Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Morning Hot Links

In a stunning turn of events, the Astros will play Game 1 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park against the New York Yankees. The Indians would have traded any one of their 22 straight wins for just one win last night.

*Just to get things out of the way, FanGraphs' simulations have the Astros at 58.1-41.9 over the Yankees in the ALCS.

FiveThirtyEight has the Astros as 55-45 favorites to win the pennant. Let's also keep in mind that 538 had the Indians as 68-32 favorites to win last night, but BASE BALL.

Without knowing who the Yankees will start (at this point), the Astros are 57-43 favorites to win both Games 1 & 2, with the Yankees getting a 53-47 nod in Games 3 & 4 at Yankee Stadium.

*FanGraphs' Travis Sawchik: The average fastball thrown by the Yankees in G4 was 98mph. Is that the new normal?

Remember that the Indians had the 2nd-lowest strikeout total in MLB at 1153 (The Astros had the lowest strikeout total in MLB, at 1087). Yet the Yankees just got the Indians to strike out 61 times in a five-game series - 29 times in G4/G5. And it took Aaron Judge six whole playoff games to take the MLB record for most 4K playoff games in history. If he gets hot...anyone who thinks that playing the Yankees will be a cake-walk needs to rethink that.

I'm really happy we have home field. It's a tough challenge. Wild Card teams that win the Wild Card Game and win the Division Series have a lot of momentum.

They beat a really good Cleveland team. It was kind of like pick your poison. Every team is good, and you're going to have to play well to win. It just works out better that we stay home and don't have to get on an airplane at 10 o'clock.

*Oh great. Another AL East team:

*'s Brendan Kuty broke down the Astros/Yankees by position. Oh, and (insert shock) predicts Yankees in six.
Why not? Everybody's doubted the Yankees, and all they have done is crumple your expectations and fadeaway-jumper them into the trash can. On paper, the Astros are better. But that's been the story for the Yankees all year, right?

*Yahoo's Tim Brown: The Indians were better than the Yankees, until they weren't (a cautionary tale)

*Dallas Keuchel will start G1, and Justin Verlander will start G2. Hinch:
I don't really care who we're facing, it's going to be that order. Then after that is where it gets a little thought-provoking, I guess. We'll adapt accordingly.

Given the possibility of there being three games in a row, the Astros may carry 12 pitchers instead of the 11 they carried in the ALDS. Collin McHugh and Francis Martes are both possibilities for that spot, though it's weird to me that McHugh isn't a lock.

*Game 1 - Friday @ 7:08pm Central
  Game 2 - Saturday @ 3:08pm Central
  Game 3 - Monday @ 7:08pm Central

*Jake Kaplan says putting McCullers back into the rotation makes sense. McCullers:
I'm not going to beat around the bush: I think I have great stuff. And I'm very confident in my preparation. I'm very confident in the stuff that I possess. And I know that in the last couple outings, I've kind of run out of gas toward the fourth, fifth inning that I've been out there. But I think like I'm almost back to where I was in the first half.

*Alex Bregman wrote a first-person account of what it was like to hit the game-tying home run off Chris Sale.
Want to know the biggest difference between when you imagine these things as a kid and when it really happened in Game 4? The crowd didn't go wild. Not at Fenway Park. They were dead silent. I could hear the steps I was taking on the dirt it was so quiet. 

*Jose Altuve wants more.

*Mike Petriello writes about how the Astros' offense is one of the best in MLB history and, now, the postseason.

*Alex Cora is going to be someone's manager next season.

*The Nationals are a trash organization for many reasons, but this is a good example: they will not pay to keep the trains running for fans at G5. So if you take the train to the Nats game, you'll have to leave early or Uber/Lyft it home.