Houston Astros (44-89) vs. Seattle Mariners (60-73)
Minute Maid Park, August 29 – September 1, 2013
Prologue: Yes, I’m running a tad behind (or in this case substantially behind)…. As usual… I wish I could say this is simply an OWA-related issue… But… It isn’t… In fact as writing goes, its par for the course… And to be perfectly honest with you, it drives me bat-shit crazy! [Note: not in the ‘bat-shit crazy’ vein that some have may have accused me of being/known me to be in the past, rather more in the ‘annoys the heck out of me’ bat-shit crazy vein…]. Nevertheless, here I am, and here we are, so let’s make the best of this, shall we?!? [Or at a minimum, at least please accept my apology for being any unreliable piece of crap when it comes to the timely posting of OWA Series Previews…].
Anyway… here goes it… your (1+ day late) Astros vs. Mariners Series Preview.
I’m a Texan, born and bred. Grew up a Texan. Will die a Texan. And though my heart is and will always be that of a Texan, I live in the Pacific Northwest – been here since ’94 and will likely be here until the day I die (an event which I am somewhat certain will be related to a person snapping and killing me because of yet another last-second writing project completion…). And for the most part, at least as far as (non-bandwagoneering) baseball fan affiliations go, the Northwest is Mariners country. And over the years, to the extent that I ‘had’ to choose a favorite American League team, I guess the Mariners were it. That changed this year of course, but I’ve no desire to re-visit that ‘issue’ other than to say FYB!!!
Though the change to the AL has been nothing less than a monumentally sucktacular happening from my vantage as an NL Astros fan, I’ve nevertheless sucked it up, put on my ‘happy face’, and continued to follow the team. I tried not to, believe me I tried, but at the end of the day I just can’t quit [them]. One of the reasons seems to stem from my status as a ‘displaced Texan’ (and Houstonian). Even though I’m 2,000+ miles away from (what I will always consider to be) home, something about watching and rooting for the Astros gives me a sense of connection with the place my heart will always call home. Additionally, through my association with The Bus Ride, I’ve been watching many of these kids (the Future Astros) for so long, it proved impossible for me simply to ‘turn my back on them.’ Further, and though it may seem a tad trite, I simply didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. After all, my Astros ‘fandom’ is commonly known amongst not only my friends, but also most everybody that I practice against. And now that the Astros are an AL West team, my buddies (opposing counsel, general acquaintances, etc.) feel the need to talk shit about the Astros to someone, that someone is me. And it was going to be me whether I remained an Astros fan, or had renounced my fandom thereof, so I might as well stay the course. That said… as much as they’d looked forward to talking shit about the Astros to me is as disappointed as they’ve been now that they’ve had the opportunity… As a general matter, I’ve got a high-tolerance for listening to trash-talk as it is. And as far as the Astros go after two (going on three) 100+ loss seasons almost completely immune to Astros-suck related ramblings.
“I know everything he’s got to say against me,
I am white,
I am a fuckin bum,
I do live in a trailer with my mom,
My boy Future is an Uncle Tom.
I do got a dumb friend named Cheddar Bomb who shoots himself in his leg with his own gun,
I did get jumped by all 6 of you chumps ***
I’m still standin here screamin “FUCK THE FREE WORLD!”
-Eminem, 8 Mile (his words, not mine)
Call it “The Eminem Theorum of Shut the Heck Up” I guess… but… acknowledgement of the issues (mainly, yes, the Astros: are about to finish their third straight season as shittiest team in all of Major League Baseball; they strike out more at the plate than I do at last call; their current payroll is less than my monthly Kodiac and Diet Coke budget; etc., etc., etc.) has pretty much left them in stunned silence, unable to come up with anything of substance in retort. Moreover, I am able to (honestly) say with a straight face that while it is true that the Astros have sucked mightily for a while now, this soon shall pass… And try as they might to defeat my claims of the ‘Transient Nature of the Suckitude of Astros Baseball’, they’ve been unable to as I’ve got a shit-load* [*legal term of art] of evidence (albeit circumstantial) that I am right (as is usually the case when dealing with opposing counsel – or at least the way I choose to remember it), and they are wrong (which is also usually the case when dealing with opposing counsel – or at least the way I choose to remember it). But we’ll get to that evidence in a bit…
Tonight marks the second game of a 7-game home stand (4 vs. SEA) for the Astros. Over their previous two series the Astros have gone 2-1 (series win vs. Toronto) and 1-2 (series loss vs. ChiSox) making them a .500 team over the past week or so (or in other words, a hell of a lot better than they have for most of the season). Things have not been so ‘rosy’ for the Mariners, however, as they came into town riding a 7-game losing streak (broken last night). My Mariners buddies remain unfazed, however, as they’ve already penned the next 4 games as wins for SEA, and have not yet given up hopes of finishing near the top of the AL West by seasons end. [Note: Dumbasses, each and every one of them].
8/29 (Game 1 of 4): RHP Jordan Lyles (6-6, 5.17) vs. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-1, 5.44)
Giveaways: Evidently, a win…
Per brief perusal of Ramirez career stats, it doesn’t appear that he’d faced any of the current Astros in MLB play prior to last night’s game. Nevertheless, it is probably safe to presume that he will set (or tie) his career single-game strikeout record.
As for Lyles, the current Mariners were 12-39 off of him prior to the game, with 1 HR and 4 BBs. Ackley (2-2), Franklin (3-6), and Morales (2-3) had hit Lyles well in limited plate appearances, but Ibanez (1-6), Chavez (1-6), Ryan (0-3), and Morse (2-7) had not faired as well.
Game 1 Postscript: HOU lost, 3-2. I was otherwise occupied last night (Hillsboro Hops 2nd to last game of their inaugural season, among other things…) so I didn’t see the game. Per my understanding around the office this morning, however, SEA loves Hoes. And Franklin and Guitierrez love hitting off Lyles… As for Ramirez, it appears I was wrong on my strikeout record prediction…he only tied his second-best single game strikeout performance.
8/30 (Game 2 of 4): RHP Brad Peacock (3-4. 5.67 ERA) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (NR)
Promotions and Giveaways: Friday Night Fireworks; $1 Dog Night; American League Baseball (first 10,000 fans get a permanent reminder that W. Huber Selig is a waste of oxygen…); Cat Osterman Appreciation Night (seriously, what’s not to appreciate about Cat Osterman )
Friday night is slated to be Taijuan Walker’s Major League Debut. For those of you that aren’t familiar with him, Taijuan is “the shit”… Don’t know exactly how the rook will ultimately do in his MLB debut… but… I can absolutely guarantee that he will set and break his personal single game strikeout record when he faces the Astros.
As for Peacock, the kid throws a knuckle-curve so you gotta like that… Otherwise… The current Mariners are 11-37 off of him, with 4 of those 11 hits being home runs and 3 of the remaining 7 hits being doubles. Mariners have struck out three times against Peacock, and have walked twice. Only Brendan Ryan and Michael Morse have had their butts handed to them by Peacock.
8/31 (Game 3 of 4): LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-7, 4.82) vs. LHP Joel Saunders (10-13, 5.09)
Giveaways: Batting Practice Replica Jersey (Via Houston Methodist to the first 10,000 fans. This I wouldn’t actually mind having…)
Keuchel has faced the Mariners twice in his career, and is 0-1 with a hold. Keuchel’s loss against the Mariners came in a start in which he allowed 1 earned run (2 runs total) over 6.0 innings. Overall, the Mariners have hit .250 against Keuchel (7-28), with a home run and a walk to 7 strikeouts. Endy Chavez and Micheal Morse have had multiple hits (2 each) off Keuchel, and Michael Morse and Bredan Ryan both sport 0-fers (0-4) against him.
Saunders is 2-1 against the Astros this season, though they have hit him well (line: 5.94 ERA, 16.2 IP, 26 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 3 HR, 6 BB, 13 SO, .371 AVG). Among Astros knocking the tar off Saunders’ balls are Altuve (4-12, BB, SO), Barnes (4-6, 3B, HR, BB, SO), Jason Castro (3-6, 2B, 2 SO), and Matt Dominguez (3-8, BB, SO). For the love of all that is holy, let’s hope that Saunders does not set a career high single game strikeout record against the Astros. Dude sucks… that’d be annoying…
9/1 (Game 4 of 4): LHP Brett Oberholtzer (3-1, 2.91) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 3.03)
Giveaways: You’ll get nothing and like it.
Oberholtzer has never faced the Mariners. Iwakuma is 2-1 against the Astros over 3 starts (line: 1.89 ERA, 19.0 IP, 17 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 26 SO, .239). Here is how the current Astros have faired against Iwakuma. Iwakuma set his single-game career-high strikeout mark against the Astros in April (11), so let’s hope he doesn’t do so again…
Anyway… back to “this too shall pass”…
Now everybody from the 
Put your mutha[friggin’] hands up and follow me
[Note: To clarify, nope, I am not an Eminem fan (or for that matter a Rap fan). Just trying to follow the OWA Series Preview Playbook here (mention some music that the masses may recognize in some form or fashion)… Or just finishing a thought… Either way, need you to bear with me just a little bit longer…]
Don’t fret, help is on the way!!! [Astros Affiliates (by the numbers, or however else I feel like asserting it at that particular moment)].
Astros MiLB Organizational Stats (via MLBFarm)
Win Percentage: 57.07% (second only to the Giants who are at 57.1%)
Wins: 464 (second only to the Mets who have 466 overall wins)
Home Runs: 595 (second only to the Mariners who have 604)
Astros MiLB Affiliates Standings:
Oklahoma City RedHawks (Triple-A): 80-60, clinched playoff berth (tied with Las Vegas 51s for best record in the 16-team Pacific Coast League)
Corpus Christi Hooks: 81-55, clinched playoff berth (best record in the 8-team Texas League).
