Tag: Houston Astros

Astros Find Their Lefty Bat, Sign Michael Brantley

Multiple sources have reported that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley agreed on a two year, $32 Million contract this Monday.

The Astros are a right-hand-heavy lineup, and acquiring a contact-bound left hander with significant pop and speed is sure to help them smooth out the bumps in their offense. Pair Brantley’s 2018 slash of .309/.364/.468 and 17 home runs with other Houston guys like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and more, and you’re looking at a pretty devastating lineup.

Even with this significant addition, the ‘Stros also are looking into signing a new designated hitter, as well as possibly trading for the Marlins’ All-Star catcher, JT Realmuto.

The 2017 World Series Champions are looking to make another run, and their terrifying rotation paired with their deep offense is sure to turn some heads in their favor.

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MLB Free Agent Feature: Dallas Keuchel

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

This time around, we have the most decorated starting pitcher on the market. He is a Cy Young Award winner, a three time gold glover, and a World Series Champion. He is Dallas Keuchel.

Discovering Dallas…

Dallas Keuchel, a southpaw from Tulsa, Oklahoma, attended the University of Arkansas, and, after finishing his career there, was eventually drafted by the Houston Astros in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB draft.

Keuchel was never expected to amount to anything great. He debuted in 2012, and  spent his first few years of the the majors in mediocrity. However, in 2014, Keuchel broke out vigorously, putting up a 2.93 ERA and a total of five complete games throughout the 2014 season. Keuchel followed this display up with an even better 2015, where he hurled his way to a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts and a league leading 232 innings pitched. This success awarded Keuchel with a Cy Young, as well as the title of ‘Ace’ for the Houston Astros franchise. The Ace did stumble in 2016 however, where he was labored with injury, and could only manage to squeeze out a 4.55 ERA and an alarming 86 ERA+. Then, in what was another injury labored season, Keuchel returned to prior form, posting a 2.90 ERA over only 145.2 innings pitched in 2017. This past year looked promising for Keuchel’s health, and, while he managed to throw a full 204.2 innings, his other numbers certainly weren’t eye-popping.

Who are the Suitors?

Dallas is sure to draw a great deal of interest, even through the injury concerns and signs of regression. The reason? When Kid Keuchy is on, he is ON. In fact, there’s almost no stopping him. When he gets into a groove, he really dominates, and it is this quality that puts him so high up on certain teams’ lists.

There are quite a few clubs that should be inquiring for Keuchel’s services, the forefront of those clubs being the Milwaukee Brewers, the Washington Nationals, and, his former team, the Houston Astros. However, there are also some other teams with outside shots, such as the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies, and even the Cincinnati Reds, who are expected to be big players on the starting pitching market this year. As well as these teams, I would go ahead and add in any of the teams that miss on Corbin, seeing as Keuchel would fill a similar role on any staff.

There are many teams that make sense in the Keuchel sweepstakes, but only one team can walk away the winner. Who will it be?

My Prediction: The Milwaukee Brewers, 4 Years, $70 Million

 

MLB Free Agent Feature: Patrick Corbin

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

This time, we’re deep diving on our first pitcher of the year — the slick, slider-filled Southpaw: Patrick Corbin.

Corbin Cracks the Code…

Patrick Alan Corbin, a long time New York native, was born in Clay, New York on July 19, 1989. He spent his High Schooling days at Cicero — North Syracuse, where he did not begin pitching until his Junior year. He then graduated and moved on to Mohawk Valley Community College, and soon after transferred to Chipola College for his Sophomore season, where he was a bold standout, and drew a good deal of interest. It was this interest that allowed Corbin to go in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft after being selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels then shipped Corbin to the Diamondbacks in 2010 as a piece of a package for the journeyman Dan Haren, and Corbin then debuted in 2012.

Corbin began his Major League career as well as one could expect. After having struggled in his 17 starts of 2012, he quickly showed the world his potential in 2013, where he was named to the 2013 All-Star team and turned in a 3.41 ERA over 32 starts with a 1.16 WHIP. However, for every up, there is a down, and Corbin’s down was missing the 2014 season due to a torn UCL, which required the infamous Tommy John Surgery to fix. Corbin returned to the rotation in 2015 with noticeably less shimmer and shine, and was removed from his role as a starter mid-2016 — only to be added back at the start of the 2017 season. And then, in 2018, Corbin blossomed. In a year of many, many dominant pitchers, Corbin was right up there with the best of them. His ERA ranked in the top 15 of qualifying starters and third among lefties at 3.15, his strikeout rate improved drastically (246 K’s in 200IP), and, most importantly, he was healthy.

Who Will Bid Higher?

After his excellent 2018, Corbin is ready to receive a massive payday — so who’s buying?

To me, this one seems like an easy lock. Corbin has not been shy about his preference to play with the New York Yankees, and the Bronx Bombers have mirrored that interest. However, that has not stopped other teams from revealing their interest. Said interested clubs include the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, and many, many more.

I will be shocked if Corbin ends up with another team that is not named the Yankees, but stranger things have happened…

My Prediction: The New York Yankees, 5 years, $105 Million

 

 

World Series Game 7 Preview

Two of the worst dreaded but lovely words in all of sports, “game seven”. And that is what we have here tonight my folks. Nothing makes a fan sit on the edge of their seat, biting their nails, like a game seven of the World Series. Whether you are a fan of the two teams or not, these games come around only once a year and this series has been be packed with thrill, so appreciate the beauty of game seven’s and buckle up because this is going to be one hell of a finish to the MLB season.

 

World Series Game 7: Darvish vs Lance McCullers Jr

 

CGV_0804171014_Mets_DodgersAfter splitting the first six games, we will have a Game 7 tonight between The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers for The World Series. This has turned out to be an unbelievable postseason finished off by an incredible World Series. We have seen it all, from pitchers duels to double digit run shootouts from both teams. The beauty of tonight’s game is that anything can happen, and a case can be made that either team can win. Both of these teams have played unreal baseball and it is only fitting that we have a Game 7 to decide it all. The city of Los Angeles will certainly be rocking tonight with numerous celebrities on hand in attendance. Will it be The Dodgers first title since 1988, or will Houston win their first Championship ever? Amazingly enough, this will be the first ever Game 7 hosted at Dodger Stadium.

 

The starting pitching matchup will feature Yu Darvish for Los Angeles against Lance McCullers Jr. for Houston. With there being no tomorrow for either team, expect all arms to be available tonight. Managers Dave Roberts and AJ Hinch will use whatever arms they need to and pull any moves that they need in order to win this game tonight. What I am expecting is for each starter to go about 4-5 innings depending on the game situation, and then turning it over to the bullpen for the rest of the game. I think we will absolutely see Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen for Los Angeles at some point. After not having his best stuff in Game 5, Kershaw will be motivated to leave it all out there in Game 7. I could see Kershaw playing a similar role to that of what Madison Bumgarner played in Game 7 of The 2014 World Series, where he came in for numerous innings and ultimately finished off the game.
L.A. vs Houston at the plate Jose-Altuve.jpgAt the plate, both teams have had hitters with their ups and downs throughout the postseason and even in The World Series. One player whom I highlighted prior to Game 1 that needed to breakout for Houston and who has done so is George Springer. Springer has been on a tear in this World Series despite not having a tremendous postseason prior to this series. At the top of the order, Springer has brought much needed pop and energy that the rest of the lineup can fuel off of. On the other side, one of Los Angeles’ best hitters this World Series has been Chris Taylor. Another leadoff man, Taylor has been very productive this World Series. Taylor grinds out at-bats and doesn’t try to do too much at the plate. His simple approach is paying off big for him, as he is leading the charge for this Los Angeles offense. Tonight I will be watching one player from each team in particular to see if they can make a difference. I’m watching each team’s go-to guy, Jose Altuve for Houston and Justin Turner for Los Angeles. Neither of these guys have had a stellar World Series, that could be resulting from not seeing many pitches to hit. For either of their teams to be successful tonight, these guys will need to have an impact in the heart of the order. The biggest thing for them will be to be productive with runners in scoring position. Whoever can come up with a big hit with RISP will ultimately lead their team to success

World Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros

…And Then, There Were Two

The 2017 World Series will begin on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Houston Astros to kick off the best of seven series. Four wins, that is all it takes for the MLB to crown its next champion. Both teams are filled to the brim with talent. The Dodgers will have home-field advantage in the series, after winning 104 games during the regular season. It is their first trip to the WS since 1988. The Astros last went to the World Series in 2005, and got swept by the Chicago White Sox.

Houston has been riding the backs of AL-MVP favorite Jose Altuve, who has posted an astounding .400/.500/.775 line in the postseason that includes five home runs and 8 walks. They’ve also had outstanding outings from guys like Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. Houston led the major leagues with 5.53 runs per game this year, and had a team .478 slugging percentage, which is the highest mark of any team since the 2003 Red Sox. Their lineup that scored 501 runs on the road in 2017, practically disappeared in the ALCS.

636402621254951685-verlander0905The Yankees pitching certainly quieted them down, holding them to a .181/.271/.294 slash line, averaging under three runs per game. The reason the Astros are in the World Series is because they scored 11 of their 20 runs in the series in game 6 & 7, which they both won. They will have to put up numbers like this if they want to stand a chance against the Dodgers.

On the other side, Los Angeles, has just be absolutely dominant as a whole this off-season. Led by top five NL hitter Justin Turner, mixed in with young all stars like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers have simply been almost impossible to stop. Their starting pitching has been great, what else could you expect when you see guys like Yu Darvish as their #3 starter. Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate in the postseason, but the advantage the Dodgers have in this series is their bullpen. Led by Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers bullpen has let up just two runs in 28 ⅓ innings this postseason. At times they’ve made it seem almost impossible to score runs off of them. They posteMLB NLDSd a 0.94 ERA with 32 strikeouts. They have a postseason-record 23 inning scoreless streak.

The Dodgers won 104 games this season compared to the Astros 101 games, which makes this the first time since 1970 that the World Series has two 100-win teams. The Dodgers hit their hot streak in early June, going on a ridiculous 52-9 stretch that gave them 90 wins with a week left to play in August. They also held the best record in baseball for the last 86 games of the season.

Home field advantage should play a huge factor in this series. Home teams have a 23-8 record, which stands as the best mark in the Wild Card era. The Astros are 6-0 in Houston, while the Dodgers are 4-0 in Los Angeles. They have a history of playing well at home, they had a league best 57-24 record at home, and have 165 wins at home in the last 3 seasons, 11 more than any other team.

In a series that home field advantage seems to play a huge advantage for both teams, it’s hard not to predict the dodgers to win the series. Home field aside, the Dodgers pitching staff and lineup both have a lot of firepower that will be hard for Houston to handle.

Prediction:

Dodgers in 6.

Sports News: MLB Wild Card Race, NHL Signings & Danis Zaripov, Spit balls of the week!

It’s that time of the week, school is starting soon, NFL season is officially here, the MLB wild card race is heating and the NHL is now a month away. It is Spitballs of the week time! Catch up on the latest news surrounding the NHL and MLB. Some of my own takes and some stuff to watch out for in the coming months!

MLB: The AL Wild Card race is probably the more interesting of the two, the Yankees have now dropped six of their last 10, the Twins are one game out and the Indians are on a nine-game winning streak. There’s not much to look into here the Yankees are slowly losing grips of the Wild Card, Baltimore is only a game and half back and the Yankees continue to be inconsistent. Also, the Yankees face off against the Orioles two more times before the year ends and the Twins one more time(Watch OUT!). The Orioles are 8-2 in their last ten and face off against Toronto, Cleveland, Yankees, Toronto for the next upcoming series. The Twins have been able to hold their own and see some success in big moments, the Twins play Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Toronto in the next upcoming series. As for the Twins, they have an “easier” half of the schedule compared to the other wild card teams.

The NL, of course, the Nationals and Dodgers have control over their divisions, the Cubs will more than likely win the NL Central and as far as Wild Card goes the Diamondbacks and Rockies will be the two teams in those last two spots. The Rockies have been on/off lately but the Cardinals and Brewers do not scare me too much for the Rockies sake. The Diamondbacks are 9-1 in their last ten and play San Diego, Dodgers, and the Rockies in the upcoming series. The Brewers are 1.5 games back from the Rockies and after Washington, they face off against the Reds, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins, scheduling may favor Milwaukee, here do not sleep on them!

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Oh, Clayton Kershaw is back, after returning from the DL after a month, he shut down the Padres for 6 innings allowing no runs, 7 strikeouts and two hits. That’ll be fun come playoff time to face off against the Dodgers pitching rotation and bullpen. Nothing new Kershaw and the Dodgers just continue to dominate MLB teams and the league as a whole right now. The Dodgers have 92 wins with still a month of baseball to be played. 

Justin Verlander was sent to Houston recently, many thought Verlander was going to stay and Houston messed up by not going out to get a pitcher at the deadline. Well, those critics can be silenced now, as Houston now has a former Cy Young winner and a pitcher with 16 starts in the postseason and 380 in the regular season. Can’t hurt as the Astros were deemed for not making a move, acquiring Verlander is a big addition the Astros rotation.

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NHL: The KHL forward who was suspended from the KHL for doping is making his way over to the NHL now and a few teams have expressed interest in him. Danis Zaripov is a 36-year-old forward from the KHL, he’s played nine seasons in the KHL and has produced, 453 points and 199 goals. Two teams that have publicly expressed interest in Zaripov is Pittsburgh and the Rangers. It’s said that Malkin expressed interest in playing on the same line with Zaripov, a guy who just won the Russian most valuable player award will more than likely get another Russian forward to join him unless the Rangers offer Zaripov more money.

The Blue Jackets have locked up forward Alexander Wennberg for 6-years at $4.9 mil a year. The 22-year-old forward has shown major strides of progression in the Blue Jackets organization now, and anytime a player goes from 40 to 59 points in one season, it deserves a little looking into. Wennberg is a big, strong forward who will be a top three player on the Blue Jackets for years to come. The six years is absolutely crucial to Columbus because now he’s locked in and will be a huge drawing asset for other players looking to come to Columbus in the future.

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Thomas Vanek is back on another team for another season! The 33-year-old forward has signed a 1-year deal for $2 million with Vancouver. Vanek has played on six NHL teams and five different ones in the past four seasons. Vancouver will be Vanek’s seventh NHL club and sixth team in five seasons. Vanek scored 48 points and 16 goals with the Red Wings/Panthers last season. Vanek has struggled to stay healthy and remain consistent in line ups but at $2 million for a team like Vancouver will not hurt at all. Vanek can now play along with the Sedin brothers who may help resurge the talented goal scorers ability and get him some confidence back. Vanek is capable of being a 50-60 point player when he’s healthy, barring injuries and Vanek plays a full season, paired with the Sedin brothers would not hurt the once 40 goal scorers year.

Spitballs: Yankees, Twins take last two wild card spots, Dodgers win 115 games and probably the world series(I don’t care, they’re too good), Red Sox’s bunt again to annoy Yankee pitchers, Zaripov goes to Pittsburgh, Vanek scores 30 goals next season, Wennberg tallies 65 points next season.

Be on the look out later today for some introduction to the NFL season article!!

 

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