1. I have no problem with how Hinch managed the bullpen. He had a 7-1 lead and when things got close, he put in his electric/erratic closer in a high-leverage situation. That's why the Astros went and got Giles. It didn't work out because the Royals did what the Royals do (or, did, anyway). But the Astros are 42-17.
2. The Astros are going to need their starters to get deeper into games so that the bullpen isn't flamed out by August (similar to 2015). This isn't groundbreaking, hard-hitting analysis. That's why, I believe, you saw Hinch bring in Guduan and Hoyt in what appeared to be a blowout - to save the arms of Devenski, Harris, Gregerson, Giles. Game Scores of Astros starting pitchers not named Dallas Keuchel, last eight games: 47, 59, 51, 43, 64, 48, 44. Every time that Game Score is at or below 50 you know the starting pitcher wasn't terribly effective. Ideally, that changes. Still, the Astros are 42-17.
3. The Astros are 11-1 in their last 12 road games. They're 42-17. Get some
4. You only notice the shift when it doesn't work. The Astros are 42-17.
5. You're pissed (and I am, too) that it happened against the Royals. I hate the "three bloop singles followed by a double down the line" playbook the Royals have used the last four years. Ken Giles was maybe an inch off the plate for strike three to Merrifield in the 8th, which would have ended the inning. The next pitch was the bases-clearing double. But the Astros are 42-17.
6. That loss cut into the Astros' division lead to make it a slim 13 games. Shut up.
*The Astros are the first Major League team to score 6+ runs in nine consecutive games since the 2004 Astros did it.
*The Astros are now 36-2 when leading after seven innings. The other loss? April 8 against the Royals. Here's Ned Yost with a steaming pile of BS for a quote:
We felt good when we were down 7-2. We didn't feel like we were out of the game.
I didn't make my pitches when I needed to. I let my team down. It's all on me. In my eyes, this team won today. My failure shouldn't overshadow what these guys (did) today.
Credit to Giles for not going Full Gregerson and "leaving the clubhouse before reporters could enter." Giles career ERA (flawed) with Houston is 4.15, but with a 2.85 FIP. It's fine.
BUT! Giles home v road splits, 2017:
Home (43 PAs): .100/.163/.125, 16K:2BB
Away (53 PAs): .304/.377/.522, 13K:6BB
*Mike Moustakas, who hit the walk-off homer in the 9th, on Giles:
He threw a fastball, first pitch, middle in and the guy throws hard. I fouled it off and was kind of looking for something out over the plate. Got a slider out there and put a good swing on it.
State Farm Agent Whit Merrifield, who hit the game-tying bases-loaded double off Giles:
He throws a hundred with a banger slider. Just try to see the ball as early as you can and hope for a mistake. He made one on me, and I was able to put the bat on it and find a good spot.
*The Astros have reportedly reached a deal with 6'4" 205lbs Cuban righty Elian Rodriguez for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2m. Given the overage tax the Astros enjoy, that number is actually about $4m. Click the link for Baseball America's report on him. With Yuli Gurriel in the fold, Cionel Perez already at Quad Cities and now Rodriguez, the Astros are going with the White Sox strategy of "sign Cuban players" and more Cuban players will follow.
*Looks like Marwin (hand) will avoid the DL.
*Here are updated All-Star Game numbers, for those of you that care.
*Peter Gammons says the Astros will watch Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana this week.
*Ben Lindbergh looks for the Astros' flaws.
*SB Nation's Grant Brisbee: The Astros are great, and might get even better.
*ESPN's David Schoenfield: What makes the Astros the best team in baseball?
*Yahoo's Jeff Passan: Here's why the Astros are the best team in baseball. Click this link.
*SI's Jay Jaffe says the Astros-Rangers are the best current rivalry in baseball, with the Rangers-Blue Jays coming in at 2nd. I'll let you make your own conclusions.
*Texas Standard: How to spot a bandwagon Astros fan
*Hardball Times: Where the ballpark weather comes from
*FC Dallas is only allowing 100 Dynamo fans to come to the next four games at Frisco. Triggered much, snowflakes?
*Check out this story about a 20-year old girl on trial in Massachusetts for texting encouragement to her boyfriend (?) to kill himself.