yes, they want to continue to perform well, but if they have a hiccup in 2020s shortened season it won’t affect how much money they make in 2021 (and for some beyond that) and will be looked on as an anomaly of a small sample.
Time for true confessions here. The only way to write about Astros’ Summer camp “stuff” is to piggyback off of things that others have written. Obviously, even in the best of times, training camp writing is based on reading what the writers on hand at the camp are writing about and looking at box scores or watching a few innings from an MLB network broadcast of a Spring Training game or two.
But this is different this year, just like the whole world is different. So, without apologies, this writer is taking the musings of folks like Brian McTaggart and giving you his spin on it.
- Check-in Monday night July 6th MLB will announce the 60 game schedules at 5 PM CDT. The schedule will be of particular interest to Astro fans with the team having to play the vast majority of road games (except for the Rangers) in the Mountain or Pacific time zones. Of course, remember that we are talking about only 25 road games that are affected, assuming they play the Rangers 5 times in Arlington, so it is not quite the quantity that we might in our minds be expecting. With the assumption of no crowds allowed will that at all affect whether games are day time or night time? We shall see.
- Reading through various articles it appears that Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, Josh James and Joe Smith are not in camp. The team cannot comment on why players are not there, though the assumption is that they might not be there due to COVID-19, directly or indirectly. Dusty Baker mentioned that James is out due to a family issue, which obviously could be related to discussions about the risk relative to the virus. He also made it seem like Smith, whose mother is suffering from Huntington’s disease may be considering sitting out this season. With a very short summer camp and a starting rotation and bullpen in flux with the losses of Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Will Harris and Hector Rondon, this is not good news. While a late start to Alvarez’s season is not optimum, it is not that hurtful. But with Urquidy expected to slide into the 4th spot in the rotation, James competing for a 5th spot in the rotation or a more leveraged spot in the bullpen and Smith expected to be a solid choice out of the ‘pen, any kind of delay in them joining the team may well affect how the team approaches the start of the regular season. Losing any of them for the season would make it tough on the team to fill in behind them.
- Just received a notification that the Astros cancelled their morning workout due to delays in receiving COVID-19 test results. The Nationals did the same. The testing (and quick results) is considered critical to the safety and health protocols put in place for the league. Stay tuned on how this works itself out, though it could be something that was exacerbated by the holiday weekend.
- Dusty Baker’s comments on Zack Greinke show that the pitcher continues to be “different”. Baker says he is in camp, but he apparently has worked out so early that Baker hasn’t seen him yet. Is it possible that Greinke’s anxiety issues extend to the virus and he is limiting his exposure from his teammates by getting in and done so early? However, they have talked about Greinke being one who has been late showing up for training camp in the past, anyway, and it does not seem to have affected him as he has put together a series of outstanding seasons.
- Alex Bregman is fired up to be even better than he was last season. Considering he was amazing last season, this has true fans salivating. Fans hope the first thing on his checklist is to not start this season slowly as he has every season before this.
Well, that’s it for today’s news. Anything of interest there for y’all to tie into?
Can you remember way back to March 12 of this year? Yes, I know that seems like a galaxy far, far away at this point. That date was the last day of MLB Spring Training games before baseball pulled the plug on itself.