Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

Well well well! I'm back from four not-terribly-restful days chaperoning 85 high school kids in the middle of Manhattan. I've been going to NYC for about 13 years (more so when I lived up that way, obviously) and I stand by two facts:

1. NYC is an absolutely amazing place. This isn't always a positive thing.
2. My favorite part of any trip to NYC is getting home. 

Anyway, Big Thanks to Flick for hosting Flick Week in my absence. He'll come back on board once school gets back in. Now he gets to act like a college kid and not have the responsibility of doing Hot Links - unless he wants to. You're stuck with me for a while.

The Astros beat the McKinney Rangers thanks to back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Mike Minor and then by hanging on for a 4-3 win. Houston is 62-37. They have a 5.5-game lead on Oakland and an 11-game lead on Lower Denton. 

*Houston has won three straight games, and five of their last seven. Since the Pittsburgh Fiasco, Houston is 12-5. It's the first time that Astros' starters have recorded Wins in three straight games since May 13-15, 2019. 

*The Astros are 18-11 in 1-run games. 

*Houston is 9-6 against Upper Midlothian in 2019. One more win against West Terrell gives the Astros the Silver Boot, which their fan base gets so jazzed up about, for the third straight year. The remaining four games are at Minute Maid Park.

*Let's start with Verlander, shall we? Verlander threw 6IP, 8H/2ER, 12K:2BB. Yes, both runs came on solo home runs. It's the 18th 12+ K game of his career, his 6th as an Astro. 

Verlander 12+ K games, by season:
2007: 1
2008: 0
2009: 2
2010: 0
2011: 2
2012: 3
2013: 3
2014: 0
2015: 0
2016: 1
2017: 0
2018: 3
2019: 3

*Verlander's ERA is 2.99 with an 0.84 WHIP. He has walked 29 batters and allowed 28 home runs. Verlander:
That was a grind, it was tough, those guys battled me all night. The box score doesn't show how tough they battled me, but every single one of them was difficult. They had a lot of guys on base every inning, it wasn't easy, so I'm pleased to come away with the W.

Fort Worth was 0x11 w/RISP.

*Danny Santana was 3x5 with a double. He is hitting 1.000/1.000/2.000 .375/.419/.675 against Houston this season. In his career, Santana has hit .353/.333/.706 against Verlander and .778/.778/1.222 against Gerrit Cole. That's insane. 

*Jose Altuve was 2x4 with his 13th home run of the season. He committed two errors. 

*It was the first time since June 20, 2018 the Astros have hit three straight home runs, and they did it on four pitches. Hinch:
Before everybody was done high-fiving Bregman, we were doing it again with Alvarez.

Alvarez's 474-foot home run was the longest by an Astro since Statcast has been a thing in 2015. Alvarez:
It would be even better if every guy hit a home run, but very happy with three.

It was great...We did a great job after a long night of traveling. I know everybody was tired. We win ballgames like that, it's special.

*Yuli Gurriel hit his 17th home run of the season. He has a seven-game hitting streak. Since May 27 (41 games), Gurriel is hitting .322/.355/.602 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs, 14K:10BB.

*Yordan Alvarez hit his 10th home run of the season. Since he arrived in Houston on June 9, Alvarez has posted a .692 SLG - the 8th-highest SLG in baseball among hitters with at least 100 PAs. Gurriel has the league lead with a .727 SLG. 

*Alex Bregman, since the All-Star Break (7 games): .348/.515/.652, 5K:9BB.

*Big news of the day was that the Astros DFA'd Tyler White. White was hitting .225/.320/.330 in 218 PAs for a 75 OPS+ and a -0.8 bWAR (-0.3 fWAR). Of 221 hitters with at least 250 PAs, only seven had a worse fWAR than White.

Jose Urquidy was added to the 25-Man Roster so he can start tonight's game against North Cedar Hill. 

White declined an interview after the game, which is understandable.

*From Jake Kaplan and The Athletic (paywalled): the Astros opened up their baseball operations department to McKinsey consultants. This Forbes article paints a fairly brutal picture of McKinsey (not paywalled).

Also from Kaplan: What's behind Robinson Chirinos' prolonged slump.

*Round Rock lost 6-5 on a walkoff in the bottom of the 10th. Josh Rojas and Jack Mayfield homered.

*Corpus won 3-2 on a walkoff in the bottom of the 9th. Rehabbing Aledmys Diaz was 0x3 with 3K:1BB. Cristian Javier threw 3.1IP, 4H/2R (1ER), 7K:3BB. Bryan Abreu threw 4IP, 2H/0ER, 7K:0BB.

*Fayetteville lost 6-4. Corey Julks was 4x5 with a home run. Brett Conine threw 4IP, 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB.

*Quad Cities had a forgetful night, losing 7-1. They got two hits. 

*Lowell completed the sweep of Tri-City. 2018 2nd-Round pick Jayson Schroeder: 0.2IP, 1H/4R (2ER), 1K:4BB. Schroeder, 2019 (between Quad Cities and Tri-City): 18.2IP, 26H/31R (21ER), 20K:32BB. 10.13 ERA / 3.11 WHIP.

*Yesterday Forrest Whitley made another start for the GCL Astros. His line: 2.2IP, 1H/2R (1ER), 5K:6BB. Whitley has gone from the #1 pitching prospect in baseball to walking six Gulf Coast League guys in less than three innings. 

*Former Favorite Jonah Keri was arrested Thursday on four charges (three counts of assault causing bodily harm) from his wife.

*Ars Technica: Earlier this month, a Russian spy sub crew prevented a nuclear disaster at the cost of their lives.

*A Musical Selection: