Well well well. The end-of-season road trip got off to a good start thanks to some HOMERZ and Lance McCullers as the Astros beat the Mariners 3-2 (what's this!? a 1-run road win?! Nonsense!).
The Tigers beat the Rangers, but the Angels won their sixth straight game on a walk-off single from David Murphy off of former Astro Fernando Abad, and the Twins beat the Indians. So here we are:
2nd AL Wild Card
FanGraphs gives the Astros an 18.9% chance of winning the division and a 71.8% chance of at least holding on to the Wild Card. But they're going to need the Angels to actually start losing games.
The Astros have won three straight while the Rangers have lost three straight. Hank Conger, on the Astros closing the gap on Arlington.
If (the Rangers) can do it, so can we.
A.J. Hinch is focused on making the playoffs, not shuffling the rotation in an effort to get the best matchup. With Dallas Keuchel expected to pitch on Friday and Collin McHugh on Saturday, it would allow Keuchel to pitch the Wild Card game - on Tuesday, October 6 - on three days' rest instead of the usual four, writes Evan Drellich. If the Astros win the Wild Card game or win the AL West, the ALDS would start on Thursday, October 8.
The Astros have five games remaining.
Astros @ Seattle
*McCullers threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:2BB, sitting 96-97 and touching 98 with his fastball. Since the disaster start at Arlington back in August and subsequent demotion, McCullers has made seven starts, throwing 44IP, 35H/16ER, 44K:13BB.
*Since returning from the DL with a broken wrist thanks to Rat Bastard Edinson Volquez, George Springer is hitting .261/.333/.398 and hit his 2nd homer last night. He has hits in 17 of the 22 games in which he has played, and four multi-hit games in his last seven.
Springer was hitting .264/.365/.457 before the wrist injury.
*Evan Gattis was 1x3 with a solo homer and a walk. In the 31 games he's played since the beginning of the Yankees series (arbitrary? kinda/maybe not) Gattis is hitting .282/.338/.538 with eight home runs, 21K:11BB. Up until that series at Yankee Stadium, Gattis was hitting .236/.267/.442
*Chris Carter hit his 23rd home run of the season in the 7th to break a 2-2 tie. Five of his last seven hits have been home runs and have all come in the last ten days.
Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar left a first-pitch breaking ball over the plate and Carter hit it to where those guys throw the fish. Farquhar:
It was a good idea. The execution was there. Ideally you want that to be down and away and it was more down and in. He put a good swing on it and kept it fair. It was the right pitch.
Farquhar and McClendon talked about how Carter doesn't usually swing at the first pitch, and they're right. But when he does (44 Plate Appearances in 2015), he has a .262/.273/.452 slash line which, for a guy hitting under .200 for an entire season is actually pretty good.
Of Carter's 108 career home runs, 32 have been go-ahead homers.
*The Astros are simply "hopeful" that Carlos Gomez can return to the team this season. Hinch:
He's swung in batting practice every day, looking better and better. Just not quite himself yet.
*Evan Drellich says Jon Singleton's $10m contract has worked out pretty well for him. Not so much for the Astros.
*Matthew McConaughey wants to see a Rangers/Astros ALCS.