The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim square off once again after just playing three games in the city of Houston last week. The two teams will share the national stage on ESPN as part of Monday Night Baseball. The game will be broadcast by Dave Flemming, Rick Sutcliffe, and Aaron Boone with Baseball Tonight with Adnan Virk, John Kruk, and Pedro Gomez to follow.
Dave Flemming was kind enough to sit down with The Crawfish Boxes to talk about Monday's game on The Worldwide Leader in Sports. Flemming has broadcast for the Giants since 2004. He also broadcasts college basketball and football on ESPN. Let's talk with Dave:
What are looking forward to watching the most going into the game between the Astros and Angels?
DF: The Rangers have a such a significant leader in the division. If the Astros still have hopes of catching them, Houston will have to take advantage at every turn. The Angels are struggling and right now not a great team.
It's baseball, so it's hard to say this is must win. It is not that kind of sport. But I still think if you have ideas of catching Texas, these are the kind of series that you hope to make if not hold some ground. I think there is urgency for the Astros every game right now.
Also, we're a month away from the trade deadline. If you're trying decided "should we go for it"? Is their incentive to go for it. Are we just playing for the Wild Card or can we get the division? Everything single game right now for Luhnow and the decision makers is important as they try to decide what they want to do.
This isn't specific to this series but I think every game for the next month is important to the decision (the Astros) make in the next few weeks.
The Astros were pegged by a few this offseason to win it all. Looking back at your time in San Fransico, when did you know that the Giants were a team on the doorstep to winning a championship?
DF: The thing about the Giants was they took advantage of the down years, where they had draft picks were they could get impact players. They got impact players. The Giants' track record was amazing with Lincecum, Bumgarner, and Posey.
Those are the high picks, but also finding Belt, Crawford, Duffy, Panik, Romo, and Brian Wilson. The list goes on and on. That is where the Astros are. If you're going to be a championship team, you have to develop your own stars. There is no example of a championship that hasn't at least developed some of their own stars.
For the Astros, you have your shortstop and second baseman. Is Alex Bregman the next piece, is he the guy that push you over the top? Can the pitching you've developed take advantage of the window of position players on the roster?
If I'm the Astros, those are the questions that need to be answered. That is how the team takes the next step. Is that core of homegrown guys good enough to take you to that next level.
What about the giants has made them so successful in the postseason, and what do the Astros need to learn from their 2015 run?
DF: One of the other lessons of the Giants has been building a team to get to the playoffs and being built to do something when you get there. In this sport is often two different things. This year, on paper and so far in performance, the Giants look built for both.
The playoffs are a lot about the top of the rotation. The Astros found that out last year: some good, some bad. Dallas Keuchel was an overmatch against the Yankees. (Houston) was so good last year when he pitched. They were the best team in the big leagues practically on the days he pitched. He could have done Bumgarner if he had the opportunity, the Astros could have a chance to win the World Series last year.
How is switching gears between a local broadcast and a national broadcast?
DF: You have realized the differences between a local and national broadcast. On a Giants broadcast, I'm noting going to tell Giants fans that Buster Posey was drafted top five in 2008. Giants fans know all about their team, they don't know daily reminders about the building blocks of the team. On a local broadcast, we may dig a little deeper pitch-to-pitch on what is going on in the game.
On a national broadcast, for example on Monday night. It's crazy to say this but I think there are people who don't get how good Jose Altuve is. We're going to spend some time making sure people know how good a year this guy is having. Astros fans don't need that but for the national audience, we take a bigger picture view.
Ultimately, you call a game the same way locally or nationally. That means trying to make every at-bat feel like it is important. I try to identify what the pitcher is doing well and the hitter is trying to accomplish. If you can make that kind of things come to life, you can make a good baseball broadcast.