-East Weatherford: 53-18 (.746)
-Seattle: 52-17 (.754)
-Anaheim: 52-15 (.776)
-Oakland: 56-14 (.800)
If the Astros maintain their current pace for the rest of the season, the Rangers would have to go 65-6 (.915) to win the division— fank (@dfank_BU) July 16, 2017
The Magic Number is 55.
*Mike F. Fiers struck out eleven in his first double-digit strikeout game since his no-hitter against the Dodgers on August 21, 2015. Hinch, on Fiers:
That was probably the best breaking ball he's had, and that's saying a lot, because he's had a really good breaking ball since this stretch started when he's been really, really effective...Really did a good job.
*Fiers was the first Astros starter to throw 7IP since...Mike Fiers on June 16.
*Thanks to the above link, the Astros are 18-8 in their last 26 games, averaging 7.35 runs/game. Last 30 games, MLB:
*Mike F. Fiers is legit. He has stepped up at the time when the Astros needed him most. Remember when he was demoted to the bullpen after his May 25 start? At that point he had made nine starts, throwing 46.2IP, 54H/27ER, 38K:17BB and 18 home runs allowed. He didn't make it out of the 5th in three of his nine starts. Fiers gave up 2+ HR in six of those nine starts. But an injury brought him back to the rotation before he could join the bullpen.
From May 30-yesterday he has made another nine starts with a completely different story. In his last nine starts he has thrown 54IP, 37H/15ER, 60K:20BB and 3HR allowed. Yesterday's start was the first time he had allowed multiple home runs since May 14.
Good for you Mike F. Fiers. He won't get any MVP votes, and may not get any consideration for Team MVP, but Fiers has been exactly what the Astros have needed over the last six weeks.
It's good for us to put together good at-bats down there, and kind of flip the lineup over for some of these guys that are having the season that they're having. The better at-bats we put together down there, the more success we're going to have at the top and throughout the whole lineup.
It's good for our team. These guys need to play. They don't get talked about a ton because of how good our main guys have been. These guys are better than role players, but they're providing roles for us.
If Marisnick and Aoki don't come out for BP wearing "These" and "Guys" jerseys then there has been a serious mistake made by PR.
*Nori Aoki got two hits and 2RBI in yesterday's win. He last got two hits in a game on June 22. He had 3RBI in all of June and last knocked in two runs on April 15.
*George Springer was 0x3 with a walk. He has reached base safely at least once in 17 of his last 18 games.
*Jose Altuve had another 2-hit game, giving him multi-hit games in six of his last seven games. He has a 19-game on-base streak. He needs one more stolen base to tie Joe Morgan for 4th in franchise history, with 219.
*Josh Reddick struck out three times in a game for the first time since September 23, 2016.
*Ken Giles (who shall henceforth be known as the K. Giles Band) worked in and out of trouble, allowing a hit and a walk, putting the tying run at the plate before wriggling out and recording his 20th save. Of his 36 appearances this season, he has allowed a baserunner in 21 of them. Worth noting that of those 21 appearances with a baserunner, he's allowed a run in ten of them.
*George Springer talked about the impact Carlos Beltran has had on the team:
He shows you how to handle your failure...he told me you can never let somebody see your frustration. Whenever he fails, he just puts his stuff down and hangs out. A pro's pro. To have his experience and his knowledge has been unexplainable.
*Collin McHugh threw what is likely to be his last rehab start for Corpus last night, throwing 48 of his 69 nice pitches for strikes, allowing 4H/1R (0ER), 2K:1BB in six efficient innings. Dallas Keuchel throws tonight for Corpus. McHugh:
I was pretty efficient today and got through six in 70-75 pitches so I had to finish up down in the bullpen. Overall just execute well and try to get through a whole game.
*The Nationals jumped the Astros in a dark alley and managed to shore up their bullpen by not giving up any of their top prospects - Blake Treinen has a 5.73 ERA (-0.3 bWAR) on a tremendously-unlucky .381 BABIP and the other two guys are in the GCL and Low-A, respectively, and are not in the Nationals' Top 30 prospects - to Oakland for both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle (Though Luzardo is seen as a "younger Gio Gonzalez"). So enjoy those wins against the A's, because the Nationals just became a tougher potential opponent. Kicking the can down the road, the likely NLCS between the Dodgers and Nationals just got a little tighter.
*Jon Heyman writes that Sonny Gray has a strong link to Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson, which gives them a leg up in any potential deal, if you're interested.
*Mike Puma says the Mets have received "a fair amount of inquiries" on reliever Addison Reed, who has a 2.47 ERA/1.05 WHIP with 45K in 43.2IP.
*Facebook Dot Com's Ken Rosenthal says the Orioles are open to trading Zach Britton and other relievers, but not Manny Machado or Adam Jones, which is cool because the Astros don't need either of those cats.
*FOLKS: Billy Beane has HAD IT with the Oakland situation.
*No, the Astros aren't getting Former Astros Great J.A. Happ.
*Joe Musgrove has thrown 73% of his pitches for strikes in July, which may be a problem, writes Christian Boutwell. Hinch:
Being around the strike zone, their entire dugout is coming up to the batter's box wanting to swing, wanting to hit. They know he's going to be around the zone, he's unlikely to walk them. So he's got to counter that a little better.
*It's McCullers/Peacock/Musgrove against the Mariners today-Wednesday.
*Every homestand, Charlie Morton hosts the Wounded Warriors Project, and he is the Astros' nominee for the Bob Feller Act of Valor award.
*Fresno scored three runs in the top of the 9th to beat Tacoma, and Tony Kemp went 3x4 with a home run, walk, and 2RBI to extend his hit streak to 21 games. Kemp is hitting .344/.385/.486 this season. Tyler White hit a 3-run home run and is hitting .293/.366/.496.
*Kyle Tucker has missed the last two games due to back discomfort.
*Oh God Chris Carter will likely sign with the Rangers or the A's.
This idiot, probably ironically, is an idiot:
*If you're mad that a female was cast as a fictional character you can lick all my balls.