*MLB.com's David Adler writes that Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are dominating because of their four-seam fastballs, and how the Astros are having them throw them. Verlander:
Just because you throw hard doesn't mean you have our profile. [Cole] is somebody who has good four-seam hop, and that plays well. You can't lump everybody in and say, 'Oh, OK, you throw hard, you should throw fastballs at the top of the zone.' It doesn't work like that. But [the Astros] identified him very similarly to what they did with me - like, 'You're basically doing guys favors trying to throw them two-seamers at the bottom of the zone.
*Brian McTaggart says the most pressing question for the Astros is whether or not the rotation can keep up this workload. The Astros' rotation has recorded 18 outs in nine straight games, and in 61 games overall this season. I'm not going to compare that to the rest of the division, or league, because I don't have that much time. But that's, uh, that's a lot. Houston's bullpen has thrown 208.1IP in 2018, ranking 2nd-fewest in MLB (Cleveland's bullpen has thrown 196IP, but has also played three fewer games than the Astros). AL West bullpen innings:
Upper Oak Cliff: 262.2
*To that point, here's an AP story explaining how the Royals are hoping to "expose the Astros vulnerable bullpen." ... ?
*Jake Kaplan in The Athletic: The time Charlie Morton moonlighted as a wedding singer.
*Brian T. Smith writes that Luhnow has managed to balance the present with the future.
*Check MK Bower in Forbes on Luhnow's commitment to sustained success.
*Tim Kurkjian went on a San Diego radio station to say that the Padres should be expecting calls from Houston and Cleveland about lefty reliever Brad Hand.
*Down in Fresno, where Frankie Tuesday hasn't pitched since April 29, there's an update from Chandler Rome in which we find that Martes' elbow has him shut down likely until late July or August.
Next APB is for J.B. Bukauskas.
Off-Day Playoff Odds Check
FanGraphs (105-57): Win Division: 98.5%; Make Playoffs: 99.9%; Win World Series: 25.4%
FiveThirtyEight (106-56): Win Division: 92%; Make Playoffs: 99%; Win World Series: 26%
Baseball Prospectus (102-60): Win Division: 95.5%; Make Playoffs: 99%; Win World Series: 16.9%
*Congratulations to the now-engaged Josh Reddick. Sorry, ladies (or guys, whatever, live your truth), that American flag Speedo is now taken.
*Fresno straight shut down Albuquerque with an 8-0 win last night. Cy Sneed threw his first CGSHO, 9IP, 2H/0ER, 11K:2BB. Kyle Tucker was 3x5 with 2RBI and his 10th home run of the season.
*Congratulations to Corpus' Randy Cesar, who set the Texas League record last night with a hit in 38 straight games.
*And if you missed getting a ring on Wednesday night, go down to Corpus on Sunday and get one there.
*Listen to My Buddy Patrick's debut radio gig with The Shift on 610.
I just need to tweet this so it’s saved somewhere forever. 🤷🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/ojTY5LSzbX— 🅗🅔🅐🅣🅗🅔🅡 (@crushcitylove) June 21, 2018