*I'll be at the Rockies/Marlins (thanks, Baseball Gods) game on Saturday. I guess I shouldn't be snarky about having to watch the morally-bankrupt trash can of an organization Marlins in order to cross Coors Field off my list - there are only, like, three good NL teams, so my chances weren't that high. I'm going to catch Charlie Blackmon in a bear trap and shave him bald.
*The Houston Astros did the Good Thing against the Rays last night, winning 5-1 on the back of some back to back to back power and solid pitching. Houston is 50-26. They are now apparently 1-15 at home. Not a typo. The Astros have a three-game lead for the first time since May 25. They're 14-4 in June. They're the first team to 50 wins.
The Astros are the 5th reigning World Series champion in the divisional era (since 1969) to be the 1st team to 50 wins. None of the previous 4 repeated as champs (via @EliasSports)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 21, 2018
*When the 2017 Astros won their 50th game - in Game 74 - they had a 12.5-game lead. By that point 14 pitchers had recorded a win: Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski, Joe Musgrove, Will Harris, Charlie Morton, Michael Feliz, Luke Gregerson, James Hoyt, Ken Giles, Mike Fiers, Francis Martes, and David Paulino. The 2018 Astros have had 12 pitchers record a win.
*Charlie F. Morton threw 6IP, 2H/1R (0ER), 4K:4BB. It's Morton's 11th Quality Start in 15 outings.
That said, it's Morton's third straight start of 4+ BB. His last three starts: 15.2IP, 7H/6R (4ER), 17K:14BB. Morton:
Usually, if I get ahead quick, I get a little tempo going and I'm aggressive in the zone, and things usually work out. But I make a bad pitch or two, and then I lose the batter. I try to get back into my timing and delivery, and repeating my delivery. That's been a struggle for a few starts now.
*Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski, and Ken Giles combined for 3IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB. Giles allowed a hit and a walk in the 9th.
*The Astros hit four home runs and enjoyed back-to-back-to-back jacks (Springer-Bregman-Altuve) in the 6th inning. It's their 3rd 4HR game of the year. They're 8-2 when they hit 3+ home runs. It's the first time Houston has hit three consecutive home runs since Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee did it on May 2, 2008. Bregman:
It was awesome to get the place rocking. Springer, big swing, gets us going, and then we kind of just fed off George right there, Jose and I. Pretty cool when that happens. I've never been a part of something like that before. It was fun.
*Every Astro in the lineup had at least one hit. Altuve was 3x4 with two solo home runs and 2RBI - his 10th 3+ hit game of the year and the fourth multi-homer game (third regular season game) of his career. He last hit 2+ home runs in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox, and the Astros would go on to win the World Series. His last 2HR regular season game was July 24, 2016. Altuve's 2nd home run was 112.3mph off the bat, the hardest ball he's hit in the Statcast Era.
Altuve, on coming back after a day off:
It felt good. It's always good to sit down and think about how you feel. And I came back strong today.
The world would be a better place if we all just got the day off, sat down, and thought about how we feel.
The way the game was going, you start thinking about manufacturing runs, you start thinking about how you're going to pull out a close win. It felt like the game was going to be kind of a make-or-break type of game on who could come up with the big hit. In a span of a few pitches...what energy got put back into the building, and also our team.
*Josh Reddick has a hit in eight of his nine starts since returning from the DL.
*Tony Kemp got himself an RBI single in the 7th last night (in which he was thrown out trying to get to second). Kemp has 26 hits in 2018 - seven of them for extra-bases - in 97 PAs. Jake Marisnick has 23 hits - nine for extra-bases - in 136 PAs.
*Proceeds from the Hugs For Homers shirt will go to the Astros Youth Academy. Here's Chandler Rome on the Hugs For Homers thing.
*The Ringer's Zach Kram: Oh yeah, the Astros have the best lineup in baseball, too.
*Jeff Luhnow says the Nationals' acquisition of Kelvin Herrera "doesn't affect" the Astros. Luhnow:
What we're going to look at is 'Who are we likely to face in the postseason? Who are the hitters, and do we have the pitchers who match up well with those hitters? And who are the pitchers and do we have the right lineup to match up against those pitchers?' If we think there is an opportunity to improve either of those by acquiring a player from another team that's available, we're going to have to look at it.
So I guess Luhnow isn't going to invoke Prima Nocta and take Mike Trout from the Angels before the deadline.
*Craig Hlavaty wrote about doing The Wave, and ya boy is quoted. (Don't do The Wave).
*Randy Cesar tied the Texas League, which has been around for oh only 130 years, record with a hit in his 37th consecutive game. The last 37-game hit streak in the Texas League was back in 1969. Manager Omar Lopez:
This is a big day for him and I'm happy for him. Because it's not easy. It seems like it could be easy but it's not. And he's been having a tremendous year, and hopefully he can carry out the rest of the season like that.
The Hooks just went 7-0 on a road trip.
*Seth Beer went 2x5 and Tri-City put up a 7-spot in the 3rd inning for an 11-5 win over Aberdeen. Brady Rodgers made his debut rehab start as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He threw 37 pitches in 2IP, 3H/4ER, 3K:1BB.
*6th Round pick R.J. Freure signed for just over $111,000 over the slot. Updated draft financials are here.
*Read this Jesse Spector piece on what it's like to get DFA'd.
*New York scored the final five runs of the game, including two in the bottom of the 9th, to walk it off against Seattle. The Mariners are three games back, 18 games over .500 with a +15 run differential.
*A rabid bobcat attacked a woman, who strangled it to death, quietly, so as not to wake up her granddaughter. Be the boss you want to see in the world.