Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saturday Morning Hot Links

*The Rays got Verlandered and an Altuve homer and a chokejob from the Rays' defense to take a 1-0 series lead. Houston now needs to go no worse than 2-2 to advance to the ALCS.

*The Astros came in to 2019 ALDS G1 as 69.5% favorites to win the Series, according to FanGraphs. That has now moved to 82-18. Houston's Win Probability tonight is 66.1%. Tonight's starter for Tampa Bay - Blake Snell - is about three weeks removed from his return from arthroscopic elbow surgery, and is likely to have as long a leash as Glasnow had.

*The last team to lose a Division Series after winning Game 1 was the 2017 Cleveland Indians. Three of the four Division Series in 2015 featured a Game 1 winner that ultimately lost the series). Overall, 27 out of 36 Game 1 winners (75.0%) since 2010 went on to win the Division Series. Bregman:
I think we've got a lot of work left to do, but it was a great start. Verlander came out and did a great job. Altuve had a big swing to get us on the board and break the ice. I think it's going to be a fun series, and we've got a lot of work cut out for us.

I think we're comfortable with what we do in big moments. I think we've been that way. If you look at our players, the pulse, the heartbeat, we have it.

*Verlander: 7IP, 1H/0ER, 8K:3BB. His three walks were the most he's issued since June 29. He has two or fewer walks in 19 of his 26 postseason starts. It's the 11th time in his career that he's thrown 7IP in the postseason. His teams are 9-2 when that happens, and the two losses were both 1-0 losses with Detroit in the 2013 postseason. Hinch:
He's got an incredible instinct for the moment. He leaves some gas in his gas tank at the end of his a good sprinter, like at the finish line, he's going to win. He's going to win the race at the end of his outings.

For me, the best thing that happened to Verlander yesterday was allowing the soft hit to Brandon Lowe in the 5th, because it removed any pressure of a no-hitter. Verlander came out after 100 pitches, and would likely be on track for a G4 start, if necessary, rather than have a no-hitter at 100 pitches and going back out for the 8th to try to get it.

Verlander, since the All-Star Break (including yesterday's game): 103.1IP, 62H/22ER, 155K:18BB. 1.92 ERA / 0.77 WHIP.

Verlander is ranked 3rd all-time in postseason strikeouts, passing Roger Clemens yesterday. His 14 postseason wins are tied with Tom Glavine for 3rd all-time.

*Pressly: 0.2IP, 4H/2ER, 0K:0BB. Didn't look great, but didn't get straight up knocked around. Exit Velocities on Pressly's hits allowed:
Single to Tommy Pham: 26.2 mph
Single to Eric Sogard: 90.0 mph
Single to Joey Wendle: 96.6 mph
Double to Austin Meadows: 101.6 mph

*Osuna: 1IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:0BB. 12 pitches, 9 strikes.

*Jose Altuve homered in his third straight G1. He has homered against the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Indians, and Rays in the postseason in his career. Houston is 7-0 in the postseason when Altuve hits a home run. Correa, on Altuve:
Unbelievable. [Altuve] told me before the game...'Hey, I've hit a homer in the first game of the last two postseasons. So I'm gonna make it three today,' and he did. When he tells me, I believe him. It doesn't surprise me.

Glasnow was throwing so good through the game. His fastball was almost invisible. I was not looking for one specific pitch. I was just looking up and I got lucky. He threw it there and I could hit it.

Altuve is one home run behind Chase Utley for the most postseason home runs hit by a 2B.

*Brantley: 2x4, 1K. Brantley had the hardest-hit ball that didn't actually get down for a hit when he lined out in the 1st on a 103.6 mph shot off the bat.

*Correa: 1x4, 3K. It looked like Correa was trying to get his timing down more than he was trying to have productive ABs. Jenny Dial Creech: A healthy Carlos Correa is a happy Carlos Correa.

*Correa-Chirinos-Reddick: 2x10, 6K:2BB.

*The Astros had three stolen bases in the game (Springer, Bregman, Gurriel). They stole one base in the entire 2018 postseason. They stole three bases in a game four times in the 2019 regular season - but two of those were in September (Sept 6, Sept 14). Hinch:
It was part of our strategy today. We felt like if we could put some pressure on them in opportune times, we were going to be able to manufacture some runs too. This is not a pitching staff that you're just going to ambush and get away with it.

*On Gurriel's pop-up that landed between Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows, both rested blame partially at the feet of Astros fans. Meadows:
It was tough to hear anything in general.

*The Ringer: The Astros have brought the Murderers Row lineup back to baseball.

*The Astros included both Jose Urquidy and Wade Miley on the ALDS roster, leaving off Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock. Hinch:
The two toughest ones for me were Devo and Peacock. Those guys both pitched in the World Series for us. They both are tremendous individuals, and both are all on board and deserving to be on playoff rosters. It's a depth luxury more than an indictment of them not being capable to handle the responsibility of being on there. 

*Verlander's cheering section sure was cute.

*A few links in The Athletic worth your time:
-Andy McCullough on Gerrit Cole. Cole:
[In the game] I don't need analytical help. I need feel. I need, like, 'Hey did you see the way that guy stepped out of the box and reacted to that pitch? Or 'Hey, you really f*****d that guy up.'

-Jake Kaplan on Hinch's midseason move to drop Bregman from 3rd to 4th, sandwiching him between two lefties in Brantley and Alvarez, and how it paid off yesterday. Hinch:
That's the real dilemma for the other side. 'Do you want to save your lefty for Brantley?' or 'Do you want to save it for Alvarez?' and you've got MVP right in the middle of it.

-Jayson Stark on Verlander:
Twenty and three! You know what that is? That's his record, since he pulled deep into the heart of Houston, Texas, in games played in September and October...

...If Verlander wins any more games in this postseason - which would seem like a definite possibility - he would become the first pitcher to win more than 20 September/October games over a three-year span since (ready?) Grover Cleveland Alexander won 25 for the 1915-17 Phillies, in slightly different times.

*MLBTR does the math on what a Cole extension would look like in the grand scheme of the Astros' mounting payroll. Short version: it doesn't look good.

*This Montrose baker might be the key to the Astros' success. Altuve: "If I keep hitting home runs, will you keep baking for me?"

*The other series have been updated by FanGraphs:
-Nationals 54-46 against LA
-Braves 53-47 against St. Louis
-Yankees 69-31 against Minnesota (last night Minnesota lost its MLB-record 14th consecutive postseason game).

*AL West postseason wins since 2013:
Houston: 19
Oakland: 2
Arlington: 2
Anaheim: 0
Seattle: 0

*The Nationals' win over the Dodgers last night ensures that the Astros' G3 will start at 1:07pm on Monday.

*Check the Hardball Times with "A Missing Major Leaguer: What Happened to Fred Osborne?"

*Outside: The essential post-run stretching routine to keep you injury-free. Side note: I was training to run a marathon in January. Two weeks of a sinus infection and bronchitis (and, let's be honest, postseason stress-hydrating) has delayed that a little bit.

*Mental Floss: The best sleeping position, according to experts.

*Deadspin: Inside TheMaven's plan to turn Sports Illustrated into a rickety content mill.

*Allow me to apologize for numerous inaccuracies in yesterday morning's Hot Links. It was a mess. I was trying to do two or three things two nights ago, and didn't do any of them particularly well.

*A Musical Selection: