Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Thanks for all of your well-wishes yesterday after my boy Angus passed. Houston handled San Francisco in a matinee yesterday after Springer got his 10th home run and Verlander did Verlander stuff, so the Astros won again. They're 32-18, two games up on Seattle. Houston has won 11 of their last 14 games. Jexas has your Giants series recap.

After 50 games:
2018: 32-18, 2.0 up
2017: 34-16, 9.0 up

I'm obviously happy that we are starting to pull things together. We're a good team, and we're playing like it. I think we're starting to do a lot of things right. I like our defense, I like our pitching, I like our hitting. I like our team at Game 1 and I like our team at Game 50. 

*Verlander: 6IP, 3H/1ER, 9K:1BB. He has allowed one earned run or less in nine of his eleven starts this season. Verlander's last five starts: 35IP, 17H/3ER, 45K:7BB. Verlander:
I felt OK. Probably a little rusty from the seven days [between starts]. Overall, I was able to execute pitches when I needed to against a really good lineup.

And by "executed pitches" he literally means "state-sanctioned murder of pitches." His nine straight starts of 6+ IP and 2ER or fewer matches the Astros' franchise record set in 1986 by Mike Scott.

*ESPN's David Schoenfield says that Verlander is pitching better than ever before. And it seems like it's for real. As Schoenfield notes, since Verlander made his mechanical tweak around the end of July 2017: 28 starts (postseason included), 193.1IP, 230 strikeouts, 20-4, 1.54 ERA.

*It was Verlander's first career win against San Francisco, and he now has a win over 28 of the 30 MLB teams. The only two teams against which Verlander hasn't got a W? Cincinnati and Miami.

*McTaggart notes in the linked article that the 126 runs allowed by the 2018 Astros through 50 games are the fewest runs allowed through 50 games since 1920. The 1968 Cleveland Indians had the previous record, at 128. The 1968 Indians were led by Luis Tiant (258.1IP, 264 strikeouts, 1.60 ERA) and Sam McDowell (269IP, 283K, 1.81 ERA) and would go on to allow just 504 runs through the season. They finished 3rd in the AL, 16.5 games behind the 103-59 Tigers.

*5-9 in the lineup (Marwin, Gurriel, McCann, Gattis, Kemp): 0x16, 1K:2BB - both walks were drawn by Kemp. Tony Kemp drew more walks yesterday than Jake Marisnick drew in 85 plate appearances. Tony Kemp has reached base twice or more in four of his six starts.

Hinch, on Kemp:
We're watching him play exactly how he's played throughout his whole minor league career. He just hasn't had the chance to get regular at-bats in the big leagues. That quality at-bat, that spark at the end of the order, him being on base in front of George, Bregman, and Altuve is invaluable.

*Here's Jake Kaplan with a good read on Tony Kemp's best chance in the Majors.

*Carlos Correa has now gone 58 games without an error at shortstop. One more ties Roger Metzger for the franchise record.

*Please tell me you saw Our Boy Tyler Stafford's post linking every Astros player to a Shakespearean quote.

*Josh Reddick was the latest outfielder to be placed on the DL with Bad. Jake Marisnick, who has most assuredly fixed his swing what with his [squints] 21 plate appearances at Fresno, has been recalled to take his place, at least for the next 10 days.

*How in the hell is Seattle 29-19 at this point in the season, and without Robinson Cano? Let's look right quick:
a) They've played 23 of their 48 games against the God-awful AL Central (the Astros have played nine games against the AL Central, and three of those were against Cleveland, about to be seven of 13 against Cleveland).
b) They're 13-7 in 1-run games (the Astros are 4-9).
c) Their .740 OPS is tied for 4th in the AL with Oakland and Houston

*Fans have noticed that the Astros have gone all-in on dynamic ticket pricing. La Porte guy:
Supply and demand is part of our economy, but at the same time, c'mon man. You can watch the games on TV, but you want to be here, too.

Astros Director of Ticket Operations Adam Smith was unavailable for comment.

*A former SFA baseball player will be Jose Altuve's body double in a New Balance commercial.

*It's a 5:10pm Central start tonight against Cleveland as Charlie Morton goes up against Mike Clevinger. We'll see if the lineup can be a little more special against Clevinger this time around.

*Francis Martes: Still on the DL in Florida. He hasn't pitched since April 29.

*Buies Creek played a double-header yesterday, and the second game went uh pretty well:
Game 2: JJ Matisyahu Matijevic hit two home runs - his first and second at High-A - while Abraham Toro hit his 7th home run of the season, and Ronnie Dawson drove in four runs.

*Insane Person Lenny Dykstra was arrested for making terroristic threats after putting a gun to the head of a New Jersey Uber driver.

*Here's a fascinating story from Andy McCullough on announcer Mauro Ranallo, the "Bipolar Rock N Roller" and his fight against the stigma of mental illness.

*Unraveling the mystery of MH17.