The Astros got scuffed last night thanks to Chris Archer - the Masked Marvel's recap is great - but at least the Rangers also got one-hit, and the Angels lost to the White Sox. The Astros have a 2.5 game lead on the Angels and a four-game lead on the Rangers. There are 40 games left.
Some notes on Chris Archer's performance:
*It was the first CG/1H/0ER performance against the Astros since Edinson Volquez and the Padres beat the Astros 1-0 on July 19, 2012.
*Archer needed just 98 pitches to get through the game, giving him the Maddux. What's the Maddux? A complete game shutout throwing 99 or fewer pitches. This was the 16th Maddux against the Astros in team history, the last one coming on September 17, 2014 by Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, who allowed 2H/0ER, 12K:1BB, and needed 98 pitches to go the distance.
*Archer's gem is also only the 16th game in ML history that a pitcher has thrown a Maddux with double-digit strikeouts (Source).
*Archer's 95 Game Score is the highest by an opposing pitcher this season, and the highest since Yu Darvish's 96 on April 2, 2013 when Darvish got Marwin'd.
*The Astros had 10+ strikeouts in a game for the 46th time this season.
*Carlos Gomez was 0x3 and saw a total of six pitches. Valbuena went 0x3 with 2 strikeouts in eight total pitches.
*Hinch, on Archer:
He was in complete control. He's the real deal. He's got every pitch and he had it tonight. I don't know if that was his best, because I'm not around him on a day-to-day basis, but it's the best we've seen and certainly he was in total command...In hindsight looking back, we could have just taken pitches and saw what happened, but pitch recognition is pretty hard when a guy is throwing 90-mph sliders. It's hard to fault the hitters. They're battling, they're trying.
*Archer took a selfie with Hinch's daughters before the All-Star Game in Cincinnati:
I'd like to have them in the stands or at least watching every game I throw from here on out, because the outcome's good when they're watching.
*George Springer has been swinging a fungo in the cage, but still likely won't take standard BP before next week's road trip.
There really isn't any medical reason to why I can't progress. It's all about how I feel. (The wrist) has been immobilized for six weeks, so I have to get my hand in shape and my wrist in shape.
*Thanks to a 13-inning game two nights ago and Josh Fields nearing his career-high in innings, Fields was optioned to Corpus (because Fresno is 6,000 miles away) yesterday, clearing room for Vince Velasquez's return. Fields is just 13.2IP away from a career-high of 54.2IP, and given the need for a fresh arm, he'll take some time off. Players optioned to the minors have to stay down for 10 days (barring an injury to someone else), which will put him back in Houston just in time for the September 1 call-up day.
*Non-Astros Read of the Day: Follow the White Ball: The torments of Ronnie O'Sullivan, snooker's greatest player