Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Morning Hot Links

*They're dead. By God they're all dead. The Astros killed them. I am not emotionally prepared for this. The Astros are 60-29, 16.5 games ahead of the Angels and Rangers. This, if you remember Baseball-Reference replying to Stephen King, is the 2nd largest division lead at the All-Star Break in baseball history. The 2001 Mariners (shudder) had a 19-game lead at the Break. The now-3rd-largest division lead in baseball history was 14.5 games, set by Pittsburgh in 1902. The 1902 Pirates went 103-36 but didn't win the World Series because the World Series wasn't played until the following season. George Springer vs. Ginger Beaumont: WHO YA GOT.

*The 16.5-game lead matches the largest division lead in franchise history. The 2017 Astros have lost one road series all year (at Cleveland, April 25-27).

*Jake Kaplan did the good work (so I didn't have to). Here are the previous franchise best winning percentages at the All-Star Break:
1) 2017: .674 (60-29)
2) 1998: .609 (53-34)
3) 1999: .580 (51-37)
4) 1980: .577 (45-33)

*The Astros have joined the 2017 Dodgers, 2003 Braves, 2001 Mariners, and 1998 Yankees as the only teams in MLB history to have 60 wins at the All-Star Break. Hinch, on 60 wins:
It's special. It's a special distinction because it's rarely done...We've gotten off to such a great start. We've got a great vibe, fun culture. Winning obviously helps that. 

*On this 6-game road trip (4-2), the Astros outscored the 1992 World Series participants 63-25. The Astros have a run differential of +162. That 1998 team had a +143 run differential at the Break. Previous seasons run differentials at the All-Star Break:
2016: +30
2015: +50
2014: -88
2013: -143
2012: -72
2011: -106

*The 19 runs scored by the Astros are the most in a game since October 2, 2015 when the Astros dropped 21 on Arizona, but this is the 6th game this season in which the Astros have 17+ hits. That's ridiculous.

That was incredible. We never stopped.

*Justin Smoak:
That team over there is really good and to get two wins against them is good. 

*Via Joe Sheehan: The Astros' four games of 16+ runs this season are the most by any team since 1996. And, at the All-Star Break, no team has had six such games since 1936. 

*Check the lede from the Toronto Sun's Steve Buffery:
Sunday's Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre was so bad for the home side, they had to replace the official scorer with a professor of mathematics from the University of Toronto.

*The Astros have never won a game by as large a margin as they did yesterday. It's the 5th time the 2017 Astros have won a game by 10+ runs. The 2015 Astros won seven games by 10+ runs. From 2008 - 2014 the Astros won a total of four games by 10+ runs.

*Correa, who had a career-high 5RBI thanks to two home runs:
I feel like we have a really good team. From 1 through 9, we can do damage, so today we showed what we're capable of. 

*Carlos Correa hit his 19th and 20th home runs yesterday. He had 20 home runs in all of 2016.

*Jose Altuve got his 5th consecutive 3-hit game yesterday, giving him a league-leading .347 batting average. He has raised his OPS 51 points in the last five games. He's the 9th player since 1913 with 5+ 3-hit games, and the first to do it since George Brett in 1976.

*Via Ryan Spaeder: The last time a team had two middle infielders with a .300/.400/.500 slash line was the 1873 Boston Red Stockings.

*Brad Peacock had another Walk Issue. Though he made it through six scoreless, he allowed five walks, man. Peacock, on his command:
Unreal. I can't explain it. Sometimes it just happens. I lost it. 

*While we all would prefer the Astros just go ahead and play the Twins tomorrow night, Hinch is looking forward to the break:
It's nice to say we should keep this going, but we need as many people to rest up here in the next four days. 

*ESPN's David Schoenfield says the Astros and Dodgers are on a World Series collision course, but has a chilling stat: In the Wild Card Era, 22 teams have won 100 games. Of those 22 teams, seven went to the World Series, and only three won it. Only 14 of the 44 teams to lead the league in wins went to the World Series.

*Playoff Odds/Season Projection check:
FanGraphs: (103-59) 99.9% to win division, 18.3% to win World Series
Baseball Prospectus: (102-60) 100% to win division, 18.9% to win World Series
FiveThirtyEight: (105-57) >99% to win division, 23% to win World Series

*Dallas Keuchel threw a bullpen session yesterday. Hinch:
I'm cautiously optimistic, as opposed to, just, dreaming. We need these guys to be on the field. Until they're pitching, I don't factor anything in.

Click the link for notes on who goes to the bullpen and Hinch's thoughts on the mindset of rotation vs. bullpen. As Keuchel and McHugh get ready to come back, Hinch said Frankie Tuesday could remain in the bullpen or go back to starting for Fresno.

*Charlie Morton will pitch Friday, Joe Musgrove on Saturday, and Mike Fiers on Sunday against the Twins.

*FanRag's Tommy Stokke: Marwin is an All-Star for the Astros, at least.

*In the Futures Game (which the USA won, giving them home field advantage in the Futures World Series), Derek Fisher hit a two-run double, Kyle Tucker was 1x3 with an RBI double, and Yordan Alvarez was 1x1 with a walk and an RBI. Fisher:
This is something you don't really realize how big it is until you're here. This is the first time I've played with USA across my chest. Being able to do that was a proud thing for me. 

Tucker, on playing with trade rumors swirling:
I'll see it every now and then. I don't pay too much attention to it, because it's out of my hands. All I can do is go out and play. I don't have any say whether I get traded or who I'm going to.

*Ramon Laureano went 5x5 with two doubles and a triple in Corpus' win yesterday. He's the 5th player in Corpus history to get a 5-hit game. He's hitting .500/.529/1.000 in July.

*Forrest Whitley threw 5IP, 5H/1ER, 5K:0BB in a Buies Creek win yesterday.

*Baseball officials told Joel Sherman that there are concerns about Sonny Gray's long-term health.

*Jose Quintana said he'd prefer to stay in Chicago.

*Mariners bullpen coach and Former Astros Great Mike Hampton has resigned, in order to spend more time with his family.

*Mike Trout will return to the Angels on Friday, and baseball will be better for it.