Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday Morning ALCS Hot Links

The last time the Astros had four days off was the All-Star Break and all they did in the next seven games was....go 3-4 nevermind that's a bad one to start with. The Astros got some rest, hopefully 'Litos enjoyed his time in the cryogenic chamber. Here we go. Tonight is the beginning of the 1st postseason series in which both teams had 103+ wins since 1942.

*The Astros are 4-1 in Game 1s under A.J. Hinch. The lone loss was to the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series and they went on to WIN THE WHOLE DAMN THING.

*The Astros are 5-8 in Road Playoff Games under A.J. Hinch. Houston has also won the World Series.

*Chris Sale vs. Houston, regular season: 5-2, 54IP, 35H/11ER, 71K:6BB, 1.83 ERA / 0.76 WHIP

Chris Sale vs. Houston, 1st five regular season starts (2012-May 2016): 41IP, 23H/3ER, 47K:4BB, 0.66 ERA / 0.66 WHIP

Chris Sale vs. Houston, last two regular season starts (2016/18): 13IP, 12H/8ER, 15K:2BB, 5.54 ERA / 1.08 WHIP

Chris Sale vs. Houston, playoffs: 0-2, 9.2IP, 12K:1BB, 8.38 ERA / 1.45 WHIP.

*FanGraphs has it at 54-46 for an Astros ALCS win, FiveThirtyEight at 52-48.

*Big roster news of the day was that Will Harris was left off the ALCS roster, while Hector Rondon and Joe Smith were added. Myles Straw was left off the roster, as well. Harris:
I'm disappointed, man. I'm a competitor. I've been in this organization now for four years and I've felt like I've had the best four years of my career since I've been here. This is why we play, to pitch in the postseason. It is what it is. I'm proud of the year I had, I'm proud of the way I pitched, I'm proud of the way I've handled myself, so we'll see what happens going forward. 

Josh James made the bullpen and his 2.2IP, 1H/0ER, 4K:0BB appearance at Fenway on September 8 certainly didn't hurt his chances.

Hector and Joe are both very valuable relievers - very high-end relievers for us. You just have to pick a group of guys and we're going with the guys who we feel are the best matchup for the different looks at different parts of the batting order. Not an easy exercise. 

Will Harris got the news on the 3rd anniversary of his 0.2IP, 4H/4R (3ER), 1K:0BB outing in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS. Harris pitched in 61 games in 2018 and had a scoreless outing in 49 of them. In the 12 outings in which he allowed an earned run, six of them were 2+ ER games, including one against the Red Sox in June in which he allowed 2HR in the 7th inning of a 5-4 loss. Harris allowed 1H/1ER, 0K:1BB to Cleveland in G3 - the first ER he had allowed since August 14.

*Myles Straw was pragmatic about his seven-game break:
I had a feeling. I wasn't too shocked. I want to be out there with the guys and I want to compete. It is what it is, but it's whatever puts the team in line to win. I'm here for these guys to win and go as far as we can.

Myles Straw may have appeared in 11 career games in Houston, but he's already the 2018 Astros County Good Teammate of the Year award-winner, an award which began all the way back to about ten minutes ago.

*Correa says his back feels as good as it has since coming off the DL. I bet the 3-run homer helped.

In that article we find that bench coach Joe Espada has interviewed with Arlington while Anaheim has expressed interest, as well. Makes sense for two AL West teams to get an Astros coach


*'s Mike Petriello: How Astros' analytics improved their starting pitchers. I'm not even going to pull anything from this. It's orgasmic. Go read it. It's free.

*The word of the day was "compete."

*The Athletic's Eno Sarris: Three numbers that could define the ALCS.

*Justin Verlander wants to add to his Hall of Fame resume.

*Alex Cora did not see the Astros' acquisition of Martin Maldonado coming.

*Jake Marisnick ain't skeered of the Green Monster.

*Lance McCullers is having to embrace a new routine in the bullpen.

*Joe Posnanski: Does the ALCS feature two of the best baseball teams of all-time?

*FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan: Baseball's most unhittable pitch belongs to Ryan Pressly.

*True story: I packed up everything I owned into a Honda Civic Hatchback three days after graduating from college and moved to Nashville. I moved back to Texas nine months later because the girl I've been married to for the last 15+ years decided we should probably start a serious relationship. I convinced a friend from college that I wrote all of Uncle Kracker's songs. So everytime I hear that Follow Me song, I think of that, and laugh every time. Then we moved to Nashville from Cooperstown and lived there for 5+ years before...moving back to Texas. So, having spent a large portion of my adult life in Nashville, I enjoyed reading about the Nashville ties in the ALCS.

*Former Astros Great Mark Loretta played for all four LCS teams.

*The Ramgers interviewed Joe Girardi yesterday.

*In case you missed it: Ben Reiter, of Astroball fame, got an interview with Chris Correa, currently serving out a 46-month sentence for hacking the Astros' database.

*A musical selection: