The Astros beat the Indians last night, giving the Astros a 3.5-game lead on the Angels and a 7.0-game lead on the Rangers. FanGraphs lists the Astros' division chances at 58.6% while their postseason odds are at an even 80%. Baseball Prospectus puts the division at 54.1% and the postseason chance at 79.7%.
*Hinch wanted the Astros to lay off Carrasco's changeup:
We wanted to make sure we laid off his change. We did get a couple of balls to hit early. He's coming off a big start, near no-hitter. We were pretty zoned in. We didn't swing out of the zone near as much as he usually gets. Our guys hit off the fastball.
*Preston Tucker, who got a career-high four hits on his 25th birthday last night, is using the field more. Hinch:
He got a little pull-happy the last couple of weeks and I think it hurt him. He's getting back to using the middle of the field. He's gotten a couple base hits to left. He's beaten the shift a couple of times, which is important. He got a changeup and did some damage. He didn't over swing. That's the guy we saw when he first got called up and he went through a little bit of a dry spell. It's big for us to get that kind of production out of him now that his playing time is increasing.
*Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes wrote on last night's game:
The Indians are stuck in baseball limbo. They aren't a first-place team and they aren't a contender. They're simply occupying space, covered in MLB's gray mist of mediocrity...Monday night, Houston showed (the Indians) how wide the gap is between first place in the AL West and fourth place in the AL Central.
*The following conversation actually happened:
Hinch: What's up?
Keuchel: Nothing, how you doing? Did I get traded? Released?
Hinch: No, you made the All-Star team
Hinch: I'll see you at the field
*Keuchel wouldn't mind starting the All-Star Game.
*The Astros traded Mitch Lambson to the Braves for...yep, cash.
*Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the bill finishing off the land transfer for the new Astros/Nationals Spring Training Complex in West Palm Beach, Florida.
*The Cubs are still waiting for Dexter Fowler to put it together
*Cool profile on 2014 37th Round pick Eric Peterson (now pitching for Quad Cities) and his twin brother, a 2014 23rd Round pick by the Mariners.
*2012 18th Round pick Ricky Gingras, released at the end of Spring Training, is playing Independent Ball in California:
I was pretty much just as good as all the catchers they had, if not better. I think I was on the bubble, then I got hurt and made their decision easier. By the time I was cleared to play at the end of Spring Training, physically, I wasn't able to ship off to a team...It's nice not worrying that if I have an 0-for-4 night, I might not see the field for a week. That's a lot more relaxing on the mind.
*Meat Wagon Update:
Jose Valbuena: Sprained toe, day-to-day
Chad Qualls: Pinched nerve, left Cleveland Monday for a rehab stint with Corpus
Scott Feldman: Knee surgery, set for one more rehab start with Corpus
George Springer: Wrist, fans still heartbroken