*Since 2012 the home team has won 9 of the last 14 ALDS. The exceptions:
-2018 Yankees lost in five games to Cleveland.
-2016 Ramgers got swept by Toronto
-2014 Angels got swept by the Royals.
-2013 A's lost in five games to the Tigers.
-2012 A's lost in five games to the Tigers.
There's a Verlander theme running here.
*There have been 15 100-win teams in MLB since the beginning of the 1998 season:
-1998 Yankees (114-46): Won WS
-1998 Braves (106-56): Lost in NLCS
-1998 Astros (102-60): Freaking Padres
-2002 Yankees (103-59): Lost WS to Anaheim
-2002 A's (103-59): Lost ALDS to New York
-2002 Braves (101-61): Lost NLDS to San Francisco
-2003 Yankees (101-61): Lost WS to Florida
-2003 Braves (101-61): Lost NLDS to Chicago
-2003 Giants (100-62): Lost NLDS to Florida
-2017 Dodgers (104-58): Lost WS to Houston
-2017 Indians (102-60): Lost ALDS to New York
-2017 Astros (101-61): Won WS
-2018 Red Sox (108-54): Won WS
-2018 Yankees (100-62): Lost ALDS to Red Sox
-2018 Astros (103-59): Lost ALCS to Red Sox
Do with that what you will.
*McTaggart and Juan Toribio combined for a piece on how the Rays and Astros match up.
*FanGraphs has the math behind the matchups (and is a very good read):
In short, the Astros have baseball's best rotation, most patient lineup, best contact hitters, and arguably more pop than anyone else. They have no holes, and they will be favorites in every series the play from here on out. Our new ZiPS game-by-game odds give Houston a 69.5% chance of winning the series - the highest percentage in any first round matchup.
*FiveThirtyEight gives the Astros a 71-29 edge in Game 1. Also favored today: St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles.
*Carlos Correa says he feels great. Correa:
It's tough, but between [missing] four or five games in the regular season and being able to play in the playoffs, obviously I'll pick the playoffs. I feel great right now. My back feels really good. I had no issues at all during these three workouts. I'm very happy I get to play with my teammates and perform for my city.
*Good news! Yordan is "excited" for the playoffs! Yordan:
I'm excited, but this is normal. This is baseball. I'm going to just continue to do the same work as I did during the regular season and keep doing that.
Keep doing that, Yordan.
*Jake Kaplan has a piece regarding the age-defying Yuli Gurriel. Gerrit Cole, on Gurriel:
He's really been incredible. It's pretty fascinating to watch, especially because he's not even in the three-hole. Most people's third hitters are putting up those types of numbers, if they are.
*The Astros - as of 5:44am on Friday - have yet to announce their ALDS roster as "coming down to the wire." Miley, on coming out of the bullpen:
I would be completely fine with anything to try to go out and help the team. I know everyone's made a big deal out of the last month. It was a pretty ugly month. It is what it is. It's baseball. But, at the same time, I think I can help this club.
Playoffs is a different animal. If you don't have it that given day, you don't have that leash that you normally have in the regular season to log some more innings. The games can get away from you quickly. I'm OK with that.
*Richard Justice says the Astros and Rays find the "best version" of players.
*Chandler Rome: The Astros' emergence into a superpower comes from putting the ball in play.
*The Astros are about to play a whole bunch of afternoon games.
*Shoutout to Dad of Twins Josh Reddick. He about to go on a tear.
*If the Astros re-sign Gerrit Cole and payroll is $227m (over the
*Elsewhere: The Cardinals took Game 1 from the Braves after Dallas Keuchel had thrown 74 pitches. Reminder that the Cardinals are a team of actual corncobs. Then the Braves called out Ronald Acuna.
*Sports Illustrated got decimated yesterday.
*The Atlantic: The Cult of Rich-Kid Sports.
*"You won't believe what happened:" The wild, disturbing saga of Robert Kraft's visit to a strip mall sex spa.
*A Musical Selection To Turn Up To 11:
And this is the 200th song in the Hot Links Music Spotify playlist!