Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

It was Greinke Day and the Astros...well, they reminded us not to get too cocky about this season. And then they reminded us that it's probably okay. Astros took the lead, gave the lead back, and then put their foot on the throats of the Rockies. Houston is 74-40, 42-15 at Minute Maid Park. Still with a 9-game lead because Oakland is doing their annual We Don't Lose After The All-Star Break thing.

*The clubhouse was excited for Greinke's debut. Yordan:
We've all been excited and waiting for him to come on board. Like we say in Latin America, he's a horse. He's a caballo. To have him here, we've been really excited.

Greinke, on how the Astros have treated him:
Sometimes it's a little awkward, but I feel pretty good here. The guys make it real easy. It doesn't feel awkward at all like some other times when I've been on new teams.

*Anyway, Greinke needed ten pitches to get through the 1st Inning, then got bogged down a little bit towards the end. Altuve had an error, Bregman probably should have had an error which was changed to a hit, so the final line on Greinke was: 6IP, 7H/5ER, 2K:2BB.

It's the third time this season Greinke has recorded two or fewer strikeouts, the last time was June 19 against...Colorado. It's the 4th time this season that Greinke has allowed 5+ earned runs. But because, of the Astros, it's the first time Greinke's team has won.

Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 12 of the 26 batters he faced. Other than some fleeting command, what was Greinke's biggest issue with pitching for the Astros?
(The wait between innings) is kind of boring. And just trying to stay loose, staying focused when not having anything to do.

Hunter Atkins takes a look at the numbers behind Greinke's devastating "slow curve" and how Raimel Tapia tattooed it for a three-run home run. Rockies manager Bud Black:
We finally got one. We'd been swinging at it with not a lot of success....With Greinke, you gotta be ready all the time. He's a strike-thrower. We can't afford to sit there and take pitches, and think that you're gonna get a good one to hit. He's on the attack all the time. We caught a break.

I thought he pitched his way in and out of traffic quite a bit. He just couldn't quite get out of the last inning with the one breaking ball that cost him a three-run homer. Not having been around him, I was impressed with how he goes about his business, how he prepares, how he worked his way through his outing. He was very calm and very interactive during the game.

Greinke used his changeup way more last night than he had all season.

Brian T. Smith, writing like a damb blogger: Greinke must be better than his first off-night.

*Chris Devenski allowed a home run - the second one he has allowed since June 26.

*Hector Rondon heard you talking crap and threw perfect inning in which only six of his 13 pitches were strikes.

*Collin McHugh didn't allow a hit but walked two batters. He has five walks in his last 2IP.

*Hinch, on the offense:
We never really give a team an inning to breathe. When we're right, and we've been right a lot lately, we put a lot of pressure on you from the very beginning. I thought our baserunning was very good tonight, but our at-bats have been really good and synced up together.

*Houston hit four home runs for the 13th time this season. They're 10-3 in those games.

*Yuli Gurriel had two home runs in a game for the 3rd time in his career. The last time he hit two in a game was on July 2, against Colorado. The starter on July 2 and last night? German Marquez. He also stole a base, making Yuli the first Astro with two homers and a stolen base in the same game since Justin Maxwell did it on August 4, 2012.

*Yordan hit his 14th home run of the season. His MLB career began on June 9. No other Astros player in franchise history has more home runs in their first 50 games.

Let's revisit this whole AL Rookie of the Year thing, here's the top-four listed by fWAR:

Brandon Lowe (Tampa): 2.5 fWAR. 307 PAs, .276/.339/.523, 16 HR.
Dan Vogelbach (Seattle): 2.2 fWAR. 414 PAs, .228/.357/.497, 26 HR.
Mike Tauchman (NY): 2.0 fWAR. 194 PAs, .299/.371/.563, 10 HR.
Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 2.0 fWAR. 177 PAs, .338/.418/.701, 14 HR.

*Josh Reddick hit a triple in the 3rd inning. It's his first extra-base hit since July 27, his third extra-base hit since July 7. Reddick has not hit a home run since June 28.

*Carlos Correa was 2x4 with 3RBI. He has 12 RBI in his last nine games, and has a 6-game hit streak.

*McTaggart has a new inbox (fixed link). Among the items discussed: what the postseason pitching staff will look like, rest days for the upcoming 17-games-in-17-days stretch, September Call-Ups, Brad Peacock / Aaron Sanchez, etc. It's a good inbox.

*SI's Jon Tayler asks, in the wake of Aaron Sanchez's stellar six innings on Saturday: What do the Astros know about pitching that no one else does? Tayler:
Toronto couldn't figure out that Sanchez should throw his worst pitch less and maybe try something else. Then again, the Jays aren't alone in that regard. The Astros have pulled similar tricks with Gerrit Cole (languishing on the Pirates) and Ryan Pressly (underappreciated on the Twins). In both cases, each player camee to Houston, which had already identified a plan for improvement involving tweaks, sequencing, pitch selection, and other factors, and rapidly implemented them. The result: Cole is one of the majors' top starters; Pressly is one of the league's best setup men.

*Injury Updates:
-Ryan Pressly threw a rehab outing in Corpus last night, needing eleven pitches (nine for strikes) with two strikeouts and no baserunners allowed.
-Brad Peacock will pitch today for Round Rock
-Josh James will continue his rehab in West Palm Beach.
-Brent Strom is still in the hospital, but two Astros coaches went to visit him and he was studying the NL West. The rest of the league is doomed.

*Players Weekend is coming up on August 23-25, I guess, if you're into that sort of thing. Here are all the nicknames. I especially appreciate Garrett Stubbs and Zack Greinke's nicknames. This is what they actually should have been.

*Will Leitch says Alex Bregman is the best 25-year old player in MLB, and Altuve at 29, and Brantley at 32, and Verlander at 36.

*Good Dude Michael Coffin - voice of the Corpus Christi Hooks - was on the radio call in Houston last night and tonight.

*Mariners infielder and 2008 1-1 pick Tim Beckham was suspended 80 games after testing positive for stanozolol. He was hitting .237/.293/.461. Steroids don't necessarily do what you think they do. I did not know that Beckham and Former Astros Great Telvin Nash (3rd Round - 2009) were high school teammates.

*Former Astros Great J.D. Davis has put up the best numbers by a Met in the storied history of CitiField.

I am currently fascinated by the Mets. They're 4th in the NL East with a 58-56 record, having won 12 of their last 13 games, and 13 of their last 15. I made fun of them when they traded for Marcus Stroman, but now they have a rotation of DeGrom, Syndergaard, Stroman, and Wheeler. Pete Alonso is a machine. What NL team would want to face them in the postseason, should they make it? As of this morning, they're 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and have a 37.3% chance of making the playoffs.

*Buster Olney went out of his way to note that the Dodgers are 45-15 at home and have outscored their opponents 326-195.

The Astros are 42-15 at home and have outscored their opponents 307-219. And they don't play in a candy-ass division.

*Why is everyone talking about 30-50 feral hogs?

*The "All or Nothing" series on Amazon Prime is phenomenal.

*The Sixth Sense came out 20 years ago yesterday. While other movies have impacted me on a basic level of fear (looking at you, The Strangers; there was also an Irish horror movie whose title I can't remember with a well-known actor whose name also cannot remember - I know this is very helpful) that made me actually howl in fear), The Sixth Sense scared the piss out of me. I couldn't close my eyes without seeing Mischa Barton vomit under the bed for weeks. It was a lot of fun to have M. Night Shyamalan make actually decent movies. Mental Floss has 15 Twisted Facts About The Sixth Sense.

*A Musical Selection from one of the best live shows I've ever seen: White Rabbits at Exit/In (I think it was Exit/In) in Nashville with about 30 other people for $10: