Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

There is absolutely no way that today isn't Friday. I refuse to believe that it's not Friday.

Anyway, the Astros/Twins rubber match yesterday sucked hard, then it was cool, then it was bad again. Twins win on a walk-off after the Astros storm back from an 8-1 deficit. They have not (and still haven't, I guess) won a game in which they have trailed by more than one run. This feels impossible, but I'm tired and will just accept Baseball-Reference's word for it.

*Lance McCullers crapped the bed in the 4th with the following sequence:
-Kepler walk
-Buxton walk
-Castro (JSD) strikeout
-Adrianza single (1-1 tie)
-Dozier single (2-1 MIN)
-Mauer walk
-Rosario triple (5-1 MIN)
-Morrison single (6-1 MIN)
-Escobar flyout
-Kepler 2-run homer (8-1 MIN)

It all goes back to those two walks, and I tried to minimize the damage to do what I could to get out of it and it didn't work out that way.

McCullers' Game Score of 15 was the lowest of his career since August 3, 2015 when he allowed 7H/6ER in 0.1IP at Arlington. Game Score: 13. The 2017 Astros had three starts with a 13 Game Score or lower, the last being on September 13 against Anaheim in what would be Tigers Great Mike Fiers' last career appearance with the Astros.

*Chandler Rome says that McCullers' game plan of throwing elevated four-seamers at the Twins' lefty-heavy lineup might not have been ideal:
Let's call a spade a spade, I don't throw four-seamers up very often. I didn't execute them. And that's what's so frustrating. You put so much work in mid-weeks and you study the hitters a lot, Verlander spent a lot of time with me looking at the hitters and kind of breaking them down, and I didn't execute.

*It was Alex Bregman's first career 4-hit game and included his first home run of the 2018 season. Bregman, who was a triple shy of the cycle (wink):
I felt good really all year, barreling up the baseball. [In the] first series in Texas, I hit a lot of balls at people and kind of started to chase some hits after that instead of chasing some good pitches to hit, and today I was just looking for some good pitches to hit and was fortunate enough to put some good swings on the ball. Unfortunately, we came up short.

The 7-run deficit would have been the largest Astros' comeback win since July 18, 1994, when the Astros overcame an 11-0 deficit after three innings to beat the Cardinals 15-12. But, alas...

*Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak at Minnesota to 17 games, the longest streak at The Fridge.

*The Astros' eight runs match the total number of runs scored in the previous four games combined.

*With the 10-3 Angels winning again last night, the 9-4 Astros are out of first place in the AL West for the first time since - holy crap what sorcery is this - April 12, 2017, a span of 164 games.

*Off-Day Playoff Odds Check:
-FanGraphs: 97.8% to make the playoffs, 91.6% to win the division, 34.5% to win the Pennant. Projected record: 100-62
-FiveThirtyEight: 85% to make the playoffs, 65% to win the division. Projected record: 98-64.
-Baseball Prospectus: 93.2% to make the playoffs, 82% to win the division. Projected record: 95-67.

*Don't miss ClintShane's look at the Astros as The Avengers.

*Former Astro (blank) Jason Castro thinks that Minnesota's rebuild will be shorter than the Astros' rebuild was. Castro:
We should have won that Royals series (Ed. Note: /nods) That would have put us even deeper into the postseason. I definitely think (the 2018 Twins) is easily capable of that. I'd say compare this team to the playoff team we had in '15.

Oh hey here's Bob Grossman:
This core is more talented than the core they had, the core of guys I played with coming up. There's more of them over here. It's crazy how quick it can happen. A couple guys here, a couple guys there - you never know.

Please let the Twins feel the most heartbreak ever. I hate them.

*Yuli will be back on Friday when the Astros face the Southeast Snyder Rangers of Arlington.

*'s Mike Petriello: Houston's 2018 rotation could be better than 2017. Yesterday's game made pretty much all of the stats included within this article invalid.

*SI's Michael Beller highlights Gerrit Cole's knuckle-curve.

*Chandler Rome writes that Hector Rondon and Joe Smith's results have been mixed, at best.

*Oakland's top pitching prospect needs Tommy John Surgery. Houston's top pitching prospect is eating Chee-tos and craving some No-Doz right now.

*Do you like the Devil's Juice (booze)? Here's Craig Hlavaty's guide to drinking at Minute Maid.

*With a series in Houston starting tomorrow, and soon after the Rangers put both Rougned Odor and Doug Fister on the DL, Elvis Andrus has a fractured right elbow.

I maintain that the most dangerous time to be alive in America in the late '90s/early '00s was in the hour after Jackass. There's a multiplier in effect if you were in college. Thanks to that dumb show my buddies and I shot bottle rockets into the open windows of the freshmen dorm across from ours. We rode mattresses down the stairs. And I decided that the skateboard should be my primary mode of transportation.

(Note: when I graduated from college I weighed about 305 pounds. In the year after graduation I got down to 205. Got married and got back up to 270 and 15 years later am about 230 pounds with an eye on getting back to 205 by the end of the summer. This story takes place on the 305-pound spectrum.)

So I went to Atlanta right before my senior year of college started to see my aunt and cousin. I told my parents I was going to buy a skateboard and their eyes narrowed as they tried to picture me on a skateboard doing anything. They advised against it. "I'm a grown man," I timidly said to myself.

I bought a skateboard at Target at about 3pm. My aunt had to work and so I just went with her for about an hour and a half while she finished up. There was a lovely empty parking lot for me and my new skateboard. It's north Atlanta, Roswell-area. Lots of trees. Gorgeous. Hilly, too. First time down the parking lot went okay. "Now I shall try to turn left," I announced to no one.

I put a little too much weight on the back of the skateboard, which is not hard to do when you're north of three bills. The skateboard shot out from under me as though it was fired from a cannon. Falling towards the ground my brain decided, "This will likely hurt. You should try to stop yourself from falling." And my body obliged. I put my arm out to try to break the fall and succeeded in slamming my elbow into the concrete. A school letting out nearby heard me shout all my Emergency Words.

I retrieved my skateboard (which would never be used again) from about a mile deep into a forest and waited outside my aunt's office, pale, sweating, and cradling my elbow, trembling as I did. "This is decidedly not good, and something is Wrong." I thought. It was 3:15pm.

My aunt came out a short while later and immediately asked, "What's wrong?" Not wanting to go to an emergency room (even as a college senior I knew that the hospital would try to screw me over), we went to a chiropractor friend of hers who had an X-Ray machine. His name was Lee. Still is. X-Rays didn't pick up any issues but, Lee cautioned, your elbow is a pretty dense bone and (he motioned at my general physical shape) "you know."

"Maybe it's just dislocated!" he suggested, and then proceeded to yank on my wrist in an effort to get it to slip back into place. Fighting off unconsciousness, I screamed, "I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT IT IS, LEE!" I was put in a sling and sent back to Texas a few days later.

Six weeks later I was going into our laundry room. The house I rented with three of my buddies had a detached laundry room. It rained in September, which was weird in Abilene. My flip-flops were wet. As I stepped down (for some reason it was one step down) my wet flip-flops hit that smooth concrete and it was basically a repeat of The Atlanta Episode, sans skateboard. Exact same fall, exact same bracing action, exact same impact on exact same elbow. This time I did go to the doctor. "How long have you been walking around with a broken elbow?" he asked. "About six weeks, I guess," I responded. "Do I need surgery?" I asked. "You certainly could," he said. "But I mean..." (he motioned at my general physical shape), "You know."

Now obviously Elvis Andrus is in far better shape than I was when I broke my elbow. But he's also eight years older than I was, not that that makes up for the 100-pound difference. Point is, Elvis Andrus' elbow is going to hurt when it gets cold or if he holds the phone to his ear for too long. Sorry, Elvis.

*Tom Verducci wonders if Baseball is ready for Gabe Kapler to do loud sex to your mom.