Category Archives: Houston Astros

Carlos Correa reminds me of young Alex Rodriguez

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So, nothing earth shattering here – a lot of people have said for a while that Carlos Correa reminds them of Alex Rodriguez.

But it was 1996 and I was in Florida for Spring Break staying at my late grandparents home and reading their morning paper while eating my cereal. There was a nice article about this young shortstop who I had a few rookie cards of, wondering if he could break spring training with the Mariners big club and hit enough to stay in the lineup.

Rodriguez was coming off a partial season in 1995 in which he hit .232 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 142 at bats. He was entering his age 20 season and all of the talk was surrounding his sound glove but the pundits continually said he was ‘light hitting’.

I remember when Correa got called up last year a lot of folks on Sirius talking about how he’s going to be good, but temper expectations on his bat. They said he wouldn’t hit quite as much as people would like to see.

Obviously, the parallels aren’t perfect here. Correa came up in a different era and in his age 20 season, won rookie of the year. He hit 22 home runs, drove in 68, and had an astounding .857 OPS. He did this in a era that was not known for it’s use of PEDs and with league-wide pitching being MUCH stronger than it was back in the mid-90’s.

Rodriguez went on to post one of the best age-20 seasons ever in 1996; shortly after that spring break at my grandparents wrapped up. He had 36 home runs, 141 runs scored, 123 RBI, 54 doubles, and a 1.045 OPS. Again, different era.

The build is very similar on both of these guys at age 20, and the ability to use all of the field with some power has some real similarities.

While Correa lacks being surrounded by a few Hall of Fame caliber threats in his same lineup (Rodriguez had Griffey and Edgar Martinez among others) there is enough firepower in the Houston lineup to really protect Correa and allow him to develop without the sense that he has to do too much.

I think before any of the steroid use; Rodriguez was a sure-fire Hall of Famer; if we can just erase from our memory what has happened since time spanned forward. I very rarely say this, but I believe if he stays healthy you’re looking at a Hall of Fame player in Correa who will deliver some very special seasons on the back of his baseball cards in the present day. I am really excited to see how he develops his game to build on an exceptional 4.1 bWAR rookie season in just 99 games (extrapolate that to 150+).

I felt something had to go up about the guy, as I went back through the archives there just wasn’t enough written about a guy who could unseat Trout and Harper as the face of baseball in the near future.

Betting on Baseball

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This one hurts a little bit to write.

It looked like the Houston Astros were going to move on to a freaking LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES for crying out loud. And then, things fell apart. That ball took an unlikely hop over Carlos Correa’s head in the best game of his career. And those upstart, pest, Royals are once again fixin’ to spoil everyone’s fun. It sucks, because Correa dropped two bombs in the 9-6 collapse.

We had dreams man; dreams of the Astros making the World Series and playing the Cubs in something that would be totally fresh for the game of baseball. Something so different than what we’ve seen before.

And I’m here to tell you that today, that all went away.

You know how it goes in this column. Whether we’re letting someone else pay the juice or we’re paying a little bit to win the Ben Franklin, we’re just simply picking the winner. Wednesday night at 8:05 PM, Johnny Cueto opposes Collin McHugh in game five of the LDS. The game will be in Kansas City. The Royals are a -131 favorite at the current moment with the Astros hanging around at +121.

It really sucks, but the Astros are going to lose game five in Kansas City. And I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person in that I don’t really like the Royals; but they don’t do much for me. They cease at entertaining me. They just don’t. I realize they’re a small-market who is ‘all-in’ and went out to get Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist and look how cute they are because they’re this close to getting back and avenging game seven from last year and look how fast they run the bases! But I don’t care. I don’t like them.

It’s just the way it is. You want a winner, and we’re feeding you one. We are totally surprised the Royals don’t check in as a bit higher favorite right now to steer you away from the winning side. But that will probably happen by game time. Get to the best online sportsbooks while you can and grab the Kansas City Royals -131 to make a little side dough.

We’re sorry Astros; leave the party kicking and screaming!

The Houston Astros close down Yankee Stadium to open the 2015 MLB Playoffs

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[Box Score]

Dallas Kuechel on three days rest was no problem.

For the first time since this blog has been in operation, and the first time since they were an American League team, the Astros are in the playoffs and have won a game, sending the Yankees home with a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium. This loss comes a day after CC Sabathia announced he was entering a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. While distractions in baseball are often overblown, you have to wonder if this didn’t play a role in the Yankees coming out a bit flat.

Houston collected just five hits, two of them home runs from Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez. Another an RBI single by Jose Altuve. And now they’ll move on to continue their season in Kansas City against the reigning American League Champions.

It’s a pretty great story that this group of kids have risen from the ashes of a near 100-loss team to become one of the finest Cinderella stories in the game a year later. Phenomenal job by the Astros front office to put the pieces in place to get this done.

Mike Fiers No-Hits the Dodgers in Houston

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[Box Score]

Mike Fiers has shown before that he has pretty nasty stuff, but he had never thrown a no-hitter until last night.

Fiers struck out ten Dodgers on an impressive 134 pitchers for the first Astros no-hitter in over 12 years last night. The Astros also equaled the Dodgers in win total (67) with that win, and overtook them with a 3-1 victory tonight.

Clearly, one of the best stories in baseball this season. When a guy you traded for around the deadline throws a no-no a few starts into his tenure, you know it’s a magical year in the making. Another hard to believe fact: this was the first no-hitter in Minute Maid Park History.

Video: Fiers’ no-hitter highlights. [MLB.com]

This Miguel Cabrera untucking Altuve’s jersey is the greatest thing in the internet’s history

Well, Miguel Cabrera is back. And since he doesn’t have the thrill of a pennant race to entertain him, he’ll need to finds other means of amusement. Like untucking Jose Altuve’s jersey on first base. Look at how pissed that little Altuve gets at him, complaining to the ump like it’s his mother! Miggy always gets away with this!

This is one of the treasures of the internet.

Carlos Correa is proving to be a generational talent just like they said he would be

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[Astros 9, DBacks 2]

[Houston Chronicle – Ultimate Astros]

Carlos Correa is proving to be one of the best players in baseball already, and hitting in the middle of the order for a 59-46 club that is proving to be one of baseball’s most exciting stories of the 2015 season. Correa homered two more times last night, giving him 12 home runs on his partial season and a .916 OPS.

It was the first two-homer game of Correa’s career. The first one he flicked his wrist and a fly ball just kept going and landed in the Crawford boxes. Later in the game with his new teammate Carlos Gomez on first base he threw his hands at a pitch on the outer half and took it out to right center field. This kid is absolutely unbelievable.

Dallas Kuechel went six innings strong striking out eight and allowed only two hits to improve to 13-5 on the season. Carlos Gomez – another aspect that adds to the fun factor of Houston – added three hits in his first game in an Astros uniform.

The Astros are three games up on the Angels in the AL West.

Carlos Correa is on the board

Carlos Correa has had a lot of pundits lately saying he won’t contribute much power. He’s only 20 years old, and in his second career game; he homers for the first time in that offense incubator on the South Side of Chicago.

Everyone says he’s an A-Rod clone. Maybe he will be in time in terms of the stats that pile up on the back of his baseball card. But for right now, his swing to me looks like Torii Hunter. And Torii Hunter, despite never playing shortstop; is a pretty good big league hitter.

The home run accounted for the only Astros runs in a 4-2 loss to the White Sox. Man, we really like Carlos Correa. The crown jewell of an organization flush with young talent. The Astros are a great story right now, even if we hated them when they were in the NL Central.

Something has Awakened El Oso Blanco

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Remember a few weeks ago when some assholes were really riding Evan Gattis hard on twitter? I bet he doesn’t.

The White Bear went off today – shitting all over his Houston woods with two pretty long homers and driving in four runs. He’s still only hitting .198 on the season, but it’s a loud .198 damnit!

The Astros beat the Mariners today 7-6 in Houston, winning their 10th straight game.

What isn’t to love about The White Bear (aka ‘Bulldog Being), a guy who posts only his former janitor name-tag as his twitter pic.

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The Astros are 18 and friggin’ 7. I am pretty sure we told you in our season predictions they would be better. This is the ninth team in franchise history to win 10 games in a row. This is the best start in franchise history. I believe I heard this is only the second time in baseball history that a team has won ten games in a row the season following a 96 loss season. And if I’m wrong or something on that, Jayson Stark will be checking in with some awesome stat tomorrow morning on Mike & Mike if they decide to give baseball ten minutes.

Mike Trout might be the best ballplayer these eyes have ever seen

Here's Trout hitting home run #100. Spoiler: he hit #101 a few innings later.
Here’s Trout hitting home run #100. Spoiler: he hit #101 a few innings later.

Texting with my buddy M.J. Lloyd before tonight’s ballgame, he brought up a good point. In today’s sport world, everyone is always searching for the ‘next Trout’ or ‘next Kershaw’. It leads to diminished returns and not really appreciating what is in front of us. As M.J. (wise man in the ways of the Trout) pointed out, he’s essentially ruined being a prospect for the next 20 years. There won’t be another Trout in our lifetime. Just like there’s only been one Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and the Darryl Strawberry’s who came along after them did not reach the lofty expectations set by the legend.

Tonight, the legend of Mike Trout grows.

So Mike Trout’s 100th career home run will go into the record books, a textbook Trout blast into the Crawford Boxes in Houston off Roberto Hernandez (he’ll always be Fausto Carmona to us). It of course comes in an Angels win, because that’s what big games from Mike Trout usually result in for his franchise. Mike Trout is now the youngest member of the 100 home run/100 stolen base club in baseball history.

