Friday, August 23, 2019

The reason Reymin Guduan was suspended

So, some background here right quick. We here at Astros County don't do this kind of thing terribly often. We knew that Brad Ausmus had interviewed back in August 2012 for the managerial position that went to Bo Porter. McTaggart refuted the rumor the next day. Then we were vindicated by Ken Rosenthal about a month later. Point is, we don't Break News terribly often. That said, it was reported on August 4 that Reymin Guduan was suspended for the remainder of the season for a "disciplinary issue." Luhnow said:
[Guduan] broke our team rules and is being disciplined because of it. 

On August 10 there was a report that the suspension would go through the rest of the minor-league season, which ends at the beginning of September, but could possibly be called up once rosters expand. Luhnow indicated that the team had not decided if he would be reinstated.

So here's the situation as recounted to us by a source with knowledge of the situation and not denied by multiple relevant parties:

Dean Deetz is a little bit of a character, and talks a lot of smack. He was giving Reymin Guduan The Bidness about not being able to throw a strike. Guduan responded by throwing a shoe at Deetz and  missed (badly, apparently), to which Deetz responded "See?" That is legitimately funny. What happened next is not. Guduan picked up a bat, swung it, and hit Deetz in the head. Guduan apparently didn't get a great swing on it, but "it definitely dazed" Deetz.

Guduan was removed from the clubhouse, but came back later, this time with a knife. "He didn't do anything with it, but he stood at his locker and glared at Deetz." No one called the police, but the Astros did suspend Guduan. That, by any standard of the law, is assault. You'll notice on Round Rock's website that Dean Deetz did not pitch between July 26 and August 5, which was a span of eight games in nine days.

Whether or not that Guduan pitches with his left arm, with varying degrees of success, should qualify him for helping the Astros in September and in the playoffs is up to you.

Friday Morning Hot Links

Holy Hannah. What a day yesterday was. The Astros beat the Tigers 6-3 but there was so much going on that it felt a little bit like an after-thought. Houston is 82-47. There are 33 regular season games left.

Let's get some game stuff out of the way. The Astros have won four of their last five games. They're one game back of the Yankees for the best record in the American League.

*Houston is 46-16 at home. The 2013 Astros won 24 home games all season. The 2018 Astros went 46-35 at home.

*Best home record, franchise history:
1998: 55-26
1980: 55-26
2015: 53-28
2005: 53-28
1986: 52-29
1979: 52-29
1969: 52-29
1999: 50-32 (they played 82 home games, and 80 road games in 1999. I'm looking into it.)
1978: 50-31
2019: 46-16

Remaining home series in 2019 are against the Angels (6), Rays (3), Mariners (4), A's (4), and Rangers (2). The Astros are a combined 30-13 against these teams and would need to go 10-9 to break the franchise home single-season record.

*Gerrit Cole's hamstring is apparently okay, as he threw 7IP, 2H/0ER, 12K:1BB. His outing put him in 1st Place in the ERA Title, at this point. Verlander is 2nd, CFM is 3rd, and Wade Miley is 5th.

It's the 10th time Cole has struck out at least 12 batters while allowing no more than one walk. Nine of those have come with the Astros. It's worth noting again, because it's absolutely remarkable:

Cole, 10+ strikeout starts, by year:

2013: 1
2014: 2
2015: 1
2016: 0
2017: 2
2018: 8
2019: 14

So, six double-digit strikeouts in 127 starts for Pittsburgh (4.7%). 22 double-digit strikeouts in 58 starts for Houston (37.9%). Hinch, on Cole:
He was letting it go and pitching very effectively. I was very impressed with how he approached the game from the very beginning. He was going to set a great tone for us after a tough loss. Comes out and punches out a bunch of guys and commands the game.

The 14 double-digit strikeout starts tie J.R. Richard's 1978 and 1979 franchise record.

Cole's 13.09 K/9 rate is 4th in MLB history for a starter, behind:

1. Chris Sale, 2019 (13.32, and he's done for the regular season, so...)
2. Pedro Martinez, 1999 (13.22)
3. Randy Johnson, 2001 (13.20)
4. Gerrit Cole, 2019 (13.09)

*Michael Brantley has a 15-game hitting streak dating back to August 3, with ten of those being multi-hit games. He's hitting .476/.522/.762 in that span. Brantley is leading the AL with a .338 average, and Sarah Langs takes a look at how he's doing it.

*Bregman's 31st home run of the season ties a career-high.

*The Biggest News of the Day was from Baseball Writers who were Outraged over Justin Verlander's actions after last night's CG 2H loss. So let's try to recreate this:

The Astros blocked the Detroit Free-Press' Anthony Fenech from entering the Astros' clubhouse to ask Justin Verlander questions. Verlander was "adamant" about this. That was wrong. They should not have done that. It's a violation of the CBA, and the CBA is what keeps the gears of baseball moving. Don't like it? Negotiate a new one. The link outlines all the ways the Astros and Verlander decided to avoid the issue/violate the CBA.

Now, Anthony Fenech has been around for a while. He has reported on the Tigers for a good while, and doubtless has had a number of interactions with Verlander. There's no way of knowing what happened between those two in the past that would create the animosity that would lead Verlander to ask Astros' staff to not let One Guy in. Fenech released a statement (because that's apparently what happens now):
I'm extremely disappointed with the Astros' inexplicable decision to limit my [BBWAA]-credentialed clubhouse access on Wednesday night. In my time as the Tigers beat writer for the Free Press, my foremost goal has been fair and ethical coverage. I am confident that goal has been clearly and consistently achieved in my body of work and with the personal and professional way I build relationships across baseball. As I do with every player in the clubhouse each season and dozens whom I have covered over the past five years, I wish Justin Verlander good luck and good health for the remainder of the season.

This is the statement of someone who has had a lot of time to craft a response. It's well-written, but Anthony Fenech is a good writer. I have had no issue with any of his reporting across which I have come. The Free-Press editor said they'll protest. And of course the Baseball Media rallied around Fenech.

But we don't know why Verlander freakin hates Fenech. Our Dude McTaggart has been around for a while and has not embarrassed himself or his employer. Alyson Footer, Richard Justice, Chandler Rome, hell, Hunter Atkins. It had to have been egregious enough for Verlander to act this way.

Verlander tweeted:
I declined to speak with the [Free-Press reporter] last night because of his unethical behavior in the past. I reached out to the [Free-Press] multiplie times before the game to notify them why and to give them an opportunity to have someone else there. Ironically they didn't answer. 

Predictably, Verlander - and the Astros - got savaged by The Media, one of which Fenech is obviously one. Gene Dias, the Astros' VP of communication, decided to side with Verlander, and why wouldn't he (this is not a position I'm endorsing). Verlander is The Man in this team, and if The Man decides to bust up the CBA, then what team executive is going to stand in the way?

But still, the Collective Bargaining Agreement trumps all of this. If Verlander had just stood before Fenech and maintained awkward eye contact while not saying a word, that would have been baller acceptable, I guess. Ultimately, Verlander won this round, because the organization rallied around their guy at the expense of the CBA. Not sure if/how this is a long-term win.

I bet it gave Gerrit Cole the Cy Young Award. I don't approve of the way the Astros handled this situation. And in response, the BBWAA will collective blast Springsteen's "Born To Run" as they remove Verlander from their consideration.

*MEANWHILE: Ryan Pressly is going to have arthroscopic knee surgery today. Hinch:
You lose an All-Star reliever, it's a tough blow for the bullpen and for our team. Quite honestly, I'm glad we have answers. We've been battling something similar for a few weeks - sometimes getting the good version of Pressly and sometimes getting the sore version of Pressly. It got to the point we were seeking answers.

Pressly will be out 4-6 weeks. Four weeks would bring him back on September 20. Six weeks would be October 4. The regular season ends on September 29, so there is the possibility that Pressly is not on the ALDS roster. Luhnow:
Worst-case scenario, he's not available for the division series. But I think he will be. And I think we need him because whoever we face is going to be a strong opponent. And, late in games, Pressly knows how to get those guys out.

Luhnow deferred comment on what the "small issue" is in Pressly's knee to Pressly himself, who was not made available to reporters.

*Chandler Rome went on 790 and said that Correa will be out until early September. No surprise there. There is no structural damage to Correa's back. I'm glad he didn't structurally damage his back swinging in the 1st inning. Correa told reporters that it's not as bad as it was last year. He plans to play rehab games during the first week of September.

*Abraham Toro made his major-league debut and Hinch says he'll primarily play 3B. Bregman played SS last night. And that's probably how we'll see the lineup shake out. Jake Kaplan wrote that Toro, with the help of hitting coach Troy Snitker, made a mechanical adjustment last fall which led to his breakout season. Toro went 0x4 last night, but absolutely smashed a ball that went foul. To make room for Toro on the 40-Man Roster, Brady Rodgers was DFA'd.

*FanGraphs: The best bullpens in baseball.

*SI's Stephanie Apstein: MLB's punishment under the domestic violence policy needs to change. (Inject boner sauce into your veins? No playoffs! Violent towards your spouse/significant other? Playoffs!)

*A Musical Selection:

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

The Astros crapped the bed. Literally, just fecal matter all over the sheets with the Astros rolling around in it, asking for help but also not really asking for help. That's the dumbest loss I've seen in a long time. A Verlander gem combined with inning-ending outs on TOOTBLANs at third base in the 8th AND 9th Innings? FOH. Something something Daniella. The Astros are 81-47. There are mercifully 34 regular season games left. Idiots.

*It was the largest single-game upset (odds-wise) in MLB in the last 15 years.

*The last time any MLB team lost a game when they allowed two hits and zero walks? March 30, 2018. While an Astros pitcher has accomplished that feat four times prior to last night, the last time it actually happened to the Astros was to Pete Harnisch on May 11, 1994. The Astros have never lost a game in which they scored at least one run and had an SP throw a complete game with two hits and no walks. Shame them. Demand better. Let's be clear here: this was a historically stupid loss. And the Astros should wake up this morning feeling shame. The Detroit win kept them from being 50 games under .500. It is not even September.

*Justin Verlander did everything he could. He made two not-great pitches. JV has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a start for the 17th time this season. The Astros are 14-3 in those games. Morons.

*Justin Verlander now has seven straight games with 10+ Ks. Here are the leaders with a streak of 10+ Ks:

Chris Sale: 8 games (twice)
Pedro Martinez: 8 once, 7 once
Randy Johnson: 7
Nolan Ryan: 7
Justin Verlander: 7

*The Astros have now lost three straight Verlander starts for the first time since June 19-30, 2018. He has allowed eight total runs in his last three starts. Hinch:
Just an incredible performance. Just not one that we could help him with. We wasted a really good start by our starting pitcher.

The two times I gave in and gave them a fastball, they hit a homer on it. Baseball in 2019. I didn't go out of the stretch at all the entire game, and we lost. I don't know what else to say.

More Verlander:
It's a tough pill to swallow. Obviously, you want to come away with a win. You want the team to win. One bad pitch in the ninth inning. We battled back, and I gave it back in the ninth. It's kind of one of those games. I don't blame anybody but myself. I could have done a better job executing a pitch there in the ninth inning.

*Chirinos, on getting thrown out at 3B trying to hit for the cycle:
I feel like I have a great game and throw it away like that. I feel like it's all my fault. When you make a mistake like that, you don't deserve to win a game.

*Myles Straw will replace Carlos Correa for the time being. And as Aaron Sanchez goes to the IL with a hurt Man Boob, Cy Sneed has been recalled for the third time since last Wednesday.

*Meat Wagon updates:

-The Astros have committed to leaving Peacock in the bullpen.
-Aledmys Diaz took groundballs in BP and could be activated on Tuesday.
-Josh James will begin a rehab assignment in Round Rock tonight, but probably won't be back before September 1.

*We're only, like, ten days from Kyle Tucker Time.

*Ronnie Dawson got promoted to Round Rock from Corpus. He was hitting .212/.320/.403 with 141K:47BB in 103 games

*Thanks to a DM from The Batguy, I thought we could take a look how some of the players the Astros have recently traded/let go have fared in 2019:

J.D. Davis: .310/.372/.516
Tony Kemp: .194/.184/.278
Tyler White: .045/.192/.045
A.J. Reed: .136/.204/.205

*The Athletic's Andy McCullough: How does Oakland keep doing this? (The Athletic on the Athletics. Folks,)

*MLB has sent out a memo to try to get players to stop buying gas station boner-pills.

*Deadspin: Why your team sucks: The Houston Texans edition.

*How K-Pop is luring young North Koreans to cross the DMZ.

*"You're the guy with the ball to the crotch:" the story behind the funniest baseball card ever made.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

Apologies for yesterday's absence. It was the first day of school, my kid was super-jacked and woke up really early, and I had to leave early to get to my own classroom. Two things I'll need to reteach myself from this summer (and from last year when my conference period lasted all three lunches):

1) Learn to eat in 25 minutes. I ate half of my grilled chicken and broccoli.
2) Remember that you can't just go to the bathroom whenever you feel like it. Yesterday was the closest I've come to pissing my pants in 30 years.

Anyway, the Astros beat the Tigers 6-3. They're 81-46. There are 35 regular season games left. It's their 8th straight home win. Houston is 12-6 in August.

Houston, after 127 regular season games:
2019: 81-46
2018: 77-50
2017: 77-50

*Aaron Sanchez threw 46 pitches over 2.1IP. 19 were balls. To the 37-85 Tigers. He left the game with right pec soreness. His titty hurt, and has hurt for "six or seven starts" - something I'm sure the Astros weren't exactly thrilled to hear. Sanchez:
It's been an ongoing thing. I've been trying to push through it. It's been up and down.

So now Sanchez is going on the IL. More Sanchez:
Obviously today when my (velocity) drops the way it did, there's no sense in trying to push through it. Especially knowing where this team is going, and I want to be a part of that down the stretch. So the best bet is to just figure out what's going on and work from there. 

*So the Astros basically got another bullpen game. Collin McHugh threw 2IP, 3H/0ER, 4K:0BB. McHugh, since the Trade Deadline: 12.1IP, 7H/0ER, 16K:7BB. He has walked two batters in his last 9.1IP.

*Springer and Altuve hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the 1st. It's the 10th time this season the Astros have gone back-to-back. Springer's 10th leadoff home run set a single-season franchise record. It's Springer's 34th career leadoff homer - he needs 20 more to break Craig Biggio's franchise record. Altuve:
We've gotten stronger. I see a lot of homers by Springer when I'm on deck and I love it. I think the fans love it, too. We need to keep hitting homers.

*Michael Brantley has a 14-game hitting streak.

*Yordan was 0x0 with 4BB. It's only the 4th time in 2019 that an MLB player has walked four times in four plate appearances. It's also only the 4th time in franchise history that an Astro has gone 0x0, 0K:4BB, and the first since cHRis carter did it on June 5, 2014.

*So of course Monday's game featured Carlos "Mr. Glass" Correa leaving the game in the 1st inning with "back discomfort." Last night's update is that Correa is "likely" headed to the IL. Hinch:
[Correa's] doing a little bit better, but he's not doing well enough to play. I'm not optimistic that he's going to be able to avoid the IL. We'll make the determination tonight and into tomorrow. We haven't seen anything that's made us believe that this is anything major or massive, but it's going to take a couple days - and certainly up to 10 days - to mend.

I am extremely happy that Carlos Correa is an Astro for a long time to come. Carlos Correa is a generational talent, and his career has been extremely weird, given that he's had to deal with numerous fluky injuries to various parts of his body. I would very much appreciate Carlos Correa moving past the Fluky Injury stage of his professional career.

2014: Correa breaks his leg sliding into third at High-A Lancaster.
2017: Correa tears a thumb ligament on the catcher's shin guard while sliding into home. He later re-injures the thumb celebrating the Astros' ALCS G2 win over the Yankees, but deals with it.
2018: Correa misses significant time - and isn't the same for the rest of the season - when he hurt his back.
2019: Correa misses time with a broken rib he suffered during a massage. Then lower-back tightness is about to force him to the IL.

All of these are fluky. But a lot of flukes in five years isn't exactly fluky. I'm not about to say the dude is injury-prone, but I'm saying it's going to take a season of 140+ games to put a lot of this to rest.

Myles Straw got the start at SS for Round Rock last night. So that's how the next 10+ days is going to go. I bet Myles Straw doesn't post a .929 OPS like Correa did in the 22 games since he got activated from his last injury. The reasonable take is that the Astros don't need Correa to win the division, but they will absolutely need him to win another Pennant and World Series. This team should not be satisfied with just making the postseason. I will go to my grave thinking the Astros should have won the Pennant in 2018 but didn't, in part, because Correa wasn't healthy.

*Jake Kaplan looks at who the Astros might call up once September 1 hits.

*Have you seen this shirt from BreakingT? Remember that ya boi gets a small cut of the profits...

*Hey, why did Miguel Cabrera get ejected on Monday night? Cabrera, who has done nothing to Wrong anybody:
So, after the inning, I was talking to Altuve about [Yordan], because I think the guy is pretty awesome but he's 22, at such a young age, he's really good, he's got a good approach at home plate. And if you see the pitch he threw me out on, it was down. So it's no reason for me to argue that pitch. So I say it's unbelievable how he called the pitch and then he threw me out. I was saying that to Altuve and not the umpire. 

Miguel Cabrera is a Hall of Famer, for his baseball skills and also for his passive-aggressive umpire burns. Fire all the umpires and replace them with non-titty-baby automatons.

*Tom Verducci says that Bregman vs. Matt Chapman is a Golden Age of 3Bs.

*Carlos Beltran's 8HR in the 2004 postseason is David Schoenfield's vote for best-home-run-hitting achievement in franchise history. Personally, I'd pick Game 5

*If you can read Spanish, you'll find that Former Astros Great Octavio Dotel has been detained in the Dominican Republic in regards to a little something called Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering. It's not looking good.

*The Athletic - who a lot of people like to dunk on - has 600,000 subscribers.

*Roger Clemens has apparently been encouraged to run for Congress. Who encouraged him to even consider this is unconfirmed. Clemens won't run for Congress. God bless us, everyone.

*The college student who decoded the data hidden in Inca knots.

*A Musical Selection:

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

Shoutout to the County Mountie for giving me the weekend off of Hot Links. Baseball was stupid and tomorrow's the first day of school, so it was very much appreciated. The Astros finally won a game for once in their wretched lives, besting the vaunted Oakland Athletics 4-1 behind an Alex Bregman jack and a solid start from Zack Greinke. Houston is 79-46 with a 7.5-game lead on Oakland. There are 37 regular season games left.

Houston is 22-13 since the All-Star Break, and 10-6 in August. Five of those losses came last week. The Astros have scored four or fewer runs in three straight games for the first time since July 23-26. Houston went 4-6 on the ten-game road trip.

*Zack Greinke threw 7IP, marking the second time since August 2 that an Astros SP has recorded 21 outs (Verlander did it on August 16). Greinke gave up 4H/1ER, 6K:3BB. The walks tied a season-high for Greinke. He has walked seven batters in his three starts (19IP), after having walked seven batters in his previous nine starts for Arizona (58.1IP).

Congratulations to Zack Greinke on picking up his 200th win. Add another Astros cap in the Hall of Fame here in about eight years. He's one of three active pitchers with 200 wins (Verlander, Sabathia). Greinke:
Wins are good. You look back at the end of the year and the team wins a lot and you win a lot, you can't ask for much more than that. I wouldn't say there's many pitchers that would say that that's the Number One most important stat for them, but if you and the team are winning, it's the most important. It doesn't necessarily say you're pitching the best, but it's the most important.

I think Zack did a great job of coming out and stopping the bleeding tonight. We finished a long road trip with a win. We got a lot of work to do to accomplish what we want to, but today was a step in the right direction. 

*Pressly and Osuna needed 23 pitches combined to get through the 8th and 9th innings.

*The Astros "offense" was 2x14 w/RISP, because it was just one of those series. They went 5x30 with runners in scoring position over the four-game series.

*But not Alex Bregman! Bregman went 4x4 with a walk, double, and a three-run home run. It's the second time in his career that he's been on base five times in a game, and you have to go all the way back to August 1 to find the first one.

In 14 August games, Bregman is hitting .442/.540/.904 with 10 doubles, 4 home runs, two strikeouts and ten walks. He has raised his OPS from .909 on July 31 to .974 right now. There are only three instances of an Astros' 3B posting a 5.0+ fWAR season. Bregman has two of them (7.6 in 2018, currently 5.5 in 2019). Morgan Ensberg (6.1) had the other one, in 2005.

Bregman's home run was his 30th of the year. He's the first Astros 3B to have back-to-back 30HR seasons, and the first Astro since Lance Berkman (2006-2007) to hit 30HR in back-to-back seasons.

Just a reminder that Justin Maxwell led the 2012 Astros in home runs, with 18. Seven of the 2019 Astros currently have 18+ home runs, and it's the middle of August.

*Yuli Gurriel's RBI double gave him 86 RBIs on the year, a career-high.

*Josh Reddick got a hit! For a second straight game! Reddick's last extra-base hit came on August 6. His last home run was on June 28, a span of 136 PAs. Reddick is 6x40 (.150/.167/.200) in 12 August games. For no reason, Jack Mayfield hit .143/.163/.310 in 16 games. His OPS is almost 100 points higher than Reddick's is in August. Rough stretch.

*Aledmys Diaz was placed on the 10-Day IL after experiencing dizziness on the team bus on Saturday. Maybe he's pregnant. Hinch:
We're going to take every precaution imaginable to make sure he's OK. He should travel back with us and be back in Houston with our doctors. With the roster the way it was, we needed to make a decision.

Cy Sneed, who had already been optioned to Round Rock but hadn't left Oakland yet, was recalled to give the Astros an extra arm. So the freshest arms in the bullpen are now Cy Sneed and Brad Peacock.

Within that link we also find that Gerrit Cole is expected to start Thursday.

*Here's Jake Kaplan with a look at Kyle Tucker and his chances of getting to Houston, or maybe a postseason roster spot, in 2019.

*McTaggart has the origins of each Astro's Players Weekend nickname.

*This offseason we'll take a look at just how many numbers have been retired by the Astros, and why, but Jose Altuve's 27 is Will Leitch's pick for the next Astros number to never get used again.

*Joe Biagini threw for the first time since the Bullpen Game against Chicago and, well: 0.2IP, 3H/5ER, 2K:2BB. Round Rock lost to OKC 14-11.

*The Age of Envy: How to be Happy When Everybody Else's Life Looks Perfect.

*Vanity Fair on Perfection Anxiety.

*A Musical Selection:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links


One highlight to the game was Yordan Alvarez hitting a home run on a 3-0 pitch. Here are the stats on that home run:

Yordan would finish the night 2-3 with two home runs.

The Astros bullpen is getting some reinforcement today. Brad Peacock is being activated from the IL today and he'll pitch out of the bullpen. Largely, because Aaron Sanchez has pitched well. Sanchez has a 3.86 ERA in three starts for the Astros.

Rogelios Armenteros was optioned to Round Rock.

Josh Reddick was given a day off. In his last 365 days Reddick is hitting .257/.309/.383 good for a .693 OPS. It's even worse the closer you get to yesterday:

Worth remembering that the hot New York Mets have a similar record to the Astros in August.

This might be the best bobblehead giveaway ever!

Francis Marte returned from the restricted list and was added to the minor league injured list. He is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. I thought he had been traded. 

Your tweet of the night: