Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Mariners ho hum. Houston is 93-50. They're 15-1 against Seattle, and if the Mariners didn't exist Houston would be 78-49. There are 19 regular season games left. The Astros have won their last ten home series, the last series loss coming when the Pirates beat the absolute dog piss out of the Astros from June 25-27. The Astros are 17-4 in their last 21 games. They would need to go 11-8 down the stretch to set a franchise record for wins. This is the golden era of being an Astros fan. Win the World Series again, please.

The Yankees won, Oakland won, and Los Angeles lost a 1-0 game, which of course you hate to see.

Houston (93-50): -
New York (93-50): -
Los Angeles (92-52): -1.5

*Most wins vs. one team in a season, Astros history:

15: Seattle (2019), San Francisco (1985)
14: Seattle (2017), Cincinnati (1986), San Diego (1979), San Diego (1970), Cincinnati (1966), New York (1965)
13: Anaheim (2018), Anaheim (2016), Oakland (2016), Pittsburgh (2006), Milwaukee (2004), Dodgers (1992), Atlanta (1990), Atlanta (1988), Atlanta (1986), Cincinnati (1983), Cincinnati (1977), San Francisco (1972), Cincinnati (1971), Chicago (1966), New York (1963), New York (1962)

INTERESTING FACT: In 1998 and 1999 (102 and 97 wins, respectively) the Astros did not beat a single team 10+ times.

*The Astros were held to six hits for the 34th time in 2019. They're 14-20 in those games. It's the 32nd time the Astros have been limited to two runs, and they're 5-27 when that happens.

*Updating the Home Franchise Record leaderboard:

1998: 55-26
1980: 55-26
2019: 54-17

If the Astros win two of their final ten home games, they will set the franchise record for home wins in a season.

*It's the second straight Verlander start in which the Astros have scored two runs. They've scored 0-2 runs in seven of his starts, and five of his last eight starts. Why doesn't Justin Verlander get any run support? Are the Astros' bats mesmerized by Verlander pitching, as well? Is he too fertile? Is his seed too strong?

Let's take a look. The Astros, as a team, are hitting .273/.350/.486. They - as a team - have a 123 wRC+, a team 119 OPS+. They score 5.4 runs on 9.4 hits per game. But when Verlander starts, and when Verlander is actually pitching, it's a different story. So I looked at the Game Logs and made a spreadsheet (NOTE: If Verlander pitched in the top of the 7th, I credited the Astros' offense in the bottom of the 7th to him):

In Verlander's 30 starts, the Astros have 203 hits and 115 runs, an average of 3.8 runs and 6.7 hits when he is pitching. Hinch:
He was in command of everything; I looked up and he was all over the strike zone with all of his pitches. He was very dominant and held his stuff and made some really big pitches throughout the outing. He sets such a great tone every game, no-hitter or not, and hung in there while our offense squeaked out enough runs to win.

*When Justin Verlander won the Cy Young AND AL MVP in 2011:
251IP, 174H/67ER, 250K:57BB, 2.40 ERA / 0.97 WHIP and a 172 ERA+

Justin Verlander in 2019:
200IP, 118H/56ER, 264K:36BB, 2.52 ERA / 0.77 WHIP and a 179 ERA+

That's 12 seasons with 200+ IP for Verlander. He's 26 strikeouts away from tying his career high of 290.

It's something I take pride in. Take the ball, go out there, don't put extra stress on the organization or your teammates. Find a way to go out there and get some outs. I think that mentality has kind of led me to here, where I'm looking for every single reason to stay in a start.

It wasn't another no-hitter, but it was pretty damn good.

*Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi vs the Astros:
June 29: 5IP, 6H/5R (3ER), 5K:3BB
Aug 2: 4IP, 9H/6ER, 1K:0BB.
Sept 7: 5IP, 5H/1ER, 5K:2BB

*Alex Bregman tied the game in the 6th with his 34th home run and his 100th RBI of the season. It's the 22nd instance in franchise history in which a player has enjoyed a 30HR/100RBI season. It's only the 4th time an Astro has done it in multiple seasons, so let's check consecutive seasons of 30HR/100 RBI:

1. Jeff Bagwell: 6 (1996-2001)
2. Lance Berkman: 2 (2001-2002)
3. Alex Bregman: 2 (2018-2019)

He joins Bagwell and Berkman as the only Astros with 100 RBI, 100 runs, and 100 walks in a season.

*Kyle Tucker had a pinch-hit home run double and scored the game-winning run on Josh Reddick's sac fly. Tucker:
It's awesome to contribute. If I can get in there any way, I can help out. I feel a little bit more relaxed this go around. This team is pretty well synced-up with each other, so I'm feeding off that. We've got a great clubhouse.

*Yuli Gurriel is out for the weekend with his sore hamstring, but the Astros *may* have dodged a bullet. Hinch:
We don't think it's very serious. He was very positive leaving the ballpark last night. He's going to see our doctors and then we'll go from there. 

*Springer was available off the bench for last night's game, and could return to the lineup today.

*Missed this from a few days ago, from FanGraphs: The mystery of Justin Verlander's home runs.

*Bryan Abreu rejoined the Astros on Saturday, helping out the bullpen which had thrown 13IP in the previous two games.

*This time it was Iowa's turn to walk it off in Game 4. The fifth, and deciding, game will be today at 12:38pm Central. MiLB is listing Forrest Whitley as the starter.

*Down East scored one in the bottom of the 7th and the bottom of the 8th to beat Fayetteville in the first of a playoff double-header, leaving the second game as a must-win for the Woodpeckers...Which they did, 7-2! David Hensley and Ruben Castro had three hits each. SP Luis Garcia threw 6IP, 5H/2ER, 10K:2BB for the win. Now the Woodpeckers have to win today against the Ramgers' affiliate to make it to the next round.

*Reymin Guduan cleared waivers and was unconditionally released. Worth noting that the Astros did not retain him in the organization at all. Interesting.

*Twins SP Michael Pineda was suspended 60 games (reduced from 80 on appeal) for violating the PED policy while trying to lose weight. That means Pineda is not eligible for the postseason. Shame, really. Pineda was 11-5 for the Twins, with a 4.01 ERA / 1.16 WHIP and, depending on how you value certain statistics, was either the Twins' best or 2nd-best SP. While I fully support non-Yankees/Red Sox AL teams having success and making the postseason, the Twins have irritated me and I care not for them.

*Chicago's Javy Baez has a hairline fracture in his thumb and might not return in 2019.

*The New Yorker's Dan Piepinbring, on the time he spent with Prince shortly before he passed away.

*Scientific American: How misinformation spreads, and why we fall for it.

*A Musical Selection: