Monday, October 2, 2023

Monday Morning Hot Links

The Houston MF Astros won the AL West for the sixth straight (full) season, wresting it from the grubby, idiotic, webbed fingers of the Cedar Hill Rangers. Houston finishes the 2023 regular season with a dismal, unbelievably-bad 90-72 record. The Astros will play G1 of the ALDS on Saturday. 

*AL Playoff Picture:

1. Baltimore (101-61)

2. Houston (92-70)

3. Minnesota (87-75)

4. Tampa (99-63)

5. Cedar Hill (92-70)

6. Toronto (89-73)

Baltimore and Houston will get a bye. 

Minnesota will host Toronto, and Houston will get the winner. Check out FanGraphs' preview of the Minnesota-Toronto series. FanGraphs gives the Blue Jays a 55.6-44.4 edge.

Tampa will host Cedar Hill, and Baltimore will get the winner. 

FanGraphs has already given the Astros a 60.4% chance to win the ALDS, and a 19.4% chance to win the World Series, easily the highest in the AL. 

*Days in 1st Place, AL West (with Last Day in 1st)

Cedar Hill: 159 (September 30)

Houston: 23 (October 1)

Seattle: 12 (September 4)

Anaheim: 10 (May 5)

Oakland: 2 (March 31)

*The following Astros hitters did not play in the following number of games in the 2023 regular season:

Jose Altuve: 73

Yainer Diaz: 59

Yordan Alvarez: 49

Chas McCormick: 48

*The 2022 Astros got 10+ starts from six pitchers: Framber, Verlander, Urquidy, Garcia, Javier, and Odorizzi. Combined they threw 907.2IP, you can add Lance McCullers Jr's eight starts to bring that total to 955.1IP. 

The 2023 Astros got 518IP from those six starters. Hunter Brown, J.P. France, Brandon Bielak, and Ronel Blanco threw 423IP in 2023.  

*Alex Bregman was 2x4 with a home run - his first since September 19, and he enjoyed his first 2RBI game since September 4. Bregman, in this must-read Chandler Rome piece about the 2023 Astros:

In a game as tough as baseball where it's just built on failure, you have to be able to move on to the next pitch, turn the page and bounce back, be resilient. No matter what, we've had our ups and downs this year, but it's a damn resilient team.

*The Astros were at 27.1% to win the AL West...entering Sunday. On September 27 they were at 5.1% to win the AL West. 

And then the Astros went 5-1 in Seattle and Arizona. Cedar Hill, who were up 2.5 games with four to play, went 3-4 on their seven-game season-closing road trip. 

*Kyle Tucker, who was screwed, then unscrewed, then screwed again out of his 30th home run of the season:

We're never out of it with this ballclub. I think we have a phenomenal lineup and pitching staff. It wasn't ideal how we did it. But we came back and won it. That's all that matters.

Tucker will appeal the decision to give him a triple + fielder's choice. 

Tucker's 112 RBI led the American League - he has 219 RBI since the beginning of the 2022 season. He's the third Astro to lead the league in RBI, joining Jeff Bagwell (1994) and Lance Berkman (2002). 

Tucker's 112 RBI are the 15th-most in franchise history in a single season, tied with 2019 Alex Bregman. It's the 38th time in franchise history an Astro has recorded 100+ RBI in a season, and Tucker is just the 18th Astro to do it. 

Back-to-Back 100+ RBI Seasons, Astros history:

Kyle Tucker: 2022-2023

Alex Bregman: 2018-2019

Carlos Lee: 2007-2009

Lance Berkman: 2001-2002, 2006-2008

Moises Alou: 2000-2001

Jeff Bagwell: 1996-2001

Bob Watson: 1976-1977

*Houston has gone 101-60 on the road since the beginning of the 2022 season. 

*The Astros finished Sept/Oct with a 13-14 record, the second calendar month of the season with a losing record. 

*Jose Abreu was 2x4 with a home run, his 8th homer since September 1, tied with Yordan Alvarez for the team lead this month(s). His 18 home runs in the 2023 regular season are the second-fewest in his 10-year MLB career, behind only 2022 when he hit 15. 

*Cristian Javier: 6IP, 3H/0ER, 4K:2BB. Javier's last four starts of the 2023 regular season: 20.2IP, 14H/7ER, 27K:8BB, a 3.05 ERA / 1.06 WHIP. 

*Yainer Diaz got 1 Plate Appearance in the last four games of the regular season. 

*Most Postseason Games in MLB, Since 2015:

Astros: 92

Dodgers: 86

*The Astros and Texans won on the same day for the first time since September 12, 2021. 

*The Rangers got shutout 11 times in 2023 - two of those times came in the last series of the season against Seattle: Friday, and Sunday.

*RIP Tim Wakefield. My one visit to Fenway Park featured Tim Wakefield getting the start

*The Pitch Clock Meets The Postseason: How the playoffs will be affected by the rule changes.

*Check out ESPN's Playoff Preview.

*ESPN's Jeff Passan: "Doubt the Houston Astros at your own peril."

*Look at how dumb the 1885 World Series was.

*What the Sphere was like for U2 in Las Vegas this weekend.

*A Musical Selection: