Hot take #1: Marwin Gonzalez is the best utility player in baseball right now.
The Astros won today, defeating the Cleveland Indians by a score of five runs to three. Proving once again that the best things are worth waiting for, fans
patiently* waited five hours and nine minutes to experience Gonzalez' bomb to deep right field in the bottom of the sixteenth inning. Notably, it was only the second time in the career of former Rule 5 draft pick Gonzalez (who we shall, for the remainder of this piece, refer to as MarWIN) in which he hit a home run with runners on base.
Like most of the Astros, MarWIN started off the season slowly, but now has a respectable 99 wRC+, including 145 for the month of May. Since 2013, he has been a better than average offensive player while manning five different fielding positions for Houston.
Hot Take #2: Michael Feliz is gonna go back to AAA
Not because he deserves it. But because the pitching staff has to be gassed. Cleveland and Houston combined for eighteen pitchers during this game. Notable performances include Houston starter Doug Fister and his seven innings of 2-run ball with no walks and a ridiculous fifteen ground ball outs. As perhaps the TCB writer most skeptical of the Fister signing, I have to say that since Fister has allowed no more than three runs in any of his starts after April 14th, I am starting to wonder what condiment might go best with a tasty dish of crow.
Closer Luke Gregerson blew his first save of the season (it happens, we'll give him a pass), but in a great ironic twist, public whipping boy Ken Giles sailed through his own inning with ease and free of any opponent scoring. Will Harris, Scott Feldman, Tony Sipp, and Pat Neshek all worked an inning each of scoreless relief work.
As good as everybody (save Gregerson) was, their performances were eclipsed by the show put on by 22-year-old rookie Michael Feliz. Feliz, in the final three innings of the game, allowed one hit and no walks, and struck out an astonishing five of the ten batters he faced. His fastball flirted with 100 mph during all of the innings, and when on rare occasion he threw a pitch in the heart of the zone, batters either whiffed or fouled off, unable to catch up with the stuff.
Unfortunately, the bullpen is going to be pretty gassed. A logical move would be for the Astros to recall a pitcher from Triple-A for pullpen help. Perhaps Brad Peacock or Asher Wojciechowski, both of whom are on the 40-man roster and haven't pitched for a few days. To make room, Feliz is a logical choice to return to the minors, if only for a short while, since he will likely be on bed rest anyway.
Hot Take #3: George Springer will be team MVP for the Astros
I called this at the beginning of the season, but lol, my friends, lol. Springer only went 1-for-4 at the plate today. But wait. He also drew four walks. And the one hit was a solo home run in the fourth inning off of Indians starter Danny Salazar. That home run was the 1,500th home run hit at Minute Maid Park.
Speaking of Salazar and the Indians' pitching staff, they allowed the Astros to walk so much during this game that I expected somebody to win a cake at the end. The Astros oh-so-patient batters wound up with twelve free passes on the night, including six by Cleveland's co-co ace (seriously, how ridiculous is their pitching staff?). Sadly, that base-on-balls tally was topped by the eighteen walks of shame Astros hitters experienced after striking out.
Other than Springer's dinger and MarWIN's sixteenth-inning hallelujah chorus, the Astros' remaining offense was provided by the usual suspects. Two more hits for future Hall of Famer middle infield combo Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The rest of the lineup did almost nothing, accounting for three hits in thirty-five plate appearances.
Ladies and gents, the Astros 4 through 9 hitters are officially a problem.
But let's not dwell on the negatives! The Astros won, hey?
Hot Take #4: Just give Carlos Correa the Gold Glove now.
* I scratched out patiently, because on the telecast you could clearly hear the most annoying heckler ever screaming like a moron at every single Indians batter from about the tenth inning onward. Seriously, bro, you are downgrading the quality of the human race. Just stop yourself from pretty much doing anything, before it is too late.
Also, I was kidding about the Springer MVP thing. Jose Altuve, folks.