As we read in a Conan book one time ... Conan stood up, surveyed the glade, and realized that whereas the Pict was dead, he was alive. Alive. Alive! Hey, the Astros wanted the series as much as we did.
Robinson Cano got an 89-MPH fastball right on the outside corner, and hit a convincing 3-run shot to straightaway left field. There are one or two batters on each ML roster capable of executing that swing. Here, if you don't believe me, the fact-checkers at MLB.com have the data for you.
Kyle Seager did what he has been doing since 2012, when SSI made him a Best Bet, riffing off Bill James' shtick on Dustin Pedroia. If you connect 90% of the time, and you pull the ball, and you pull it in the air, how can you not succeed? Seager has succeeded this year to the tune of 30 HR, 99 RBI, and 6.8 baseball-reference WAR.
With 4 games left, here are the power number for the glory boys:
Cano = 36 HR, 97 RBI (but 101 runs scored)
Cruz = 41 HR, 102 RBI
Seager = 30 HR, 99 RBI
Their OBP's are all rock solid, .352 vs .361 vs .361. It's been a pleasure to have them in class.
Since losing his middle fingernail, James Paxton has gone to a tertiary pitching strategy: 95 MPH fastball located, knuckle curve. Here is one of the curves, taken by Correa for strike three.
This approach has been just a tadbit less overwhelming. He is sitting 95 MPH rather than 97-98 -- but his control is nothing short of amazing. Against the Astros, he threw 22-of-26 (!!) knuckle curves for strikes and this means --- > his "change speed game" is now routine. 95 MPH, when the hitter is not cheating on it, becomes more effective than 97 when they are.
Will come the day when all of these things will intersect. The high-90s fastball, the Kershaw hammer, the hard cutter foshball, the fadeway change. But of course Dr. D misses no chance to point out that Paxton is a Cy Young pitcher as is, with a FIP that would easily lead the American league if he qualified - and now a 3.97 ERA that would be #18.
Had a big coming out-party on Wednesday. Here is our Dec. 2015 POTD on the lad. Here he was, throwing a perfectly-located low away slider for the groundout that ended a dangerous Houston rally. He threw nine well-located 90 MPH fastballs, nine bombshell 12-6 hooks, and five "utilatarian" sliders such as the above. It said a whale of a lot that they went to him in this situation.