Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

*Bats woke up. The Astros end an 8-game road trip with a 2-6 record after beating the Dia'ond'ack' 9-4. The Astros are 73-46. Boston beat St. Louis and Washington beat the Angels. The Astros have a 12.5-game lead on Anaheim and a 5-game lead on Boston. There are 43 games remaining.

*The Astros had an 8-0 lead on Arizona before they got on the board. They had scored nine runs in their previous four games combined. Hinch:
We've had a rough week and a rough road trip, and it's nice to end it with a win and get home and get back to sort of how we're playing. We've led the league in offense in a lot of different categories, so I think today we looked a little bit more like ourselves. 

*Despite getting staked to such a big lead, Brad Peacock still couldn't make it out of the 5th after retiring the first nine batters he faced. Peacock's line: 4.2IP, 7H/4ER, 9K:1BB. He has 121 strikeouts in 92.2IP. Among pitchers with 90+ IP, Peacock's 11.75 K/9 ranks 4th, behind Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and Max Scherzer.

*Frankie Tuesday struck out all four batters he faced yesterday, and is showing improvement as he makes his way through the Majors. In five August appearances, Martes has thrown 7IP, 6H/3R (2ER), 11K:6BB. Hinch:
His arm strength is incredible. When he's locked in the strike zone...he can be a really dominant pitcher...He's a real weapon when he's inside the strike zone. 

Martes is 21 years old.

*With a scoreless 9th inning, Francisco Liriano's 5.84 ERA is finally lower than the 5.88 it was when the Astros acquired him. Yesterday was Liriano's first time with the Astros to not allow a hit, though he did walk two batters.

*George Springer w/RISP, 2 out, 2017: .462/.570/.897

*Max Stassi, playing in his 31st career game in the Majors and first of the season, hit the 2nd home run of his career, and first since September 19, 2015.

*All nine hitters recorded a hit (yes, even Peacock, who had a 2RBI double) for the 17th time this season.

*Here's what would have to happen in order for the Astros to lose the division, should they go 22-21 over the rest of the season:
Anaheim: 35-7
Seattle: 36-5
Arlington: 38-6
Oakland: 42-0 (and that would only tie them with a 95-win Astros team)

How about the #1 seed in the AL, again with a 95-win Astros team:
Boston: 28-15
New York: 33-11
Cleveland: 31-14

*For what it's worth, here's how FanGraphs projects the AL at the end of the regular season:
Houston: 98-64
Boston: 92-70
Cleveland: 92-70
New York: 86-76
Anaheim: 82-80

*Brian T. Smith writes that the Astros are resilient.

*Jon Heyman spewed a load of bullcrap yesterday regarding the Astros and Justin Verlander, publishing a report on FanRag saying that a deal was in the works (page-VYEWS) before backtracking and saying they haven't actually talked since last week. Brian McTaggart says trade talks have stalled, though the Tigers would like to get a deal done this month rather than wait until the off-season. For Detroit, trading the face of their franchise wouldn't be easy. Verlander: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind."

*Beyond the Box Score: The Astros should be buying.

*Lance McCullers, whom Jake Kaplan notes is unlikely to return to the Astros until September (and it is at this moment that I realized September is only a couple of weeks away), threw off a mound yesterday. Carlos Correa could take BP this weekend. Will Harris will throw a bullpen session today.

*Yulieski Gurriel is still getting used to Major League life.

*FanGraphs re-ranked the Astros' top 10 prospects after, what, 75-85% of the 2017 season?
1. Kyle Tucker
2. Forrest Whitley
3. Franklin Perez
4. Yordan Alvarez
5. Derek Fisher
6. J.B. Bukauskas
7. Gilberto Celestino
8. Daz Cameron
9. Cionel Perez
10. Colin Moran

Gilberto Celestino is a new one. In 45 games (prior to last night) Celestino, an 18-year old in the Appalachian League, has hit .280/.347/.412 with 41K:18BB. This is his first season in the States.

*Rogelio Armenteros is making a case for a September call-up, writes Jake Kaplan.

*J.J. Matijevic, Andy Pineda, Hunter Martin, and Reggie Johnson were named to the NYPL All-Star team.

*Hey what about Morgan Ensberg making an alphabetical lineup?

*Joey Votto has reached base twice in a game for the 20th straight time and should be the NL MVP. But the kid on the Dodgers will probably erroneously win it.

*NRG Stadium is in the running to host the 2026 World Cup.

*Leeds United tied Fulham 0-0.

*There are at least 600 people missing in a mudslide in Sierra Leone.