Monday, June 24, 2019

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros were off Monday. Thank you for visiting Astros County Dot Com. Have a very nice day.

*Been a while since we've done a Playoff Odds Check. Let's do it:

FanGraphs (100-62): 99.4% to win division, 21.2% to win World Series
FiveThirtyEight (100-62): 95% to win division, 17% to win World Series (behind the Doyers, who are at 24%)
Baseball Prospectus (100-62): 98.9% to win division, 21% to win World Series (behind the Doyers, who are at 25.2%) - this was before games of June 24.

*The Marlins took Riley Ferrell (3rd Round - 2015) in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. They returned him to the Astros yesterday, and he was promptly outrighted off the 40-Man Roster and assigned to Corpus. He has pitched 6.2IP in 2019.

*Chronicle: Tyler White has followed up a disastrous April/May with a solid June.

*Brian T. Smith: Yordan's PAs are already must-see tv.

*Have you heard the new episode of Lima Time Time?

*According to FiveThirtyEight's MLB Predictions site (which so accurately predicted the 2016 presidential election that it cannot be ignored) says the Astros have better than a 60% chance of winning every game against the Pirates and Mariners this week.

*The NY Times' Tyler Kepner says the Astros offered New York a potential glimpse at the postseason.

*The new futures odds from BetOnline dot AG has the Astros at 5/2 odds to win the American League, behind the 2/1 Yankees.

*'s Sam Dykstra writes about Round Rock's Brandon Bielak

*Ken Hoffman roasted A.J. Pierzynski.

*Former Astros Great Mike Foltynewicz got optioned to Triple-A.

*Daryl Morey's daughter is a film student at NYU and made a documentary about the James Harden trade.

*Danny Boyle has confirmed that there will be a 28 Days Later sequel.

*"We are part of the problem:" Billionaires and their heirs are demanding a wealth tax.

*Really interested in getting my hands on this book (out today) - Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America's Patriot Militia Movement.

*Deadspin: When the Robert Kraft case fell apart, the women were left to pay the price.

*Toronto Life: The $500 Million Family Feud.

*FiveThirtyEight: How the USWNT survived against Spain.

*GQ's Alex Hannaford: A dirty, rotten, double crossing (true) story of what happened to the Italian-American mob.

*Missed this from last week from My Dude Adam Sternbergh: Carson Daly is TV's Ultimate Survivor. While you're at it, read his book The Blinds.

*A Musical Selection:

Monday Morning Hot Links

Hey guys it's me, Flick Nickem, back from his week long vacation because I was travelling to Cincy and back multiple times to watch the Astros get swept this week on top of working my church's VBS. But don't worry! I am back for one more week before I take another week long vacation because I'll be in Atlanta checking off my 11th ballpark I've watched baseball in joining Houston, Minnesota, Chicago (White Sox), Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincy, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

Hopefully another week long vacation doesn't involve another week long losing streak. But we snapped that yesterday afternoon as we FINALLY took a game against the Yankees 9-4. Notes:

Alvarez: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI
White: 1-4, Grand Slam
Altuve: 2-5, Solo HR
Verlander: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

Full Box:

I hope you arent looking for a lot of Hot Links, because boy are there not many!

Yordan Alvarez made history.

Here are the takeaways from this series with New York.

It looks as if George Springer will be back just in time for the Pittsburgh series

This is where I was planning on posting some minor league notes from around the farm teams, but at the time of writing this, the MiLB site is down. SO, I'll send you the link to the MiLB website and home it's working by morning.

Round Rock beat Iowa 8-3. Josh Rojas homered in his third straight game.

Corpus Christi dropped a game to Springfield 12-5. Springer went 1-3 in the game and hit .400 in three rehab games.

OUR Fayetteville Woodpeckers swept the Pelicans (because I guess every team in this league is a bird) 3-2.

The Quad Cities River Bandits game was postponed due to poor field conditions.

On This Day in Baseball History

In 2003, Brad Wilkerson became the 5th Expo to hit for the cycle.

In 2008, the Chiefs and Dragons minor league baseball teams get in a brawl that involved 17 ejections. The pitcher, Julio Castillo, was arrested with a felony assault charge after throwing a ball into the Dragons dugout but missing and hitting a fan in the stands.

In 2011, Michael Kacer, a wounded warrior who lost an arm in combat, went viral after making a fantastic catching the stands behind home plate at a Yankees game.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

I'm running out of ways to start this regular post. The Astros had the briefest of leads and then gave it back. Yordan is a Big Strong Man. Ryan Pressly had a rare terrible outing. Houston committed three errors (two on the same play on what looked like a fairly routine fly ball). All the games the Astros won while everyone was hurt are starting to fade into memory. Houston is 48-30, 21-19 away from Minute Maid Park. They were 21-13 on the road this time last week.

*Houston had a 5-4 lead for half an inning. They have now held a lead to begin an inning in three of their previous 63 innings. There is no explanation. Four of the seven losses have been 1- or 2-run losses. Houston has been outscored 43-19 in these seven games. Hinch:
It's tough when you lose a lead given the week we've had. We're all human, we're all pretty frustrated.

More Hinch:
You feel a little snakebitten when everything has to be perfect for us to piece it together. There are some frustrations that are building just because losing, it sucks. We're not putting things together for an entire game to get a win. You get the lead, there's a lot of momentum. You give the lead right back, it's a little deflating.

Reddick, on being snake-bitten:
Black Mamba-style, yeah. It feels like it's spreading fast and we have to find the antidote.

*This game did not come down to one play but I, for one, am shocked SHOCKED that the Replay Guy in NYC screwed up this Altuve hit.

*Houston had eleven hits and were 1x9 w/RIMFSP. That's two hits in their last 22 ABs with a runner in scoring position. They left 11 on base. They're 7x53 w/RISP during this losing streak.

*Eight of their 11 hits came from the top four in the lineup. The rest of the lineup was a combined 3x19. Houston lost a game in which they struck out three times for the second time the season. The last time was April 22 against the Twins, which they lost 9-5.

*Houston did not ground into a double play this game, for the second time in their last three.

*The Astros vs Adam Ottavino and Zach/k Britton: 11 batters, 0H/0ER, 2K:5BB.

*Yordan Alvarez gave the Astros their half-inning lead with a 3-run homer in the 7th.   Reddick (who hit a 2-run home run), on Yordan's homer:
The dugout was really awake for the first time this whole road trip.

*Hinch flipped the lineup, with Altuve leading off and Bregman batting 2nd:
It's the same hitters hitting in a different order. Sometimes you just have to change for the sake of change to give the lineup a different look. Jose is obviously very confident, and he got a couple hits. Alex in the two-hole has been very good. It's really no more complicated than that. Sometimes you shake it up, even if it's a small shake-up.

*Alex Bregman had two hits for the 16th time this season, and for the first time since June 6.

*Michael Brantley went 3x4 with a walk. It's his 3rd 3-hit game in his last six games.

*Yuli Gurriel, hitting in the #5 spot, was 0x5, dropping him to .258/.293/.389 on the season. He was 0x2 w/RISP. It's the first time he had gone 0x5 since August 17, 2018.

*Tyler White was 0x4 with a walk. He's now hitting .228/.344/.340 but has gotten on base at least once in 12 of his last 13 starts. White is also now 5x34 with runners in scoring position, after flying out to right with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th. He has 17 strikeouts in 43 PAs w/RISP in 2019.

*Wade Miley: 5IP, 2H/4ER, 7K:4BB. It's his 2nd straight start with 4BB. He had made 14 straight starts to open the season with three or fewer walks allowed coming into this L7.

*Austin F. Romine hit the home run in the 7th off of Pressly to tie the game at 5-5. It was his 2nd home run of the year. Romine's SLG on the season is now .307.

*Ryan Pressly: 1IP, 3H/3R (2ER), 2K:0BB, 1HR. It's the first time he has allowed 2+ ER since June 21, 2018, when he was still with Minnesota. Pressly had allowed three runs in 33.1IP in 2019 coming into last night's game. Houston is now 3-1 when Ryan Pressly gives up a run in 2019. Pressly:
When things aren't going your way, they're not going to go your way. Things kind of snowballed on us.

*The Astros are off tomorrow before starting a home series against Pittsburgh on Tuesday in which George Springer is expected to return to the lineup. Springer was 1x3 with three walks in Corpus' 6-4 win in 11 innings (on an Osvaldo Duarte walk-off homer) last night.

Collin McHugh faced three batters in a clean 6th, striking out one. He's nearing the end of his rehab assignment and could be activated Tuesday, while the Astros are approaching Joe Smith's rehab assignment like it's just now Spring Traning. Brandon Bailey threw the final 5IP of the game, allowing 1H/0ER, 5K:0BB. Brandon Bailey (acquired from Oakland in the Ramon Laureano trade) last four outings: 17.2IP, 8H/0ER, 21K:2BB.

