WEEK IN REVIEW – APRIL 16-22
ASTROS (6-1, 16-7 overall)
Monday, April 16 – Mariners 2, Astros 1
Tuesday, April 17 – Astros 4, Mariners 1
Wednesday, April 18 – Astros 7, Mariners 1
Thursday, April 19 – Astros 9, Mariners 2
Friday, April 20 – Astros 10, White Sox 0
Saturday, April 21 – Astros 10, White Sox 1
Sunday, April 22 – Astros 7, White Sox 1
Monday looked like more of the same shit we saw last week, including a great eight-inning Keuchel effort spoiled, but it’s refreshing to see the bats come alive even if it wasn’t against the best pitching baseball has to offer.
The team’s scoring outburst propelled Houston to third in MLB in runs scored (115), behind only Boston and Toronto. Six players (Correa, Altuve, McCann, Springer, Bregman, Stassi) batted over .300 this week; Correa in particular had a monster week, going 13×24 with a 1.439 OPS, leading the team in hits, walks, and total bases. Reddick only had four hits but three of them left the yard, including a grand slam on Saturday. Fisher looks lost at the plate, but at least he robbed a home run.
As far as the pitching goes… what more could you ask for? The rotation turned in seven quality starts in as many games, and leads the majors with a 2.10 ERA, 11.12 K/9 innings, and the best percentage of runners left on base (86.3%). They are positively filthy and it’s borderline unfair.
Nods approvingly at… well, just about everyone. When you go 6-1 and outscore your opponents 48-8, a lot of things are going right.
Looks down nose at… Evan Gattis, whose smooth 0.0 wFTG (Weighted Fucks to Give) on the triple play in Seattle has no excuse. We all thought he just forgot the number of outs, but it turns out that the only worse explanation was also the correct one. Maybe this principle can be referred to as Gattis’s Razor; if his beard is any indication, he could use one.
ELSEWHERE IN THE AL WEST…
The Angels (14-8) finally came back down to Earth a bit, getting swept by the Red Sox and dropping two of three to a Giants team that entered the weekend with a 7-11 record. They were outscored 41-10 while going 1-5 on the week.
Seattle (11-9), after dropping a four-game set to the Astros early in the week, won two out of three in Arlington against the Rangers (8-15), who also lost two of three against the Rays.
The A’s (11-11) scraped and clawed their way to .500 by sweeping the White Sox and then punking the Red Sox twice, including Sunday’s no-hitter by Sean Manaea.
ELSEWHERE IN MLB…
White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar, who passed out in the dugout after his appearance in Friday’s game against the Astros, apparently suffered a brain aneurysm and underwent brain surgeries on Saturday and Sunday. Holy shit. Prayers for a full recovery.
The Diamondbacks (15-6) are the best team in the National League and have also allowed the NL’s fewest runs (64). As good as that is, three AL teams (Indians, Astros, Red Sox) have allowed fewer.
Brandon Belt had a 21-pitch AB, breaking Ricky Gutierrez’s record of 20. I looked up the game to see if Gutierrez ended the AB by grounding into a double play. He didn’t. I had a sad.
THE WEEK AHEAD – APRIL 23-29
The Astros play two of the top offenses in baseball this week. Let’s see how the ERA looks afterward.
Angels @ Astros – April 23-25
or, “Ohtani-Mania comes to Houston”
Schedule and Probables
Monday, April 23, 7:10pm CDT
Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98) vs. Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96)
Tuesday, April 24, 7:10pm CDT
Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 3.60) vs. Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.72)
Wednesday, April 25, 1:10pm CDT
Nick Tropeano (1-1, 3.75) vs. Justin Verlander (3-0, 1.10)
Look at dem ERAs. God, that makes me so hot.
Angel pitching got dinged pretty badly last week, and their 4.16 ERA is all the way down at 18th in baseball. Their rotation bears most of that shame, with a 5.12 ERA that is 24th in MLB. But their rotation also owns a 10-7 record, which tells me that they’ve been living dangerously thanks to their offense. The Fightin’ Anaheims have baseball’s fifth-best run-scoring offense and fourth-best batting average, and they currently lead the majors with 32 home runs. They are also perfect in ten stolen base attempts.
Skaggs has been largely effective for the Angels this season. Before the Red Sox bashed him last week, he had only given up three earned runs in his first three starts. He’s only pitched more than five innings once, though. Ohtani got roughed up for the first time, allowing three runs in two innings before leaving the game with a blister. Tropeano is making only his third start of the season; he shut out the Royals before also getting the Boston treatment. The Astros have had success against Tropeano (combined .419/.471/.581) but less against Skaggs (just a .266 average, Springer is 0x13).
Houston’s starters for this series match up well (something I expect to say a lot this season): Angels players who have faced Cole, Morton, and Verlander are a combined .173 in 398 ABs.
A’s @ Astros – April 27-29
or, “Still can’t believe these fucks swept the Astros last September”
Schedule and Probables
Friday, April 27, 7:10pm CDT
Sean Manaea (3-2, 1.23) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 3.10)
Saturday, April 28, 6:10pm CDT
Daniel Mengden (2-2, 3.86) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 4.67)
Sunday, April 29, 1:10pm CDT
Trevor Cahill (1-0, 0.00) vs. Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96)
The A’s will play three games in Arlington and get Thursday off before heading down to Houston. The A’s are just as much of an offensive threat as the Angels, and in fact even outpace the Angels (and Astros) in a few categories. They don’t run the bases much, though, with five steals in only seven tries. The pitching has been pretty average, with a 4.37 staff ERA that slots them just in the bottom third. If this team can figure out the pitching then they may be a dark horse wild card team.
We’ve already read about Manaea no-hitting the juggernaut Red Sox lineup. He’s had an excellent start to the season, only once not lasting until the 7th and three times pitching into the 8th or later. Mengden started off roughly against the Angels and Rangers, but has pitched back-to-back quality starts and has issued only three walks all year. Cahill was a last-minute signing in March after Jharel Cotton got shelved for Tommy John surgery, and spent the first couple of weeks tuning up in AAA. His only start of the year was a seven-inning, five-hit shutout of the White Sox. He’s due to pitch against the Rangers before this series.
The Astros have hit well against Cahill (in limited work) and Mengden historically, but Manaea has done well against Houston. McCullers and Cole both have small sample sizes against the A’s hitters, while Keuchel has allowed a decent .257 average against Oakland.