Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Morning Hot Links

I had Xavier beating Seton Hall to get in my national championship game. Jeremy Hellickson held the Astros hitless through five innings while Ken Giles had yet another rough outing - allowing two runs - as the Phillies beat the Astros 5-4

*But Ken Giles thinks it was his best outing of the Spring.

*Your "Battle For Closer" right now is Ken Giles' 10.80 ERA vs. Luke Gregerson's lack of Spring Training. Giles: 5IP, 8H/6ER, 4K:3BB.

*There are too many questions about Gattis' health for him to be a reliable backup catcher, writes Evan Drellich.

*The Astros will get one more look at Wandy before he can opt out, and a decision on Neal Cotts is needed soon. Wandy, Spring: 8IP, 5H/2ER, 6K:0BB. Cotts: 5.1IP, 3H/2ER, 3K:2BB.

*The Astros optioned Asher Wojciechowski, Nolan Fontana and Andrew Aplin, and reassigned Tony Kemp to minor-league camp.

*The Astros are using minor-league Spring Training games as a way to experiment, like working on different pitches and making sure relievers are getting used to throwing on back-to-back days.

*From TCB a couple of days ago...Enrique Hernandez, or "the one that hurts the most."

*Luis Tiant is returning to Cuba for just the second time since 1961.

*Hardball Times: 10 Things To Look Forward To In 2016.

*The Pirates are re-thinking everything!

*Sports Illustrated's MLB Media Roundtable: The challenges of reporting, interviews, etc.

*Brewers outfielder Rymer Liriano was hospitalized with multiple facial fractures after taking a pitch under the brim of his helmet.

*Re: A&M's comeback: Bill James' 2008 formula for determining when a college basketball lead is safe.