Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

*Good Lord, Astros. The offense exploded against Sean Newcombe and some other pitchers, while starting pitcher Brad Peacock actually made it through the 6th inning. Astros win 16-4.

*The Astros are 57-27, 30 games over .500, with a 16-game division lead. Houston was last 30 games over on September 24, 2001. Their previous quickest to 30 games over .500 was on the 130th game of the 1998 season. They're 19-3 in their last 22 road games (30-9 overall on the road). This is getting silly.

*The 12-run margin of victory is a season-high, edging out the 17-6 May 31 win over the Twins. It was their 3rd 19-hit game of the season. The Astros have recorded 10+ hits in 44 of their 84 games this season. They have more games (16) with 13+ hits than they have games with six or fewer hits (14).

*The top third of the order (which, last night, was Springer/Altuve/Reddick) went for a combined 10x16 with three home runs, a double, and 9RBI.

*Josh Reddick hit a grand slam in the 9th - his first homer since June 24 - and the 5th grand slam of his career.

*Reddick had been pushing Hinch to switch him and Altuve:
I've been trying to push A.J. to put me in the three-hole and push Altuve to the second hole. Hopefully, it's not just a National League thing. Hopefully it's something we can incorporate, but we've been doing great the other way around as well. 

It could go in any order. I could lead off Reddick tomorrow, and outside of hearing it from Springer, it would be fine. 

*There were nine more RBIs with two outs, giving the Astros 183 runs batted in with two outs on the season. Here's the rest of MLB, with two outs:

170+ 2-out RBI:
Houston: 183; Dodgers: 175; Nationals: 172

This makes sense. Three teams leading their divisions by a combined 28.5 games get the most production with two outs.

150-169 2-out RBI:
Rockies: 162; Mets: 158; Rays: 157; Ramgers: 157; Yankees: 156; Orioles: 151

Let's welcome the first AL teams to the party. The Astros have 26 more RBI *with two outs* than the next-highest AL team.

140-149 2-out RBI:
Cubs: 148; Reds: 146; Diamondbacks: 145; Tigers: 143; Braves: 141; Red Sox: 140

There's obviously more to leading a division than 2-out RBI, but it's interesting that the AL East-leading Red Sox are squarely middle of the road when it comes to this part.

130-139 2-out RBI:
Brewers: 138; White Sox: 136; Indians: 136; Marlins: 135; Twins: 135; Angels: 131; Mariners: 131

Two more division leaders (Brewers, Indians) check in. And we welcome the Angels and Mariners to the party, 52 2-out RBI behind the Astros.

100-129 2-out RBI:
Blue Jays: 123; Royals: 122; Cardinals: 121; Phillies: 119; Pirates: 117; A's: 103; Giants: 101

Love seeing the Cardinals down here.

<100 2-out RBI:
Padres: 91

The Astros have doubled the number of 2-out RBI of the MLB-worst Padres. There but for the grace of God go we.

We really don't have a part in our order right now that's too comfortable for the opponent. I'm proud of the at-bats we're putting up.

*George Springer has 25 home runs. The franchise record for homers before the All-Star Break is 29, set by Berkman in 2002.

*Brad Peacock pitched into the 7th inning, facing five batters who all reached on their third time through the order. It's 8:35am and somehow Baseball-Reference hasn't updated their site to include last night's games, so I can't back up what I'm about to say with the latest numbers. Before last night's game, opponents had a .332 OPS the first time they faced Peacock. That moved to a .765 OPS the 2nd time around, and a .940 OPS the 3rd time.

Mike Mitchell (who has an excellent daily newsletter) is a big proponent of pulling middling starters and going to your multi-inning relievers before they even see the lineup for a third time through and I understand that. It makes sense. But the Astros don't have enough starters that can go 6-7 innings and, in the rare occasion that it happens, you want to be able to take advantage of it and see if that starter can rest your bullpen. Also, Brad Peacock - in a perfect world where no one gets hurt and the Rangers lose every night - is the reliever who would spell the starter for his 3rd time through. So if Peacock is doing well, and maybe can squeeze out an extra inning of rest for the bullpen, I can't fault Hinch for that.

*Carlos Correa injured his thumb on a head-first slide into home plate and left the game. X-Rays were negative and he's day-to-day. And he's relieved:
It's just a little sore, nothing crazy. We had a good lead and they decided to take me out and get some X-rays. They were negative. I'm pretty happy about that. 

*Joe Musgrove will make tonight's start in the place of suspended horse David Paulino, facing Jaime Garcia. Garcia has allowed 18 runs in his last 16IP.

*Charlie Morton will start Friday against Toronto, while Dallas Keuchel could throw off a mound this week. Hinch noted that, seeing as how it's been over a month since he pitched in a game, Keuchel will need a rehab start and could target the July 21-23 series against Baltimore for his return, essentially giving Keuchel a six-week break in the middle of the season.

*Jon Morosi wonders if the Astros would be interested in Toronto's JA Happ, who is owed $13m in 2018.

*Fresno came from behind to win a franchise-record 12th-straight game.

*Lefty Framber Valdez, for Corpus last night: 6IP, 2H/1ER, 9K:3BB. Kyle Tucker was 1x3 with 2BB and is now hitting .278/.328/.524. He's 20 years old.

*The Astros are Bovada's odds-on favorites to win the World Series.

*Whiny PAB Logan Morrison doesn't think the Yankees' Gary Sanchez belongs in the Home Run Derby. Morrison:
Gary shouldn't be there. Gary's a great player, but he shouldn't be in the Home Run Derby. I remember when I had 14 home runs. That was a month and a half ago.

*Chuck Knoblauch got mad online last night:

Two funny things here. Geoff Blum is off this week. The Stanton that Knoblauch tweeted at is not Mike Stanton. It's a guy in Leeds, England. Anyway, Matt Young rewatched the game to see what might have set Knobs off. 

*The American Experience in a Fort Bend Classroom.