*The Astros didn't play yesterday and yet I still didn't read the 23 remaining books I was going to read this offseason.
*I'll be on 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana (a place to which I would move immediately) this morning around 10:15am Central.
*Heck yes. 70-year old Willie Berry got his ring yesterday. Reid Ryan:
I know how many years he's worked for the Astros, how many mounds that he has manicured and pounded and cleaned and prepped, and just seeing him saunter up onto the stage and the smile on my face - it was ear to ear. He earned that ring as much as anybody in that organization for putting his life into the Houston Astros.
We are all Willie Berry.
*ClintShane wrote the Ballad of #AstrosMovies.
*There's a World Series Ring raffle which lasts a reprehensibly-long time in which the winner will be drawn on July 15. Proceeds will benefit the Astros Foundation. So go buy a raffle ticket and then forget about it until you get the email notification that you've given it to me. Thank you. You're sweet.
*Altuve and Correa are, like, friends but they're, like, family, man.
*From Jake Kaplan in (gasp) The Athletic (which you need to subscribe to read): Carlos Correa thinks he's figured out the problem with his slow starts. Click the link to discover that the Astros won't be handing out championship belts this year.
*Get 40% off your subscription to The Athletic.
*Dale Robertson wonders if Justin Verlander can win 30 games, I think.
*Meanwhile, Jim Bowden thinks Charlie Morton has more wins than Justin Verlander at the end of the year. (ALERT: This is from The Athletic).
*Chandler Rome writes about how many different high-leverage bullpen options A.J. Hinch has at his disposal.
*Joe Smith was on the 2016 Cubs roster and threw 14.1IP in 16 games, but didn't feel like he earned that ring. He wants that to change this year. Smith, on why he signed with Houston:
This was the best chance to win a World Series. Winning a ring is something special that not a lot of people get to do. You don't know when a team's gonna come around that's going to be good and if you're going to be fortunate to be on it. You could be stuck in a rebuilding process. There's things that go on in your career that you don't really have control of. It's not often you get to walk into a clubhouse with this great of a team.
*J.D. Davis is getting used to first base.
*CultureMap has Lance McCullers' Top 10 Steps to a World Series championship.
*Roy Hofheinz's personalized railroad car was found in a Houston warehouse. Snowpiercer 2, anyone?
*Apparently winning six of seven from two trash-ass organizations means you're the odds-on favorite to win the World Series.
*The Fresh-Off-Suspension David Paulino is beginning his 2018 season on the DL. Seeing as how Paulino threw 10.1IP, 2H/2R (0ER), 10K:4BB in Spring Training, I'm interested in seeing how this goes.
*Fresno is gonna blow it out for the home opener.
*Please read What The Heck, Bobby for their 2018 minor-league season Opening Day preview.
*Yuli Gurriel is rehabbing in Corpus. James Hoyt is in Fresno.
*Morgan Ensberg is the perfect manager for the Buies Creek Astros, says the Fayetteville Observer. Ensberg:
I knew I was a teacher from Day One. I just happened to know baseball. I enjoy teaching and helping somebody else. My career is over. I'm not going back to the big leagues to play. But I get a chance to help these kids realize a childhood dream. And that's great.
*Former Astros Great Josh Zeid retired from baseball.
*Former Ramgers Great Jonathan Lucroy threw out five Ramgers stealing bases in three days.
Mike Hauschild allowed 7H/7ER, 1K:3BB in 2.1IP to kick off his 2018 season. Drew Ferguson was 3x4 with a double and a walk; Kyle Tucker made his Triple-A debut and went 2x4 with a walk. The Grizzlies went 1x8 w/RISP and left ten men on base.
NW Arkansas 5
Corpus had a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th before NW Arkansas scored two in the 8th and got a bases-loaded bloop in the 9th for the walk-off win. Yuli Gurriel was 2x4 with a double and 2RBI. Nick Tanielu was 2x5 with a double and an RBI. Myles Straw was 1x2 with 2BB. Framber Valdez threw 5IP, 3H/2ER, 4K:2BB and retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced. Josh James blew the save with 3IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:0BB and Riley Ferrell took the loss with 0.2IP, 1H/1ER, 2K:3BB.
Buies Creek 3
Salem scored three runs in the bottom of the 1st and the Astros couldn't chip away enough. Troy Sieber was 2x4 with two doubles; Ronnie Dawson was 0x2 with 2BB. Jorge Alcala threw 3IP, 5H/4ER, 5K:2BB; Kit Scheetz and Abdiel Santana combined for 5IP, 4H/0ER, 5K:1BB.
Cedar Rapids 2
Quad Cities 0
Mike Papierski was 1x3 with a double and a walk and was one of three River Bandits to not strike out; Jonathan Arauz had two hits. Patrick Sandoval threw 4IP, 5H/2ER, 4K:2BB. Cesar Rosado threw 3.2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:5BB. Of note: Cedar Rapids pitcher Jovani Moran struck out the side in the 5th, but had to work around three walks and three wild pitches, throwing 13 of his 31 pitches for strikes.