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June 12, 2024 11 mins
Brian McTaggart, Astros beat reporter for MLB.com, joins The Astros On-Deck Show following a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday at Oracle Park. The Astros were able to get back on track after two consecutive walk-off losses. Ronel Blanco started on the mound and struck out eight batters, allowing only one run in six innings. The bullpen protected the lead with Tayler Scott, Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly each throwing a scoreless inning. Framber Valdez will start on Wednesday as the Astros attempt to earn three straight series wins. Jon Singleton returns to the lineup, batting in the cleanup spot as the designated hitter, while Jose Abreu will start at first base, batting eighth. "The lineup is changing on a daily basis," but even if he wanted Singleton to play more at first base, Joe Espada's "hands are tied" because "they have to keep giving Abreu a shot," McTaggart said. The Astros are without Kyle Tucker and Yainer Diaz for Wednesday's matchup. Tucker "hasn't even done any baseball activities yet," so "he's going to need a few more days," but no IL stint will be needed for Diaz because "he could actually play today if they needed him." McTaggart also discusses Ryan Pressly earning a save in his previous role as a closer, the reasoning behind Joey Loperfido being optioned back to Triple-A and more.
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Episode Transcript

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(00:02):
Time for us to spend ten qualityminutes with the very talented beat reporter for
the Houston Astros at MLB dot com. Well, I wouldn't say mentally talented,
but somewhat good. Lisay hello toour good friend Brian mctagger. Tags.
Tell the audience what it's like fora day game at Oracle Park is
compared to ae night game. Well, it's absolutely beautiful. I mean,

(00:24):
the weather all three of these gameshas been unbelievable. Yesterday, the first
pitcher was seventy Actually it didn't getthat shot. Didn't even put on a
jacket. Last night it was wow, look good. Yeah. And today
even out in the sun, it'sjust it's absolutely perfect. So it's probably
the best weather I've ever seen inSan Francisco. So as much as I

(00:45):
want to come home and enjoy itfor one more day, yeah, for
sure. For those of you whowant to go on trips, Samprusk was
a great place to go. Iwould just highly recommend the day games as
compared to the night game. Let'sget to some more important things like our
injury report, brought to you byUptown Appliance Repair. Good first to Kyle
Tucker. It looks like he's notgonna be ready for that Friday opener against
Detroit. Yeah, and not surprising. I mean we saw him yesterday.

(01:08):
He was still hobbling around. Imean, it looks like to me he's
he's probably I wouldn't surprise me ifhe doesn't play at all this weekend.
So you know, they got aday off Monday, I think, and
then play the White Sox, somaybe give him that day and then.
But he hasn't even done any baseballactivities yet, so just thing's moving a
lot slower. I mean, heshowed me the other day where he got

(01:29):
hit, which was right below theknee, and he gets swelling under his
ankle. That's how that's how seriousthis thing was. So really fortunate it
wasn't broken. But yeah, he'sgonna need a few more days. It
looks like, all right, giveus an update on yan Air Diaz.
I know they have not ailed himyet. Is that still a possibility or
do you think they're going to tryto avoid that? No, they won't
iel him. He swung the battoday. He could actually play today if

(01:53):
they needed him, And it soundslike he's on track to return to the
starting lineup. On Friday. Joe'sfinal said that he's almost one hundred percent,
so no no i El said he'llbe back Friday. We had some
folks that called the show earlier todayBrian about the lineup, and I am
not much of a lineup critique manmyself. I think it's one hundred and

(02:14):
sixty two games, you're going tohave some different things going up. But
there is a little bit of achange, moving Singleton in the cleanup spot,
moving your favorite shortstop, Jeremy Pennonout of that position. And then
a couple other guys said, whatif you looked at today's lineup, what
were some thoughts that crossed your mind? You were running into your scorecard.
Yeah, I'm with you. I'mnot super big on you know, the
lineup is going to change day today. It is what it is.

(02:36):
But yeah, Singleton and clean upcertainly, you know, caught my eye.
He had, you know, acouple of really good at bats yesterday,
and you know, stacking the leftiesback to back against the you know,
Logan Web He's very, very tough, kind of like Promber, throws
a lot of sinkers, so youknow, maybe if you can keep it
going behind your down, they canget something gone, Tanya, I've been

(02:57):
swinging the back quite as well ashe did earlier in the year. So
yeah, I mean, the lineupis changing it on a daily basis.
I'll always find addition, when Isweep the lineup that ninety percent of people
don't like it. Ten like itno matter what the lineup is, right,
sure, what the perfect lineup is. I know it looks a lot
better with Kyle Tucker in there,but when he's not, you got to
put somebody else up on the topfour and they're given singles from that shot

(03:17):
to that. And the reality isalso you've got, you know, a
Cary Teene's going to catch again.You would like to see your normal one
two guys maybe, say Salazar isn'tready to do that. I just think
that spending a lot of time diagnosinga lineup is, especially in a long
six month season, is kind ofa waste of time. Frankly, yeah,

(03:37):
I agree. I mean, andit wasn't like it was, you
know, thirty even twenty years agoon you ran the same lineup out there
pretty much every day, and youjust wondered, you know, who was
going to hit ninth and you hadthe or eighth and he had the picture.
But you know, you pretty muchcould do that. It's not like
that. Now there's so much informationand there's matchups and you know, the
guy's got to have their days offthat and the balls and strikes for umpires

(03:59):
or not. Something that I sithere and wring my hands about, because
for every miscall against the Astros,there's going to be a call for the
Astros, and uh it's all gonnaeven out of the end. Brian mctagger
joining us from Earl Capark getting readyfor the finale of the series between the
Astros and the Giants. Whether Joeis saying or not, what are you
to do? Sing from the amountof playing time that Singleton and a brak

(04:19):
you are getting over this run sincethe two guys are on the same roster
at the same time. Uh well, that's a good question. I if
I really, if I really wasable to get some truth out of Jail,
I would think they probably wants toplay Singleton a lot more. But

(04:40):
the fact is that they have tokeep giving a break you a shot so
that he's gonna get it turned aroundat some point until they get to the
points of where it's just not happeningand they do something. So it's not
like the Brave is gonna come hereand just sit on the bench. And
because if you're gonna do that,he's gonna be dead weight on the team
and you're gonna make a move toyou know, not have him around,
and so he's gonna play. Anduh, I think it's you know,

(05:04):
this is probably not Joe's decision.His hands are tied because the brain's on
the roster. As long as onthe roster, I think he's going to
get the majority of the bats inthe first place. It's just the way
it's gonna be. Were you surprisedfor the limited time that little Berfito was
up here last week they didn't getan opportunity get at least one at bat.
I am surprised. Uh, youknow, Cabbage has been playing pretty

(05:27):
well, so you know, he'svery athletic and he's done a nice job
in right field. But you know, I thought, you know, maybe
one of those McCormick starts and rightyou could have got him in there.
I really was surprised that, youknow, I know, they brought him
up here just for for the temporarywhile. While Tucker was on the il,
so he wasn't gonna play a lot. But uh, you know,

(05:48):
I'm not sure what we're missing onthat or if there was a reason he
didn't play, but other than theautomatic runner day the other day. But
you know, they still have thisglove of outfielders where it's just, uh,
they just have really a probably needa trim an outfielder. Maybe it's
a tread deadline. I don't know. I think Little Peter's gonna get a
shot at some point, but it'sclear he was up here just to be

(06:10):
an emergency backup player, sort oflike Salazar is. But you know he
needs to play every day. Sogetting him back down the Triple A and
getting him, you know, playingevery day util he gets another shots where
he needs to be. Brian mctaggardfrom Sam Cisco joining us here on Astros
on deck. I don't think therewas much symbolism to it, but there

(06:30):
had been a hint with the factthat Ryan Presley takes the mound of the
nine thinning of last night's game withzero facial hair. Yeah. I saw
him before the game yesterday and Isaid, or the day before, I
can't remember, and I said,uh, freshly shaved, he said,
yeah, fresh start, So uh, fresh start. He comes in and
saves the game. So you know, obviously he enjoys pitching that closer role.

(06:50):
But yeah, you know, hegot it done last night. And
Joe Spottas said just a little bitago that all the information they have on
Preshley is be low is pitch shapes, everything is where it needs to be
so and his numbers overall, youknow, the last month or so,
I've been pretty good. I knowhe's had a couple of hiccups here and
there. I know that there's somepeople that you know, don't want him

(07:12):
around anymore. But I mean,if if you know, I mean,
he's still a quality big league reliever, who are you going to replace him
with that? You know, that'salways the issue. It's always easy to
say this guy's a bomb, inwhich he's not get rid of them.
But okay, then what then whatdo you do? I mean, a
lot of teams would love to haveRyan Presley, And yeah, he's he's
been a little messy out there times, but he's still one of their factory

(07:33):
leverage guys and he's going to getthe ball in big spots and he got
it done last time. Are youconcerned, and I guess more importantly,
not that your opinion doesn't mean much, but is the team a little concerned
about the amount of appearances of Brianand bray you has had so far this
year? No one's really mentioned that. I don't. I mean, he

(07:53):
is, he is pitching a ton, but uh, you know, it's
pitching well and getting it done.I mean I think it's probably something that
maybe later in the year, uhthat has to be addressed. Uh,
maybe a little bit. But he'sshown to be a workhorse. I mean,
he's he's a he's a big,strong guy who likes to take the
ball whenever he can. And uhhe's been healthy and you know, still
thrown with good bilos. So uhsomething to watch, you know in the

(08:16):
year if he starts striking a littlebit or as be Low's down or is
uh you know, his pitch shapesaren't there or anything. But so far
has it seemed to bother him atall, And even in the last couple
of years, he's he's been aguy who's been able to handle a bunch
of innies. Tags of the Astroswin this game, it will be another
series win. For them, andat this point of the year, you'll
take every series win that you canget, but you're not making a whole

(08:37):
lot of inroads in the American LeagueWest standings. Do you take more comfort
in series wins or perhaps a littlemore dismay in the back to back walkoff
losses. Yeah, those losses weren'tgood. I mean they were They were
what three five games under five hundredafter Saturday's game in Anaheim, and then
they suffer a few walk off losses. I mean, he closed those out

(09:00):
to three hundred five hundred. Youhave a chance maybe to get to five
hundred by the weekend, which iswhere you got to get the start building
for there. From there, asit stands now a little over one hundred
games to go, and there's stillsix games under. I mean, for
them to win ninety games, they'regonna have to go what fifty nine and
twenty five or something like that.That I mean that that's a pretty tall

(09:22):
task at this point, and ninetywins might be what it's gonna take to
win the wildcard. I mean,the Mariners are starting to pull away in
the division a little bit, butconsidering the work they have to do,
that they can't afford to lose gameslike they did on Sunday and Monday.
They have to be able to closeout those games because that that just puts
you another spot where you lose thatone game, you're gonna have to win

(09:43):
two more and out of make upfor it. And they they don't have
much local room at this point.I mean, we're almost at the halfway
point of the season. Then maybethey're at five hundred at that point,
but not but uh, certainly withthe way Seattle's playing and all the teams
are in the wild card and incontention, it's it's it's going to be
a tough road to get the ninetywins. Now. I don't ask for

(10:03):
tidbits on our regular visits on Thursday, which you'll be traveling tomorrows you won't
be joining us, But since we'reclose to game time, you got to
have something for audience right now,correct, Yeah, Well, Josh Hater
has nine he's nine to ten andsave chances this year, but he's already
allowed more runs this year in twentynine innings twenty nine two thirds innings that

(10:24):
he did all of last year,eleven runs in fifty six in our third
innings. So believe or not,Josh Hater has already allowed more runs in
an approximately half the amount of inningshe pitched last year. So maybe Josh
Hater's got a good run ahead ofhim in him too. Oh, thanks
for that positive note in our conversation. Really appreciate that tidbits are not always

(10:45):
positive. You read the disclaimer offer, Yeah, you did, and you
are because you are right down themiddle, and for that we appreciate it.
Hey, enjoy the game today,Safe travels back, and we'll see
the ball park next week. Allright, good night, You got it.
Brian mctaggard MLB dot Com with ushere normally on Thursdays, but he'll
be traveling back from San Francisco tomorrow, and so we thought we'd get him
on today's edition of The On DeckShow.
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