Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Morning Hot Links

*Mike Fiers wasn't very Fiers-like (or he was VERY Fiers-lake, depending on which way your confirmation bias leans you), Michael Feliz unraveled, and the Astros couldn't put together anything against Very Good Pitcher Aaron Nola. Astros lose 9-0. They are 67-34 and drop to 9-1 against the National League, giving the NL hope in the Best-of-19 series. The Mariners lost, so the lead remains at 17, with 61 games remaining. After 50 road games, the Astros are 37-13.

It wasn't a good night for us, and it really started with their starting pitcher. Nola did a great job. 

They're pretty good, but I just tried to stay with my plan. Don't really change up anything because they're in first place. I think location was going to get them. That's what I was focused on tonight, trying to make pitches in quality locations.

*Via Jake Kaplan: Aaron Nola became just the second pitcher this season, joining Corey Kluber, to strike out 10+ Astros in a game.

*Mike Fiers threw just 4IP, 5H/3ER, 7K:3BB, breaking a string of three straight quality starts. Fiers has failed to record 13 outs twice in his past five outings, throwing 100+ pitches on 4IP against the Yankees on July 2, and last night.

*Michael Feliz got lit up, allowing 8H/6ER, 5K:0BB in 2IP. The Phillies had a single, triple, and a home run off of him by the time he threw his 8th pitch. (They got the double, later in the inning). Hinch went out to the mound and gave Feliz, who declined to talk to reporters after the game, a talkin-to:
I just had something to say to him about what I wanted him to do in terms of competing.

Arbitrary Endpoint Alert: Since June 30 (nine appearances) Feliz has thrown 8IP, 19H/10ER, 14K:7BB on an absurd .630 BABIP.

*The Astros' .858 team OPS is one point behind the 1930 Cubs for the highest OPS by a team in a season since 1913:

*Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a leadoff double. Carlos Beltran and Tyler White joined Altuve with two hits apiece, and the Astros were 0x9 w/RISP.

*Marwin Gonzalez was 1x3 with a walk, and now has a 29-game on-base streak.

*Maybe you've heard of this Dallas Keuchel kid. He'll get promoted from Tri-City to start against Detroit on Friday. The Astros were 39-16 after Dallas Keuchel won the last start he made on June 2, and have gone 28-18 since. If you had the Astros winning at a .609 clip without Dallas Keuchel, step right up to this stake and let us burn you for witchcraft.

*Depending on how he feels after last night's rehab appearance, Will Harris should be activated from the DL on Friday. And Feliz could be optioned to Fresno to make room for him.

*George Springer should return on Friday.

*Mike Lupica:
The Astros might not have as many needs as some of the other contending teams. But they still have a need: To do something. Now.

*Jeff Luhnow told Jerry Crasnick at Citizens Bank Park that the Astros aren't going to go insane:
We're not going to overpay dramatically, because we're not in a situation where we have to. We have a pretty good team, and if we can improve it without giving up too much of our future, we will...Whoever we get, we're not acquiring them to help us win the division. We're acquiring them to help us in the postseason.

*Are the Astros looking at a starter? WHO KNOWS!? But what we do know now is that, given Stephen Strasburg's new arm issue, the Astros will (could?) have a rival bidder in the Washington Nationals.

*Joel Sherman says most teams have told the A's what they would give them in exchange for Sonny Gray, and the Yankees, Nationals, and Mariners (!) are front-runners.

*Ken Rosenthal talked about the Mariners' interest in Gray, and got this from a "rival exec" on Seattle's farm system:
I don't think [GM Jerry Dipoto] is burning it to the ground. I think he knows it's already on fire and is trying to do what he can with the assets he has. 

*The Astros are not one of the ten teams to whom Yu Darvish's can reject a trade. Meanwhile, the Rangers "would love to" get their 2018 starting CF in any potential Darvish deal. Also, the Marlins (!) destroyed Darvish last night. And would Jon Daniels actually trade Darvish to Houston ?
If the right baseball decision for the Rangers is trading [a player] in the division or in-state, I don't have a problem with that.

(Click that last link. Jerry Crasnick isn't so sure.)

*Bob Nightengale says the Rangers would be idiots to trade Darvish.

*Crasnick: The Orioles want a "big return" for Zach Britton, and teams are trying to decide if his forearm/elbow are up for a late October run.

*The Padres may not be shopping Brad Hand, after all, seeing as how apparently no team wants to give up their three top prospects for a lefty reliever. HOWEVER! This chucklenuts thinks the Astros could trade Derek Fisher, Forrest Whitley, and Hector Perez for NL West Lefty Reliever. Please ssshhhhh.

*Jeff Samardzija is unlikely to waive his no-trade clause (22 teams).

*Chris Haft did a good bunch of words about that Red Sox/Astros trade that brought Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell to Houston.

*Joe Posnanski writes that Bagwell's career was defined by his consistency.

*Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell is a happy family man now.

*Jenny Dial Creech: On Bagwell, Biggio, and Growing Up

*Dale Robertson takes a look at Astros trades of the past.

*The last remaining statue of Nolan Ryan in Alvin fell down.

*Jay Jaffe's new book, "The Cooperstown Casebook: Who's In the Baseball Hall of Fame, Who Should Be In, and Who Should Pack Their Plaques" is out.

According to JAWS, Jaffe's HOF rating system, Bagwell is the 6th-best 1B to ever play the game.

*I know Adrian Beltre is a member of the Ramgers. We're supposed to hate everything about them. But I don't. I love Adrian Beltre and, if you don't appreciate how good he has been and how much fun he is to watch simply because he plays for South Ardmore, then I don't know how to respond to you. Idiot Umpire Gerry Davis told Beltre to get in the on-deck circle. Belter dragged the on-deck circle to where he was standing. Idiot Umpire Gerry Davis ejected him: