I got to listen to the second half of the game as I came home last night and I still don't really want to know how the Rays scored five runs off Justin Verlander. Short links this morning as I somehow said I'd teach Sunday School 12 hours after getting back from vacation.
But before we get into the game, let's consider a few things about Tampa:
1. At 41-41, they're one of four non-AL West teams at or above .500
2. They're 8-2 in their last ten, 13-7 in their last 20.
3. The Rays' 2.9 pitcher fWAR in June is the 9th-best in MLB, 7th in the AL. Their bullpen had a 1.5 fWAR in June, 5th-highest in MLB.
4. Since losing a series to Houston June 18-20, the Rays have swept the Yankees, taken both games of a short series with the Nationals, and now have won two out of three against the Astros. They're on a tear.
*The Astros have lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 2-5.
*Chandler Rome: Soft contact, Wilson Ramos, and Tropicana Field.
*Brian McTaggart notes that the Astros have had trouble scoring at Tropicana Field. Since 2015 Houston has scored a grand total of 39 runs in 15 games (and that includes the series with the Rangers where they didn't want to inconvenience their season ticket holders). Hinch:
I hate the results of this ballpark, if you look back at what we've done. Those are facts. It is what it is. We have another game tomorrow and we need to figure it out.
It's easy to imagine that the Astros get distracted by the natural beauty and stunning scenery afforded by Tropicana Field.
*Bregman's 30 RBIs in June tie Evan Gattis for the most in MLB, and a club record for RBIs in a month.
*Add George Springer to your uh-oh list: Springer did something to his back diving for a catch and is day-to-day.
*Brad Peacock rebounded in June after a tough May.
*Jenny Dial Creech: Collin McHugh is flourishing in the bullpen.
*Jake Kaplan projects Cionel Perez at the Major-League level.
*The Astros are interested in Reds' reliever Raisel Iglesias, according to Nick Cafardo.
*J.B. Bukauskas pitched 1.2IP on Friday, his first outing since April 24. He allowed 5H/2ER, 2K:0BB for the GCL Astros.
*Rolling Stone: Lucinda Williams' "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" turned 20 yesterday.