The Astros beat Bud Norris and the Angels yesterday handily, 6-2, giving the Astros their 95th win of the season. The Indians handled the Mariners, of course, so the Astros remain 1.5 games back of Cleveland with eight games to play (Cleveland has seven games remaining and the tie-breaker).
*The Astros are 19-11, tied for 2nd-best in the AL, in their last 30 games. Cleveland is 28-2. Houston's next win will tie them with the 1986 Astros for 3rd in franchise history. They need to go 7-1 to tie the 1998 team, but 3-5 will put them in 2nd.
*Houston's current 19-game lead is the largest division lead in franchise history.
*Houston is 15-6 in September, four better than August, and tying July's number of wins (15-9).
*The 2017 Astros have used 27 different pitchers this season, 2nd-most in franchise history and one behind the 2014 team for most pitchers used in a single season. This would make a good Sporcle.
*Astros vs AL West teams, 2017:
*Charlie Morton - who apparently has a cold - needed 81 pitches to get through 7IP, 4H/1ER, 5K:1BB. Both Angels runs came on solo shots by Justin Upton against Morton and Will Harris. Morton's outing gives Hinch a nice problem to have: what role will he play in October? Hinch, on Morton's use going forward:
He's had a very good season. The discussion underway is, 'What's the best use of him?' He could very much make a start in the playoffs. He could be an effective weapon out of the bullpen if we go that route. He's an effective pitcher against both righties and lefties, his velocity has held for six straight months, and he's found a way to keep his mechanics in order and keep quality strikes coming.
I have no idea. I'd like the ball whenever. Put me in whenever.
*Mike Trout vs Houston, 2017: 9x44, .205/.340/.318. That .658 OPS is the lowest against teams in which he has more than 11 ABs. /jinxed
*The offensive damage came from the top-half of the order: 1-4 in the lineup (Bregman, Marwin, Correa, Gattis) went a combined 8x14 with three extra-base hits and 6RBI. Correa and Gattis - who hit a 3-run home run - had 3RBI each. 5-9 in the lineup was 0x17.
*The Astros won a game in which Altuve, Springer, and Reddick did not play.
*Four of the Astros' runs came with two outs. Gattis:
Any time you can extend the inning, you're never out until you are. (Pause to consider this over a pipe of tobacco). It was a great game, and it was a fun game to catch. We're just rolling.
Astros runs, 0 outs: 231
Astros runs, 1 out: 262
Astros runs, 2 outs: 339
*Carlos Correa has a message for the people of Puerto Rico.
*The Astros will play the season series finale against Anaheim tonight on Sunday Night Baseball.
*Leeds United 3-2 Ipswich