*The Astros put up a 5-spot on Sonny Gray in the 1st inning last night and rode it out to an 8-4 win over Oakland. Gray needed 38 pitches to get through the 1st as the Astros sent 10 men to the plate, including George Springer and his 8th leadoff homer of the season. The MLB record for leadoff homers in a season is 13, by Alfonso Soriano. Reddick, on Springer:
It's special to hit behind that guy. Eight leadoff homers, 21 homers out of the leadoff spot, you just don't see that a whole lot. It makes you wonder what he would do out maybe in the three-, four-hole in this lineup. But you really can't move him.
The average leadoff hitter in baseball (including Springer) is hitting .261/.330/.419. Springer is hitting .284/.356/.567.
Our at-bats were exceptional. Springer sets the tone with the big home run, and then we continued to do some positive things against [Gray] and put up positive at-bats.
For all the damage the Astros did against Sonny Gray in the 1st, they didn't get a whole lot more until he left the game. Consider:
Gray, 1st inning: 38 pitches, 5H/5ER, 0K:2BB
Gray, 2nd-5th: 70 pitches, 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB, HBP
*Gray, on his start:
It has been one inning for numerous starts now where things kind of escalate. I'm gonna have to figure this thing out. Whether it's getting off the mound and slowing myself down, I've gotta figure out a way to shut the inning down when I get two outs.
*Frankie Tuesday threw 5.2IP, 6H/3ER, 4K:3BB for his second ML win in two starts, holding the A's to an 0x6 w/RISP with him on the mound. Within that link we find that Martes could be optioned back to Fresno when McCullers comes off the DL on Saturday, or the Astros could place Brad Peacock on paternity leave and let Martes throw in his spot on Sunday.
*Luke Gregerson faced three batters and struck them all out.
*Astros are 6-1 against Oakland in 2017, and haven't lost in Oakland since July 19, 2016.
*Houston is 24-10 against the AL West.
*Alex Bregman's last seven PAs (most recent to previous): Out, double, walk, HBP, single, double, double.
*Hinch told 790 that Charlie Morton is throwing mid-90s. He'll start for Fresno on Thursday and throw 2-3IP.
*If the Astros have "any opening whatsoever," they're bringing back Derek Fisher
*Wall Street Journal: The Astros don't like strikeouts anymore
*Tom Verducci has a good piece on the Astros' trade needs and a couple of good stories about how the Astros landed David Paulino and Francis Martes. Verducci:
Yes, it will hurt Houston to shoot high. But the time for bargain shopping is over. The Astros already know the question they face next month, and it is the same question the Cubs faced last July: If not now, when?
*What's it like to be Latino in MLB? This is a must-read.
*Hardball Times: Examining what Cuban League stats actually mean
*Patrick Hruby in Vice: The plot to disrupt the NCAA with a pay-for-play HBCU basketball league