Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Morning Hot Links

Justin Verlander did the Good Thing and George Springer hit his first grand slam of the season and the Astros took their first series of the "2nd Half" with a 7-0 win over Anaheim. The Astros are 66-35 and have a six-game lead over Seattle, the first "6.0 up" of the season. To highlight the difference between the 2017 and 2018 AL West, Houston had their first 6.0-game lead of the 2017 season in Game 33.

*Justin Verlander: 6IP, 5H/0ER, 11K:2BB. It's his 3rd double-digit strikeout game in his last four starts, his 3rd 70+ Game Score in his last four starts, and he recorded his first win since June 14. Verlander:
We play this game for wins, man. You can say all you want - you did your job, kept your team in the game, yada yada - it's nice to get a win.

He threw 26 straight fastballs at the Angels. The Astros' team record by Verlander Game Scores:

30-39: 0-1
40-49: 0-1
50-59: 2-1
60-69: 3-4
70-79: 7-0
80-89: 1-1
90+: 0-1

That the Astros are 1-2 when Verlander has an 80+ Game Score is shameful. He threw two pitches at 99mph last night. He had thrown one pitch over 99mph - on April 25 - which was 99.27mph. Verlander has recorded 18 outs in 20 of his 22 starts. He has recorded at least a strikeout per inning in 18 of those starts.

Updated Angels "hitters" vs Justin Verlander, career:

Ian Kinsler: 8x44, 9K:6BB
Luis Valbuena: 3x37, 19K:6BB
Mike Trout: 2x29, 9K:6BB
Kole Calhoun: 3x31, 17K:2BB
Andrelton Simmons: 3x20, 1K:2BB
Justin Upton: 2x17, 7K:2BB
Martin Maldonado: 0x10, 6K:0BB
Shohei Ohtani: 2x8, 3K:0BB

Verlander has 23 straight scoreless innings at Angel Stadium.

We're a ways from putting the Verlander trade above Bagwell/Andersen, but I can't think of another Astros trade that would rank 2nd above Verlander.

*Houston drew eight walks last night. It's their 3rd game this season with 8+ BB. With 7K:8BB it's the 9th time this season they've drawn more walks than they struck out.

*George Springer came into last night's game Springer was 0x9 with 2RBI, 2K:0BB with the bases loaded. It's his 5th career grand slam and his first since September 27, 2017 against the Ramgers. All five of his grand slams have been on the road, the most road grannies in Astros history. Springer tied Lance Berkman for the most grand slams in Astros history, one behind Jeff Bagwell, two behind Carlos Lee.

His last home run came on June 20 against Tampa.

It's the 6th ballpark in which he has hit 5+ home runs. Springer, who turned a 3-0 game into a 7-0 game, used the same bat he used in the All-Star Game. Springer:
That's obviously big for our momentum. You could feel the wind come out of the stadium. 

He gave his bat a loving kiss upon returning to the dugout, with help from Gerrit Cole.

Jake Kaplan: Springer is showing more signs he's back.

*Tony Kemp was 1x2 with a double, 2BB, and an RBI. It's his 4th 2BB game of the season. The double was his third extra-base hit since June 14.

*Marwin was 1x3 with a walk in his 91st game (343 PAs) in which he has a .668 OPS, hitting .233/.313/.355. After 91 games (342 PAs) in 2017 he was hitting .313/.388/.577.

*Josh Red Dick hit his 10th home run of the season. Two of those have been in the last seven days. Reddick heating up. He has four extra-base hits in his last four games, or the same number of extra-base hits he had in his previous 15 starts.

*The Astros went 2x12 w/RISP. They're 4x20 w/RISP in the last two games. But are 2-0 so whatever.

*A.J. Hinch is confident Kyle Tucker will figure it out, and that his slow start in MLB is indicative of a pattern throughout his career of adjusting to the level. Hinch:
He's having an adjustment period to this level. He's done this at every level. He did it in A-Ball, he did it in Double-A, he did it in Triple-A, and now in the big leagues. He's learning on the fly...It's a good reminder that it's a tough league. 

*Ken Giles gave his first interview since getting sent to Fresno to his hometown paper. Giles, on what he's doing:
Trying to get my groove back. That's all I'm here to do. We had a lot of guys pitching well and I wasn't getting many opportunities to work out the kinks. I'm getting opportunities here and I plan to take advantage, get back up and help the club.

Fresno pitching coach D'yer Mak'er Dyar Miller:
I give Giles a lot of credit. His attitude's been great since he got here, he's one of the guys and he works hard. He doesn't even complain about our crazy travel.

*Good luck figuring this one out:

*Oakland acquired Mets reliever Jeurys Familia for two prospects and $1m in international bonus pool allotment. They're coming for Seattle. MLBTR has a good recap of what Baltimore wants for Zach Britton, and the Cubs are "deeply involved." Jerry Crasnick, though, says the Astros and Cubs are trying to matchup prospects.

*All that said, Hinch doesn't expect the Astros to make a "blockbuster" deadline deal.

*Carlos Correa ranks #5 in FanGraphs' Top 50 Most Valuable Contracts list.

*Boston is interested in Mike F. Fiers, who shut them down last night.

*Check out this anonymous MLB players poll on the most underrated, most overrated players, cities, managers, etc. It's fascinating.

*Jermaine Gresham (BOOMER) is a national treasure.