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Astros baseball: we've got uniforms and everything.

Updated: 2017-09-25T17:08:06-05:00


Game No. 156 Preview: Astros vs. Rangers



Can the Astros crush the Angels’ playoff hopes?

Astros (95-60) vs. Rangers (76-79), Sept. 25, 2017, 7:05 PM CT

TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW
Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV
Rangers SBNation Blog: Lone Star Ball

Pitching Matchup

RHP Collin McHugh (3-2, 3.44 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .299 BABIP, 4.75 xFIP) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (10-10, 3.44 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .264 BABIP, 5.26 xFIP)


The Rangers wouldn’t change their home series that starts Monday following Hurricane Harvey. The Rangers front office made the tough decision to put the Rangers’ need first to keep a home series late in the season to keep the Rangers in the playoff race.

Now let us check on the Rangers in the Wild Card race to see if that decision paid off? The Rangers are in third place for the final spot in the AL with the Twins ahead of the Angels by 4.5 games and the Rangers by 5.5 games. Good to see the Rangers made that tough decision worthwhile.

Back to the Astros. Houston is 2 12 games behind the Indians for the top record in the AL. THe Astros face the Rangers and Red Sox to finish the season, while the Indians face Twins and White Sox.

The Astros will send out Collin McHugh on Monday, he is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts during the month of September. He has dealt with a detached fingernail.

McHugh is 4-1 with a 4.71 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers, he is 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in four starts at Globe Life Park.

Elvis Andrus is batting .333 (6x18) with three strikeouts against McHugh. Rougned Odor is batting .350 (7x20) with a home run.

Andrew Cashner starts for the Rangers on Monday, he is 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in four starts during the month of August. Cashner is 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 15 career games (seven starts) against the Astros. He is 1-4 with a 4.06 ERA in five games against the Astros in 2017.

Jose Altuve is batting .444 (8x18) with a home run against Cashner in his career. Carlos Beltran is batting .400 (6x15) with a home run and seven RBIs against Cashner.

Astros-Rangers Series Snapshot: September 25-27, 2017



Can the Astros catch the Indians?

Houston Astros (95-60) vs. Texas Rangers (76-79), September 25-27, 2017


RHP Collin McHugh (3-2, 3.44 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .299 BABIP, 4.75 xFIP) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (10-10, 3.44 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .264 BABIP, 5.26 xFIP)

Time: 7:05 p.m. CT
TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)


LHP Dallas Keuchel (13-5, 2.96 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .254 BABIP, 3.40 xFIP) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.80 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .236 BABIP, 4.82 xFIP)

Time: 7:05 p.m. CT
TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)


RHP Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .269 BABIP, 4.23 xFIP) vs. RHP Nick Martinez (3-7, 5.42 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .266 BABIP, 5.00 xFIP)

Time: 1:05 p.m. CT
TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW, ESPN
Online: MLB.TV, Watch ESPN
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)

Series Snapshot

Split records: Astros — 47-27 on the road; Rangers — 39-35 at home

Run differential: Astros — +157.0 (4th best in MLB); Rangers — +13.0 (13th)

Runs scored per game: Astros — 5.40 (1st); Rangers — 5.01 (8th)

OPS+: Astros — 126 (1st); Rangers — 93 (20th)

wRC+: Astros — 119 (1st); Rangers — 95 (18th)

Earned Runs allowed per game: Astros — 4.15 (11th); Rangers — 4.52 (19th)

ERA+: Astros — 95 (19th); Rangers — 102 (13th)

xFIP: Astros — 3.81 (3rd); Rangers — 4.88 (28th)

Last 10 games: Astros — 8-2; Rangers — 4-6

2016 head-to-head record: Rangers, 15-4

2017 head-to-head: Astros, 9-7

Starting Nine: Primary DH in Playoffs


After a disappointing season from Beltran, should he still be the primary DH in the playoffs? While Carlos Beltran has added some valuable veteran leadership to the Astros, the $16 million man hasn't exactly lived up to expectations at the plate. Has Beltran done enough to be the Astros' primary DH in the playoffs? If not, then who would you rather see in the DH role throughout October? CRPerry13 I don't see a strong need to change things up. First, the Astros win a lot using Beltran at DH (67% of the time) or Gattis (16%). There's no getting around the fact that Beltran has only had one above-average hitting month this season (May, 110 wRC+). He hasn't been good. But by that same token, I don't think I'd want him entirely out of the lineup because of his presence. Pitchers still have to take him seriously, even batting 7th or 8th in the lineup with a .242/.286/.366 line like he's had in the 2nd half. The playoffs are just...different. I would want Carlos Beltran in the starting lineup. But if the game gets close or there is a high-leverage situation, I would definitely at least consider pinch-hitting with Gattis, McCann, Marwin, or whoever is the best option off the bench. Who knows? It's baseball. Despite the horrid season, it still is completely possible for Beltran to hit .300/.400/.500 in the playoffs with five bombs. Is it likely? Nah. But this is a world in which Clayton Kershaw has a 4.55 postseason career ERA. Jeff Bagwell hit .226 in 129 plate appearances in the playoffs. I'd keep the de facto player coach, the guy who has been there before and excelled, in the lineup.'s baseball, and stuff happens, and I want to see him go nuts in October. Brian Stevenson No, he hasn't. He shouldn't even be playing now, in my eyes. I don't care about veteran leadership and what-not...that's fine for the clubhouse, but if you're not really hitting, you shouldn't be in the lineup, and even more so for the playoffs, when every AB, every pitch and out, is precious and can mean the difference between winning and losing your entire season. By the way, before anyone mentions it, Beltran hasn't been a consistently-great post-season hitter since his 2012 run with the Giants. That was half a decade ago. Time to move on from that narrative. With all that said, the answer seems clear to me; Marwin Gonzalez. The infield is set with Yuli, Altuve, Correa, and Bregman. You want all those guys in the lineup on a nightly basis. Yuli is clearly the "worst" of that group and yet his high-contact, high-average, decent-power bat is a nice addition to the bottom half of the lineup. I'd also like Cameron Maybin to get a good amount of time in center field. The reason is defense; with him there, Springer in right, and Reddick in left, you have a standout defensive outfield behind your pitchers. Keep in mind that, unlike Keuchel (and McCullers, it seems), new ace Verlander is a fly ball pitcher. And Maybin certainly isn't a terrible hitter for the 8th or 9th hole. So it's pretty much DH if you want Marwin to get consistent ABs, and he's proven this year that, yes, you do want that. The other obvious option is Marwin at first base and Yuli at the DH, on account of his persistent lower half issue. I think the obvious question is where does that leave Gattis? He was great in April and July but has been garbage at the plate outside of those months, and that concussion sure scuttled an opportunity to find his stroke in August and September. You also have to ask if he's the guy you want catching playoff games. I don't think anyone knows for sure how much the Astros like him as a catcher, because catcher defense is still largely baffling to people without access to a supercomputer and a team of MIT grads and ex-NASA employees. I sure don't have a handle on it yet, so I won't rule out Gattis catching any certain amount of time...but McCann is clearly and purposefully Keuchel's catcher, and Verlander is a guy who likes to paint just as much as he likes the swinging strike, so yo[...]

Angels 7, Astros 5: Valbuena lifts Halos over Astros



Houston unable to complete sweep.

A 4-1 Astros lead wasn’t enough against the Angels on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park. Former Astro Lusi Valbuena had the key double that broke open the game for the Halos in a much-needed 7-5 win for Los Angeles.

The Angels move to 4 12 games behind the Twins in the Wild Card and the Astros dropped to 2 12 games behind the Indians for the top record in AL’s best record.

A two-run home run by Alex Bergman and a two-run double by Even Gattis put the Astros up early 4-1 in the third inning.

But the Angels quickly chipped away at the lead. Brandon Phillips homered in the fourth and a bases-loaded walk to Phillips and Andrelton Simmons tied the game at 4-4.

The Valbuena doubled came against Chris Devenski in the seventh inning after loading the bases. The Halos led 6-4. George Springer cut the lead to 6-5 in the bottom of the frame with the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh.

But Justin Upton answered back with a home run off Luke Gregerson in the eighth.

The Astros only had one hit over the final two innings, a single from Carlos Beltran.

Lance McCullers only went 3 13 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits. He threw 63 pitches.

The Astros used seven relievers. Francis Martes gave up two runs. Devenski gave up two runs and Gregerson gave up a run.

Houston Astros News: September 25, 2017


Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for Monday, September 25, 2017. Astros News Lance McCullers limited in Astros' loss to Angels Lance McCullers Jr. lasted 3 1/3 innings and the Astros expended seven relievers in the club's 7-5 loss to the Angels on Sunday night. Astros fall short in see-saw finale with Angels Luis Valbuena burned his former team by hitting a two-run, bases-loaded double in the seventh inning off reliever Chris Devenski to break a tie and send the Angels to a 7-5 win over the Astros in the regular-season finale at Minute Maid Park on Sunday night. Astros starters looking fresh as season nears end Entering Sunday, Justin Verlander has stood out for going 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA since the Astros acquired him last month, but the team's starters have pitched eight quality starts in the last nine games, with a 1.61 ERA and .162 opponent batting average. Rangers need to sweep Astros to have postseason chance (Sep 25, 2017) The Texas Rangers saw their faint playoff hopes get all but extinguished over the weekend, leaving the start of a homestand against the in-state rival Houston Astros devoid of much drama or intrigue. Where does McCullers stand in ALDS rotation? 'I'm confident that I'm going to be ready to go,' Astros righty says Around the League October Is Better With the Rockies, but They’re Throwing Away a Playoff Spot On June 20, the Rockies were in first place in the NL West. Three months later, they’re in a fight for the second wild-card bid. MLB playoffs 2017: Updating the postseason picture Where do the postseason races stand right now? Wild & AZ! D-backs soak up top WC clinch Arizona will host National League Wild Card Game at Chase Field on Oct. 4 Judge hits 47th, 48th HRs, 1 shy of rookie mark Aaron Judge homered twice in Sunday afternoon's 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, notching his American League-leading 47th and 48th home runs to close within one blast of Mark McGwire's 1987 record for the most home runs hit by a Major League rookie. [...]

ESPN’s Buster Olney talks with TCB about the Astros, Verlander, Sunday Night Baseball


ESPN senior writer, Sunday Night Baseball reporter talks with The Crawfish Boxes about the Astros. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels will take center stage on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. ESPN senior writer, Sunday Night Baseball reporter Buster Olney talked with TCB ahead of the game about the Astros, Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, and the City of Houston. TCB: There had been so much talk surrounding the Astros and Tigers about Justin Verlander in June, July and August. What were you hearing and yourself thinking when the deal finally got done? Buster: It was something the organization really needed. It was said out loud by Dallas Keuchel and Josh Reddick, that the players weren’t happy about (the trade deadline moves). They weren’t happy they came through July 31 and hadn’t made a big deal for a big pitcher. When it went down, I knew within that clubhouse there was going to be great relief and excitement. (The Astros) have accomplished so much and they are such a dangerous team. But it definitely felt like all summer that they needed somebody like Justin. And to get him like he’s throwing right now is the perfect shot in the arm. Not only specify for their needs in the rotation but also I think it adds to the team knowing that the front office paid the extra price to go get him. TCB: Had your perception of the Astros as contenders changed without making a deal? Buster: First off, purely as a team, I thought they would need something. Especially as the Indians over the last six weeks have played better if they are going to survive Cleveland they would need something beyond what they had. I felt like it was an emotional boost. I really thought after they got through July 31, I think I had sent this out as a tweet: that this would be a cancer on the team. I've been around a lot of teams in the past where there is an expectation of a deal. The team has got some momentum and there is no deal done. The players chafe at that and they begin to focus on it. Some players begin to use it as an excuse (for losing). It felt like they needed to do something to reaffirm to the players they were all in. The thing that I was concerned that this would be something that would hang over the team the rest of the year, I think they needed something to get past that. TCB: I know you saw first hand Dallas Keuchel be successful in 2015 in the Wild Card Game. But who would you go with if you have to pick one starter to start a playoff series in game one between Keuchel and Verlander? Buster: As of now, I would go with Verlander. Because of how well he’s throwing. It’s like Justin is on a mission, right? We saw this last year too, he got better as the year went on. Now, if Keuchel was throwing as well as he had been in the first four-five weeks of the season before he got hurt. I would probably go with him. Not only in terms of his stature in the clubhouse and the fact that he’s been there. If you are A.J. Hinch, you have to pay attention to that. But in the first game of a playoff series, I love a guy that has great offspeed stuff because they players are so hyped up. Hitters are dying to swing the bat. If you have a guy that command off-speed stuff like Dallas can, that to me would a nature guy to go game one. Dallas hasn’t been throwing as well as Justin lately, so I would go with Justin. TCB: You talked about Astros manager A.J. Hinch about the AL MVP and Jose Altuve on your podcast. MVP voting has evolved and changed over the past few seasons, how would you handicap the race for the 2017 AL MVP? Buster: Just be clear, I haven’t voted for an award since 1996. I haven’t had an official award vote in a long time. I do think it’s being assessed more and more with the baseline being wins above replacement. My sense with the writers is the old standby stats like RBIs aren’t nearly valued as much. And he’s the great thing for Altuve is if you think old-fa[...]

