Well Corey Kluber went all Kluber Lang on the Astros last night and made the Astros look really bad, and that's the thing about the Astros: they either look really good or they look really bad. Last night was a really bad night. And since the Angels have forgotten that they're supposed to be a train wreck of a team and a front office, the Astros' lead is down to 2.5 games. Still, FanGraphs gives the Astros a 52.8% chance of winning the division and a 75.9% chance of making the postseason.
*One way to look at the Astros' recent skid: last night's loss aside, the Astros have played a tougher schedule more recently than the Angels, playing at Fenway, against Kansas City, New York, and the Angels. The Angels have played at Arlington, and against New York, Seattle, and the Astros. The Astros lost the finale of that three-game series in Anaheim in 13 innings. They win that, and the lead is 3.5 games.
*Shoutout to the 10,000+ fans who made it to Progressive Field last night to watch the reigning AL Cy Young award winner face the team with the best record in the American League.
*Hinch, on Corey Kluber:
We had a hard time getting anything started against Kluber early. A couple opportunities late, but it was a well-pitched game on both sides. They got a couple runs, solo homer, couple back-to-back, two-out hits...I thought we had good at-bats most of the night against a really good pitcher in our league, and nothing to show for it.
*In an effort to keep Velasquez's innings down in preparation for a potential post-season push (alliteration FTW!), the Astros sent Vince Velasquez to Corpus until after the All-Star Break, where he will simply not pitch. Velasquez:
I guess it's that time I need rest. It's not pleasant news, but they're looking out for me and we'll go from there.
*Scott Boras likes how the Astros are handling Velasquez and McCullers' workload, but he would like Velasquez to stay in the Majors:
In between starts, we think it's in the player's best interest to remain in the major leagues to continue to study opposing hitters and learn from veteran pitchers.
And this has nothing to do with Boras wanting to keep Velasquez on the major-league service clock for an extra year of arbitration *eyes roll out of head.*
*Hinch is keeping an eye on the rotation for the second-half of the season.
*The Astros signed 11th Round pick Patrick Sandoval, dipping into their overage money by $800,000. ESPN/FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen tweeted that Sandoval has 4th-6th Round talent, but wanted 2nd Round money, and that the Astros just had enough money to go get him.
*Chad Qualls is eligible to come off the DL today, and may rejoin the Astros on Thursday. Luis Valbuena may be held out of the lineup until after the Break to let his toe fully recover.
*Fresno's Tyler White isn't trying to hit home runs. But that's what he's doing.