*Round Rock's Josh Rojas hit a 1st inning homer off of a rehabbing Craig Kimbrel in Iowa last night. Kimbrel opened the game due to rain, which came, banging the game after five innings.

*Don't miss this Calcaterra/NBCSports article - as I did - from a few days ago featuring an interview with our very own Astros Fans UK and the growing baseball movement in the UK. Good on you, George. He's my 2nd-favorite George in Astrosdom. For all of us who struggle to stay awake past the 3rd/4th inning during West Coast games, George will get three hours of sleep most weeknights so he can watch the Astros.

*Michael Brantley could should play in the 2019 All-Star Game. The 2019 All-Star Game (I'll watch the Home Run Derby on mute, but I do not watch the All-Star Game) is in Cleveland. Michael Brantley admits that playing in it, in Cleveland, would be special.

*Miami's Wilkin Castillo got his first Major League hit in 3,654 days.

*Freddy Adu: I'm not ready to give it up

*A Musical Selection:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

But have the Astros considered not losing? Houston wasted opportunity after opportunity last night in a 4-1 loss at New York. It's Houston's 6th loss in a row. Houston is 48-29.

*Houston's L6 is the longest losing streak for the franchise since June 4-10, 2015. The losing pitchers in that skid were: Chad Qualls, Roberto Hernandez, Brett Oberholtzer, Luke Gregerson, Lance McCullers, Dallas Keuchel, and Tony Sipp.

*The Astros have had the lead entering an inning in three of their last 54 innings.

*Houston was 1x13 with runners in scoring position. That is really hard to do (not for me, though, striking out would be as good as I could hope for. Bet I'd get the bat off my shoulder, though.) Let's look:

Top 2: Runners on 1st/2nd, nobody out
-Chirinos struck out swinging, White struck out swinging, Marisnick struck out swinging.

Top 3: Runner on 2nd, nobody out
-Bregman struck out swinging, Brantley grounded out to first, Altuve walked, Alvarez grounded out to first

Top 4: Runner on 2nd, two out
-Marisnick doubled, Straw struck out swinging

Top 6: Runner on 2nd, nobody out
-Chirinos struck out looking, White walked, Reddick lined out to left, Straw struck out looking

Top 8: Runner on 1st/2nd, one out
-Reddick GIDPd

Top 9: Runner on 2nd/3rd, two out
-Alvarez struck out looking

Houston is 6x44 w/RISP during this losing streak.

We haven't played from ahead enough in the last week, and certainly when you make your fair share of mistakes, either in or out of the boxscore, it's tough to win here.

It keeps carrying over and carrying over. We'll get out of it. Just a matter of bad luck and not getting the job done. 

As someone who reads History, that's pretty much the downfall of every empire: bad luck and not getting the job done.

We need to do a lot better if we want to win games. Give a lot of credit to them, they have a good team over there, but we have to show up tomorrow and figure out a way to get it done.

*Jose Altuve had three infield singles, so that leg appears to be okay. It was his first three-hit game since April 7.

*Tyler White was 1x2 with 2BB. In his last 13 games White is hitting .317/.472/.537 with 14K:12BB.

*In his last 40 games Bregman is hitting .245/.386/.503 with 22K:33BB on a .216 BABIP. He was 0x5 with 1K last night, the 2nd time this season Bregs has gotten at least five plate appearances in a game and not reached base.

*Brad Peacock was legit: 6IP, 5H/2ER, 11K:0BB. 69 of his 102 pitches for strikes. It was the first start in his career in which he struck out eleven and didn't issue a walk. It's only the 5th double-digit K start of his career, the 2nd of 2019. The Astros are 1-4 when Brad Peacock strikes out 10+ batters in his career. Nothing makes sense.

*Hector Rondon: 1IP, 3H/2ER, 13 pitches.

*Garrett Stubbs and Jack Mayfield were optioned back to Round Rock. Max Stassi was activated from the IL and Reymin Guduan was brought up. It looks as though Springer will rejoin the team on Tuesday.

*Joe Smith made his 2019 debut in Corpus last night, striking out the side in the 7th. Collin McHugh threw 0.2IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:0BB. Enoli Paredes struck out nine batters in six scoreless innings.

*Bregman had a nice little interview with the YES Network.

*Dan Szymborski updated the ZiPS projection system (almost) halfway through the regular season.

*Oakland ace Frankie Montas was suspended 80 games for a banned substance. He has posted 2.9 fWAR for Oakland in 15 starts.

