Archive for the ‘Houston Astros’ Category

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros

Much of the baseball cognoscenti spent the last two years falling over itself praising the Houston Astros for rebuilding the “right way”. The ‘stros astute stripped the roster down to the wood, rebuilding the farm system and loading up on talent.

There is another side of the equation: Astros fans left to watch their favorite club struggle through (potentially) three straight 100 loss seasons. For a window into this very unique situation, Getting Blanked reached out to Astros fan and co-founder of Pitchers and Poets Ted Walker for his perspective on watching his favorite team play out the bottom ebb of an arduous rebuilding process.

Speculative Fandom

If a team could skip an entire season, would they do that? The Astros definitely would.” – Dustin Parkes during a recent episode of the Getting Blanked Podcast

The Houston Astros deserve the treatment above, because my hometown team is itself a living hypothetical statement. In the Astros’ case, the query is: What happens if we intentionally and wholly ignore the fans of today in favor of the fans of a tomorrow? The payroll could not be lower, the players could not be younger, and my fellow fans and I are essentially coerced into a state of constant night, hoping that the sun will rise, as promised.

It’s enough to jump ship to the Rangers or, using the opposite logic, to the Mariners or the Yankees. But I won’t. Instead, when I turn on the Astros, a strange suite of emotes rises in my chest, characterized by a sense of quiet satisfaction, contentment and even, yes, I’ll say pleasure. There are no fairy tales, here. The Astros are indeed the crappiest crowd of losers in all of baseballdom. And because I am a lifelong Astros fan and Houston native, I feel like I am supposed to have sunk into a quicksand miasma of despair over a litany of circumstances, like our coerced move to the AL (accompanied by an equivalent repulsion toward the DH), our years of basement play and the sorry state of our 25 man roster. Logic dictates that I should be miserable, but I just can’t manage it.

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Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals

It was a bizarre Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. First, the Kansas City-Cleveland game was delayed for more than two-and-a-half hours by rain. Then, near midnight, during the sixth inning, the lights went out due to a preset computer program.

At some point in there, the Royals were up by a run when Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis hit a long fly ball to left. Alex Gordon went back trying to make the catch at the wall, but then awkwardly fell back, seemingly hitting the back of his head on the wall as the ball rolled forward. Kipnis came around for a three-run, inside-the-park home run to put his team up 3-1. The Royals actually battled back and ended up winning 6-5 on Eric Hosmer‘s solo home run, which was fun for Royals fans.

Gordon’s injury, however, was not. He did not get carted off, but from the looks of things, he hit his head pretty hard. The initial diagnosis was that Gordon suffered a mild concussion (to the extent that any concussion can be called “mild”) and a bruised hip. It is not clear how long Gordon will be out at this point, but it was definitely scary at the time. 3

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Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros

Every Friday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the four competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Wednesday night’s Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

We like to say that things have a way of evening out, and while there’s some truth to that statement, it’s a bit more complicated than putting faith in the due theory. Coming into Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Houston Astros had lost five in a row, including back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Rays, who outscored the Astros 20-0 over the last two games.

Tampa Bay is a good team. Houston is a bad team. But the gap between good and bad in terms of Major League Baseball teams isn’t as wide as heroes and villains in summer blockbuster movies. Even the lowly Astros are unlikely to be consistently outscored by an average of ten runs a game by the mighty Rays.

And so, we get Wednesday night. A game in which Houston’s ace, Bud Norris, did what he’s done at home for the past two seasons. And a game in which Chris Carter did something that he hasn’t done at home since coming to the Astors. Good starting pitching and home run hitting combined to give Houston a 4-1 victory over Tampa Bay.

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Well that didn’t take too long. The Houston Astros officially confirm the signing first overall draft pick Mark Appel. The Astros did not publicize the terms of the but Jim Callis of Baseball America believes the terms are in place and — dundundunnnnnn — below slot.

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You know that hill in centerfield at Enron FieldMinute Maid Park? It’s pretty much the dumbest thing in baseball and the worst part of the tricked up (but lovely, I’m sure) ballpark in Houston.

One day, somebody less capable than Carlos Gomez is going to run up that hill and they won’t make a terrific catch, as Gomez did. Some poor schmuck will traipse up that incline and everything will go horribly wrong, resulting in naught but twisted limbs and ligaments rather than the wry smile/look of amazement worn by Gomez after reeling in this long drive.

And then, somebody will realize this goofy gimmick in the goofiest, gimmickiest park in the league should go.

It will be too late for that chump but not too late to admire Carlos Gomez for making a great play. Way to go, Carlos. That was pretty cool.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros

It’s hard out there for a prospect. first, you need to keep your body in one piece long enough to make it to the big paydays of the Major Leagues. Then you need to prove that all your blue chip hype and bluster isn’t in vain, as you struggle to make the required adjustments to stay up in the world of lofty paychecks and expensive hotels.

Travis d’Arnaud and Brett Wallace are like two sides of the same coin, in a way. Well-regarded prospects who also happened to get traded more than once during their ascent to the big leagues. Wallace was drafted by the Cardinals, traded to the A’s as part of the Matt Holliday trade then moved to the Blue Jays in the aftermath of the Roy Halladay deal.

With the Jays he did what he did at every minor league stop: he raked. He hit the ball and posted appealing minor league batting averages, though his power numbers worried some in the supercharged offensive atmosphere of Las Vegas. The Jays eventually shipped Wallace to Houston in exchange for Anthony Gose, one of their original targets in the lead-up to the Halladay deal.

Brett Wallace seems to have found a home with the Astros, though his role is uncertain. Just as many feared as his body developed and his number of minor league at bats grew, Brett Wallace hasn’t really shown a great deal of power at the big league level. He has shown a stupendous ability to strikeout, however.

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Scary and unusual scene today in Oakland, as Houston Astros coach Jeff Murphy was struck by the batting practice protection screen during BP. Murphy, who is in his first season as the team’s bullpen catcher / catching instructor, was throwing batting practice at the time, when the wind blew the screen over.

He was carried of the field after looking to injure his leg.