Monday, April 9, 2018

Monday Morning Hot Links

Charlie F. Morton shoved, Stassi continued his campaign for 2018's Most Valuable Backup Catcher, and Reddick ended his homestand on a high note as the Astros beat the Padres 4-1. They're 8-2 to open the season for the first time since 1972.

*Morton threw 6IP, 4H/1R (0ER), 7K:3BB. 67 of his 101 pitches were for strikes. He's pitching with gratitude:
I feel really fortunate to be part of this staff. I come to the park each day and I look at the wall over here - just the pitching staff that I'm on - I feel very fortunate to be part of it.

Will Harris, Joe Smith, Brad Peacock: 3IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB. 26 of their 34 pitches were thrown for strikes.

*Springer-Bregman-Altuve-Correa: 1x14, 5K.
5-9 in the lineup: 5x15, 5K, 4RBI.

The Astros struck out 10 more times, giving them six 10+ K games in their first ten. The 2017 Astros recorded their 6th 10+ K game on May 4, the 29th game of the season. Yesterday was also Houston's first game of the season without drawing a walk, something they did nine times last year. So to combine those two things, the last time the Astros struck out 10+ times and didn't draw a walk was September 9, 2016 against the Cubs. The last time they did that and still won the game was August 23, 2015 against the Dodgers, two days after Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter against the 2017 Silver Medalists. Hinch:
We didn't do a lot this series, offensively, but we did enough to win the series. So I think you can't complain too much about how you win as long as you win. It wasn't our best series offensively, but (Stassi's home run) was a big swing on a day we didn't have a ton going. Any opportunity we had was really just that inning, and we took care of it with two big swings by Stassi and Reddick.

*Jexas has your Padres series recap.

*Jake Kaplan writes in The Athletic that the Astros are following through on their plans for Brad Peacock.

*At 657, the Astros have the longest run of consecutive days over .500.

*The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee writes that the Padres are trying to beat the Astros now and be the Astros later.

*With Stassi's 3-run home run and Brad Peacock recording his first career regular-season save, Brian T. Smith says that February 2013 trade with Oakland is looking pretty good.

*The rotation has now made it through two starts, collectively:
Verlander: 11.2IP, 10H/3ER, 14K:3BB - 2.31 ERA/1.11 WHIP
Keuchel: 11IP, 12H/4ER, 7K:5BB - 3.27 ERA/1.55 WHIP
McCullers: 10.1IP, 11H/4ER, 17K:4BB - 3.48 ERA/1.45 WHIP
Cole: 14IP, 7H/1ER, 22K:3BB - 0.64 ERA/0.71 WHIP
Morton: 12IP, 7H/0ER, 13K:5BB - 0.00 ERA/1.00 WHIP

That'll play. Richard Justice says the Astros' elite starting pitching sets them apart in MLB.

*George Springer was subbed out early with leg soreness, but Hinch said he was "completely fine."

*The roof was open, for some reason, so the 52-degree first pitch was the coldest in Minute Maid's history. But it's nothing like what they'll face in Minneapolis tonight, where it'll be 36 degrees with a wind chill of 29 at 7:00pm. Verlander, who is scheduled to start tonight's game, on pitching in the cold:
Throwing strikes is difficult, especially quality strikes. You just have to remind yourself it's worse for the hitter. It always sucks, but it's hard to feel the ball. It's like a cue ball. You just deal with it.

Why the schedule has the Astros going to Minneapolis in the first half of April is puzzling, to say the least. Springer:
The whole city's indoors, except the part we have to be in.

*Buster Olney says that Carlos Correa is the least likeliest Astro to sign an extension with Houston, given "his age, position, and power."

*Hunter Atkins says that Derek Fisher's speed is his best asset.

*Next Sunday's Astros/Rangers game will be on Sunday Night Baseball.

*I'm short on time, so go over to What the Heck, Bobby for minor-league stuff.