First things first: Shoutout to Dem Apollo Boiz:
Now: Well the Astros didn't lose last night, so that's a good thing. Houston begins a best-of-three series at Minnesota in the 1st Round. My official preview of the series: It doesn't matter what the pitching staff does if the offense can't string together hits, and occasionally for power. In a September in which the Astros went 10-17, the pitching staff as a whole posted a 4.45 ERA / 1.26 WHIP and struck out 2.975 batters for every one they walked (and if you take out those idiotic last two games - which I know you're not supposed to do - against the Trinity River Rangers, it's a 4.19 ERA). Pitching wasn't the liability. Hitting was and is. If the 2020 Astros want to see Friday as a team, Jose Altuve has to find something, as does Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel. September numbers for those cats:
Altuve: .237/.308/.461, six extra-base hits, 11K:6BB
Correa: .235/.267/.341, five extra-base hits, 23K:2BB
Bregman: .197/.315/.377, six extra-base hits, 11K:10BB
Gurriel: .154/.168/.209, three extra-base hits, 9K:2BB
If these four dudes, specifically, keep this up, they'll have plenty of time to start preparing for 2021 on, say, Wednesday or Thursday. Astros in Three.
*FanGraphs' Jake Mailhot: AL Wild Card Series Preview - Houston @ Minnesota. The Twins have the edge in pretty much every major metric...so far [puts on sunglasses...but pokes self in eye in doing so].
*We will find out if the Twins have Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton in the lineup today.
*FanGraphs: Presenting the low-seed dark horses. Eric Longenhagen:
Every single hitter in the starting lineup has an in-zone contact rate above league average but only George Springer and Kyle Tucker have barrel rates above the league average. Can they do enough damage to give the bullpen cushion? I'm doubtful.
*ESPN: Everything you need to know about the postseason.
*ESPN: Expert picks for the 2020 Postseason. 21 out of 30 experts picked Minnesota. Not a single one picked the Astros to win their 3rd Pennant in four years. Not a single MLB.com expert picked Houston over Minnesota.
*The Athletic: Beat-writer Breakdown of the Twins/Astros series.
*Josh James is back with the team. This - presumably - is good news, if it means September Josh James is back with the team and not August Josh James. Also, Martin Maldonado is good to go.
*Chandler Rome: Is this the last hurrah for the Core Four?
*The Astros do not feature at all in SI's World Series predictions.
My predictions, and I already regret this:
NL 1st Round
NL 2nd Round
AL 1st Round
Rays/Blue Jays: Rays
A's/White Sox: A's
AL 2nd Round
Looking forward to this being null and void by next Tuesday.
*Bill Withers: The Soul Man Who Walked Away.
*Ready for another COVID-19 surge? Or is it not raining anywhere because you're not currently wet?
*Vice: What you need to know about the obscure occult group linked to a Toronto murder.
*A Musical Selection: