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Not one mention of the 23 run Astros game on ESPN website

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by RKREBORN, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    It seems like there are TONS of Astros fans in every park we play in.

    But yeah, I stopped caring about what the national media thinks of us after this debacle back in 1994:

    [​IMG]

    That being said, I do like to read the 'power rankings' every week and the Astros have been #1 in every one I've seen (including ESPN) since the Greinke trade.
     
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  2. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    They weren't #1 in the Atlantic power rankings (previously done by now known to be wife beater Jonah Keri) this week.
    Grant Brisbee did those power rankings and had the Dodgers 1, Astros 2, Yankees 3. Grant Brisbee used to be a national treasure, now he writes only for the Giants.
     
  3. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    ESPN is safe. The victims are still a minority in Houston.

    Houston is Texans town.

    People who tolerate a mediocre product also tolerate mediocre analysis.
     
  4. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    DISRESPECT ALERT FOR REAL FANS:

    Espn's headline article on the front page has a discussion about which of the 3 teams - Dodgers, Astros, Yankees - is the "team to beat" in October. While the Astros were spoken of favorably, picked to win even, a couple of times the writers had the gall to mention that the Dodgers are also a pretty good team and could in fact win the WS.
     
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  5. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    Excuse me The Athletic, not the Atlantic. Trying to multi task. And will echo the sentiment above, the Athletic is awesome and well worth the money if you enjoy sports.
     
  6. bobrek

    bobrek Not a liberal, regardless of my posts
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  7. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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  8. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/27435057/how-astros-keep-getting-better-better

    There are a number of teams in baseball right now that are between contention cycles, to put it euphemistically. The actual figure is a matter of debate -- somewhere between eight and 11 -- but it's hard to say for sure because some of the "rebuilders" are actually in fringe postseason contention.

    Still, even if we go with the low end of that estimate, that's a good chunk of the MLB landscape for which the leading 2019 storylines are entirely about the future. Oh, game stories are still produced each night and players on these teams are discussed and profiled. Even so, all of those daily happenings are tinged with the possibility of, and the hope for, better days to come.

    For those who cover those non-competing teams from February through September, with a little winter meetings action and some hot stove rumblings mixed in, it gets tedious. Every day becomes an exercise in rewrapping the same newspaper. So when the regular season comes around and the Houston Astros come to town, they arrive bearing the gift of the obvious narrative: The Astros typify what Rebuilding Team X hopes to become.

    This isn't that narrative, but it's worth asking: What did the Astros hope to become?

    "Our goal all along was to, as quickly as possible, get to a competitive level and then to stay that way for as long as possible," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. "So while we were building to get there, we were thinking about how, when we get to the point where our young guys are producing, how do we keep the pipeline churning?"

    They've answered their own questions about how to do just that, even as the fascination over the Houston rebuild has been over for a couple of years, with stories proliferating about how they set the template that so many teams -- perhaps too many -- have tried to replicate. Following this story path makes sense to a certain extent, but it's also a bit simplistic. Every team is different. Every market has its own demands and limitations. Every rebuild has a different starting point and a different approach.

    And few -- if any -- teams are going to be able to replicate everything the Astros have done. Houston has become the 21st century prototype, with one championship already in the bank and the possibility of more coming, perhaps as soon as this October. The Astros have become baseball's model franchise.

    Houston's rebuild has been well chronicled, starting with the tear-down and out-and-out tank job that led to a staggering 324 losses over three seasons. It has paid off with what will soon be four playoff trips in five seasons, three AL West titles and, so far, the franchise's first championship.

    But as impressive as the turnaround has been for Luhnow and his lieutenants, what is almost as impressive is how the team has operated since the rebuild ended. Because while that process ended for most of us, the mindset behind it never has really ceased for the Astros.

    "How do we keep finding good players? How do we spend our money in free agency?" Luhnow asked rhetorically. "It wasn't like we all of a sudden got to the playoffs and got to the World Series and said that was enough."

    Sustainability has become a buzzword in contemporary culture, and so it is in baseball as well. For the Astros, it's what has differentiated them from other recent champions who also capped off successful rebuilds with World Series crowns. Those clubs climbed the same mountain as Houston did, but it's the Astros who have best positioned themselves to remain on top.

    Once the market-strapped Royals stopped hitting on first-round picks, their window for winning more or less coincided with the expiration of the controllable years of their talent core. When Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and company were about to become expensive, the Royals lacked in-house impact talents to replace them and the funds to retain or replace them via free agency. Thus Kansas City had no choice but to scale down once again and restart its process from the ground up, albeit with the hope their timeline can be shortened by the lessons they learned the first time around.

    The Cubs remain in contention, of course, but have operated on a lower tier than the Astros the past couple of years. Chicago's decision to focus on position players in its amateur acquisition processes has led to an ongoing battle to keep the big league pitching staff stocked, and there has been little choice but to take on money to account for the shortfall.

    One might point out that the Astros have done the same in terms of ramping up their payroll. It's true to an extent -- this season, Houston is on pace to have a luxury tax payroll of nearly $200 million, per Cots Contracts. That ranks seventh in the majors but is still roughly $7 million under the tax threshold -- and is about $34 million lower than the Cubs' figure. Most of it is by design, though Luhnow will admit that the Astros have benefited from a signing or trade here and there that they pursued but didn't pull off.
    "We've had some luck along the way," Luhnow said. "Some of the players we tried to sign that we weren't able to get, it ended up being players I'm glad we didn't get because they ended up not performing the way we would have hoped they would. Other players sort of fell into our laps."

    It's a humble sentiment, but the money aside, there is a striking aspect to the way the Astros have gone about managing their roster since they reached contention. To put it simply, Houston has managed to consistently find $10 solutions for $2 problems.

    This dynamic started back in the 2017 championship season. Needing a top-of-the-rotation hurler for the postseason, Houston nabbed Justin Verlander seconds before the Aug. 31 waiver-wire trade deadline. Verlander was merely one of the most accomplished pitchers of the decade, one who began a resurgence that year that has fully blossomed since he moved to the Astros. Last season, looking for an ace partner for Verlander, someone who could also be penned into the 2019 rotation after the likely offseason departures of free agents Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, Luhnow swung a deal for Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. He, like Verlander, has only gotten better since arriving in Houston.

    After last season, the Astros' core remained intact, but there were holes to fill. Keuchel and Morton indeed were not re-signed. Curveball specialist Lance McCullers Jr. was slated to spend this season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Veteran position players Marwin Gonzalez, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis all hit free agency. Luhnow mostly addressed those problems with low-key solutions -- because he could:

    •To replace Gonzalez as manager A.J. Hinch's primary utility option, he traded for former Blue Jays and Cardinals infielder Aledmys Diaz, who just a couple of years ago looked like the shortstop of the future in St. Louis, a position now held down by Paul DeJong. That has worked fine, though injuries have limited Diaz's availability.

    •Veteran backstop Robinson Chirinos was acquired from Texas to replace McCann. He, along with his backups, including recently reacquired veteran Martin Maldonado, have the Astros ranked right in the middle of the pack at the position by fWAR.

    •As for the rotation, Luhnow's approach was measured. He signed midtier free agent Wade Miley, who, of course, has gotten better since Houston got ahold of him. Beyond that, the plan was to fill from within, with Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock moving back from the bullpen, while younger starters like Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, Josh James, Corbin Martin and others loomed as rotation possibilities and provided upside. Other than Miley, those plans haven't come to fruition.

    •Steady veteran Michael Brantley was added via free agency to bolster the lineup. Brantley has been one of baseball's best hitters this season, a three-time All-Star putting together a career campaign at age 32.

    This is what the Astros do.
     
  9. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Early in the season, all of this maneuvering looked golden. The Astros enjoyed two 10-game winning streaks before the end of May. By the All-Star break, Houston was 24 games over .500 and 7.5 games up in the AL West. What more could they need?

    Frankly you had to look hard to see a weakness. They ranked in the middle of the pack in fWAR at first base -- the domain of Yuli Gurriel -- and it appeared they might be short a left-handed bat, especially with Josh Reddick struggling. But recently recalled slugger Yordan Alvarez was looking good. His OPS at the break was 1.185, reflecting the astounding numbers he'd been putting up at Triple-A. Still, that was over just 20 games, and Alvarez was just 22 years old.

    As for the rotation, Miley had been terrific, while Verlander and Cole were as good as ever, each ranking among the leading candidates for this year's AL Cy Young Award. Beyond that trio, because of injuries and inconsistent performances, Houston struggled to find answers. At the trade deadline, Miley, Verlander and Cole were a combined 35-13 with a 2.90 ERA. All other starters were 12-16 with a 5.62 ERA and just 13 quality starts out of 41.

    These issues have all since been addressed -- resolutely. And they've been addressed in different ways, illustrating how the Astros have created a perpetual window of opportunity by excelling at every crucial area of player procurement, analysis and development.

    1. Making big leaguers better

    A lot of attention has been paid to the way established veteran pitchers like Verlander and Cole have gone to, or rediscovered, another level after joining the Astros. But Houston has had success with hitters in that way as well, with Brantley serving as this year's prime example. He's on pace to establish career highs in all three slash categories, and that can't be attributed solely to this season's bloated offensive environment; the contextualized metrics agree.

    This effect is not isolated to players acquired from the outside. Gurriel has been a solid hitter for the Astros since joining the club in 2016. He didn't start this season all that well, with an OPS that stood at just .650 in early May. Gurriel, who spent most of his professional life in Cuba, is 35, so you had to wonder whether his position needed to be turned over to Alvarez, or even an external acquisition.

    Instead, since that low-water mark, Gurriel has hit .329/.361/.607 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs in 88 games. The production was crucial for a club that missed stalwarts like George Springer, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve at various times because of injury.

    "Gurriel has been our most valuable player this season," Hinch says matter-of-factly.

    Continued development, even of established players, often fueled by analytical processes, is pretty much an essential component of continued success in today's MLB. The Astros, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, have set the standard in this area.

    "We're an organization that is often talked about analytically and how we operate," Hinch said. "But we're still a people business. My job is to connect people with the information, and to make sure the culture is in place where they want to work, want to learn and want to continue to get better."

    2. The pipeline churns on

    According to the annual preseason Baseball America prospects handbook, the Astros' system has ranked 11th or better in every season going back to 2013 and stood at No. 5 entering this season. For a team that's five years into a contention window, that kind of organizational success is pretty amazing. (BA did drop the Astros eight spots in their midseason rankings.)

    This has given Houston plenty of fuel for trades, which we'll get to. But it has also continued to produce star power, even as the existing star core that led the way for the championship Astros sails along in their collective primes. With Gurriel enjoying a late-career breakout, you could look at a healthy version of the roster and still see a possible deficiency in left-handed hitting. Fine -- the Astros just went ahead and called up Alvarez, who has been the best lefty hitter in the American League this season. No wonder he's started to get the Barry Bonds treatment some nights.

    "I think he's earned it," Springer said of the kid gloves opposing hurlers have taken to wearing when Alvarez steps to the plate. "The stuff he's done in the box the last 60-plus games has been unbelievable. He always seems to hit the ball hard. Always seems to have a great at-bat."

    Among players with at least 200 plate appearances, Alvarez's .447 wOBA is neck-and-neck with Milwaukee's Christian Yelich for the best in the majors. It's 40 points better than that of Texas' Joey Gallo, who is the second-ranked lefty hitter in the league. Counting his time in Triple-A, Alvarez has driven in 127 runs in 111 games this season. In other words, he has fit right into a star-laden Astros clubhouse.

    "Great people, great players, great friendships," Alvarez said through an interpreter. "To be a part of this team is really special for me. I'm just focused on doing my job every day and doing my work."

    There is a lot to unpack historically with the level of play Alvarez has exhibited so far. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his stunning debut is the consistency of it. Alvarez has an OPS over 1.000 against both lefties and righties, at home and on the road, before the All-Star break and after it, and with runners on base or the bases empty.

    "His humility he has in handling success at this level and the coverage that he's getting and all the attention," Hinch said, "he's just been very humble. And also hungry to learn. He's a quiet man by nature and his demeanor is very low key. But he's always in tune with other players and other people and the information."

    In what has already become a popular passage in Astros lore, Alvarez was acquired by Houston in a midseason trade with the Dodgers for reliever Josh Fields. That deal went down just over three years ago and just six weeks after Alvarez first signed with the Dodgers. Luck? Perhaps, but it didn't take long for the Astros to grow excited about the 6-foot-5 masher who hails from Las Tunas, Cuba -- known as the "City of Sculpture." They'll be sculpting a statue of Alvarez before long.

    "After we [acquired] him and he went to the Dominican League, the reports from the coaches were that this guy is a really good hitter," Luhnow said. "The next spring, when he was brought over to the States, we started to hear some chatter from the back fields that, at one point, I think he hit a car with one of his home runs. It was one of those things where if you're around and you have a half day to go watch the back fields, find this guy and watch him hit. Because it's pretty special. It snowballed from there."
     
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  10. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    3. Bold trades

    The Astros' system populated the first contending roster during this current run of success for the franchise, and since has allowed them to acquire impact performers to augment that core. Verlander, Cole, closer Roberto Osuna and key reliever Ryan Pressly are among those acquired via trades that dipped into Houston's surplus of talent.

    The list of players who were expendable in Houston but are now filling important roles elsewhere, or at least serving as hoped-for solutions, has already grown long: Tyler White, A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis, Colin Moran, Derek Fisher, Tony Kemp, Teoscar Hernandez, Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers are among those who have been traded or simply set loose because the Astros needed a roster spot.

    And so when the Astros looked to add depth to their pitching staff at the deadline and perhaps find a bedrock arm to fill the need for a No. 3 starter, all they had to do was be bold and be willing to part with more young talent. No one was better positioned to do so, from an asset standpoint, sure, but also from a standpoint of mindset.

    The result? How does Zack Greinke as a No. 3 starter sound? He's only a player who recently joined Verlander and the Yankees' CC Sabathia as the only active hurlers with 200 career wins. He ranks sixth among National League pitchers by fWAR this season, even though he hasn't played in that circuit for three weeks.

    The acquisition immediately had people putting together best-ever rotation lists, which is probably a bit premature. But a Verlander-Cole-Greinke-Miley postseason rotation does look awfully good. And that would especially be true if, like the others, Greinke actually gets better with the Astros.

    "It's pretty cool that the guys are invested in each other as much as they are," Hinch said. "A lot of guys can learn from the elite pitchers that we have. The Verlanders, the Coles, the Greinkes. Miley has been around for a long time, Will Harris has been around. There's a lot of experience that we have that people can draw from. So when you're a young pitcher or an older pitcher, it would be smart of you to try to find something you can use from the other guys. If you're around our team and know our team, it would not surprise you that we have a lot of guys who weigh in on a lot of things."

    Greinke won his first three starts with Houston and had a 2.37 ERA in those outings, even better than the 2.90 mark that had him in NL Cy Young contention. Fellow deadline acquisition Aaron Sanchez -- who was a popular preseason pick to win the AL Cy Young as recently as 2017 -- could fill out this group in an almost obscene fashion, though he just landed on the injured list with a sore pectoral muscle.