*The fight to bring an NPR station to the Rio Grande Valley.

*A Musical Selection:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Friday Morning Hot Links

Okay, one was reinjured. The Astros dropped their fifth straight game, eclipsing a season-high they set on Wednesday. Houston is 48-28 which [takes off socks] is still 20 games over .500 with 85 games left in the regular season. This was the fourth straight game in which there was a rain delay.

*The Astros allowed 12 runs in the entire early April series against the Yankees, and gave up ten last night. Houston is 4-7 at Yankee Stadium since the beginning of 2017 (postseason included).

*Astros pitchers gave up four home runs - three in the 4th inning alone - for the 8th time this season. They've allowed 37 home runs in 18 June games so far, 13 in the last five games.

*Framber, by inning:
1st: 4 batters faced, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB
2nd: 3 batters faced, 0H/0ER, 0K:0BB
3rd: 4 batters faced, 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB
4th: 6 batters faced, 3H/3ER, 0K:2BB

They're dangerous whenever they get into these hitter's counts and it started from the very first hitter of the blowup inning. They showed how explosive they are. We couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark and the game kind of got away from us a little bit.

*Hector Rondon quietly had a 1-2-3 8th inning, striking out the side on 15 pitches. He had struck out three batters in his previous 5.1IP combined (22 batters faced). Rondon, June: 8.1IP, 5H/2ER, 8K:3BB (2.16 ERA / 0.96 WHIP).

*Houston batters hit four home runs for the 8th time. They're now 6-2 in those games. The Astros had hit four home runs in the previous five games combined.

*Jake Marisnick hit two home runs for the third time in his career, and the first since July 31, 2017. He had previously done it in May 2017. Historically, the Astros are 1-0 in the World Series in years in which Jake Marisnick hits two home runs.

*Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez homered (and Alvarez also doubled) like the Good Strong Boys They Are. Alvarez has five home runs in his first nine games, joining Carlos Delgado as the youngest to do it.

*Jose Altuve got his first hit since May 10.

*This kid George Springer hit two home runs down at Corpus. Maybe bring him up and give him a shot? Seth Beer hit two home runs, as well, going 3x4 with a walk. Corpus hit six home runs in the game.

The plan for Springer is to take today off, then play Saturday and Sunday. Bregman:
Oh, it's gonna be awesome. We're getting Jose back now, he's gonna get on a roll. Springer hit two homers today in rehab - he's coming soon. And then hopefully Correa heals quickly and he gets back. I think we're having a little rough stretch right now. But we'll be back.

Hinch has an update on that:
I'm not sure [Correa and Diaz] are going to factor into the Major League team prior to the All-Star break. Their rehab calendars are still in pencil, and we're closing in on the last homestand before we hit July. I know Correa won't be available. I think the hope is that Diaz is still a little bit ahead of Correa.

*Jose Urquidy for Round Rock last night: 6IP, 5H/2ER, 7K:0BB. Urquidy has 95K:13BB in 70.2IP with a 3.69 ERA / 0.96 WHIP. Taylor Jones was 3x4 with two doubles. Nick Tanielu, Drew Ferguson, and Jamie Ritchie each had two hits in a 4-3 loss to Iowa.

*C.J. Stubbs hit a home run in his first professional AB in a 10-7 Tri-City win over Aberdeen. Joe Perez (2nd Round - 2017) was 3x4 with a walk, 2RBI, and his first career professional home run. Tri-City's coaching staff is a combined 81 years old and were all interested in learning the way the Astros do things.

*The NY Post's Ken Davidoff writes that the Yankees were right to hold on to Former Astros Great Cameron Maybin. The Yankees acquired Maybin from Cleveland for $25,000. The Indians are stupid (see: Brantley, Michael).

*New York gets Aaron Judge back tonight.

*The Rays may eventually split their season between Tampa and Montreal? Lol no, says pretty much everybody.

*How to use social media, according to a mental health expert.

*His biggest hit sold more copies than any of the Beatles' hits. So why haven't you heard of Prince Nico Mbarga?

*The 13 coolest record stores in America. Waterloo Records is not a part of this list.

*A Musical Selection:

The Hot Links Playlist on Spotify is now at 130 songs and 8h15m of musical goodness.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

I know you're upset. I'm not happy. But in trying times like these, meaning "a team who has lost four games in a row for the first time in a season in which they have played 75 games" and "a team that has played most of the last month without Altuve, Springer, and Correa, and Altuve and Correa's backup and still has a lead that could hold up if they lost for another week straight, provided the Ramgers also won every game for the next week" it brings me solace to remember the following dates:

August 8-10, 2017.
September 8-10, 2017.

On August 8-10, 2017 the Astros got swept by the White Sox, who would go on to lose 95 games. On September 8-10, 2017 the Astros got swept by the A's, who would go on to lose 87 games. That was the last time the Astros got swept on the road, by the by. We've seen the Houston Astros have a few bad days in a row. It is June. Altuve just came back. Springer is on his way. Correa's dumbass broke head ass rib is still dumb and broke.

Let's chill out a little bit. The Reds are Not Terrible. Run Differential says they should actually be well over .500They are expected to be a 79-80 win team this year, and the NL Central is competitive.

*The Astros are in their first four game losing streak since the 2018 ALCS. Before that, it was an L5 from August 9-14, 2018. Houston has now lost three 1-run games in a row, something they had not done since May 19-21, 2016.

*Houston got seven hits and one walk. Their three walks in the last two games are the fewest in a two-game stretch since May 22-23, when they walked three times against the White Sox...and lost both of those games.

*The Astros lost their first game of the season when they were leading after eight innings, moving now to 45-1. Hinch:
If you do enough things wrong or don't do enough, you're going to lose at this level, and we did a lot of both. Today's game was very winnable. I've said that a couple of times in a row now, so very disappointing, yeah.

Way to go, guys. You disappointed Cool Uncle A.J. Nick Senzel, who had the game-winning run, on Osuna:
Thank God [Osuna] had no clue what was going on when the throw was made. I think he thought the game was over or something. I don't know what was going on...It was a bad throw, the catcher's glove came off, Osuna - I don't know what he was doing.

Osuna "didn't see it."

*Gerrit Cole threw 6IP, 6H/1ER, 8K:3BB. Cole:
We're trying not to get swept here. It's a pretty important game from that standpoint. I was just doing everything I could to hold it where it was at and just try to give us the best chance. We made a lot of good pitches today for the most part. They were able to put the ball in play a few times, and it went their way. 

It's the 6th time in 16 starts in 2019 that Cole has allowed 0-1 earned runs. Houston is 4-2 in those games.

*Roberto Osuna allowed 3H/2R (1ER) and blew his fourth save opportunity of the season, in 31 appearances.

*This very current/present Astros offense let Reds SP Tyler F. Mahle throw 7IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:1BB. He had never recorded 21 outs in a single start before yesterday. This series is the literal dumbest series of the year. He had a 4.33 ERA / 4.20 FIP coming into the game. The Astros were 3x16 w/RISP in this series.

*Jose Altuve was 0x4 with a GIDP in his first MLB game since May 10. It's his 10th 0x4 of the 2019 season. He had 20 0x4 games in 2018.

*Very Costly Error aside, Michael Brantley was 3x4. It's his 5th 3-hit game of 2019. The Astros are 3-2 in those games, and you have to go back to Tuesday to find the last game the Astros lost when Brantley had three hits. It's his first back-to-back 3-hit games since August 2015, when he did it three times in a row. He had seven of the Astros' twenty hits in this God-forsaken series.

*Tyler White was 1x3 with a walk. His OPS has gone from .581 to .695 in the last two weeks. A .695 OPS is not what you want in a DH/1B/MLB Player, but he's had a decent couple of weeks. Hi, RB.

*Chandler Rome has the takeaways from the Reds series. There's also this article from Rome on the seven-man bullpen and possible position player configurations in the next week.

*George Springer and Joe Smith officially begin their rehab assignments in Corpus today.

*Jake Kaplan: What to make of the lack of production from 1B.

*The Yankees are looking for some revenge as the Astros come to town for a four-game set. Luke Voit:
That's one of the powerhouses in baseball. I'm excited to face those guys again after losing and getting swept by them earlier in the year. It will be a playoff atmosphere. 

*Max Scherzer balled out with a broken nose and a black eye.

*The Attorney General of the Dominican Republic says the Ortiz shooting was a case of "mistaken identity" because no one in the DR knows who David Ortiz is.

*Fear, Texts, and Bodyguards: What It's Like to be a Venezuelan MLB Player with family back home.

*SBNation has an NBA Draft Scouting Report Generator that is very fun. Regarding my own scouting report, I have "the wingspan to be the Number One pick, but scouts say trash tweets could be an issue." This cuts me deeply.

*A Musical Selection: