Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

I am growing tired of Base Ball, and am very ready for it all to end. But! The Astros beat the Mariners 6-1 thanks to stellar pitching from Framber and a massive moonshot from Machete. Houston is 28-27, up 3.5 on the Angels, and 4.0 on the Mariners, with five games to play. An Astros win tonight and an Anaheim loss means the Astros are going to the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons. I am running late, so let's get this done.

*The Astros scored five runs in the 6th inning, meaning they scored more in the 6th Inning last night than they have in any game since September 12. 

*Maldonado's three-run homer sealed the game for the Astros, finally getting the big swing they've been missing since...September 2019. It's Maldonado's 2nd 3-run HR of the season, and the 9th of his MLB career. Machete:

I would say probably the best [swing] I took all year, especially in the situation and the way I have been lately.

*Framber: 7IP, 5H/1ER, 8K:0BB.

Framber, 2018-2019: 107.2IP, 96H/55ER, 102K:68BB. 4.60 ERA / 1.52 WHIP, 5.7 BB/9

Framber, 2020: 70.2IP, 63H/28ER, 76K:16BB. 3.57 ERA / 1.12 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9

Chandler Rome: Framber has embraced an "attitude before everything" mantra this season, and it's showing. Maldonado, on Framber:

He's always had good stuff. Last year, even the year before, when I caught him, he was still the same guy. It seems like he cares more now. It seems like he's developing better. He's not letting stuff get into his head, I would say.

And the stat that I know everyone is tracking and celebrated on Twitter when it happened: Framber had a 5th-straight game with a Wild Pitch! He joins Joe Niekro (7), Darryl Kile (6), and Mike Fiers, Mike Hampton, Don Wilson, and Dave Giusti as the only Astros pitchers with a wild pitch in five straight games. 

*Since allowing 3H/4ER against the Giants on August 10, Josh James: 9.1IP, 6H/2ER, 10K:5BB. James has walked just one of the last 20 batters he has faced, after walking 16 of the 63 batters he had faced prior in 2020.

*Kyle Tucker was 4x5 - the 2nd 4-hit game of his career. 

*McTaggart's Notes column features info on Ryan Pressly's resurgence, and Enoli Paredes' transition from the rotation to the bullpen in 2020.

*Prior to Tuesday night's game, Josh Reddick:

We're running out of time right now and if we don't step up, we're going to be in trouble.

With me? Yes. 

*Perhaps understandably, SI didn't even list the Astros in their Top 10 World Series contenders rankings.

*Yahoo's Tim Brown: "Slogging through 2020, the Astros reach for a postseason spot no one wants them to have." These are great to read - for the heart and for the soul. 

*Rob Manfred, for whatever reason, gave an interview to USA Today and said the following:

-The postseason in Arlington will have fans, pending approval from Texas officials (which will, obviously, approve it). Expanded playoffs are here to stay, but not this season's format. And who knows what rule changes, be they 7-inning doubleheaders or runners on 2nd to start extra-innings, will stick around in 2021?

*The Astros Foundation is teaming up with the Texas Council on Family Violence to give over $900,000 to 90 domestic violence organizations.

*Tim Kurkjian: "This isn't fun." How everyone in baseball has navigated a very different season.

*The Yanquis are fighting a court-ordered release of the infamous "Yankees Letter," and team president Randy Levine is going to argue on the team's behalf. Sounds like the contents of something you definitely would have no problem seeing the light of day.

*The New Yorker: The Race to Redesign Sugar.

*Vice: The Italian Mafia is on TikTok.

*Vox: The best alternative streaming services.

*Nairo Quintana is being investigated for doping practices at the 2020 Tour de France.

*The last two days have featured songs from Semisonic, the Most American Band of the Last Twenty-Five Years. Neither of these songs were "Closing Time," which many consider to be the hallmark of a One-Hit Wonder's musical career. I scoff at your insolence. That said, I apologize. Also, the following is the Hot Links Playlist's 400th song, which now features over 25 hours of basically my favorite songs of all-time. Yeah, I sort of get it if you don't listen to all 25 hours...