Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

The Astros did things (I see you, Will Harris) and beat the Angels 4-0 while the playoff picture is starting to shape up. Houston is 105-55 and clinched home field advantage through the AL side of the playoffs. There are about 36 hours remaining in the regular season.

It seals that the Astros will play the winner of Wednesday night's Wild Card game, which is now officially between Oakland and Tampa, both of whom are 96-64. Tampa is at Toronto (2:07pm) while Oakland is at Seattle (8:10pm).

Home-Field Advantage Throughout:
Houston: 105-55
Los Angeles: 104-56

On July 4, the Dodgers were 60-29 while the Astros were 55-32. Since July 4:
Houston: 50-23
Los Angeles: 44-27

Reminder that Houston holds the tiebreaker over Los Angeles. A win tonight - or a Dodgers loss - would clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Bregman:
It's going to be fun at home throughout at least the AL so far. We have got a few more wins to take care of, and if we do, then we'll be at Minute Maid Park for most of our games. I was really happy with how we played today.

Houston's record vs. AL West teams is 54-20

Seattle: 18-1
Anaheim: 12-5
Arlington: 13-6
Oakland: 11-8

Los Angeles' record vs. NL West teams is 49-25:

Colorado: 15-4
San Diego: 13-6
San Francisco: 10-7
Arizona: 11-8

That's why the Astros have the tie-breaker. Have you thanked a Mariner yet?

*The Astros are 3-1 on this road trip with three shutouts.

*Pitching staff was excellent. It's the 19th time this season the Astros have held their opponent to three or fewer hits. They're 17-2 in those games. It's the 14th time they've held their opponent to zero runs. They're 14-0 in those games. They should do that more tbh. It's the 12th time this season that their opponent did not get an extra-base hit.

-Jose Urquidy made a case for the postseason with 6IP, 3H/0ER, 2K:1BB. He threw 79 pitches before being removed.

Urquidy's four September appearances: 18IP, 10H/3ER, 16K:3BB, .182 BABIP.

Chandler Rome:
One day after Miley managed just 12 outs and lowered his September earned-run average to 16.68, Urquidy threw six scoreless innings against the same Angels team. He yielded three singles. Two did not leave the infield. His arsenal was efficient and effective, two traits absent during Miley's steady decline.

-Ryan Pressly struck out two in 12 pitches.

-Will Harris threw an immaculate inning: Nine pitches, three strikeouts. Alex Bregman, on Harris:
Will never smiles - ever - on the field. He's always in a bad mood. That was the first time I've ever seen him smile on a baseball field, which was badass.

Harris, who struck out Kaleb Cowart, Matt Thaiss, and Michael Hermosillo:
I knew I had a pretty good idea where the ball was going. When I struck out the first guy, I felt like I was going to strike out the side. It was kind of weird.

Harris is the first Astros pitcher to throw an Immaculate Inning since Brandon Backe did it on April 15, 2004.

-Josh James closed the 9th with three up/three down.

*The Astros only managed four hits for the 12th time this season (2-10 now), but thankfully two of them left the yard - Alex Bregman hit his 41st home run of the year while Michael Brantley used his 22nd home run, a 3-run shot, to seal the game. The home runs gave the Astros a homer in 23 straight games, extending a franchise record.

Hinch, on Brantley, whose homer was his first extra-base hit since September 9:
He's scuffled a little bit and he wants to contribute. It's more than this swing or more than a homer. He just wants to contribute and do his part. That's a big swing.

Brantley, September: 83 PAs, .173/.241/.293, 10K:6BB.

*Jack Mayfield had two of the Astros' four hits.

*Jeff Luhnow is now "hopeful" that Correa is available for the ALDS. Luhnow:
Clearly, we need him in our lineup to be the best team we can be. We're going to use this next week to hopefully heal and get ready. I can't predict the outcome. We're hopeful, based on everything he's gone through and what our doctors and trainers are saying, that there's a pretty good chance he'll be in the lineup next Friday.

Taking out some extraneous words, that last sentence reads: "We're hopeful...that there's a pretty good chance he'll be in the lineup [in six days]." That's not as comforting.

Chandler Rome notes that Hinch didn't seem overly concerned about Correa's availability for the ALDS.

*Yahoo's Tim Brown: The one record-breaking stat that shows the Astros' fearlessness, and dominance, this season.

*MLB Network: How the Astros got to the postseason (in a 3-minute video).

*Tri-City manager Ozney Guillen will not return to the organization in 2020.

*Check the Lima Time Time Patreon.

*James Paxton left his start with the Yankees after one inning because of his butt muscle.

*Check out Aldine's Jayden Payne's story of heroism during Imelda.

*Nine false rumors with real-life consequences.

*A Musical Selection: