Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros are going to lose Round 1 to Anaheim. After Charlie Morton had a wildly inefficient night, the Astros made a comeback against Shohei Ohtani, who, unfortunately, is as good as advertised, before Joe Smith pulled some 2013 Astros Bullpen Crap. 25 games in, Houston is back in 2nd place by 1/2-game. 

*The Astros still have not won a game in which they trailed by 2+ runs. Last night's three-run deficit (twice!) would have set the season high.

The Astros have a great lineup, and they made me work really hard. So I need to kind of outwork them, outlast them. And if the pitch count goes up, there's nothing I can do about that, but I just need to outlast them.

Instead, it was the Angels who outlasted Joe Smith.

*The Astros had prepared a presentation that featured Craig Biggio speaking Japanese, had they been awarded that in-person interview with Shohei Ohtani. Luhnow:
We were very serious. Unfortunately, we didn't get out of the first round. We probably incorrectly assumed because we had won the World Series and we were going to continue to have a good team for a while, this would be a market and a team he would probably at least take a longer look at, but it didn't happen. 

"Were going to have a good team" is a good way to put it because this team is straight garbage. 

(Within that link you can read about Forrest Whitley's return here in about a month).

*Previous Astros records at 25 games:
2018: 16-9
2017: 16-9
2016: 8-17
2015: 18-7

You show some resilience when you put up more runs. It's pretty big. They won the World Series last year. We beat 'em two times in a row. It's just a confidence boost for us.

I went on a rant following the 2nd game of the season - the one game the Rangers won in Arlington in the opening series of the season - in which my wife told me, "It's just one game," and I responded (too aggressively, admittedly) that, yes, it's just one game, but the worst thing the Astros can give that team of carnies up 45 and their reprobate fan base is hope. That's what the Astros gave the Angels, who are putting an awful lot of stock into a series in April. To be fair, I would do the exact same thing. 

That said, in a stat that could be more telling later in the season, Mike Scioscia has used his bullpen to get 306 outs this season - most in the Majors. The Astros have used their bullpen to get 216 outs - tied for 5th-fewest in MLB.

*Joe F. Smith (and the "F" is not currently an Initial of Endearment) was given a 5-4 lead. He left with an 8-5 deficit after allowing three hits and a walk to the seven batters he faced, snapping a four-game scoreless outing streak. He allowed Andrelton Simmons' second home run of the game. Simmons had one home run all season coming into this game and three multi-HR games in his career. Smith:
Two outs and a runner on first and it turns into that; it's not good. I made a mistake and ended up giving a homer to Andrelton. I didn't make my pitches, and they hit them.

*Speaking of unlikely home runs, Derek Fisher hit an absolute bomb to dead center off of Ohtani. Fisher was 2x4 with a walk (we will not discuss that 7th inning PA). He has three hits in his last four games (12 PAs) with a double and the home run. He had four hits in his previous 35 PAs this season.

In an article posted before the game, Hinch told Chandler Rome that the Astros were "trying to stay patient" with Fisher and said that there was "a sense of urgency" for Fisher to produce. 

*George Springer was 3x5, his first 3-hit game of the season. Springer has a hit in 18 of his 25 games in 2018. He has a 7-game hitting streak, and a .347/.411/.633 slash line with 6K:5BB since April 13 - the beginning of the Texas series. 

*Jose Altuve was 0x5, just the 4th time Altuve has failed to get a hit in a game this season. He had two games in 2017 in which he went hitless in 5+ ABs, and the 5th time since the beginning of the 2016 season.

*Verlander goes against Former Astros Great Nick Tropeano in the matinee today. I gotta go.