Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Morning Hot Links

*Hold the phone: the Astros won a 1-run game...on the road...against the Rangers? Unreal. Tense as it was, the Astros held on to a 6-5 win to improve to 40-16. Matt Young tells us that eight other teams in the last 50 years have won 40 of their first 56 games, and seven of them went to the World Series.

*The 2016 Chicago Cubs' record after 56 games: 40-16. Prior to that, the 2001 Mariners (who went 116-46) were actually 44-12 after 56 games and wouldn't lose their 16th game until June 18 to put their record at 52-16.

*The Astros' 40-16 record is the best in baseball, five games better than the 2nd-place Nationals, 6.5 games better than the Yankees, who have the 2nd-best record in the AL.

*Just some perspective, there are 106 games left. If the Astros go 53-53, they'll finish the season 93-69. 60-46 (a .566 win%) would give them a 100-win season.

*A.J. Hinch:
None of these are easy. It may look easy when we score double-digit runs, but we're going to have to win games like this. 

*The Astros are 14 games up on the Rangers, with 13 games left to play against the Witches of West Forney.

*The Astros have 111 hits in their nine-game win streak.

*Rougned Odor didn't want to talk about the game. Andrew Cashner:
That's a tough team, a tough lineup. But we have a great lineup over here, too. It just comes down o making pitches for us. I think the biggest thing for us right now is we need that big hit with runners in scoring position.

Rangers' LOBsters by inning, thanks to the bullpen:
5th: 2
6th: 1
7th: 2
8th: 0
9th: 1

*Lance McCullers allowed four earned runs in all of May combined (36.1IP). He got hit around a little bit last night with 4.1IP, 6H/4R (3ER), with 8K:2BB. McCullers didn't make it out of the 5th for just the second time in his 12 starts. Hinch, on McCullers:
His command was fading. He got into the game a little rough with his command, then he settled in nicely, and as he got a little tired and a little bit deeper into the fifth inning, it was time for him to go.

*Altuve and Beltran were each 3x5 with a home run; Beltran's opened the scoring, and Altuve's closed it out as the eventual go-ahead homer. Altuve has had 110 3-hit games since his debut in 2011.

*Luke Gregerson balked - for the first time in his career - sending Elvis Andrus to 2nd. Will Harris came in after Gregerson walked Adrian Beltre and got two strikeouts to end the 7th. Gregerson's night: three batters faced: single, strikeout (balk), walk.

*Ken Giles has allowed a run in back-to-back appearances for the first time since allowing runs in three straight appearances from April 6-15.

*George Springer is not your stereotypical leadoff hitter.

*The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mac Engel says Nolan Ryan's move back to Houston hurt the Rangers more than it helped the Astros. And then he throws this smoke bomb:
Not even a team from Houston, where choking is a celebrated way of life because of the humidity and sports teams, could blow a division lead this big. The Astros are not going to maintain a plus-.700 winning percentage, but the AL West now goes through Houston.

By all means, get riled up. I'll always encourage getting rowdy against a DFW writer, but click the link and you'll get some measured analysis about the direction the Rangers are trending.

*Ah, the old "You have a problem" headline, but flipped on the Rangers.

*Brian T. Smith says that this team begins and ends with Dallas Keuchel.

*Lance McCullers: "For me, it's look good, feel good, play good."

*FanRag Sports: Should the Astros regret signing Yulieski Gurriel?

Read more here:

Read more here:

*A.J. Hinch said that Derek Fisher is probably ready to come to Houston, but he won't be called up to sit the bench:
He's got many tools that can be weapons up here. He's still in the development stage and he's made quite an impression. 

*In an article about Hooks starter Kyle Smith, who threw five perfect innings last night, manager Rodney Linares talked about how the progress made in the analytics department has impacted his managing.

*Bob Grossman's slash line since debuting for the Twins in May 2016: .280/.394/.449.

*Former Astro Luis Gonzales helped a woman out of a burning car after a wreck.

*Adult baby Brandon Phillips thinks the Reds should have retired his number by now.

*Before you go: