Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Morning Hot Links

*The Astros stopped a six-game losing streak to Oakland dating back to 2017 with a completely dominating performance in an 11-0 win. Today is Willie Nelson's 85th birthday. Seven Spanish Angels is a Top Ten Song of All Time.

*Lance McCullers, who was perfect into the 6th: 7IP, 2H/0ER, 7K:0BB. McCullers:
I got my strikeouts when I needed them, I got my strikeouts when they presented themselves. And because the offense did such a great job, I was able to throw some 2-0 challenge heaters, and that helped me keep my pitch count down. 

*It's the third straight game an Astros starting pitcher has been perfect into the 5th. There's gonna be some no-nos this year.

*McCullers has two starts with a Game Score of 80+. If you take out that rough 4th inning against the Twins in the freezing cold, here's his season line: 33.1IP, 24H/6ER, 43K:9BB - 1.62 ERA / 0.99 WHIP.

*The Astros hit four home runs in a game for the first time this season, having hit four home runs in their previous four games combined. They hit 4+ home runs in a game ten times in 2017.

*Jose Altuve had four hits in a game for the 26th time in his career. Altuve:
When we're coming back from a game like yesterday [the 8-1 loss], when we couldn't score a lot of runs, we show up and are ready to swing the bat. That's what we did. Springer setting the tone and three runs in the first inning - that's a good start.

*Jake Marisnick pinch-hit and replaced Springer defensively in the 7th. He led off the 8th inning facing Emilio Pagan and in his 61st PA of the season, Marisnick drew his first walk of the season. Let's look at what's notable about this AB:
-He took the first pitch for a ball - something that had only happened three times before.
-The next two pitches were strikes. Marisnick had been down 1-2 in the count 25 times this season, and only got two hits.
-He had only reached a three-ball count eight times in 2018.

*Marwin was 1x3 with a walk and his 2nd home run of the season, his first since April 2, and he had only enjoyed four extra-base hits in between home runs. After going 0x4 with 2Ks against Seattle on April 16, Marwin got the day off. He was hitting .164/.277/.273. Since April 18 he's gone 11x33, hitting .333/.410/.485. A productive Marwin usually translates into Winz.

*Alex Bregman was 2x3 with two walks and 2RBI. He now has 14 strikeouts and 17 walks this season. On April 9 Bregman was hitting .175/.327/.225. Since then he's hitting .323/.397/.462.

*Former Astros Great and Houston native Daniel Mengden:
For hitters, hitting in 2-0, 3-0, 2-1 counts is what they dream of, and that's what I gave them all night. Just didn't execute very well tonight and didn't get strike one.

Mengden threw a first-pitch strike to six of the 15 batters he faced.

*Since starting the season 13-3, the Angels are 3-7 with two of those wins coming in Houston. They've been outscored 58-25 in those ten games. Anaheim is 11-2 on the road and 5-8 at home. They're 5-2 in 1-run games.

*Gerrit Cole - who pitches today - is trying to cut down on the stolen bases against him.

*Hey whaddayaknow Tim Anderson pissed off another veteran player last night.

*Christina Kahrl wonders where baseball's first female GM will come from.

*Joel Sherman: The statistical improbability of two of the game's best shortstops - lifelong friends - coming from Curacao.

*How ABC journalist Lisa Howard's relationship with Fidel Castro changed the course of the Cold War.