Sunday, August 11, 2019

Monday Morning Hot Links

Well that was less than ideal. The Astros took an improbable lead into the middle of the 9th and then Roberto Osuna gave it right back. More on him in a minute. The Astros' eight-game winning streak has been snapped. The Away Runs mean that Houston advances to play Chicago tomorrow, on aggregate. Houston is 77-41. There are 44 regular season games left. Oakland, Anaheim, and East Thurber all won. Houston's lead is an even ten games. They have won 18 of their last 22 games.

The Astros looked flat, which I guess can happen about 14 hours after you put 23 on a team.

Former Astros Greats did the damage on Sunday:
-Asher Wojciechowski: 6IP, 4H/3ER, 5K:3BB
-Jonathan Villar: 3x4 with a walk and a run scored.
-Rio Ruiz: 2x5, 2-run walkoff homer.

Good for all those guys, to be honest. It's been a hard year for Baltimore, and they had success the afternoon after getting absolutely trounced. If it gives them and their fans some happiness, then so be it. How many times from 2011-2013 did the Astros win a game they might not have been expected to win, and it just made us a little nicer to those around us?

That was a winnable game. We didn't put probably enough pressure on them in enough innings. The big innings that we did have kind of put us in position to win the game.

*Justin Verlander was...decent. 5IP, 9H/4ER, 11K:1BB.

The strikeouts were there and should absolutely be acknowledged. He has 217 strikeouts this season, nine behind Gerrit Cole. The nine hits Verlander gave up are the most he has given up in a game since July 28, 2018 in a cursed loss to the Ramgers. Verlander:
When you're playing great baseball it seems like the losses even hurt that much more. We put ourselves in a position to win; our guys did a fantastic job battling back. Just one pitch early in the game, a couple pitches that I made that were mistakes. But I think sometimes you've got to look at the bigger picture and understand that we're playing good baseball. Don't let this be too much of a Debbie Downer.

Verlander also has 10+ strikeouts in five straight starts, setting a career-high (he had a streak of four in 2018). He joins Randy Johnson (Aug 28-Sept 18, 1998) and J.R. Richard (Sept 16, 1979-Apr 10, 1980) as the only Astros pitchers to strike out ten or more batters in five straight games. They each had 63K in their five starts. Verlander comes in at a scrub-level 57K in his five-start streak.

*Roberto Osuna. Hm. 0.2IP, 2H/3ER, 1K, 1HBP. The HBP to Chance Sisco (his 2nd HBP of the game, by the by. The Astros have hit the same guy twice in a game only one other time this season - Tampa's Joey Wendle, in the season opener).

Anyway, Osuna's HBP was the game-tying run, followed by Rio Ruiz who trotted across the plate after the walk-off, his 2nd home run in as many days against the Astros.

Maybe Osuna was protecting Bregman, who got drilled in the top of the back earlier in the game. But Osuna's had a rough go of it lately.

Osuna, beginning of season to May 24: 22.1IP, 8H/2ER, 21K:2BB, 0.81 ERA / 0.44 WHIP.
Osuna, May 25 - right this minute: 25IP, 27H/14ER, 28K:6BB, 5.04 ERA / 1.32 WHIP.
Osuna, since the All-Star Break: 10IP, 12H/8ER, 10K:2BB, 7.20 ERA / 1.40 WHIP.

Maybe it's regression, maybe his finger is off by a hot millimeter in his delivery. Intentional, or not, that HBP to Sisco was freaking stupid. It was more stupid than allowing the home run to Ruiz. Chance Sisco is the #7 hitter on a team 39 games under .500. He has a .734 OPS. There is no reason to try to be too fine with your pitch. There is no reason to hit him, even if it is to send a message. You won't see the Orioles again until 2020, so what message are you actually trying to send? Don't put an Astro on base? I think the rest of the league knows that. FOH, Osuna. Figure your crap out. Hinch even said: why would [they] hit someone in a 2-run game?

For what it's worth, Osuna said the HBP wasn't intentional:
Absolutely not. Like I said, I didn't have the stuff. I was wild. I missed a lot of pitches. Most of them were (not) in the location I wanted...It was one of those days.

-Jace Peterson hit a 1st-pitch double.
-Richie Martin got a 1-1 ground out in which Osuna's 1st pitch was a ball
-Chance Sisco took the 1-0 HBP
-Chris Davis hit a 1-0 sac fly
-Rio Ruiz started off 2-0, Osuna got him back to 2-2 before Ruiz fouled off two pitches and deposited the 7th pitch onto Eutaw Street.

Officially, Osuna threw a 1st-pitch strike to exactly zero of the five batters he faced. Osuna:
The guys did a great job coming back and get the lead and expected me to get the job done. Not being able to do that, it's a bad day.

I'd say we went too many changeups there. That could be my fault. I thought we were going to get swing and miss against the changeup. Last one, it was more like middle in, and [Ruiz] put a good swing.

*Will Harris threw a perfect inning, and hasn't allowed a hit since July 26, 4.1IP, 0H/0ER, 5K:1BB. His ERA is 1.64. 136 relievers have thrown at least 40IP in MLB this season. Harris' ERA is the 4th-lowest of them all. Pressly's 1.99 ERA is 9th.

*Astros pitchers struck out 16 Orioles. It's the 64th game in which the pitching staff has gotten 10+ Ks. It's the 8th with 16+. This is insane.

*George Springer went 3x5 - his first 3-hit game since August 2. He had four hits in his previous five games combined.

*Carlos Correa hit another home run. It's the first time he's hit home runs in consecutive games since May 5-6. He has six home runs since returning from the IL.

*Alex Bregman was 0x2, but with 0K:2BB. He has struck out once in his last 43 PAs, going 30 PAs without a strikeout. His last strikeout was on August 2.

*Brad Peacock threw 0.1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB Saturday night for Round Rock, and told Hinch that it's "the best he's felt since he's been back on the mound."

*The Astros are not ruling out Forrest Whitley's 2019 Houston debut. Luhnow:
He would have to prove to us in August that he could help us, which is a high bar (because) he's not currently on the (40-man) roster. But I'm not going to rule it out, that's for sure.

Whitley, Saturday night: 3.2IP, 2H/3ER, 5K:5BB, 2HBP, 42 of 82 pitches for strikes.

*Baseball America: How do scouts evaluate Triple-A raw power given the bunny ball that is getting thrown there?

*Mental Floss: Whatever happened to the eight things that terrified us in the 1990s?

*Drew Magary: You're not sticking to sports when you Stick To Sports.

*A Musical Selection: