*Justin Verlander held the Angels scoreless over 8IP and the Astros won 1-0. Of course, the Indians won, running their win streak to 20 games. Houston is 87-57, remain 1.5 games back of the Indians for the best overall record in the AL, but are 14 games up on the Angels with 18 games left. Astros Magic Number is five.
*The 87 wins for Houston is the highest since 2005's 89-win season and moves them into a tie for 9th place on the franchise wins mark. They will need to go 16-2 to break the 1998 team's wins record.
*The Astros won their second 1-0 game of the season, and have shutout their opponent eight times in 2017.
*After having lost the opening game of the Oakland series 9-8, the Astros have scored eight runs in the four games since. OR you could say they've won eight of their last 12 games.
*Brandon Phillips, who has apparently not yet retired, got a leadoff double against Verlander. Verlander retired 24 of the next 25 batters he faced. Verlander:
On a night when we really needed it after a tough series and an off day to reset, those are the kind of things that make you feel really good. I got in a rhythm, was able to have a couple of quick innings and just go from there.
He was in complete control of the game.
*Verlander's two starts for Houston: 14IP, 7H/1ER, 16K:2BB. Eleven of his 12 starts since the All-Star Break have been Quality Starts. Last night's 88 Game Score (per ESPN) was Verlander's highest since he threw 9IP, 1H/0ER, 9K:2BB against the Angels on August 26, 2015.
*Ken Giles got his 30th save of the season, the most since Luke Gregerson saved 31 games in 2015. He's the second Astros reliever with 30+ saves in a season since the beginning of the 2009 season.
*Carlos Beltran was 0x3 and is hitting .240/.288/.363 with 31K:10BB since the All-Star Break. He's 6x49 against Anaheim this season, hitting .122/.122/.265.
*Francisco Liriano has faced eight batters in September. Three have reached base.
*Today in "You Gotta Be Kidding Me," and also in "Trading For Verlander Was A Really Good Idea," Lance McCullers - who has made one start since July 30 - has been scratched from tonight's start after reporting arm fatigue while playing catch in the outfield. McCullers said he could have pitched tonight, and said it's similar to how he feels during Spring Training:
Yeah, I didn't bounce back as good as we were hoping the last outing, but I tossed today and said I was good to go and what not. It wasn't my call. It was over my head. That's the decision that was made.
Mike Fiers will start tonight instead.
*Collin McHugh played catch yesterday.
*The Astros will get into Houston at 7:15am on Friday then play the Mariners that Friday night and at noon on Saturday.
*Because this season is already over (spoiler: the Indians won their final 49 games of the season to win the 2017 World Series), the 2018 schedule was released. Notable:
-The Astros open the season on March 29 - the earliest Opening Day in baseball history - at Arlington, but will not play them in the regular season after July 29, which seems silly.
-Home opener is Monday, April 2 against Baltimore at 7:10pm.
-The Astros are on the road for Memorial Day and July 4th, but are home on Labor Day.
-Interleague play will feature the NL West.
-Regular season play ends on Sunday, September 30 at Baltimore.
*April 17, 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the A's first game in Oakland, and that game is free to all fans.
*Shohei Otani will likely play in MLB next season, and the Astros (as well as ten other teams) have virtually no chance at signing him.
*Inside the FBI's quest to take down a Mexican drug cartel's American horse-racing empire.
*Over the next few days I'll be converting the individual segments from the Bozoathon into downloadable podcasts. First up: Lana Berry.