Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Hot Links

The Astros bludgeoned the Oakland "Athletics" 10-1, hitting seven home runs in the process. Houston is 31-21, ten games over .500 for the first time this season. The Rangers lost, so the Astros are two games back. As today is Memorial Day, the day until which I said that I would reserve judgment about the Astros, my overall takeaway is this: The Astros are good, and have accomplished all of this largely missing Jose Altuve and prominently featuring a "somehow not quite there yet" Alex Bregman and a mostly-dead Jose Abreu (more on him in a minute). The rotation is thin but holding it together. The bullpen is freaking nails (5th-highest WAR of any bullpen)...for now. I thought the Rangers would be a lot better than they were last year, and I was right about that, however they are extremely annoying and need to get out of the way. 

Memorial Day Playoff Odds Check:

FanGraphs: 51.1% to win the division, 83.2% to make the playoffs, 9.8% to win the World Series.

B-Ref: 75.9% to win the division, 95.6% to make the playoffs, 19.4% to win the World Series.

*The first four runs for the Astros came from home runs with two outs. Astros home runs, 2023, with number of outs:

0 outs: 15
1 out: 23
2 outs: 15

*Houston hit seven home runs in a single game. It's the fourth time this season - and the second time in the last four days, Pittsburgh did it against Seattle on May 26, - that a team has hit seven homers in a game. Astros games featuring seven Astros homers, franchise history:

Yesterday at Oakland.
September 9, 2019 vs Oakland.
September 9, 2000 (for real) at Wrigley Field.

The Astros hit seven home runs total in eleven games between May 1-13. 

*Futility Watch, after 54 games:

2013 Astros: 17-37

2018 Orioles: 17-37

1916 A's: 16-38-1

2023 A's: 10-44

*Yordan hit his 13th and 14th home runs of the season. He has 48 RBIs in 46 games. Franchise Single-Season RBI record holder 2006 Lance Berkman, through 46 games: 43 RBIs. 

*Jake Meyers hit his 4th home run of the season - a three-run shot. Meyers' last 15 games: .275/.383/.510. 

*Shoutout to Jose Abreu, who got his first home run as an Astro and then sprinted around the bases. It was his first home run since September 13, 2022. Abreu:

I think when I stepped on first base, that was when I noticed that the ball wasn't in play anymore. I think that's when I flipped the switch.

Josh Criswell: Is Abreu about to get hot?

*Cristian Javier: 5IP, 4H/1ER, 3K:3BB. Javier, May 2023: 5 Starts, 30IP, 16H/8ER, 32K:9BB, 2.40 ERA / 0.83 WHIP. 

Best Rotations in Baseball, according to fWAR:

1. Seattle - 7.0
2. Minnesota - 6.9
3. Farmers Branch - 6.0
4. Houston - 5.6

So three of the four top rotations are in the AL West...just like everyone predicted. 

*The Astros are considering a Six-Man Rotation.

*Jose Urquidy has begun a throwing program.

*Forrest Whitley, who was recently pulled from a start - and I know this will be a shock to you - with an injury (this time a right lat strain), will be out for an unknown amount of time (but was in the mix for the expanded rotation).

*Last week I told you how much I was enjoying The Left Right Game podcast. Having now finished it, it's crap. I hate it. 

*Folks, it's over. In a must-win game, Leeds United [squints] gave up a goal in the first 90 seconds and went on to lose 4-1. They will be playing in the Championship which sounds cool but is actually the second division. So here's the entrance to Elland Road, Leeds United's home stadium, which will be in the second division:

And here is the entrance to Kenilworth Road, home of Luton Town, who will be in the Premier League next season (and I mean this with absolutely zero sarcasm, honestly: that will be freaking cool):

*The Athletic: Elland Road United in Despair (accurate).

*Early odds are 11/2 (2nd-best) for Leeds to get promoted right back to the Premier League next season. But the owner can't decide if he wants to sell the club, there's no Director of Football (think GM), no coach...

*You can play a very detailed version of Football Manager on Apple Arcade, so my entire summer just got blown up. 

*The Wife and I are going to start this "Succession" show tonight and it will be Extremely Fun to try to avoid finding out literally anything about it.

*A Musical Selection:

A reminder that the Hot Links Playlist is on Spotify and now features 483 songs and almost 31 hours of my favorite songs of all-time.