Thursday, June 22, 2023

Thursday Morning Hot Links

In one of the most bizarre games of the year, the Astros beat the Mets 10-8 to win consecutive games for the third time in June. Cristian Javier's velocity was concerning, the bats kind of weren't? The Astros are 41-34. The Rangers won, the Angels lost, so the Astros are back in second place, a half-game up on Anaheim and 5.5 back of Pantego. 

*Houston went 4-5 on this nine-game NL homestand against the Nationals, Reds, and Mets. They played 26 games in the last 27 days. 

*Houston is 15-12 against NL teams in 2023. The Rangers are 13-10.

*It's the 4th time in the last five games that the pitching staff has allowed 8+ runs. 

*The Astros rank 23rd in FanGraphs' Hard Hit% rate.

*The Astros offense, following a game in which they score 10+ runs: 0-3, 6 total runs scored.

*Alex Bregman was 3x5 with 2RBI. After a 2x22 stretch from June 11-17, Bregman is 8x18 with 5RBI. 

*Corey Julks was 1x3 with a walk and 2RBI - his 4th straight game with a walk. He has raised his OPS 39 points (from .658 to .697) in the last four games.

*Yainer Diaz hit another home run, his 7th of the year. Diaz has played in every game this homestand and hit .286/.286/.657. On the home stand, the Astros hit 13 home runs - Diaz had four of them. 

*Jeremy Pena drew 22 walks in 558 PAs in 2022. With two walks yesterday, Pena is at 17 in 296 PAs in 2023. After walking twice in 58 PAs between May 31-June 17, Pena has four walks in his last 12 PAs. It was the 3rd 2BB game of his career. 

*Chas McCormick was 1x3 with a home run and a walk.

McCormick vs RHP: .242/.336/.455.

McCormick vs LHP: .265/.306/.500.

*Mauricio Dubon started the game at 1B and hit two doubles, making him the lightest Astros 1B since Jose Vizcaino.

Chandler Rome: Dubon starting at 1B shows the Astros' lack of depth.

*Cristian Javier didn't make it out of the 3rd Inning, throwing 2.1IP, 4H/4ER, 1K:5BB, needing 82 pitches to retire seven Mets. 

Javier's top fastball velocity by inning, June 21:

1st Inning: 94.4mph

2nd Inning: 93.9mph

3rd Inning: 91.7mph (his last pitch of the day was a 90.7mph fastball)

JavierI really don't even know what to tell you what was going on today. I was falling behind a lot of hitters and missing with a lot of pitches.

*Probably the dumbest signing of the GM Jim Crane era was Rafael Montero. Montero gave up 3H/2ER yesterday, raising his ERA to 7.04. Montero has pitched in 32 games in 2023 and has allowed at least one run in 12 of them. He has allowed a hit in 25 of them. In those 32 games, just five have seen Montero enter and exit without allowing a baserunner.   

Dusty, on Montero:

You've got to pitch him sometimes. He's been struggling. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. You've got to take your shot in the 6th. You've got four innings to do whatever mishaps that happen vs. in the seventh and eighth where he's used to being.

The Astros owe Montero about $28m.

*Meat Wagon update: Jose Urquidy threw another bullpen, Michael Brantley swung a bat, and Yordan Alvarez went for a job.

*Rob Manfred told TIME Magazine that he wishes he could have a do-over with how he handled the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. Asked about what he regrets surrounding it, Manfred:

I'm not sure that I would have approached it with giving players immunity. Once we gave players immunity, it puts you in a box as to what exactly you were going to do in terms of punishment. I might have gone about the investigative process without that grant of immunity and see where it takes us. Starting with, I'm not going to punish anybody, maybe not my best decision ever.

The crazy thing is that the interviewer didn't ask Manfred about the Astros - he brought it up on his own as part of an answer to a "One thing you wish you had done over?" question, after (and I realize that this interview has been edited) answering questions about the Dodgers/LGBTQ kerfuffle and Oakland's impending relocation. So...good work on highlighting that for the public's awareness Rob.

*ESPN: How US Soccer's strange coaching search played out.

*Atlas Obscura: The elusive, maddening mystery of the Bell Witch.

*We Salted Nannie: A True Southern Ghost Story.

*A Musical Selection: