Shorter Hot Links are in effect until I figure out this new morning routine where I have to get my daughter ready for school.
*24 hours after Josh Reddick said they were just tired of waiting for the bats to wake up, they got put back to sleep by Patrick Corbin, who held this offense to four hits (two from Marisnick). Astros lost 4-0. They are 74-47, 12 games up on the Angels / 4.5 up on the Red Sox. There are 41 games remaining.
*Corbin almost CGSHO'd the Astros (8.2IP), who required just 112 pitches to get their 27 outs. Alex Bregman saw eight pitches in four plate appearances.
*But everyone was mad about the umpires - particularly home plate umpire Paul Nauert - in his interpretation of the strike zone, particularly in Archie Bradley's pitches to Marwin in the last out of the game. Full disclosure: I didn't see it. I was at work. Click the link to see the three called strikes. Hinch:
I know we're not supposed to talk about the umpires, but, honestly, today, to have the 27th out be taken away...it ain't fair...I'm tired of our guys getting taken to task for knowing the strike zone. That's not the reason we lost today. That's not the reason that we've had a tough week, but it's garbage when you start getting at-bats taken away from you.
All I can say is I should not be the one talking about where the pitch was. Everyone saw where it was. In any case, it should be the guy behind the plate answering that question.
I think it was one-sided; it was tough. We felt like we didn't get the pitches we should've got. And the same way at the plate. It's tough when the zone is that big for them and it shrinks for your guys.
This, to me, sounds like an awful lot of frustration at one at-bat that is the culmination of a pretty rough two-week stretch. Like bursting into tears and punching inanimate objects when you run out of toothpaste, or see that your shoes are untied. It's not so much the toothpaste or the shoes as it is the final straw of frustration that makes you break your hand by punching your front door. The Astros have played 26 games in 28 days.
If I see myself playing, I haven't been so good in the last five days. Even during the game, I was thinking about going home tonight and [thinking] about it.
*Congratulations to Max Stassi, who broke a streak of 29 straight stolen bases against Astros catchers, when he threw out A.J. Pollock.
*There was some weirdness about Hinch and McCullers when they were asked about McCullers' next step in his now two-week DL stint for back soreness.
*Colin Moran could return in September.
*Jeff Passan: Trade talks with Detroit for Verlander are at a standstill.
*Jon Heyman writes that the Astros never made a single offer for Jose Quintana, and weren't very serious about Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish.
*Forrest Whitley made his Double-A debut last night, and it was okay, if you're into that sort of thing: 6IP, 2H/0ER, 11K:0BB. He threw 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes. Corpus lost 2-1 on an 8th inning error. A "reliable exec" told Peter Gammons that Whitley is the "best pitching prospect anywhere."
*The Astros did a cool thing for 9-year old Cameron Gooch.
*Jake Marisnick explained the "Big Fudge" nickname.
*Sam Miller: How an epic trick play broke baseball.