Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros returned to Houston for a 10-game homestand with a rejuvenated offense and a chance to remind Anaheim who's in charge in this here division and then they absolutely refused to take that chance. Gerrit Cole retired the first 13 batters he faced and then I turned the game on and Valbuena started a chain of events that led to a 1-0 Angels lead. These things are related. The Astros came in having won six in a row, the Angels came in having lost five of six. Baseball!

*The Astros had:
-2 on, 2 out in the 1st = 0 runs
-2 on, 2 out in the 8th = 0 runs
-2 on, 0 out in the 9th = 0 runs

Gurriel was thrown out at 3B trying to advance on what he thought was a wild pitch. Hinch:
It's a tough way to end the game, but I can't fault Yuli for trying to be aggressive. It's a result-oriented decision, right? We love it when it happens and it's second and third and we have a pitch where a bloop single, a sharp single, a ball in the gap, and we score two and we tie the game and we're probably still playing right now.

*Ricky Tyler Skaggs pitched really well, holding the Astros to four hits over 7IP. The Astros left seven on base and were 0x4 w/RISP.

*Shoutout to St. Pius X grad Justin Anderson, who made his MLB debut last night and struck out Carlos Correa to end the 8th inning.

*1-4 in the lineup: 5x15, 1K:1BB
  5-9 in the lineup: 2x17, 5K:1BB

*Evan Gattis was 0x4 last night.
On the road Gattis is 13x43, hitting .302/.400/.488 with 11K:6BB
At Minute Maid he's 2x30, "hitting" .067/.125/.067 with 12K:2BB

*Gerrit Cole threw 7IP for the fifth straight time this season, allowing 4H/2ER, 8K:2BB. His ERA now a disgusting and, frankly, unacceptable, more-than-one-earned-run-per-nine-innings. Not why they brought you here, Gerrit.

The Astros have scored 19 runs in Cole's five starts:
-8-2 win against Arlington
-1-0 win against San Diego (Bregman walk-off pop-up)
-3-2 win against Arlington
-7-1 win at Seattle
-2-0 loss last night.

So that's three of his five starts in which the Astros have scored three or fewer runs. Cool.

*Angels closer Keynan Middleton:
They are the defending champs. We know that. So we have to send a message. I feel like we did that tonight. This game was huge for us.

I don't know how you deal with playing opponents all season long who measure themselves against you, that every play is a statement to be made, every result is a referendum on your ability. Since the beginning of Spring Training we've heard story after story from Rondon, or Cole, or Verlander about how focused the Astros are. Not that the Astros aren't motivated to win every single game, but there's a point where you - the Astros - are playing the game, but your opponent has to Make A Statement.

*Josh Reddick wants to temper your expectations of this series:
Ignore the hype. There's too much hype around both teams.

*Charlie F. Morton is a breath of fresh air: a smart, thoughtful, nuanced athlete who won't just hand out Jeterian cliches. Get yourself a subscription to The Athletic and read this fantastic Q&A with Jake Kaplan.

*The LA Times' Dylan Hernandez wanted to talk to Yuli Gurriel about what he learned in sensitivity training following his suspension for the racist gesture during the World Series. Gurriel wanted to talk about what he learned. The Astros' PR staff wouldn't let him. Hernandez (edited to remove line breaks):
But what has the sport gained if Gurriel doesn't share what he learned? Wasn't that the entire point of this, that Gurriel would pick up something and pass it along? Gurriel understood this, which is why he was ultimately open to sharing his thoughts on the matter. The Astros didn't, prioritizing the comfort of their cleanup hitter over discussions that could have benefits beyond the turnstiles at Minute Maid Park. "At some point, [Gurriel] needs to move on," [Vice President of Media Relations Gene] Dias wrote to me in a follow up email. That's not for the Astros to decide.

I agree with this 100%. Obviously not having been privy to any of the conversation, and not having read the article until this morning, I can't speak to intent. But if the role of Media Relations is to manage your perception, it sure does read like the Astros don't want this story to return to the news cycle and just let it remain a side note in what was a very weird World Series. I think that's wrong.

*Fresno SP Trent Thornton tied a Pacific Coast League record yesterday by recording eight consecutive strikeouts. Fresno lost the game 3-2 after Brendan McCurry allowed three runs in the bottom of the 8th. Former Astros Great Jake Buchanan held the Grizzlies to 7H/2ER, 4K:3BB in 6IP.

*Corpus SP Cionel Perez has been named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week, after he threw 8IP, 6H/0ER, 10K:4BB. Myles Straw was named to the MLB Pipeline Team of the Week.

*Good news from Chicago: Danny Farquhar is alert and responding to doctors' questions, and can talk to his family.

*For some reason Richard Justice decided to talk to Albert Pujols about the 2005 NLCS. (It's a fun read). Pujols, on Oswalt's performance in Game 6:
That was an angry Roy Oswalt. He struck me out on three pitches in my first at-bat, and I went back and told the guys, 'We're going to have a long night tonight.'

*From FanGraphs' Travis Sawchik: The Rockies think they have solved the problem with stealing signs.