Archive for the 'Astros' Category

Red Sox Find the Right Price for World Series Appearance

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Like Clayton Kershaw, David Price has struggled as a starter in playoff games. Coming into this game he had yet to win a start, going 0-9. That all changed last night and it couldn’t have come in a bigger game. Price pitched six innings of shutout ball, limiting the Astros to just three hits while striking out nine in the Red Sox 4-1 win. They beat the defending champion Astros in the best of seven series four games to one.

The Red Sox trio of outfielders were a bit quiet in the clinching game, combining to go 0 for 13 with one walk. The veteran J.D. Martinez drove in the first run with a solo shot in the third. Rafael Devers put the game on ice with a three run blast in the sixth. Both homeruns were off Justin Verlander.

Marwin Gonzalez gave Astro fans their lone reason to cheer with a solo shot in the seventh to make it 4-1. Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel closed out the game, going 2.1 innings to give the Sox the victory.

Jackie Bradley Jr. fell two RBIs short of the franchise record of 11 established by David Ortiz, but it was still enough to get him the MVP award for these series playoffs.

Dodgers and Red Sox Roll

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Brewers used Wade Miley for one batter and then went to their bullpen. The Dodgers used Clayton Kershaw for seven innings and went to their bullpen. Advantage Dodgers. They win the game 5-2.

Brandon Woodruff worked a starters load for the Brewers but he gave up three runs in five innings. Kershaw may have the numbers of a number five pitcher in playoff appearances but he was unhittable yesterday, allowing just one run in his seven innings while striking out nine. Kershaw may have lost some stuff because of injuries over the years but he can still put together dominating outings.

All five of the Dodgers runs came within a three inning span, 5th through 7th, when Woodruff may have started to get tired and Joakim Soria just was not effective in his seventh inning appearance, retiring only one hitter. Sometimes you can go to the well one time too often relying on your bullpen and find there is no more water left. The Brewers plan on starting Wade Miley for the critical sixth game to keep them in the playoffs.

For the third consecutive game the usual homer happy Dodgers went without, but they did steal bases and slap around seven singles with two doubles. Austin Barnes drove in the first run with a bleeder RBI single up the middle to tie the game 1-1. Yasiel Puig was standing in the on deck circle but Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to bat. The Brewers could have called the bluff and walked Barnes to bring up Yasiel Puig or Kershaw - but didn’t.

Puig was able to get his at bat in the sixth and drove in a run with a single. Max Muncy also had an RBI single, ignoring his homer happy ways to drive in runs to break the 1-1 tie. The two RBI singles put the Dodgers up 3-1. A Justin Turner RBI single and a Brian Dozier RBI ground out the next inning would make it 5-1. Not one RBI created from an extra base hit. That’s normally not the Dodgers formulae for winning games.

Red Sox 8 Astros 6

It was a wild game that many were probably unable to stay up late to watch. It ended on a diving catch by leftfielder Andrew Benintendi with the bases loaded. If he had not made the catch the Astros probably would have won the game 9-8 since the ball would have rolled to the corner of the left field wall and all three runners on base would have scored.

Jackie Bradley can not be called an unlikely hero anymore. He may be hitting ninth in the order, but the bat has been carrying the juice of a clean up hitter. His two run homerun in the sixth carried a long way and gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. It also gave Bradley nine RBIs for the series two short of slugger David Ortiz for the franchise record for most RBIs in a playoff series.

There were six different times in this game a team took the lead or tied the game. That must have left a lot of fans dizzy. For those staying up late at night there was no time to take a break for sleep. You can do that at the office.

Kimbrel got the two inning save, but it was not easy. He gave up a run, walked three and issued two hits and probably would have lost the game if not for the Benintendi catch.

There was a bit of controversy on a non-catch. Mookie Betts made a leaping attempt to catch a ball by Jose Altuve that was clearly going over the fence for a two run homer. The replays show Betts may have been able to catch the ball but a fan touched the glove of Betts and prevented him from keeping it open to make the catch. If his glove was in play the interference call would have been valid. If his glove was hanging into the stands there should have been no interfence call. The replay officials did not reverse the fan interfence call since it was unclear whether his glove was in the stands when he made his leap.

Betts continued to show his gold glove wins are no fluke with another great play in the eighth. Tony Kemp hit what appeared to be a leadoff double down the right field line. Betts was able to get to the ball and rifle a strike to second to nail Kemp.

All three Red Sox outfielders combined their bats and their gloves to win this game, accounting for at least a plus 12 in the run department.

Dodgers Win Marathon to Even Series; Red Sox Blast Astros

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

There were lots of zeroes on the scoreboard in the Dodgers eventual 2-1 13 inning win over the Brewers. Gio Gonzalez only went one inning, giving up one run before a sprained ankle ended his day. The Brewer bullpen muscled down, throwing 11 shutout innings before Cody Bellinger ended the game with his walk off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Dodgers a 2-1 win and even the series at two games each. Coming into this game Bellinger’s postseason average for 2018 was .048 and for his career .176.

The Dodgers bullpen also pitched well, not allowing a run for eight innings. Julio Urias, the one time Mexican sensation, came back from oblivion to throw one inning of shutout ball to get credit for the win, proving all that rehab from injury can pay off. Ryan Madson, who was horrible in relief during the regular season with the Nationals and Dodgers stranded a critical runner at third in the seventh and then pitched a scoreless eighth. Madson has only allowed one hit in his 3.1 post season innings, stranding six of the nine runners he has inherited.

Red Sox 8 Astros 2

Jackie Bradley has had his major league career defined as good glove but weak bat. He was again the Red Sox offensive hero with a grand slam homerun in the eighth inning that put the game out of reach and gave the Red Sox the win. It may have been his only hit in the game, but it was a big hit.

Nathan Eovaldi, whose career has been a bit of a disappointment considering his three digit fastball, was the pitching hero, going six innings and capturing the win while allowing two runs. Eovaldi is considered the hardest thrower from Alvin, Texas since, well Nolan Ryan, who was sitting in the stands rooting for his Houston Astros. Eovaldi’s fastball was ringing the radar at three digits.

Steve Pearce, another journeyman player who was a late acquisition from the Blue Jays broke a 2-2 tie with a solo homerun in the sixth. For Pearce it was his first post season homerun.

The Red Sox now lead the best of seven series two games to one.

Red Sox Even Series

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Jackie Bradley is not noted for his bat. His major league career batting average is .236. There has only been one season in which he has hit over .250 and slugged more than 20 homeruns and that was in 2016. The Red Sox rely on him for his defense.

Last night his bat came up clutch with a bases clearing three run double in the third inning that gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. They went on to win the game 7-5. He is the winner of myworld’s most unlikely hero.

David Price went on to have another ineffective outing giving up four runs in his 4.2 innings of work. He walked four and coughed up five hits. Marwin Gonzalez tagged him for a two run shot in the third inning. He has yet to win a playoff start, but this is the first time his team has won in a playoff game he started. Because he pitched only 4.2 innings he was not eligible to take the win.

Gerritt Cole lasted six innings but he was assaulted by the Red Sox bats, allowing five runs on six hits. Lance MuCullers allowed a run to the Red Sox in the seventh without allowing a hit. He walked Mookie Betts, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on back to back passed balls that squirted behind Astros catcher Martin Maldanado.

Rick Porcello again pitched an inning of shutout ball in an eighth inning setup role. Craig Kimbrel came on to make Red Sox fans sweat, giving up a George Springer double and a Jose Altuve RBI single to put the tying run at the plate in Alex Bregman with two out. Bregman hit a high pop that carried to the edge of the green monster, but was caught a foot in front of the wall to end the game. Kimbrel is 4 for 4 in playoff save opportunities, but he has yet to retire the side in order in those playoff appearances.

Dodgers Even Series; Astros Strike First Against Red Sox

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Dodgers 4 Brewers 3

Normally myworld would not consider Justin Turner an unlikely hero, but after the game last night when he struck out to end the game with the tying run on third, one of his four strikeouts in five at bats, we had to reconsider. He was the hero last night with a two run homer off Brewer closer Jeremy Jeffress in the top of the eighth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The bullpen was able to secure the victory, with Kenley Jansen pitching the ninth to get the save.

The Brewers had jumped out to a 3-0 lead with Wade Miley throwing 5.2 shutout innings but the Brewers bullpen coughed up two in the seventh and two in the eighth to take the loss.

Myworld has a saying - forget the past, focus on the present because that will impact your future. Turner forgot about his ineptness last night, focused on his current at bat and won the game.

The probable MVP of the National League, Christian Yelich came up with the tying run on second and grounded out to end the game. Perhaps he will be the hero in game three.

Astros 7 Red Sox 2

Yulieski Gurriel was a big time player in Cuba. He is a solid hitter in the major leagues, but doesn’t really hit for the power teams expect from their first baseman. That power comes in spurts and last night he had one of his spurts. His three run homerun in the ninth inning sealed the win for the Astros, turning the Red Sox seats empty as they won the opening game in their American League championship series. Josh Reddick had opened the inning with a homerun, turning a 3-2 lead into 4-2. The two homeruns in the ninth extended the Astros streak of homeruns in playoff games to 13, becoming the second team in history to accomplish that feat.

Carlos Correa provided the game winning hit with a broken bat single off a 100 mile per hour fastball delivered by Joe Kelly. Chris Sale lasted just four innings, walking four and hitting one batter. The Astros were only able to collect five hits, but 10 walks and three hit batsmen gave them the opportunities they needed to score runs.

Holt and Red Sox Embarrass Yankees

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Not a lot of close games as the Dodgers and Astros advance. The Red Sox embarrassed the Yankees in New York.

Boston Red Sox 16 Yankees 1

The utility player Brock Holt became the first player ever to hit for the cycle in a post season game in the Red Sox 16-1 rout over the Yankees. He finished the cycle with a two run homerun in the ninth inning off Yankee catcher Austin Romine. The first two games of the series saw him sit the bench.

Nathan Eovoldi was making his post season debut. At one time Eovoldi had pitched for the Yankees with minimal success. He had started the season with the Rays but was traded to the Red Sox in July. He has also pitched for the Dodgers and Marlins, missing the 2017 season because of Tommy John surgery. Yesterday he saved the Red Sox bullpen working seven innings and allowing just one run to get his post season win, lighting up the radar gun with a half dozen pitches that hit triple digits.

The Red Sox blew the game away with a seven run fourth inning, Holt capping the inning with his hardest hit, a two run triple.

Houston Astros 11 Cleveland Indians 3

The Astros completed their sweep against the Indians. The Indians had a 2-1 lead after five. The Astros battered the Indians bullpen for 10 runs in the next three innings, a six run eighth putting the game out of reach. Collin McHugh got the win with his two innings of shutout ball. McHugh was bumped to the bullpen because he did not make the starting rotation after spring training. He shined with the shorter role.

George Springer went deep with two solo shots and Carlos Correa blasted a three run homer in the six run eighth. Marwin Gonzalez got the big hit for the Astros with a two run double to break a 2-2 tie.

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Atlanta Braves 2

David Freese has been a clutch post season performer. In 2011 he slugged five homeruns and drove in 21 in 18 post season games. This year the Dodgers acquired Freese from the Pirates to be a role player. The role he was asked to play last night was as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning with the Braves ahead 2-1. Freese put the Dodgers back on top with his two run single. Machado clinched the post season series with his three run homer in the seventh. Neither player was on the Dodgers roster when the season started.

The Dodgers will now face the Brewers in the National League championship series. Kershaw and not Ryu will get the opening nod start for the Dodgers.

Sanchez Leads Yankees; Astros Dominate Indians

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Only two games today. Hard to find obscure players who made an impact in the games from yesterday.

Gary Sanchez has struggled with his 2018 season. The homeruns have come (18) but the batting average has suffered (.186). He has also been limited to just 89 games because of injury. Last year he slugged 33 homeruns while hitting .278 in his sophomore season.

Last night Sanchez looked more like the 2017 version than the 2.0 of 2018. He hit a solo homerun in the second and a three run job in the seventh to lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox. The Yankees seem to have David Price number and last night he did not survive past the second inning. He also gave up a solo homerun to Aaron Judge in the first inning. For Gary Sanchez his homerun off Price was his sixth off him in just 14 career at bats. Talk about owning a pitcher.

While Price wilted, falling to 2-9 with a 5.28 ERA in playoff games, Masahiro Tanaka looked strong. He allowed just one Red Sox run in his five innings of work, a Xander Boegarts solo shot in the fourth. Tanaka was a big game pitcher in the playoffs in Japan and he is proving that in the United States, going 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts.

The win evens up the series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at one game apiece.

Marwin Gonzalez was originally a Chicago Cub. He was picked up by the Red Sox on waivers in 2011 and then traded to the Astros for Marco Antonio Duarte. The utility player who is actually a starter, it just depends on what position he plays that day, went a perfect 4 for 4 playing left field to lead the Astros over the Indians 3-1. It was Gonzalez two run double in the sixth inning that gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Gerritt Cole, who was originally drafted by the Yankees as a first round pick, but failed to sign, dominated the Indians with 12 whiffs in seven innings. Francisco Lindor blasted a homerun off him in third inning for the only blemish in his game.

The Astros now lead their series against the Indians two games to zero.

Unsung Heroes in this Foursome of Playoff Games

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Myworld continues to look at some of the unsung heroes in these playoff games. Those players who were not really expected to contribute, especially when you looked at their career path before the 2018 season started.

Houston Astros 7 Cleveland Indians 2

The usual suspects in George Springer, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve went deep in the Astros win. An unusual suspect also went deep in Martin Maldonado, a seventh inning shot that turned the momentum on the Indians. The Indians had scored two in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-2 but Maldonado’s solo shot in the seventh tamed their celebratory mood. Prior to the season Maldonado was an Angel. The Astros acquired him after an injury to Brian McCann. They liked his defense. Yesterday they liked his offense as well. To many Astro fans he has become an angel.

Justin Verlander did not allow a hit through the first five innings. When he got in trouble in the sixth, giving up two runs the Astros called on Ryan Pressly, not a usual choice in the Astros pen. Pressly also started his 2018 season with another team (the Minnesota Twins) stitching together an ERA north of 3 in his six years with Minnesota. Since being acquired from the Twins Pressly has appeared in 26 games with the Astros, limiting the opposition to a 0.77 ERA and a .136 opposition average. He retired all five hitters he faced, striking out Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning, though he did allow both inherited runners to score on a wild pitch and a ground out.

Boston Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 4

J.D. Martinez slugged a three run homer for the Red Sox. There were no unsung heroes unless you want to tout the defensive play of Sandy Leon behind the plate, stopping many balls from crashing into the back stop.

Milwaukee Brewers 4 Colorado Rockies 0

The Brewers went up 2-0 on the Rockies. The pitching staff shut down the Rockies offense, but it was the usual suspects quieting the bats. For the Brewers it was their tenth straight win.

Myworld has to go to our third catcher named as an unsung hero, the 38 year old Erik Kratz, who was appearing in his first playoff game in his career, a career that has always found him as the back up catcher for the seven or so major league teams he has played for since 2010. He started this year as the back up catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting only .236 during the regular season, which was above his .211 career average. Yesterday, besides calling a good game that did not allow the Rockies a run, he also got a clutch hit in the eighth inning, a two run single that turned a 2-0 game into a 4-0 game. It has been since 1905 when a position player older than Erik Kratz started his first playoff game, that player being the equally non-descript Lave Cross, a third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Asked if that was the biggest hit of his career Kratz remarked that he did hit a homerun in a AAA playoff game. Come on Erik. I’d take a two run single in a major league playoff game over a homerun in AAA.

Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Atlanta Braves 0

The Braves bats have certainly had a power outage. After being shutout by Ryu the day before they were also shutout by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw pitched 8 innings of shutout ball, striking out three. Manny Machado swatted a two run homer in the first and Yasmani Grandal hit a solo shot in the fifth. This game was absent unsung heroes, but in the playoffs Kershaw has always struggled. Coming into this playoff game his playoff ERA sat at 4.35. The eight shutout innings lowered his ERA to 4.05. That still falls far short of his career regular season ERA of 2.39.

O’s End Miserable Season with Victory

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

It was a tale of two franchises going in different directions. The Orioles lost a franchise record 115 games. Even the hapless St. Louis Browns could not lose that many games, but they only played a 154 game season. The Astros won 103 games to finish with the most wins in their franchise history. They treated this game like an exhibition game, starting their stars (except Carlos Correa) but taking them out early. The Astros came out swinging, which cut the game time to two hours and 20 minutes. Three different Oriole pitchers limited the Astros to just one hit in their 4-0 win, scoring all four runs in the fourth inning.

Jimmy Yacabonis got the start for the Orioles, facing a bunch of Astro hitters anxious to get back home to prepare for the playoffs. Four of the first six hitters swung at the first pitch thrown by Yacabonis. The Astros got their first and only hit off him in the fourth inning, a line drive single by Jose Altuve into centerfield. Yacabonis hit two batters and walked one hitter in the third and fourth inning and was taken out after four. The Oriole relief corp of Paul Fry (three innings) and Mychal Givens pitched a perfect five innings of relief afterward.

The Astros started Charlie Morton, working him for three innings. He struck out four to pass the 200 mark for the season, the first time he has accomplished that feat in his career. He gave up one hit and walked one, both in the second inning.

The pitcher who gave up all the runs was Brad Peacock, who could retire only one of the six hitters he faced. Jonathan Villar, Tim Beckham and Renato Nunez rocketed doubles off him. Villar got such a big jump from second that he could have walked into third after the ball reached the catcher. Chris Devenski was able to contain the damage to four runs, retiring the last two hitters and stranding D.J. Stewart on third.

Game Notes: As they have been doing all weekend the Oriole fans gave Adam Jones a standing ovation with each at bat. In the top of the ninth Jones went out to play right field but after Mychal Givens threw his warm up pitches Joey Rickard came out to replace him, giving the fans another opportunity to give him a standing ovation. At the start of the game Jones ran out to his spot for the National Anthem and no teammates followed him. The crowd again gave him a standing ovation. All the standing O’s seemed a bit too much, but Jones was a franchise changer, responsible for putting the O’s back in the playoffs when no one thought they had a chance…Jones got to start the game in centerfield but then moved to right field in the second inning. Jones finished the day 0 for 4…Jose Altuve fell short of 200 hits, the last time that happened was in 2013. A long stint on the disabled list prevented him from reaching that goal for a fifth consecutive season…The 200 strikeouts by Morton put him with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole as three Astro starting pitchers with 200 or more strikeouts. The last time that happened was in 1969 when Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Tom Griffin accomplished that feat.

A.L. West All Stars

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Below are the Baseball American Classification picks for the A.L. West.

Houston Astros

Kyle Tucker OF (AAA) - Not a lot of success in the major leagues (.138) for the 2015 first round pick. He tore it up in AAA with a .332 average and 24 homeruns. Next year he should be the Astros starting left fielder. He can hit for average and power. His speed is not great which makes a corner outfield spot an ideal fit for him.

Ryan Hartman LHSP (AA) - The late round (9th) 2016 pick had a solid AA season (11-4, 2.69) that leaves him on the edge of the major league roster. His strikeout numbers were excellent with two career high 11 whiff games.

