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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Astros’ Lance McCullers will start Game 4 of ALCS - Houston Chronicle

Hinch chose McCullers over Brad Peacock, who had the superior regular season on the whole. Essentially, the Astros are betting on McCullers’ upside. Peacock also has experience out of the bullpen and can be the first pitcher warm if McCullers encounters trouble.
“He’s a really good pitcher,” Hinch said when asked about McCullers. “He’s got really electrifying stuff, some of the best stuff in the big leagues.
“Getting him in a normal routine, normal warmup into the game, big-time breaking ball, the whole league knows it, he’s got a really good fastball. He had a really good bullpen (session) in between his last outing and the next outing (Tuesday).”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:26 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: houston, playoffs, yankees

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   1. BDC Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:52 AM (#5555568)
Interesting that a 101-win team should apparently be reduced to only two reliable playoff pitchers, and those two (Keuchel and Verlander) having made just 28 regular-season starts for that club between them.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:19 AM (#5555592)
McCullers pitched twice against the Red Sox; one start the last weekend of the season and once in game three. In each case he breezed through the order the first time then the wheels kind of came off. If Hinch is ready to yank him at the first sign of trouble that second time through this could be good.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5555596)
Interesting that a 101-win team should apparently be reduced to only two reliable playoff pitchers, and those two (Keuchel and Verlander) having made just 28 regular-season starts for that club between them.

And if Detroit hadn't cheaped out traded Verlander for a few bags of beans, the Astros would be up #### creek.

Interesting matchup tonight. On paper, Gray should give the Yankees a big edge. But he's been spotty lately.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5555601)
#2 right, I think McCullers is rather the ideal for the New Age of Starters where guys only last 5 IP tops. Crazy stuff, high pitch counts, can't pace himself.

He's also one of those extreme awesome curveball guys like Rich Hill that is unhittable if his curveball is dropping into the strikezone. But if it's not, you just don't ever swing at the curveball and he's in trouble.
   5. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5555634)
The Astros look as cooked as it's possible to be while still up 2-1 in a series.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5555648)
The Astros look as cooked as it's possible to be while still up 2-1 in a series.


Do you mean, not at all? They looked terrific in the first two games.
   7. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5555649)
Their offense is flatlining. I'm not sure that's something they can turn around in a couple of games.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5555652)
That's insane. The Yankees offense was "flatlining" until they scored 8 runs. I get that momentum has a powerful emotional effect, but have you ever, like, watched baseball before?
   9. Sunday silence Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5555695)

And if Detroit hadn't cheaped out traded Verlander for a few bags of beans, the Astros would be up #### creek.


do you remember when at least half the primates were saying Verlander cant possibly increase HOU chances of winning the world series by more than a couple of pct points?
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5555709)
What's the evidence that he did? The Astros have won 5 out of 8 playoff games so far. How many times did they go 5-3 in an 8-game stretch during the season? How many times did the Athletics? Fewer, but still plenty of times.

People just can't face that anyone can win a small number of games.

That said, the events that happen in a game certainly affect who wins it. If the Astros intend to win game 4, they'd better pull McCullers after 3 innings. But McCullers for 3 and then Peacock for 3 would be a reasonable plan. Hopefully that's the plan.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5555711)
And if Detroit hadn't cheaped out traded Verlander for a few bags of beans, the Astros would be up #### creek.
do you remember when at least half the primates were saying Verlander cant possibly increase HOU chances of winning the world series by more than a couple of pct points?
I think that's a misrepresentation.

(Not to mention that without Verlander, they would likely be ... in the ALCS down 1-2. The Sox, Indians, etc would love to be swimming in that creek...)
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5555741)
(Not to mention that without Verlander, they would likely be ... in the ALCS down 1-2. The Sox, Indians, etc would love to be swimming in that creek...)

So they'd be something like 2-1 underdogs in this series instead of 2-1 favorites. That's a huge swing.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5555755)
So they'd be something like 2-1 underdogs in this series instead of 2-1 favorites.


So the Yankees are up #### creek?
   14. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5555763)
Verlander happened to pitch exceptionally well in a game where the team scored only 2 runs. That was basically the best case scenario for those hoping to argue that his acquisition was pivotal. But the Astros could have scored 0 runs, or 10 runs, and then you could have argued that he been mostly irrelevant.

