Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

Pretty great to go to bed an hour and a half earlier than you normally do only to wake up two hours earlier than you normally do. So I missed virtually all of the Astros game in order to catch up on sleep and I'm going to need to mainline caffeine all day. Maybe that's the key to unlocking the Astros' offense.

*Yesterday was A.J. Hinch's 44th birthday. Teams he's managed are now 4-2 on his birthday.

*Our season-long nightmare is finally over. Through 43 games the Astros had 26 wins, nine of them were comeback wins. However, the largest "comeback" the Astros had staged was a deficit of one run. Last night, though, not once but twice! the Astros overcame a 2-run deficit (2-0, 3-1).

*Cole: 5IP, 5H/3ER, 7K:2BB. It was his shortest outing of the season. The Astros are 8-1 in games Cole starts, the one loss coming in the 2-0 loss to Anaheim on April 23. Seven of Cole's nine starts have come against divisional opponents.

*Gerrit Cole gave up all three runs on home runs. The five home runs he's allowed in 2018 have led to six total runs (last night's two-run shot by freakin Justin Upton was the first non-solo homer he'd allowed this year). Six runs out of twelve allowed, well that's 50% of the runs he's allowed coming off of a home run.

In 2017 Cole allowed 98 runs (96 earned runs) and 31 home runs. 48 of those runs came off home runs - 49%.

But let's keep in mind that, while Cole has allowed six home runs this season through nine starts, at the same point (nine starts) in 2017 he had already allowed [checks notes] seven home runs.

*Collin McHugh threw 2IP, 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB, lowering his ERA to 0.54. He hasn't allowed a run in eleven straight appearances. Since allowing the one run he has allowed all season (16.2IP): 14.1IP, 9H/0ER, 21K:3BB.

*Ken Giles since April 7: 10.1IP, 7H/4ER, 9K:0BB. Of course, 4H/4ER came against the Yankees on May 1. If you want to play the game where you take out one bad appearance, Giles has thrown 13IP, 8H/2ER, 10K:0BB all season (except for that Yankees outing).

*I'm still having a hard time believing Jaime Barria, a 21-year old rookie making his 5th career start held Houston to four singles and five baserunners. God bless the Angels' bullpen. But, Gosh, it's almost like Scioscia using his best reliever (Jose Alvarez) in 16 games in the first month of the season - tied for 2nd-most appearances in MLB - is starting to backfire. Scioscia said that Alvarez hadn't pitched since Thursday because of early-season fatigue. That's what you want in a game on May 15. Alvarez:
Just a bad game. I'll take the loss. We'll take the loss. I feel bad about it. But tomorrow's another day.

*Were it not for a nice Mike Trout grab as he hit the center-field wall, Altuve would have been 3x4 with 4RBI. As it is, he was 2x3 with 3RBI - the go-ahead bases-clearing double in the 8th off of Alvarez. Altuve:
I didn't hit it very hard, but I put it in the right spot. It feels good. 

For some reason, Altuve tried to score from 2nd on Correa's grounder to second base.

I think in Altuve's mind, he's been struggling. He's still hitting .310. I'd like to be on that train.

Angels catcher Rene Rivera:
Altuve can hit everything. That's a great player. He's the MVP because of everything he can do up there. That pitch was down in the zone and off the plate. Sometimes you gotta tip your hat.

*Josh Reddick was 1x4 but saved at least one run with two outfield assists (getting Trout at 3rd and Kinsler at home). His six outfield assists this season tie him with the bastard Kole Calhoun.

*Marwin Gonzalez stole a base - his 2nd SB in his last five games - but his 0x4, 3K night extended his hitless streak to six games (0x21).

*With his 1x3, BB (two runs scored) night, Alex Bregman has 21 strikeouts and 28 walks on the year, 7th-highest walk total in MLB.

*FanGraphs: The Angels' six-man rotation is actually working.

*Astros' run distribution, by inning, 2018:
1st-3rd innings: 25% (52 of 208 runs)
4th-6th innings: 38% (79 of 208 runs)
7th-end innings: 37% (77 of 208 runs)

Starting pitchers are taking care of the Astros, early.

Let's run it back for 2017 and see:
1st-3rd innings: 33.7% (302 of 896 runs)
4th-6th innings: 33.9% (304 of 896 runs)
7th-end innings: 32.4% (290 of 896 runs)

*The big Other News of the day was the Astros sending Jake Marisnick to Fresno, presumably yesterday given the Astros' proximity to Fresno. A call-up is on his way, but has not yet been announced. Hinch:
We want it to be a short stay in the Minor Leagues. He needs to get some at-bats. He hasn't really been right for most of the year. The swing and miss has been a struggle for him. He's a really good player that hasn't quite gotten on track. I think it's been piling up on him in the last few weeks.

In the sport we play, you don't perform and you get sent down. It's an opportunity to go down and get at-bats and get it right. It's no secret I've been struggling.

More Marisnick, on his goals for this minor-league stint:
Just stop thinking so much, just go out and play the game. Get a chance to play every day, forget about it, have fun and put some complete at-bats together. Obviously, cut down on the strikeouts, that's the big thing. A big part of it is mental. Go out, clear the mind and have fun.

The obvious answers are Tony Kemp, J.D. Davis, or Tyler White. Given that Marisnick is out and Fisher is struggling to a .181 average, I'm guessing the Astros want an answer in the outfield, which is why I'm picking Tony Kemp, who has made ten starts in the outfield (14 at Second Base). That said, Davis has played six games in Left Field this season.

Jake Kaplan: The strikeouts were just too much to ignore.

*Verlander and McCullers side-eyed Robinson Cano and his 80-game suspension, on Twitter. Cano was suspended for testing positive for furosemide, a banned diuretic that is apparently most helpful as a masking agent for diluting other banned substances in the urine. Cano is eligible to return on August 14, meaning he'll miss nine of the 15 remaining games against the Astros during his suspension.

Jay Jaffe: Did Cano just cost himself a spot in Cooperstown?

*Future Astros pitcher LHP Cionel Perez hit 97mph last night. In his last six outings: 24.1IP, 20H/1ER, 28K:8BB.

*This dude's Astros man-cave probably cost more than my house.

*The Indians have a bullpen problem.

*Jordan Lyles - THAT Jordan Lyles - took a perfect game into the 8th inning.

*For the past three years, the Yankees' front office has been sending flowers to the families of slain law enforcement officers.