Time again for that fun version of WTSWTM that features the man who has to be the early favorite for AL manager of the Year, A.J. Hinch. All quotations are actual and taken from chron.com (spit!!) followed by what the speaker really meant.
Hinch talking about Lance McCullers Jr. after his first major league win.
- What he said. “I thought coming out of the ‘pen, obviously he’s got a ton of arm strength. When you look at the first pitch, it’s in the mid-90s, that doesn’t surprise you. I thought the command of his breaking ball was huge today. He was in the strike zone against a lot of righthanded hitters, which is key because then they can’t just look for his fastball, or they can’t disregard his breaking ball in the zone, out of the zone. He didn’t have a lot of lefties to show his changeup and he didn’t use it against righties. Really was a two-pitch pitcher today.”
- What he meant. “Except for Josh Fields nobody is much of a window smasher around here and then this kid shows up. I know he spent most of last season working on his change-up, but when you throw a 95-97 mph heater with hop and then a Daryl Kile twelve-six curve ball why would you need a third pitch? The kid is a stud!”
Hinch on Chris Carter and his early season struggles:
- What he said. “I think average wise is where we got caught up in judging performance sometimes, and I realize he’s well behind where he’s going to be. From a power production standpoint, I think he’s ahead of where he was last year. He’s walking enough. He’s playing great defense at first base, which doesn’t get talked about enough. But there’s no doubt that the more time that you have in this league with the performance history, it will lead to a little more belief that better times are ahead, especially when guys are struggling.”
- What he meant. “There are a lot of guys who can play first base defense reasonably well, who are also batting better than .175. I keep hearing about last year and his bad start. Well, this is not last year and the team is still playing significant games heading toward June and he needs to start showing that 37 homer power, or he will be hitting .175 somewhere else.”
Hinch on Jon Singleton tearing things up in the minors.
- What he said. “I believe Jon Singleton can help us. Obviously that means it’s at the expense of somebody here. Right now with the way Preston Tucker’s swinging the bat, that extra bench spot that we’ve used for a couple different guys is taken. With the 13 pitchers we’re carrying, the extra position player becomes crucial where he plays. (Jonathan) Villar most of the nights is on the bench as a super-utility, the extra catcher. The room is pretty full right now, but the better he’s playing the more he’s pushing his way into opportunity.”
- What he meant. “Do I have to spell this out for you? Singleton can help us plus there is no room on the bench for him right now plus Chris Carter is hitting .175 = what? Come on you know this – this is not tough….”
Jason Castro on “help” with stopping base stealers:
- What he said. “Strommy (Pitching Coach Brent Strom) I think has done a really good job with the pitching staff, really emphasizing being mindful of guys on base, whether that’s actual pickoff moves or just varying holds and times and different things like that. Dallas as an example: he doesn’t necessarily throw over a ton. He’s quick to the plate and he varies his looks and his holds and times and all that stuff, so guys aren’t able to get big running jumps.”
- What he meant. “Let’s see – last season the league stole 81 bases against me and I threw out 22 percent of the base stealers. This season, all of a sudden I am throwing out 40 percent of the base stealers and they are on pace to steal only 63 bases on me. Sure I worked on my techniques, but I did not visit Iron Man in the off-season to have him install a bazooka in the place of my arm. There are a whole lot more veteran pitchers here this year and they know how to hold those guys on and vary their deliveries. It is that simple.”
Hinch on the “fact” that the Astros have had the easiest schedule so far in 2015.
- What he said. “I think every game’s hard. Strength of schedule to me is — I get it, it can range based on how teams are doing. … The A’s we played last series didn’t make me any more comfortable just because they had a bad record and haven’t won these one-run games. I don’t know enough about what people put into strength of schedule, because from my seat, every day’s hard.”
- What he meant. “You give me a team that has been pretty rotten for the last decade including a few years that were historically rotten. You give me a few extra professional parts, but all my power guys are totally hit or miss and I have had (until recently) no real fifth starter and I have them playing this well and you want to dump this on me? Screw you guys and the guys who figure out strength of schedule.”
Hinch on Jose Altuve’s recent struggles.
- What he said. “He’s not in a slump. It’s a tough league, man.”
- What he meant. “He is in a slump. It’s a tough league, man.”
BONUS QUESTION: Altuve (who is in a slump) on sitting out his first game of the season.
- What he said. “I don’t feel like really good because I want to be able to help my team, but I think that’s baseball. I got into a good start but now I slow down. I’m not doing good at all right now. I think there’s a lot of season left. I think I’m going to come back and be able to do my thing.”
- What you think he meant ………