Forget Moneyball. We are back to the Earl Weaver three-run homer era, except this time under AJ Hinch in Houston. Astronomics: hit the ball a long way, steal bases when you get men on, strikeouts are OK, and pitching is not great but better than good. Some obscene stat, something like 47% of runs scored on HRs.
Under Astronomics, passwords aren’t a problem because every personnel move works. Draft picks mature all at the same time. Reclamation projects all pan out. Guys displaced in places like Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Oakland, and Toronto thrive at the plate. Even pitchers not good enough for Colorado show up in their rotation.
It’s a lot like watching what the Blake Street Bombers used to be.
And when you turn that loose at Coors Field, the results are very predictable. 4 HRs – Correa, Tucker, Marisnick, and Carter – among 13 hits. 4-for-11 with RISP. 6.1 innings of zero BB and 3 runs on Brett Oberholtzer, followed by solid pen work up to a lead that even Chad Qualls couldn’t blow in an 8-4 Rockies loss. A CarGo second-deck blast was too little, too late.
Kendrick was true to form, 5 innings and 4 runs, 2 of the homer variety. His 9th loss started before the Astros got off the team bus. Without major run support, there was no chance.
Another effect of Astronomics started a couple years ago, when Bo Porter made up a few interesting rules in challenging calls. It was Hinch’s turn tonight. In the 3rd, Charlie Blackmon decides to swipe second, and is mostly successful except for a very brief pop-up off the bag with both feet while the tag was still applied. DJ LeMahieu steps in, Oberholtzer steps on, and Hinch calls time to issue a challenge. We actually missed it live because Drew and George were chatting up Brendan Rodgers.
Ye Old Rule Book says:
II. Challenging and Reviewing Calls Pursuant to Replay Review
D. Timing of Manager Challenges and Crew Chief Reviews.
1. Except as otherwise set forth in Sections II.D.2, 3 and 5 below, to be timely, a Manager must exercise his challenge (by verbal communication and/or hand signal to an Umpire), or the Crew Chief must initiate Replay Review (if applicable pursuant to Section II.C above) before the commencement of the next play or pitch. Such challenge or request will be considered timely only if the Umpire acknowledges that communication within the time period specified above. For purposes of these Regulations, the next “play” shall commence when the pitcher is on the rubber preparing to start his delivery and the batter has entered the batter’s box (unless the defensive team initiates an appeal play in which case any call made during the play prior to the appeal still may be subject to Replay Review).
Hinch convinces the crew to review after extended discussion. DJ, who I give a huge amount of credit for actually knowing what the replay rule says, gets in Bob Davidson’s face, soon joined by Walt. The review that should have never happened ensues, determines Blackmon was out (and he was), DJ goes nuts, Walt intercedes and gets tossed by Jerry Layne.
Just once, I’d like to see Walt go into Phil Wellman mode and get his money’s worth. There is no arguing the replay decision, unfortunately, and it’s not protestable either.
6. If the Crew Chief determines that a Club’s invocation of a Manager’s Challenge is untimely, the play shall not be reviewed, the Umpire’s call shall stand, and the Club shall not be charged with a challenge. The Crew Chief shall have the final authority to determine whether a Manager’s Challenge is timely. The judgment of the Crew Chief regarding the timeliness of a Manager’s Challenge shall be final and binding on both Clubs, and shall not be reviewable by Replay Review or otherwise.
K. Irrevocable and Final.
3. Once Replay Review is initiated, no uniformed personnel from either Club shall be permitted to further argue the contested calls or the decision of the Replay Official. Onfield personnel who violate this provision shall be ejected.
Balkin’ Bob then conveniently expands the strike zone by about 6 inches in LeMahieu’s next AB, just to make the point clear. Basic #UmpShow stuff, really. Didn’t matter in the boxscore with all those homeruns, but it took any wind out of the sails.
When you’re going good, you’re going good, and when you’re the Rockies, you’re going bad. We hear so much about the long-range plan, and in this case the Astros have pulled it off. The Rockies remind me of that guy we’ve all known at work: one year of experience 23 times.