*Charlie Morton and the Astros got slapped around by the Marlins yesterday 15-7:
Morton threw 3.1IP, 11H/9ER, 1K:3BB.
Yoanys Quiala threw 1.2IP, 4H/4ER, 2K:0BB
Joe Smith, Will Harris, and Ken Giles combined for 3IP, 2H/0ER, 6K:0BB.
Erasmo Pinales allowed the final two runs of the game.
I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand well, but everything else was awful...Getting hit around that bad, that's something that gets me going a little bit, which I think is good.
*Chandler Rome writes about how Justin Verlander helped Jose Altuve figure out this whole "massive contract extension" thing.
*Could Tony Kemp unseat Derek Fisher for the Opening Day roster? It's possible. Hinch:
He's putting on a pretty good push late to be an extra bench player for us. He's battling Fisher for the spot in the outfield that I think most people thought coming into camp Fish was the leading candidate, if not the guy to do it.
*Mike Lupica writes that Brian McCann is playing for the right club at the right time. McCann:
We were all so exhausted by the time Game 7 was over. I honestly think it took a while to take a step back, or two, or three, and fully appreciate what we'd done. But we did appreciate it in the moment. I know I did. I know how many players in this game might play their whole careers and never even make it to the postseason, much less play in a World Series and win one.
*Jon Heyman gives the Astros 7:2 odds to win the World Series again in 2018.
*Heyman, who must be jockeying for election to the National Scouts Hall of Fame, wrote about how the Astros are better this year than they were last year...right after slamming them (again) for getting rid of some scouts.
*While there is much love for Jim Crane here on this weird cul-de-sac of the internet, what the MLB owners did to minor-league players - getting language in the new federal spending bill that exempts minor-leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act - is reprehensible and all 30 owners should be ashamed of themselves, if they're even capable of such an emotion. That said, FanGraphs' Nathaniel Grow has a good look at the language in the Save America's Pastime Act:
Rather than entirely excluding minor leaguers from the right to the minimum wage - as had originally been feared - the provision's focus was actually a bit narrower. Instead, it simply provides that minor leaguers are not entitled to overtime benefits when working more than 40 hours in a week, so long as they are otherwise paid a weekly salary compliant with the federal minimum wage (at least during baseball's regular season).
*Yahoo Sports' AL West Preview has a section on how the Astros "could" win the AL West:
The Astros are the best, and possibly deepest, team in baseball. It's possible World Series fatigue is a thing - many of the Cubs' pitchers saw some decline last season - so staving that off will be key. But unless the Angels find a way to clone Mike Trout three times, the Astros are winning the West.
Even though I kinda sorta debunked the idea of the World Series Hangover in The Athletic, let's take a look at the Astros rotation's total IP in 2017, regular season and playoffs, and compare it to the Cubs rotation's total IP in 2016, regular season and playoffs:
2018 Astros' rotation IP in 2017:
Justin Verlander: 242.2
Gerrit Cole: 203
Dallas Keuchel: 173.1
Charlie Morton: 170
Brad Peacock: 144.1
Lance McCullers: 139.1
Collin McHugh: 69.1
2017 Cubs' rotation IP in 2016
Jon Lester: 238.1
Jake Arrieta: 219.2
Kyle Hendricks: 215.1
John Lackey: 201.1
All four of the Cubs' returning starters in 2017 had thrown over 200IP in the previous season. In the Astros' case, Verlander threw a ton of innings (but he's used to throwing a ton of innings: he's averaged 225 regular season IP in his 13-year career). Cole threw 200IP, but super-cautious DL stints for Keuchel, McCullers, Morton, McHugh, and Peacock's transition to and from the bullpen limited the wear on their arms. I'm tired of doing all this work for the media for free.
*Tom Verducci on the launch angle era.