Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Morning Hot Links

The Houston MF Astros were down 3-0 thanks to Ramon Laureano before scoring 11 of the next 14 runs to take the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics. Houston is now 6-8 against Oakland in 2020 and they won't have a chance to even that season series up. Such a shame. Houston is now 34-32 on the season. The Astros averaged 2.5 runs in the regular season against Oakland, and then averaged 8.25 runs against them in the ALDS. The Astros will face the winner of the Yankees/Rays series in the ALCS, which begins on Sunday in San Diego on TBS. It's the only game that day, so the lights might actually need to be on, which would be a change. I might have to stay up past 9:30pm, and I'm not so sure how I feel about that.

Since the League Championship Series was introduced in 1969, five franchises have made it to the LCS at least four years in a row:

2017-2020 Houston Astros

2011-2014 St. Louis Cardinals

1998-2001 New York Yankees

1995-1999 Atlanta Braves 

1971-1975 Oakland Athletics

Professional Mourner Jon Heyman:

The Astros beat the A's and are back in the ALCS. Everybody is happy for Dusty, nobody outside of Houston is happy about anything else about this.

10 out 10 hoes are, in fact, mad.

*A's manager Bob Melvin:

We just couldn't do enough on the pitching end to hold them down. And then you start to press a little bit, even though our guys had a good attitude every inning - even going into the ninth and getting some guys on. We battled to the end, as you would expect, but just not enough.

Since last winning the World Series in 1990, the A's are 2-12 in postseason series. 

*The alphabetical 14-man pitching staff of the Oakland's ALDS roster, with innings pitched/pitches thrown in this particular series:

Chris Bassitt: 4.0IP, 73 pitches

Jake Diekman: 3.0IP, 53 pitches

Mike Fiers: 0.0IP, 0 pitches

Liam Hendriks: 3.0IP, 37 pitches

Jesus Luzardo: 4.1IP, 73 pitches

Sean Manaea: 4.1IP, 65 pitches

T.J. McFarland: 2.0IP, 32 pitches

Mike Minor: 3.2IP, 52 pitches

Frankie Montas: 3.2IP, 71 pitches

Yusmeiro Petit: 2.0IP, 26 pitches

Joakim Soria: 2.0IP, 36 pitches

Lou Trivino: 2.0IP, 31 pitches

Jordan Weems: 0.0IP, 12 pitches

J.B. Wendelken: 1.0IP, 34 pitches

Mike Fiers is the No Pitches All Bitches winner of the ALDS.

*Liam Hendriks, September 25:

For us, it doesn't really matter who we play obviously. As a vindictive kind of thing, we want to take out the Astros, but I don't care who we play as long as we beat them - that's our biggest goal.

I'll say this for the A's: that's a good team with a lot of good, young players, and a good front office. The next few years are really going to draw out this little brewing rivalry with the Astros. 

*2020 ALDS Game 4 was the first game the Astros won as the home team since 2019 ALCS Game 6, a span of 12 games (H/T to my dude Steve for that one).

*ESPN's Alden Gonzalez:

The Astros scored 33 runs in 35 innings and slashed .322/.388/.594 at Dodger Stadium - the site where they secured a World Series championship many now consider tainted. Correa, Altuve, Bregman and Springer - a foursome that went from celebrated to vilified with one investigation - batted a combined .419 with eight home runs.

*Houston home runs in the 4-game ALDS: 12. Oakland's home runs in the 4-game ALDS: 12. It's the most combined home runs in a Division Series ever

Houston solo home runs: 6

Houston multi-run home runs: 6

Oakland solo home runs: 9

Oakland multi-run home runs: 3

Given that the run differential was Houston +13, this seems important.

*The top six in the lineup from Game 4 had a batting average of at least .368

*Michael Brantley: 3x5, 2HR, 3RBI. Michael Brantley had hit exactly one postseason home run prior to Game 4, 31 postseason games. He hit two. He had nine career postseason RsBI prior to Game 4 (and eight of those were with Houston), and he had three yesterday. You will have to wind your way through all the statues to get to your gate at Minute Maid Park within ten years. And Cleveland didn't want to pay him! Brantley:

I don't know if we made any certain statement, but I know we played great baseball, and that's the most important thing. We played a great team over there, and we played a competitive, clean series, and we got the win today.

