Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Morning Hot Links

The Astros have now lost consecutive series for the first time all season. The Astros got nothing in the bottom two-thirds of the lineup and Francisco Liriano didn't exactly impress everybody in his debut. Astros lose 5-3, their 3rd-straight loss and 5th in their last six games. The Astros are 69-39, but the Mariners lost again so the lead is still at 15 games. There are 54 games left.

*Hinch:
Just not very clean baseball from us recently. It's not the way we've been for the better part of this season, it's not the way we're going to be moving forward. We took it on the chin this series. 

*Altuve-Bregman-Gurriel went 8x12 with 3RBI, 1K:0BB. The rest of the lineup went 1x23 with 9K:1BB. The Astros are 7-8 since Correa went on the DL.

*The Astros made three errors (two by Bregman, one by Altuve), leading to three unearned runs. A loss tonight would be a season-high 4th straight, and they'll get to try to avoid that mark without Correa, Springer, and Altuve.

*Collin McHugh pitched very well, going 6IP, 5H/2R (1ER), 6K:2BB.

*Francisco Liriano made his Astros debut and everyone sort of wished he hadn't. He faced three batters, walked one, allowed a hit, and got an out. Both of his baserunners came around to score. Liriano:
I was trying to do too much. That's not the first game you want to have. 

Hinch, who called on Liriano with the Astros up 3-2 (it was 5-3 by the end of the 6th):
Yeah, we didn't get through that inning very well. It was pretty symbolic to how things are going for us. 

*Meat Wagon updates:
-Hinch said Correa is at least a month away, but is running, throwing, and working out. Correa:
I feel great. My strength is back. My range of motion is really good. We're just waiting for the ligament to heal.
-Springer is eligible to come off the DL today, but won't.
-Will Harris hasn't even started throwing yet.
-Feliz and Sipp still don't have a clear plan to come back.

Not too worried about those last two, but it sure would be nice to get Correa, Springer, and Harris back - especially the latter two (since we knew Correa would be out until September).

*Hey James Hoyt is back.

*While Ken Rosenthal kinda sorta tried to absolve the Astros for waving hello and goodbye at the Trade Deadline, Jon Heyman is having none of that:
The explanation for the Astros coming up empty is more about their longstanding stance on their top prospects, others insist. They just weren't willing to surrender their top prospects in some cases, rival execs said. "The Astros had the (young) players to make a deal," said one other rival GM. "They have a good farm system."...The reality is, the Astros didn't help themselves enough. And it's hard to blame it on Angelos or any other rival owner for that. 

We'll have to wait until a 2017 postmortem to judge the impact of what did/didn't happen on Monday, but I can get on board with everything Heyman wrote here. Further down in the linked column there were two different reactions from rival executives:
-Prospects, prospects, prospects will get you fired, fired, fired.
-They've made shrewd, responsible decisions for years, so it's hard to blame them now for going away from their plans...

*MASN's Roch Kubatko, on the Britton non-deal, said that Baltimore had concerns with the medicals of two pitchers the Astros were offering and that:
The more people I check with, the more it's apparent that offers for Britton were reflective of the version who twice went on the disabled list and not the dominant closer of 2016. No team stepped up with a group of prospects worthy of a deal, at least in the opinion of the people making the decision. The Astros, Dodgers, and Indians tried to get him, but they fell short. The Orioles simply weren't going to sell low.

*Steven Goldman has an excellent column on the lingering doubts of the 2017 Astros.

*MLB executives told Bob Nightengale they think Verlander will clear waivers, opening the door to a possible trade.

*Derek Fisher, who was asked about in just about every single deal that didn't happen, is settling in for the long haul with Houston.

*Joe Musgrove has a 1.12 ERA in his last 8IP. Musgrove:
Out of the pen it's completely different. I'm kind of just going in and trying to be as nasty as I can for as long as they need me to go, whether it's an inning or three.

*Joe Posnanski notes how many home runs the Astros have hit, and how few they strikeout.

*Sports Illustrated: How George Springer learned to embrace the game - and himself. Springer:
I had to go back to having fun. I wasn't having fun because I wasn't quote-unquote having success. I said, 'I'm just going to have fun from here on out,' and it's made the difference for me. 

*The KissCam got awkward.

*The MLB stars who are too scared to go back home. Essential read.

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