Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Kate Upton > Justin Upton. Justin Verlander dealt, the Astros offense didn't do much - so it was a pretty typical night for the Astros. Houston is 28-17, 16-7 away from Minute Maid Park. Check the Angels series recap from Jexas.

*Verlander threw his 8th career complete game shutout, and his first since August 26, 2015...against the Angels. Verlander: 9IP, 5H/0ER, 7K:1BB. The five hits he allowed are the 2nd-most he's allowed this season, and the highest since he gave up six hits against Baltimore on April 3. Last night was the 5th start out of ten in which Verlander didn't give up an earned run.

*He wriggled out of trouble in the 8th after Ian Kinsler broke a string of eleven straight Angels retired with a single and got dang Kole Calhoun hit a ground-rule double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Luis Valbuena struck out looking and Mike Trout grounded out to Verlander to escape. Verlander, on the Trout AB:
Here's the game right here. Can you get out the best player in the world? Yeah, I was pretty excited about it.

Trout vs. Verlander, career: 2x27, 7K:4BB (.074/.242/.296).

Pretty much a clinic on how to pitch. I mean, it's just an epic performance by a really good pitcher. It's fun to win a series, especially against a team like this. Even more sweet when one of your best carries you on his back.

*Verlander's last four starts: 29IP, 14H/2ER, 36K:6BB. The Astros scored a total of three runs in those four starts, and are 6-4 when Verlander - now with a 1.05 ERA - starts the game. The offense has scored two runs total in those four losses.

*Shohei Ohtani: 0x4, 3K. It was his second career MLB 0x4, 3K night and first since Boston did it to him on April 19. Ohtani's 3rd and final strikeout in the 9th gave Verlander 2,500 for his career. Verlander is the 33rd pitcher in MLB history to record 2,500 strikeouts. Only CC Sabathia (2,874) has more for active pitchers.

Up next on the all-time strikeout leaderboard (names in bold = Hall of Famers):

32. Christy Mathewson (2507)
31. A.J. Burnett (2513)
30. Javier Vasquez (2536)
29. Jerry Koosman (2556)
28. Tim Keefe (2564)
27. Bob Feller (2581)
26. Warren Spahn (2583)
25. Tom Glavine (2607)
24. Chuck Finley (2610)

21 of the 31 inactive pitchers with 2500+ Ks are in the Hall of Fame. Those not in the HOF:
Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Mickey Lolich, Mike Mussina, Frank Tanana, David Cone, Chuck Finley, Jerry Koosman, Javier Vasquez, and A.J. Burnett.

Jake Kaplan notes that Verlander joins a list of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to strike out 2500 batters within their first 400 starts.

*Evan Gattis provided all the offense after Josh Reddick reached on a Zack Cozart error and Evan Gattis knocked a pitch 389 feet to left field. In the last week Evan Gattis is 6x19 with 3HR, hitting .316/.350/.842.

*The Astros only managed five hits, had three PAs with runners in scoring position, and went 0x3. It's the 10th time the Astros have been held to five or fewer hits, in 45 games. The 2017 Astros which, again, IS BASICALLY THE SAME TEAM, were held to five or fewer hits 16 times over the course of the whole season.

It's the 16th time they've scored two or fewer runs, also in 45 games. That said:

*Runs, through 45 games, 2018: 210 (4.67)
Runs, through, 45 games, 2017: 221 (4.91)

*Tony Kemp went from Fresno to Phoenix to El Paso on Tuesday, only to find out that he got called up, so he made the Wednesday 6:15am flight from El Paso to Anaheim, and immediately got the LF start. Believe it or not, Marisnick still has two options remaining. He reached on an infield single in his 2nd PA of the night but was stranded after Alex Bregman grounded into a double play.

*A.J. Hinch is not going to let the word "Hangover" into his dictionary (unless it's Reddick, of course, then it's used literally). Hinch:
One thing I wasn't going to allow was us to limp into the season, and I mean that mentally and physically. I certainly didn't abuse them (code for: "I abused them") and I didn't play them an extended amount of times early in the spring. But any sort of hangover question or debate on what last season brings into this season we jut dealt with directly and shrugged out shoulders about it and play our whole schedule like we're told to.

*Tyler Bauer pitched for Cleveland yesterday, ensuring that he will not pitch in Houston this weekend. Probably a smart move by Francona. The Astros have today off and then face the AL Central-leading Indians who, at 21-21, are the only AL Central team at .500.

*The Yankees (+525) have overtaken the Astros (+550) as the favorites to win the 2018 World Series.

*In Game 1 of a double-header against Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities pitcher Cristian Javier threw 5IP, 3H/2ER, 10K:2BB. In seven appearances this season, Javier has thrown 29IP, 20H/8ER, 47K:18BB.

*Buies Creek has moved their remaining home game start times up an hour.

*LA Times' Dylan Hernandez: The Dodgers don't have the same blueprint as the Astros.

*Former Astros Great Jason Castro tore his meniscus and is now out for the season. He was hitting .143/.257/.238 and is in the 2nd year of a 3yr/$24.5m deal.

*Gerald Green is a damn national treasure. Or at least a Houston Treasure.

*FanGraphs: Jordan Lyles found something he never had.

*Man. Good for Chad Bettis.

*The World Cup guide given to Argentina's players, coaches, and journalists has a section on how to bang Russian women.