Saturday, April 7, 2018

Saturday Morning Hot Links

*Before you get bent out of shape about the now-6-2 Astros losing to the now-2-6 Padres, please remember that the 2013 Astros managed to beat the other team in almost a third of their games. It's also probably a good time to remember that coming to Houston and playing the Astros is something of a season highlight for a lot of teams, what with all the World Series stuff and whatnot. Eric Hosmer:
The message we sent coming in here was: 'We've got to be on top of our game or we could get just flat-out embarrassed by these guys.' So I think it was a good message.

The Astros didn't get an extra-base hit - all four were singles. The 2017 Astros had two games all season without an extra-base hit: May 14 vs the Yankees and May 20 vs Cleveland. They had one baserunner after the 4th inning.

1-4 in the Padres' lineup: 8x18, three runs scored
1-4 in the Astros' lineup: 2x14, 5K:1BB

McCullers: 5IP, 7H/3R (2ER), 7K:3BB. It doesn't look like it, but he struggled with his command last night. Hinch:
He didn't have his breaking ball like he normally does so he had to make do with less than his best pitch. I never thought the game was going to get away from him at all and the two-strike hits - five hits in a row in the 5th - kind of did him in. He was battling the shape of his breaking ball and his ability to finish hitters much of the night. 

As McTaggart notes, four of the five 5th inning hits McCullers allowed came with two strikes.

Padres starter Luis Perdomo, 1st Start vs. Brewers: 4IP, 7H/5ER, 7K:4BB
Padres starter Luis Perdomo, vs. the Astros last night: 5IP, 4H/1ER, 4K:3BB

Last night Houston struck out 12 times, marking three straight games (and five out of the eight so far this season) with 10+ Ks.

The Astros haven't grounded into a double play in six straight games (of course, if you can't get on base you can't GIDP). The longest streak without a GIDP in 2017 was four games, which the Astros did twice.

*Perhaps you remember this, but Jose Altuve won the AL MVP Award, George Springer was the World Series MVP, and Justin Verlander was the ALCS MVP. They got honored on the field before last night's game.

*Were I in any position to get Walk-Up Music, these would be my choices:
1. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - Elton John. I would stand at the edge of the batter's box and stare at the pitcher for the full 11 minutes and seven seconds. I would get fined. I would pay said fine.
2. Elephant - Tame Impala
3. Runaway - Self
4. Dreamboat 730 - Ringside
5. The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret - Queens of the Stone Age

*The Astros are doing Fortnite celebrations after Dubs.

*One of Jeff Sullivan's Bold Predictions is that Kyle Tucker (more on him below) will be the Astros' starting LF by mid-June. Sullivan:
I don't have anything against Derek Fisher or Marwin Gonzalez, but no matter who's playing left on a regular basis in Houston, he's essentially a placeholder for one of the top hitting prospects around.

*Cubs fan and American Treasure Bill Murray will be at Jones Hall on April 16 and had this to say about the Astros:
Astros games are fun to watch. It's such a hungry and dominant team. Jim Crane has done a nice job pulling those guys together and it looks like they are all having a great time.

Hot Subscription Links:

*Jake Kaplan writes that Lance McCullers feels way more comfortable with his fastball now, compared to last year.

My daughter - who will be six this year - told me that Lance is "handsome" and she's "gonna marry him." Now I have my eye on Lance McCullers, Jr.

*Corey Brock wrote about the bald eagle what landed on James Paxton.

*T.J. Zuppe wonders if it's already time to worry about Cleveland's offense.

Back to the Free Stuff Links:

I was never so sure about a pitching prospect as I was about Jarred Cosart. The Astros traded him at precisely the right time.

*The Astros are not on Jon Heyman's list of eight teams expected to sign Bryce Harper.

*Former Astros Great Colin Moran went 4x5 with 3RBI for Pittsburgh last night. He's hitting .318/.348/.545. Alex Bregman is only hitting .172/.333/.241 so Luhnow is back to being LOSENOW.

*Check out this story on Jeurys Familia and the importance of his $100,000 signing bonus from the Mets.

*One of my favorite baseball podcasts is The Infinite Inning.

*MLB Advanced Media is getting sued over their pitch-tracking software.

*I'm currently (well, not currently) reading Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler, and am enjoying it.

Pre-Stros Report: Games of April 6

Fresno 4
Reno 8

Fresno (0-2) answered Reno's 4-run inning with one of their own - a 6th inning in which Kyle Tucker,  Tyler White, and Jack Mayfield all homered, but never could catch up. Tucker (whose 1st Triple-A HR went 448 feet) and White each went 2x4, the rest of the team went 3x25 with 10K:2BB. Trent Thornton threw 2.2IP, 3H/4R (0ER), 2K:1BB. Jacob Dorris allowed 3H/3ER in 1.1IP. Buddy Boshers and Reymin Guduan threw 4+ out scoreless appearances. Frankie Tuesday goes tonight against Kris Medlin.

Corpus 11
NW Arkansas 9

Six runs in the top of the 9th gave the Hooks (1-1) their first win of the season. Taylor Jones went 3x5 with 2RBI; Myles Straw was 2x4 with 2BB and two stolen bases. Yuli Gurriel was 2x4 as the DH. Alex De Goti was 2x5 with the 3-run go-ahead triple. Weird to get 11 runs with just two extra-base hits. Brock Dykxhoorn threw 4.1IP, 2H/1R (0ER), 5K:0BB. Ryan Hartman allowed four unearned runs in 1.1IP; Sean Stutzman gave up 6H/4ER, 2K:3BB in 1.1IP, and Ralph Garza got the win with two perfect innings.

Buies Creek 3
Salem 4

Buies Creek (0-2) had a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th before Salem scored three runs and won on a walk-off, 4-3. Abraham Toro-Hernandez (2B) and Anibal Sierra (HR, RBI) had two hits each. Josh Rojas and Troy Sieber were each 1x3 with a walk. Hector Perez threw 5IP, 2H/1ER, 10K:1BB (!) and Brandon Bielak allowed 5H/3R (2ER), 6K:1BB in the final 3.1IP.

The Quad Cities/Cedar Rapids game was postponed due to cold.