Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

*Collin McHugh's fingernail presumably stayed firmly on his finger and he pitched the Astros to a 3-1 win over the White Sox, backed up by some strong bullpenning. The Indians beat the useless Angels. The Astros have won five straight and are 92-58, still 1.5 back of Cleveland. There are 12 games remaining.

*The win moves the Astros into a tie with the 2004 Astros for 6th place on the all-time franchise wins list. They'll still need to go 11-1 to beat the 1998 Astros, but 6-6 will give them 2nd place.

*The Astros are 12-5 in September, eclipsing their monthly win total for the August That Never Was.

*McHugh, on the fingernail:
Obviously when you're warming up it was the biggest thing for me, making sure I wasn't feeling it, I wasn't compensating for my finger in any way. It was all good today. I didn't have any issues and I didn't think about it when I was out there. Mentally getting over that was probably the biggest part.

He threw a wonderfully symmetrical 5IP, 5H/1ER, 5K:1BB, with 56 of his 87 pitches going for strikes.

*The bullpen of Harris-Gregerson-Devenski-Giles threw 4IP, 1H/0ER, 9K:1BB - and the walk was intentional. It was Harris' first perfect outing since August 29.

*Giles recorded his 32nd save of the season. Astros saves, post-Wagner:
-2008: Jose Valverde - 44
-2005: Brad Lidge - 42
-2017: Ken Giles - 32
-2004: Brad Lidge - 32

*George Springer dove head-first into home plate to give the Astros a 3-1 lead (after the initial out call was overturned). Hinch:
I told him I was proud of his hustle, and don't ever do that again until October. 

*Jose Altuve tied his career high with his 24th home run of the season and at 194 hits, he needs six more get his 4th-straight 200+ hit season. Prior to Tuesday's game Altuve was given the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Hinch:
He's the perfect example for what's right about the game. I love everything he does on and off the field, how he interacts with his teammates, his desire to go great, the way he shows up every single day ready to play. There's so much to admire about Jose, and our fans are lucky they've been able to watch the entire journey.

*Yuli Gurriel had two hits and is hitting .316/.366/.526 in September.

*Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci: The Astros are surging toward October, and Justin Verlander is leading the way. Verducci:
To watch the Astros play baseball recently is to see a team that might even be better than the one that started 42-16.

Lots of great lines and anecdotes in the article, like this one on Francisco Liriano:
Houston has learned not to have Liriano aim for corners - his command isn't nearly as good as his stuff - and now positions its catcher over the center of the plate and just tells Liriano to get it over and let it move.

*FanGraphs: George Springer -  Baseball's improbable contact hitter. Jeff Sullivan:
This isn't just a young Astros player doing better at baseball. This is *George Springer,* making contact on a consistent bases, and if that doesn't immediately grab your attention, perhaps it's because you've forgotten what Springer used to be.

*Colin Moran is back.

*Please keep the people of Puerto Rico in mind as yet another hurricane hits them (and others in the Caribbean). Correa:
It's going to crush the island. My thoughts and prayers to everyone over there. I have most of my family over there, so I'm really worried about that. My parents and siblings are the only ones over here, so I have a lot of people over there. 

*The Angels, who are paying Albert Pujols $26m, saved themselves $750,000 by re-ordering the rotation.