Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Well the Astros game got canceled, as you by now well know. What that does tell us is that yesterday was the "Travel Day" instead of Friday. Tonight's game is at 7:08pm Central, Friday's game is at 6:08pm Central. Let's get right to it:

*A.J. Hinch pretty much immediately said that Zack Greinke would start Game 4, and Justin Verlander in Game 5. The Yankees are probably going to go back to their Games 1 & 2 starters of Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton. Hinch:
It was our plan if this happened. It's Zack's normal day. He was going to pitch on Thursday no matter what game number it was [and then] JV on regular rest in Game 5. The sooner we can use our best pitchers, the better for us. It was an easy decision. 

This makes sense to me because, and let's just assume every single thing goes the way the Astros want it to (which automatically makes what's about to follow completely invalid): Steal a win from Tanaka on Thursday (up 3-1 in the series), Verlander locks down Game 5 on Friday (Astros win series). The World Series starts on Tuesday, so Cole would be good to go on extra rest, Greinke on normal rest Wednesday, and Verlander would get an extra day before Game 3. That's assuming the absolute best-case scenario.

Let's say it's a mid-case scenario: Tanaka beats Houston again, and the series is tied at 2-2. I would rather have Verlander in Yankee Stadium for Game 5 on regular rest than to throw Urquidy - who literally started the season in Corpus. That's nothing against Urquidy, at all, but Verlander knows what to expect. Save Urquidy for Houston, if needed.

So let's draw it up if the Astros leave New York up 3-2. You could throw Urquidy/Peacock in Game 6 and have Cole for Game 7, in which the next-best-case scenario is that you don't need Cole. Or you do need him and, assuming he wins, he'd be good for Game 3 of the World Series, again behind Greinke and Verlander.

Let's go worst-case scenario, that the Yankees win both Games 4&5 in New York and fly to Houston up 3-2. The Yankees are going to have to throw a bullpen day on Saturday in Game 6, on their 3rd game in a row. If the Astros counter with their own bullpen game, as Todd Kalas notes, it'll come on the heels of a Verlander start, so you can reasonably expect the Astros' bullpen won't be as taxed as the Yankees, with Paxton throwing. Or you can start Gerrit Cole. Then you can start Gerrit Cole on Sunday, when the Yankees bullpen is on its 4th game in four days. Of course the Astros will be in the same position, but Houston's rotation is built to eat innings. There are an awful lot of variables here, but, as Hinch said:
We'll look into whatever Game 6 is going to bring, but there's so much baseball that has to be played we haven't begun discussions on if or when or whether or not that would even be important or relevant at this point.

*FanGraphs has Greinke/Tanaka in their matchups, and the Astros are 50.5-49.5. Astros in 5 or 6 are the highest probabilities. Overall, Dan Szymborski adjusted ZiPS down to 70.5-29.5 Astros for the series. Dan Szymborski:
In the end, who wins the American League championship will come down to what the Astros and Yankees do, not the rain. Which, really, is how it should be.

*'s Do-Hyoung Park has a wider-angle view of the impact of the rainout.

*The Athletic's Lindsey Adler: Assessing the Yankees bullpen workload, and the ones that got away.

*USA Today's Bob Nightengale: Mother Nature dealt a body blow to the Yankees.

*The forecast tonight for 8pm Eastern in The Bronx calls for no rain, but temps in the mid-50s with strong winds out of the west. That would push the ball to that short right-field porch.

*Whenever the Astros beat a playoff team suddenly it's because they're cheating. A.J. Hinch finds that funny. Hinch:
If they don't want to tip their pitches then they should take consideration into doing the same thing over and over again.

*Cole, Verlander, and something called a "Lucas Giolito" are the AL finalists for the Players' Choice pitcher of the year award.

*Get a full-size print of Josh Reddick's Hudson River School-esque catch in front of the wall

*Stephanie Apstein: The changed postseason baseball and our new reality.

*FanGraphs: Brian McCann's fascinating Hall of Fame case.

*Wall Street Journal: Daryl Morey was the target of a "troll mob" of pro-China disinformation campaign.

*Very cool story on ESPN yesterday morning, which you can now see here, on the Unbreakable Bond between DeAndre Hopkins and his mother.

*Meanwhile, as we wait for the Astros to continue playing in their third straight ALCS, you can read this Rodger Sherman piece in The Ringer about the Astros and tanking and UH football and tanking.

*Scenes from Japan in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagidis.

*A note about today's Musical Selection: There's this dude from Minnesota named Sean Tillman, and he is a genius, and I have been obsessed with his music for about six years. He's one of the Old Dudes in the scene from Pitch Perfect, and his album "Bye Bye 17" is one of my favorite albums of the 2000s, definitely in my Top-15/20 of all time.