Game No. 154 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels



Can the Astros crush the Angels’ playoff hopes?

Houston Astros (95-59) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (76-78), Sept. 24, 2017, 7:08 PM CT

Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV, Watch ESPN
Angels SBNation Blog: Halos Heaven

Pitching Matchup

RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (7-3, 3.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .324 BABIP, 3.15 xFIP) vs. RHP Tyler Skaggs (2-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .316 BABIP, 4.48 xFIP)


The Houston Astros have a chance to all but eliminate another AL West team from the playoffs on Sunday. The Los Angeles Angels are tied with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers at 4 12 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the final playoff spot in the American League. The Astros could theoretically put the Angels back 5 12 games on Sunday with seven games remaining for the Halos.

The Astros try to pick up a series sweep with Lance McCullers back on the mound. McCullers was a scratch from a start earlier this month with arm fatigue. In one start in September, McCullers allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings on Sept. 6 against the Mariners.

McCullers is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels. He is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts (13 2/3 IP) in 2017.

Albert Pujols is 4-for-20 with a home run against McCullers. Mike Trout is batting .067 (1-for-15) with one home run. Luis Valbuena is 2-for-2 with a walk.

Tyler Skaggs goes for the Angels on Sunday. He is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA in four starts during the month of August, including seven scoreless innings against the Astros on Sept. 13.

Skaggs is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA in six career starts against the Astros. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Astros in 2017.

Jose Altuve is 5-for-14 with a walk in his career against Skaggs. George Springer is 0-for-11 against Skaggs.

Houston Astros News: September 24, 2017


Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for Sunday, September 24, 2017. Houston Astros News Gattis, Morton help Astros win 6-2, Angels lose 6th in row (Sep 23, 2017) | FOX SportsHOUSTON (AP) The Los Angeles Angels were left searching for answers on Saturday after they matched a season worst with their sixth straight loss to further dampen their AL wild-card hopes. Evan Gattis, Charlie Morton help Astros send Angels to sixth consecutive lossHouston's 6-2 win further dampens wild-card aspirations for Los Angeles, which loses sixth consecutive game. Texas Rangers: Friday's wild-card update: Don't tell the Astros, but if Verlander stays hot, he could help Rangers | SportsDayA look at the prime contenders for the second wild-card spot in the American League on Friday:Minnesota at Detroit: Minnesota has 75 homers, 14 by... Astros have plenty of options for the playoff rotationThe Houston Astros have plenty of options for the playoff rotation, with Lance McCullers trying to rejoin the party, but Charlie Morton has impressed. How the Astros' trade for Justin Verlander came together | SI.comIn their rapid ascent from cellar dweller to contender, the Astros heeded their data, hoarded prospects and played the percentages—until midnight of A Tigers Notes: Managers, Avila, Ausmus, Verlander, Astros - MLB Trade RumorsThe latest from the Motor City… Yuli Gurriel sets Astros' rookie record | MLB.comHOUSTON -- There is no time for pitchers to catch their breath when facing an Astros lineup that has All-Stars George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa near the top, along with Josh Reddick and Marwin Gonzalez, who are having the best seasons of their careers. When the Astros are healthy, things don't let up at the bottom, either, with guys like Yuli Gurriel lingering. The 33-year-old rookie, batting in the seventh spot Wednesday night, went 3-for-4 with a two-run double in the Astros' 4-3 win over the White Sox at Minute Maid Park. Astros hand Angels their 6th loss in a row. In the name of all that is merciful, let this season end. - Halos HeavenA 6-2 loss today at the hands of the first place Astros is yet another nail in this 2017 coffin. MLB News Bruce Maxwell is first MLB player to kneel during national anthem - SBNation.comOakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the national anthem on Saturday in response to comments by President Donald Trump, believed to be the first MLB player to do so this season. The once thrilling AL Wild Card race is falling apart - SBNation.comSunday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the Twins running away with a playoff spot, the rookie successes in 2017 and Bruce Maxwell’s statement. New York Yankees clinch American League playoff berth - SBNation.comWith a win on Saturday, the New York Yankees are back in the playoffs, at the very least clinching a Wild Card spot in the American League. The Cubs make strides toward the NL Central title and the Brewers do not - SBNation.comSaturday’s Say Hey, Baseball talks about the tough times the Brewers have fallen into. [...]