The analysis ("Verlander cant possibly increase HOU chances of winning the world series by more than a couple of pct points") was probably accurate. The dice happened to land right in that space.
   15. weiss-man Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:56 AM (#5555768)
Small sample size. But his performance certainly affects pitching staff usage in the other games. That has to be taken into account.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5555794)
The analysis ("Verlander cant possibly increase HOU chances of winning the world series by more than a couple of pct points") was probably accurate. The dice happened to land right in that space.
I think that the "Verlander cant possibly" needs to replaced in that description of the analysis with "Adding Verlander doesn't."
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5555819)
So the Yankees are up #### creek?

They're not in a good spot. It's pretty much must win again tonight, with Keuchel and Verlander on deck. And, the equivalent would be down 2-1, and they don't have Tanaka.

So, they Yankees would have pitched Gray in G2, which means they'd have Montgomery going tonight, and Gray instead of Tanaka if they reached G6.

Yes, that would be bad. They're already at ~30% chance to win the series, take away Tanaka, and you're probably down to 25%.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5555840)
Having a 25-30% chance of winning the LCS is a better spot than 27 teams are in right now.
   19. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5555869)
Too many people smart enough to know better assume that good pitchers will pitch well and bad pitchers will pitch poorly. McCullers, Peacock, Gray, whoever, in one game may pitch well and may pitch poorly. Likewise, saying it's must win for the Yankees because Keuchel and Verlander are on deck assumes each of them will repeat their first performance when they may well get lit up. It's never must win until the other team has 3 wins.

I know you all know this. But predicting who will win tonight is a fool's errand. The Astros are in the superior position because they're up 2-1 and are the better team over the course of the season. That's about all we know.
   20. Blastin Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5555910)
Having a 25-30% chance of winning the LCS is a better spot than 27 teams are in right now.


I'd put their chances higher than the Cubs, since they have won the one game.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5555930)
The Astros are in the superior position because they're up 2-1 and are the better team over the course of the season. That's about all we know.

We don't even really know the last part. The two teams were 99 and 100 wins by Pythag, and the rosters have changed quite a bit over the season. If you played another 162 games with today's teams, I'd guess it's a coin flip as to who wins more games.

Houston's probably a bit better in a short series, just because their top two starters are better, and their back end starters and relievers don't get as exposed.
   22. Satan Says Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:59 PM (#5555936)
Verlander has been lights out for the Astros.

The old joke about bbtf is that nobody bothers to watch baseball. People may watch now, but I often wonder if they see.
   23. Satan Says Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:02 PM (#5555942)
The Yankees are playing great right now. 17-3 last 20 games at NYS.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5555951)
McCullers hasn't pitched well since June - an 8.32 post-All-Star ERA. Granted, it's only 6 starts, but none went well. Hinch knows a lot more about McCullers health than I do, but it's not clear why Brad Peacock isn't a better option. In any event, tonight is close to a must-win game for the Yankees. Having to win 3 straight elimination games, with 2 started by Keuchel & Verlander, would be a tall order, but 2-2 is anybody's series.
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5555967)
For all the much-deserved praise that's been ladled on Keuchel and Verlander, it's almost equally noteworthy that the Yankees have held the best offense in baseball to 5 runs in 2 games, and one of those runs was gifted by three walks in garbage time.** The chance that Gray will be able to duplicate those performances is slim to none, but if he can keep it close for 5 innings then the Yankees bullpen depth might kick in.

** Houston's LCS BA is .169 with a .492 OPS, after putting up a .333 BA and a .974 OPS in the DS against the vaunted Red Sox pitching.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5555968)
The chance that Gray will be able to duplicate those performances is slim to none

Hey, why not? If CC could, Gray can. He's a very talented pitcher.
   27. Satan Says Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5555975)
Win tonight and I like the Yankees chances.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:27 PM (#5555988)
Win tonight and I like the Yankees chances.

Win tonight, and I'd say it's a coin flip. Two great teams; it'll just depend who makes the key plays, and who gets the bounces.
   29. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 17, 2017 at 03:40 PM (#5556103)
those two (Keuchel and Verlander) having made just 28 regular-season starts for that club between them.
It's mind-blowing that the Astros won 101 games without an ERA qualifier. Mike Fiers (who had a negative WAR) led the team in starts and innings pitched!
   30. bfan Posted: October 17, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5556116)
It's mind-blowing that the Astros won 101 games without an ERA qualifier.


with modern player usage, is it time to drop the innings qualifier for the ERA title below 162 and the batting appearances below 502? It is kind of an obvious number for the ERA qualifier (1 x 162), but does anyone have any idea where they came up with 502 plate appearances? Is there some magic to the 3.1 number? It could just as easily be 486 plate appearances, right?
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5556166)
with modern player usage, is it time to drop the innings qualifier for the ERA title below 162 and the batting appearances below 502?

Is the average number of PA going down? I've seen nothing to indicate that.

Probably makes sense to drop the IP to 150. 30 GS at 5 IP per game. Anything less than that is kind of a joke.
   32. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5556185)
Screw that, if you want an ERA title, pitch more innings, weenie.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:55 PM (#5556211)
Screw that, if you want an ERA title, pitch more innings, weenie.

That's also a good answer.
   34. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2017 at 07:22 PM (#5556320)
The chance that Gray will be able to duplicate those performances is slim to none

The chance that almost any major league pitcher pitches a great game is better than slim to none. As are the odds that pretty much any major league pitcher gets shelled. Sure, over a season, I'd prefer Verlander or Keuchel to McCullers or Peacock. And if they're all healthy or rested I'd pick them for a single game. But the idea that you're guaranteed anything with the first two or doomed with the last two is nuts.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: October 17, 2017 at 07:54 PM (#5556346)
Why should we care about "qualified" seasons -- they're just a convenience. Leaderboards don't actually translate into anything -- not even awards really except maybe silver sluggers. It's like MLB deciding (and MLBPA agreeing) that Melky didn't win "the batting title" just cuz when all "the batting title" means or has ever meant is "highest BA among qualified batters." Beyond that, there might be some vesting options based on "qualified" but mainly they seem based on other arbitrary inning/PA/games criteria.

I understand if things start getting out of hand and the only guys who pass 162 innings are the wizened geezer innings-eaters with ERAs near 4 but mainly that will just mean that "black ink" for pitchers has become increasingly meaningless and random.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:10 PM (#5556359)
On the Astros ... not at that level (yet) but their approach is reminiscent of the Big Red Machine -- solid but unspectacular pitching, truly dominant offense. Of course back in those days, men were men so lots of starters would qualify but by the standards of their day ...

1972: only one starter with 30 starts, same guy with 200+ IP (and just 218), only 3 qualified
1975: two break 30 starts and 200 IP, one more qualified
1976: one 30+, two 200+

All told from 1970-1976, the Reds had no starter break 300 innings (Billingham 1973 with 293), only one above 250, only 10 topped today's 32 starts and only 15 with 30+ starts. Over those 7 seasons, they average 9+ different guys starting per season, 5.5 with 10+ starts. Combined across those years, Billingham, Nolan and Gullett had 156 to 167 starts; Fred Norman is next with 100. Not necessarily by design, it looked a lot like a current staff (plus probably one inning per start) and had the deepest bullpen of the day.
   37. Gary Truth Serum Posted: October 18, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5556849)
It is kind of an obvious number for the ERA qualifier (1 x 162), but does anyone have any idea where they came up with 502 plate appearances? Is there some magic to the 3.1 number? It could just as easily be 486 plate appearances, right?

There was logic to it, yes, according to an interview that I recall with the guy who came up with that number. He started with the 400 at-bats that were previously needed to qualify, added an additional 0.5 plate appearances per game (154*0.5, or 77), which resulted in 477 plate appearances instead of 400 at-bats. 477 plate appearances in 154 games is 3.1 plate appearances per game.
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 18, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5556916)
It is kind of an obvious number for the ERA qualifier (1 x 162), but does anyone have any idea where they came up with 502 plate appearances? Is there some magic to the 3.1 number? It could just as easily be 486 plate appearances, right?

There was logic to it, yes, according to an interview that I recall with the guy who came up with that number. He started with the 400 at-bats that were previously needed to qualify, added an additional 0.5 plate appearances per game (154*0.5, or 77), which resulted in 477 plate appearances instead of 400 at-bats. 477 plate appearances in 154 games is 3.1 plate appearances per game.

That 477 PA rule was put in place after Ted Williams had two seasons in three years where he led the league in hitting but failed to win the batting championship, and in one of those years he had 526 PAs but only 386 ABs. The change was adopted in belated recognition of the fact that a player shouldn't be penalized if it was only his number of walks that prevented him from getting 400 ABs.

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