Let's let Jake Kaplan start us off:
Astros' best records through 70 games of a season— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) June 15, 2018
*With the 2-1 Mariners loss to the Red Sox, the Astros are a half-game up on 44-25 Seattle, back in sole possession of 1st place for the first time since June 1. The Astros are 8-1 against Oakland in 2018, outscoring them 70-28. The Astros are 25-10 against AL West opponents. Hinch:
It happens fast when we're at our best. We can get after you and then we stay after you. We're not going to be perfect all the time, but when we are good like this and putting up runs, we're pretty tough.
*Hinch, on the Astros' road success:
Our success lately on the road is getting talked about, but we don't show up to a ballpark anywhere in the league we don't feel good about.
*The Astros have scored 5+ runs in seven of the eight games on this winning streak, and 7+ runs in five games.
*Brian McCann hit his 5th home run of the season, his first since May 20.
*Altuve, Correa, Reddick, Marwin, and Tony Kemp each had two hits.
*It was Josh Reddick's 9th 2+ hit game, and his second in the last three games. Since returning from the DL Reddick is hitting .269/.321/.269.
*Alex Bregman got the rare leadoff appearance, what with Springer getting the day off, and he went 0x4 with a walk. It was his first time hitting leadoff this season, and his third time in his career. He's 2x10 with a .200/.429/.400 line. He has a 25-game on-base streak, second-longest in the Majors (behind Shin-Soo Choo's 28 games)
*Justin Verlander threw 7IP, 5H/3ER, 7K:0BB. It was Verlander's second straight start with 3ER and his ERA is a miserable 1.61. All three runs came via the home run. He has allowed eight home runs in 2018, three of them in the last two games. Verlander's ERA by month:
It's nice to have your team hot, you just want to be the guy to keep it going. The run support is awesome. It's fun to be a part of keeping the rhythm and keeping the momentum on our side.
A's manager Bob Melvin:
For me, the psychology of a starting pitcher goes a long way. Granted, they have a great lineup, they do things across the board well. But their starting pitchers get your attention, and when they score runs early in the game, you tend to press a little bit and think you have to do too much right away. It does start with their starting pitchers, no doubt about it.
*Jake Kaplan: The resurgence of Evan Gattis gives the Astros one less thing to worry about at the deadline, which is now six weeks away. Also in The Athletic, Emily Waldon takes a look at four minor-league arms that are almost major-league ready.
*Brian T. Smith: The 2018 Astros are better than the 2017 Astros.
*Here's a three-minute video on whether the Astros are the team to beat in the AL. And here's one with Jonah Keri on the Astros' achilles heel.
*Apparently the Yankees hold the Vegas edge on winning the World Series.
*That's it. I gotta go.