Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

*Seattle. Wow what a dumb game! Lance McCullers was conspicuously inefficient and the bullpen gave up four hits - all four left the yard - in a 9-7 loss. The Astros dropped to 32-2 when scoring at least seven runs in a game. The Astros are 4-1 in extra-inning games. They are 62-31 with a 15.5-game lead over the Mariners. There are 69 games left.

*The Astros were down 1-0, tied 1-1, up 2-1, down 5-2, up 6-5, down 7-6, tied 7-7...and finally down 9-7. They went 2x10 w/RISP and left ten on base. (To be fair, the Mariners also went 2x10 w/RISP).

They did more at the end to win. We have to give credit where credit is due...It is tough to lose that game. 

And on McCullers:
He didn't really have it tonight to make pitches...The more he tried and the more effort he gave, the worse that his location came...It just wasn't a night where he was making pitches to put guys away. He struggled with that. He looked uncomfortable in the sense with his timing, his delivery and his execution. 

*McCullers went 4.2IP, 6H/5R (4ER), 5K:3BB, HBP, and only threw a first-pitch strike to 13 of the 24 batters he faced. That's somewhat notable for McCullers: after he gets that first-pitch strike (182 plate appearances) he allows a .189/.247/.284 slash line with eight walks. But if he gets behind 1-0 (176 PAs) batters hit .250/.343/.349 with 22 walks.

*McCullers' last two starts: 9IP, 15H/9ER, 8K:5BB.

*Tony Sipp gave up two home runs in the 10th inning, one to lefty Kyle Seager and the other to righty Danny Valencia. Lefties are hitting .211/.286/.439 against Sipp this season. Sipp:
I felt like I threw two good pitches to get ahead, just didn't finish them off. On the slider [Seager] did what he was supposed to do with it. Same with Valencia, he hit it out also. Just got to make better pitches, especially in those situations. 

Yes. Let's start with making better pitches, especially in those situations. But, as Jake Kaplan notes, Seager was a career 1x14 against Sipp...before that go-ahead homer.

*Jose Altuve struck out with the bases loaded to end the 6th, and tipped his cap to reliever Tony Zach. While the Astros have been very good with the bases loaded on the season as a whole:

*Of course the big scare of the night came in the 4th inning when Carlos Correa reinjured his thumb during a swing and a miss. He was still dealing with pain from sliding head-first into a base at Atlanta on July 4:
I was wishing with the [All-Star] break it was just going to go away, but today I felt it really bad...The bat just released itself. I felt a lot of pain and felt like I couldn't go back in there. That's why I started walking to the trainer. 

So 'Litos is going on the DL for a couple of weeks, I would imagine. He'll be re-evaluated today.

*The Astros held a funeral for Carlos Beltran's outfield glove.

*Collin McHugh will throw a bullpen session today and then the Astros will make a determination as to where he'll rejoin the rotation. Hinch:
We want him to re-enter our rotation at some point this weekend, if all goes well with the bullpen. But we'll determine when the day and what's next for him after that session.

*Dallas Keuchel threw 29 of his 45 pitches for strikes in a Corpus win over Frisco last night, throwing 3IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB. Keuchel:
The velocity was actually better than I thought it was going to be. I really believe that I could go in a big league game. It's just a matter of how I bounce back. Tomorrow is going to be the biggest key for sure. 

*According to MLB.com's Jon Morosi the Astros tried "for months" to get Jose Quintana, then says that - if Verlander is traded - Houston or Los Angeles are the likeliest destinations. Maybe the Tigers aren't completely full of crap, as they're now apparently willing to include "some" of the $68m Verlander is owed in order to make a potential trade happen (that can, notably, be canceled by Verlander himself).

*Bob Nightengale says the Astros need Sonny Gray (or a frontline pitcher) the most - given how dominant they've been this season, anything less than a World Series appearance "will be a disappointment." Gray may be more aggressively pursued by the Brewers, who want to counter the Cubs' acquisition of Jose Quintana. Detroit will likely hold on to Michael Fulmer until the offseason, when the bidding is open to the other 29 teams and not limited to playoff contenders. Nightengale predicts two trades:
1) Joe Musgrove, Forrest Whitley, and Teoscar Hernandez to Oakland for Sonny Gray
2) Derek Fisher to Detroit for Justin Wilson.

Would you be disappointed if the Astros didn't win the World Series? Would you be disappointed if the Astros didn't make it to the World Series? My answer would be a couched "it depends on how they played." If the Astros make it to a Game 7 in either the ALCS or World Series and just get handled, that's baseball. (Of course, it's easy to say such things now, in July.) If they get swept, that's a different story altogether. But this is the best team the Astros have ever had. There's no guarantee that 2018 will be better, so you play for the window you have. Right now the window is wide freaking open, and I want the Astros to take advantage of it. I refer you back to this July 27, 2015 post where I advocated for the acquisition of The Bastard Cole Hamels. Trading for a legit starting pitcher is going to hurt, but losing in the playoffs will hurt more.

*Related: Jeff Sullivan says Sonny Gray is back, and he isn't.

*The Marlins have ten teams on reliever David Phelps

*Some asshole scammed a bunch of families from the Sarah's House homeless shelter in Pasadena, saying he'd give them tickets to an Astros game if they gave him their Correa bobbleheads. The Astros hooked them up with tickets and parking to a different game.

*The GCL Astros' 21-year old 1B Jose Benjamin only needed six innings to hit for the cycle. He is hitting .361/.406/.689 in 17 games for the GCL Astros.

*The Blue Jays DFA'd Former Astros Great Lucas Harrell.

*There were 9,736 in attendance last night in Oakland.