Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

 Well, for a guy with an MMA podcast, Lance McCullers Jr. sure does like no hitting!


Is this thing on?

Ok that was not my best, but —and this is important — James is not the boss of me and he gave me admin privileges on This Site and I can do whatever I want now. I'll be taking over for a little while until James returns or burns this place down in disgust.

McCullers attributed his success last night to trusting Martin Maldonado's pitch calling. 

I saw some weeping and gnashing of teeth over the "missed" play by Bregman that broke up the no-hitter, including by Bregman himself in the McTaggart store above. Short of a miracle, I think he would have beat out a hit even if Bregman managed to glove it. Judge for yourself

Here's the Associated Press' Kristie Rieken on the Astros 6-4 win last night.

Oh yeah. If you went to bed after the seventh, things got interesting. I mean, interesting is a strong word, but Josh James continued to struggle. He's still striking out double digit batters by nine, but he's walking even more. Which is not ideal. 

Discipline on the Jomboy Presents: Astros Fight Club™ is expected sometime today or tomorrow. Laureano regrets ($) calling Cintron a "loser."

Baseball Genius Rob Arthur ran some studies ($) on the drag of the 2020 baseball and it appears more similar to the 2018 ball, which will lead to a drop in home run rate.

Ben Lindbergh theorizes why BABIP is down across the league. 

Noted Rule Follower Mike Clevinger appears to have knowingly risked infecting his entire team after going into town and then getting on the team plane despite his teammate Zach Plesac had been publicly chastised for the exact same violation-of-protocol.  

Jeff Passan wrote a phenomenal profile on Fernando Tatis Jr., who is Extremely Fun. This is now a Padres blog. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020


 I can’t do this right now. Next post TBD.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Diamondbacks 8-2, an almost-complete offensive performance and a solid start from Cristian Javier. Houston is 6-4. The season is 1/6 of the way complete.

*The Astros got home runs from Altuve and Correa. Correa was 3x3 with 0K:2BB. It's the third time in his career he has reached base five times in the same game - the previous two both came in 2017. Check this Chandler Rome story on Correa. Correa:
I'm looking for pitches down the middle. It doesn't matter if it's a fastball or an offspeed pitch. Pitches I can drive, I'm going to pull the trigger. 

More Correa:
These three weeks of summer camp were not enough. We have a lot of pitchers that, you can tell when you face them, that they're not ready.

*George Springer had 3RBI for the 34th time in his career.

*Kyle Tucker was 2x5 with an RBI. In four games in 2020 batting 8th, Tucker is hitting .286/.333/.429.

*Cristian Javier was straight solid in his first career MLB win: 6IP, 4H/1ER, 2K:1BB. 49 of his 79 pitches were for strikes, 19 of those strikes were non-contact strikes. Javier's two starts this "season:" 11.2IP, 6H/2ER, 10K:2BB. Correa, on Javier:
I think Javier is gonna be in our rotation for a long time. He's nasty. He's got great stuff. I like his composure on the mound. The kid's got it all. I like the way he attacks hitters. I like the way he handles everything.

*Bryan Abreu threw 0.2IP, 1H/1ER, 1K:3BB. Eight of his 24 pitches were strikes.

Abreu's BB/9, Minor Leagues: 5.5
Abreu's BB/9, Major Leagues: 5.6

*Congratulations to Humberto Quintero Castellanos on making his MLB debut and throwing an extremely uneventful 9th inning.

*Michael Brantley sat out Tuesday's game with a quad injury, and Roberto Osuna likely needs Rob Manfred, I mean Tommy John Surgery. If that's true, and the Astros are getting a second opinion, Osuna has probably thrown his last pitch for Houston, seeing as how he will be a free agent after 2021.

*Jose Urquidy will throw a bullpen in Corpus soon, but is still probably "a couple of weeks" away, as is Aledmys Diaz.

*There's a new Top 100 Prospects midseason update from MLB.com, and Forrest Whitley still is listed as having one of the best curveballs on the list. And speaking of Whitley, he is seeing a doctor. Probably for medical reasons, but don't rule "romance" out just yet!

*FanGraphs sat down with epidemiologist Zachary Binney to discuss MLB's COVID response and whether it can be fixed.

*Check this crazy story from Tim Brown on 30-year old Marlins rookie Eddy Alvarez, who previously won an Olympic medal...in speed-skating.

*wow simply cannot believe that college football coaches are bullying their players about COVID.

*A Musical Selection:

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros didn't play last night. Oakland did play, and won, so they're 6-4 - a half-game ahead of the Astros in the division. It's the first time the Astros haven't been in 1st place on the morning of August 4 since 2016.

Lead, on the morning of August 4:
2020: -0.5
2019: +8.0
2018: +5.0
2017: +15.0
2016: -6.5
2015: +3.0
2014: -22.0
2013: -27.5
2012: -30.5
2011: -24.5

*Check Episode 133 of Lima Time Time, recorded last night.

*Brian McTaggart: What's gone right - and wrong - for the Astros so far. I would go so far as to say that losing your ace and your closer in the first 10 days of the season is a really Wrong thing.

*The Astros signed reliever Chase De Jong from the Sugar Land Skeeters. His velocity is apparently up after throwing around a weighted ball. De Jong is a former 2nd Round pick - taken 20 picks after the Astros drafted Nolan Fontana. Here are his stats.

*Jake Kaplan and Zach Buchanan revisited the Greinke trade a year later from both teams' perspectives.

*Brandon Bailey talked about what it's like to make his MLB debut in 2020.

*Psyche: How to read more books.

*Vice: The public submissions for Mississippi's new state flag are pretty much exactly what you would expect.

*Today at 1:45pm Central on ESPN+, Brentford and Fulham will play in The Richest Game in Football. Whoever wins this one game will get promoted to the Premier League, and will make between £135 and £160 million (or $175m-$227m) over the next three years.

*A Musical Selection:

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday Morning Hot Links

I had 18 hours of professional development this weekend. I just wasn't feeling it yesterday morning.

The Astros beat the Angels 6-5 in extra innings. Blake Taylor recorded the first win of his MLB career. Josh James struggled, again. Framber straight Frambushed the Angels. The Astros couldn't do crap with runners in scoring position, scoring six runs on eleven hits and eight walks. Houston is 5-4. They're off today (Monday) before going to Arizona to face the 3-7 D'amon'b'ck'. Tuesday will probably be Cristian Javier vs. Madison Bumgarner. I completely forgot that Bumgarner went to Arizona.

-This three-game series took 766 minutes, or 12.77 hours. If you watched all three games from first pitch to last pitch, literally 1/6 of your weekend was watching the Astros and Angels. Manfred is KILLING IT with his pace-of-play initiatives. Just kidding, he's a threat to the game and needs to be removed in a coup d'etat. Just let Selig be commissioner again in a zany Weekend at Bernie's type of deal.

-Josh James: 3IP, 1H/4ER, 4K:6BB. Just 33 of his 72 pitches were for strikes. Josh James' two starts: 6IP, 4H/8ER, 9K:11BB, 72 of 147 pitches have been strikes. He's had 17 swings and misses over two starts in 2020.

-Framber Valdez: 6.1IP, 5H/1R (0ER), 8K:1BB. The eight strikeouts were one shy of his career-high of nine, on September 23, 2018, against the Angels. Framber has struck out 8+ batters four times in his career. Three of those games are against the Angels. Showing my work. Here's Dusty, on the game:
We needed this game very badly. [There is] a lot of difference between 5-4 and 4-5. We certainly didn't want to go below .500. It was a great game for us. We got some key hits out there. Boy, we're all tired. We need a day off [Monday].

-Blake Taylor: 1.1IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:2BB.
Taylor, 2020: 7.1IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:2BB.

Astros pitchers walked 25 Angels batters in the three-game series. I'm not good enough at the new Baseball-Ref Stathead thing yet, but that's probably a lot of walks in three games, especially if you win two of them. The Astros have won six games in franchise history in which they walked 11+ batters. Two of those came in this Angels series. The Angels have lost 13 games in their franchise history in which they walked 11+ times and lost. Two of those came in this Astros series.

-The Astros were literally 2x17 with runners in scoring position. Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker came to the plate four times with a runner in scoring position, Josh Reddick three times. There were no hits in there.

2019 Astros w/RISP: .268/.353/.503
2019 Astros Postseason w/RISP: .000/.000/.000*
2020 Astros w/RISP: .246/.360/.368
2020 AL w/RISP: .250/.344/.437

*Going off memory, here

-Alex Bregman had the game-winning RBI four innings after hitting a home run. It's his first 2-hit game of the 2020 season, and he has a three-game hitting streak. Bregman, on how he feels at the plate:
Horrible, but we're just getting started. I've just got to get better mechanically. I took BP before the game and got to get some good swings off there. 

-For just the third time in his career, Jose Altuve came to the plate six times and didn't get on base. (April 5, 2017 vs Seattle, September 18, 2014 vs Cleveland). Coming into yesterday's game, Altuve had faced the Angels more than any other team in MLB (132 games) and was hitting .333/.389/.501 against them.

-Michael Brantley was 3x4 with a walk. He's hitting .438/.514/.656.

-George Springer raised his 2020 OPS from .390 to .697 in three games against the Anaheim Guy Fieris.

-Albert Pujols has hit 658 home runs with 2080 RsBI. 60 of those homers, and 181 of those RsBI, have been against the Astros. His Grand Slam yesterday was his first against the Astros since April 11, 2009, when he did it against Roy Oswalt.

*To clean up some old news: Forrest Whitley has a sore arm, Roberto Osuna had an MRI and is on the IL. Less than 10 games into the season, the Astros had already let Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Will Harris, Collin McHugh, and Hector Rondon walk. Currently Justin Verlander, Brad Peacock, Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski, and Joe Biagini are on the IL. That's a total of 879IP, probably more since I likely screwed up the addition, that are either gone or unavailable. Considering the 2019 Astros threw 1462.1IP in the regular season, it's not a good ratio.

*The Cardinals had four more positive tests within the team. Let's see how long before the season gets canceled, but I'm gonna bet on the "Well it's not happening to ME" mindset winning out.

*SI: Manfred's bluff to end season further exposes MLB's issues.

*A Musical Selection: