AL West Recap: The Astros, Angels, and A's all had the night off, but the Rangers and Mariners both lost. FanGraphs gives the Astros a 38.3% chance of winning the division and a 78.8% chance of making the postseason.
Brian T. Smith writes that it's time for something to happen with Valbuena and/or Carter:
The Astros have been too good for too long in 2015 to have two starters living below the Mendoza Line. Batting average means less than ever in baseball. But .198 and .184 don't translate to AL West division winner in any era.
Angels Series Links
*A.J. Hinch is keeping this series with the Angels in too much perspective.
It's going to be fun. We know that when we play in our division it means a lot. But it's three of 62 (remaining) games. We want to win as many as we can, and against them it would be better. It's the next series on our schedule.
We're a team that rises to the occasion and enjoys playing hard games against hard teams. Everybody feels as if they have something to lose. They feel hungry. I think this team responds well to that.
*"Dear Mike Trout: Could you please stop? Seriously, you're screwing it up." (Google the headline if the link doesn't work)
*The Astros have now caught the Angels' attention. When the Astros started out so strong in April, players privately told LA Times writer Mike DiGiovanna: "It's early. Let's see where they are in July and August."
Wednesday pitcher Hector Santiago:
A couple of years ago, you'd go into Houston thinking you were going to get a three- or four-game sweep. That's what it felt like. It's not like we can go in there and run through that team...I still think we're a better team, but they're really good.
Trade Deadline Links
*According to Ken Rosenthal, teams are starting to put together better packages of players for the Phillies in any potential Hamels deal.
*We wrote about the Case For Cole Hamels last night.
*The Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins for Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and another minor-leaguer. Stunning trade. So to get Tulowitzki took an ML player (Reyes, thought he's probably more salary-related), two of the best arms in the Blue Jays' system (Hoffman was a projected Top-5 pick in 2014), another excellent young arm, and another player. Take note of that.
*Alex Presley, who was DFA'd recently and cleared waivers, accepted his minor-league assignment. Alex Bregman, this year's 1st Round pick, has been promoted from Quad Cities to Lancaster.
Non-Astros Link of the Day
Vice: I played chess with GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.