Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

It looked like it would be another disappointing home game in which the other team just Wanted It More. The bats would be lulled to sleep by all the fans who showed up, and then they'd get shy, and Oakland would pull within half a game and the Smart Fans would advise everyone to not panic and provide some metrics about how losing to Oakland at home - again - was actually very good. Then the Astros scored eleven unanswered runs and beat the piss out of the A's. It was awesome.

*Houston is 81-50. The Astros are 11-6 against Oakland and 3-5 in their last eight matches. Houston has a 2.5-game lead with 31 to play.

Houston vs. AL West, 2018: 39-25 (.609)
Anaheim: 8-4 (.667)
Oakland: 11-6 (.647)
Arlington: 12-7 (.632)
Seattle: 8-8 (.500)

Houston vs. AL West, 2017: 50-26 (.658)
Seattle: 14-5 (.737)
Anaheim: 12-7 (.632)
Oakland: 12-7 (.632)
Arlington: 12-7 (.632)

*The Astros have won six straight games, outscoring their opponents 44-20. Oddly, this coincides with the return of Jose Altuve. Houston has 10+ hits in five of those six games, hitting .324/.382/.514 as a team. The Astros had five 10+ hit games in the 22 games spanning back to when Altuve left the July 25 game early.

When we're going well we have this extended lineup, this long lineup where it doesn't matter where we are, we're a threat. We showed that again tonight. So it certainly felt good that the guys stepped up and put up crazy good at-bats. 

*Not for nothing, George Springer's walk-up music last night was "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley.

*Brian McTaggart notes that the Astros have scored 23 runs in their last two home games, after having lost nine straight home games and scoring 25 runs over them.

*Alex Bregman went 4x5 with a double, home run, and 4RBI. It's his 3rd 4-hit game of the year, and his 3rd 4RBI game of the year.

*Tyler White was 2x4 with a three-run home run in the 8th. In 2018 (126 PAs) White is hitting .306/.389/.631. Last night's home run - his 9th - broke a career-high for home runs in a season, set in 2016 when he had like five of them in the first week of the season. In his last 20 starts (dating back to July 29) he's hitting .342/.395/.709. White has four multi-hit games in his last five starts.

White's home run came after he called for time to fix one of his contacts. White:
Usually I can get it to clear up pretty quick and I couldn't get it, so I got some re-wetting drops to clear it up. Then I had to take my glove off and like move it all the way across my eye to get it right.

*George Springer was 1x3 with 2BB. It's his first 2BB game since July 22.

*Oakland reliever Lou Trivino allowed 2H/4ER, 1K:2BB in 0.1IP. Impressive by the Astros, as Trivino had allowed 7ER in his previous 40.1IP dating back to June 7.

*Gerrit Cole allowed 4ER which all came on two Oakland home runs. The last 2HR game he allowed was back on June 13...against Oakland. In 2018 Cole has allowed 54ER. 24 of those runs came courtesy of home runs.

Hinch, on Cole's outing:
I think he pitched angry the second half of his outing. One of the hardest things to do as a pitcher is to give up early runs and then hang in there, especially in a big game and in an important start...The five-run inning helped, and him getting the lead again, he wasn't going to give that up.

*Another night, another scoreless inning with fewer than ten pitches for Ryan Pressly. Why A.J. Hinch calls Pressly an "analytical dream."

*Springer's back, Altuve's back. Now McCann, Marisnick, and Devenski are about to return.

*Tony Kemp explained the "Dream Crushing" shirts which, coincidentally, you can buy here.

*Framber Valdez will get the start on Friday and McCullers - when he returns - is headed to the bullpen. Here's Jake Kaplan on what that all means.

*What would Jacob de Grom's record look like if he played for an actually decent team?

*Baylor University "infiltrated sexual assault survivor groups to shape PR strategy and talking points on how to handle the groups and student demonstrations, according to two sources familiar with the matter..."