NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Lame superheroes, new video games and Hybrids

Nerds Around Town: Lame superheroes, new video games and Hybrids
ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds! It's August! Let's start this month strong!!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

Make sure to get over to The West Bar and Grill on August 4th. They are supporting 13yr old Kobee Cohen, who having previously defeated Rhabdomayosarcoma recently suffered a return of the disease and now it is in his brain. Looking towards hospice care, the family needs financial aid and support during this difficult time. There will be a raffle and donations for the raffle are still being accepted, everyone is welcome to attend and I'm encouraging them to do so!

SOME INDIEGOGO LOVE

So as I've entered the world of Indy comic creators, I've come across a lot of cool projects and one worth discussing is Luke Stone's Hybrids. Right now he's crowdfunding the third issue on Indiegogo and could use some love, so check him out. It's a cool series with some spectacular art, and some really interesting characters. I particularly love the big guy they call Trashman, I love the codename, because he takes out the trash, get it? There are some cool characters and they conversation is believable, it flows nicely, this is a good team book worth picking up. Hybrids #3 is being crowdfunded right now!!

MEMORIES

So one of my favorite nerd websites did a thing about the worst X Men ever and nearly all of them come from the era where I was reading comic books, Maggot, Marrow, Joseph, Nate Grey and Adam X in particular. These were just absolutely terrible characters to be fair, but they were the characters in the comic book as I was in my teenage years and these were the characters that I remember as being part of this really cool X Men line up. Now fast forward 15ish years and honestly, yes they are all terrible characters but they were awesome back then, I swear! It's funny how awful our tastes used to be and how we only remember them as these great things.

NEW GAME SEASON

We're coming up on the 2k20 round of games over the next two months and while I'm always excited about this time, I'm also a little uneasy about this time. Usually you're just getting the games for the updated rosters, you're not even getting that many new or great features, which is disappointing. I hope they make enough changes year to year to justify buying a new game every year but the truth is, they probably didn't. Not only didn't they make enough changes, they probably also weren't able to fix all the bugs in the game, as every year you find some weird glitch that screws up the great team you were building. One year in Madden it was having too many created players, another year in NBA 2K it was having contracts that decreased in value over time and in 2K18 it was having too many overseas players held on your roster, all of these would crash your season and ruin your night.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

When I don't sleep well I develop a cough that takes me forever to get rid of and I have it right now and it drives me freaking crazy. I hate this damn cough more than anything I ever see or deal with health wise. It takes literally two or three weeks to get totally over this cough and it's so aggravating. Anyway, I'm done complaining, I have to go cough.

Feel free to check out my brand new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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How significant Astros spring training revelation highlights even more reasons for optimism

The Houston Astros had a very successful season in 2023 which led them back to the ALCS for the seventh-straight season, but despite another deep playoff run, their pitching did regress from the prior year.

While many would point to their historic bullpen in 2022 and say they had nowhere to go but down, that doesn't paint the full picture. It was the starting rotation that really fell off in 2023. Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Hunter Brown, and Jose Urquidy all saw a spike in their ERAs from the previous season.

According to a recent report from The Athletic's Chandler Rome, we might have an explanation for Jose Urquidy's down year.

The Astros and Urquidy believe he was tipping his pitches. Which would explain why the slugging percentage against his fastball jumped from .482 in 2022 to .632 in 2023.

When hitters know a pitcher is tipping, they often start hunting fastballs. Also, his strikeout percentage went down last year and his walks went way up. He had 2 more walks per nine innings in 2023 than he had in 2021.

Part of that could be him aiming for corners and refusing to give in to hitters because his fastball wasn't performing up to expectations.

His WHIP in 2023 really jumped off the page as well. He finished with a WHIP over 1.4. While his career WHIP is 1.143. That's a huge difference.

Back to the big picture

Until last season, Urquidy never finished with an ERA over 3.95. He recorded a 5.29 ERA last year. So when we factor in his shoulder injury that cost him three months of the season, and the fact he was tipping pitches, we believe he's in store for a bounce-back season.

And the Astros are going to need him, especially with Justin Verlander and JP France possibly not being available for the start of the season.

What will the rotation look like early on?

The Astros haven't ruled Verlander out yet, so he could be ready to go. But if not, and we base this off what we saw last season. The rotation will likely include Valdez, Javier, Brown, Urquidy, Ronel Blanco, and Brandon Bielak.

Don't miss the video above for the full discussion!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) with Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

We'll continue to drop videos throughout the week!


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