*Approximately three minutes after I fell asleep the Astros got a two-run home run from Cameron Maybin to give Justin Verlander his first W as an Astro (the first of about 40 wins as an Astro, methinks) and beat the Mariners 3-1. The Astros are 85-53. The win eclipsed the Astros' 2016 win total, one shy of their 2015 win total. The Angels and the Indians won their 13th game in a row because the Indians can't lose. Lead on the division is still 13.5 games, and three games on Cleveland. There are 24 games remaining.
We continue to add to the script that anybody on this team can really do something special for us.
*Justin Verlander threw 6IP, 6H/1ER, 7K:1BB - his 10th straight start of 6+ innings.
I think the only thing I can compare it to is Opening Day kind of nerves: The unknown. Don't really want to let everyone down. New team. But these guys have made the process pretty easy on me so far fitting in and making me feel right at home as quickly as possible.
*Verlander knew that his final pitch to Haniger would be his last of the night. The result? A 99mph fastball.
I was really hoping to hit 100 there. Didn't quite get it. Honestly, just a good kind of ending to the night and to have Cam step up that next inning and hit a huge home run and for the bullpen to come in and shut it down, this is how you win tight ballgames. We had been no-hit to that point and we were still able to win this game. These are the types of games you can see in the playoffs. We scored a run without a hit. Those are the type of things that matter.
*ESPN's David Schoenfield says Verlander is just what the Astros needed and crowned him G1 ALDS starter. I hope you don't mind but I'm not going to link to every article about Verlander's fiancee.
*Joe Musgrove threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB and opponents are hitting .176/.239/.259 against him since he transitioned to the bullpen.
*Ken Giles struck out the side last night for the second night in a row. Seattle has sent six batters to face Giles this series, and all six have walked back to the dugout shaking their damn heads. He hasn't allowed a run since August 10 - a span of 10 appearances. Since the All-Star Break, Giles: 22.1IP, 10H/2ER, 36K:5BB. Ridiculous.
*Carlos Correa and Cameron Maybin had the only hits, with Maybin's 7th inning two-run home run providing the margin of victory.
*The last time the Astros won a game while getting two (or fewer, I guess) hits: May 1, 2016 at Oakland. They drew 7+ walks for the 8th time of the season and are 6-2 in those games.
*Carlos Beltran - whose time in the outfield is almost certainly at a close - is over the moon about Verlander:
I faced him many, many times and he's one of the toughest pitchers in the game. He challenges hitters. He's a veteran guy, a veteran presence in the clubhouse with a lot of younger guys here. He's a leader. He works hard and based off what I have heard from other players that have called about him, it's all positive. I think the franchise should be excited to add a guy like that and we are excited.
In his career, Beltran was 1x16 with 5K:0BB against Verlander. His .125 OPS against Verlander is the lowest against any pitcher Beltran faced more than 15 times.
*Click here to read the details about Friday-Saturday's Lima Time Time Bozoathon for Harvey Relief.
*Lance McCullers makes his first start since July tonight at 9:10pm. McCullers:
You know as a pitcher there are certain things you need to work on to be the guy you want to be, to be the guy I was when I was a first-half All-Star...I know what I have to do to be that, and that's what I'm going to be working on. I'm not going to say what it is, because then the other team will be looking for it. But there are things I will be consciously working on, and I expect myself to be very good for this club.
*Evan Gattis will get a rehab start for G1 of Quad Cities' best-of-three playoff series tonight. Michael Feliz will pitch the first inning.
*As Hurricane Irma barrels towards Puerto Rico, Carlos Correa and other MLBers are thinking about their families and homes.
*It's paywalled, but Ken Rosenthal wrote about the Astros/Luhnow's place in the ongoing Scouts v. Data argument.
*ESPN's Dave Fleming wrote about the Astros monumental two-day/three-game home series against the Mets.
*The Washington Post's Neil Greenberg makes the case for the 2017 Astros offense going alongside Murderers' Row.
*Mike Lupica writes that there's nothing better than MLB's regular season.
*For all the crap I give Peter Gammons, he really is an excellent writer and he has a wonderful opening in his latest blog post that intertwines the Matisse Chapel, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, George Springer and the 2017 Astros.
*Former Astros Great Dennis Sarfate set the Japanese saves record.
*Straight up bombshell in the New York Times yesterday as they published a detailed report accusing the Red Sox of using an Apple Watch to steal signs against the Yankees. Michael Schmidt:
The Yankees, who had long been suspicious of the Red Sox' stealing catchers' signs in Fenway Park, contended the video showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout. The trainer then relayed a message to other players in the dugout, who, in turn, would signal teammates on the field about the type of pitch that was about to be thrown, according to people familiar with the case.