*The Astros got smoked by the Cardinals for their 4th loss in a row. Since going 18-8 in June the Astros are 19-22. They're 7-15 since sweeping the Angels towards the end of July. In the five games since the Astros' bats came alive against Minnesota, the Astros are 1-4, getting outscored 32-16.
*Through five innings yesterday Carlos Martinez had not allowed a hit and had only thrown 52 pitches. Guess they really wanted to get to Baltimore.
The rollercoaster ride that we've been on is no fun when we're in this portion of it. This game will test your character. It will test your resolve. It will test your ability to come back from adversity, and this is yet another test for us.
*Now 10 games back of the Ramgers, FanGraphs gives the Astros a 1.4% chance of winning the AL West and a 9.1% chance of making the postseason.
FiveThirtyEight gives the Astros a 2% chance of winning the division and an 11% chance of making the postseason.
*Bob Nightengale: The Astros are on the verge of taking a step back. In an interview with Nightengale, Luhnow admitted that Hole Camels' rejection of the trade in 2015 changed everything for the Astros. Combined with the Astros not being able to close a deal on Jonathan Lucroy, the Astros have been outmaneuvered by the Rangers at the last two trade deadlines. Luhnow:
So we've had two deals not accepted by the player, that has directly impacted us the last two trade deadlines. That's why I sure wish teams wouldn't give out no-trade clauses.
It's hard to go from a veteran leader like Feldman to kids who have never been up here and find ways to get the team cohesive. We went from two rookies to nine rookies in a couple of weeks. It makes it tough.
*Wall Street Journal: The Ramgers may be history's most illogical team: they're 43-24 against teams at or better than .500, and 15-19 against teams under .500 - the biggest win% discrepancy since 1900.
*Tony Sipp did Tony Sipp things, allowing a three-run homer to Brandon Moss. The year after Sipp threw 54.1IP, 41H/12ER, 62K:15BB (1.99 ERA/1.03 WHIP), he's sitting on a 5.51 ERA/1.65 WHIP, already having allowed more hits (43) in 32.2IP than he did in all of last season. His K/9 rate is down almost by almost two strikeouts per nine innings. Overall he's allowing a .316/.369/.632 line while lefties are hitting .299/.368/.537...which isn't great considering he's the only LHP option in the bullpen. Things is bad. We'll look into this more deeply later today.
*The Astros look to try to right the ship in the Wild Card race. Hinch:
It's a brutal schedule, which obviously I'll admit is less than idea for our group, but we knew it was coming. We could see it on the schedule at the beginning of the season, and when you get to August, sometimes you have to wear it, and we certainly have to wear it.
*Angel Verdejo wrote about how the Astros' rookies are growing up in the midst of a "pennant race," if a "race" means "to see how quickly you can hit the wall with your car." Hinch:
This is a different team than what everybody expected to be in August. It doesn't mean that it has to be a crutch or it has to be an excuse, but we need to get these guys up and running pretty quickly.
*I wrote about Jose Altuve's 1000 hits.
*Baseball Messi: Altuve plays soccer in the off-season to keep in shape.
*Dayn Perry: Four ways Altuve is a baseball miracle.
*The Astros promoted Kyle Tucker from Quad Cities to Lancaster. Tucker was hitting .276/.348/.402 as a 19-year old in the Midwest League, with 75K:40BB and 31 stolen bases in 40 attempts.
*The Astros released 22-year old Corpus outfielder Danry Vasquez after his arrest for domestic assault.
*The Astros and the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina have progressed on their plans to build a minor-league stadium. According to the agreement with the city, the stadium will be completed in time for the 2019 season and will come with a 30-year lease.