Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

Thoughts & Prayers for Flick. I'm taking over for the next few days while he recovers. The Astros, well, like Flick, at least no one died. Houston lost the third game of the Blue Jays series 12-0. It's the third time this season have allowed 12 runs in a game. They're obviously 0-3 in those games. Since the Astros dropped three of four at Minnesota from April 29-May 2, the Astros have won (or at least split) 13 straight series. Houston has won or split all 12 series at Minute Maid Park this season. The Astros are 48-24.

*Houston went 5-3 on this eight-game homestand. Houston outscored their opponents 44-37 in those eight games, even with today's beatdown.

*Former Astros Great Trent Thornton handled the Astros lineup: 6.2IP, 6H/0ER, 7K:3BB. It's the third time Thornton has had an outing with zero runs allowed. Thornton:
I knew I was going to be pretty amped up for this game, but I just kind of wanted to slow things down and execute each pitch. For the most part, I was able to do that. And the bats just exploded, so it was a great team win.

More Thornton:
I'm close with a lot of the guys over there. It was just going to be a fun game to pitch, with a little chip on my shoulder. I was glad I ended up pitching.

Pretty Cool of Trent Thornton to get JACKED UP for a game against the team who traded him to another team so he could actually have a chance at a decent career, rather than get log-jammed in the Astros' system. So I admire his tenacity, but it's not like the Astros screwed him over. Give me a break. Woody from Toy Story lookin ass boiiiiiiii.

*The Astros were 0x7 w/RISP. They GIDPd three times for the 6th time this season.

*The bottom three in the lineup (Kemp-Mayfield-Straw) went for a combined 2x12 and 0x3 w/RISP. Jack Mayfield had one of those hits - the first single of his MLB career (he had four doubles and a home run coming in). Tyler White was 0x2 w/RISP yesterday, and he's now 5x30 (.167) with one double with runners in scoring position in 2019.

*Josh Reddick enjoyed his 23rd 2+ hit game of the season. He had 25 multi-hit games in all of 2018.

*Michael Brantley was 1x2 with a walk. In June he's 10x46 (.188). Brantley's last home run was May 11.

*For the third time this season Astros pitchers allowed five home runs, tied for the season-high. They're 1-2 in those games.

*Brad Peacock allowed 4ER in back-to-back starts for the first time since August 24/30, 2013. Hinch:
He had a tough time getting into the game and then the one slider to Gurriel that ended his outing. All in all, I think he was doing fine to control the game with what he could. A couple homers and a couple mistakes - not a horrible game for him - but not a day that feels good for anybody.

Peacock:
There was one pitch I'd like to have back to Gurriel. Out of the hand, I kind of knew something bad was going to happen. It didn't feel good. I'm in a little funk right now, but I'll find a way to get out of it.

*Cionel Perez threw 68 pitches over 3IP in relief and it was clear that he was out there just to eat innings and let Hinch not use Harris/Pressly/Osuna: 3IP, 7H/7ER, 1K:1BB, 2HR.

*Tyler White made his 3rd appearance in relief. The Astros are 0-3 when he pitches.

*Jose Altuve could return to the lineup on Tuesday in Cincinnati. George Springer will run the bases today and could go on a rehab assignment this week. Carlos Correa's dumbass rib is still broke as hell.

Altuve was 1x4 with a walk last night in a 6-3 Round Rock win. Max Stassi was 2x4 with 3RBI including a 2-run home run. Yesterday I said that Corbin Martin had given up 7ER in 1IP when actually Hunter Martin did. Corbin Martin started for Round Rock last night and went 5IP, 6H/2ER, 8K:3BB.

*McTaggart took a look at how the injury replacements have fared in their absence.

*Ryan Pressly's father passed away a few months after Pressly made his MLB debut. He signed his extension on what would have been his 66th birthday.

*Corpus got swept by Springfield. Bryan De La Cruz was a homer shy of the cycle. In five games since getting promoted from Fayetteville, De La Cruz is 6x12 with two doubles and two triples, 4K:3BB.

*Fayetteville landed seven players on the Carolina League All-Star Team roster. They were up 4-3 going into the 8th inning yesterday before Potomac put up a 9-spot in the 8th and won 15-4.

*Quad Cities got two in the bottom of the 7th and beat Wisconsin 3-2. They are 43-23. Jose Alberto Rivera threw the final 3IP, allowing 2H/0ER, with 8K:2BB.

*2019 1st Round pick Korey Lee joined Tri-City prior to yesterday's game, which was postponed due to rain.

*Combined, the Astros' minor-league system is 148-126, an organizational .540 win%.

*The bonuses for all but one of the top 10 picks are Known, so the 2019 Draft page is updated.

*According to Mark Feinsand's sources, the Astros (and Rays)were "extremely involved" in the Edwin Encarnacion trade talks, but the Yankees picked up the most salary. Fake-Ass Mariners stay Fake. How the Yankees' trade for Edwin Encarnacion affects the AL Playoff Race. The Mariners do not have any money committed to their roster in 2022. The Rebuild has hit Seattle, and Jerry Dipoto is exactly the guy I want to rebuild them.

*Forbes' Barry Bloom on using MLB balls in Triple-A.

*Power is being restored to millions in Argentina and Uruguay after they were knocked off the grid.

*The Guardian: The Mindfulness Conspiracy.

*How to disappear.

*Esquire: My father, the spy.

*A Musical Selection:


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

It's Father's Day. Shoutout to you dads who, like me, are just doing their best. We sometimes do a decent job, sometimes we crap the bed. But we're trying, and hope that the good days outweigh the bad and our kids turn out okay. There's a number of you who desperately want to be dads, but it hasn't been in the cards for you to this point. I very much understand that, and feel for you. I've been there. The Wife and I are 1x7 on successful pregnancies. If there is any way that I can lend an ear, be a shoulder, or help, please reach out and let me know. Email me at astroscounty at gmail dot com. Infertility issues are a different beast for you dudes, and I might be able to at least help a little. Also, I know there's at least a few of you who don't have great relationships (or any kind of relationship) with your father. I feel for you. These holidays are the worst for people who haven't enjoyed Hallmark lives, and I'm sorry for that.

Framber is good. Framber is handsome. If I order some apps, Framber can have some. Yordan is nuts. Super Jack had himself a day. The Astros handled the Blue Jays 7-2. They are 48-23, one game better than the 2017 Astros after the all-important 71st game of the season. Houston is 35-15 in their last 50 games, 30-10 in their last 40 games, 22-8 in their last 30. 15-5 in their last 20.

*2017 vs 2019 wins, by calendar month:
March/April: 16 / 18
May: 22 / 20
June: 16 / 9
July: 15 / ?
August: 11 / ?
September/October: 20

I got loose on Twitter the other night (alcohol was involved - it's summer) and said the Astros would win 107 games this season. In order for that to happen, the Astros will have to go 59-32 the rest of the season, that's a .648 win% after they've been winning at a .676 clip and not having Springer, Altuve, Correa, and Diaz for the better part of a month AND playing the 5th-hardest schedule in baseball to this point. And only 26 of the 91 remaining games are against teams currently above .500. And now they have Yordan. This team is scary. 

*Yordan Alvarez was 3x4 with a solo home run. It's his 4th home run in his first five MLB games. Tyler White hit three home runs in his first five MLB games. This means absolutely nothing. HOWEVER! Yordan is the 4th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in their first five games, joining Trevor Story, Yasiel Puig, and Mike Jacobs. Hinch, on Alvarez:
I'm probably having about as hard a time describing him as you're having writing about him...It's been very impressive to watch him methodically go about his business like a much more experienced player than he is. He's soaking up all the information that we have, he's leaning on teammates and he's in the batter's box and in complete control of the at-bat.

*Jack Mayfield was 3x4 with three doubles. It's the 39th time in franchise history that a player has had three doubles in a game, and the first since Yuli Gurriel did it on April 6. Bregman did it twice in 2018, and that was it until Chris Carter did it in a 14-6 loss to the Cubs on June 23, 2013. McTaggart notes that Mayfield is the first Astros rookie to hit three doubles in a game since Terry Puhl in 1977. He's the third 2B in franchise history to have three doubles in a game, joining Mark Loretta, Craig Biggio, and Art Howe.

 Oh, and Jack Mayfield was 2x34 for 2019 coming into this game. Baseball makes no sense, and that's why we love it...until we hate it because it makes no sense. Mayfield and Yordan are buddies, and it's Very Sweet.

*Tyler White was 2x3 with a walk. It's the 8th multi-hit game of the season for White, first since June 6. He had his 4th GIDP of the season, in four PAs (166 PAs). He GIDP'd once in 304 PAs spread out over 2017-18. 

*Yuli Gurriel was 0x4. He's now hitting .255/.288/.390 on the season. The Astros won a game 7-2 with a .678 OPS in the 3-spot. 

*Myles Straw was 2x4 with 2RBI. It's the 3rd multi-hit game and the first multi-RBI game of his career.

*Framber Valdez straight up FRAMBUSHED the Blue Jays, throwing 6IP, 4H/2ER, 8K:2BB. He struck out nine Angels on September 23, 2018 for his career-high. Oh, and check out how he got buzzed by a line drive that took out his hat.

Framber's two starts, 2019: 13IP, 9H/3ER, 15K:2BB. I like him. 

*Chris Devenski recorded six outs with no runs for the third time in 2019. He struck out two batters for the 8th time this season. Devenski's last nine appearances: 11IP, 7H/3ER, 17K:6BB. All three earned runs came against the Brewers on June 11.

*Jake Marisnick didn't play last night after leaving Friday's game with "knee discomfort," the Death Knell of Astros Announcements. Hinch said that it might not be too bad. He won't play for a couple of days.

*Round Rock beat up on Seattle's Triple-A team, which is apparently not their MLB team, 14-0. Cy Sneed threw 6.2IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB. Kyle Tucker went 3x5 with 2HR/5RBI, his 22nd and 23rd homers of the season. It is the middle of June. Drew Ferguson went 4x5 and Josh Rojas hit his 1st Triple-A homer of the year.

*Former Astros Great Trent Thornton (5th Round - 2015 draft), whom the Astros traded for Aledmys Diaz, will start today's game for Toronto. He's 1-5 with the Blue Jays in this, his first major-league season, with a 4.78 ERA / 1.41 WHIP. Thornton, via Chandler Rome:
I'll be honest. At the very beginning of the season, when I made the team, I was seeing when we were playing Houston. I was just praying to God I'd get to face them.

Careful what you pray for, my dude.

*Quinn Biggio wrote a Dear Dad letter to Craij.

*The Fake-Ass Mariners apparently traded Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees. Not ideal, October-wise. Please have a 13-2 banner ceremony come March 2020, Dipoto, you piece of garbage. Jerry Dipoto's existence makes me feel sad for Mariners fans, 60% of whom are a good and loyal group.

*How to fix America's worst freeway.

*GQ: Mike Tyson Smokes The Toad.

*Tragic story from the NY Times: How The Music Burned.

*A Musical Selection:



The Hot Links Music playlist on Spotify is now eight hours long, if you're interested.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

I took Thursday off. I'm not all that sorry, but I did need to recharge a little bit. Again, I can't thank Flick enough for taking three days of Hot Links per week. The Astros took on the Blue Jays, who vanquished the East Weatherford Rangers in 2015, so they're cool with me. Houston is 47-23.

*Houston is 29-11 in their last 40 games. It's the 13th straight series the Astros have opened with a win.

*The Astros went off for 10+ hits for the 2nd time in their last three games. It's their first 15-hit game since May 12 against the South Denton Rangers and their first 15-run game since...that game to which I just linked.

*Houston's 4-5-6 (Alvarez-Chirinos-Reddick) went 7x13 and 10RBIs. Reminder that Altuve, Springer, and Correa are currently hurt

*Gerrit Cole has allowed two or fewer earned runs in ten of his 15 starts in 2019. They're 8-2 in those starts. Cole:
I got into a better rhythm with the fastball command. I was good at times but fell behind. I was just able to do what I needed to do to get out unscathed.

*Gerrit Cole struck out ten batters in 6IP. It's the 5th time this season he has double-digit strikeouts with six or fewer innings pitched. For your consideration, Gerrit Cole 10+ Ks per start:

2013: 1
2014: 2
2015: 1
2016: 0
2017: 2
[Goes to Houston]
2018: 8
2019: 8

*Rogelio Armenteros made his major league debut and threw 3IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:0BB and is the first player in Astros history to record a save in his debut.

*Robinson Chirinos hit the first grand slam of his career. Houston has hit six grand slams in 2019, one fewer than 2001, 2007, and 2018. You have to go all the way back to September 21, 2018 to find the last game in which the Astros had a player with 6RBI, when Yuli did it. It's the 51st time in franchise history an Astro had 6+ RBI in a game.

*Yordan Alvarez is the 20th player in MLB history to hit his 3rd home run in his first four MLB games. Last night he was 3x4 with a walk. Hinch, on Yordan:
There's just a lot that he's doing right that starts with the right mindset and mental aptitude to be at this level at an early age. So I applaud him for his approach to his at-bats and how he's not letting the third deck get to him, he's not letting hitting in the middle of the order get to him. He's crushing.

Yordan hit the three hardest balls of the night. His home run was too much for this kid to handle.

*Alex Bregman went 1x3 with a 3-run homer, a walk, and 3RBI.

*Tony Kemp hit his 5th home run of the season. Three more than DH Tyler White, who went 1x5 with 3Ks.

*Jesse Sanchez has each AL West team's need as the 2019 season progresses. Unsurprisingly, it's the rotation, which by "rotation" I'm sure he meant "bullpen."

At 6.9 fWAR, the Astros' rotation ranks 8th in MLB, 3rd in the AL. The Astros' bullpen ranks [squints] 6th in MLB, 5th in the AL.

*Jose Altuve began his 2nd attempt at a rehab assignment last night for Round Rock. Collin McHugh joined him. George Springer is not about to begin a rehab assignment. Last night Round Rock was down 3-2 at the end of the 6th and somehow lost 16-3.
Altuve: 0x4, 2K
McHugh: 0.2IP, 1H/2ER, 1K:1BB
Corbin Hunter Martin: 1IP, 8H/7ER, 1K:1BB
Kyle Tucker: 2x4, 2 doubles

*Joe Smith will join the team in Cincinnati next week and prepare to go on a rehab assignment.

*Jake Kaplan: Did you know that Framber is ambidextrous?

*The Biggios are celebrating Father's Day Weekend. Patty Biggio is the secret to the Biggios' success.

*The Astros officially signed 2nd Round pick Grae Kessinger and 4th Round pick Colin Barber. The draft page, with financials, has been updated.

*The Tri-City Valley Cats were held to two hits in their season opener last night, which they lost 4-0.

*The Astros signed Cuban outfielder Roilan Machandy to a $250,000 bonus on a minor-league deal.

*The Athletic: Inside the XFL's first week of tryouts.

*Noted Ass-Clown Darren Rovell's suspicious gambling set off some alarms.

*The first family of counterfeit hunting.

*A Musical Selection:

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Morning Hot Links

The Astros didn't play yesterday, but that's okay as I found you some things to read in the meantime ;)

James decided he "just didn't want to" do Hot Links yesterday, so we will be updating the blog URL to www.FlickNickemAstros.com accordingly.

Biggio 2 and #Kenneth are coming to town wearing Blue Jays blue for the weekend series. Here's the quick rundown.

Rogelio Armenteros got the call yesterday afternoon and we should see him pitch sometime this weekend.

Altuve, Springer, McHugh, and Stassi are likely all going to be deployed on rehab assignments this weekend.

Speaking of nearly-healthy Astros, what will the full-strength Houston Astros lineup look like?

Chandler Rome talked a bit about how the injured Astros are taking a toll on the team, specifically Wednesday night.

He also recently posted a mailbag, going over a lot of the topics we've talked about along with some new ones, like potential deadline deals and the amount of home runs Verlander has given up.

The Astros are the..2nd best team in baseball? This one is for the statheads.

This iteration of the Astros maybe looking at All-Star Game history.

Meet Brett Conine, the 2018 breakout draft pick that is tearing it up for OUR Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

Framber Valdez has quite a talent.

Longhorns pitcher Blair Henley and recent Astros draft pick says goodbye to his college home and hello to his new home in Houston.

Speaking of signing draft picks, the Astros signed their first round pick, Korey Lee. He also decided to take some BP while he was there at the park.

The full draft tracker can be found here, if you are curious as to who has signed and who has not.

Here's a bunch of news and notes around the sports broadcasting world, which includes the next time Lance Berkman will take over the color commentator job. This article also talks about the upcoming Astros-Reds series, of which I plan on being apart of 1 maybe 2 of those games.

Jose Altuve and Lance McCullers both were very productive last night, raising money for charities to help both children and dogs.

A local Rhode Island man has decided he's going to fix the roads all by himself.

On This Day in Baseball History

In 1965, Jim Maloney went 10 innings and gave up 0 hits, but gave up a solo home run in the 11th and was given the loss 1-0. He had 18 K's.

In 1974, Nolan Ryan threw 235 pitches, struck out 19 batters and walked 10 in 13 innings in a 4-3 win over Boston.

In 2014, Jimmy Rollins became the Phillies all-time hit leader.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

Another day, another win for the Astros. Lots of home runs were hit and lots of home runs were scored as we topped the Brewers 10-8.

Notes:
Gurriel: 3-5, HR, 3 RBI
Alvarez: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI and became the first Astro to ever hit home runs in their       first and second game.
Chirinos: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI
White: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI

Full Box:
Full Recap:

Tags has updates on 6 different Astros players on the IL.

Yordan talks about his comfort at the MLB level.

Here is a slideshow talking about everything you need to know about the big man himself.

Altuve says this is "the best he's [felt] in a long time".

What are the Astros going to look like at full strength? ($)

This concludes what has been yet another slow news day involving our Houston Astros.

On This Day in Baseball History

In 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter while tripping on LSD. If you don't normally click on these, you HAVE to click on this one and give it a watch/listen.

In 2007, Justin Verlander threw his first no-hitter.

In 2010, Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in his MLB career.