Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday Morning(ish) Hot Links

*The Astros, Rockets, and Texans all played yesterday. They all lost. I saw someone on Twitter call it the Triple Frown and I have thought about that every ten minutes since. It was just an all-around brutal day in Houston.

*Jose Urquidy made his second start of the season and got through five scoreless innings and didn't allow a hit until the fifth frame. In the top of the sixth, Martin Maldanado grounded into a double play as Josh Reddick scored. With a 1-0 lead and no one worth getting excited about in the bullpen, Dusty Baker asked Urquidy for more. It did not work. A walk and a homerun from Matt Olson gave the A's a 2-1 lead and they held on to win, 3-1. 

*Dusty Baker:

“It’s not easy. We’re all frustrated, but these guys never get down. They get down momentarily and then they bounce right back,” Baker said. “This team is not lacking for confidence. They know they can play, know they can hit, we just have to get the job done.”

*Chandler Rome says the Astros offense is in need of a power surge.

"Finding one distinct reason for the disappearance is impossible. The Astros have dealt with a deluge of injuries. Altuve, Bregman and Michael Brantley have spent time on the injured list. Reigning American League Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez took eight at-bats before undergoing season-ending knee surgery. Missing him obviously ails this offense."

*Justin Verlander is targeting a return at the end of the month. He threw a 50-55 pitch bullpen on Wednesday and all signs point to it going well so far.

*Former Astros Legend Daz Cameron was called up by the Tigers. He was a part of the trade that brought one Justin Verlander to the Astros in 2017.

*Jake Kaplan attempts to figure out how the Astros arrived at a .500 record. 

"Overall, Houston has a .735 OPS, which ranks 19th among the 30 teams. The MLB average is .746, which is down from 2019 (.758). Brantley has been the Astros’ best hitter this season, followed by Kyle Tucker, who has a .858 OPS. They have also gotten more offense than expected from their catcher, the generally light-hitting Martín Maldonado, who has a .736 OPS. The list of overachievers in their lineup ends there."

*Now six games back, the Astros have essentially no chance to win the AL West. However, they are still given a 94 percent chance to make the playoffs given the expanded field. Once there, anything can happen, I guess. But, man, this year has not been fun.