Imagine being eight years old right now, born in 2010. You became really aware of the Astros when school got out last summer and watched them through the season. You went to 3rd Grade shortly before Hurricane Harvey hit and school was still closed when the Astros acquired Justin Verlander, your mom and/or dad telling you that it's a Very Big Deal. You didn't get to see his Astros debut at Seattle or his next start at Anaheim because they both started at 9pm, but you read that allowing one hit over 8IP is really good. Those afternoon playoff games that the adults were complaining about? They were perfect for you. It means you got to see Altuve hit three home runs in ALDS G1. You saw Bregman take Chris Sale deep. (Because your parents know what's up and picked you up at lunch so you could watch the games). You got to stay up late for ALCS G1 because it was a Friday, and then as soon as G2 was over you went out into the backyard to recreate Altuve's Mad Dash. You had missed too much school so you didn't have to see the Astros get shut down in Games 3-5 but, as Games 6 and 7 were on Friday and Saturday night, you watched the Astros win the Pennant. The World Series was a blur and, though you paid for it with a tardy on November 2, you remember jumping around and screaming with your family at 10:59pm on November 1. Now it's 2018 and all you expect when you wake up is an Astros win and another starting pitcher striking everybody out over the course of 7-8 innings. Don't worry about 2010-2016, kid. This is all worth it.
The Astros lived on the baselines last night, with balls down the lines finally bouncing on the right side of the chalk and leading to a 5-run 4th inning. Astros win 10-0 - their 3rd shutout of the season, and the second time they've put up 10+ runs. Hinch:
That was one of our best games, obviously, in all facets. We made some pretty good defensive plays, we swung the bats. We've been pitching like this almost the entire year. A really good night for us.
We feel good. We've been swinging the bat better. It was about time. We had a sluggish week last week...this is what we like to do, this is what we do as a team when we put great at-bats together.
Houston put up 25 runs from April 9-17 (3-5 in that span). They've scored 26 runs in their last three games.
*Derek Fisher was 1x4 with and struck out looking to end a bases-loaded threat in the 2nd.
Jake Marisnick singled in the 2nd inning on April 10. Fisher doubled in the 6th last night. In between, the Astros were 0x34 with 19K:3BB from the 9th position in the lineup. Walks were drawn by Stassi on April 14, Fisher and Marwin on April 11. That's a .000/.081/.000 slash line.
*George Springer was 2x5 with 4RBI. Since the beginning of the Texas series (eight games) Springer is hitting .344/.405/.719 with as many extra-base hits (6) as strikeouts. It's the 11th 4+ RBI game of his career.
*Carlos Correa hit two home runs, the 69th and 70th of his career, and his first home run since April 3. Of the four home runs he's hit in 2018, three of them have come with runners on base. It's the 7th 2HR game of his career - he had three 2HR games in 2017.
*I like April Brian McCann. He was 1x2 with 2BB last night, giving him eight out of 13 games in which he's gotten on base 2+ times.
*Verlander: 6IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:3BB. It's the first time Verlander walked three batters in a game as an Astro, post-season starts included. Tim Anderson broke up Verlander's no-hitter bid in the 5th and Verlander took exception to Anderson's subsequent actions. Verlander:
Stealing third in a 5-0 game with two guys on in an inning where I was clearly struggling - I walked a guy on four pitches and went 1-0 to the next guy - and I pick you off on an inside move after the way he had kind of been jubilant about some other things, I was just as jubilant about that.
*Joe Smith, Collin McHugh, and Ken Giles retired the final nine batters of the game.
*White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar passed out in the dugout after his appearance in the 6th inning and was taken to a hospital for tests.
*George Springer told the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan that there's not a World Series hangover. Hector Rondon also said the 2018 Astros are "way better" than the 2017 Cubs:
Not now because I'm here, but the way they play, the way they focus, the way they prepare, I think that's the difference between those guys and here. I think we're better than the other guys.
You can read an expanded interview with Rondon in The Athletic (subscription required). Also check out Our Boy Tyler Stafford telling us (before last night's game) to chill out with the worry about the Astros' offense.
*Yuli Gurriel on his brother Lourdes, who was called up to Toronto yesterday and went 2x5 with 3RBI:
I don't want to give him too much pressure, but he hits better than me, runs better than me, and plays better than me defensively.
*Fresno won 12-4 and their 12-4 start (how's that for symmetry) matches the best start through 16 games in Grizzlies history. Oh, and if you want a replica World Series ring it may be cheaper to fly to Fresno next weekend and just be one of the first 5000 fans.
*Corpus beat up on Frisco 11-3. Ryne Birk went 5x5 with 2RBI; Yordan Alvarez was 2x5 with two doubles, a walk, and 4RBI. Taylor Jones (3RBI) and Stephen Wrenn each had three hits and a walk.
*Quad Cities scored four runs in the top of the 9th at Burlington, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the 28-3 deficit they faced. Pitching lines:
Cesar Rosado: 0.2IP, 0H/4ER, 0K:3BB
Cole Watts: 1.1IP, 8H/6R (2ER), 4K:1BB
Carlos Hiraldo: 2IP, 2H/3R (0ER), 4K:2BB
Patrick Sandoval: 1.2IP, 10H/10ER, 0K:1BB
Carlos Sanabria: 1.1IP, 4H/5ER, 4K:1BB
Robert Corniel: 1IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:0BB
Robert Corniel is now the King of Quad Cities. Burlington got 17 singles, eight walks, four doubles, and three home runs in the win. Torii Hunter, Jr. was 1x6 with 4Ks.
*From the NY Times' Tyler Kepner: Meet the New Hampshire Fisher Cats' power trio Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio.
*Shoutout to Elsik Soccer for their 3-1 State Semifinal win over Irving. The Rams play for the State Championship at 6:30pm this evening.
*I have A Thing tonight and there will not be Hot Links in the morning.