Lancaster JetHawks: 80-56, clinched playoff berth (tied with San Jose Giants for best record in the 10-team California League)
Quad Cities River Bandits: 78-56, clinched playoff berth (third best record in the 16-team Midwest League)
Tri-City ValleyCats: 41-29, 1.5 games ahead of Lowell in the hunt for a playoff berth (best record in NYPL Stedler Division, third best record overall in the New York-Penn League)
Greeneville Astros: 38-29, clinched playoff berth (fourth best record in the 10-team Appalachian League)
Gulf Coast League Astros: 27-33, eliminated from playoff berth contention (tied for eleventh in 16-team Gulf Coast League, only Astros affiliate with a sub .500 record)
Dominican Summer League: 39-31, eliminated from playoff berth contention (third overall in 8-team DSL Bocha Chica Northwest division, twelfth overall in the 38-team Dominican Summer League)
Astros Prospects (including some second half promotions to HOU):
Astros are the top team in terms of “Prospect Points” of all MLB teams per MLB’s Mayo.
George Springer: 37/43, ‘nough said* (though if you want more, how about ‘6-tool’ player. [* actually, I’m not sure that that is ‘nough said… In the history of MLB and MiLB, there have only been 8 verified 40/40 seasons. Ever. And George Springer has 3 more games to have the ninth. And ‘oh by the way’… the 37 home runs to date DO NOT INCLUDE the two home runs he hit in the Texas League All Star Game).
Carlos Correa: Stud.
Jonathan Singleton: true, he ain’t smokin’ ‘em like we might have expected him to do… but… he’ll get there)
DeLino DeShields, Jr.
Mike Foltynewicz: 103 MPH
Lance McCullers: 100 MPH pre-draft
Mark Appel: (legitimate) 1.1
Kyle Smith: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 9 SO
Luis Cruz: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER/R, BB, 14 SO
And lest we forget second half MLB call-ups (among others): Jarred Cosart, Max Stassi, Jonathan Villar, etc., etc., etc.
In any event, I think you get the picture I’m trying to paint here… Sure, the 2013 Astros suck (as did the 2012 Astros and the 2011 Astros), but that won’t be the case too much longer… The Astros will be good (very good in fact) in the not-so-distant future, and it will be a beautiful thing to behold.
Postscript: For what it’s worth, though this is ultimately the Series Preview that I posted, it is in no way, shape, or form the Series Preview that I intended to write. Believe it or not, I’ve spent a shit-load* [* reminder: legal term of art] of time writing, and re-writing, and re-writing an Astros vs. Mariners OWA Series Preview. Unfortunately, the preview posted is not remotely related to those that I’ve put forth legitimate effort on… (Not that I didn’t put forth ‘some’ effort on this, proofreading and editing notwithstanding (which I’ll get around to tomorrow), but still…).
I’ve been promising for a long time now that I’d write on ‘The Fall, and Subsequent Rise, of OSF’ (i.e. my personal battles with depression, and the war ultimately won (as long as I remain diligent that is, which I am)). And I tried, but (for the moment) was unsuccessful (not for any reason other than there is simply a lot that I wanted (and tried to) write on the subject, but could never really put words together enough to want to hit ‘post’ on). That post is probably better left to a ‘From Left Field’ submission in any event… And yes, I will eventually get around to submitting one on the subject… But until then, it’s been almost three years now that I feel like (and have had) my feet firmly planted beneath me. But this was far from my reality in January through June of 2009, which was the time that I *officially* met many of you.
To say that I was ‘beyond broken’ in February/March 2009 is a monumental understatement. Honestly, at that time, I was all but certain that “all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.” Ultimately I would be proven wrong, but at the time I had no clue that it even “could be” possible to put together the broken pieces – much less that it “would be” that I would ultimately prove able to do so (and make the whole stronger to boot). And it is for that “would be” that I wanted to take an opportunity to say thanks to some of you who for what you meant to my life, and recovery, at the time. While some of you were privy to what was going on in my life at the time, most of you were not. Yet knowingly or not, you provided support to me at a time when I needed it so very much. So with that, let me simply say thank you Chuck, Budgirl, Mr. Happy, Jane Doe, Coach, Gleech, Homer, Bench, Limey, and so many others of you. Know it or not, you provided me with a ‘hand up’ when I needed it so very desperately.
And a note to those of you who may currently be fighting (and by your estimation losing) a battle with depression, please know that the war is not lost and in fact can be won. I’m living proof.
“The fog has finally cleared to see,
The beautiful life You’ve given me.
Every next step is an extraordinary scene
I know that I’ve been given more than beyond measure
I come alive when I see beyond my fears
I know that I’ve been given more than earthly treasures
I come alive when I’ve broken down and given You control.”
-Jeremy Camp, Beyond Measure