Feather in his cap of all the other insane things he’s done. I am sitting here currently debating whether or not he’s the best talent that I’ve ever seen. Some would want to bring Bonds into the conversation; for me in terms of the eye test and pound for pound clean talent; it’s between him and Junior Griffey. That’s the only thing I can relate what I’m seeing from Trout to.

Finally, M.J. added: “The worst thing a prospect could be called now is the next Mike Trout”. Yes. Yes Mr. Lloyd you are correct.

Chris Carter: All he does? HIT HOMERS!

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Back when I was a kid – Chris Berman used to have a line that anyone who loves sports will remember about former Vikings Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter. I guarantee someone out there more clever than me has used it when referring to Vernon Christopher Carter and his home run hitting ability.

That brings us to your Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week from last week. The award is not just about hitting for average or bringing varying degrees of good play to the table. It’s just about straight mashing. Carter has done that all season long, without being quite as terrible as he was last season during the process.

In the week that was that earned Carter the HHMWMPOTW honors, here’s what he did:

9 for 28 (.321), four home runs, nine RBI, 1.083 OPS

His .818 OPS for the season is up almost 50 full points from where he was last season. He has already matched his 2013 home run total with 29. And he’s cut his strikeout % from 36.2% to a sparkling 30.4%. So he still strikes out a shitload, but he’s improving! FanGraphs went as far as to do a post on what’s different for our chameleon first basemen/outfielder hybrid this season.

He’s actually been as valuable to his fantasy owners as Albert Pujols. He’s helping someone beat me in a fantasy league and keeping me in second in another.

Chris Carter. All he does is hit homers. And strike out some. And help people like me lose people fantasy leagues.

Mike Trout makes it a Fourth of July no one will ever forget

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[Box Score]

[OC Register]

We had just returned home from our local fireworks display when the Angels gridlocked the Astros at 6-6 on a Howie Kendrick double. As the game headed to the bottom of the ninth inning, we saw that Mike Trout would lead off the inning, and said to ourselves wouldn’t it be just like Trout to do something huge on July 4th to win the game for his team, less than an hour that the news broke that their division rivals had acquired two arms in a big trade (including Jeff Samardzija) that probably puts them out of reach of being caught.

Tony Sipp dealt Trout a low 0-2 pitch, a sin that he would never survive. As the ball went flying into the dark night air, the man that some are calling the runaway AL MVP won another game for his team.

Here it is, forever for your enjoyment. Even though forever isn’t enough time to appreciate how good Mike Trout is right now in the year 2014; at the summer’s highest point.

Wait, The Astros made the Sports Illustrated Cover?

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I love the tagline – and I’m sure George Springer’s time in the sun on this blog will come soon enough (and he can’t wait). I guess it’s time to stop hating the Astros. They’re not in the National League anymore. We can leave hating the Astros in our childhood. They’re going to be some kind of fun in a short time. Good for them.

ht: Sports Illustrated

2014 Houston Astros Team Preview

The future of the Astros, Carlos Correa.
The future of the Astros, Carlos Correa.

Giving us a helping hand with the 2014 Astros Team Preview is Mike Hllywa. You might recognize Mike’s name from his work at Gammons Daily, Halo Hangout, or Off Base Percentage. He’s also been a guest host on The Baseball Show Podcast. You can follow him on twitter here.

I know what you are thinking, this post is about the Astros, so let’s get to the jokes already, right? Sadly, there will not be that many jokes at the expense of the Astros here thanks to a contract that my buddy MJ made me sign this past winter. Yes, the contract was written out on a cocktail napkin. Yes, I did sign said contract in mustard. No, I will not tell you how much alcohol was consumed. Yes, I should have a lawyer on standby so I stop doing stupid stuff like that. Don’t worry, MJ, if your buddy, Kevin Goldstein, gets upset, it won’t be because of this article.

Interestingly enough, however, the joke may be on all of us in a couple of years. Why is that, you say? That is because the future is bright in south-eastern Texas. Now, pipe down, no questions until the very end.

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Jay Bruce clinches 100 RBI’s in his hometown with a Grand Slam

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Pretty special moment tonight in a guy’s career we’ve followed since day one.

Jay Bruce reached the 100 RBI plateau in Houston (which is not far from his hometown Beaumount, Texas) for the first time in his career. He did it with a grand slam – the second of his career and first since his rookie season in 2008. It was his 30th home run of 2013.

It’s a nice milestone, and you can tell from Bruce’s reaction in the video highlight along with the interaction with his teammates it has been something that has eluded him for too long of a time. He’s finally done it, and it confirms what has been the feeling all along; that this is the most complete season of Jay Bruce’s big league career; advanced metrics be damned.

The Reds won the game 10-0 over the Astros, who lost their 100th game of the season. This was the third season in a row that this has happened.