Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Morning Hot Links

This one was over before you had the chance to crap your pants. Mike Fiers did not exactly recapture the magic of the last time he was demoted to the bullpen and then brought back to the rotation and the Astros lost 9-1. They are 87-58, 2.5 behind the Indians, who set an AL record by winning their 21st in a row, and 13 up on the Angels with 17 to play.

*Mike Fiers lasted 3.2IP, 10H/8ER, 5K:1BB. He just got knocked around. Six of the eight hits he allowed went for extra bases.

*Fiers' 1st inning: 30 pitches (22 for "strikes"), four doubles, one home run

He just couldn't get into the game. Five extra-base hits in the first inning is a tough tone to set. We really didn't come back and it made for a long night. 

I thought I threw the ball exceptionally well. The ball was coming out well. I made some good pitches. A couple of bloopers here, but also a couple of hard hit. It turned into a bad inning. To get off to that start, it's tough for a team to come back out of that hole and compete. 

*Luis Valbuena's 2-run HR capped a 5-run 1st inning and also raised his batting average to .199. Now, everyone knows that Luis Valbuena will bat flip over a funny Sonic commercial, so it should come as no surprise that he bat-flipped the hell out of his 2-run home run. Fiers:
I took it as disrespect.

So the next pitch he threw to Valbuena went way behind/over his head. Valbuena, who tomahawked the next pitch he saw for a double:
I enjoyed my home run. If they want to hit me, that's OK. But if I hit another home run, you'll see what happens. 

...which led Valbuena to stare Very Intently into the Astros dugout, where he received this all-time great response:

Personally the most disrespectful thing about the whole situation was waiting until 9:10 for the game to start, and said game being over by 9:30.

*The Astros only managed five hits (four singles) against Ricky Tyler Skaggs. Houston has been held to nine runs in their last five games (1-4).

*Let's keep in mind that 12 of the Astros' last 15 games have been on the road. With a devastating hurricane thrown in the middle, just for giggles.

*Altuve got a base hit, giving him 190 on the season. Ten more hits and Altuve has his 4th straight 200+ hit season.

*AL records, last 10 games:
-Cleveland: 10-0
-New York: 7-3
-Oakland: 6-4
-Houston, Boston, Minnesota, Anaheim, Seattle, Arlington, Kansas City, Toronto: 5-5
-Tampa Bay, Chicago: 4-6
-Baltimore: 3-7
-Detroit: 2-8

*Jake Marisnick left the game in the third inning after injuring his thumb on a slide into second base. Hinch:
We'll know more in the next couple of days, but it doesn't look good. He slid into the bag and beat up his thumb pretty well. So we're going to send him back to Houston, but it doesn't look good.

If Hinch, the captain of the U.S.S. Understatement, says "it doesn't look good" twice, then I'm guessing Marisnick's thumb is hanging on to his hand by a tendon.

*Time is running out on Lance McCullers' 2017 season.

*Depending on what happens with McCullers and McHugh, Brad Peacock could find himself in the playoff rotation. Hinch:
I have huge confidence in Peacock. In some ways, he's been slightly disrespected by being automatically pushed into the bullpen. Any time we've had excess numbers (Ed. note: which has been for about six days out of the season) he's been a convenient name that's been thrown to the bullpen. I think he's very much a candidate to start down the stretch, complete the season as a starter (and go) well into postseason baseball and be a starter because of how effective he is. 

*Justin Verlander will make his MMP debut on Sunday against the Mariners. If we project out the rest of the regular season, that would mean Verlander's last start would be at Boston to open the final series on Thursday, September 28. The ALDS begins on Thursday, October 5, so he would be well in line to make that start (or G2, whatever). Or the Astros may not want to give the Red Sox a look at Verlander in what could be a meaningless start - depending on what the Indians do.

But there's a very good chance that the Astros will play four games against the Red Sox in Fenway, and then turn around and have a five-game series against the Red Sox to open the postseason.

*You know who else started the game with a 5-run 1st inning? That's right, the Quad Cities MF River Bandits, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship last night. J.J. Matijevic was 1x4 with a three-run home run and Colin Moran got two hits. Jesus Balaguer threw 3IP in relief, allowing 1H/0ER, 7K:1BB. Game 2 is tonight at 6:05.

*The last night of the Tigers' dynasty that wasn't.