So I was super-bored today (finished the book I was reading, took a nap. Can't decide what to read next). And made a Spotify playlist of all the songs I had put on the Hot Links since I've been doing that kind of thing, round about the end of September.
This required going back through said Hot Links to find all the songs, which made me then read a bunch of the Hot Links from the 2018 season. So on this, this Christmas Night, here are some nuggets - mostly cool, some cringe-worthy - about the 2018 season.
*The Astros set a two-year wins record, going 204-120 in 2017-18, and eclipsing the 1998-99 teams' 199-125 record.
*2017-to-2018 win improvement:
*The Astros endured an L5 stretch twice in 2018, longest winless streak of the season. But set a record for the best 30-game stretch in franchise history, going 24-6. In there was a 12-game win streak from June 6-18. They enjoyed a W10 road trip.
*The Astros went through a stretch from July 4 - August 20 in which they lost 16 of 21 division games.
*Houston went 7-0 against the White Sox, the first time going undefeated against a team in a season with more than four games since they won all six against Philadelphia in 2005, which gave the Astros a one-game edge over the Phillies in the 2005 NL Wild Card race.
*The Astros set a Major-League record by hitting a home run in 14 straight postseason games, dating back to 2017.
*George Springer, with 40, is the Astros' all-time postseason hits leader, knocking out Craig Biggio's 39. Springer got his 40 in 32 games. Biggio got his 39 hits in 40 postseason games.
*I had forgotten about the Astros fan who said he'd buy his entire section beer if Springer homered, then Springer did, and then he did.
*AL West playoff wins since the Astros joined the AL:
*Former Dodgers Great Yasiel Puig guaranteed a Dodgers World Series victory in 2018.
*The Astros went 57-24 on the road, a franchise record set all the way back in 2017, when they went 53-28.
*Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were the first right-handed teammates to strike out 250+ batters each in a season since 1900.
*26.7% of Verlander's season Earned Runs came in three starts against Tampa, Detroit, and Seattle.
*Verlander set the franchise mark for lowest WHIP in a season, at 0.90.
*Gerrit Cole was the 12th-fastest pitcher in MLB history to record 1000 career strikeouts. He set a franchise record for most strikeouts before the All-Star Break. He was the 6th-fastest pitcher to 100 strikeouts in a season in MLB history.
*Astros pitchers struck out 10+ batters 96 times in the regular season.
*Nine pitchers started a game for the Astros in 2018, the lowest number of starters since 2011.
*By the end of the season the only Astros pitcher who had thrown more than four innings with an ERA over 4.00 was Chris Devenski (who finished with a 4.18 ERA).
*Ryan Pressly finished the regular season with an 0.77 ERA for the Astros, and he's not a free agent until 2020.
*Dallas Keuchel's opponents, 1st inning, 2018: .331/.381/.486. 1st inning career OPS by season:
*Tony Sipp, vs LHBs, 2018: .191/.263/.294
Tony Sipp, vs LHBs, 2017: .247/.304/.548
*Alex Bregman, May 2-end of regular season: .295/.400/.575, 67K:76BB, 43 2B, 30 HR. His 51 doubles are 3rd in franchise history in a single season. From August 19-September 7 (79 PAs) Alex Bregman struck out three times.
*Joe West's infamous call for fan interference wasn't the first time the umpire crew conspired with Replay to screw the Astros. It happened on July 25 against Colorado.
*Alex Bregman also had a 52-game road on-base streak, breaking Jeff Bagwell's franchise record.
*The Astros posted a .754 team OPS in 2018, 69 points lower than 2017 but still 10th all-time in franchise history.
*Houston was held to five or fewer hits 40 times in the 2018 regular season, 24 times more than 2017's 16 occurrences.
*Jose Altuve had the longest home-hitting streak in franchise history.
*On June 12-13 Evan Gattis became the first Astro with back-to-back 5RBI games.
*Myles Straw hit a minor-league home run once per 610 PAs. Kyle Tucker hit a minor-league home run once per 28.51 PAs. Career MLB Home Runs:
Myles Straw: 1
Kyle Tucker: 0
*The Astros won 21 games in September, the 2nd-most in a calendar month in franchise history, and one shy of the May 2017 record.
*Houston was shutout ten times in 2018. They allowed two or fewer runs in five of them. Eight of those shutouts were at home.
*Josh Reddick's 17 home runs were the 3rd-highest season total for him, most since 2015 (20), and 15 short of his career high, set in 2012.
*Yuli Gurriel had 7RBI in a September 21 win over Anaheim, most for an Astro in a game since J.R. Towles' legendary 8RBI game. Gurriel's 22 GIDPs were 3rd-most in baseball (behind Manny Machado's 26 and Miguel Rojas' 23).
*Carlos Correa, MLB-debut until going on the DL (6/25/18): .285/.363/.495.
Carlos Correa, After "returning" from the DL (8/10/18): .180/.261/.256.
*Tyler White post-July 29 call-up to the end of the regular season (197 PAs): .287/.350/.551, 10HR.
*Astros' 2018 1st Round pick Seth Beer hit .304/.389/.496 in his first professional season, across three levels.
*Houston's 2017 2nd Round pick Corbin Martin, minor-league career: 154.2IP, 108H/42ER, 165K:44BB, 2.44 ERA / 0.98 WHIP, eight HR allowed.
*Yordan Alvarez, acquired in the (snicker) Josh Fields (belly-laugh) trade with the Dodgers, minor-league career (827 PAs): .301/.381/.507, 176K:96BB.