Saturday, September 7, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

Another day another Astros win over the Mariners, though this one was a bit of a struggle. Oh well, they all count the same. Houston is 92-50. There are 20 regular season games left. The Astros are 14-1 against Seattle, and 25-2 at home against the AL West.

Scoreboard Watching:
Oakland, New York, and Los Angeles lost.

Houston (92-50): -
New York (92-50): -
Los Angeles (92-51): -0.5

*Updating the Home Franchise Record leaderboard:

1998: 55-26
1980: 55-26
2019: 53-17
2015: 53-28
2005: 53-28

We've played well in our division and we've played very well against this team across the way. A lot of September baseball is returning to the division play. When you play well against them that's a good time to play well. 

This quote is absolutely hysterical.

*Framber: 4IP, 2H/3ER, 6K:6BB. He walked 5+ batters for the second consecutive start. That happened to McCullers in 2018 on either side of the All-Star Break, but before that it happened to Erik Bedard in July 2013. The Astros' franchise record of consecutive starts with 5+ BB is four, by Darryl Kile (1994) and J.R. Richard (1975). Hinch:
I saw a guy who battled his way through his outing. He just had a hard time throwing strikes when he wanted to. When he's spraying the ball all over the place, he's a little hard to hit. He's hard to catch. He's hard to do a lot with.

Bullpen: 5IP, 2H/1ER, 5K:1BB.

*Alex Bregman was 2x4 with a walk. Oh yeah, he stole home while Aledmys Diaz was caught in a rundown. Bregman:
We talked about some things we can try and exploit before the series. We thought we had an opportunity to do it there. Diaz and I made eye contact. He took off, and I was able to get a big lead.

*Josh Reddick homered in back-to-back games for the first time since May 31/June 1.

*Yordan hit a ground ball damn near 118mph.

*The Astros stole three bases for the 3rd time in 2019.

*Yuli Gurriel exited last night's game in the 5th Inning with the dreaded "hamstring discomfort." He's probably out for the weekend.

*Ryan Pressly made "10 or 15 throws" off the mound on Friday and his prognosis is "better than good, it's been excellent."

*Impending runway model Carlos Correa did baserunning drills on the field prior to Friday's game. Hinch:
I saw him - the cliche everyone hates - free and easy, and lighthearted and happy. To me, that means he's getting back in shape as opposed to trying to overcome a little bit of soreness or adversity. I think that's a step in the right direction. 

In that link, we get a Hinch quote on Kyle Tucker:
Given how long the year was for him - successful in the Minors, but no opportunity here - he's trying to make a push for more playing time and maybe a little more prominent role. Step up and deliver a couple of times and get to high-five some guys and celebrate with 'em, that makes you part of the culture and part of the winning.

*Jake Kaplan notes that Aaron Sanchez's shoulder injury may be so bad that, depending on the result of his surgery next week, the Astros may not even tender him a contract for 2020:
Much of the calculus depends on the nature of the surgery and the post-operation prognosis for Sanchez, neither of which the Astros have disclosed. General Manager Jeff Luhnow said on Thursday that the team will have more information about Sanchez's rehab after the procedure is complete. 

Should Sanchez not get tendered, or miss a significant portion of the 2020 season, that would leave the 2020 Astros rotation - as of now - as Verlander, Greinke, McCullers, and two fat question marks. The actual question marks have a spin rate that can be improved through pitch sequencing and the Astros' trademarked fairy dust.

At this point I'd like to mention that J.B. Bukauskas started two games for Arizona's Double-A Jackson after getting traded in the Greinke deal, and threw 7IP, 10H/6ER, 11K:5BB.

*Pitcher A: 193IP, 114H/55ER, 257K:35BB, 2.56 ERA / 0.77 WHIP. 177 ERA+
Pitcher B: 176.1IP, 125H/55ER, 266K:43BB, 2.81 ERA / 0.95 WHIP. 161 ERA+

Verlander is Pitcher A, Cole is Pitcher B, and Matt Kelly writes that they just might be the most dominant pitching duo ever. Kelly:
The duo is on the verge of doing something we haven't seen since baseball began expanding in 1961, finishing 1-2 in their league in ERA, WHIP, and Ks. 

*Jim Ralph Bowden says the Astros absolutely must extend George Springer. Bowden:
At 29, [Springer] is having his best season with an impressive 150 OPS+ and 5.3 WAR to go along with 30 home runs and a career-high .389 on-base percentage. The three-time All-Star also has not only been a leader but hasn't let success change him, as he continues to set time aside for the fans, charities, and the media. His positive energy and passion for winning never subside. His two-year, $24 million deal expires at the end of the season and although he is arbitration-eligible, there's no reason not to extend him now.

*Round Rock had a chance to clinch their first round series, but lost 3-2 to Iowa in Game 3. Rogelio Armenteros threw 5.2IP, 5H/3ER, 9K:2BB. The Express were 1x7 w/RISP. Game 4 is tonight.

*Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Carolinas, Games 3&4 of the Carolina League Southern Division playoffs will be a double-header today, starting at 3pm Central. If necessary, a deciding Game 5 will be on Saturday.

*And just like that, Quad Cities' season is over with a 4-2 loss to Cedar Rapids. Jose Alberto Rivera threw 5IP, 4H/1ER, 13K:1BB in relief. Quad Cities went 79-57 in 2019.

*Anthony Castrovince brings us the possibility of Absolute Playoff Chaos which we should all, in fact, be rooting for:

-IF the A's, Rays, and Indians are tied for the two Wild Card spots...
THEN the A's get to choose if they want to play the Rays and Indians at home in two sudden-death games...
AND the Rays get to choose second...
WHICH MEANS the Indians could have to play two sudden-death road games to advance to the ALDS.

The Rays are 84-59, the A's are 82-59, and Cleveland is 82-60.

*Here's a really cool story on Padres' pitcher Luis Patino and the wild ride from Colombia to San Diego.

*RIP Chris Duncan. I never liked it when you were up to bat against the Astros. He had a .969 OPS at Minute Maid Park.

*SI: An untold side of the Black Cat Jinx - 50 years later.

*I will literally never understand how the 2018 Astros lost to the Red Sox in five games in the ALCS (I mean, of course Altuve and Correa were hurt, but still). I hope you choke on a bowl of chowdah, Sully from Braintree, you piece of crap.

*Meet Switzerland's breakaway cheesemakers.

*A Musical Selection: