Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Morning Hot Links

*The Yankees wore out Mike Fiers, the bullpen threw another 5IP, and the Astros' offense popped off on All-Star Announcement Day with an 8-1 win over the Yankees. The Astros finish the season 5-2 against New York.

*Brian McTaggart notes that Fiers became the first pitcher since 1913 (and probably ever) to throw 100+ pitches in 4IP without allowing a run. Fiers' pitch count, by inning:
1st: 22 (Double, 2K:1BB)
2nd: 37 (2K:2BB)
3rd: 30 (Single, 2K:1BB)
4th: 20

*Carlos Correa had his first career 4-hit game. After getting off to a rough start in April, Correa is hitting .Wow/.Yay/.Great! since. He has a 12-game hitting streak and a 20-game on-base streak.

*Yuli Gurriel finished (wink) a triple shy of the cycle for his second consecutive 3-hit game. Hinch:
When he's swinging the bat like he has recently it's pretty scary to have that good a hitter that low in the order. He's dangerous, and when he gets hot as we can see he can put some really good swings on balls. 

After bottoming out with a .256 average on May 27, Gurriel is hitting .339/.345/.609 since, with 11 multi-hit games.

*Gurriel's homer made him the 8th Astro with 10+ home runs. The 2012 Astros had three players with 10+ homers for the entire season.

*In his first game back since May 21, Ashur Tolliver faced three batters in the top of the 9th and allowed a walk, two hits, and the Yankees' lone run.

*James Hoyt danced in and out of trouble in the 8th, allowing two hits but getting out unscathed. In his 25 outings in the 2017 season, he has had just two appearances in which zero baserunners reached. The last time he retired every batter he faced was June 3, vs Gun Barrel City. Hoyt has allowed at least one earned run in eight of his last 12 appearances (but just one in his last three!)

*Aaron Judge vs. Houston this series: 1x9, 4K:2BB.

*The Rapid Reaction from wasn't pretty:
Try looking for a bright spot. You'll squint so hard your eyes will shut. 

*The Astros will have five All-Star representatives next Tuesday night for the first time since 1994: Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers. It's the first time the Astros have ever had three starters on an All-Star team. This is Altuve's third straight start for the American League, putting him one shy of Craig Biggio's franchise record from 1995-1998. Keuchel:
Honestly, we should have more. We're the best team in the American League, and if you look at the last couple of years, the best teams always represented with the most players. You see it in football, you see it in basketball. I think some of the guys have been snubbed. 

*Springer is the first Astro OF to get a fan vote starting spot since Cesar Cedeno in 1973.

*With two games in Atlanta and no DH starting tomorrow, the Astros are going to lose a reliever and add a bat.

*After 83 games the Astros have a 14.5-game lead. There are 79 games remaining. Here's the breakdown of opponents (italics indicate teams currently above .500)
vs. Anaheim: 9
vs. Arlington: 9
vs. Toronto: 7
vs. Oakland: 7
vs. Seattle: 6
vs. Chicago White Sox: 6
vs. Boston: 4
vs. Tampa Bay: 4
vs. Arizona: 4
vs. Seattle: 3
vs. Minnesota: 3
vs. Baltimore: 3
vs. Philadelphia: 3
vs. New York Mets: 3
vs. Detroit: 3
vs. Washington: 3
vs. Atlanta: 2

So yeah, there are 18 games on the calendar in which the Astros play a team that is - currently - above .500. Okay.

*Off-Day Playoff Odds Report:
FanGraphs (102-60): 99.9% to win the division, 100% to make the playoffs.
Baseball Prospectus (101-61): 99.9% to win the division, 100% to make the playoffs.
FiveThirtyEight (104-58): 98% to win the division, 100% to make the playoffs.

In order to win 104 games the Astros would need to go 48-31 down the stretch. If they play the remaining 79 games at their current Win% they would go 109-53. And the rotation is a wreck right now.

*Charlie Morton threw 4.1IP for Corpus yesterday, allowing 1H/2R (0ER), 5K:2BB. He threw 50 of his 74 pitches for strikes and is on track to rejoin the rotation this weekend in Toronto.

*Hinch, on David Paulino's suspension:
When a guy makes a decision to do something like that and the league's drug program steps up, I don't know if it's a reality check or a slap in the face to an entire team that things aren't the same every day. It's an adjustment when one of your guys is impacted. Similar to a family, react accordingly. 

*Houston Press's John Royal: This is the best Astros team of all-time.

*ESPN's Andrew Marchand says the Yankees are no Astros.

*Carlos Correa won't participate in the Home Run Derby, despite an invitation.

*The Rangers lost a game to the White Sox in which Chicago got five hits and committed four errors.

*Fresno is riding a 10-game win streak and have made up five games on division-leading Reno.

*2016 1st Round pick Forrest Whitley got promoted to High-A Buies Creek. In 12 appearances for Quad Cities Whitley threw 46.1IP, 42H/15ER, 67K:21BB.

*Framber Valdez is headed to Corpus. In 61.1IP for Buies Creek, he allowed 41H/19ER, 73K:29BB

*And Corpus pitcher Rogelio Armenteros was promoted to Fresno. In 65.1IP for Corpus, Armenteros allowed 49H/14ER, 74K:19BB. Decent chance we see Armenteros in Houston come September.

*Kyle Tucker is Buies Creek's team leader in 2B, HR, and RBI and hasn't played there since May 29.

*The Astros can spend $4.75m this international signing period but, because they went nuts last year, can't sign anyone for more than $300,000.