*I wrote yesterday about how the Astros have struggled in close games on the road. Thankfully the Astros just decided to get blown out last night so I didn't have to update any numbers.
*Jose Altuve still isn't worried:
I think every team is going to go through this, what's happening to us right now, but we're going to be good. I'm confident in the team we have. We're going to start swinging the bat and doing everything we normally do and be one of the best teams in the big leagues.
Just can't do anything right. That's just the way it's going. It seems like I made a few pitches, a bloop single. When it's going right, it's not going right.
If that isn't a recap of the first 21 games, I don't know what is.
*The Mariners had a pretty clear game plan for the formerly-5.28-ERA-saddled starting pitcher Nate Karns:
I was just tired of not doing what I was capable of doing. I wanted a good performance. Mel (Stottlemyre) did a great job with the scouting report and made it crystal clear for me. I took great notes watching Taijuan Walker doing his thing yesterday and stuck with our scouting report and tried to expose their weaknesses.
So my scouting report would look something like this:
They have trouble hitting the ball. If they get runners on, don't worry, they'll leave them there. The Astros are going to do one thing something so incredibly stupid that you would have to rupture a tendon fist-pumping in order to get pulled from this game. Just throw it somewhere near the plate, they'll swing. Or don't, they'll swing at that, too. But Colby Rasmus will destroy you.
*Hinch, on Karns:
Well we couldn't solve Karns' breaking ball. We knew going in he was going to be predominantly breaking ball first with a high fastball and occasional change. So the game plan we thought he was going to go against us, he did. We didn't make an adjustment against his breaking ball, and he had a good one.
*Hinch says that Carlos Gomez is coming around:
He's been in the at-bats on time a little bit with more...release of the barrel. He's hitting the ball on the line quite a bit, just near misses on some home runs. It would be nice to get him heated up.
Gomez did have two decent ABs last night - sending two early balls about 400 feet to the outfield, where they nestled calmly in the defenders' glove, like a baby owl returning home to its mama.
*Saturday's starter has shifted from Scott Feldman to Chris Devenski, in what - for now - is a one-time audition start:
(Devenski) pitches with a ton of confidence, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in a different role for the time being. It could be very temporary. As we know, in this game you never know.
That last sentence is nonsense. Devenski will start at Oakland. This may be Hinch blowing smoke up Feldman's tailpipe - remember the Gregerson/Giles Closer Anointing - to let him down easy, but Devenski should probably go ahead and just throw a no-hitter just to make sure.
*Nobody knows why Ken Giles is struggling in his young career with the Astros.
Giles: I don't have an answer as to why things aren't going my way.
Kratz: I really don't have an answer for you. He's not missing spots. He's healthy. The ball is coming out healthy.
Hinch: It's been something different every outing and there's not one theme that goes with the tough outings.
*Lance McCullers will throw in an extended spring training game today, and the Astros are hoping for three innings.
*Disregarding his last ten games, Forbes writes that Tyler White's emergence is not surprising.
*Two former Astros prospects are on this Baseball America list of players in line for quick promotions.
*Ben Badler writes about how teams can exploit (and easily corrupt) the new international bonus pool rules for July 2 signings.
*FanGraphs: What pitchers (and numbers) say about pitching in the cold.
*Parkour in Chernobyl: The Ultimate Adventure or a Journey Into Madness?
*Before You Go:
My son's pitching line for his first Little League game last night: 3IP 9K 2BB 3H #lockhimupnow #sonisbetter #good pic.twitter.com/ku6lV41M3g— Erik Kratz (@ErikKratz31) April 27, 2016