Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

*The Astros got blanked last night by a very good pitcher named Zack Greinke who pitches for a rec league team out in Arizona. The Astros are 72-46. Anaheim didn't play yesterday so the Astros' division lead is currently 11.5 games. Boston lost, so the AL lead is at five games. There are 44 games remaining.

*Thanks to a 3-10 August, the 2017 Astros are now tied with the 1998 Astros for best 118-game start to a season.

*For the 42nd time this season, Astros pitchers allowed two (or fewer) runs. Their record in those games? 38-4.

*Last night was the 6th time this season that Astros pitchers have allowed 5+ doubles.

*Greinke struck out nine in 6.2IP, including a rare 3K game from Jose Altuve. Hinch:
He got chases when he needed chases. He pitched a really good game. He doesn't concede anything, especially when he has his command. 

*The last time Altuve struck out three times in a game was July 18, 2014 against the White Sox. Jake Kaplan notes that Greinke is just the 2nd pitcher to strike Altuve out three times in a game, the first since Matt Cain's 2012 perfect game.

*Diamondbacks Great J.D. Martinez, on Greinke:
He's a horse. There's a reason they gave the kind of money they gave him. You don't trick people to give you that kind of money. He's good for a reason. 

*Collin McHugh threw another good start, allowing 6H/2ER, 6K:1BB in 5.2IP. He wasn't terribly efficient, throwing 106 pitches to get through 5.2. Joe Musgrove allowed the RBI double that was charged as McHugh's 2nd run. The Astros are 1-4 in McHugh's five starts, but have scored a total of seven runs in his last four starts combined. Hinch:
...He was matching [Greinke] pretty early. They had a hustle double and another hustle double to get the run across...But, all in all, his breaking ball was a little bit better. His slider was back. That was a key pitch that he hadn't had the last start or two.

*Tyler Clippard made his Astros debut, throwing 1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB in the 8th. All five batters he faced got out to a 1-0 count. Clippard enjoyed being the one to break the news of his trade, for once.

*Clippard will wear #19, desecrating the number of Heroes like Orlando Palmer, Brian Bogusevic, Mark Saccomanno, and Colin Moran. Reymin Guduan was optioned to Fresno and Jordan Jankowski (whose wife is also named Jordan) was DFA'd to put the 40-Man roster at 39.

*But whatever. The best game of the night was out in Denver when Chad Bettis threw seven shutout innings in his season debut after battling testicular cancer.

*The Astros placed Brian McCann on the 10-Day DL with a sore right knee. Hinch:
He's had a sore knee for the better part of a couple weeks. I saw him favoring it a little bit yesterday, and he had a little bit of difficulty going up and down steps. So we talked after the game, and it had gotten to the point where it was affecting virtually every aspect of his game.

In the last 14 days McCann had played in seven games, hitting .120/.214/.160. Over the previous 28 days (15 games) he hit .145/.242/.291. So yeah, let's see what Hero Juan Centeno and Max Stassi can do in the meantime.

*Speaking of the DL, Carlos Correa took 25 swings yesterday and did some defensive work in his continued effort to rehab his thumb. Correa:
Swung hard and it didn't bother me at all. So it's a good start....Going to keep doing it for this week and see how the thumb starts feeling. They expect it to be a little sore because I haven't swung in a while, but I feel like today was a great start. 

*Astros currently on the DL: Correa, McCann, Gattis, McCullers, Harris, Feliz, Sipp, and Colin Moran.

*MLBTR has some possibilities for the Astros as they continue to look for more bullpen help.

*Buster Olney notes that Justin Verlander has an awful lot of leverage in any potential deal, such as only approving a deal if his $22m option in 2020 is exercised in advance.

*Baseball America notes that Forrest Whitley joins a pretty select group of pitchers drafted out of high school to reach Double-A in their first professional season: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, and Dylan Bundy.

*Bloomberg: The last American baseball glove maker (based in Texas) refuses to die.