AL West, May Day 2016 to May Day 2017

AL WEST STANDINGS Through Games of May 1, 2017

ASTROS 17 9 .654 W 2 6-4 10-5 7-4
ANGELS 14 13 .519 3.5 W 1 7-3 9-4 5-9
ATHLETICS 11 14 .440 5,5 L 1 4-6 7-6 4-8
MARINERS 11 15 .423 6.0 L 2 4-6 6-3 5-12
RANGERS 11 15 .423 6.0 L 2 5-5 8-8 3-7

AL WEST STANDINGS Through Games of May 1, 2016

RANGERS 14 11 .560
MARINERS 13 11 .542 0.5
ATHLETICS 13 13 .500 1.5
ANGELS 12 13 .480 2.0
ASTROS 8 17 .320 6.0

It’s a short and early comparative look, but if you are an Astros fan, it is, indeed, a much prettier picture in 2017 than it was last at the same calendar date last season.

This season, through all games of May 1st, the Astros are in first place, a full 6 games ahead of the AL West fifth and last place Rangers. Last year, the situation was reversed to the same difference – but in ugliness. The Rangers were in first place through the games of May 1, 2016 – and the Astros were in fifth and last place – a full six games back of the “Monsters of the Metroplex.”

Last night’s 7th inning smash and grab Astros win over the Rangers at Minute Maid Park was their first game of the season against the hefty dudes from North Texas. Last year the Astros would go win-less against the Rangers until their ninth meeting – and their continuing inability to beat the Rangers worked out to be the biggest schedule asset horse that Texas would mount – and we sort of do mean mount – as the Rangers rolled on to another AL West crown. They couldn’t have done it without all the help they got from our Space Oddity boys.

“Space Oddity” is simply an ancient holdover term that several of us in Houston used back in 1968, when that camp legendary movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey” hit the movie theaters. For us, it was an easy fit for our “still going nowhere soon” club during the fourth season of our do-over identity as the Houston “Astros.” By that time, we were still asking ourselves: “What is an Astro, anyway?”

We weren’t stupid. – We did get the need for the name change when Judge Hofheinz decided to juice up the new flying saucer field identity of the covered park that, almost suddenly, finally had landed in our back yard. We were just having a little trouble flowing hot blood for a team that never had threatened reaching a World Series  through 1968 – one that was now named for some kind of space rock – or mineral material from another galaxy. With a Colt .45, at least, we could all pretty much envision the damage that those little jewels were capable of making. After all, we were Houstonians.

Back to the main subject. – The 2017 Astros are looking good, but not invulnerable. Nobody ever is.

Dallas Keuchel is looking more and more like Cy Young again. Five of out 17 teams wins are due to Dallas. The rest are due to success by marginal starters, strong late inning closers, and a batting order that has no real weak spots.

If Jose Altuve doesn’t win the AL batting crown again, it may be because teammate Yuli Gurriel beats him to it. That guy has a terrific batting eye and bat control, He can hit ’em him and wide – and he can hit ’em low and in. And he can spray ’em, pull ’em, and hit ’em where they ain’t.

Brian McCann is a jewel – all the way around – and a great clutch hitter. And Reddick and Aoki were great signs. Thank you, GM Luhnow, for realizing that the cure to a 3-player dead spot at the bottom part of of the batting order is to get rid of it and to replace those three sports with several guys who can hit no matter where you put them.

Mr. Springer is what the great Mr. Springer is. – Mr. Correa is still super too, but needs to work on correcting the way pitchers are getting him as a swinging out on outside pitches in strategic hitting situations.

Would love to see Carlos Beltran break out in a rash of strategic and power hits. – Also keep it up, Evan Gaddis and Jake Marisnick, and “see the ball, see the ball,” Mr. Bregman.

Marwin Gonzalez? Just keep being who you are. Your presence gives manager Hinch more choices than he could ever have without you.

Mr. McCullers needs to start pitching on the road as he does at home. Either that, or else, he just starts pitching only at home – and then prepares to start negotiating his next contract at 50% what it would be worth, if he could also pitch on the road.

Would like to see Colin McHugh come back with a live arm, but that may not happen. Somewhere down the line, we may have to acquire or raise some starting pitcher help that’s not present on the current roster.

Those are my notes. What do you guys and gals see?


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

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2 Responses to “AL West, May Day 2016 to May Day 2017”

  1. bobcopus Says:

    All very positive. As a team, I don’t think it has reached its potential yet.

  2. Michael McCroskey Says:

    I have seen more line drives off the bat of McCann this month than I did off Castro’s bat all of last season. Definitely a good pickup for the team. What’s not to like about this team so far?

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