Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bill Gilbert: Triple Milestones – 2017

December 23, 2017

Triple Milestones – 2017

By Bill Gilbert

       Offensive production in the major leagues increased again in 2017 due to another spike in the home run rate. Other offensive measures were also at the highest level in several years.

TRIPLE MILESTONE PRODUCTION: 1990-2017

YEAR R/G HR/G AVG OBA SLG OPS TMH*
1990 8.51 1.58 .258 .324 .386 .710 2
1991 8.62 1.61 .255 .323 .384 .707 3
1992 8.23 1.44 .256 .322 .377 .699 2
1993 9.20 1.78 .266 .332 .404 .736 5
1994 9.85 2.07 .270 .339 .424 .763 3
1995 9.69 2.02 .267 .338 .417 .755 8
1996 10.07 2.19 2.70 .340 .427 .767 21
1997 9.53 2.05 .267 .337 .419 .756 7
1998 9.58 2.08 .266 .335 .420 .755 14
1999 10.17 2.28 .271 .345 .434 .779 19
2000 10.28 2.34 .271 .345 .437 .782 26
2001 9.55 2.25 .264 .332 .427 .759 21
2002 9.24 2.09 .261 .331 .417 .748 12
2003 9.46 2.14 .264 .332 .422 .754 8
2004 9.63 2.25 .266 .335 .428 .763 12
2005 9.18 2.06 .265 .330 .419 .749 10
2006 9.72 2.22 .269 .336 .432 .768 13
2007 9.59 2.04 .268 .336 .423 .759 8
2008 9.30 2.01 .264 .333 .417 .750 7
2009 9.23 2.02 .262 .333 .418 .751 6
2010 8.77 1.90 .257 .325 .403 .728 6
2011 8.57 1.87 .255 .321 .399 .720 7
2012 8.64 2.03 .255 .319 .405 .724 4
2013 8.33 1.92 .253 .318 .396 .714 3
2014 8.13 1.73 .251 .314 .386 .700 2
2015 8.50 2.02 .254 .317 .405 .721 1
2016 8.96 2.23 .255 .322 .417 .739 4
2017 9.30 2.51 .255 .314 .426 .750 7

TMH* = Triple Milestones Hitters

Despite the increase in home runs, only five players hit 40 or more compared to eight in 2016 and nine in 2015. The big increase in the last two years has come in players that hit 30 or more home runs. This level was reached by 33 players in 2017, 38 in 2016 but only 11 in 2015.

      A useful indicator for tracking offense is the number of players who hit for both power and average by achieving the old-school milestones of a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. A record 26 players reached all three Triple Crown category milestones in 2000, but that figure has dropped significantly in recent years. Only one player achieved all three in 2015. This figure increased to 4 in 2016 and 7 in 2017, the highest number since 2011, reflecting the increase in offense. Of the 33 players with 30+ home runs, only eight batted over .300. Maintaining a .300 batting average is the most difficult of the three milestones to reach.

            The only player that made the .300-30-100 club in 2015, Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, fell short in 2016 and 2017. The four players who made it in 2016, all in the American League, failed to repeat in 2017.

PLAYER TIMES 2016 2017
MIGUEL CABRERA 8 .316-38-108 .248-16-60
DAVID ORTIZ 5 .315-38-127 Retired
ADRIAN BELTRE 3 .300-32-104 .312-17-71
MOOKIE BETTS 1 .318-31-113 .264-24-102
JOEY VOTTO 2   .320-36-100
JOSE ABREU 2   .304-33-102
CHARLIE BLACKMON 1   .331-37-104
MARCELL OZUNA 1   .312-37-124
NOLAN ARENADO 1   .309-37-130
JD MARTINEZ 1   .303-45-104
RYAN ZIMMERMAN 1   .303-36-108

 

GILBERT COMMENTS ON ABOVE 11 PLAYERS:

 CABRERA: “Worst year by far”

ORTIZ: “Went out on top in 2016”

BELTRE: “Slowed by injuries”

BETTS: “Failed to reach 2016 heights”

 

VOTTO: “Barely made it”

ABREU: “ Made it in 2004 rookie year”

BLACKMON: “Breakout year”

OZUNA: “Emerging star”

ARENADO: “first year hitting .300”

MARTINEZ: “Released by Astros in 2014”

ZIMMERMAN: “Big comeback year”

 

TWO PLAYERS CAME CLOSE IN 2017: 

PLAYER TIMES 2017 COMMENTS
PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 2 .297-36-120 “Late slump hurt BA”
JONATHAN SCHOOP 0 .293-32-105 “Orioles’ best in 2017

An Homage to Judy Dierker and Love

December 20, 2017

JULIA “JUDY” DIERKER passed away last Friday, December 15, 2017, after a lengthy illness. Her obituary is available on the page connected to this link:

http://www.kleinfh.com/m/?p=memorial&id=2049780

Our hearts go out to the heart of Larry Dierker and the hearts of all family members and close friends for what we know from our personal experience with the death of a truly loved one. It is the pain of all pains. One beyond estimation.

What we don’t know at first, but which always follows over time, is that true love never leaves. It stays. And it continues to give in ways we may never know it would – and it will do so – through the completion of our own human time on this earth.

Some of us believe that’s true because “God is Love,” and so, wherever God goes, Love goes too. And, like God, because Love is God, Love never leaves – wherever it goes. It stays. And it is far more powerful than any sense of loss or hurt that lands – also in our hearts.

In the end, only love prevails.

God Bless You All, Larry Dierker, Family, and Friends – because you already are so blessed to have had Judy in your lives for all this time.

People like Judy Dierker are in our lives to teach us life’s most beautiful and powerful lesson: If we want more love, we have to become willing to pass true love on to others by giving it away – in ways large and small.

From the little we family outsiders here could know, it appears likely that Judy Dierker had to have been one of the people who already understood that “if you want to keep the full glow of love burning brightest, you have to be willing to continue giving it away to the world.”

Judy may now be gone in physical form, but the gifts of love that passed through her to others in her lifetime shall live on as the active unstoppable energy of her caring – and as much like a force of nature that flows forever in our wildest imaginings – as constantly and as steadily – as the Great Falls of Niagara or the ever-roaring roll of the Mighty Mississippi, on its long southern journey to the sea.

Judy’s energies will stay in motion forever, even in her absence. The good she did shall also keep hurdling over cliffs and rolling a thousand miles to the ocean of love’s home of effort. It is unstoppable.

Rest in Peace, Judy Dierker. And may God continue to bless all our lives with the Love that is the essence that rests in the heartbeat of every breath we draw into our bodies – separately and together – in the good company of the love that steers us to embrace love for what it truly is.

God Rest Ye, Merry Gentle Men and Women! ~ Let Nothing You Dismay!

~ The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Will Altuve Catch Rose Someday?

November 22, 2017

“See the ball. ~ Hit the ball.”

 

Jose Altuve’s All Time Hit Total Chart By Season

YEAR AGE PA AB H BA
2011 21 234 221 61 .276
2012 22 630 576 167 .290
2013 23 672 626 177 .283
2014 24 707 660 225 .341
2015 25 689 638 200 .313
2016 26 717 640 216 .338
2017 27 662 590 204 .346
7 YEARS   4311 3951 1250 .316
162 G AVE   711 652 206 .316
           

TABLE DATA KEYS

PA = PLATE APPEARANCES

AB = AT BATS

H = HITS

BA = BATTING AVERAGE

BOLD TYPE = LED LEAGUE & TOTALS

BOLD TYPE ALSO = AVERAGE, EACH CATEGORY PER YEAR

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So be it. Now, if Jose Altuve continues playing at his same rate, does not retire or find himself forced by injury or some other fate of life into either a less productive hitting pace or an early forced exit or long time away from baseball, his chances for reaching 3,000 hits, 4,000 hits, or even surpassing the 4,256 all time hits total of Pete Rose in the following way by time, season, and age prediction.

We stress again. This is only a simple mathematical projection. It is much easier to predict than life itself ever is to confirm and guarantee delivery in advance. Or perhaps we’ve all noticed that reality in our own less famous life planning tracks.

The three numbers we are working with here are: (1) The fact that Altuve already has compiled 1,250 total hits through his first 7 seasons (2011-2017); (2) When we adjust all of Altuve’s stats to how they average over the number of 162-game seasons found within his total hit bag, we find that he is averaging 206 hits per season, through 2017; and (3) at age 27, Altuve’s projected age at the time of these other possible milestones is doable at the rate of 206 hits per full seasons yet played.

To reach 3,000 hits….

3,000 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 1,750 more hits needed

1,750 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 8.495 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 3,000 hits at mid-season in 2026 at age 36.

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To reach 4,000 hits….

4,000 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 2,750 more hits needed

2,750 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 13.350 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 4,000 hits in the first third of the 2031 season at age 41.

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To reach 4,257 hits, surpassing Pete Rose ….

4,257 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 3,007 more hits needed

3,007 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 14.60 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 4,257 hits after the All Star break in the 2032 season at age 42.

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The Voice of Reasonable Bias

Even the great little one’s legs may not be up to playing as often and productively at age 42 as he would need to play to pass Rose, but, what the heck, Rose did it. Who knows? It’s just fun to play with big ideas, especially when it involves a great human being and championship level baseball player like our wonderful Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros. Jose is on his way to the Hall of Fame regardless of whether or not he reaches any of these statistical goals. Although, barring anything unforeseen, it’s hard to see him missing the 3,000 hit total, plus however many other batting titles, World Series rings, and other awards there are out there to be collected annually.

Of course, if Altuve does eventually catch Pete Rose on the hit total board, it will certainly take some pressure off the Hall of Fame. No longer will they have to continually have to answer the question: “How come the all time hit leader is not a member of the Hall of Fame?”

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Game Six Malaise Paralyzes Astros

November 1, 2017

2017 is the 38th time that the World Series will be decided in 7 games. The first one happened in 1909, when Pittsburg of the NL defeated Detroit of the AL.

 

The Overview

It happened as we feared it might.

Justin Verlander pitched a game that was more than good enough for the win, but the Astros offense came out flat and stayed that way. As a result, the Dodgers were able to combine some pretty fair pitching of their own, early patience with the 1-0 deficit, good defense, the support of the home town crowd, their 2-inning stopper on Houston’s serious attempts to pad the lead, and the NL rule that forces pitchers to “bat” until it all complexly parlayed into another 6th inning flow of LA scoring momentum that would gain them just enough lead and confidence to take the game and the day – and also leave them looking forward to Game 7 with a few braggadocio shouts of a guaranteed World Series victory for LA in Game 7.

Now the Astros face the daunting task of taking on a giant Dodger Blue ball of momentum that shall be rolling down upon them tonight behind the rediscovered full cadre of pitches that Yu Darvish has to offer the plight of winning, as Clayton Kershaw stands behind him, hoping with all the power of compulsivity to get in there and experience one strong shot at redemption from his Houston meltdown in Game 5.

The Scoring in Game 6

Top of 3rd, HOU:

Hill pitching for Los Angeles
Reddick popped out to center fielder Taylor.
Verlander struck out.
Springer homered to right on a 1-0 count.
Bregman grounded out, shortstop Seager to first baseman Bellinger.
1 Runs, 1 Hits, 0 Errors

Bottom of 6th, LA: 

Verlander pitching for Houston
Barnes singled to left.
Utley was hit by a pitch, Barnes to second.
Taylor doubled to right, Barnes scored, Utley to third.
Seager hit a sacrifice fly to right fielder Reddick, Utley scored, Taylor to third.
Turner fouled out to first baseman Gurriel.
Bellinger struck out.
2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors

Bottom of 7th, LA:

Musgrove pitching for Houston
Musgrove pitching.
Puig popped out to shortstop Correa.
Pederson homered to left on a 1-2 count.
Ethier pinch-hitting for Maeda.
Ethier popped out to left fielder Ma.González.
Barnes struck out.
1 Runs, 1 Hits, 0 Errors

Final Score: Los Angeles Dodgers 3 – Houston Astros 1.

The Game Five Hangover Malaise

In the ebb and flow of mass crowd human emotion, the biggest fear sometimes is the malaise that entraps the celebrants on the heels of victory. That descending (calming down) malaise is what causes the lack of fire in a team’s performance within 48 hours. Well, guess what, folks. It happened to the Houston Astros last night. Hope someone over there on the Houston side recognizes the fact and takes the time to remind the ‘Stros who they really are.

Now we have to hope that we see early signs tonight from our offense that we’ve let go of the lull and are now ready to finish the job that didn’t get done last night.

Go Astros in Game 7! ~You can do it! ~ Get off the deck and knock LA into the next block for good! ~ You still have that punch within you,  just waiting for delivery!

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Now It’s Time To Go All The Way

October 2, 2017

12 Years Ago, the Astros Won Their 1st Pennant!
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Now It’s Time to Do It Again!

 

ASTRO*NOTES

Jose Altuve’s 3rd league batting championship in four years now hangs nicely around the .346 digits that support it. The guy who did is the walking, hustling, all-out running heartbeat of everything this Astros club has come to be. We just hope the league MVP voters see that fact as clearly as those of us who do who watch every Astros game we possibly can. There isn’t another like him – and we don’t think that even Aaron Judge and his 55 homers mean as much to the Yankees as Altuve does do both the Houston Astros and the game of baseball itself. Altuve is just the right size to stand tall as the role model for “you can be all you want to be” – regardless of size in baseball – if you’ve got the talent, the fire, the passion, and the discipline it takes to keep learning from your mistakes – and adjusting to the adjustments that your opponents make to you.

Yuli Gurriel is also a great candidate – even as a thirty-something guy – for Rookie of the Year. He fell a hit short of reaching the .300 mark, but, even at .299, his hitting credentials were pretty darn good. It seems like almost all of his 43 doubles, 1 triple, and 18 homers came at strategic times that tilted the game the Astros’ way. He also did a nice job of adapting to 1st place and was doing those one or two bounce swoop catches for the out play as well as many guys with many more years experience.

The nostalgic romance for daytime playoff baseball is a little damp here in Houston. News that the Boston@Houston Games 1 and 2 at MMP will start at 3 PM on Thursday and at 1 PM on Friday of this week is off-set by the fact that many working Houstonians will have to take off work early – or not work at all – to use the tickets they bought before the times were announced. Of course, the real reason this is happening is because the broadcasting network wants to save the evening times for the larger tv market clubs that also play on those same days.

Congratulations on a great regular season, Houston Astros! ~ Now let’s go do something that is entirely irregular to any season we’ve ever finished! ~ One Game at a Time, let’s not stop winning each series until the Houston Astros are the only team left standing as the winner of them all!

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HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE RACES NOW DECIDED

THRU GAMES PLAYED SUNDAY, 10/01/2017

 SEASON’S END (Reflecting All Ten Playoff Qualifier Team Season Records)

CLUB DIV/WC   W L W%   AL   NL   W. SERIES
DODGERS NLW   104 58 .642       BEST   BEST
INDIANS ALC   102 60 .630   BEST   ~   2.0
ASTROS ALW   101 61 .623   1.0   ~   3.0
NATIONALS NLE   97 65 .599   ~   7.0   7.0
RED SOX ALE   93 69 .574   9.0   ~   11.0
D BACKS NL WC1   93 69 .574   ~   11.0   11.0
CUBS NLC   92 70 .568   ~   12.0   12.0
YANKEES AL WC1   91 71 .562   11.0   ~   13.0
ROCKIES NL WC2   87 75 .537   ~   17.0   17.0
TWINS AL WC2   85 77 .525   17.0   ~   19.0

 W = WINNERS BY LEAGUE AND WORLD SERIES (WS) OVERALL.

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 HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE FOUR SERIOUS CONTENDER SCORES

THRU SETTLEMENT GAMES PLAYED SATURDAY, 9/30/2017

ASTROS 4 – RED SOX 3

INDIANS 3 – WHITE SOX 1

PIRATES 11 – NATIONALS 8

DODGERS 6 – ROCKIES 3

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2017 AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES PLAYED TO REGULAR SEASON’S END:

SUNDAY, 10/01/2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 590 204 39 4 24 .346
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 518 171 27 5 18 .330
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 603 192 31 1 25 .318
4 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 585 186 55 6 29 .318
NC * CARLOS CORREA HOU 422 133 25 1 24 .315
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 477 150 34 4 13 .314
6 MIKE TROUT LAA 402 123 25 3 33 .306
7 JOE MAUER MIN 525 160 36 1 7 .305
8 JOSE ABREU CWS 621 189 43 6 33 .304
9 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 455 138 34 0 23 .303
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 584 175 27 5 15 .300
  OTHER ASTROS    
12 YULI GURRIEL HOU 529 158 43 1 18 .299
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 556 158 39 5 19 .284
24 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 548 155 29 0 34 .283

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS DEPRIVED CARLOS CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS IN 2017.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

How the MLB Looked on July 19

September 26, 2017

 

On July 19, 2017, the Houston Chronicle sports pages section headlines read: “Simply thumb-struck”. Carlos Correa had just gone through hand surgery for that thumb-injury he suffered on a slide at home and now he was out and scheduled to return no sooner than late in the season, if at all.

I had saved that paper as an anchor point perspective on “how things were then” for a brief look at “how things are now” with the Houston Astros’ 2017 season as a result.

And here it is:

Carlos Correa. Carlos Correa was hitting .320 and playing gods-level defense through his final pre-injury game of Tuesday, July 18. He’s been back a while now – and only last night – he made another of those “angels in the infield” plays to retire Ranger runner Elvis Andrus at first. Oh yes, first baseman Tyler White also had an angel working on his leg extension during the same play or the whole jaw-dropping execution could never have been completed. – As for hitting, Correa has been less productive and powerful since his return from the DL. He went 0 for 5 Monday, 9/25, against Texas to fall below .300 at .299. The drop did not remove him from the Top Ten for Average because he hasn’t been able to put together enough plate appearances per games played by the Astros to qualify for a ranking position. We can only hope that the repaired thumb is not still bothering him in subtle ways he choose not discuss. The hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, obviously, is also weighing heavily upon his mind, as it is with Carlos Beltran. This will definitely be a time for healing on may levels.

The Houston Astros. We choose to let the standings, then and now, speak to how things have changed for the Astros since July 19, and those factors include, but also go way beyond the significant DL loss of Carlos Correa to what has happened.

On July 19, the Astros were 62-31, good enough for 1st place in the AL West with a 15.5 lead over 2nd place Seattle. Today, September 26, the Astros are 96-60, with a 9-day clinch on the 2017 AL West title, and with a window-dressing 19.0 game lead over the 2nd place Angels.

But …. however …. nevertheless ….. the Astros record since July 19 has been a mere 34-29 – a blushing bare peak above .500 for a club that began the season like the baseball version of a California forest fire.

Unquenchable the Astro flames were not. Look at the record of the Cleveland Indians this year, first back on July 19, when they were 48-43 – and a mere 1.5 games up on the AL Central Twins. Back then the Astros held a 13 game lead over the Indians for home field advantage in the then faraway post-season AL Playoffs. Now, on September 26, the Indians hold a 2.0 game lead over the Astros for the AL home field advantage – and they trail the Dodgers of the NL by only 1.5 games for home field advantage through the World Series.

How did the Indians do it? It’s easier in a brief column to stick to writing what they have done since July 19.

Since July 19, the Indians have won 50 and lost only 15 – while throwing in a new AL record for consecutive wins at 22.

Very interesting.

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HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE RACES, GB IN EACH

THRU GAMES PLAYED MONDAY, 9/25/2017

CLUB W L W%   AL   NL   WS
DODGERS 100 57 .637   ~   L   L
INDIANS 98 58 .628   L   ~   1.5
ASTROS 96 60 .615   2.0   ~   3.5
NATIONALS 95 61 .609   ~   4.5   4.5

L = LEADER BY LEAGUE AND WS OVERALL.

Overall Leader gets home field advantage (HFA) in World Series.

GAMES TO PLAY: DODGERS 5, INDIANS 6, ASTROS 6, NATIONALS 6

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HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE SERIOUS CONTENDER SCORES

THRU GAMES PLAYED MONDAY, 9/25/2017

ASTROS 11 – Rangers 2

INDIANS (lost win to technicality; did not play Monday)

NATIONALS 3 – Phillies 1

DODGERS 9 – Padres 3

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES PLAYED MONDAY, 9/25/2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 572 199 38 4 24 .348
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 500 165 24 4 18 .330
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 586 188 30 1 24 .321
4 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 564 179 51 6 29 .317
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 477 150 34 4 13 .314
6 MIKE TROUT LAA 385 119 25 3 30 .309
7 JOE MAUER MIN 513 158 35 1 7 .308
8 JOSE ABREU CWS 598 182 41 6 31 .304
9 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 441 133 32 0 23 .302
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 569 171 27 5 15 .301
  ALL TOP 40 ASTROS
NC * CARLOS CORREA HOU 402 120 21 1 21 .299
14 YULI GURRIEL HOU 509 150 39 1 18 .295
22 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 530 150 28 0 33 .283
26 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 531 149 37 5 17 .281

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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Hooray for Hollywood Astro Fiancee Kisses

September 22, 2017

QUESTION: How are the kisses that Astros pitcher Justin Verlander gives to his beautiful movie actress/model fiancee Kate Upton different from the ones we everyday guys plant on our own little Houston ladies of squeeze?
ANSWER: Justin’s kisses have to pass a screen test.

 

Thank you, Tony Cavender, for alerting us here at The Pecan Park Eagle to the great little article on the role that fiancee Kate Upton played in Justin Verlander’s decision to leave his long-time base with the Detroit Tigers and give himself over baseball-wise – in body, soul and golden arm – to the Houston Astros.

If you haven’t read it, please do so. Here’s the ESPN source link:

http://freebeacon.com/culture/thank-goodness-for-kate-upton-fiance-tells-espn/

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astros Clinch AL West Behind Verlander

September 18, 2017

At last out Sunday, game-resting Jose Altuve ran onto the field to celebrate with his game-active teammates. His whole body language speaks loudly about the joy that comes from relief. “WE DID IT!” (This part of “IT”, at least.) Says the smile.

 

The Astros beat the Mariners, 7-1, to clinch 1st place in the 2017 AL West. George Springer and Justin Verlander had good reasons to thank each other for today’s win. Verlander won his 3rd start as an Astro – and Springer banged his 32nd HR in support. Where would the Astros be without these two guys, plus Altuve, Correa, and few others? I don’t know, but we wouldn’t be smiling today, not like we are.

 

Astros Manager A.J. Hinch hugs shortstop Carlos Correa, who caught the high pop fly that was the game’s last out. A.J.’s hug was for much more than his guy’s handling of a single pop fly.

 

Carlos Correa pauses for a nice interview by Julia Morales of AT&T Sportsnet. – Carlos also hit his 21st HR of the season to dead center today. It was his first long ball since the week prior to the All Star Game and the injury that took him out for so many weeks. His new tee-shirt was a popular post game change of jerseys for the Astros this happy Sunday in Houston.

 

ASTRO*NOTES. If you are a player, and you want a ring, you have be a member of the team that survives to win the World Series. Until then, every other win on the way is only for caps and tee shirts. And, frankly, that’s as it should be. In the big leagues, like in real life, you shouldn’t get a ring, a trophy, a watch or a car – just for showing up.

2017 AL WEST Champions is the Astros’ first division title in 16 years, the first since Astros icon and then manager Larry Dierker led the 2001 club to the title as Champions of the NL Central Division. To the best of our knowledge (:-)), Houston is the first double-league team to win division titles in both the NL Central and the AL West. We Astros fans owe a backhanded word of thanks to former Commissioner and newbie Hall of Famer Bud Selig for making it all possible.

Home Field Advantage Races. Sunday’s Houston 7-1 win over Seattle also was matched by Cleveland’s 2nd straight win over Kansas City by 3-2 on the same day. As a result, the Astros (91-58) remain 1.5 games behind the also new AL Central Division Champion Indians (93-57) for home field advantage throughout the AL Playoffs.

Hopefully, this table will show the race for home field advantage by league and overall for the World Series in an even easier way to see. It only includes those still possible playoff contenders who still have a snowball’s chance at the best scheduling rewards of the new system:

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE RACES, GB IN EACH 

CLUB W L W% AL NL WS
DODGERS 96 53 .644 L L
INDIANS 93 57 .620 L 2.5
ASTROS 91 58 .611 1.5 5.0
NATIONALS 90 59 .604 6.0 6.0
D-BACKS 87 63 .580 9.5 9.5
RED SOX 85 64 .570 7.5 11.0
CUBS 83 66 .557 13.0 13.0
YANKEES 82 67 .550 10.5 14.0

 L= LEADER BY LEAGUE AND OVERALL.

Overall Leader gets home field advantage in World Series.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 c *
ASTROS 91 58 .611  
2 ANGELS 76 73 .510 15.0
3 MARINERS 74 76 .493 17.5
4 RANGERS 73 76 .490 18.0
5 ATHLETICS 66 83 .443 25.0

c * ~ Clinched 2017 AL West Division Championship, 9/17/2017.

