Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Morning Hot Links

For the first time since 1998 the Astros have 100 wins. It's surreal just typing that out. Houston beat Boston on the back of Charlie Morton's pitching and Alex Bregman's three-run home run over the Green Monster. The Indians won, again, so the Astros need to go 2-0 with the Indians dropping their final two games of the regular season in order for the Astros to play the Wild Card winner.

*Check out where you can donate today to help Puerto Rico. Carlos Beltran has raised over $1.3m for Puerto Rico.

*Hinch, on 100 wins:
It's a big number and it takes six months to get there. I'm proud of our guys, obviously. We've got a couple games left. We'd like 102, plus 11 in October. 

*The Astros have a 21-game lead on Anaheim, tied with the Nationals for the biggest division lead in baseball. Houston will be the only AL West team with a winning record in 2017. The five AL playoff teams are the only teams in the league with a winning record.

*Houston has held Boston to two or fewer runs in four of the five games they've played this season.

*Charlie Morton threw 5.1IP, 4H/2ER, 4K:0BB but was pulled in the 6th after just 64 pitches. His 14 wins are 9th in the AL. In five September starts, Morton has thrown 28.1IP, 25H/8ER, 33K:6BB, 2.54 ERA/1.09 WHIP. That's five straight starts of two or fewer earned runs for Morton.

*Last night's start - Morton's 25th of the season - triggered the 3rd of his $625,000 bonuses for games started. He got $625,000 for each of his 15th and 20th starts of the season, as well, in addition to his $7m base salary for 2017, ringing up his bill to $8,875,000, every penny of which he has been worth.

*Charlie Morton might retire after the 2018 season.

*Carlos Correa was 0x3 with 3K:1BB after having struck out three times in his previous 19 ABs. It was his 5th 3K game of the season.

*Josh Reddick has been sent back to Houston for the next six days for tests on his sore back. Hinch:
He's not going to play the rest of the weekend, which will then lead us to the workouts in between Sunday and Thursday. We'll do some simulated stuff. We think he's going to be fine. We wanted to get our doctors' eyes and hands on him as soon as possible.

My wife volunteered to be the eyes and hands, much to my chagrin.

*Collin McHugh will start Sunday's regular season finale, meaning Keuchel and Verlander's next starts against Boston will come in Games 1 & 2 of the ALDS.

*Evan Drellich writes that base running will be a major factor in what is likely an Astros-Red Sox ALDS.

*The Astros will have playoff game watch parties at Minute Maid Park.

*This Boston Globe writer would rather face the Indians than the Astros.

*Boston's worst-case scenario is playing out right in front of their eyes. If the Astros and Yankees win their next two games, the Red Sox and Yankees would meet in a one-game playoff on Monday - which would likely force the Red Sox to burn Chris Sale. Let's let that happen.

*On August 11 (arbitrary, yes) the Astros were nine games up on the Indians. The Astros have gone 29-16 since - a .644 win%, 3rd-best in baseball in that span. Cleveland has gone 40-7 - a ridiculous .851 win% - and have outscored their opponents 272-119. On August 11, FanGraphs projected the Indians to win 90 games, and the Astros to win 98. The Astros did not choke away the AL's overall best record.

*Beyond the Box Score: Justin Verlander has returned to form.

*2017 is the 6th season in which three teams (Astros, Dodgers, Indians) have won 100 games in a season.

*The Tri-City ValleyCats won an award.

*Jon Heyman is still mad about the Astros restructuring their organization. He gives the Astros a 6:1 chance to win the World Series.

*Former Astros Great Phil Nevin is a finalist for the Tigers job.

*'s Matt Gelb writes that bench coach Alex Cora is a possible candidate for the now-vacant Phillies' managerial job.

*Wired: Inside an epic hotel room hacking spree.

*Happy birthday, Jose Lima! Head to your local Casa Ole today, eat a taco vertically, and pour one out.