Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Well well Ken Giles is still perfect in save opportunities and what did the Astros do? Had a celebration after playing their mostly Triple-A lineup? (Side-eyes Carlos Correa). The Astros lost 3-1 at the hands of the Fightin' Gileses. The Astros are 100-58. They need to go 3-1 to break the franchise record for wins.

It was the Astros' first road loss since the fake Red Sox game on Sunday Night Baseball on September 9. They're now 14-3 in their last 17 road games. Now just imagine if they can figure out how to hit at home next week.

*Two of the five Astros hits came courtesy of Future Astros Great Myles Straw - the first two MLB hits of his career. And he stole his 2nd base of the season. Check out Straw's hustle down the line:

*Jake Marisnick got his first start in the leadoff position since May 15, 2015, and went 1x3 with a walk.

*Carlos Correa went 1x4 with a soft RBI single to the pitcher to go with three strikeouts. It's his 2nd 3K game of the season. His .720 OPS is now four points higher than Max Stassi's .716 OPS. Correa's SLG dipped to .398 - below .400 for the first time since April 22, 2017.

*Kyle Tucker was 0x4 with a strikeout. His playing time has been sporadic at best, but hasn't had a hit since August 15, and his 8x58 in 2018 puts him at a .138/.231/.190 slash line. Ugly. Still, he *is* only 14 years old.

*The Astros struck out 11 times yesterday. It's the first time they had double-digit strikeouts since they got rung up 12 times against Boston on September 7 - a span of 16 games. They went 25 games between 10+ K games from June 3-30.

*Chris Devenski got the start in a bullpen game. He's the 9th starting pitcher for the Astros this season. Number of different Astros to start a game in the regular season:
2018: 9
2017: 11
2016: 11
2015: 13
2014: 11
2013: 10
2012: 11
2011: 9

*Lance McCullers got the 6th inning and needed 11 pitches to retire the side, with one strikeout. A good sign! McCullers:
It's been a long road for me. I was really excited to be able to pitch and try to contribute to the team again. It's just been nice to be able to be with the boys and celebrate win I'm active. I'm going to be able to help them win and help us win the playoffs.

*All three of Toronto's runs came on home runs - a 2-run shot off Devenski and a solo shot off Cionel Perez.

*But Whatever. This game didn't have Bregman, Altuve, Springer, or Correa. The next game that matters is Friday, October 5 - ALDS G1 v Cleveland.

We've had a good season. We have our sights set a little bit higher. Regardless of last night and finding out in the middle of the night or celebrating after a loss here, we're going to get out of town and go to Baltimore. We need to take a step back and enjoy this.

It's special. If anything, in my career, I've learned this is the first step to the ultimate goal to win a championship, but you can never look past the first step. In 162 games, it's so hard to win your division. It's a great moment for the Houston Astros' organization, myself and all my teammates. This is something to cherish. 

This will be Verlander's 7th trip to the postseason in his career.

It's hard to imagine the team last year getting any better, but honestly we did. You kind of got to take a second to think about just how good it feels to be here in this position...Being a part of two 100-loss seasons back-to-back when I first got called up and now being part of two consecutive 100-win seasons is pretty special.

*In The Athletic, Jake Kaplan projects the Astros' playoff roster. It's good news for Josh Big Flames James and Myles Straw, not so much for Chris Devenski and Max Stassi.

*Hector Rondon may have fixed a mechanical flaw?

*John Lott explains why The Crown could not achieve a "reasonable prospect of conviction" against Roberto Osuna.
I love it when baseball imitates silly CFM memes. Charlie Morton may start Sunday.

*You can listen to all of Steve Sparks' call from the visitors clubhouse on 790.

*Bullpen Catcher/Legend Javier Bracamonte did a cool thing for a young fan who showed up super-early for a game in Toronto.

*Alyson Footer has a great retrospective on Former Astros Great Brandon Backe, and his magical 2004 season.

*Yahoo's Ultimate 2018-19 Free Agent Primer.

*If Drunk Uncle Facebook told you the name of the lady who chastised Chloe, she says it wasn't her. Meanwhile, Astros players are offering support including Our Boy Lance gave Chloe playoff tickets.

*The regular lineup won't all play together again until Sunday. Hinch:
You have to be careful, you don't want to take it too lightly but you don't want too much time to go. We're going to map out the pitching in a similar fashion to how we do in the spring, have some of our relievers throw on Saturday and Sunday. 

*The Astros will play out the string against Baltimore this weekend. Baltimore is 45-112 and is assured of finishing with a worse record than the 2013 Astros. Funny, I haven't seen as many BLATIMOAR IS RUINTING THE INTEGRITY OF TEH GAME columns lately. They're just bad. How bad?

The Orioles have given up 881 runs this season, worst in the Majors (next up is the Ramgers with 829 runs). They're 19-62 on the road. They're 27-50 at home and have been outscored by 71 runs. They're 18-42 since the All-Star Break and, though they beat the Red Sox last night, 14-36 since August 1.

*What to watch for this weekend:
-Will Kyle Tucker hit a home run?
-Can Carlos Correa start to get his swing back?
-NL Playoff Madness: The Brewers are a half-game behind the Cubs for the NL Central. The Dodgers are a half-game behind the Rockies for the NL West. The Cardinals are a game behind the Dodgers for the 2nd Wild Card. The Cardinals and Cubs open the closing regular season of the series against each other tomorrow.

*The postal inspector who took down America's first organized crime ring.

*And now, a musical selection: