Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Fourteen years ago today I married the woman of my dreams. The Astros lost to the Cubs, 5-3. But 14 years ago tomorrow she took an epic nap and I sat in our hotel room and watched the Astros beat the Cubs 3-1! I have her to thank for the support that allows me to post on this dumb web site so much. She means everything to me and I love her with all my heart. 

*Don't get too cocky, Astros fans. Where the Phillies are right now is where the Astros were in 2011. Maybe 2012. Have some respect, show some class. Act like you've been there before, because we have. And Phillies fans have, too. Astros win 13-4 and improve their record to 66-33. They are 36-12 on the road. And now they are 8-0 against the National League. The Mariners won, so the Astros are still 17 games up with 63 games to play.

*The Astros have scored 594 runs in 99 games, which puts them precisely at 6.0 runs/game. They will need to average 6.44 runs per game over their last 63 games to reach 1000 runs for the season. Doable?

*Phillies manager Pete Mackanin:
This is as good a team as we've seen. They go up there to do damage. They look like they're ready to hit every pitch. They're not taking pitches to get a look at the pitcher. If you make a mistake out over the plate, they're going to hurt you.

Now read that again, but imagine Mackanin is running his fingers through his hair, wide-eyed, with a cigarette dangling from his lips.

*Former Astros Great Vince Velasquez:
They hammer mistakes. McCann hit that fastball over the middle. I can't leave it over the middle like that. It cut right over the middle, right into his barrel. Bregman is just a great, great hitter. Just what he's done, coming up in the league, he's been phenomenal. 

*George Springer left the game after the third inning with discomfort in his quad after his spike got caught in the dumb Philadelphia ground. Notable that Springer strained his left quad in July 2014 and was shut down for the year. Hinch thinks Springer will avoid the DL, but he'll get today off.

*Related: James Hoyt was optioned back to Fresno (after throwing 2IP, 3H/0ER, 2K:1BB) and Derek Fisher was called up. Fisher grew up in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, which is 100 miles from Citizens Bank Park. Hopefully he gets a start tonight or tomorrow.

*Dallas Keuchel will throw a bullpen session today and start either Friday or Saturday at Detroit. Will Harris will go on a rehab assignment tomorrow. Within that link we find that Colin Moran has been released from the hospital and will drive back to Houston for surgery since he has not been cleared to fly.

*Jose Altuve collected four hits for the 2nd game in a row, going 4x4 with a walk. He's hitting .507/.554/.760 in the month of July, pushing his OPS to 1.005. As David Schoenfield notes, the only 2Bs since 1950 to have a season OPS over 1.000 are Joe Morgan (1976) and Jeff Kent (2000). I mean, I'm sure Aaron Judge is going to win the AL MVP award because Yankees, but we are watching something ridiculously special with Altuve, just like I said after Sunday's game. Altuve's SLG, by month:
April: .472
May: .530
June: .576
July: .760

Altuve's .433 road avg is the highest since. baseball. integrated. Hinch:
This guy continues to be amazing. I don't know how else to describe him. It's line to line, it's home runs, it's multiple hits, it's walks when he needs it. He's every bit the MVP candidate that he looks like, and he ignites us on so many levels on this team.

To do some ridiculous math, let's assume Altuve ends the season with 639 ABs (his average for the past two seasons). In order for him to hit .400 for the season (again, ridiculous) he would need to reach 256 hits for the year. Altuve is at 138 hits now in 378 ABs, meaning he would need 118 hits in his next 261 ABs - or he would need to finish the year hitting .452. Ted Williams was a beast.

*Alex Bregman became the 10th Astros with 10+ HR. Once Reddick hits his next homer, the Astros will have 11 players with 10+ home runs.

*Brad Peacock told Jake Kaplan that he feels as good right now as has since he debuted in 2011, and the slider he learned from Jordan Jankowski has been key for him.

*Washington Post: Luhnow is looking to make his team October-ready. Ken Giles, on possible additions to the team:
If the front office feels like they'd be more comfortable adding someone else - the more, the merrier. We're open arms. There's never any hard feelings over asking for more help.

*With the Astros playing the rebuilding Phillies, it lead to several pieces in the Philly media comparing them to the Astros. Some were optimistic. Some were not.

*Ken Giles says he put too much pressure on himself to perform early in his Astros career:
I wanted to show these guys I was ready to win for them. Going from a losing team to a winning team is different. You know what you're worth. You know what you bring to the table. If you don't bring that stuff to the table you get frustrated with yourself. That's how it was.

*The Allentown Morning Call revisited the Giles trade from the Phillies side.

*The Rangers are ready to move Yu Darvish, "for the right price." If the Astros don't, the Dodgers will.

*Bob Nightengale asks if the Astros will move their prospects:
Think they'll be wildly celebrating a 110-victory season if they're sitting home early in October, still looking for their first championship in franchise history?

*MLB.com released their Midseason Top 100 Prospects list, and the Astros put five on there and - according to their point system - have the 5th-best farm system in baseball. Here are the five, with their rankings:
Kyle Tucker: #10
Forrest Whitley: #40
Franklin Perez: #46
Derek Fisher: #54
J.B. Bukauskas: #87

Just for comparison sake, here are the number of Top 100 prospects in other AL West teams:
A's: 3
Rangers: 1
Mariners: 1
Angels: 0

*Check out the Phillies fan double-fisting: