Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Homestros Offense showed up again and Hector Rondon made one really bad pitch, and there's your ball-game. 4-1 Seattle. Houston is 94-56. Oakland was off yesterday, so the Astros have a 4-game lead with 12 to play.

You can do the math here. If the Astros go 7-5, Oakland has to go 11-1 to tie, 12-0 to win the division. If the Astros go 5-7, Oakland has to go 9-3 to tie, 10-2 to win the division. Last night's loss, while frustrating because of some ongoing season-long issues, wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back.

*The Astros are 8-9 against Seattle in 2018, 1-6 at Minute Maid Park, including five straight games.

*Astros pitchers (mainly Framber Valdez) walked eight batters. Somehow that's not a season-high. The Astros walked nine Ramgers on June 9 and inexplicably won that game. Houston is 2-10 when walking six or more batters.

*But seriously, Rondon. Astros pitchers (Framber, Joe Smith, Tony Sipp, and Ryan Pressly) had held the Mariners to 3H/0ER through seven innings. Framber walked five, but that's neither here nor there. It took Hector Rondon 21 pitches to allow a walk, four hits, including the game-winning grand slam.

Rondon's last six appearances: 30 batters faced, 15 outs. 15H/7ER, 6K:1BB.

It was the first grand slam the Astros had allowed this season. It's the second grand slam Rondon had allowed in his career, the last coming on June 23, 2014. Rondon has allowed four home runs all season, the last two to the Mariners, and both either tied the game or put Seattle ahead. I'd be okay with Rondon taking some low-leverage situations and giving those other situations to Ryan Pressly.

*Seattle went 1x10 w/RISP. The one hit just managed to be a grand slam.

*Framber Valdez: 5IP, 2H/0ER, 6K:5BB. He has walked nine of the last 40 batters he has faced (9IP). Of his 81 pitches last night, just 41 were for strikes.

*But that offense. The "offense" "managed" to get three "hits."

2018, games with three or fewer hits: 10
2017, games with three or fewer hits: 6

Of those ten games in 2018, six have been at home. It's the *36th time* the Astros have been held to five or fewer hits in a game. They're 10-26 in those games.

*The Astros only had two ABs with runners in scoring position, and went 1x2. Marwin got the hit, Carlos Correa didn't get the other one.
Correa, w/RISP, 2018: .221/.319/.385
Correa, runners on, '18: .209/.298/.368

*Top three in the lineup (Springer-Altuve-Bregman) went 0x10, 2K:2BB.

We had a rough night offensively. It didn't look like we were picking the ball up very well. Leblanc always does this cat-and-mouse game of moving the ball around. We've had pretty good success against him, but for whatever reason, we weren't taking great swings against him. 

Even after last night's game, Houston is hitting .315/.382/.573 off of Wade Leblanc. The .955 OPS-against is the highest by an AL team against Leblanc, which is little consolation this morning.

More Hinch:
We lived on the edge all night. They left a lot of guys on base. We made nice pitches to get out of a couple of messes, and when Jake makes those two good catches - great catches - you feel pretty good about it...We fall behind Vogelbach and then he gets the fastball to hit. Bad inning. 

*Josh Reddick left the game in the 4th inning with "ankle discomfort."

*Big news of the day otherwise was that the Round Rock Express have dissolved their partnership with the Rangers, a couple of days after Fresno ended their PDC with the Astros. So yeah Round Rock is going back to the Astros. Peep this May 2018 article that floated the idea the Astros and Express would link back up, which includes a legendary quote from Typical Ramger Fan from Round Rock:
I know the Astros are the flavor of the month, but I hope Express management looks beyond the current standings. Before the last few years, the Rangers were good and the Astros were losing 100 games. 

And before you started paying attention to baseball, Ramger Fan, the Astros established the Round Rock Express, named after Former Astros Great Nolan Ryan, in 1998 and were the Astros' Double-A and Triple-A affiliate from 2000-2010. This is about the time Flavor of the Month Ramger Fan started paying attention to baseball. Round Rock was a Rangers affiliate for eight of the nine lowest-attendance seasons in Express history.

*Kyle Tucker, Ryan Hartman, Alex McKenna, and Former Astros Great Gilberto Celestino (traded to Minnesota for Current Astros Great Ryan Pressly) were named to the Baseball America Minor-League All-Star teams.

*From THE ATHLETIC: The story of how Former Astros Great Ramon Laureano even came to be for the A's.

*From THE ATHLETIC: Ken Rosenthal's notes column talks about the possibility of Charlie Morton retiring at the end of the season.