Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

Rays starting pitchers have made two bad pitches. The Astros are up 2-0 in the series, and are one win away from advancing to the ALCS.

*Houston went from 69.5% favorites to win the Series on Friday morning to 82% yesterday to 93.1% today. FanGraphs has the Astros at 52-48 to win tomorrow afternoon in Tampa and close it out. Yesterday I said that Game 3 would start at 1:07pm. That was wrong. First pitch is at 12:07pm. 50 teams have taken a 2-0 lead, and 43 of them have won the series. Kevin Kiermaier:
We're obviously disappointed down two games to zero. They've just been a little bit better so far. Verlander threw great, Cole was about as dominant as you can get. Our pitchers threw the ball great, they just came up with a few more hits than us.

*Gerrit Cole did Gerrit Cole things: 7.2IP, 4H/0ER, 15K:1BB. Cole became the 7th pitcher to strike out 15+ batters in a postseason game. Your full list:
Bob Gibson (17): 1968 World Series Game 1.
K*vin Bro*n (16): 1998 NLDS Game 1.
Gerrit Cole (15): 2019 ALDS Game 2.
Roger Clemens (15): 2000 ALCS Game 4.
Livan Hernandez (15): 1997 NLCS Game 5.
Mike Mussina (15): 1997 ALCS Game 3.
Sandy Koufax (15): 1963 World Series Game 1.

Gerrit Cole's 15 strikeouts in a postseason game are a franchise record, breaking Mike Scott's record of 14 Ks, which Scott did in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS. According to MLB Network, Gerrit Cole's 33 swings and misses are an MLB record since they started keeping track of that in 2008. Cole:
We've got a lot more work to take care of. There's a few months this winter that maybe we can sit back and have a drink about it. Right now, it's on to the next one. 

Whether it's about the new-age opener or pulling guys third time through, most of the people that support that haven't had Verlander or Cole on their team. It's hard for me to relate to having to pull guys early or wanting to pull guys early when these guys are putting up these kinds of performances...I'm going to roll with these boys while we have them.

He was incredible. It's hard to put into words exactly what his performance meant for us tonight.

*The Rays went 5x45 with 23 strikeouts against Verlander and Cole. Kevin Kiermaier:
Good for Jeff Luhnow, or whatever their GM's name is, for acquiring him. Like they needed any more than Verlander and Greinke and all the other guys they have.

*Brian T. Smith: Gerrit Cole is the best pitcher on the planet. Lots of one-word paragraphs and two-word sentences in this.

*Roberto Osuna allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:2BB in 0.2IP and looked terrible when he came back out for the 9th. Hunter Atkins reports that Osuna is not thrilled with the Astros' wanting him to throw more sliders. Context:
"I usually throw my fastball a little bit more, then I go to my changeup. I don't believe the slider's my best pitch."

That was part of the problem heading into Saturday's game. The Astros wanted Osuna to prepare to throw Tampa Bay a lot of sliders, to use it like his best pitch. He was iffy, but he went along with the plan.

"That's what really got me upset tonight," Osuna said.

Good article, highly recommended. Hinch, on Osuna:
Osuna's our guy. He'll get the ball when he needs to get the ball and when we expect him to get the last three outs. There's always a consideration for just putting the guys out there against the matchups. But I believe in Osuna, and I believe he's the best matchup most of the time.

*Will Harris recorded the save. Harris had six regular season saves since the beginning of 2017. Harris has inherited five baserunners in the last two games and none of them have scored. Harris:
It's a long postseason if you're going to win it. You're going to have some ups and downs and you have to win 11 games. We won our first two, but it's not going to be seamless. There's going to be some bumps in the road.

*The Astros have hit a home run in each of their last 27 postseason games, extending a franchise record.

*The Astros went 2x12 w/RISP a day after going 3x9 w/RISP in Game 1. So the Astros are 5x21 w/RISP this series. And are up 2-0.

*Alex Bregman hit his first home run of the postseason.
Bregman, 2017 postseason: .208/.256/.417, 10K:5BB, 4HR.
Bregman, 2018-19 playoffs: .333/.565/.733, 6K:13BB, 3HR.

A full and complete list of the pitchers off of which Alex Bregman has homered in the postseason:

-Blake Snell (2018 AL Cy Young winner)
-Trevor Bauer (2018 All-Star)
-Corey Kluber (2014, 2017 AL Cy Young)
-Kenley Jansen (3x All-Star)
-Clayton Kershaw (3x NL Cy Young, 2014 NL MVP, 8x All-Star)
-Chris Sale (7x All-Star)

The environment that we've played in the last two days here is unmatched. And we love playing in front of these great fans. They know the game of baseball. They have fun. They're passionate.

*George Springer is having a rough one so far. He went 0x4 with a strikeout in Game 2, bringing his ALDS to 0x8. The last time he had back-to-back hitless games in the postseason was ALCS Games 1-2. He had a hit in every single postseason game in 2018.

*Yordan Alvarez was 2x4, as was Carlos Correa. Martin Maldonado was 2x3 with an RBI.

*As much as Girardi and Pierzynski (I don't even know who the play-by-play guy is because he says maybe ten words all game) wanted The Stool to be a controversy, it wasn't. Hinch:
I don't blame [the ball boy]. That's unlucky more than bad. I think he tried to take a swipe at it. That ball's coming in pretty hot. A little unlucky on our part. I wish it would have gone through the gap there or gotten down into the corner, and I think Tuck scores. It was a great hit and run by Martin [Maldonado]. But we got a little unlucky.

*Chandler Rome: How an early-September talk with A.J. Hinch turned Kyle Tucker's motor on. Hinch:
We talked to him about it when he first got here, and I think he wants no part of the reputation of being a low-motor or an aloof type player. He's taken it to heart and is paying with the urgency that we want.

*Richard Justice: The Astros are proof that starting pitching still matters. Verlander:
I feel like, if I did my job as a starting pitcher throughout the season, that our bullpen should be fresh and ready to thrive. I know what you're asking because I have an old-school mentality.

*Jenny Dial Creech: Uncle Mike brings smiles to the clubhouse. Hinch:
[Brantley is] extremely valuable in all aspects of our team. He's a balanced person. He's a balanced player. He posts every day. I think he's a great influence for our guys. I think he's really found a way to lead without being the most vocal guy, and people still look at him.

*Hinch, on the Astros' aggressiveness on the basepath:
I like pressure. I like making them make plays. And that comes with a little bit of risk. And [Friday], when it works out for us, it's great...But 90 feet matters. If you can steal it, all the better.

*A Musical Selection: