Friday, September 13, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

The Astros won the 2015 ALDS with a 4-1 win over Kansas City last night, in the Year of Our Lord 2019. God bless us, everyone. Houston overcame the impossible odds that Danny Duffy presented to honor their city. Houston is 96-53. Mercifully, there are 13 regular season games remaining. This game was way more stupid than necessary. I'm tired.

Houston is 40-33 on the road. 2019 will be the first season since 2016 that Houston won more home games than road games.

Scoreboard Watching:
Houston won, New York lost, Los Angeles won. So:

Jankees (97-52): -
Astros (96-53): +1.0
Dodgers (96-53): +1.0

*Gerrit Cole: 8IP, 4H/1R (0ER), 11K:2BB. It's his 13th Win in a row, the longest streak in a single season since Stephen Strasburg in 2013. Done this before, but it's still remarkable:

Gerrit Cole with Pittsburgh (127 starts): Six 10+ K starts (4.7%)
Gerrit Cole with Houston (62 starts): 26 10+ K starts (41.9%)

Gerrit Cole is at 292 strikeouts for the season, and is almost guaranteed to hit 300 strikeouts.

Got Dang Danny Duffy: 6IP, 4H/1ER, 6K:2BB.

Danny Duffy vs Houston, 2019: 10.2IP, 9H/3ER, 8K:5BB. 2.53 ERA / 1.31 WHIP.
Danny Duffy vs Everyone Else: 106IP, 108H/57ER, 93K:38BB. 4.84 ERA / 1.37 WHIP.

*George Springer's game-winning home run was hit 114.3mph off the bat, the highest velocity by the Astros this season. Chandler Rome: How Altuve settled George Springer down before his HR. It was Springer's 35th home run of the season, making he and Bregman the Astros' second pair of teammates to hit 35HR in a season, joining Berkman and Richard Hidalgo in 2000. Hinch:
George Springer is one swing away from having a great day every day. He hangs in there as well as anyone. He did have a tough night leading up to that point.

*Jose Altuve's 28th home run breaks the record for Astros 2Bs in a season. The Top 5:

1. Altuve: 28 (2019)
2. Jeff Kent: 27 (2004)
3. Craig Biggio: 26 (2005)
4. Altuve: 24 (2017)
5. Altuve: 24 (2016)

*Astros home run leaders:

1. Alex Bregman - 35
2. George Springer - 35
3. Jose Altuve - 28
4. Yuli Gurriel - 27
5. Yordan Alvarez - 24

The Astros have only ever had three players hit 30+ home runs in a season (Berkman, Hidalgo, Alou in 2000).

*Yuli Gurriel was back in the lineup for last night's game and went 0x5. It's the 8th 0x5 of his career.

*Kyle Tucker was 1x4, but was super-unlucky twice.

*Carlos Correa went 1x2 with 2K:2BB last night for Round Rock, who allowed three Sacramento runs in the top of the 8th to lose 7-5, and complete the sweep in the PCL Championship Series. Taylor Jones was 2x4 with a 2-run homer and 3RBI.

*Fayetteville got held to three hits and um zero runs as Wilmington forced a Game 5 (today) in the Carolina League Championship. Keep an eye on this Jojanse Torres fella: 6IP, 3H/1ER, 6K:2BB. He did not deserve the loss.

Torres, 2019 (regular season): 94.2IP, 59H/18ER, 107K:46BB. 1.71 ERA / 1.11 WHIP.

*Brad Peacock now has nerves of steel after the Astros' medical staff figured out that Peacock's shoulder issues stemmed from nerve issues in his neck, which they have apparently now fixed. He threw a pain-free 20-pitch bullpen before Friday's game. The Astros want two more bullpens before deploying the (Pea)Cock.

*Martin Maldonado is Gerrit Cole's personal catcher. Chandler Rome tells you why. Heads up: It's the running game.

*Sports Illustrated: Can any offense get through Verlander-Cole-Greinke twice in a series?

*Jake Kaplan: Could Jose Urquidy or Bryan Abreu push for postseason roster spots?

*Hinch, on Zack Greinke:
It's kind of a match made in analytical heaven. He's an analytical mind and a super prepared pitcher combined with an organization that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to trying to bring out the best in guys.

*Straight Baseball Porn from FanGraphs: You're probably underrating Yordan Alvarez. Ben Clemens:
Here's a random, tossed-off statistic for you. When Alvarez pulls the ball in the air, he bats .868 with a 2.421 slugging percentage. Percentage doesn't make much sense for a number like 2.421, but nothing about Alvarez's production does. That's good for a 768 wRC+, best in the majors by 103 points...[If you] picture Avarez as the most recent incarnation of Dave Kingman or Joey Gallo, you've left something out. Alvarez has the raw power of those guys, but he's getting to all that pop without the tradeoffs they have to make.

*Gerrit Cole is's #1 free agent for 2020. I want Gerrit Cole as an Astro until 2023 at the earliest.

*Despite being a complete ninnymuggins during the 2019 season, Forrest Whitley (who has slipped to the #16 prospect in MLB) is still the Astros' top prospect in the Arizona Fall League. A recap of Whitley's 2019 season:

Spring Training: Justin Verlander is Whitley's mentor.
March 12: Whitley gets reassigned to minor-league camp. Hinch said of Whitley, "He can out-stuff a lot of hitters and can get away with mistakes at various levels he's been at. Perfecting his execution at a level that is major-league quality is something that separates him now from where he's going to be in a short time."
March 17: Hinch: "Whitley's been really impressive...He's mature beyond his years."
March 24: Whitley starts for Houston in a Spring Training tune-up at Minute Maid Park against Pittsburgh. He throws 3IP, 6H/3ER, 2K:1BB.
March 30: lists Whitley as their 2019 Impact Call-Up: "MLB Pipeline's top-ranked pitching prospect will start the season in the Minors but could be up by midseason, perhaps even earlier should an opening arise in Houston's starting rotation."
April 9: In his season debut for Round Rock, Whitley throws 5IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:1BB.
April 15: Whitley: 1.1IP, 4H/5ER, 1K:2BB.
April 16: Jake Kaplan leads an article with "If Forrest Whitley stays healthy, his ascent to the Majors this season isn't a question of If but When" and then details how the Astros plan to manage his workload in 2019.
April 21: Whitley bounces back with 4.2IP, 2H/1ER, 5K:2BB.
Over two starts from April 28-May 3, Whitley: 3.2IP, 8H/9ER, 6K:2BB.
May 16: SI's Jon Tayler says Whitley could make his Houston debut mid-season 2019.
May 23: Whitley vs. San Antonio: 2IP, 6H/7ER, 1K:3BB.
May 24: Luhnow mentions Whitley might be hurt, but they'll look into it.
May 29: Whitley placed on Minor-League IL with "shoulder fatigue."
July 12: Whitley makes his GCL debut, throwing 1.2IP, 1H/3ER, 5K:3BB
July 19: Whitley's line for the GCL Astros: 2.2IP, 2H/1ER, 5K:6BB.
July 22: Astros announce that Whitley will pitch for High-A Fayetteville.
July 24: Whitley debuts for Fayetteville and throws 3.1IP, 3H/2ER, 2K:1BB.
July 30: Whitley for Fayetteville: 5IP, 1H/0ER, 9K:0BB.
August 4: Whitley debuts for Corpus: 4IP, 2H/1ER, 5K:2BB.
August 11: Luhnow won't rule out Whitley making his MLB debut in 2019, but that he'd have to "prove he could help us."
August 10-22: Whitley's three starts: 11.1IP, 10H/10ER, 20K:12BB.
August 27: Astros announce Whitley will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, not the playoffs.

My theory, and it is just a theory: Whitley was the #1 pitching prospect coming out of Spring Training, mentored by Justin Verlander. A variety of issues, from the Triple-A baseballs being juiced combined with a lack of success, combined with getting mentored by Justin F. Verlander within the previous two months got in his head, and Whitley has zero mental game. He was hearing all the "Houston by July" talk and was offended every time someone squibbed a single (Notable: HR allowed at Triple-A: Nine in 24.1IP ; Homeruns allowed everywhere else: Two in 35.1IP.) TL;DR: Whitley got butthurt and cost himself a season. Figure it out in Arizona while the Astros try to win another World Series and reflect upon what you've done.

*Here's a cool audio interview with Fayetteville PxP Guy Matt Sabados (whom I desperately want to call Matt Sebadoh) and Jeff Luhnow on minor-league trade candidates and international prospects.

*FanGraphs' Tony Wolfe: It sure seems like Dallas Keuchel was worth the investment.

*SI checks up on Tony Mellows, better known as Justin Verlander the Baseball Brit.

*Could the Diamondbacks relocate to Vegas?

*ESPN: The grandmaster diet: how to lose weight while barely moving.

*The Guardian: The race to create a perfect lie detector - and the dangers of succeeding.

*A Musical Selection: