Sunday, October 1, 2023

Sunday Morning Clinchin' Hot Links

The Astros do not care for Making It Easy. Houston wins 1-0 to clinch at least a playoff spot. A win today combined with a Ramger loss gives Houston the division, though we'll talk in a few minutes about whether or not that's something you want. Houston is 89-72. There is one game remaining in the 2023 regular season.

*AL Playoff Picture

1. Baltimore (101-60)

2. Six Flags (90-71)

3. Minnesota (87-74)

4. Tampa (98-63)

5. Toronto (89-72)

6. Houston (89-72)

7. Seattle (87-74)

So the permutations for the Astros for G162 are as such:

HOU win + 6FL loss = AL West Title

HOU win + 6FL win + TOR win = 3rd Wild Card

HOU win + 6FL win + TOR loss = 2nd Wild Card

3rd Wild Card is a matchup against Minnesota

2nd Wild Card is a matchup against Tampa.

Houston is -178 in the Money Line, Seattle is -120 today.

*AL West Odds / Postseason Odds:


Six Flags: 71.6% to win AL West / 100.0% to make playoffs

Houston: 28.4% to win AL West / 100.0% to make playoffs

Seattle: 0.0% to win AL West / 0.0% to make playoffs


Six Flags: 69.6% to win AL West

Houston: 30.4% to win AL West

*If you just took the teams with the six best records in the AL, Seattle and Minnesota would be tied at 87-74 with one game to play. Instead, Minnesota has locked up the #3 spot and Seattle is cleaning out Layne Staley shrines in their lockers today. 

*Here's what we know about the Postseason Matchups:

1. Baltimore will have a Wild Card round bye.

2. Tampa will host the Wild Card Round against the #5 team. 

3. Minnesota will host the Wild Card Round against the #6 team.

The Wild Card Round starts Tuesday. The Division Series starts Saturday. 

In the NL, Atlanta and Los Angeles have clinched 1st Round byes. Milwaukee has clinched the #3 spot. 

*Houston is going to the postseason for the 7th year in a row. Franchises to make the postseason 7+ years in a row:

New York Yankees: 13 (1995-2007)

Los Angeles Dodgers: 11 (2013-2023)

Atlanta: 11 (1995-2005)

Houston: 7 (2017-2023)

MLB: How the Astros got to the 2023 Postseason.

Chandler Rome: The Astros' celebration after last night's game was muted. The ragers are reserved for something else...which could come today. Verlander:

The celebration was a bit muted. Keep your eye on the prize. 

*The Astros have won three straight games for the first time since sweeping the Ramgers from Sept 4-6. 

*It's the Astros' 2nd 1-0 win of the season, the first being against Tampa on April 26.

*The Astros have won back-to-back games scoring a total of three runs. It's the fewest total of runs scored in back-to-back wins since the Astros won 2-0 at CitiField on June 30 and 2-1 against the Yankees on July 1, 2022. 

After what was a far lengthier and more exhaustive search than I had imagined due, in part, to both myself and B-Ref forgetting my Username/Password, the last time the Astros won back-to-back games scoring a total of three or fewer runs was June 20/21, 1992, when they beat the Dodgers 1-0 and 2-0.

*Houston was 1x8 w/RISP. 

*Jose Abreu had the game-winning RBI off a double - it's the second game in a row that Abreu has driven in all of the Astros' runs. Abreu has a three-game RBI streak. In September, Jose Abreu has 26 RBI in 25 games.

*Alex Bregman enjoyed hisself a double - his first extra-base hit since hitting a home run on September 19. Bregman is hitting .232/.348/.343 in September.

*Justin Verlander recorded his 3,342nd career strikeout last night, tying him with Phil Niekro for 12th all-time. He's 25 short of Max Scherzer for 11th, and 29 short of Greg Maddux for 10th. Verlander, on last night's start:

Five innings is not what I consider a job well done. I'd like to have gone deeper, but to hand it over to the bullpen tonight and have them perform the way they do, Hector stepping up was absolutely huge, it makes it easier on us starters.

*Kendall Graveman has a 2.45 ERA with Houston on a 4.89 FIP. Out of 163 qualified relievers, the -1.73 difference from ERA (3.12) to FIP (4.89) is the 159th luckiest. Hector Neris ranks 162nd with a -2.12 ERA-FIP.

Graveman has pitched in 23 games for the 2023 Astros. He has allowed at least one baserunner in 20 of those appearances. He hasn't thrown a clean inning (no hits, no walks) since August 26 - a span of 11 games. 

*And speaking of Hector "Los Cojones Grandes" Neris, he threw 1.2IP of hitless/scoreless relief, getting out of a Graveman-induced jam to preserve the narrowest of leads. It's his longest outing of the season since getting six outs on April 3. Neris has allowed one earned run since August 19 - a span of 17.2IP. 

*Bryan Abreu got the save last night, extending his scoreless outing streak to 27 games, tied with Joe Sambito for the 3rd-longest in Astros history, only behind Ryan Pressly (40 games), and Ryne Stanek (30 games). 

*Kyle Tucker, who has hit three home runs in September, needs a home run today for a 30/30 season. 

*J.P. France wasn't available to pitch on Friday because his wife was dehydrated and in the ER. I've been there. It's terrifying.

*Get ready to figure out if you'll be able to stream from Space City Home Network.

*Roger Clemens talked about his World Series showdown vs Miguel Cabrera.

*Big strong boy Cal Raleigh is pissed about the Mariners missing the postseason for the 21st time in the last 22 seasons. The Frisch's Big Boy:

We've got to commit to winning. We have to commit to going and getting those players. You see other teams going out, going for it, getting big-time pitchers, getting big-time hitters. We have to do that to keep up. 

Seattle's last ten games were against the Astros and Rangers. In the nine that have been played, they went 3-6. That's not going 2-7 against the MF A's and GD Royals, but it's close. General Manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded a $1 bill for a Reese's Pieces. The plan has been initiated. 

*Liverpool was denied a game-changing goal in the most hilariously VAR way possible. Jurgen Klopp is pissed, understandably.

*What To Watch, October 1:

Rays @ Blue Jays: 2:07pm Central

Astros @ Diamondbacks: 2:10pm 

Rangers @ Mariners: 2:10pm. Dane Dunning will start on short rest against George "No Mames" Kirby.

*I'm reading "Wanderers" by Chuck Wendig and hooboy...

*When Gordie Howe turned Houston into "Howeston."

*A Musical Selection: