Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros lost 4-2. They're 12-4 in their last 16 games and stand at 90-50 on the season.

*The Yankees beat the Rangers, so they take the AL's best record by one game. There are 22 regular season games remaining, and four of them - Oakland at home next week - feature an opponent over .500. The next eight games are at Minute Maid Park.

*Zack Greinke threw one bad pitch to Eric Thames, which resulted in a 3-run home run: 6IP, 8H/4ER, 4K:0BB. It's his first Loss since July 14 and the first game he has started in which the Astros didn't win. Greinke smoked a single off Lyles, and then was promptly picked off. One of those kind of games. How did Greinke get picked off? Greinke:
I was trying to steal. Got nine career steals, trying to get 10. Don't know if I'll ever get there now. That was probably my last chance.

Next Astros game in a National League park is ideally World Series Game 3.

Worth noting that the Astros selected Eric Thames off waivers from the Orioles on September 5, 2013. He had not appeared in an MLB game since 2012, and he did not play for the Astros that September. The Astros released Thames on December 9, 2013 and went to play in Korea for three seasons, hit 124 home runs, and signed with the Brewers prior to 2017. I guess what I'm saying is that this loss is Luhnow's fault.

Maldonado caught Greinke for the first time since they were both with the Brewers in 2012, in order to get ready for the playoffs.

*Abraham Toro got his 1st career triple. Good work, Toro.

*Josh Reddick has not hit a home run since June 28, a span of 186 PAs, or 48 starts - extending a career-high set all the way back in 2018.

*George Springer had to be carted off the field after robbing Ryan Braun of extra-bases and crashing into the outfield wall, hitting his head on the way down. He was in considerable pain, but sitting upright as the cart took him for evaluation. Updates will be forthcoming as they're available. Reddick told McTaggart post-game that Springer was alert. He's scheduled to fly back to Houston with the team, in advance of the off-day on Wednesday. Reddick:
When me and Mike got there, (Springer) seemed to be very alert. He just kept saying he had a headache. That was a positive sign. He wasn't dizzy. He didn't have any memory loss out there. He made sure he answered all the questions right.

I don't want to talk about this game anymore.

*A.J. Hinch did some actual talking prior to the Brewers game, and tried to downplay whether or not Roberto Osuna was, actually, on fire:
I don't carry one game into the next. The last thing I'm going to do is show any sort of concern or any sort of panic when it comes to him. He's really good, he's got good stuff. He made a mistake to one of the best hitters in baseball, and [Yelich] tied the game. That's really the extent of his quote-unquote struggles yesterday.

Osuna, March 28-May 20: 21.1IP, 7H/1ER, 19K:2BB. 0.42 ERA / 0.42 WHIP. It is impossible to sustain that level of dominance over the course of a season.

Osuna, May 24-ASG: 15.2IP, 16H/7ER, 20K:4BB. 4.02 ERA / 1.28 WHIP. A little bit of a course correction? Osuna allowed an earned run in five of those 16 appearances.

Osuna, ASG-Sept 2: 17.2IP, 17H/11ER, 19K:4BB. 5.60 ERA / 1.19 WHIP, allowing an earned run in eight of 19 appearances.

Or taken as a Tale of Two Seasons:

Osuna through May 20: 21.1IP, 7H/1ER, 19K:2BB. 0.42 ERA / 0.42 WHIP.
Osuna, May 24-Sept 2: 33.1IP, 33H/19ER, 39K:8BB. 4.86 ERA / 1.23 WHIP.

There's not much else to say. I don't think that Osuna is a 4.00+ ERA pitcher. He's not a sub-1.00 ERA pitcher. He's giving up 1.3 HR/9, but doesn't get the number of innings a starting pitcher gets to even that out. Verlander is giving up 1.5 HR/9, but routinely pitches 6-7 innings. Osuna gets one inning, tops. It's so hard to statistically evaluate relievers, especially closers. They're brought in to face the best of the lineup in a close game, and sometimes things don't go their way. Or, if the OSUNA SUCKX narrative suits you better, no one is going to talk you out of it.

Right now, I've got to be honest - I got my mind thinking about October. Obviously, you think about winning games every day, but what I'm taking September to do, for me, is getting ready for the postseason. I gave up the home run yesterday, but, I mean, Maldonado and Chirinos and myself, we had a dinner [Monday] night and we were talking about, 'OK, we've got to learn from this and move on and make sure this will not happen in the playoffs.' 

If you think of it in that regard - that it was just an interleague game on Labor Day - you can see how Osuna's mind might not be focused 100% on the task at hand. The playoffs start in a month, and that's what Osuna is looking forward to. It's not ideal, I guess, but you can't expect every player to play 162 games like it's Game 7. I'll withhold judgment on Osuna's pitching performance. Feel free to disagree.

Within that link, we find that Pressly is doing agility drills, Correa hit off a tee, and McHugh thinks his elbow is a similar issue to the one that caused him to miss 34 games earlier in the season...which would be right at ALDS time, if not ALCS time (should we be blessed with such a roster).

*Alex Bregman was named the August AL Player of the Month. He hit .404/.487/.747 in 26 games. Justin Verlander was obviously AL Pitcher of the Week, and Yordan Alvarez was the August AL Rookie of the Month, an award he has won in every month he has spent in Houston.

*Reymin Guduan was reinstated from the suspended list, the day after Round Rock's season ended, and subsequently DFA'd. About a week and a half ago I found out some things that led to Guduan getting suspended for a month. Since I wrote that, the story is maybe more complicated than that initial report, but no one is willing to talk even anonymously. Still, the story hasn't been refuted - or even addressed, really - by the Astros, Astros.com, or the Houston Chronicle.

*Jake Kaplan notes that every single domestic Astros affiliate (Round Rock, Corpus, Fayetteville, Quad Cities, and Tri-City) led the league in K/9. Related: home runs at Triple-A ballparks in 2019 - reminder that for the first time Triple-A used the same baseballs MLB uses - increased by 60% over their 2018 totals. Jayson Stark talked to a baseball exec who said, "from a development perspective, the PCL has now become essentially useless, and they are sending prospects to Double-A instead because the juiced ball is preventing clubs from accurately assessing players."

Yordan turned out okay so far.

*Not that these types of articles actually mean anything, but SI says the Astros' rotation gives them the edge over New York and Los Angeles in the postseason.

*Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees almost traded for Ken Giles at the deadline.

*Reuters: A climate-change frontier in the world's northernmost town.

*The Saturday Evening Post: America's first Opioid epidemic.

*SI: The Story of Tom Herman, Ed Orgeron, and LSU's Wild Coaching Search of 2016.

*NPR: Being optimistic might help you live longer.

*A Musical Selection: