Blue Jays at Houston, May 7-9

Friday, May 07 2021 @ 01:30 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Now Dusty Baker is the one who manages this crew
He's older than the game itself, he's seen a thing or two
But that toothpick in his mouth
What the hell is that about?
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro

The Astros have returned to what has always been their destiny.  They're right around .500 (16-15 this year, after going 29-31 in 2020.) This is the traditional Astro Way. The Astros have posted more 81-81 seasons than any franchise in the game (they've had four of them.) Only two other franchises have had as many seasons end up with a perfectly even .500 record, and those other two both started playing in 1901 (White Sox and Senators/Twins.) The Astros even have more 82-80 records than anyone else (they've got four of them as well - no other franchise has more than two.) They've been committed to this endless mediocrity.

But some fifteen years ago - deviation crept in. By May 2006, the Astros had actually pulled the all-time franchise record all the way up to .500 for the first time since April 1962. They had won their first few games, but being a 1960s expansion team, they quickly fell into a pretty large hole. It took them 44 years to slowly, slowly, slowly dig themselves out.  But not for long. First they got bad. Then they got really bad. And then they got worse. I remember - and it's likely that you do too, it wasn't so long ago - how antsy Jays fans got over three straight losing seasons. Why, in one of them they lost more than 90 games for the second time in almost 40 years. The Astros put their fans through successive seasons of 56-106, 55-107, and 51-111 - three truly horrendous seasons in which their average record was 54-108. Tanking, folks. Just a swell time for the entire family.

They were rewarded for this wickedness, of course. They drafted George Springer with the 11th pick in 2011, Carlos Correa with the 1st pick in 2012, Alex Bregman  with the 1st pick and Kyle Tucker with the 5th pick in 2015. They got really good, despite blowing two first overall picks (Mark Appel and Brady Aiken). They soon put together three straight 100 win seasons, one of which included a thoroughly tainted championship.

But this is not the Astro Way and things seem to be returning to normal.

Seems? Nay, I know not seems... These guys look a little dangerous to me, although much depends on whether the DP combination of Altuve and Correa can ever recover their scary form of days gone by. The two oldest guys in the lineup, Gurriel and Brantley, seem to have done that very thing, and have in fact been leading the attack. The rotation looks to be more than holding its own, with or without Jake Odorizzi. Zack Greinke is still worth the price of admission all by himself, and it remains a shame that he's found himself in the DH league. Zack surely agrees with me.

Typical lineup:

Altuve, 2b
Brantley, lf
Bregman, 3b
Alvarez, dh
Gurriel, 1b
Correa, ss
Tucker, rf
Straw, cf
Maldonado, c


Fri 7 May - Stripling (0-1, 6.39) vs Urquidy (2-2, 3.71)
Sat 8 May - Matz (4-2, 4.78) vs Javier (3-0, 1.75)
Sun 9 May - Some Guys (?-?, ?.??) vs Greinke (2-1, 3.76)