With Cleveland also winning today, the Astros remain 1.5 games back of the Indians for home field advantage through all rounds of the AL Playoffs.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

ASTROS 7 – MARINERS 1

RANGERS 4 – ANGELS 2                 

ATHLETICS 6 – PHILLIES 3

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 554 193 38 4 23 .348
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 477 159 23 4 17 .333
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 560 181 29 1 24 .323
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 461 145 32 3 13 .315
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 545 171 50 6 27 .314
6 JOE MAUER MIN 483 148 34 1 7 .306
7 JOSE ABREU CWS 579 177 38 6 31 .306
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 381 116 20 1 21 .304
8 LORENZO CAIN KC 542 164 26 5 14 .303
9 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 592 178 42 4 20 .301
10 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 573 172 33 0 32 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
15 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 420 123 30 0 22 .293
16 YULI GURRIEL HOU 489 143 37 1 17 .292
17 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 505 147 27 0 32 .291
30 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 513 143 35 5 16 .279

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Rangers Honor Beltre 3,000 Plus Hit Career

September 15, 2017

The Texas Rangers duly honored third baseman Adrian Beltre last weekend for his 3,000 hot passage season. In the process, one of our wonderful Pecan Park Eagle contributors, artist Michael Hogue, also was reflectively honored for that magnificent graphic he did of Beltre in the new company of all the other 3,000 hit club members to date.

Congratulations to Adrian Beltre, the Texas Rangers organization, and Michael Hogue – one and all – for a job well done!

That’s Mike Hogue embracing honoree Adrian Beltre in the center bottom photo of our lead graphic entry above. To be reminded of how dynamic the original Hogue work really was, check out this link to the original display of the graphic we featured in a pre-release column we did recently in The Pecan Park Eagle on Mike Hogue’s original work. If you guide your cursors over the image of each player in the larger version of our original Hogue column piece, shown here at this link, it will identify each of the members included in this rare group:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2017/08/01/dallas-morning-news-beltre-reaches-3000-hits/

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(An Associated Press Report, September 9, 2017)

ARLINGTON, Texas — A congratulatory letter from Willie Mays and a video tribute including a request from George Brett were part of a pregame ceremony in which the Texas Rangers recognized Adrian Beltre for joining the 3,000-hit club.

The ceremony Friday night before the series opener against the New York Yankees included the reading of a letter from Mays that started, “This is Willie here. Welcome to the club.” Mays wrote that he knows it’s not an easy accomplishment and told Beltre to “keep at it” because everybody loves to watch him hit.

A video shown during the ceremony included Brett, Pedro Martinez, Paul Molitor, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz congratulating Beltre on becoming the 31st player, and first from the Dominican Republic, to get 3,000 hits.

“When you get 3,153 (hits), retire, and five years after you retire, I will see you in Cooperstown,” said Brett, a Hall of Famer whose 3,154 hits are the most by a third baseman.

Beltre got his 3,000th hit with a double July 30 at home against Baltimore. The third baseman has 3,035 career hits, though he hasn’t played since straining his left hamstring Aug. 31 and could miss the rest of the regular season for wild card-hopeful Texas.

“This is a little bittersweet,” Beltre said. “I’m humbled and grateful for the honor, but it would be nicer if I could go back out and play. I know it’s supposed to be at least four weeks. It’s going a little slow for my liking. I want to be optimistic, but I don’t know that I can say when I will play again.”

The Rangers presented Beltre with an ATV that was driven on the field by teammate Elvis Andrus, as well as one of the bases from the July 30 game that was signed by the entire team. There also was a proclamation from Arlington’s mayor declaring “Adrian Beltre Day” and a plaque presented on behalf of the Dominican Republic recognizing him for his achievements.

“When you have 3,000 hits every day is Adrian Beltre day,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said when addressing the crowd.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

There’s Still Time to Rise Above Mediocrity

September 15, 2017

Rogelio Armenteros
RHP, Fresno Grizzlies
8-1, 2.16 ERA

ASTRO*NOTES

Magic #. The 5-1 Astros series rubber game win over the Angels in Anaheim on Thursday has reduce the long-held Houston magic claim check on the AL West title to a measly 3. Any combination of Astro wins or Angel losses totally 3 now finally gives the long-awaited keys to the division crown to Houston.

Home Field Advantage. Houston still holds a 5-game lead over Boston in any meeting they may have in the AL Playoffs, but Cleveland continues to hold a 2.5 game lead over the Astros for home field advantage is any playoff series with the space rockers – or anyone else, for that matter. How could they not? The Tribe never loses. Last night they rallied late to beat KC, 3-2, in 10 as they expanded their AL winning streak record to 22 games. – An Upcoming Cleveland Foe Warning: Say goodbye to your scalps as you enter the ballpark where your next game with the Indians is scheduled to be played. There will not be time for goodbyes once the next massacre gets off to its inevitably whooping and hollering start.

Random Thoughts. … Brad Peacock (11-2, 2.98) was again brilliant, but like the little Dutch boy in the fairy tale, he cannot plug all the leaking holes in the Astros’ starter and relief pitching dike. …. Hope the Astro fates do not now hinge on a sensational catch in center field that only Jake Marisnick could have made. …. Wonder how A.J. Hinch feels now about all the second-guessing that’s inspired by a great team that falls into a September slump? …. I still don’t know why we lost Jeb Lowrie again after getting him back in 2015 for a second time. …. Does Dallas Keuchel ever stop to think that the growing length of his beard may be slowing his speed pitches down to more hittable acceleration levels? …. Are bench coaches sometimes capable of topical conversations that go beyond baseball? …. Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa all seem to be hitting walls together at just the wrong time. What’s the remedy? Rest? Or keep cranking til their engines start – or their arms and legs fall off? …. Gotta get these guys pumped again and soon. We have to build a powerful momentum, asap, and it’s not going to happen around the Astros Holy Three – without their loose as a goose participation. …. Don’t envy Hinch his job in the least. Anything he decides to do can either work for the better – or for the worse. …. Either way, the offense for now is still sucking air. …. The club has been playing mediocre baseball since the All Star Game.  From the start of the 2017 2nd half on July 14, the Astros have a record of 28 wins and 29 losses. Do that long enough and it’s easy to become the thing your club record says you are. …. And the word is mediocre. …. If possible, this is the time for the club to prove they are not …. just another flash in the pan burned out nobody special mediocre club.

How About Trying The Cuban Pitcher Down in Fresno? Take a look at the year that young Rogelio Armenteros has been having at Corpus Christi, but especially at Fresno? Wouldn’t this be a good time to see if his stuff is superior to the short-term adjustment leaning curve of major league batters as the Astros head into the playoffs with a starting rotation that contains more holes than a block of Swiss cheese? Our good friend/talent scout/ baseball minded Dr. Don Matlosz of Fresno State University may be able to bring us up to speed on this question or even point us to others among the Fresno Grizzlies who might be able to help the Astros in their hour of greatest need.

Here’s the statistical link to the page on Rogelio Armenteros:

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=t259&player_id=660494#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL

Note to Dr. Matlosz of Fresno State University: If you have a comment on Rogelio Armenteros or any other pitcher at Fresno that you may have recommended who might be capable of stepping into this critical late season role, please drop me an e-mail and I will publish it here as an addendum scouting report by you to The Pecan Park Eagle on this pitching needs question:

A Possible Addendum: A Donald “Doc” Matlosz Fresno Pitcher Scouting Report (awaiting sender’s decision to participate): ????

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 88 58 .603  
2 ANGELS 74 72 .507 14.0
3 MARINERS 74 73 .503 14.5
4 RANGERS 72 74 .493 16.0
5 ATHLETICS 64 82 .438 24.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

ASTROS 5 – ANGELS 1

MARINERS 10 – RANGERS 4                 

RED SOX 6ATHLETICS 2

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 546 190 38 4 23 .348
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 466 155 23 4 17 .333
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 547 178 29 1 24 .325
4 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 541 170 50 6 26 .314
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 450 141 31 3 13 .313
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 569 175 38 6 31 .308
7 JOE MAUER MIN 471 144 32 1 6 .306
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 369 112 19 1 20 .304
8 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 582 176 42 4 20 .302
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 563 170 33 0 32 .302
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 535 160 25 5 14 .299
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 412 121 29 0 21 .294
 

14

YULI GURRIEL HOU  

481

141 26 1 17 .293
18 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 494 142 25 0 31 .287
23 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 501 142 35 5 16 .283

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle