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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Astros beat Red Sox to take a wild—in every way—Game 1 of ALCS

BOSTON – On the anniversary of Derek Jeter’s famous flip and David Ortiz’s famous home run that caused Torii Hunter to flip over a fence, no indelible moment seared itself into baseball’s memory Saturday. Instead, Game 1 of the 2018 American League Championship Series was wild in smaller ways, from the pitches to the umpires to the hit-by-pitch that may make an already-interesting series that much more intriguing.

What germinated from it all was a 7-2 victory for the Houston Astros over the Boston Red Sox and the instantaneous thievery of home-field advantage in front of 38,007 at Fenway Park. Even as the Astros didn’t capitalize early on the diminished stuff and inability to find the strike zone by Boston ace Chris Sale, they weathered an uncharacteristic wild inning from their own starter, Justin Verlander, to take the lead in the sixth inning – and then turned on the afterburners in the ninth inning to finish taking advantage of Boston’s troublesome bullpen.

After home plate umpire James Hoye ejected Red Sox manager Alex Cora following an argued called strike three, Houston went to work. Sale was out of the game, having gone four innings. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly led off the inning by plunking Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch after Bregman called a late timeout. Bregman stared down Kelly before catcher Christian Vázquez intervened. Whether it was intentional or not, it proved costly when Carlos Correa feathered a single into left field later in the inning to score Bregman, who chirped toward Kelly as he headed toward home plate.

Tis a strange game indeed when it feels like the team that lost felt like it was in danger of giving up more HBPs than hits…..

QLE Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, astros, red sox

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Astros Blast Past Cleveland Into LCS

The Astros passed their first October test as the defending World Series champions with flying colors, burying the Indians with a relentless offense and solid pitching on Monday afternoon to earn a champagne celebration they hope won’t be their last.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians, postseason

Thursday, October 04, 2018

What Happened to the Houston Astros’ Hacker?

The Dogs went undefeated, consistently thrashing even the powerful All-Blacks. Something to put on my résumé, the Dogs’ coach thought to himself, mordantly. FPC Cumberland championship softball coach. His CV had once been impeccable. He had been Chris Correa, the former doctoral student who had steadily ascended through the front office of the Cardinals to become their scouting director, in charge of their amateur draft. No longer. Now he was Christopher J. Correa, federal inmate 04550-479.

Correa, 38, spent much of his time out on Cumberland’s softball field even when there were no games. He walked laps around its perimeter for one to two and a half hours each day, covering four to 10 miles. He began to shrink inside his prison-issued dark green uniform, losing 35 pounds off his 5’11” frame, and his wedding ring dangled from his slimmed finger.

As he walked, he listened to a transistor radio. The NPR affiliates served mostly as background for his thoughts, which always cycled back to one simple question.

Why am I here?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:34 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

So, what do we suppose this actually means, reading between the lines?

QLE Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:09 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, ken giles

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Yuli Gurriel has 7-RBI night as Astros clinch playoff berth

In a season with little doubt that the defending World Series champions would return to the playoffs, Yuli Gurriel and Gerrit Cole ensured on Friday night that the Astros will compete in October again.

Gurriel harassed pitchers with his two home runs and seven RBIs. Cole bullied batters with 12 strikeouts in seven innings. George Springer’s three-run homer in the eighth dealt a gratuitous blow.

The Astros overwhelmed the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 at Minute Maid Park for a win that clinched the 12th postseason appearance in franchise history.

So, any guesses for how the Astros may fare in the playoffs this time around?

QLE Posted: September 22, 2018 at 08:35 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, yuli gurriel

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Lance McCullers Jr. likely out until September

The-24-year-old Astros starter was placed on the disabled list this weekend with right elbow discomfort. But, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday that McCullers has a muscle strain and he is unlikely to return before September (via the Houston Chronicle).

Well, that’s not great.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, disabled list, lance mccullers

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Biggest Years by the Smallest Players

Just a lil’ sumpin’ sumpin.’

gehrig97 Posted: July 22, 2018 at 10:34 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, berra, jose altuve, morgan, puckett, yankees

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How the Houston Astros are winning through advanced analytics | McKinsey

I picked up Astroball the other day. It was OK, but not particularly informative. I actually learned more about the Astros process from this article.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 14, 2018 at 08:49 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ben Reiter’s “Astroball” & Carlos Beltran: The Next Great Manager

Astroball reveals Beltran’s significant role in shaping the Astros into a championship team. Indeed to my eye, the book seems to illustrate Beltran’s off-the-field contributions to the ball club even more than Hinch. As the elder statesman on the roster, the 40-year-old designated hitter took young players under his wing, presiding over the clubhouse kangaroo court, providing life advice to the team’s star shortstop, and analyzing Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, poring over video to recognize tells in Darvish’s delivery and explaining his findings to each of his teammates.

djordan Posted: July 11, 2018 at 09:10 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, baseball books

Monday, June 25, 2018

CUT4: Alex Bregman shaved his mustache between at-bats because personal grooming is very important

Alex knows how to exploit the latest market inefficiency.

After the game, Bregman’s teammate Gerrit Cole had some thoughts, as passed along by MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

“After the game? During? I had no idea. I don’t pay attention to Alex’s shaving habits in the middle of the game. I did like the mustache, I thought it played. It was Jeff Kent-esque. It was on top of his lip when he stabbed that soft liner in the first inning, which got us out of a jam. Personally, I’m a fan of the ‘stache, but I guess it’s been sent down. It’s been DFA’d. We’ll wait until it comes back.”

Stormy JE Posted: June 25, 2018 at 11:43 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, market inefficiency, shaving

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

This is how Verlander got his groove back

“I was 99 percent sure I was going to need shoulder surgery. I couldn’t throw a baseball.”

By now, you probably know two things: Verlander didn’t need shoulder surgery, and he’s currently enjoying the most dominant season of a probable Hall of Fame career. After Monday’s emphatic 5-1 win over the Yankees, he leads the Majors with a 1.11 ERA. Verlander is pitching for the defending World Series champion Astros in a rotation that could become the best of all time.

Perhaps most tellingly, the 35-year-old Verlander is speaking candidly about a prospect that seemed so remote that night in Pittsburgh four years ago.

He wants to pitch in the Majors for another decade.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 29, 2018 at 01:17 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tigers

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Astros Release Currently Suspended Ex-Top Prospect Jon Singleton

I remember a lot of sturm und drang about whether the Astros were taking advantage of Jon Singleton with the long-term contract. Guess that can be put to rest now.

The Houston Astros have released former top prospect Jon Singleton, who currently is serving a 100-game suspension for a third positive drug test.


Saturday, May 05, 2018

Astros’ Gerrit Cole Strikes Out 16 in One-Hit Shutout of Diamondbacks

Gerrit Cole struck out a career-high 16 in a one-hitter and the Houston Astros routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 8–0 Friday night.

Cole (3–1) topped the strikeout mark of 14 he set three weeks ago against Texas and allowed only a one-out double to Chris Owings in the fifth inning of his second career complete game. The only other baserunner against the dominant right-hander was David Peralta, who walked to lead off the fourth.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 05, 2018 at 02:31 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, diamondbacks, gerrit cole

Friday, May 04, 2018

20 years later, Wood and Astros hitters recall 20-strikeout game

Wood’s fifth career start put him on the Major League map and flummoxed a Houston lineup that consisted of multiple All-Stars and two future Hall of Famers, all of whom later lifted the Astros to a club-record 102 wins while leading the NL with 874 runs scored.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest performances in Major League history, here’s a look back, as told by those who lived it….

An oral history of the 20-K game.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Bartolo Colón Almost Did the Impossible

There was Colón, slicing and dicing the Astros through seven perfect innings, just six outs separating him from what would’ve arguably been the greatest pitching feat in MLB history. Facing one of the most juggernaut offenses the game has ever seen, Colón set his first 21 batters down in order using that diesel-powered fastball and virtually nothing else, until a walk by Correa to open the eighth ended his chase of history and a double by Josh Reddick right after closed the book on the subsequent short-lived no-hit bid.

Bored Posted: April 16, 2018 at 12:47 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, bartolo colon, rangers

Friday, January 20, 2012

WSJ: Houston Astros Owner Mucked Up in JeffCo Bankruptcy

We release things drip by drip…and when I have my sewer bonds settlement statements ready for this year, I’ll release them!

Stuck at the unfortunate end of the debt-clogged sewer system of Jefferson County, Ala., you’ll find Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Fresh into his takeover of the Texas baseball team, Crane has been ordered by a bankruptcy judge to reveal details of his settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over $35 million worth of sewer bonds that he bought from the investment bank four years ago—a personal investment that quickly turned to, er, garbage.

Those dirty details, which are not public, are what Jefferson County attorney are seeking amid their own fight with the bank over the complicated series of dealings that, with a little help from a corruption scheme that ensnared the county’s top elected leaders, left the county swimming in a pool of toxic debt.

Ultimately, the county—Alabama’s most populous with roughly 658,000 residents—filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Crane said he got stuck with a bum deal, too, according to court documents filed in Texas state court.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MLB: Astros reach one-year deal with Cust

CustomInk: Compare prices!

Jack Cust, who has hit 105 home runs in a 10-year Major League career that has spanned six teams, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros that includes an option for 2013, according to a baseball source.

The deal is pending a physical and could be announced as soon as Wednesday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow declined to comment.

Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose last July by the Mariners, for whom he batted .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span. He’s played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.

The addition of Cust likely puts him in the mix to start in right field in an increasingly crowded group that includes Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck and Fernando Martinez, the former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers last week.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:57 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RLYW: Salvaging a Sunken cost

Burnett projects to have an RA of 5.03 in CAIRO.  The following possible starting pitchers project better than that.

CC Sabathia (3.57)
Michael Pineda (4.37)
Freddy Garcia (4.55)
Brad Meyers (4.56)
Hiroki Kuroda (4.57)
Phil Hughes (4.63)
Ivan Nova (4.93)
...

If that’s true, then every start that goes to Burnett is a start that should be going to one of the above.

...

Unfortunately, since Burnett is owed $33 million over the next two years, the Yankees probably feel obligated to try and get some value out of him.

I don’t think they can do that by pitching him…. trading Burnett’s bad contract to another team for their bad contract might be a way to recoup some of that value.

Private Godfrey Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs, mets, projections, white sox, yankees

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Adam Everett retires, joins Indians as special assistant

I forget if Roger Clemens said it or if someone said it to him when he went to the Astros…but the “Now I’ll/you’ll finally have a Major League shortstop behind me/you.” was pure Jeterkill.

I guess this means Adam Everett is officially retired.

Everett was released by Cleveland in the middle of his 11th big-league season last June, and the light-hitting, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop has decided to end his playing career and join the Indians’ front office as a “special assistant to baseball operations.”

Everett hit just .242 with a .294 on-base percentage and .346 slugging percentage in 880 games and never won a Gold Glove, but consistently rated among the elite shortstops in baseball according to various defensive metrics. He also earned about $12 million in addition to the signing bonus he received as the Red Sox’s first-round pick in 1998, so all in all that’s a pretty solid career.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

F-Mart to the Houston Astros

Shop smart…

One-time top Mets prospect Fernando Martinez is now a Houston Astro.

Houston, which has first dibs in waiver claims by virtue of its MLB-worst record in 2011, selected the 23-year-old outfielder…

Because Martinez has an option remaining, he needs to remain on Houston’s 40-man roster, but can be optioned to Triple-A in spring training if he does not make the major league club.

Martinez is a lifetime .183 hitter with two homers and 12 RBIs in 131 at-bats spanning the past three seasons. His biggest obstacle has been injuries, including an arthritic knee that severely limits his mobility, even when technically healthy. Including his major league activity, Martinez has averaged only 77 games a regular season since 2006.

