...It was crazy this thing started in Minnesota (the Memorial Day Miracle). It seems like it was so long ago, you know? It's been a strange one, no doubt. To go 8-2, we're all looking forward to getting back home. Having the eight wins under our belt on the road trip, it's the best road trip I've been a part of since I've been on this team.
*McTaggart notes that, in their last 53 games (April 11) the Astros are averaging 6.0 runs per game.
*Lance McCullers had thrown 6.1 no-hit innings before Lorenzo Cain tripled and later scored to tie the game at 1-1. He ended up throwing 7IP, allowing the bullpen a little bit of a break. Harris and Devenski threw the 8th and 9th. Cain, on McCullers:
He was locked in tonight. His stuff was pretty nasty. Nice two-seamer that started off the plate and backdoored it, or started on the plate and ran in on the hands. Filthy stuff tonight.
*McCullers now has 72 strikeouts on his curveball. Next highest in the Majors is Jerad Eickhoff, with 42.
*McCullers' start last night was the first time in 12 games that an Astros starting pitcher went 7IP (Musgrove, May 26).
*Josh Reddick drew a lead-off walk in the 9th and scored on Jose Altuve's 430-foot home run, his longest of the season. It was Altuve's 69th career home run. When Reddick leads off an inning (38 PAs), he's hitting .367/.500/.633 with 3K:8BB.
*So Dallas Keuchel's "illness" scratch may not be entirely true. After putting Keuchel on the 10-Day DL, Hinch said this:
He's going on the DL for a minimum of 10 days. That brings concern in its own right. Being symptomatic with the same injury from earlier in the year is concerning, but until we see him and talk with him, and get another report from the doctor, we just won't know. I'm not sure what goes into these pinched nerves, or what the doctors' plan will be to get him better.
*Frankie Tuesday was called up and McHugh was transferred to the 60-Day DL. Now Keuchel, McHugh, Morton, and Musgrove are on the DL. 80% of the starting rotation. Martes will be used in long relief for now, Hinch said. So your rotation is now McCullers, Peacock, Fiers, Paulino, and...oh, hey Musgrove will rejoin the rotation on Monday.
*Hinch flat-out said Devenski will not shift to the rotation. If Musgrove can't go on Monday, Martes will be the starting pitcher against the Rangers.
*USA Today's Bob Nightengale said a whole lot of jinxy things in a column about the Astros' future yesterday. But two quotes stood out, from Correa and Keuchel:
Honestly, with the talent we have in here, and the way we've played, anything less than getting to the World Series would be a disappointment...I really believe this can be the year....I think we need one more guy, a No. 1 or No. 2 type of guy in the rotation, and another reliever. We get that, it would be a dream come true. And I think Jeff is going to get it done for us. I really do. This is the year.
Usually you get one shot at this....We've got plenty of talented guys in here, so it's not to say we couldn't win a World Series right now, but pitching wins in the playoffs. I'd like to see us get somebody who can dominate...so if we're going to go out and get somebody, I'd rather get somebody who's a proven winner and who can dominate a game.
I'm sure ownership will step up and do something to help us. I sure hope so, because I really believe this can be our time.
No pressure, Luhnow!
*Marwin should be back in the lineup tonight, as the Astros open a series against the Angels.
*With the draft beginning on Monday - it's amazing how 43 wins on June 9 will make you forget about the draft - the Astros held a workout at Minute Maid Park. Here's Brian McTaggart with an Astros draft preview.
*Pat Neshek said leaving Houston was the best thing that's happened to him:
I kind of became a bit player there. In 2015, I did a lot of 8th-inning stuff and I think I was second or third in the league in holds (Ed. Note: he was tied for 3rd in the AL in holds in 2015), but I had a bad final month where they kind of just gave up on me. In '16, I just became a 6th-inning righty specialist guy and it was awful. I knew I could do a lot more. So when the trade happened I was thrilled. This was the best thing that happened to me in a few years...I can understand why the Astros did it. They have a bullpen that's pretty well stocked over there. So I'm real happy to be out - if not I would rather have been a free agent than gone back there, which may sound crazy but it gets to the point where you want to do more. I would almost rather retire than do a role like I was doing for them. It was miserable.
A couple of notes about this:
1. He's right. In September 2015 he allowed 15H/6ER, 4K:4BB in 7.1IP, mostly in the 8th inning, and some of those were crucial games as the Astros handed the division to the Ramgers, with three losses and a blown save in 11 outings.
2. Remember later that offseason Neshek had a meatball of a bone spur removed from his foot.
3. In 2016 Neshek made 60 appearances. Ten of them were in the 6th inning. He was brought in to face one batter in the 6th inning five times. He faced three or more batters in an appearance 43 out of the 60 times he pitched.
4. Whatever, it doesn't matter.
*Hardball Times: A plea for imagination in baseball fiction