Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday Morning Hot Links

The Astros are on pace for a 162-0 season with 162 George Springer home runs. The Astros beat the Balch Springs Rangers 4-1 for their 6th straight Opening Day victory. Last year the Astros won their first game and last game of the season so thumbs up huh?

*For the second consecutive year, George Springer lead off the season with a home run - the first time in MLB history that's ever happened. Springer:
Obviously, it's a big day for everybody and the first day of a long season. There's some Opening Day anxiety, some excitement, so for us to come out and play the way we did and pitch the way we did...It's a good day for us.

Historically, the Astros are 1-0 on winning the World Series when George Springer hits a leadoff home run on Opening Day.

Justin Verlander: 6IP, 4H/0ER, 5K:2BB. It's his 3rd straight Opening Day quality start, and his 6th out of his last ten. It's his fourth Opening Day start with 0ER since 2012. With his 10th Opening Day start, Justin Verlander is one of 18 pitchers in MLB history (joining Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia as the only active pitchers) to take the ball on G1.

The Astros won despite going 0x6 w/RISP. If they can't tag this through-the-looking-glass rotation for more than six hits and 0x6 w/RISP then they trash. /sarcasm

Houston did draw six walks, four from Cole Hamels. Hamels has walked 4+ batters in 14 starts of his 69 starts (ugh, fine, say "Nice") with the Rangers. He walked 4+ batters in 24 of his 294 starts with the Phillies.

Springer, Bregman, Correa, and Marwin were all on base twice. Jake Marisnick hit his first home run of the year.

*George Springer says Verlander is a "Hall of Famer-in-waiting." Just get three rings by the end of 2019.

We have a rotation full of aces. Every day when we wake up, we get to play behind one of the best pitchers in the game, so it's always going to be fun coming to the ballpark.

*Check out the Astros' defensive alignment for Joey Gallo, who went 0x4.

-Chandler Rome went inside the four-man outfield. Reddick:
It feels like you don't have to cover a whole lot of ground. But if they're not going to bunt, I don't see anything going against that. As long as it works I'm happy.

-Joey Gallo says "just bunt" isn't that simple:
I'm sure I'll try to lay one down here and there, but it's not like I've been a master bunter (pause for giggling) all my life. Everyone sees the left side of the infield and says, 'Just bunt it. Just bunt it.' It's not that simple.

-A.J. Hinch told Jake Kaplan in The Athletic:
Look, we're trying to create some coverage. It's a big outfield out there and, obviously, he hits the ball in the air a ton. He's a perfect example of a guy that we want to cover the outfield more than we want to cover the infield. The fact that he hit some fly balls that we were camped under is a pretty good feeling.

*The Astros play the Rangers at home on April 13-15. If the current iteration of the rotation holds up, and they don't skip starts for off-days then the Rangers will face:
March 29: Verlander
March 30: Keuchel
March 31: McCullers
April 1: Cole
April 13: Cole
April 14: Morton
April 15: Verlander

*Yuli Gurriel will avoid the DL (pretty amazing, actually) and started his five-game suspension yesterday. He will not be allowed on the field for the home opener on Monday - the 5th game of the season.

*Texas Monthly talked to some Astros fans (none associated with Astros County) to gauge what they would consider a successful 2018 season.

*Sports Illustrated (who stole a tweet yesterday) has a cool feature in which opposing scouts sized up each AL team. Here's what they said, in part, about the Astros:
A lot of guys had career years last season - but to think there's a drop-off coming is delusional. The scary thing? You go down the roster, and there are guys who will be better this year.

And of the Rangers?
They're going to (be) battling Oakland for (the) cellar. I'm not high on them at all.

*If you look at the moon you just might see it turn to blood, because Jon Heyman picked the Astros to win the World Series again.

*Jim Crane is planning on giving out 900 World Series rings. [Exits Blogger to go check email].

*Check this story of the accountant and rec league goalie who stole the show for the Blackhawks last night.