*The Astros game was weird. I found a place that was showing the game so I got to see the middle innings. Definitely did not see The Pride of Rosenberg Randal Grichuk pull back a George Springer game-tying home run. Or Jose Altuve get caught looking to end the game. The Astros are 52-28, 3.5 games up. They're 16-10 in series opening games.
Holy crap Randal Grichuk pic.twitter.com/YQVgL7zTvt— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) June 26, 2018
*Hinch, on Grichuk's pullback (after he hit a home run in the top of the 8th):
Baseball can be pretty cruel. That's a tough one. Right off the bat, I thought George got one. It carried and carried and carried and looked like he had to go pretty deep into the stands to get it.
That sucks. There's really not anything else to say about it. It's tough. It is what it is. They win.
*Toronto's starting pitcher and Former Astros Great J.A. Happ threw 6IP, 7H/3ER, 4K:2BB. In nine career starts against Houston, Happ is 5-2 with a 3.46 ERA / 1.42 WHIP.
*George Springer was 0x5 - his second 0x5 in three games - and is in an 0x16 stretch, though he has drawn four walks. Springer is hitting .220/.354/.402 in June, with 17K:16BB.
*6-9 in the lineup (Gattis, Marwin, Stassi, Marisnick) went a combined 1x13.
*Hunter Atkins is not here for it:
The answer is 63. 63 times in 142 Plate Appearances we have seen Marisnick strike out. George Springer has struck out 64 times...in 353 Plate Appearances.Jake Marisnick strikes out, flicks his bat and swats it down to the dirt, then throws down his helmet and begins a lonely walk to the field. How many times have we seen this? How many MORE times we will see it? OF Kyle Tucker is 28 for his last 57 in AAA Fresno.— Hunter Atkins (@HunterAtkins35) June 26, 2018
*Stacheless Alex Bregman hit his 12th home run of the year.
*Justin Verlander threw 6.2IP, 7H/4ER, 6K:2BB and allowed two home runs for the third time this season. After allowing five home runs in his first 13 starts (87.1IP), Verlander has allowed six home runs in his last four starts (26.1IP). Last night's game was the first time in 28 starts for the Astros, postseason included, in which he gave up 4ER.
Hunter Atkins writes about how Verlander had to pitch without his curve.
Both of Verlander's home runs came against former teammate Curtis Granderson. He joins an illustrious list of now-seven hitters to take Verlander deep twice in the same game: Nick Swisher, Carlos Quentin, Shelley Duncan, Pablo Sandoval (2012 World Series Game 1) Desmond Jennings, and J.J. Hardy.
*Will Harris allowed 1H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 1.1IP on Randal Grichuk's two-run home run in the 8th. Harris, June: 8.2IP, 10H/6ER, 16K:2BB, 6.23 ERA / 1.38 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .294 off him in June.
*Hinch, on the increased use of the bullpen:
We'll have to adapt to a guy not being (available) for a day or two. They've been asked to do a lot lately, but it's ok. There was a portion of the season where they weren't asked to do a lot because the rotation was taking up all the innings. It's flipped a little bit, but we'll be fine.
*All six of Toronto's runs came with two outs in the inning.
*Jake Kaplan in The Athletic: Will the Astros regret trading away Teoscar Hernandez? Luhnow:
Any time a player goes off and has success you feel happy for them, but you wonder what could have happened if they had stayed...We always knew he had the potential to be an everyday player. He wasn't going to get that chance here any time soon, and we really felt like adding a left-handed pitcher with good stuff would help us immediately and it was a worthwhile tradeoff.
*Mark July 11 down on your calendar. It's a Wednesday game against Oakland but is also another replica ring giveaway. There will probably be one in August, as well, so pick a random midweek game that would otherwise draw 17,000 fans and that's probably gonna be the one. I'll pick Tuesday or Wednesday, August 14 or 15 against Colorado.
*Kyle Tucker was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week after hitting .577/.607/.769. Cy Sneed was the PCL Pitcher of the Week.
*Craig Biggio made his MLB debut 30 years ago today. He went 0x2 with a walk, stolen base, and run scored in a 6-0 Houston win over San Francisco. The Astros were 1417-1295 when Biggio started.
*There's an SI story that they're tweeting out every 20 minutes about how the Red Sox are now J.D. Martinez's team. So it seems appropriate to point out that:
Martinez, Houston, 2011-2013: .251/.300/.387. Hit a home run every 40.63 plate appearances.
Martinez, DET/ARI/BOS, 2014-: .303/.366/.582. Home run every 16.32 plate appearances.
*Kirk Gibson is opening a batting cage in Johnson City, Texas.
*FanGraphs: The AL Central is historically bad.
*The Athletic: An oral history of how James Harden grew the beard.
*Bleacher Report: Ken Griffey, Jr., A-Rod, and the Greatest Home Run Hitting Team in MLB History.
*This story is nuts. From OregonLive.com, the quest to stop the next school shooter and its unintended consequences.
*Wired: Twitter users are analytical in the morning and full of ANGST at night. Premise holds up.
*Russia declassified a 75-year old case against four Russian soccer legends accused of plotting to assassinate Joseph Stalin.