Friday, August 2, 2019

Friday Morning Hot Links

Wow not as much news today. The Astros are now 1-1 in the Zack Greinke Era after beating Cleveland 7-1 and taking the series. They're 70-40 with an eight game lead on Oakland. There are 52 regular season games left.

I've seen a couple of places that this win matches the 2017 for the fastest to 70 wins. It's not. The 2017 team started off 70-39, this team got their 70th win one game later. They were both 70-40 after 110 games, though. Game in which the Astros recorded their 70th win:

2019: 110
2018: 111
2017: 109
2016: 132
2015: 127
2014: 160
2013: n/a
2012: n/a
2011: n/a
2010: 145

*Houston is 47-29 against teams at or above .500. The next closest win total to that is Oakland, with 39. 76 of Houston's 110 games have come against teams at or above .500 when they played. That's nuts. Number of games other contenders have played against winning teams:

Oakland: 70
Tampa: 66
Los Angeles: 57
Minnesota: 53
New York: 51

*The Astros went 4-2 on the road against St. Louis and Cleveland. Hinch:
Two series wins against two really good teams. We've got a good demeanor on this club about staying above everything else, getting through the trade deadline. I applaud our guys for continuing to methodically win.

*Gerrit Cole threw 7IP, 4H/1ER, 4K:2BB. It's only the third time that Cole has struck out fewer than five batters in a start. The Astros are 3-0 in those starts. After allowing three home runs to the Rangers on July 12, Cole has allowed two home runs in his last 28IP.

Cole has a nine-game winning streak, the best of his career. Cole:
We just kept making pitches and trying to mix up spots. Although they were putting them in play for the most part, their hitters were off-balance outside of maybe four-five. It was a good night.

*Hector Rondon came in for the 8th and promptly loaded the bases for Yasiel Puig before Joe Smith got him out of it in two pitches. Rondon has made 43 appearances in 2019 and has allowed at least one hit in 23 of them. He has allowed multiple baserunners in 16 of them.

*Chris Devenski needed eight pitches to retire the side in the 9th. On May 12 Devenski had a 5.94 ERA. In 27 appearances since, Devenski: 31.1IP, 23H/12ER, 37K:13BB, 3.45 ERA / 1.15 WHIP.

*Top 6 in the lineup: 10x21, 1K:7BB, 4 doubles / 2 home runs.

*George Springer led off the game with a home run, his 32nd lead-off home run. He's 21 behind franchise leader Craig Biggio.

*Alex Bregman was 3x3 with a home run and two walks. He reached base in all five plate appearances for the first time in his career.

*Yordan Alvarez was 2x5 with two doubles and 2RBI. He's hitting .329/.413/.679. He has put up 1.9 fWAR in 38 games. The only AL rookies with a higher fWAR than Alvarez are Brandon Lowe (2.5 in 76 games) and Dan Vogelbach (2.2 in 100 games).

*Reddick got Super Mad and shaved his mustache after his second AB and then struck out to end the 6th and threw his equipment and got tossed. But Correa and Reddick had assists at home. Hinch:
Our defense was excellent. We made some really big plays, especially early in the game when it was close - from the relay throw from Brantley to Carlos to Maldy, to Reddick's throw. We made plays when they put a little stress on us.

*Jeff Passan has some insight into the Greinke deal (picked this link as it's not paywalled in any way). One key note is that, once the Mets acquired Stroman, the Astros moved in a different direction. Passan:
It dawned on the Astros: No one else was doing anything. The New York Yankees, with a record percentage points better than Houston's but a starting staff entirely inferior, didn't make a single move leading up to the deadline. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the class of the National League, made a couple of cosmetic upgrades. How others maneuver can't guide decision-making, but it can inform it, another data point on the side of why surrendering four good prospects would make sense.

It is an excellent read, well worth your time.

*There will be a Zack Greinke orange t-shirt giveaway on Tuesday, which also happens to be Greinke's Astros debut.

Greinke has made eight starts at Minute Maid Park. Two of those starts he didn't get 10 outs - and one of those he only threw four pitches. It's been so long that it almost doesn't matter, but in eight starts at Minute Maid Park Greinke has thrown 44.1IP, 43H/15ER, 40K:9BB. He has allowed three home runs at Minute Maid Park.

Verlander, on the Greinke trade:
I was shocked...To bring in a guy of that caliber, not only for this year but for the next couple of years, I think it was a great move for the organization for now and the future...I think they did a great job of understanding where we're at as an organization and keeping their foot on the gas and extending that window. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but that was a huge move, a huge boost of morale in the clubhouse. Not that we were low, but man that's a shot in the arm, a shot of adrenaline getting guys like that.

Click that link to read about how Verlander and the rest of the organization plans to help Aaron Sanchez. It's basically porn.

Chandler Rome takes a look at the farm system in the wake of the Greinke trade. Rome:
A verdict on the Greinke trade is probably two or three years away. What is apparent, though, is the Astros need to replenish their farm system - something they've rarely worried about in the last three years. 

I have zero issues letting the team that built the farm system that allowed trades for Verlander, Cole, and Greinke and still be in the top half of farm systems continue to build the farm system.

Also: Hey I went on the Matt Hammond Show Wednesday evening, and we mucked it up. Matt's a sweetheart and he's also extremely handsome and I hate him for it.

SI's J.A. Tayler: Is it too early to crown the Astros? Answer: Yes. Yes it is. Bob Nightengale has the Most Cursed Column Of The Day: The Houston Astros won themselves the World Series and saved the trade deadline. Do not read this or you have to send it to someone else lest they die within seven days.

SportsBetting dot foreign country dot com has the Astros with the best odds to win the World Series, at 3:1.

Jeff Luhnow:
We have a chance to win the World Series. The last thing I wanted to do is leave a stone unturned and [get] knocked out in October, and wonder what would have happened if we hadn't acquired another piece.

*Luhnow, on the deadline:
The primary focus was improving the team for the short term, especially this year. Comparing options, clearly having players that would be here longer was a big plus.

*Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado will share catching duties, but Chirinos will get the majority of the starts.

*Confirmed: Aaron Sanchez will get the start on Saturday against the Mariners. Excellent SportsNet article on why the Blue Jays don't think Aaron Sanchez can capture his 2016 ERA-King form. Arden Zwelling:
...The nearly three seasons [since his 2016 season] all strongly suggest that version of Sanchez isn't coming back. And the data from his current campaign, a season in which he's remained healthy enough to make all of his starts for the first time since Barack Obama was U.S. president, indicates matters may be getting worse.

Combine that with the fact his remaining years of club control don't time with Toronto's potential return to contention in 2021, and that he's due a raise this winter on his $3.9m salaray through arbitration - making him a less attractive asset to other teams, particularly if he's moved to the bullpen - and you end up with Sanchez continuing his quest to rediscover his prior effectiveness with another organization.

Here's Jake Kaplan, on how the Astros could alter the pitch usage of Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez. Because the Astros are smarter than literally everybody else. Why do I even do this it was so much easier when Ed Wade was in charge.

*Jose Urquidy and Myles Straw were optioned to Round Rock and Bryan Abreu was optioned to Corpus to make room for Greinke, Biagini, and Sanchez.

*Brad Peacock will begin a rehab stint with Round Rock starting tomorrow. Josh James is about to begin a throwing program.

*There is apparently an annual Home Run Derby at Minute Maid Park. This time, it's on Sunday. At noon. Luke Scott, Brian Bogusevic, Geoff Blum, and Hero Brandon Backe will participate.

*The audio is a little sketchy, but here's the audio of the Lima Time Time Live Show, recorded Saturday evening at The Secret Group on Polk in Houston.

*The Astros are paying $25m for a MMP renovation:
...that will include a new club for season ticket holders on the stadium's suite level and changes in the right field corner resembling the recent center field renovations, including another open-access staircase between stadium levels.

*Here's the new Astros' Top 30 Prospects list. Biggest beneficiary of the Tradez? Cristian Javier.

*Kyle Tucker, who did not get traded on Wednesday, made his 4th start at 1B for Round Rock last night. He went 1x4 with a walk as Round Rock beat Old Friend Fresno 15-7. Alex De Goti was 4x5 with two doubles and 2RBI. Jack Mayfield and Nick Tanielu (HR) were each 3x5 with 3RBI. Humberto Castellanos threw 3IP, 0H/0ER, 4K:0BB.

Castellanos, 21, has pitched for Quad Cities, Fayetteville, and Round Rock in 2019. In 63.1IP this season (for three teams), Castellanos has allowed 50H/20ER, 74K:8BB, 1 HR. He has a 1.69 ERA in 10.2IP for Round Rock this season. I like this kid.

Round Rock is 65-44, 2.5 back of San Antonio.

*Forrest Whitley, who did not get traded on Wednesday, will start for Corpus on Sunday.

*Abraham Toro got called up to Round Rock from Corpus.

Toro (5th Round - 2016): .306/.393/.513, 22 doubles / 16 homers, 77K:48BB in 435 PAs. The Bull is legit. I was worried he'd be included in a deal at the deadline.

*Jake Adams and Jonathan Arauz got called up from Fayetteville to Corpus.

Adams (6th Round - 2017): .246/.312/.424, 12 doubles / 15 homers, 86K:31BB in 362 PAs.
Arauz (traded in the Giles/Appel deal with Philadelphia): .252/.322/.388, 19 doubles / 8 home runs, 69K:30BB in 354 PAs.

[Teddy KGB Voice] Very Aggressive.

*Tito Francona, on trading Tiddy Baby Tyler Bauer, and his throwing the ball over the center field wall (nice throw, btw) in his last act as a Cleveland Indian Spider:
I had concerns what it could do to our team, and I voiced those concerns. I would never, ever go tell [the front office] something, but they are good enough to always allow me my opinion, and you just try to do the best you can, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit worried.

*Tony Kemp was 0x3 as the Cardinals one-hit the Cubs. Tyler White was 0x3 with a walk in the Dodgers' win.

*Inside the Members-Only Eating Clubs of San Sebastian.

*A Musical Selection: