*George Springer hit his 26th and 27th home runs, also collecting a single and a double on the night. It's the 7th 2HR game of his career, and his 4th 2HR game of the season. His career high for home runs is 29, which he's on pace to reach by approximately 2:15pm today. Elias says that Springer's 27 home runs as a leadoff hitter before the All-Star Break is an MLB record.
Hinch, on Springer:
He's a difference-maker. Getting him the most at-bats is pretty awesome. He's using the middle of the field and the opposite field. No park can hold him right now.
*Jose Altuve went 3x5 for his 4th straight 3-hit game, a franchise record. On the road Altuve is hitting .405/.481/.658 (.285/.342/.430 at home).
*Carlos Correa extended his active MLB-best hit streak to 15 games. He also has 18 home runs, most among all Shortstops. His 3.6 fWAR is tied with the Dodgers' Corey Seager for most among all shortstops.
*Charlie Morton threw 6IP, 4H/1ER, 3K:2BB. Morton:
For our offense to come through like that early, it's just great because it gives me a chance to just go out there and compete. A little less stress, a little less worry.
Hinch, on Morton:
We extended him a little further than we expected, but I thought he was very efficient early. I thought his stuff held through his whole outing, which was key.
*James Hoyt and Tony Sipp each threw perfect innings. Francis Martes allowed a solo home run in the 9th. The Astros were able to sit Gregerson, Harris, and Giles. Kenneth Giles has not pitched in a game since July 1.
So let's talk about the bullpen real quick. The Astros lead the Majors with 303IP coming from the bullpen. This is obviously a short-coming of the team and the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of the starting pitchers, and the injuries that hit them all at the same time. Of those 303IP, 151.2IP have been thrown by Devenski (51.2IP), Gregerson (34IP), Harris (34.2IP), and Giles (31.1IP). By using this mindfulness technique that I mostly understand called "math," that leaves 151.1IP thrown by Michael Feliz, James Hoyt, Tony Sipp, 16.1 relief innings from Brad Peacock earlier in the season, Dayan Diaz, and 26.2IP from Guduan, Tolliver, Jankowski, Martes, and the Judgeslayer Nori Aoki.
Devenski has thrown the most innings of any reliever in baseball, which makes sense given his role. Otherwise, Will Harris' innings pitched rank 80th in MLB, Gregerson 89th, Giles 120th. Obviously, number of pitches thrown and exertion plays a factor in workload, but with this snapshot Hinch is managing the bullpen well.
Chris Devenski was named as an injury replacement to the AL All-Star team, giving the Astros a franchise-record six All-Stars in 2017. A.J. Hinch downplayed the importance of this, putting more emphasis on October than July:
It's indicative of the special season we've been able to have so far. We're being recognized in a lot of different ways to prove that. You make statements more by winning divisions and getting to the playoffs and chasing championships. But the midseason recognition for some of our players is pretty cool for them.
*Roberto Osuna had a different story for his six-step shuffle towards 1st base to end Thursday night's game against Carlos Correa:
I don't know why he thought I showed him up because I was going to flip the ball to first base, but (Smoak) wasn't there yet. He gave me a little bit of time because he didn't run hard to first base.
I'll formulate some thought on Correa's actions at the end of the game (like it matters), but here is certainly a quote from Correa:
I knew it was the last out of the game, so I wanted to go home. We talk about it here; there's no need for fake hustle. You hit a ground ball to the pitcher, try to run hard to first in the 80th-something game of the season and blow a hamstring on the last play of the game...If I hit a ground ball to short I'm going to run hard. If I'm going to hit a ground ball to the pitcher, and he caught it, and I'm not even out of the box yet, why would I need to run to first? It's just fake hustle.
With Yu Darvish bowing out, no Texas Rangers will appear in the All-Star Game for the first time since 2007.— Greg Tepper (@Tepper) July 7, 2017
*Here's a good profile of J.B. Bukauskas, who is headed to the Gulf Coast League - for now. Bukauskas:
Anytime you get to be a part of a team that's this good, you kind of just do whatever you're told. So, I just hope to fit in any way I possibly can and try my best to have a good career and wherever they see fit for me is where I'll go and pitch my best.
*The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien provides background into a potential Julio Teheran trade. Essentially, they were ready to do it if they could have pulled off a trade for Sonny Gray or Chris Archer to replace him.
*Via Fresno's Paul Braverman we find that the Astros gave an unconditional release to Brian Holmes and Casey Coleman. Holmes was the Astros' 13th Round draft pick in the fabled 2012 draft. In 53.1IP for Fresno in 2017 Holmes allowed 73H/54ER, 46K:29BB for a 9.11 ERA/1.91 WHIP. Coleman signed earlier this year, throwing 64IP, 76H/48ER, 56K:32BB for a 6.75 ERA/1.69 WHIP.
Jacob Dorris and Andrew Thome have been promoted to Fresno from Corpus. Dorris had a 3.99 ERA with 47K:15BB in 38.1IP; Thome had a 3.09 ERA with 26K:15BB in 32IP.
*Baseball America's John Manuel writes that less deadline signing drama benefits everybody.
*Terry Francona had a heart procedure yesterday, which means your AL All-Star Manager is...Brad Mills.
*Vice: Inside the Amateur Baseball Industrial Complex
*Kenneth Silverman, who wrote Houdini!!! passed away.