Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Morning Hot Links

And of course the Astros beat Zack Greinke - read the Masked Marvel's recap. Notably, the Angels lost and the Rangers won, giving the Astros a 4.0-game lead in the AL West over...the Rangers, who move into 2nd place for the 2nd time this weekend. The A's and Mariners both lost, as well. FanGraphs gives the Astros a season-high 78.1% chance of winning the division and a 91.1% chance of making the postseason. There are 38 games left in the season.

On to the links...

*Hinch doesn't care that the Astros beat Greinke and took the series with an opportunity to sweep the 1st place Dodgers:
We don't care who we're playing. I'd like to sweep these guys. And it's going to be a tough matchup. We're going to have to bring our best to beat the Dodgers again. I think people outside this room, outside this clubhouse care more about what these series mean. I think our guys know it's another win under our belt.

That is a lot of thinking.

*Between Fiers and Kazmir the Dodgers made 30 consecutive outs.

*Mike Fiers donated his cap and the Justin Turner strikeout ball from the no-hitter to the Hall of Fame. And no, Don Mattingly won't be asking about pine tar.

*The career ups-and-downs of Mike Fiers.

*Now is apparently a good time to ask Mike Fiers about hitting Giancarlo Stanton in the face.

*The Dodgers and their $300m payroll have a wider margin for error than the Astros.

*The Astros have optioned Preston Tucker to Fresno to make room for Lance McCullers, and to give Tucker a chance to figure out his swing. Hinch:
He's in the area of the roster where he's got options and we have the opportunity now to get him some at-bats. I don't think his swing has been particularly sharp in the last couple of weeks, really since the road triple. 

The "road triple" to which Hinch is referring came on....I don't know. Tucker hasn't hit a triple this season. But in August, Tucker is hitting .152/.188/.304 with 11K:1BB in 48 PA. This arbitrary endpoint ignores the five hits Tucker got in the last three games of July but whatever.

So your outfield will be a combination of Springer, J.D. Martinez, and Delino DeShields Gomez, Rasmus, Marisnick, and Gattis. Why Tucker and not, say, Chris Carter? Carter doesn't have any options left, and would have to pass through waivers in order to get sent to the minors. Rather than run the risk of letting him go to another team, the Astros can stash him on the bench, let him get his 8-10 PAs/week until the rosters expand in nine days.

*The Astros honored Craig Biggio in a pre-game ceremony at Minute Maid last night. If you don't remember, "Craig Biggio" was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last July. His teammate Jeff Bagwell should be inducted next summer, and if he is not, the moon will turn to blood.