What with me not having to be somewhere at 7am for the next few weeks, you'll notice the Hot Links will be published a little later. I appreciate your reading habits, but I ain't waking up at 4:45am if'n I don't have to.
*So this is less than ideal, though more from a bullpen usage standpoint than any referendum about the 2017 Astros. The Astros lost to the Royals 7-5 after Dallas Keuchel was a late scratch. All seven of the Royals' runs were scored with two outs.
*Astros vs AL West: 20-6
Astros vs AL East: 8-2
Astros vs AL Central: 9-10 (1-5 vs Cleveland, 2-4 vs Kansas City)
A.J. said (Keuchel's) been sick and throwing up. (I thought) OK, I'm glad we don't have to face him.
(Keuchel) went back to the hotel. He's had some problems. He's lost a little bit of weight over the last few days. He hasn't felt a ton of energy.
*Keuchel went back to the hotel after he was scratched, so no word from him yet.
*So that means that Dayan Diaz had about a 15-minute heads-up that he would be starting last night, and it was a bullpen game. The Royals scored in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Bullpen usage last night:
Diaz: 2.2IP, 4H/3ER, 3K:0BB
Sipp: 1IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB
Feliz: 1.1IP, 2H/2ER, 3K:2BB
Gregerson: 2IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:0BB
Giles: 1IP, 0H/0ER, 0K:0BB
*The Astros' bullpen has now thrown 200.2IP, most in the AL and only trailing the Dodgers in all of MLB. This is a concern. Though if we break down how those 200.2IP have been distributed, 32IP have been thrown by Tony Sipp, Jandel Gustave, Ashur Tolliver, Jordan Jankowski, Reymin Guduan, and Dayan Diaz (his innings last night didn't count towards this total, because he started). The main bullpen core of Giles, Harris, Devenski, Gregerson, Devenski have thrown a combined 107.2IP. Harris, Giles, and Gregerson have thrown 24 or 24.1IP each. Devenski has thrown 35IP. While Hinch has managed those five's IPs, the Astros are going to need to establish some other relievers capable of coming in and getting outs - hence the shuttle between Fresno and wherever Houston is playing.
It's hard. You've got to get nine innings of outs and sometimes a lot of those come out of your rotation, and sometimes they come out of your bullpen and it usually cycles. There's also times where I'm trying to get guys from the bullpen into the game because they haven't pitched that much.
*Brian McCann had his first 4-hit game since September 2016, but he wasn't pleased with his pitch-calling:
I felt like I didn't do a good job tonight calling a game. I felt like I could have gone a couple of different directions, and I should have. I'm going to be thinking about some pitches I called tonight, going back to the hotel.
*You can listen to yesterday's two-segment interview with Jeff Bagwell on Sports Radio 610.
*Quad Cities' Yordan Alvarez and pitchers Carson LaRue and Enoli Paredes have been named to the Midwest League All-Star Team.
*Bleacher Report: They tanked like the Sixers, now the Astros are MLB's next big powerhouse.
*MLBTR talked to Jayson Stark about his career and the evolution of baseball coverage.
*Vulture: All 213 Beatles songs ranked from worst to first
*Vice Sports: The Alonzo Mourning Acceptance GIF ("giff" not "jiff")