Thursday, August 29, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Rays 8-6 after Roberto Osuna made things Interesting in the 9th. They go for the sweep this afternoon with Greinke on the mound. Houston is 87-47, 40 games over .500 for the first time since the last day of the 2018 regular season. There are 28 regular season games left.

*The Mariners are absolutely useless, and got swept by New York. Kansas City beat Oakland, and the Dodgers beat the Padres in 10 innings. So to recap the major races:

Los Angeles: 88-47
New York: 88-47
Houston: 87-47 (-0.5)
Oakland: 76-56 (-10.5)

FanGraphs currently has the Astros finishing with 105 wins, while LA and NY tie with 104.

*Houston's record after 134 games:

2019: 87-47
2018: 82-52
2017: 81-53
1998: 83-51

*Updating the Home Franchise Record leaderboard:

1998: 55-26
1980: 55-26
2015: 53-28
2005: 53-28
1986: 52-29
1979: 52-29
1969: 52-29
2019: 51-16

The Astros would need to go 5-9 down the stretch to break the franchise record for home wins. After the afternoon game today vs the Rays, Houston has Seattle, Oakland, Arlington, and Anaheim 

WOW the game started stupid. First Tampa run scored on a walk, balk, wild pitch, sac fly. Then Ji-Man Choi made it 3-0. Then Gerrit Cole got mad. 6.2IP, 6H/4ER, 14K:1BB. Cole's 113 pitches were the most in a start since June 7, when he struck out 14 Orioles. Cole:
We played good defense and we were forced to answer a few blows by them and credit to them for those blows. When you play good teams you're not going to be able to be perfect, especially when they put good swings on good pitches. So for us to answer back and to keep the pressure on as we get deeper into the game is what we need to do.

Full list of pitchers with 2+ 14K outings, 2019: Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler. Tampa's 1-2 hitters in the lineup (Sogard-Meadows) went 0x8 with 8K:0BB.

Cole's last three starts: 19.2IP, 11H/6ER, 36K:2BB.

Cole set the franchise record for most double-digit strikeout games in a season, with 15, eclipsing J.R. Richard's previous record of 14, which he did twice (1978 and 1979). Cole:
It's nice, it's a pretty cool statistic. I mean, I don't know what to say to those things. Yeah, it's really cool. It's not something that I'll spend much time on. Maybe at the end of the season. I've got to recover for Milwaukee.

*Gurriel hit his 27th home run of the season. As Jake Kaplan notes, only Jeff Bagwell hit 30+ home runs over the age of 35 (Bagwell hit 39 in 2003).

*Alex Bregman went 3x4 with two doubles, giving him 30 doubles on the year, to go with his 32 home runs. He's the first Astros 3B to have two 30 double/30 home run seasons. Today is August 29. The only other one was Morgan Ensberg in 2005.

Bregman has five multi-hit games in his last six. On June 25, Bregman was hitting .259/.388/.522. Still not bad. Since then, he's hitting .337/.449/.647 with 26K:36BB. He has struck out eight times in August.

*The afternoon started off ominously as Cy Sneed got another trip down 290 when Brad Peacock went back on the IL with the same shoulder stuff that has been bothering him for a while. Apparently the pain spiked during his 1.2IP outing against Tampa on Charlie Morton Night. Peacock:
It's the same stuff I've been going through pretty much the whole year. I just don't know what's going on and need to find out.

Peacock said he "wasn't sure" if he'd pitch again this season. He had an MRI and X-Ray yesterday.

I just asked everybody to come clean. I knew he didn't feel great, he didn't look great...He admitted he had some issues with his shoulder again, and it hadn't really resolved itself. The best chance for us to have him at all for September or any sort of October consideration, we shut him down until we get some more answers.

It's kind of more comical than anything, especially when my buddies will text me and say, 'Again?' That's the life. Obviously, I'd much rather be doing this than sitting at Triple-A or at home. It adds to the adventure, I guess.

*Jake Kaplan, on how the Peacock injury impacts the bullpen in the short- and long-term.

*Notable, related: Lance McCullers is throwing off flat ground. The source? Lance McCullers throwing off flat ground.

*Forrest Whitley threw 5.1IP for Corpus last night: 1H/0ER, 8K:4BB. He has walked 16 batters in his last 16.2IP (admittedly with 28 strikeouts).

*Six Future Astros Greats are headed to the Arizona Fall League: Forrest Whitley, JJ Matisyahu Matijevic, Jeremy Pena, Colton Shaver, Jojanse Torres, Carlos Sanabria, and a TBA pitcher.

*Something called a "Bill O'Brien" said (and this is from a Berman tweet, so I'm going to edit for clarity. Berman gets more Thoughts Per Tweet than anyone around):
I love the Astros. I love the Rockets. They're awesome, but we all know what it's about in Houston - It's about the football team. It's about the Texans...the Astros are a great baseball team. Rockets are a great basketball team. We need to do our part.

I don't like it, but he's not wrong. It's how the Astros can sweep a series in the summer, and the Hawt Sprots Talk is about 2nd-string cornerbacks the following morning. I have some theories on why this is the case:

1. It's a whole lot easier to follow the Texans than it is the Astros and/or Rockets. The Rockets play a lot of games. The Astros play twice as many as the Rockets. The Texans play 16 games (+1, depending on how those 16 games shake out. Maybe +2. Never +3.) Pre-gaming Texans games are a party. If you pre-gamed every Astros game like you did the Texans, might I interest you in some literature. The Astros play Tuesday night games at 10pm, followed by 3pm games, followed by 7pm games. Or they play at 6:10pm. It's "hard" to follow casually. Not so much for the Texans. They play on Sunday afternoons, occasionally Sunday nights, sometimes Monday nights. Most everyone is off work. It's natural to assume that the Texans are easier to follow than the Astros and/or Rockets.

2. And there's not as much to follow. One Texans game is the same as 10.125 Astros games, percentage-of-schedule-wise. One quarter of a Texans game is the same as 2.5 Astros regular season games.

3. ESPN will blast you with football coverage.

It's just easier to be a Texans fan, mainly for ease of following and the hype that surrounds each game. But yeah, the Crazy Train on Kirby needs to do their part.

*San Antonio put it on Round Rock starter Ryan Hartman, winning 14-8. Round Rock has a 2-game lead on San Antonio with five games to play.

*David Glass bought the Royals for $96,000,000. He's about to sell it for $1,000,000,000.

*Bury have been expelled from the English Football League. Bolton is about to be next. What happened to these two historic clubs? From ESPN: the dark side of English football.

*A Musical Selection: