*It was Justin Verlander's 400th career start, and he threw 6.2IP, 6H/1ER, 10K:1BB, and allowed a 2nd inning C.J. Cron home run. It was Verlander's first 10+ K game since May 1. Verlander has now thrown 14 straight Quality Starts and has three starts of double-digit strikeouts with one or zero walks.
*Verlander's 122 pitches were the most in a regular season game since 2014.
*The Astros are 10-6 in Verlander's starts. In those six losses Houston has scored a total of seven runs.
*Run Support, Astros' rotation, 2018:
Cole: 6.22 runs/game
*Houston pitchers have double-digit strikeouts in 44 of their 75 games (58.7%). The 2017 Astros got 10+ Ks in 84 of their 162 regular season games (51.9%).
#Rays manager Kevin Cash on #Astros manager AJ Hinch giving Jose Altuve the night off: “Thank God.” #TBRvsHOU— MoiseKapenda Bower (@moisekapenda) June 19, 2018
*Rays starter Blake Snell allowed just three hits, but walked seven batters. The Astros were 1x6 w/RISP. It was the 6th time this season the Astros drew seven walks in a game. Somehow they're 3-3 in those games. Hinch:
Snell's nasty. Look at the league and look at the numbers, the entire league is having a hard time hitting him when he's in the strike zone.
*The Astros had the bases loaded in the first with one out and did not score. Carlos Gomez - proving that a broken clock is right twice a day - threw out George Springer trying to score from 3B on Evan Gattis' flyout.
-Houston had runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs in the 6th, and did not score. And had runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs in the 9th, and did not score.
*After homering in eleven straight games, the Astros have now gone back-to-back games without a home run for the first time since May 14-15. Houston is 10-12 in games when they don't hit a home run.
*Alex Bregman was 1x2 with 2BB. He was 40K:44BB on the season. George Springer led the 2017 Astros with 64 walks. The last Astro to have more walks than strikeouts in a season was Carlos Lee who, in 66 games (276 PAs) in 2012, drew 19 walks and struck out 17 times. The last player to do it with over 300 PAs in a season was Jeff Keppinger, who posted a 36K:51BB ratio in 575 PAs in 2010.
The Athletic's Eno Sarris: Bregman is on the cusp of stardom. Lots of good, hard math in this one to back it up.
*Carlos Correa was 0x3 with 2K:1BB.
Correa, Away, 2018: .328/.401/.552
Correa, Home, 2018: .203/.299/.424
*Marwin Gonzalez was ejected in the 4th inning after striking out on three pitches. AP:
Gonzalez argued with home plate umpire Pat Hoberg before throwing his bat and helmet and being tossed. He kept barking at Hoberg after the ejection and continued yelling at him until third base coach Gary Pettis pulled him away and pushed him toward the dugout.
Tony Kemp replaced Marwin in LF an Altuve pinch-hit for Kemp in the 9th inning.
*Beyond the Box Score's Patrick Brennan: The 2018 Astros might be the best team in the history of modern baseball.
*A.J. Hinch isn't getting caught up in all this "history" talk:
It's nice when you put things in perspective over time, and we'll recognize what a championship was like last year or what some of these streaks are like this year or what a rotation we have. I don't want to rush to judge history until I'm old and realize exactly what it means.
*Get this Hugs For Homers shirt and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Astros Youth Foundation.
*Carlos Gomez was 0x3 with a strikeout (and two outfield assists) to drop his season slash line to .190/.265/.333. Of 81 MLB outfielders with a minimum of 200 plate appearances, Carlos Gomez's -0.6 fWAR ranks 80th. From 2016-2018, Gomez has hit .231/.307/.402 for a 90 OPS+.
*Joe Smith is working his way back from elbow discomfort and is on track to rejoin the team for the next homestand. Smith:
If I feel good tomorrow, we'll walk in and play catch again and keep on going. Hopefully I can join this group because they're rolling right now and it seems like a lot of fun.
*If you've ever wanted to see Dallas Keuchel naked, here's your chance. Those Free Agent dollars aren't going to make themselves.
*SI.com's Jon Tayler: The Astros are the best team in baseball. Tayler:
Is there a weak spot anywhere on the Astros? If there is, it's pretty easily papered over by the superstars who are performing so far above average that they mask the deficiencies of those struggling. That's bad news for everybody else in the AL, particularly the Mariners, who trail Houston by two games in the West despite going 29-15 since the start of May.
*Jose Altuve is still currently projected to be the only Astros position player starting for the AL All-Star Team. Here's where the Astros stand, relative to the position leader:
*Watch this episode of Jayson Stark's Baseball Stories, featuring Jeff Luhnow.
*Check out this Mike Feinsand podcast with Astros Senior Director of Baseball Operations Brandon Taubman.
*Speaking of podcasts, check out this Alex Bregman spot with Friend of Astros County Mike Oz.
*Kyle Tucker was 3x4 with a walk in a 5-3 Fresno win over Round Rock that completed a four-game sweep. Tucker has a 9-game hitting streak in which he's 19x39 with 5K:4BB. Brock Dykxhoorn threw 7IP, 4H/2ER, 8K:0BB. Fresno outscored Round Rock - the Rangers' temporary Triple-A affiliate - 26-8 in the four-game set. Fresno is 44-27, 6.5 games up in the Pacific Northern Division, while Round Rock is 30-41, 12.5 games back of Memphis in the American Southern Division.
*Corpus beat San Antonio 9-6 last night and Randy Cesar's 9th inning infield single extended his hitting streak to 36 games. Yordan Alvarez, since returning from the DL: 7x15, 2HR, 8RBI.
*Bob Nightengale has an in-depth piece on the Royals' decision to trade star closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals in the middle of June. Not gonna lie: I wanted Kelvin Herrera in Houston.
*Giants reliever Hunter Strickland blew a save Monday night. Then he punched a door. And broke his hand. And now he's out for 6-8 weeks.
*New Yorker: Looking for life on a Flat Earth.
Round 18 of chemo: $15,000— Daniel Begnaud (@DanBeg1) June 19, 2018
Ticket to game: $25
Dollar Dog: $1
Seeing the defending champ @astros while beating cancer: Priceless. pic.twitter.com/l4uY7fBm9N