Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Okay, so full disclosure: Occasionally I start writing the Hot Links post the evening of the night before, just to make things easier at 4:50am when I start in on my day (which starts with the Hot Links, after I have a few minutes with The Lordt). So as I start this, it's 5:25pm. The Astros are about an hour removed from beating the Red Sox 5-4 to win the ALDS. I still can't believe the Astros eventually got to Sale (twice) and Kimbrel. As long as I live I won't actually believe that. I know that winning the ALDS was sort of an expectation at the outset of the postseason, but the manner in which they won Game 4 was...kind of unbelievable. Okay, let's get to the links.

*Wait. There were so many weird things that happened. The rain, and the delay that never came. John Farrell getting tossed (I spent three innings thinking that Pedroia had gotten tossed. I was genuinely bewildered when Pedroia came up to bat again - mainly because Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe spent most of their time talking about things somewhat relevant to the actual game they were calling - which was better than listening to The Coward A.J. Pierzynski). Marwin throwing out Mitch Moreland. The Red Sox tagging the first reliever they saw for a homer for the second straight day. The ball girl (and Angel Hernandez) taking a double away from Houston, Maybin taking it back. Bregman's home run and the most under-stated bat flip you'll ever see. Reddick. Beltran roping a double like I didn't just spend 20 minutes on Monday morning ripping the decision to let him hit. Man. I need a few days off from the Astros just to regulate my blood pressure.

*George Springer was 3x4 with a walk, hitting .412/.474/.706 in the series.
Yulieski Gurriel was 3x5, he was a home run short *wink* of the cycle - giving him seven hits in Games 3&4 - and a .529/.556/.706 line.
Jose Altuve had his first 0-fer game of the series.

*The Astros were 3x14 w/RISP in Game 4 and left 13 men on base. By the end of the 2nd inning, the Astros were 1x6 w/RISP with four strikeouts.

*Gattis and McCann were a combined 1x9 with five strikeouts, 0x6 w/RISP.

*Justin Verlander made his first relief appearance ever, like since at least high school - a move that got absolutely shredded on Twitter and, once Benintendi (who sounds like a character in The Count of Monte Cristo) greeted him with a 2-run shot, it looked like it was a terrible idea. But, go figure, the players had a different view of it. Bregman:
When we saw Verlander run to the 'pen we said, 'Our horse is on the mound, we need to win this game.' That's kind of the whole energy that he's brought since we brought him over here. He's brought an energy with him that, 'Hey, when he's out there, we're going to win.'

The two big boys, Sale and Verlander, both get into the game. Everybody did well. Nobody really wanted to concede the game. 

Verlander would go on to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced, allowing only a walk to Mitch Moreland.

*Jake Kaplan has a great story on how Verlander's appearance came to be - essentially, once the Red Sox threw Sale, it let Hinch know they weren't concerned about a weather delay.

There's a lot of ghosts in this ballpark. I've seen crazy things happen here, personally, in the playoffs. To be part of this, you never know what's going to happen, and you don't want to get to a Game 5 scenario because you even more don't know what's going to happen.

*FanGraphs' Dave Cameron wrote during G4 that Hinch should have gone to Will Harris.

*Hinch told WEEI's Alex Speier that, after pitching three times in four days, guys like Devenski were "a little gassed." It's true. Devenski gave up 3H/3ER without recording an out on Sunday. Liriano, Musgrove, and Gregerson also pitched on Sunday. Devenski, Gregerson, and Giles had pitched on Friday. Devenski, Harris, Liriano, and Musgrove pitched on Thursday. So do you want Verlander pitching on what would be a side session day, anyway, or a 60% Devenski or Gregerson? I was okay with Hinch's decision at the time.

This is what we've been doing all year long. Bregman's home run, Reddick's knock and then Carlos' huge insurance run. Being in the ALCS is incredible. What I get to witness every day is pretty special.

Beltran, on his double:
I was just trying to stay in the middle of the field. That was a big run for us. It means a lot to be in the ALCS. This is what we have played for all season long. I feel proud of the whole team and am looking forward to what is ahead of us. 

*Reddick's go-ahead single was the first go-ahead hit allowed by Craig Kimbrel all season.

*Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein noted that Carlos Correa did not swing and miss at a pitch until Game 4.

*Brian T. Smith: ALDS win erases the memory of 2015. McCullers:
These players on this team that were here in '15 have never stopped talking about it or have forgotten about that moment. We wanted to redeem ourselves...And I tell you, it was the most gut-wrenching, depressing month I've ever had happen in my life. I couldn't watch baseball. I didn't want to talk about baseball or the World Series or anything. The fans that were there that have stuck with us and have ridden this wave out with us, they deserve to celebrate like we do. 

*Top three in Houston's lineup, ALDS: .440/.509/.800
Top three in the Red Sox lineup, ALDS: .180/.226/.320

*12 years ago: October 9, 2005. Chris Burke.

*How moving to the bullpen saved Joe Musgrove's season.

*Dallas Keuchel is your likely G1 ALCS starter. G1 will definitely be Friday, but it'll be in Houston if the Yankees win tomorrow night or in Cleveland if the Indians win tomorrow night.

*It's thankfully not yet time to discuss this, but worth putting out there: MLBTR has the salary projections for the ten Astros eligible for arbitration this coming off-season. Nine of them are slam-dunk offers, while Mike Fiers may be looking at a non-tender.