Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

Fresh off of getting swept by the GDKC Royals, the Astros got a vintage Verlander performance last night in Seattle. Houston is 86-71, 2.5 back of The Colony, 1.5 up on Seattle. There are five games remaining in the regular season.

*AL Playoff Picture:

1. Baltimore (97-59)

2. The Colony (88-68)

3. Minnesota (83-73)

4. Tampa (95-62)

5. Toronto (87-69)

6. Houston (86-71)

7. Seattle (84-72)

*AL West Division Odds / Postseason Odds:

The Colony: 86.7% / 98.7%
Houston: 10.9% / 75.3%

Seattle: 2.4% / 28.4%

The Colony: 83.5% / 98.3%

Houston: 11.7% / 76.7%

Seattle: 4.8% / 26.4% 

Keep in mind: The Astros have the tie-breaker against the Rangers. So in order for the Astros to win the Division, they would need to match the Rangers' record. You can safely assume that the Anaheim Possums are going to do exactly that, so the Mariners are going to have to do something in the last series of the season, and the Astros can't afford to...be the 2023 Astros. 

Houston is 2.5 back of The Colony. If the Astros just win out, it puts them at 91-71. The Rangers would have to go 4-2 to finish a game ahead of Houston. If the Astros go 4-1, the Rangers would have to go 3-3. It's a tough, uphill battle. Unless! the Astros actually want the Wild Card, in which case they'd get the advantage of not playing at home, but also getting the Twins and not the Rays. Chess, not checkers?

After a 21-6 August, the Mariners are 8-15 in September. They're 5-15 against teams not named "Oakland" in September. 

The Game

It's one. We got five to go. Hopefully, we come back out tomorrow and do the same thing.

*Houston "improved" to 3-8 against Seattle in 2023. The Astros are 57-33 (.633) all-time at Seattle.

*Houston is 61-22 when scoring first in 2023.  

*Verlander did what they brought him back to do: 8IP, 3H/1ER, 8K:1BB. And on only 96 pitches, 65 of which he threw for strikes. It's the 56th time in his career that he's gotten 24 outs and allowed only an earned run (or less) - the 12th time he's done it for the Astros. 

Opponents who have gotten shut down to the tune of at least 8IP of 0-1ER baseball by Verlander, career:

1: Arizona/Houston/Milwaukee/NY Mets/Philadelphia/The Colony
2: Kansas City/NY Yankees/Pittsburgh/Tampa/Toronto
3: Baltimore/Boston/Oakland
4: Seattle
5: Cleveland
6: Anaheim
7: Chicago White Sox/Minnesota

This is just one of those years where nothing has been easy. Maybe catch the right timing here and this can be the start of something, hopefully.

Alvarez, on Verlander:

Incredible. That's obviously what this team needed. He knew that, and going out there and putting the team in that type of position was great.

*A Full and Complete List of Astros Starting Pitchers to throw 8IP+ in 2023:

Framber Valdez: 4
Justin Verlander: 1

It's the first time an Astros starter has recorded 24 outs since Framber's no-hitter on August 1. Verlander's 79 Game Score is the highest by an Astros starter since Framber's 78 on August 25

It was Verlander's 256th career win, by far the most by an active pitcher (Zack Greinke's 224 is 2nd). He's tied for 42nd all-time with Former Astros Great Andy Pettitte. 264 wins gets him in the Top 40 all-time.

*Bryan Abreu closed out the 9th with a scoreless inning. That is now 25 straight scoreless outings for Bryan Abreu, dating back to July 15. Only six pitchers have a 25+ game scoreless streak for the Astros:

1. Ryan Pressly: 40 games (Aug 15, 2018-May 20, 2019)
2. Ryne Stanek: 30 games (Apr 29-July 22, 2022)
3. Joe Sambio: 27 games (May 3-July 14, 1979)
4. Will Harris: 26 games (April 9-June 8, 2016)
5. Billy Wagner: 25 games (Aug 13, 1999-April 16, 2000)
5. Bryan Abreu: 25 games (July 18, 2023-present)

It's the longest active streak in the Majors, and only two other pitchers have managed to throw at least 25 consecutive scoreless outings: Cleveland's Sam Hentges, who saw his 25-game scoreless streak end on September 24; and San Diego's Josh Hader, whose 26-game scoreless streak ended on August 29. 

*The 107 pitches thrown in a 9-inning game by Verlander/Abreu are the 4th-lowest pitch total by the Astros in 2023. 

*It's the 36th time in 2023 that Astros pitchers have held their opponent to 0-1BB. They're 19-17 in those games...somehow.

*Yordan Alvarez was 2x4 with his 30th home run of the season. It's the third season in a row Yordan has hit 30+ homers. 

Three or More Consecutive Seasons of 30+ Homers, Astros history:

8: Jeff Bagwell (1996-2003)
3: Yordan Alvarez (2021-2023)

That's it. Kyle Tucker needs one more home run to join this list.

*Alex Bregman was 0x5. He's now gone five straight games without a hit, hitless in seven of his last eight. His five-game hitless streak ties a career-high, set in 2021 and 2016. Since his 3-hit game against Kansas City on September 16, Bregman has one hit in his last 28 Plate Appearances, but with 3K:9BB. The Astros are 28-31 when Bregman does not get a hit. 

*Martin Maldonado was 2x3 with a walk - his 15th multi-hit game of the season. He raised his OPS from .601 to .612 last night. 

*Mauricio Dubon opened the scoring with a base hit to score Jose Abreu, who ran 270 feet like a big boy. Alvarez, on Dubon's hit:

Very big. Having the runner on third there with nobody out and then having two outs, getting him in, I think, gave the team second wind. So it was very big to get it all started.

Other Stuff

*Ronel Blanco and Will Wagner were named the PCL's Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively.

*The Beatles' "Abbey Road" was released in the UK 54 years ago today.

*Imagine giving any kind of shit about who Travis Kelce is dating.

*How Jason Isbell finished his degree at the University of Memphis.

*Austria Salzburg vs. Red Bull Salzburg: A Derby 18 years in the making.

*Frank Lloyd Wright designed one theatre. Fkn Dallas let it fall into disrepair.

*What To Watch, September 26:

Carabao Cup: Crystal Palace @ Manchester United: 2pm Central

Rangers @ Useless-Ass Angels: 8:38pm 

Astros @ Mariners: 9:05pm

*A Musical Selection: