Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Rangers 11-4. They scored 10 of those runs with two outs. Houston is 25-15 and have a 5.5-game lead. The Astros have won seven of their last eight games - their longest win streak since the W10 from April 5-16.

*Astros pitchers struck out 16 18 batters. Season high is was 17, set all the way back on Wednesday. That's also five straight games with 10+ strikeouts for the pitchers. The franchise record is seven, set in 2017 (twice) and tied in 2018.

Gerrit Cole: 6IP, 4H/1ER, 12K:0BB. It's his 5th start with 12+ K and 0BB - four of them have come with the Astros. He has a League-leading 86 strikeouts. Cole, on last night's start after previously allowing nine runs to the Rangers on April 20:
It was right there in the middle of my mind. I try to approach every game the same, and as far as my preparation and my adrenaline and my focus, it was the same, but there was just an intangible bad taste in your mouth from the last time. I just tried to control it and use it to my advantage.

Gerrit Cole's last four starts: 26.1IP, 15K:7BB, 42K:6BB.

*Josh James' last four appearances: 6IP, 3H/0ER, 11K:3BB.

*Aledmys Diaz hit his first grand slam since 2016 after the Astros drew three walks to load the bases. It's the fifth time this season the Astros have drawn three walks in an inning:
4/7 v Oakland (9th inning), 4/21 v Arlington (9th), 4/30 v Minnesota (8th), 5/9 v Arlington (8th), last night v Arlington (6th). Hinch, on Diaz:
He's an everyday player who's stuck on a team where he's not going to play every day. We're going to need him the next 10 days with Altuve going on the IL. It's going to be important for him to get more playing time over the next couple of weeks...he's got an everyday mentality, he's prepared, he knows how to prepare himself for at-bats and wait for his opportunity.

*Michael Brantley tied the game with a home run that he hit at a launch angle of 18 degrees.

*Yuli Gurriel has an eight-game hitting streak with 14 hits in his last 32 ABs, raising his OPS 118 points, from .650 to .768. He hasn't drawn a walk in those games. Give me pitch-hunting Gurriel or give me death.

*Tyler White got his 3rd hit with runners in scoring position! He's now up to 3x20 w/RISP in 2019. It's White's 3rd RBI of the season. In 18 instances in 2019 has an Astro recorded 3RBI in a single game.

*Astros 7-8-9 last night: 3x9, 7RBI, 0K:3BB.

*Drew Smyly vs Houston, 2019: 6.2IP, 9H/5ER, 10K:5BB
  Drew Smyly vs not-Houston, 2019: 12.1IP, 12H/9ER, 14K:7BB.

*Hunter Pence hit a home run off a 99.3mph Gerrit Cole pitch, the fastest pitch he's ever taken yard. Go figure.

*Devenski inherited a 6-1 lead and promptly turned it into a 6-4 game. I am not interested in drama. I do not like nail-biters. I want to calmly read a book with the Astros playing in the background as I sensibly chuckle at their good fortune. Devenski has not been good over the last year-plus.
Chris Devenski, 2016-17: 189IP, 129H/50ER, 204K:46BB. 2.38 ERA / 0.93 WHIP.
Chris Devenski, 2018-19: 63IP, 61H/31ER, 66K:17BB. 4.43 ERA / 1.24 WHIP.

*Shoutout to Joey Gallo, who went 0x4 with 4K for the 13th time in his career.

*Pretty big news day as it turns out. To recap the pre-game announcements:
-Collin McHugh to the bullpen
-Corbin Martin will join the rotation
-Jose Altuve officially went on the IL for the second time in his career.

A day after saying that Altuve's injury "doesn't seem serious," I guess 12 hours later it was a little more serious. Or, with the Astros' current lead in the standings, it's better to give Altuve some time off rather than play with a 24-Man Roster for a few days. Hinch:
We'll know a little bit more as the day goes along. While we don't think it's serious, the initial diagnosis is a slight strain of his hamstring. It's still unknown right now what the extent of it is until he meets with the doctors one more time.

Did you wonder why Collin McHugh was able to catch Marisnick's home run ball in his cap? Because Hinch apparently told McHugh he was headed to the bullpen earlier this week. Hinch:
Three of his last four starts have been a little bit rough. The characteristics around his pitches aren't the same, so I told him his next few outings will be in the bullpen.

Corbin Martin will start today's game. Martin, the 2017 2nd Round pick given to the Astros because of the Chris Correa Hacking Scandal, has thrown 24.1IP for Round Rock and allowed 14H/4ER, 28K:11BB and - perhaps most tellingly - 1HR allowed. It's good enough for a 1.48 ERA / 1.03 WHIP. He'll be the 4th player from the 2017 Draft to appear in the Majors (Atlanta's 1st Round pick Kyle Wright, Anaheim's 2nd Round pick Griffin Canning, San Diego's 7th Round pick Nick Margevicius).

Martin hasn't thrown enough innings to qualify for the PCL leaderboard, but his 1.48 ERA would be the 3rd-lowest in the PCL behind two pitchers from New Orleans.

*Joe Smith started some light running after rupturing his Achilles in December. He's still expected back late June/early July.

*The Astros are on Madison Bumgarner's eight-team no-trade list, reports Ken Rosenthal. The other seven teams are also favorites to be playing in October. Why would he do this, I asked on Twitter. I got several replies which were all helpful. Mainly, let's say all eight of those teams put together packages for Bumgarner - he gets to pick where he goes. Notable: Bumgarner's 9.2 K/9 is as high as it's been since 2016's 10.0.

*SI put together their writers' favorite MLB players to watch. Shoutout to Tom Verducci, who chose Altuve, and shoutout to your friend and mine Tyler Stafford for having a tweet included.

*Corpus struck out a franchise-record 19 batters in a 2-1 extra-innings win over Amarillo. Tyler Ivey, fresh off a 14-game suspension, struck out eight batters in five hitless innings and a walkoff single from Carmen Benedetti, who sounds like a character from The Count of Monte Cristo.

*Good news for Astros fans: the Rangers have signed Former Astros Great Josh Fields. The Astros traded Fields to the Dodgers in 2016 for Yordan Alvarez, and then Fields gave up two home runs in G2 of the 2017 World Series.

*ESPN's Mina Kimes: The education of Zion Williamson.

*A "controversial" win for Leeds United at Derby County's Pride Park yesterday gives Leeds a 1-0 advantage, which is even more important given the Away Goal Multiplier. No, this is not Bamboozled. As BBC notes, no team has ever failed to make the Playoff Final after winning the first leg on the road.

*A Musical Selection: