Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Oakland is on a tear, and the AL West just might be the best division in baseball, top-to-bottom. The A's won an MLB-best 17th out of their last 21 games by shutting out the Astros 2-0. It was kind of a dumb game. The Astros are 61-32.

*It's Houston's 6th time getting shutout this year, the first shutout since June 22. All six shutouts have been at home. The Astros are now 8-2 against Oakland, outscoring them 70-30.

*The Astros managed five hits - two from George Springer - on the night. It was Springer's first two-hit game since June 10. From June 11 - July 8 (prior to last night's game) Springer hit .111/.238/.156. The Astros went 18-6 in those 24 games.

*5-9 in the lineup (Gattis-Marwin-Tucker-White-Federowicz) went a combined 0x14, 6K:2BB). Both walks were courtesy of Marwin Gonzalez, his 5th 2BB game of the year.

Marwin, through his first 84 games, 2017: .320/.400/.588, 63K:33BB, 19HR.
Marwin, through his first 84 games, 2018: .227/.306/.355, 78K:32BB, 6HR.

*Gerrit Cole deserved better: 6IP, 3H/0ER, 11K:3BB - his 4th ER-less start of 2018, first since May 4. He has 169 strikeouts on July 10, a franchise record for strikeouts before the All-Star Break. For impact, here are the full-season Astros strikeout leaders, select years:

2012: 165 (Bud Norris)
2013: 138 (Erik Bedard)
2014: 157 (Collin McHugh)

Prior to the start, Jake Kaplan took a good look at Gerrit Cole's elite four-seam fastball.

*Astros starting pitchers have now recorded double-digit strikeouts in 19 games, one behind 1987 and five behind the franchise-record 1969 Astros.

*Brad Peacock took the loss, allowing Stephen Piscotty's go-ahead/game-winning home run in the 7th. After going 13 straight appearances without allowing a home run, Peacock has now allowed four home runs to the last 17 batters he has faced. So that's 9HR allowed in 38.2IP in 2018. In 2017 he allowed 10HR in 132IP. Peacock, on the Piscotty home run:
It was just a mistake. I've got some work to do on my slider. It's not there right now.

*Despite taking ground balls prior to last night's game, Carlos Correa will not return before the weekend. Hinch:
Step by step, we need him to get better. He is getting better. We're all anxious. He's anxious. I'm sure fans are anxious. But he's not going to play until this is all resolved. But the first step of getting on the field and feeling like a shortstop again is a good sign. I just want him to take BP; that's going to make me feel a little bit better. And that will lead to the next step. At this point, he's going to need to do a lot to play.

Also in that link we find that Forrest Whitley is projected to be out for "a couple of weeks" with a mild strained oblique.

*Reid Ryan said that an offseason priority for 2019 will be to add more gates/gate capacity at Minute Maid Park.

*Corpus catcher Lorenzo Quintana, who signed as an international free agent last October, had himself a game (Ed. Note: I hate that phrase but I'm leaving it in as an act of self-shaming) in a 15-6 win over NW Arkansas: 3x3, 3HR, 6RBI.

*So now we know why J.B. Bukauskas' season has gotten off to a slow start: he was in a car accident during Spring Training that resulted in a slipped disc in his spine. Bukauskas threw a rehab start for Tri-City last night, going 3IP, 1H/0ER, 6K:1BB. Bukauskas:
I'm feeling better. I wouldn't say 100 percent yet. Anytime you have a back injury like that it kind of lingers. I felt better than I did my last outing. I think it's just going to be building on it and try and make progress as we go.

Here's an excerpt from Astroball, in which the impact of Carlos Beltran is explained.