AL West Recap: Lance McCullers got BABIP'd to death and Mike Fiers got rocked but still managed to make a comeback on the strength of Correa's 2-run shot, Valbuena's solo shot, and a Jason Castro grand slam - only to fall 12-9 to the South Oklahoma Rangers. So the Astros and A's lost while the Angels, Rangers, and Mariners won. The Astros are 3.0 up with 55 games to play, but have lost 11 of their last 13 road games.
*After not giving up more than three earned runs in any of his ML starts this season, Lance McCullers gave up 6ER in 0.1IP Monday night, and was optioned to the minors following the game:
I just wish I had been able to compete a little better for the guys and not make so many guys eat so many innings and that kind of stuff. It's going to happen. Hopefully, it doesn't happen again. Hopefully, I got it off my back. I'm just looking forward to my next start.
*Dan Straily will start tonight for the Astros - a game at which The Wife and I will be in attendance.
*Lance McCullers understands his being optioned - what with him already having thrown a career high in IP. A.J. Hinch said the move was designed to give McCullers a break.
*Cole Hamels spoke about why he rejected the proposed Astros trade - which had apparently been worked out "a couple of days" before he actually was traded to the Rangers:
It just kind of came to that sort of fruition where (the Astros) just weren't on the (approved) list. They asked me, and I said, 'No I'd like to stick with the list...' I've seen what (the Astros) have done and I think they've done great things. I have a four-year contract still...so if it was a different situation where I had a year left or a year and a half I probably would have gone. But because it is more of a longer term I had to weigh those sorts of variables for those nine teams that I had on the list. I didn't want to budge from that.
Having never been in his situation - he and I have probably never shared any kind of experience...ever - I won't say that this rationale is absolute nonsense.
*The Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin says the Rangers and Astros' "rivalry" has everything except meaningful games.
*Hacksaw Jeff Banister swore at A.J. Hinch and told him not to grab his players in that little to-do in which Rougned Odor took his sweet time getting back in the box. But they're both all good.
*Carlos Gomez on Club Astros: "I love here. Those guys make me feel sexy"
*George Springer, despite being on the DL, is the center of the Astros' clubhouse.
*Scott Kazmir is your AL Pitcher of the Month for July.
*The Astros are 2nd in SI's Power Rankings
*Jon Singleton took his 72 hours to report to Fresno: "It's definitely frustrating and disappointing, but you still have to go on to continue to be successful. It is a business. You sometimes have to remind yourself of that. You still have to go out and put the work in."
Not-Astros Link of the Day
*From Priceonomics: "The Greatest Double Agent In History"