Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

The Astros beat the Mariners 3-0 for the second straight night to improve to a franchise-high 104-54 and are 50 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history. Houston is 9-1 in their last 10 games. There are four regular season games remaining. The playoffs start one week from tomorrow.

*Scoreboard Watching:
New York lost to Tampa, Los Angeles beat San Diego

Houston (104-54): -
Los Angeles (102-56): -2
New York (102-57): -2.5

Reminder that the Astros hold the tie-breaker on New York, so the Astros could clinch home field throughout the AL playoffs with a win tonight. The Yankees are off tonight before finishing their season with Arlington, who has lost nine of their last ten games, something you just hate to see.

*Chaos Watching:
After the games of last night, here's how the AL Wild Card standings...stand:

Oakland beat Anaheim, Tampa beat New York, Cleveland lost to the White Sox.
WC1: Oakland (95-63)
WC2: Tampa (95-64)
Cleveland (93-65) -1.5

*Anyhow, the Astros won their 104th game of the season, breaking a franchise record set all the way back in 2018. Hinch and the team celebrated with a champagne toast:
We want to have a moment and recognize the type of season that we've had, franchise record number of wins. We have a chance to beat our own record the next few games. Just a great accomplishment as a team - a lot of players, a lot of coaches. Front office putting the team together. Everybody should be proud of this team, and our season is really just beginning with the postseason very close.

Houston went 18-1 against Seattle in 2019 and have won 13 games in a row against them. Thanks, Mariners. Houston and the 2019 Cleveland Indians are the only teams to win 18 games against an opponent in a season (Cleveland got the Tigers 18 out of 19 times).

*Zack Greinke was two outs away from a no-hitter when Austin Nola (who was 0x16 coming into that AB) singled to break it up. He's the first Astros pitcher to lose a no-hitter in the 9th since Mike Scott on June 12, 1988. Greinke: 8.1IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:1BB. He walked Dee Gordon in the 6th to end his walk-less streak at 29.1IP.

Nola only came into the game because Dee Gordon's back stiffened up after he collided with a teammate. Nola:
I watched [Greinke] all game. He was unbelievable. I don't think he threw many balls over the middle of the plate. I was just going up there looking for somewhat of a decent pitch. I knew I wasn't going to get much good stuff, but it all worked out.

Mariners manager Scott Servais, on Greinke:
It was art. He's out there just dealing and drawing it up the way he wants to. It's frustrating when he's on his game like that, because you really have to be disciplined at the plate. One of the things he's really good at is when he gets ahead in the count, the balls are just off the edge and they look like strikes. Veteran pitcher and he was really on top of his game tonight. Coming in after Cole, it's totally different styles.

More Servais, on facing Greinke:
It is torture. Those guys, certainly different styles. That's the beauty of our game. Everybody doesn't have to be the same size or throw the hardest, whatever, there's a lot of different ways to be successful in this game.

Greinke, after losing a no-hitter in the 7th against Washington earlier this year:
I don't really think about [no-hitters] that much. I just assume I'll never throw one. Just probably be more hassle than anything.

Legend. Greinke's next start will be Game 3 of the ALDS.

*Alex Bregman had three of the Astros' seven hits, two of them doubles (one of those on the 14th pitch of the AB). Bregman is hitting .298/.421/.595. He has 37 doubles. Three more and he joins 2000 Richard Hidalgo (42 doubles, 44 home runs) and 1997 Jeff Bagwell (40 doubles, 43 home runs) as the only Astros with a 40-40 season.

*Kyle Tucker hit the 3rd home run of his career in the 9th inning, extending the Astros' franchise record for consecutive games with a home run to 21.

*Jake Marisnick is 5x31 in September.

*Carlos Correa was out of the lineup last night. The Astros have played 320 regular season games since the beginning of the 2018 season. Carlos Correa has played in 185 (57.8%) of them. He turned 25 on September 22. Why was he out? His back was still tight after the flight from Houston to Seattle. Were this the playoffs, he'd be in the lineup, he said. Carlos Correa has had eleven PAs since August 19. He played September 17, September 20, and September 21.

A.J. Hinch announced that Correa won't play tonight at Anaheim, due to getting in so late. Hinch:
I think it is smart for us to play it more cautiously. I'll feel better when he's on the field. There's a certain timing and rhythm and playing that he needs to do to make us all feel better. He played very well when he was active a few days ago.

*Join Astros All-Access as they take you inside the clubhouse following the clinching of the division.

*Chandler Rome talked to Gerrit Cole about his strikeouts, and Cole ended up talking about wins:
Ultimately, it's a team stat. It's one of the things that I don't have as much control of as I think I do, but I'm as proud of it as any stat that I have. I'm looking forward to the opportunity [to win 20 games]. I think it would be really unique to have to guys win 40 games out of however many we're going to win, that would be really special and be really special for the guys playing behind us. 

*In The Athletic, Jake Kaplan has three potential solutions to the Wade WTF Miley Conundrum in Game 4:
a) Jose Urquidy
b) Short-Rest Verlander
c) Bullpen Game for G4.

*Eno Sarris wonders what - if anything - predicts a team's success in the playoffs.

*A Musical Selection: