Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Morning Hot Links

The pink unis are clean. The Astros did the good things and managed to take the series against the Rangers. Dallas Keuchel dealt and the Astros got hits, plural. The Astros are 26-16. Houston is 18-11 against East Abilene since the beginning of the 2017 season. Since the beginning of 2014, the Astros are 39-47 against the Ramgers, impressive since the Astros went 10-28 against Upper Midlothian in 2015-16.

Houston held the Rangers to one run for the 3rd straight game, outscoring them 12-3 in the three-game series. The Rangers got 12 hits, seven of them for extra-bases. Houston is 6-4 against the Rangers this season, outscoring them 43-25.

*Dallas Keuchel: 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:1BB. It's his fourth straight start of 7+ IP. In his last three starts, Keuchel: 22IP, 14H/4ER, 17K:3BB.

We've got four good right-handed starters that can elevate the four-seam, and I can do the same, but to a lesser extent. It's been helping me, and it's going to be a staple of my arsenal for the next four or five months.

Keuchel threw 7IP for the 5th time this season, tied for 3rd-most in MLB behind Corey Kluber (7) and Gerrit Cole (6).

He just knew he could throw the ball where he wanted to at the speed which he wanted to. That's a very good strength of Dallas, when he can mess and disrupt the timing of the hitter.

*Evan Gattis was 1x3 with a home run, walk, and 2RBI. He has a five-game hitting streak and has raised his OPS from .542 to .633 in the last three games. Yesterday's home run was Gattis' 40th at Minute Maid Park. It's his first time hitting home runs on consecutive days since September 11/12, 2016. Gattis:
It's nice whenever we're clicking on all cylinders, but we don't have to have nine guys just absolutely red-hot to win. It's nice when we get at least a bulk of our team going. If a guy's struggling out there, it's not as big of a deal.

*Altuve was 0x5, marking three straight games without a hit. He was 0x13 with 4Ks in the series. As noted yesterday, it's Altuve's longest hitless streak since May 21-25, 2016, when he went four games without a hit. Altuve is hitting .212/.255/.327 in May. Altuve is hitting .306, his lowest batting average (after the first day of the season) since May 28, 2017, when he was hitting .300.

Jose Altuve, home, 2011-2017: .314/.363/.454
Jose Altuve, home, 2018: .233/.290/.326

Back in February, Our Boy Tyler Stafford wrote a very good piece in The Athletic on why Altuve struggles at home, and it looks even more prescient now.

*Hi, haters. With a successful out recorded today, Tony Sipp's ERA is below 5.00 for the first time since July 26, 2017, when a scoreless inning against the Phillies gave him a 4.99 ERA.

*George Springer got "one more day" off yesterday. We'll see if he's in the lineup tonight. Hinch:
Hopefully he's back in there. He's been bouncing around the clubhouse, and I think he's done a little bit of activity already. He'll be good to go.

*Regarding J.D. Davis and Tony Kemp straight-up killing Triple-A, the Astros' front office is thinking of making some moves, but not too hard, apparently. Luhnow:
You never can tell how that production is going to translate up here, we've seen a lot of players put up pretty gaudy numbers at AAA, come here and not. But (Davis) is a good player and we're an organization that has multiple guys in AAA that deserve to be on this team. With the bottom of our (lineup) struggling right now up here, obviously, you have to think about potentially doing something.

Luhnow talks about Track Records, as though Jake Marisnick's 2017 wRC+ is worthy of that. Hey, why don't we check out Marisnick's wRC+ by year (remember, a 100 wRC+ is average. A 90 wRC+ means their offensive production is 10% worse than average):

2013 (118 PAs): 31
2014 (237 PAs): 69
2015 (372 PAs): 83
2016 (311 PAs): 59
2017 (259 PAs): 117
2018 (87 PAs): 11

So by "Track Record" we're actually talking about the 18.7% of his Major-League career in which Marisnick has actually hit better than an average Major-Leaguer, which happened to be the season the Astros won the World Series. There's no track record upon which you can justify continuing to run him out there four nights a week. He's always been a valuable defensive outfielder, but his bat is an absolute black hole. Does his defense make up for a career 72 wRC+? His 1.9 defensive rating on FanGraphs ranks 17th out of 103 outfielders with 80 PAs. But because Fisher has had a harder time establishing himself as That Guy, Mr. Hair gets semi-regular playing time while A.J. Hinch is trying to think like a gambler at Gulf Greyhound and measure Fisher and Marisnick's dumps on 50-cent Miller Nite. Marisnick has 40 strikeouts and one walk. His 47.1% K-rate ranks 263rd out of 265 MLB players with a minimum of 80 PAs. That's dumb. Print this and save it for when he pops off for a couple of weeks and I land on Old Takes Exposed. These words are justified right now.

*Corbin Martin's Double-A debut on May 3: 0.1IP, 5H/6ER, 0K:1BB.
  Corbin Martin's two starts since May 3: 8.1IP, 6H/1ER, 11K:3BB

*Tough break for Seattle as Robinson Cano broke his hand after getting HBP'd by Detroit's Blaine Hardy.

*Buster Olney: Will Clayton Kershaw opt out of the final two years of his contract?

*Related: the Reds swept the Dodgers in LA, which is the equivalent of the Astros getting swept by the Orioles.

*The Mets' PJ Conlon became the first Irish-born pitcher to play in the Majors since 1945 and the BBC IS THERE.

*Speaking of the Irish: Jim Palmer was the product of a famous Kennedy one-night stand? (Plot Twist: No, but it's a wonderful article)