And May the Best Be Yet to Come

July 9, 2017: The Houston Astros put on another of their game-ready demonstrations of “The Big Bang Theory” today, demolishing the Toronto Blue Jays in their own home garden by a score of 19-1. The victory pulled the Astros to an MLB-leading win total of 60 games at the All Star Game Break.

 

Unbelievable!!!

Unbelievable to those of us who’ve lived in the long shadow of Houston sporting teams, not merely the Astros, taking our fan hearts and then dropping them off the invisible barrier cliffs that have almost forever separated us from meaningful championships on the various fields of athletic endeavor. Hats off to the Houston Rockets for winning back-to-back NBA crowns during the 1994 and 1995 seasons that Michael Jordan went on sabbatical from the round ball game to demonstrate that hitting a basket with a bottomless net underneath was a heck of a lot easier than hitting even a lower minor league curve ball, but there was no big sense of fulfillment here for a lot of us Houston fans over those early AFL crowns of the rag-tag Oilers – or from those thrilling football conference victories in the Missouri Valley Conference by UH, or any of those Grandpa Gordy Howe lesser light hockey league crowns in the early years of the old Summit.

Bringing the point home more personally now – as a baseball fan, beyond all else – we’ve never won a World Series in Houston up until now – (didn’t even win a game in that 2005 shot against the White Sox) – and now it seems we’ve even go a chance to get there again – in spite of the heart-daggers to our baseball souls we had to fight off from the disappointments of 1980 and 1986.

This juggernaut offense of the 2017 Houston Astros renews the fire of hope in that possibility, even if we do stay on guard to the contrast that was so clearly demonstrated in the Toronto series. If the Astros continue to play like the team that won Games 2 and 4 this long weekend – and not like the club that coughed up Games 1 and 3 – and, if they are able to keep that going through the playoffs, a Mack Truck won’t stop us this time.

Check out this current quick view of the 2017 Houston Astros offense:

2017 Houston Astros Offense Through Games of 7/09/2017

PLAYER BA HR RBI OBP
Jose Altuve .347 13 50 .417
Carlos Correa .325 20 65 .402
Josh Reddick .313 09 41 .365
Geo. Springer .310 27 61 .380
Mar. Gonzalez .308 16 53 .391
Yulie Gurriel .297 11 44 .321
Evan Gattis .284 08 39 .343
Nori Aoki .264 01 12 .316
Alex Bregman .256 08 27 .338
Brian McCann .255 10 43 .333
Jake Marisnick .248 10 24 .320
Carlos Beltran .227 11 35 .284

When have the Astros ever gone into the mid-season break with 5 legitimate .300 hitters and another knocking at the door? Answer: Never.

When before have the Astros ever posted a strong plus 7 runs road game scoring average going to break? Answer: Never. The Astros are now in territory only occupied previously by some of the great Yankee teams of the 1930s.

When have the Astros ever had 6 players, including 3 starters, named to the All Star team? Answer: Again never.

When have the Astros ever had 8 players in double-digit figures for home runs at the break? Same answer as redundantly answered above.

When was the last time the Astros led all MLB clubs with 60 wins at mid-season – or even had that many wins by the All Star game? Answer: You know the answer by now. We’ve called its name here incessantly tonight.

When Astros relief pitcher Francis Martes gave up what would have been a 19-0 franchise margin of victory shutout win today by surrendering a home run in the 9th with two outs,  I was, of course, offended by its blight upon our perfectly level joy with the job of Blue Jay demolition, but even more so by its reminder of our pitching vulnerability. Pitching mistakes at critical moments, especially with pitcher Mike Spiers on Saturday, aided by sloppy play in the field got us beat in Games 1 and 3 in Toronto. We need better pitching and heads up fielding to go from here and our easy to say “best team in baseball proclamation to – performing well all the rest of the way forward for the sake of becoming World Series Champions of 2017.

The long season is far from over, but let’s catch our collective breath for now and simply enjoy all of the All Star Game activities on our digital plate over the next couple of days.

____________________

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

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