*The Astros whooped the Tigers for the second straight game with a 9-1 win yesterday afternoon. They are 64-34. Houston's 8-run margin is the largest margin of victory since the 11-3 win over Kansas City on June 24. The Astros have held the Tigers to one run over 18 innings. AL Central teams have scored 75 runs in 25 games against the Astros. Eighteen of those runs were scored by Cleveland on May 26-27.
*Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer said the strike zone yesterday was "god awful."
*Gerrit Cole needed 107 pitches to get 17 outs, allowing 3H/1ER, 8K:4BB. Cole has allowed 3+ BB in six of his last eight starts. Yeah but he has 8+ strikeouts in 14 of his 20 starts this season. Cole has 45 swinging strikes - 77 non-contact strikes - in his last two starts. That's insane.
*Chris Devenski threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:0BB. It's his 2nd six-out 0H/0ER/0BB outing of the year.
*Cionel Perez got the 9th and needed 10 pitches to get three groundball outs in a perfect outing. I have a Very Good Feeling about Cionel Perez, which makes me a scout now. He has Plus Facial Hair - seriously, the willingness to trot out in front of 35,000 people with that facial hair shows he has huevos.
*The Astros held Detroit to three hits. It's the 7th time this season Houston pitchers have held their opponent to three or fewer hits. Houston is 26-7 when holding their opponent to five or fewer hits.
*George Springer was 2x4 with an RBI double. He back. Springer has been on base twice in a game in four of his last six games (7x24, 1K:2BB). The double was his first extra-base hit since June 26. Springer hasn't hit a home run since June 20. It's 20 starts and counting since his last home run - a new career-high.
*Josh Reddick was 2x4 with a double and a home run. It's his 4th multi-XBH game of the season, and his 2nd in July.
*Evan Gattis broke an 0x20 slump with his 19th home run of the year. He's one away from his fifth 20HR season of his six-year career. I'll never understand how he got eleven triples in 2015.
*The Astros hit three home runs, including their 5th back-to-back set of the season. It's the 11th 3+ HR game of the year. They're 9-2 in those games.
*Alex Bregman was 1x2 with 2BB. He has nine 2BB games on the year.
Alex Bregman games with at least one walk: 46
Alex Bregman games with zero walks: 49
*Tim Federowicz went 1x4. True story: The Astros are 5-0 when Tim Roger Federerowicz gets a hit.
*Mike F. Fiers and Francisco Liriano got their World Series rings prior to the game.
*Chalk this up in the "I Wish I Wrote This" section: Jay Jaffe on How Ken Giles Became a Minor-Leaguer.
*Charlie F. Morton: All-Star pitcher, All-Star human. Hinch, via Jake Kaplan:
[Morton] genuinely was concerned about who the other snubs were. 'Who didn't get in? What was happening with Collin McHugh?' The mechanics of how he became an All-Star and if that cost somebody a spot. The guy is tremendous at pitching, but he's a tremendous human.
CFM better never have to buy a drink in Houston and the surrounding areas for the rest of his life.
"For myself and my career, I can look back and say I was an All-Star," Morton said. pic.twitter.com/49ndr6x1kN— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 13, 2018
Three-fifths of the starting rotation is in the All-Star Game. The six All-Stars tie a franchise record, set last year. So, 12 All-Stars in two years. Houston had 13 All-Stars from 2008-2016.
2008: 2 - Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada
2009: 2 - Tejada, Hunter Pence
2010: 1 - Michael Bourn
2011: 1 - Pence
2012: 1 - Altuve
2013: 1 - Jason Castro
2014: 1 - Altuve
2015: 2 - Altuve, Keuchel
2016: 2 - Altuve, Will Harris
*Jose Altuve will bat 2nd in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and Hinch is doing his due diligence on which of his guys should play and when, though he did say that all first-time All-Stars (Bregman, CFM included) will absolutely play. In there we also find that there's no real timetable for Correa to go on a rehab assignment.
*Billy Beane told Tim Kawakami that Oakland is preparing to be buyers at the deadline.
*Go visit Terry Puhl Drive in Melville, Saskatchewan. It's about 60 degrees cooler there than it is here.
*Congratulations to Justin Verlander, who successfully knocked up Kate Upton.
*Abraham Toro made FanGraphs' Fringe Five.
*The Rockies beat the Mariners, so the Astros' lead is at a season-high five games. The Mariners are 58-38 with a -1 run differential.
*For the 12th time this season, official attendance at Minute Maid was 40,000+.
*The Futures Game is today, featuring Yordan Alvarez. The Athletic's Cliff Corcoran looks back at 20 years of Futures Game data to try to predict what it tells us.
*SI's Jon Tayler: Has Chase Utley done enough to warrant a plaque in Cooperstown? Then read Jay Jaffe's piece. I say yes.
From 2005-2014 - a ten-year peak - Chase Utley put up 57.8 fWAR, just 0.2 fWAR behind Albert Pujols for the best of any position player in baseball. It's 16.7 fWAR better than the 2nd-best 2B over that span, Robinson Cano. Even accounting for the last two and a half seasons, Utley is 6.8 fWAR better than Cano. There's a point at which you have to recognize the best of a generation of baseball, and Chase Utley is among the best Second Basemen to play the game in the last 15 years.
*1954's West Germany v. Hungary: The most important soccer game ever played.