    Greinke doesn't know yet whether his new rotation is anything special, but he is pretty pleased with the overall group around him.

    "The rotation can't take too much credit," Greinke said. "They're scoring tons of runs. The bullpen has been ridiculous. Just the whole team is playing really good."

    The Astros still face some challenges. While a projection system would see this as an almost perfect roster, Houston continues to be plagued by injuries, with Correa and Sanchez the latest to go on the shelf. Cole missed a start after experiencing some hamstring discomfort. The bullpen, led by Osuna, is talented but has seen variances in effectiveness.

    The Astros can't dip into their system to swing more trades this season; the Verlander-style August deal is no longer possible. Whitley, their top pitching prospect, has had a horrific season in the minors that doesn't seem to be getting better. So the Astros actually need Sanchez to get healthy for the stretch run, or else they'll have to again cycle among the group of lower-rotation starters who struggled so badly earlier this season.

    But consider the position group, or at least the healthy version of it. Reddick's season continues to be a grind. In a season in which everybody is going deep, he's slugging just .377. And as the season rolls on, things are only getting worse. He's got a .443 OPS since the break and a .284 mark over the past two weeks. Perhaps it's just a slump, but what if it isn't?

    Well, here comes that pipeline again. Houston's top position prospect is a lefty hitter -- Kyle Tucker -- whose swing is so sweet that during spring training last season, someone taped the name "Ted" above his locker because some journalist compared his plate demeanor to Ted Williams'. (The Astros have since cooled on this version of Ted talk.)

    Tucker should have filled the Astros' need for a lefty bat when Alvarez ascended, but he got off to a rough start this year on the heels of a .141 MLB debut over 28 games last season. He has hit well lately and will be back in the majors in September. Maybe the Astros will be able to ride things out with Reddick, but if not, they could turn to a guy who happens to be one of baseball's top hitting prospects.

    Will this stream of talent flow forever? We'll find out, because the Astros will have a string of tough financial decisions to make on free-agents-to-be in the years to come, beginning this winter with Cole. But for now, if you're an Astros' fan, you almost hope for problems to arise. The solutions tend to be awfully exciting.

    The Astros established what many see as the current template for rebuilding an organization. But that's ancient history. What the team has done in managing its roster since the rebuild ended is every bit as impressive.

    "We have, in our front office, instilled in everybody a sense of urgency that, even though we've had success the last five years, there's no guarantee that success is going to last," Luhnow said. "All we have to do is look at some other teams in our league and the other league as examples, teams that were playoff teams and World Series teams that are now going through what we went through [during the rebuild].

    "We have a lot of motivation not to go back there. We've been there and it's not that much fun. We're doing everything we can to stay where we are, and that's by using all of our capabilities."
     
  11. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    DISRESPECT THREAT LEVEL:

    Orange
     
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  12. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    Thanks for the post here J.R.
     
  13. Mr.Scarface

    Mr.Scarface Member

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    Why use this thread? Lead to a horrible stretch. Just make its own.
     
  14. rockets1995

    rockets1995 Member

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    Does anyone have this 23 run game vs orioles, any link or torrent?
     
  15. lnchan

    lnchan Member
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    Our inferiority complex need to stop. We aren't Spurs fans here.
     
  16. bobrek

    bobrek Not a liberal, regardless of my posts
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    Did you read the thread starters first post? This thread was ostensibly complaining about the lack of respect the Astros receive from ESPN. it is patently untrue and this is another example of how much respect they get from ESPN (and most every major media outlet)
     
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  17. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Saw this on Fangraphs the other day..2 things are true of every fan base. (1) No one respects their team. (2) Their team needs bullpen help.
     
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  18. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    (3) Someone in their lineup sucks
     
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  19. bobrek

    bobrek Not a liberal, regardless of my posts
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    (4) Closers should be perfect
     
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  20. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    (5) Baserunners should never be thrown out
     
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