And so is the lack of it. As I see it, even the hitters who have potential are struggling because there is nobody in the lineup to protect them. You don't see many teams that have only one great hitter. Usually, there will be at least one more. Protection in the lineup.
Why should an opposing pitcher give any of our younger and potentially talented hitters anything good to hit? Right now, those guys are pressing. Hopefully they're not settling into their true form.
Until we can get some experience in this lineup to help, (and please don't say we had that with Lee) what we're seeing right now will be the norm. This could be devastating for the confidence level of an Altuve, Martinez, etc....
This post was prompted by "Altuve Time". It makes me sad that these young players are getting so little support. We might know that this team is supposed to be pathetic, but I don't think the players have the option to think that way. They HAVE to believe they can get it done. Even worse for their tender little psychies when they perform as they have for a couple of months now.
And woe be the pitching staff. They must know that if they give up one run, it's the equivalent of a soccer game, and would be an insurmountable lead. Hard to walk that tightrope.
They all need some experienced help! Not to be instant contenders, but to learn how to be big leaguers, and how to handle the tough times. And maybe, just maybe, to give opposing pitchers something to think about as they pitch around our almost ready for prime time hitters.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tarrou - "I think protection in the lineup is mostly a myth."------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's entirely possible that I've never agreed with a statement on here more than I agree with that one.
Also, I don't get the feeling the guys are complacent at all. Lee certainly was, but from my perspective watching these guys every day, I don't think any of the rest of them are. If anything, it may be the opposite. They're trying so hard to stop the slumping that they're losing focus at the plate.
Wasn't trying to imply that there was complacency on the team. For the most part, I think it's exactly the opposite. Trying too hard to prove something. Schaffer (Schafer?), maybe a little with him, but after the sit down with Mills, he seems to be busting his rear a little more.
I don't think protection in the lineup is a myth. If a pitcher knows that it doesn't matter who is coming up in the lineup, they feel safe pitching to, and not around, our best (ha) hitters. Kind of makes for an easy strategy when facing us. About the only threat we bring is speed, but you can't steal first base.
You hear about players being brought up too soon and flaming out because of it. I'm not saying that's the case here, but I think a little more experience in the lineup could help the young guys through it. But it would have to be the right kind of guy. The Astros have been bitten more often than not when trying to catch lightning in a bottle with a washed up veteran.
I don't really know the answer to this one, but the current experiment could have dismal career results for several of our younger guys.
Food for thought:
Basically, unprotected hitters will be walked more often (no surprise there), but they don't perform any worse overall.
"What I recall: Pitcher reach back for better stuff against good hitters, and that kind of negates the impact of “protection”.
Derek Bell is 100% in disagreement with that theory.
"I don't really know the answer to this one, "
I do. Bring up Bagwell and Biggio.
Honestly, this has kind of always been the Astros MO. Its just more apparent with the talent/age of our current lineup. Our problem has pretty much always been plate discipline.If you go back the box scores at the beginning of the season (when we were hitting at a pretty decent clip) you will notice the the # of pitches seen per hitter was in the upper teens (low 20s for the guys that were really hot). Look at the # of pitches seen per hitter now, and you will see quite a few single digits. We were hitting decently at the beginning of the year because a) they were getting pitches to hit and not swinging out of the zone and b) we were actually getting to the bullpen.
Think back even to the days of biggio and bagwell and you may recall making a few rookie pitchers look like cy young. Again, more apparent because of the talent/youth that we have now. Hitters are swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone because pitchers know they don't have to throw strikes to get outs.
If you think this talentless team is playing poorly due to over anxiety - just wait as the season winds down to about 110 games, and they begin to see the end of the season on the horizon.
That's when they really panic and begin playing wildly for their jobs next year.
They know they are talentless, they know they are there to occupy uniforms and they know they are highly expendable.
Very soon, I expect mass panic and I expect them to pull out all the stops, as tomorrow is promised to no one, especially these guys.
As their time begins to run out, look for horrific errors in the field and running the bases. Look for them to swing for the seats at any pitch they think is within a stretching swing.
Wait until the decks become awash in mid-August and mass hysteria becomes commonplace, as these talentless souls begin fighting for another chance next year.
It’s all part of the rebuilding process – let’s hope Crane et al are strong during this difficult 3 year period, and do not cave in to fan sentimentality, but keep the player development pipeline flowing rapidly through high attrition.
Protection is a myth. McCutchen is on a tear and has no protection.
If everyone around is bad, they have no reason to pitch around you. Chances are the score is 0-3 with empty bases when players on bad offenses come up to bat.
"Apparently, hitting may be contagious, but so is NOT HITTING and we've got a terrible case of that right now. "
I've also noticed that players who stink are subject to catch that contagious not hitting thing.