Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

*The Astros unveiled the AL Pennant and World Series Champion banners last night and it was all emotional. Then they found a way to Astros it up right nice:

Minutes later Carlos Correa left the game with discomfort in his big toe (he fouled a ball off his foot yesterday). I swear, if this thing is like the 2016 Opening Day Erik Kratz Curse I'll burn everything down. Correa::
The nail was black, and today I tried to play through the pain, and the ground ball that got hit to short I had to react quickly and it hurt it even more. I had to come out of the game. I went out there and could barely move. I was not feeling great.

*But the Astros sent everyone home happy (except for the Orioles) with a 6-1 win. Houston is 4-1.

Charlie Morton threw 6IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:2BB with nine groundouts and two flyouts. 56 of his 91 pitches were thrown for strikes. Morton:
There were a lot of people here that were hoping for a win. It's a big moment for the city. So I'm glad that I did all right.

Brian McCann was 2x2 with a walk; Derek Fisher was 2x3 with a triple and 2RBI; George Springer was 2x5. The Astros are 4-1 despite Bregman starting out the season hitting .158, Reddick (1x2, 2BB) hitting .111, and Marwin (who homered) hitting .176. J.D. Davis is hitting .091. So the first time through the rotation:

Verlander: 6IP, 4H/0ER, 5K:2BB
Keuchel: 6IP, 7H/3ER, 4K:1BB
McCullers: 5.1IP, 4H/2ER, 10K:1BB
Cole: 7IP, 2H/1ER, 11K:3BB
Morton: 6IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:2BB

Rotation: 30.1IP, 20H/6ER, 36K:9BB - 1.78 ERA / 0.96 WHIP

Jake Kaplan writes in The Athletic about how this first turn highlights the Astros' immense potential.

*Justin Verlander goes tonight on Ring Night against Baltimore's Mike Wright, who hasn't started since 2016.

*Rich Dauer returned to MMP to throw out the first pitch and it was very sweet.

*Brian T. Smith says it's time to appreciate Jeff Luhnow.

*The Astros reminisced to Jerry Crasnick about their favorite 2017 Postseason moments.

*One thing that struck me as MLBTV struggled to give me a clean connection: I was in Arlington for the Friday game (Astros record when I'm in attendance: 0-1; Astros record when I'm not: 4-0) and noticed how prominently all those Rangers' AL West Division Champs years were splashed all over the ballpark - every screen in the stadium trumpeted it to the world. Then I noticed that the Astros took down all the NL Central Division Champs banners in the outfield. Only the 2005 NL Champs and the 2017 World Series Champs banners are displayed. Crane:
We took down all of those banners that weren't World Series banners. We're going to try to get some more of those, and just reposition the other ones. 

*Gurriel is headed to the DL, after all. Hinch:
We just decided o err on the side of caution. There's been no setback, there's not really any issue other than we wanted to give him a couple more days and our only option is to put him on the DL.

Gurriel is eligible to return on April 13 against the Rangers.

*Ken Rosenthal writes in The Athletic that Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are not getting complacent.  And bench coach Joe Espada is helping them get better at turning double plays.

*Marwin said he was ejected from Sunday's game because he kicked a ball out of frustration.

*Jim Crane said he'd like to extend the Astros' lease at Minute Maid Park. If I'm reading this right, the lease doesn't expire until 2030.

*KPRC says the Astros' 2017 postseason run brought $95m to Houston.

*Richard Justice has 30 first impressions from Opening weekend.

*James Hoyt (oblique) could see a minor-league rehab stint this week.

*The Astros and Les Alexander could owe Comcast over $54m.

*Mike Hauschild will get the Opening Day start for Fresno.

*Freudis Nova - the Astros' #5 prospect on MLB.com who has drawn comparisons to Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria - is MLB.com's Astros Breakout Prospect. Farm Director Pete Putila:
He's so explosive. He's a legitimate shortstop with power and contact and speed. He drew walks in the DSL and when he chases, he still barrels the ball. He has a good mindset. He's not distracted, he keeps working.

*SI Guy says there are four teams more watchable than the Astros.

*Old buddy Colin Moran hit a grand slam in his first AB at PNC Park yesterday. But there's weirdness out of Pittsburgh. About an hour after Joe Musgrove told MLB.com that he felt good, the Pirates placed him on the 10-Day DL with a strained muscle in his shoulder.

*From the Smithsonian: When Robert Kennedy broke the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King.