More Brantley:

This is a special team that has been here before. We have young guys that are leaning on the veterans and the veterans are taking care of them right now. No one guy has to carry this team when you have so many special players in the locker room like we do.

*Jose Altuve: 1x3, HR, 2BB, 2RBI. He had never had a line like that in a postseason game before.

*Carlos Correa: 3x4, HR, BB, 5RBI. It was Correa's 3rd 5RBI game of his MLB career. He has hit 4 home runs this postseason, with 12 RsBI. Correa now has 15 career postseason home runs, five behind JEETS for most all-time by a shortstop. Litos has 102 postseason games to hit five home runs to catch the Marlins' slimy owner and the one who sullied Lyla Garrity. 

Correa's Game 4 was the 78th postseason instance of a player driving in five runs. It's the third time in franchise history an Astros player had 5RBI (Bregman 2019 World Series Game 4, Morgan Ensberg 2005 NLDS Game 1Correa:

We're motivated because we want to win, we want to be able to bring another championship to the city of Houston. We know what it feels like, so we want to be able to have that feeling once again...We're one step closer.

*Kyle Tucker was 3x5: Tucker:

I mean, this is just our normal offense. We didn't show this too much during the season, but this lineup can do this every night. We were doing that this series. This lineup, one through nine, can produce at any moment, and we were doing it this entire series.

Kyle Tucker's 2019 postseason (15 PAs): .167/.333/.167, 0XBH, 7K:2BB

Kyle Tucker's 2020 postseason (26 PAs): .400/.400/.400, 0XBH, 1K:0BB

*On the opposite end of the spectrum, Yuli Gurriel: 2x23, 1K:1BB in the 2020 postseason. Gurriel hasn't had an extra-base hit since he homered against the A's on September 9. That's...that's not sustainable.

*Josh Reddick robbed hisself a homer and it was v good.

*Zack Greinke: 4.2IP, 5H/4ER, 4K:1BB, 2HR. All earned runs and home runs were courtesy of Ramon Laureano. Greinke said his arm felt better in Game 4:

If it feels how it felt today then there will be no issues.

Greinke's first five starts (through August 18): 29.1IP, 22H/6ER, 25K:4BB (1.84 ERA / 0.99 WHIP)

Greinke since (August 23-Game 4): 46IP, 52H/29ER, 47K:9BB (5.67 ERA / 1.33 WHIP)

Did Greinke signal his pitch when Ramon Laureano launched a short-lived 3-run home run? Former Astros Great Ramon Laureano said he didn't pick it up, if he did.

*Dusty Baker is now 6-17 in series-clinching/elimination games as a manager. Dusty:

I'm glad for the city of Houston and (thankful to) Jim Crane for trusting me with the leadership of this team and I'm glad for the whole Astros organization and the players.

More Dusty:

It's been a long, tough road, but we're halfway there. I'm thankful and happy, but I've still got some happiness left to get.

Even More Dusty:

I've been a villain most of my life, you know what I mean? So I might as well join the rest of the group.

*Richard Justice: Five ways the Astros pulled off the near-impossible.

*Ramon Laureano did most of the damage to the Astros in Game 4, hitting two home runs for 4RBI. As a reminder, the Astros traded Laureano to Oakland in November 2017 for Brandon Bailey after deciding to protect Dean Deetz instead. As a reward, Dean Deetz almost got stabbed by Reymin Guduan and tested positive for a PED while Ramon Laureano has hit .270/.343/.475 for the A's in the regular season since he got called up in August 2018. 

*Gerrit Cole will pitch on short rest tonight to try to send his mercenaries to the ALCS, where he would face his old buddies. Less than a year ago Carrot Goal wore a Boras hat after Houston lost Game 7 to show that he was Way More Pissed than anyone else in the clubhouse. Joel Sherman, quoting Former Astros Great Aaron Boone:

To be able to hand the ball to probably the best pitcher in the game, there is some comfort in that. I am excited to see him go compete, like he always does.

*I called a Cleveland/Houston ALCS with Cleveland winning. "Never try to predict anything" is the lesson.

*A German goalkeeper was banned for eight years for attacking a referee. I mean, I'd like to see the video.

*Discover Magazine: The quantum internet will blow your mind - here's what it'll look like.

*Wired: The True Story of the Antifa Invasion of Forks, Washington.

*A Musical Selection: