Something that I really don't appreciate about all of the Astros losing in these recent years (amongst the many things) is that it has made me a persistent pessimist. If the team goes down 1-0 in the 2nd, the game is SURELY over. If, through a sequence of miracles, the Houston nine take a 9-1 lead, I bite off every nail I possess thinking that there has to be some reliever that will come in and ruin everything (that's actually been rather accurate this year). But the difference this season is: the Astros are just bad. They're not worst-team-in-the-league bad. They're just a below-average team. And below-average teams sometimes have good games, some of which are an absolute pleasure to listen to.
What went well:
- The oft-dormant Astros offense awoke in a big way, led by the ubiquitous Chris Carter, nicknamed The Reason That I'm Not a GM, and his two home runs. Putting up ten runs is just another testament to my theory that the Houston bats aren't necessarily bad, just inconsistent. That sounded really pompous, didn't it?
- Jeff Luhnow is starting to look reeeeeally smart with the whole Moran-Marisnick-Martes/Cosart-Hernandez-Wates trade. Marisnick has 11 hits in his last 20 AB and notched his first dinger in a Houston uni, Moran is hitting .278/.333/.417 in his 9 games with Corpus Christi, and Hernandez was just DFA'd the other day by the Marlins. We will selectively ignore the fact that Cosart threw 7 scoreless innings tonight.
- Collin McHugh treated me to a third great starting performance in three recaps by patching together a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 SO and 0 BB. Though seemingly everything that happens in Houston flies very much under the baseball media radar, the McHugh acquisition has to go down as one of the smartest (and most surprising) free pickups of the year.
- I always dream of the day that I don't have to put anything in this section, but McHugh did give up a homer to Oswaldo Arcia that Robbie Grossman came inches away from robbing. So there was that.
- Of course, as I typed the aforementioned bullet point, Kennys Vargas took Mike Foltynewicz deep. So there was also that. And also Arcia. There was that too.
- I will happily ride Trogdor's burninating streak as long as it lasts, but watching him do stuff like this always begs the question of how good he could be if he possessed any other tools. What if he walked at a nice rate? What if he had at least a little bit of defensive ability? What if he didn't strike out so much? What if he hit for an acceptable average? Huge power guys with little else often frustrate me but oh, how I love watching Chris Carter hit homers.
- Marisnick is such a smooth center fielder that I'm slightly disappointed to hear that he will be moved to right with Dexter Fowler coming off the DL. As much as I love that lanky man, he's just simply not the defensive player that Marisnick is. How about sticking Fowler in left?
- I would never insult the part of the park after which this illustrious website is named, but every Astros fan knows that the Boxes giveth, and the Boxes taketh away. A few homers were sent there by each team tonight. When the Astros become consistent contenders again, I wonder if that short left field porch will be more of a help or a hindrance.