The District Attorney Posted: January 11, 2012 at 04:45 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mets

Monday, January 09, 2012

Blasts from the Past

With the Hall of Fame results being announced today, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and dig up some old scouting reports from the Baseball America archives on some of the ballot’s notable candidates. . .

8. Barry Larkin, ss, 21, 5-11, 175, R-R
Larkin looked right at home in AA, hitting .267 for Vermont. He didn’t show power (one home run in 255 at-bats), but that will come. The key for him was just getting his feet on the ground, and he was not overpowered by the high level of competition (21 strikeouts in 255 at-bats). He will have good power for a shortstop.

6. Edgar Martinez, 3b, 25, 5-11, 175, R-R
Martinez’s discipline will produce runs. He’s averaged 70 RBIs the last four years. In the field, he’s solid, with good reactions and the soft hands of a middle infielder.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Neyer: Elect Jeff Bagwell To The Hall, And Cooperstown Will Bloom Again

Apparently “Craig” only needs a first name, like Cher, Madonna or Snooki.

This morning, Craig [Calcaterra] wrote a couple of compelling Hall of Fame-related posts.

In the first, he noted that attendance at the Museum is way, way down: more than 20 percent just from 2007 through 2011… In the second, Craig gave some Calcaterrian whatfor and whatnot to three Chicagoland Hall of Fame voters who have (again) not voted for Jeff Bagwell because of suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs (not including amphetamines, because hey if Willie Mays used greenies it’s cool)...

While I believe Bagwell should be in the Hall of Fame, I’ve never quite understood the argument that a Hall of Fame voter—if he thinks steroid use is germane—should ignore every scrap of evidence that doesn’t appear in the Mitchell Report or wherever… I believe that it’s intellectually indefensible to disqualify a player solely because you think he used steroids ... but I also believe it’s perfectly defensible to decide for yourself, based on everything you’ve seen and heard, if a player did use steroids.

Some of that makes sense, I hope. And I really didn’t intend to get into this whole thing. Really, I just wanted to express my mild surprise that Craig didn’t make any connection between Hall of Fame voting and Hall of Fame visitors. The Hall of Fame derives 98 percent of it publicity from one thing: new Hall of Famers. But lately—and for some years into the future, I’m afraid—a great deal of that 98 percent is going to be negative. It will be about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield and Mike Piazza and all the terrible things they did, and there might well be years when literally nobody is elected to the Hall of Fame. You think attendance has been down? You ain’t seen nothing.

The District Attorney Posted: January 03, 2012 at 10:50 PM | 240 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, awards, baseball geeks, hall of fame, history

MLB: Astros add two to baseball operations staff

Astroland: A Team’s Obsessive Bid to Win the World’s Most Ruthless Baseball League!

The Astros have hired Sig Mejdal as Director of Decision Sciences and Stephanie Wilka as Coordinator of Amateur Scouting, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today.

Mejdal, 46, had worked with the St. Louis Cardinals since 2005, most recently as Director, Amateur Draft Analytics. While with the Cardinals, he was involved with modeling, analysis and data-driven decision making throughout all levels of the organization and was a key contributor in the draft decision processes that led to more Major League players than any other organization during that time frame.

Mejdal earned two engineering degrees at the University of California at Davis and later completed advanced degrees in Operations Research and Cognitive Psychology/Human Factors. He has also worked at Lockheed Martin in California and for NASA. Mejdal has been active in baseball statistics and analytics since earning his membership in The Society for Baseball Research (SABR) while in grade school.

Repoz Posted: January 03, 2012 at 07:20 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media, projections, sabermetrics

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rosenthal: ESPN’s Keith Law: On the move again?

Oh, Lisa…

Keith Law, a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com, interviewed last week for a number of front-office roles with the Houston Astros, including the job of scouting director, according to major-league sources.

Law met with both new club president George Postolos and general manager Jeff Luhnow, but the team has yet to offer him a position, sources say.

In his current job, Law oversees ESPN’s scouting-related content. Prior to joining ESPN in 2006, he spent 4½ years as a special assistant with the Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to that, he was a free-lance writer for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:25 PM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

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