Alex McKenna OF (SS) - The fourth round 2018 pick does not have spectacular tools. He did hit for a .534 slugging average in the New York Penn League with five homeruns. His hits are more geared for splitting the gaps than going over the fence. That makes sticking in center crucial, but he lacks burner speed to play there. More likely a fourth outfielder type.

Gilberto Celestino OF (SS) - The Dominican shows some good speed to play centerfield. His bat lacks power now but once he matures he could find more juice. A double digit stolen base guy that needs to work on his OBA.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Taylor Ward 3B (AAA) - The 2015 first round pick moved from catcher to third base. This seemed to awaken his bat hitting .349 with 14 homeruns between AA and AAA. A 100 plus major league callup turned into a challenge with a .169 average. Too many swings and misses at the major league level (43 K’s in 124 at bats), but he can still get a hold of one.

Oakland Athletics

Jesus Luzardo SP (AA) - Tommy John surgery and the Nationals hope to keep a run for the playoffs enticed them to trade Luzardo with Blake Trienen for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. The trade helped the Nationals last year but really benefited the Athletics this year and in the future. Luzardo was in consideration for player of the year after his 10-5, 2.88 ERA run through three levels. For a lefthander to hit mid-90s with his fastball is gold and he has a plus changeup to make that fastball look even better.

Seattle Mariners

Dan Vogelbach 1B (AAA) - Power is his big game. Defense is not part of the equation for him. That power has not really showed in the major leagues. He did hit 20 homeruns in AAA with a .545 slugging. Given an opportunity to hit major league pitching that slugging dropped to .388.

Cal Raleigh DH (SS) - The 2018 third round pick has the ability to hit for pop, showing it with eight homeruns and a .534 slugging percentage in short season. His work behind the plate is a little suspect and may result in a move to first base.

Julio Rodriguez OF (Dominican) - The Mariners shelled out $1.75 million to sign him in 2017. In the Dominican league he showed that price was worth it, popping five homeruns with a .525 slugging. His lack of speed limits him to a corner outfield, though he has enough arm to play right field. Despite his lack of speed he did leg out nine triples and stole ten bases.

Texas Rangers

Jonathan Hernandez SP (High A) -Signed out of the Dominican in 2013, it has been a long ride in the minor leagues for Hernandez. He struggled in AA (4.92 ERA) after dominating in High A. His fastball hits the mid-90s and hitters have difficulty elevating it. At 22 he is still young enough to develop further and fit as a mid or back rotation starter.

Tyler Phillips SP (Low A) - At 6′5″ the late round (16th) 2015 pick has a good pitcher’s frame. His fastball sits in the low 90s and gets lots of ground ball outs. If he can increase the velocity a couple notches he could fit into the middle of the rotation. His secondary pitches (curve and change) lack consistency. Once he hammers in all the nails in his tool box he could be good to go.

Curtis Terry 1B (SS) - The 13th round 2015 pick found his bat repeating the Northwest League. His 15 homeruns and .337 average shows a good bat but at 21 and hitting right handed he could end up a career minor leaguer.

Diosbel Arias 3B (SS) - Hit .366 in short season but at 22 he was old for the league. The Cuban does show gap power but still needs to find a position. Expect him to start the 2019 season in full season ball and settle in at third base.

Hans Crouse SP (SS) - The second round 2017 pick has a mid-90s fastball and excellent slider that get lots of swings and misses. Opponents only hit .179 against him in short season ball, but he found the hitters a little more difficult when promoted to full season (.273). Needs to find his change to stay in the rotation.

Randy Florentino C (Dominican) - He showed a good bat against Dominican pitchers (.309 average) walking more than whiffing (53 to 51). His big test is coming stateside to see how he communicates to pitchers and makes contact against better pitching.

Osleivis Basabe SS (Dominican) - His bat rocked in the DSL (.344) with gap power.

Ronny Henriquez SP (Dominican) - At 5′10″ is height is not ideal for a righthander but he did whiff 79 in 58 innings and limited hitters to a .177 average. He was 5-0 in 11 starts with a 1.55 ERA.