Saturday, September 1, 2018

Saturday Morning Hot Links

This team. It is a frustrating team. It is a frustrating team because they should have won a game like they played last night. Do I expect them to be 162-0? Yes Of course not. Are they going to have off-nights? Why would they? Sure. But, man, kind of in a division race over here. Astros lose 5-2. Oakland beat Seattle. The Astros have a 1.5-game lead with 27 games to play.

*Astros in August: 14-12. The 12 losses tie May for most in a calendar month. Houston was 9-10 vs the AL West in August.

Offense: .253/.324/.444, 32 GIDPs.
Pitching: 232IP, 202H/87ER, 260K:64BB

For reference, August 2017: 11-17, .726 OPS.

*Houston has now been shutout eight times. They have been held to 0-2 runs 37 times, after being held to 0-2 runs 34 times in all of 2017. Houston has been stuck on 666 runs scored for two days. This is not a good omen.

*Astros away, 2018: .267/.336/.457, 1.13 HR/game
Astros at home, 2018: .245/.322/.400, 1.43 HR/game

*In last night's infuriating loss to the Angels, Houston went 0x8 w/RISP. Idiots. They had the leadoff runner on in five different innings. Let's look at some opportunities that the Astros let pass by:

Bottom 3rd: Springer on 1st, Maldonado on 3rd, one out -> Bregman foul out, Altuve line out.
Bottom 4th: Correa on 2nd, one out -> Marwin ground out, Gurriel fly out.
Bottom 8th: Bases loaded, one out -> Altuve strike out, Correa foul out.

*Six days after allowing 5H/4ER in 3IP to the Astros, Jaime Barria allowed 3H/0ER, 4K:1BB in 6IP. Andrelton Simmons stood in front of runners on second base between pitches last night to prevent them from what Jaime Barria believes is Astros runners relaying signs to the hitter, something A's pitcher Brett Anderson wondered about after his start on Monday.

*Jose Altuve was 0x4 with three strikeouts.  In the last four games he's 3x17 with 9K:0BB.

*A.J. Hinch was ejected after the 3rd inning for arguing about Altuve's strike zone. Hinch:
[Eric] Cooper is a good umpire and very easy to like, but as he started walking toward Altuve and escalate the argument, I took exception to that. In between innings like that, the simplest thing to do is walk away. I said something from the dugout and he turned his attention to me and kicked me out of the game...None of it needed to happen. Me getting run out of the game is ridiculous.

But because umpires get to live in a fantasy world where there are literally no consequences, nothing will change and nothing matters.

*Carlos Correa was 1x3 with a walk. Hunter Atkins writes that Hinch is going to give Correa all the time he needs. Hinch:
With all hitters that go through these ruts, there's always an element of being a little stiff in your actions. He's putting in a lot of work trying to get his timing and rhythm back. He's not going to come out of the lineup. I'm not going to move him. 

*Via Ben DuBose, Alex Bregman has reached base safely in 88 of his last 90 games.

*Framber Valdez impressed in another start: 5IP, 2H/1ER, 3K:3BB. In three appearances for the Astros, Valdez has thrown 14.1IP, 6H/2ER, 10K:7BB. Hinch:
He was really good again. His ball moves both directions. He's got a good breaking ball, he's got great poise. He's shown very well that he's pretty calm in the moment, he's got really good stuff, and he's got something to reach back to when he wants some extra velocity. Pretty impressive.

*Collin McHugh gave up a sac fly to Mike Trout and a 2-run home run to Andrelton Simmons. McHugh has allowed 15 total runs this season. Nine of them have come via the home run. After allowing just four solo home runs through August 19, McHugh has given up five runs on two homers since August 20.

*Andrelton Simmons, vs Houston, 2018 (50 PAs): .354/.380/.604, 3K:2BB, 14RBI.
Simmons at Minute Maid Park, 2018 (15 PAs): .600/.600/1.267, 1K:0BB, 10RBI.

*Ryan Pressly, since allowing a home run to Rougned Odor in his Astros debut: 12.2IP, 5H/1ER, 16K:0BB. Pressly has not allowed a base runner since August 20, a span of five appearances.

*Verlander, on what September means:
I've always believed you kind of chug along for a while, and September is when, if you need to turn it on, you turn it on. Not that you're not playing hard al year, but baseball's just a different game. You can't play in the playoffs as late as we did, into November, and then come in and be gung-ho so early and ride that wave all year long. You'll burn out. 

*Brian McCann, Jake Marisnick, and Cionel Perez will all be with the Astros tonight.

*Josh James will make his MLB debut tonight. Hinch:
He's just performed his way to the big leagues. He's punching out everybody in the Minors. [Ed. Note: This is alarming if true] The next test is going to be at this level. He's conquered everything else. He's the best available, and has outperformed a lot of pitchers along the way to climb his way to the top of the list.

James was the 34th Round pick in the 2014 draft. Between Corpus and Fresno, James has thrown 114.1IP, 79H/41ER, 171K:49BB, 3.23 ERA / 1.12 WHIP, 13.5 K/9.

James will be the seventh player picked by the Astros in the 2014 draft to play in the Majors, joining Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis, Daniel Mengden, Jacob Nix, and Ramon Laureano. Three of those made their MLB debut with other teams.

*Jeff Passan: The Astros were interested in Toronto's Josh Donaldson, but he ends up with the Indians.

*Mark Feinsand has an audio oral (aural?) history of the Verlander trade.

*A bunch of Astros showed up to Joe Smith and wife Allie LaForce's charity luncheon.

*Seth Beer went 3x6 with a 2-run homer and 3RBI in a 14-1 Buies Creek win over Carolina last night.

*Texas League president Tim Purpura announced that Corpus' Omar Lopez is the Texas League Manager of the Year. Troy Snitker is the 2018 Mike Coolbaugh Coach of the Year.

*The Astros extended their PDC with Tri-City through 2020.

*Congratulations to all of you College Murderball fans. My alma mater, THE University of Oklahoma, plays some directional team. ESPN: Kyler Murray wants it all.