Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Well that got out of hand in a hurry and everyone should feel ashamed. Tied 2-2 with Verlander on the mound in the 7th, the Astros lost 12-3. It is 2-0 Nationals. Game 1 was stupid. Game 2 was pathetic. Game 3 is in Washington on Friday.

*Stephen Strasburg, after Washington clinched the NL Pennant:
You have a great year, and you can run into a buzz saw. Maybe this year we're the buzz saw.

*Rustin Dodd notes the last eleven teams to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series have gone on to win it. FanGraphs gives it 64.5-35.5 Nationals on winning the Series. FiveThirtyEight says it's 81-19 Nationals. The last team to be down 0-2 going on the road and win the World Series under the current 2-3-2 format were the 1996 Yankees.

We have a really good team. Clearly, the Nats have outplayed us - bottom line. They came into our building and played two good games. We're going to have to try to sleep off the latter third of this game.

*The last time the Astros lost two games in a row with Cole and Verlander on the mound was June 18-19, at Cincinnati. It also happened April 2-3, at Arlington. The last time the Astros lost two games with Cole and Verlander on the mound at home was August 9-10, 2018, to Seattle. Verlander and Cole are the first pair of 20-win teammates to lose Games 1 & 2 of the World Series since 1965, when Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale did it. The Dodgers won the Series in seven games.

*Houston had a players' only meeting in the clubhouse following Game 2. Correa, who is "hitting" .174/.224/.348 in 12 games this postseason with 22 strikeouts in 53 PAs:
We talked as a team, and obviously a big group of guys we have here is a family. We talked about keeping our heads up and moving forward and going out there and playing like we can play. It was just us talking to ourselves. We're such a good team. A 2-0 [deficit] should not mess with our heads. We should stay focused moving forward for the next game.

*Josh Reddick:
I don't think we've looked like the Astros all postseason. We've just snuck by and now it's just catching up to us where this team is taking all our exploits and really putting them out there.

*Bregman, who basically made two errors in the fateful 7th Inning:
I remember when we lost three in a row in New York and the world was coming to an end and the next thing you know we're in the World Series in '17. We've been here before.

*ESPN's Jeff Passan: The wacky 7th inning that put the Nationals two wins away from the World Series. Passan:
Over the course of 33 pitches, the Nationals turned a tense, taut pitchers' duel between their Stephen Strasburg and the Astros' Justin Verlander into a blowout. It wasn't a deluge. It wasn't some surgical deconstruction of a lesser. It just sort of materialized, not a gift - the Nationals don't need those - but a perfectly timed stroke of fortune.

Hinch, on the 7th:
Where would you like me to start? The leadoff homer? That's what happened. And soft contact for the rest of that inning that we didn't make a couple of plays, and they made contact in big at-bats and the inning spiraled out of control.

Kurt Suzuki had never hit a home run in the postseason before. He had never hit a home run off Justin Verlander before, though he did come in to the game hitting .333/.349/.381 in 43 PAs against him.

You win baseball games with offense, but offense comes and goes. Good pitching beats good hitting. Tonight, we hit a bunch of balls hard that were at people. You need the ball to go your way sometimes.

*Verlander 1st Inning: 2H/2ER, 2K:1BB.

Verlander 1st Inning, 2019 Postseason: 5 games, 10H/9ER, 8K:3BB.

Justin Verlander, World Series (6 starts): 33IP, 30H/21ER, 36K:11BB, 5.73 ERA / 1.24 WHIP.

But hey congratulations to Verlander, his strikeouts last night made him the postseason strikeout king, passing The Coward John Smoltz.

*After ALDS G4, Michael Brantley was 2x16, .125/.125/.125. Since, he's hitting .333/.444/.433.

*George Springer met with A.J. Hinch prior to Game 2 to discuss his baserunning performance in Game 1. Hinch:
I think George got caught up in the moment of the play, in the anxiousness to see if the ball was leaving. It wasn't an egregious showmanship kind of pimp job, as they call it. It was a delay in reading the play correctly to where, once he started running, he ran into Tucker, who was coming back to tag up because Eaton looked like he was camped underneath the ball.

George Springer did not cost the Astros Game 1. The Astros got ten hits, walked five times, and left eleven men on base. They went 3x12 w/RISP. George Springer misreading a fly ball did not cost the Astros the game.

*Mike Petriello: The Astros' offensive woes with runners in scoring position is bordering on historic. Petriello:
To try to put that into context, that's more or less the line that Baltimore's Chris Davis put up this year, .179/.276/.326, .601. That's not what you want.

NO MIKE, IT IS NOT. Houston went 0x5 w/RISP in Game 2. They're 17x87 (.195) with runners in scoring position this postseason.

*Tim Brown: Despite two bad losses, Houston has a lot of baseball left.

*Bob Nightengale: The Astros remain surprisingly positive after Game 2.

*MLB is going to investigate Brandon Taubman. Rob Manfred: "We have to be tremendously concerned."

SI: How MLB could punish Houston.

Related, Jeff Luhnow went on SportsTalk 790:
Brandon has apologized for inappropriate behavior and I think, from my perspective, clearly something happened that he regrets. What we don't really know is the intent behind the inappropriate comments he made. We may never know that because the person who said them and the people who heard them, at least up to this point, have different perspectives.


*Jenny Dial Creech: The Astros just don't get it. Chandler Rome updated his story after Luhnow's 790 appearance. Ken Rosenthal dropped the hammer on Houston's front office. Marc Normandin wrote about MLB's culture with domestic violence. I wrote some things down Tuesday morning.

*Ben Lindbergh: The Astros don't deserve a World Series of distraction.

*The American League Silver Medalists are expected to go after Gerrit Cole this off-season.

*ESPN's Jeff Passan has a report out about MLB looking into 50-year old umpire Rob Drake and one of his (since-deleted) tweets which read that he was going to buy an AR-15 because:
if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020

*Bench Coach Joe Espada had a phone interview with the Giants.

*A Musical Selection: