Saturday, September 26, 2020

Saturday Morning Hot Links

Huh. Well the Astros crapped the bed late, but the Angels out-crapped the Astros, and Houston is headed to the postseason for a franchise-record fourth straight year. Houston is 29-29. There are two games remaining, and the Astros need to win one to extend a season .500 streak to six seasons, tying a record set from 2001-2006. One more win also means the Astros won't be the first team in MLB history to make the playoffs with a sub-.500 record. Dusty Baker is the first manager in MLB history to take five different franchises to the postseason (Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Washington). 

*Houston was down 2-1, took a 3-2 lead, and then allowed the Euless Rangers to tie it in the bottom of the 9th, before scoring in the top of the 10th and allowing two in the bottom half of the inning. Alex Presley Josh Pressly Ryan Pressly and Enoli Paredes were the culprits, though the Astros "hitting" 1x10 with runners in scoring position was as big of a culprit. Ronald Guzman hit a two-out two-strike home run to ensure Pressly's 4th Blown Save of the season in 16 chances. Pressly was asked in the post-game if he was going to stay up and watch the end of the Dodgers/Angels game:

Who cares? We've got to take care of business first.

The playoff berth gifted by the [squints] Dodgers means the Astros don't have to start Lance McCullers tonight or tomorrow, instead being able to save him for the 1st Round. All of Greinke, Framber, and McCullers will be on full rest, however the matchups happen. Today is likely a bullpen game. 

*Game 4 Hero Jose Urquidy: 7IP, 7H/2ER, 5K:0BB. Urquidy has walked two batters in his last 20IP. 

*Something from the Rangers called a "Sam Huff" hit two home runs. 

*Alex Bregman hit homers in back-to-back games for the first time since September 24-25, 2019 - one year to the day. 

*Jose Altuve was 0x2 w/RISP last night. In 47 ABs with runners in scoring position in 2020, Altuve is hitting .149/.216/.255. He hit .255/.360/.638 w/RISP in 2019. 

*The Astros made the playoffs despite getting 6IP all season from Justin Verlander, nine total PAs from Yordan Alvarez (that's the reigning Cy Young and Rookie of the Year), 4.1IP from Roberto Osuna, and a .220 year from Jose Altuve, and injuries up and down the roster that led to 201 Innings from pitchers who had never pitched in the Majors before. Given that the Astros have thrown 508 Innings all season, that's 39.6% of their innings pitched by rookies. Houston is also 10-14 in 1-run games, and 2-7 in extra-innings. 

McTaggart: How the Astros got to the postseason.

*As of now, the Astros would play the Twins in the 1st Round, with Games 1-3 taking place from Tuesday-Thursday. As the 6-seed, the Astros will play the 3rd seed, likely whoever wins the AL Central. Here's 2-5 in the AL:

Oakland: 35-22

Minnesota: 35-23

Cleveland: 34-24

Chicago: 34-24

*With three games left in the regular season, Josh James was placed on the IL - likely with COVID, since they won't actually talk about it. It's decidedly not ideal, something we would have laughed at not a month ago. 

Josh James, July 27-Sept 9: 11.1IP, 13H/14ER, 14K:16BB, 11.12 ERA / 2.56 WHIP. 

Josh James, Sept 10-Sept 22: 6IP, 2H/0ER, 7K:1BB, 0.00 ERA / 0.50 WHIP. 

This is a massive blow to an already-thin bullpen (presuming that James had actually figured something out) going into the playoffs. 

*Check out Alex Bregman breaking down his own swing from Thursday night's breakout game.

*The Marlins are in the postseason for the first time since 2003, and they've won the World Series literally every time they've tried. 

*The Appalachian League will become a collegiate wood-bat league, as MLB continues its breathlessly determined effort to destroy the minor leagues.

*Texas Monthly: James Magee has been working on his masterpiece for decades, but completion isn't the point.

*An Italian couple met on their balconies during lockdown. Now they're engaged.

*Ode to Desolation: Life as one the last Fire Lookouts.

*A Musical Selection: