Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday Morning Hot Links

I know we've been light on #content lately but with the Holiday and whatnot, the struggle has been real. Fear not, friends! Hark! There are pieces in the works, to be published over the next couple of days on: Mike Fiers, Carlos Gomez, the rest of the 2016 schedule, James Hoyt, AND MORE. But first...THE LINKS.

*The Astros beat the Mariners for the 14th time in 19 games at Minute Maid Park, with Mariners starters recording a 7.48 ERA in that span.

*AL West: Red Sox beat the RangersMinnesota beat Oakland, the Angels beat the Rays.
*Wild Card: Toronto beat Kansas City.

*The Astros are a game behind Toronto for the WC1 and a half-game behind Boston for WC2.

*FanGraphs: 31.1% to win the division, 62.1% to make the playoffs.
*FiveThirtyEight: 19% to win the division, 50% to make the playoffs.
*BaseballProspectus: 18% to win the division, 51% to make the playoffs.

*The Astros have now picked up three games on the Rangers in their last ten and are 6.5 back of Fort Worth, while providing a three-game cushion on the Mariners thanks to the sweep.

*The Astros won despite Mike Fiers completely ineffectual start for the 2nd time in three games. The Astros gave Fiers a 5-0 lead and he couldn't make it out of the 4th, allowing 5H/4ER, 4K:2BB and three homers allowed in the 4th. On June 25 the Astros gave Fiers a 9-1 lead and he couldn't get out of the 5th, allowing 9H/2ER, 1K:3BB.

According to Baseball-Reference, when pitching with a lead, Fiers has allowed a slash line of .350/.399/.636 with 10 homers allowed in 153 PAs.

*Luis Valbuena hit a monster 2-run homer in the 8th to spark a third attempt in the game to beat down the Mariners. They're 9-0 in their last nine games against AL West teams. Hinch:
We haven't had a game like this, that I can remember, where we jump out to a big lead, they have two really big innings to get back in it, and then us having the resiliency to win in the end. It's a different way to win. I'm proud of our guys for how we stuck in the game. 

Carlos Gomez, who had three hits and three RBI:
Even early in the season, we never [felt] disappointed. We have that positive [energy], and we know that we have a really good team to compete and have a really good season.

*Brian T. Smith says the Astros should focus on winning the division. Foster, on the team's early season struggles:
In hindsight, it's been a blessing for us. We've learned a lot about ourselves. When you get backed into a corner, you can do one of two things. You can just stand in the corner and take whatever's coming, or you can come out swinging. Obviously, we've come out swinging.

*George Springer is 2nd in fan voting for the All-Star Game behind someone named "Michael Saunders." Springer ain't about that Home Run Derby life.

*Carlos Correa isn't distraught about not making the All-Star team.

*Watch this CBS Fresno video interview with Alex Bregman.

*Corpus' David Paulino is back at Extended Spring Training following an eventful run that included a team suspension and arm soreness which placed him on the DL.

*Corpus manager Rodney Linares has been suspended for three games, so the short-term interim manager is...Morgan Ensberg.

*Yankees prospect Jorge Mateo mouthed off about not getting promoted to Double-A, and got suspended instead.

*Vice Sports: Shohei Otani is the best thing in baseball.

*Ryan Adams reflects on 16 years of Heartbreaker