Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday Morning Hot Links

Well that game didn't turn out at all like I expected through five innings. The Astros turned it on with a pair of three-run innings to take the first of a (STATEMENT SERIES if they win or NOT A BIG DEAL SERIES if they lose) series at Fenway. To hear Red Sox fans talk about it, Boston is now 141-1 in 2018. The A's are going to beat the Rangers while I'm typing this to keep the Astros' lead at 3.5 games. Houston is 88-53. There are 21 games remaining in the regular season.

*Reminder that "Sweet Caroline" has only been a thing at Fenway since 1997. Sully From Brookline wants you to believe that Neil Diamond wrote it sitting in the red Ted Williams seat in 1969. Do not believe him, he sits on a throne of lies.

*The Astros have a six-game winning streak. They've won 13 of their last 16, and 15 of their last 21 games.

*Houston is 48-21 on the road. Most road wins, Astros:
2017: 53
2001: 49
2018: 48
1999: 47
1998: 47

(Note: there is a possibility that a team from 1962-1979 would make this list, but I was unwilling to fight Baseball-Reference any longer. It's late, for crying out loud.)

The Astros have won 101 of their last 150 road games. They went 104-220 in road games from 2011-2014.

*Houston had 12 strikeouts for the first time since July 10. It's their 31st game with 10+ strikeouts. They had 14 such games in their first 32 of the season. They've had eight double-digit strikeout games since the All-Star Break (42 games).

*Alex Bregman was 2x3 with a walk. His batting average is now an even .300 for the first time since going 1x3 against the Rangers on Opening Night. Bregman is hitting .500/.571/1.389 in September, a 1.960 OPS. Sustainable? MAYBE. Bregman's OPS by month, 2018:
March: .413
April .778
May: .861
June: 1.085
July: .985
August: .938
September: 1.960

Bregman's double off of David Price was his 48th double of the year, tying him with Jeff Bagwell for 4th all-time on the franchise single-season doubles list. Your top three:
Biggio - 56 (1999)
Berkman - 55 (2001)
Biggio - 51 (1998)

I think Biggio's all-time mark is in play.

*David Price had retired 14 straight and allowed one hit through six innings before Bregman's double. Bregman:
Price was unbelievable tonight. He was throwing fastballs, cutters, both sides of the plate, changeup. It was good stuff by him, but it was a good team win by us. Happy to knock him out. 

*Yuli Gurriel had his first 2-hit game since August 25, and has hits in five of his last six games.

*Tony Kemp's 2-run pinch-hit double was his 2nd pinch-hit of the year, in eight pinch-hit plate appearances. The pitch prior to the double was a low pitch called a strike while Kemp was halfway down the first-base line thinking he had drawn a walk. Kemp:
I thought it was a little down, called it a strike, and thankfully they did. I just tried to get a pitch right there that I could handle and he went fastball and I just tried to put a good swing on it. Luckily, it went down the left-field line. 

Also Kemp:
Once we knocked [Price] out and got to that bullpen, I think that we had a boost of confidence, a little refresher. 

*The hitter formerly known as Carlos Correa was 0x3 with 2K and the go-ahead RBI sac fly. In his last four games he's 0x10 with 4K:4BB.

Correa, Pre-ASG: .268/.352/.480
Correa, Post-ASG: .171/.260/.220

Yes, his OPS since returning from injury is the same as his SLG pre-injury. Dude ain't right right now.

*Astros pitchers have allowed three or fewer runs in seven straight games, and four or fewer runs in 13 of their last 14 games.

*Martin Maldonado has thrown out 15 of 33 would-be base-stealers, and his 45.5% Caught Stealing rate is the best among qualified catchers, by 85 points. Mike Zunino is 2nd among qualified catchers with 37.0%. Sal Perez is the only catcher who has played in more than 50 games in 2018 with a higher CS% - he's thwarted 23 of 46 base-thieves.

*Gerrit Cole struck out eight batter to re-take the team lead from Justin Verlander, 251-248. They both trail Max Scherzer, who has 260 strikeouts, for the MLB lead, but own the 1-2 spots in the AL. Cleveland is the only other team with two 200K guys on their staff.

*For the first time since joining the Astros, and the first time since July 21, Ryan Pressly walked a batter - a span of 64 batters faced.

*Hector Rondon allowed two hits in the 8th. In 15 appearances since the beginning of August, he has allowed hits in nine of them.

*Roberto Osuna has retired the side on ten or fewer pitches in three straight appearances.

*Evan Drellich, on the noise created by Astros fans at Fenway last night.

*Lance McCullers will throw a bullpen session today. Marwin might start Saturdays' game in LF.

*With Charlie Morton making his return after missing a start, Big Flames James (I'm going to try to make it a Thing, dammit) will head to the bullpen, at least for the next two games. Hinch:
I can see him just being used as any pitcher I would normally use. He's got a dynamic fastball, he's got two really good secondary pitches. He's never been a reliever per se, but he's pitched in the piggyback tandem in the Minor Leagues. He's come from the bullpen before to enter a game.

*Don't miss Jake Kaplan's piece on which Astros are fighting for a postseason roster spot.

*Kyle Tucker and J.D. Davis made the Pipeline Team of the Year.

Minor League Playoff Update:

Fresno is up 2-1 after losing Game 3 to El Paso, 2-0.

Corpus is up 2-0 on San Antonio, but tonight's Game 3 was suspended due to rain in the 11th, tied 8-8. Game 3 will resume at noon tomorrow with Game 4 played after. Forrest Whitley returned from the DL and threw 2.2IP, striking out six.

Buies Creek won 6-5, and swept Winston-Salem.

Quad Cities was swept in a 3-game series on Wednesday night.

*Tigers announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen got in a fight over a chair.

*Oakland reliever Shawn Kelley is on the DL after a freak dish-washing accident.

*Deadspin: FanSided reeks of exploitation.