Sunday, June 9, 2024

Faithfully Yordan

 After scaring me by inexplicably becoming good in mid-May, the Astros have thankfully evened out a bit, and are now 6 games under .500. They're still winning games, and still doing their thing, but every once in a while they lose embarrassingly. Like today, they were going toe-to-toe with the Angels, and then Josh Hader let a ball get to Logan O'Hoppe, it gets Trey Cabbage to run to the wall and Trey leans into the stands, thinking he's got it. 

And folks...the moment of realization when Cabbage looked into his glove, realized he didn't have it and did this little 'DAMMIT' motion...that's one of the funniest baseball things I've seen in a while. Funnier than Kiké Hernandez taking a bouncer to the cubes while mic'd up, funnier than Volpe hitting a triple and sort of shruggingly taking home upon the overthrow into the dugout. Just funny stuff. O'Hoppe just sort of started the home run trot even while Hader was trying to figure out what had happened. The broadcasters were even going 'shit, THAT'S GAME!'. It amused me to no end.

The Astros have honestly had a lot of that luck this year. Losing Javier and Urquidy for the season is one thing, but now they're without Kyle Tucker, their best player, for a little bit. It's very much like a Juan Soto kind of absence, like a 'see how much value I deserve considering how shitty the team looks without me?' kind of thing. And Tucker will probably get a nice contract from Houston eventually, provided the gravy train keeps rolling, which, while not a guarantee, is likely. But without Tucker, the outfield is now Meyers-McCormick-Loperfido. Or Cabbage if today doesn't result in a benching. And that's so much less cool. Remember, back in the day this was a Brantley-Springer-Tucker outfield, that's so much better. Not that Jake Meyers isn't good, he's got 25 RBIs, but...he's not really the household name Brantley was. Loperfido at the very least is hitting .333, that's decent contact stuff, but they're really not sure if he's the guy or not yet. 

The Astros are just lucky that they're still the Astros. Altuve's still a league talent, he's mixed contact and power perfectly and is cementing what is likely a Hall of Fame career, as much as it pains me to say it. Alvarez is, y'know, doing his thing. He's got 13 homers, 33 RBIs, hitting .296. It's very much like an Ortiz thing where he's just gonna do this, and I can waste time hating him or I can just come to terms with the fact that he's really good. Verlander, even at 41, still has a 3.63 ERA, and can pitch big games. It's clear that Valdez, Bregman, Hader and Diaz are lesser this year, but they've still had strong moments.

I think the Astros annoy me slightly less than usual because they have such obvious flaws that, for the most part, prevent them from really making much headway in this division. The Rangers have struggled with injuries but they still have a lot going for them. The Mariners have had lineup trouble but even that's turning around. The Astros just...aren't a wholly ironclad team anymore. They can pretend that they are, and they will, but ultimately this will hold them back. 

...y'know, unless they'd like to hijack the narrative again. Not that this is an invitation. 

Coming Tomorrow- There have been a lot of incredible seasons in San Diego so far, and this might be the most inexplicable. 

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