Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday Morning Hot Links

This week was really stupid and I, for one, am extremely happy that it's over. I hope everybody got to exorcise their demons from the offseason this week. Two nights ago I kicked over a glass of water I had idiotically put next to the couch, then immediately slipped in the water on the downstep, sending me flying to a point where I kicked the back door and hit my head on the side of the couch. Thus, no Hot Links yesterday. I do not regret skipping a day.

The Astros beat the Angels 9-6. The bats returned from their quarantine with 12 hits and seven walks. Every Astro had a hit, except for Altuve and Maldonado. Altuve is hitless in his last 13 ABs. Maldonado drew three walks in a game for the 4th time in his career and the first time since September 2016.

Kyle Tucker was 3x5 with 4RBI, a career-high. George Springer showed signs of life with a 2x4, 1BB, 2RBI night. Carlos Correa has a hit in all seven Astros games played.

Lance McCullers: 4IP, 6H/4ER, 4K:4BB.
The Bullpen: 5IP, 2H/2R (1ER), 5K:8BB.

The Astros' pitching staff walked 12 Angels batters. It's the 5th time in franchise history the Astros have walked 11+ batters and still won the game - the last time the Astros walked 12 and won was June 11, 1994. Dusty:
You walk 12, you don't usually win that game. But these guys battled.

Angels 1-3 in the lineup: 5x9, 1K:6BB, 5RBI
Angels 4-9 in the lineup: 3x24, 8K:6BB, 1RBI

*Check out McTaggart's Inbox!

*Chandler Rome: How families are coping with being Anywhere But The Stadium for all these MLB debuts.

*Urquidy may be further ahead in the comeback timeline than Yordan, who is apparently up to 30 swings. Ryan Pressly's elbow is improving.

*Jim Crane reallllllly needs to stop talking out loud to people with recorders and platforms. Crane, for some unknown unGodly reason decided to sit down and talk with Bob Nightengale. Read it, it's not paywalled. Some notes:
-Crane got death threats in January. That's...something else entirely.
-We broke the rules. We got penalized. We were punished. There's no doubt it weighs on all of us every single day.
-On the infamous February Press Conference: We didn't come off like I wanted to. If I had to do it over again, I'd do it differently. The press conference didn't go well at all. I didn't handle it as well as I should have. 
-On the sign-stealing [waves hands] thing: I think [MLB] had a bigger problem than everybody realized. Two other teams were doing things and got caught, but we're the ones who took the bullet. That's the way it works. I'm not trying to blame anyone else. It was our problem. We dealt with it.

Okay, so's okay. Then:

-On Brandon Taubman: Brandon Taubman didn't commit domestic violence. He just made a comment. It's nothing you can defend. He had a few cocktails. He was happy. There were people constantly coming at him over [Osuna], and he overreacted. Did he do the right thing? No. Everybody makes mistakes. But is he a good, genuine decent person and smart kid? Absolutely. I hated to see him lose his job, but we had no choice.

Oh no. Brandon Taubman is 35 years old.

-On trading for Osuna: We didn't anticipate the Osuna thing would catch that much heat. But when it did, the players were concerned. I told the guys on our team, 'Listen, we made the decision. He paid his price. We think he deserves a second chance. If he screws up, he's out of here. You don't have to worry about it. 
-On the Astros "front-office culture:" We didn't have a culture problem. They're isolated incidents that are unrelated.

Except they're not! The Astros traded for Osuna, a year and a half later Taubman does His Thing, which blows up literally on the eve of the World Series. The Astros lose the World Series, and two weeks later The Athletic drops their bombshell. MLB had no choice but to investigate the Astros. They were isolated incidents over the course of 18 months, but they are not unrelated.

He did say one thing about Verlander, though:
He's hopeful, so we'll see. But you never know with these elbows. It could be a slight tear. It could be a strain. But if he had to have Tommy John, and I don't think that's anywhere near clear yet, he wouldn't be back until 2022. 

*Fernando Rodney has apparently passed his physical and is headed to satellite camp in Corpus. It's a minor-league deal but since there aren't "minor leagues" this year, I don't really know what that means, other than that someone would have to get optioned off the 40-Man Roster in order to add him. I applaud this as now I am no longer older than all of the Astros. Rodney has been teammates with A.J. Hinch, Steve Sparks, Jose Lima, Brian Moehler, Steve Avery, Rondell White, Ugueth Urbina, Troy Percival, Magglio Ordonez, Matt Stairs, and Kenny Rogers.

*Brandon Bellamy is the first Black majority baseball owner since 1987.

*FanGraphs' Ben Clemens: The Curious Case of the Curveball at Night.

*The Guardian: How one hour of slow breathing changed my life.

*These fools seem to think the best burger in Texas is in Dallas. This is preposterous. Everyone knows it's Storm's in Burnet, Lampasas, or Hamilton.

*Outside: Two friends quit their jobs to build a cabin. Everything went wrong.

*Wired: The Garmin hack was a warning.

*A Musical Selection: