*The Astros lost 2-0 to James F. Paxton. It's their 5th loss in a row, breaking the 2018 season-high record for consecutive losses, set on Sunday, and tied the day before. The Astros are officially in a slump. They're 67-41, three games up on the Mariners.
*Evan Gattis had a three-run homer wrap just foul, pretty indicative of the last week and a half of Astros baseball.
*James Paxton threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:0BB...and did it in just 82 pitches. He improves to 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA / 1.06 WHIP in his career against Houston. Astros players have hit three home runs off of him in 66 innings. George Springer hit all three, two of those led off the game.
*Ryan Pressly bounced back, getting four outs in 14 pitches.
*Gerrit Cole threw 6.2IP, 4H/2ER, 8K:2BB. He has thrown 6+ IP and recorded two or fewer earned runs in 13 of his 22 starts. It's his 16th start of 8+ strikeouts.
*Gerrit Cole is 10-3. Cole, when taking the L: 19.2IP, 13H/5ER, 21K:7BB. The Astros have scored two runs when Cole's decision is a Loss.
*It's the 19th time Houston pitchers have held their opponents to four or fewer hits. They're now 16-3. In the three losses - two to Anaheim, one to Seattle - Houston scored a combined one run.
*Since the All-Star Break, Houston is 3-6 and hitting .190/.277/.325. They've been held to five or fewer hits in four of those nine games and are averaging 3.67 runs/game.
Astros' offense during 5-game losing streak: .150/.214./261, five doubles, four homers, 10 RBIs, 2-for-24 with RISP.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 31, 2018
*Of course the big story of the day was the Astros' acquisition of the currently-suspended-for-domestic-violence Roberto Osuna, formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Astros sent Ken Giles, Hector Perez, and David Paulino. I wrote about what we knew at approximately 5pm Central time yesterday regarding the Osuna case.
To put a footnote on it, I guess, I'd like to mention that you can't analyze this trade from a "purely baseball perspective," because without the information unrelated to baseball, there's no way this trade gets made. Toronto isn't trading Osuna from the vacuum of the baseball field. They're only trading him because of the domestic violence charge. Will his girlfriend drop the charges? Maybe! But that doesn't mean he didn't do whatever we don't know he did.
*Shoutout to Paul Gallant, here's why Canadian law makes it harder to find out what happened with Osuna.
*Toronto Sun: Osuna was ordered to stay "100 meters" away from the victim.
*Osuna will address the team in Los Angeles on Sunday.
*Check Brian McTaggart's piece on Osuna, with video from the clubhouse.
Hinch said he addressed the team today in a meeting regarding Osuna. He also called Osuna. pic.twitter.com/R4RcpgBVWk— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 31, 2018
*Jenny Dial Creech: About that "zero-tolerance" (as long as the first instance is with somebody else) policy...
*SI's Emma Baccielleri: "It's easier to assign a dollar value to optics than to morals." Good-ass relievers currently facing charges of domestic violence are the new market inefficiency.
No matter what comes to light with Osuna's history, the Astros have forfeited the right to be "disappointed" or "shocked" or "surprised" or "angered" or any other euphemism that teams tend to use when a player does something appalling. Houston has surrendered the high ground, aggressively.
*FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan with perhaps the Column of the Day:
As a baseball trade, there's enough here to be fascinating. But this isn't just a baseball trade...
...For the fans for whom it is more complicated, the Astros today have scored an own goal. They made a trade they didn't need to make for a player still looking ahead to a court date. The Astros know exactly what they're doing. That's kind of what makes this so difficult to stomach.
*Keith Law: Just because you throw baseballs good doesn't excuse domestic violence.
*Despite asking "several" members of the Astros for their thoughts on acquiring Osuna, we know that the Astros asked Altuve for his thoughts on acquiring Osuna. But Verlander, Correa, and McHugh said they weren't.
*The Astros tried to cut off questions after a positive baseball question regarding Osuna.
*Ken Rosenthal from 2016: Why do abusers get to play in the postseason and PED guys don't?
*The Ringer's Michael Baumann:
Using PEDs is a violation against the integrity of the game, of an entertainment concern. Striking a romantic partner, in addition to being a criminal offense, is a life-altering violation of trust for the third of American women and quarter of American men who have suffered intimate partner violence, and a violation unfathomable for those of us who have been fortunate enough not to have experienced it...Wanting to win so badly that you're willing to view a player's domestic violence suspension as a trade opportunity is a choice.
*A.J. Hinch was thankful for Ken Giles last year. Hinch:
I don't know that we get to the World Series without him.
*The Masked Marvel wrote about how to improve the Astros, published shortly before the Osuna news. And has another post this morning.
*Carlos Correa, currently digging graves in Antarctica, is apparently headed on a rehab assignment soon! "Soon!" meaning 10 years after the earth crashes into the sun. Jake Kaplan says the absence of Correa AND Altuve leaves the Astros in uncharted territory.
*More Jake Kaplan! Jake Kaplan's history of the Randy Johnson trade.
*J.A. Tayler says the Ryan Pressly trade is sneaky good.
*J.B. Bukauskas and Seth Beer were promoted from Quad Cities to Buies Creek.
*2016 2nd Round pick Ronnie Dawson was promoted to Corpus.
*Recently DFA'd Tim Federowicz elected free agency over going back to Fresno.
*The Astros Foundation gave $75K to the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation.
*Rustin Dodd on Brett Phillips' first 48 hours as a Royal.
*Sean Doolittle had a good thread.
*Now that they're on the cusp of their first playoff spot in 17 years, can the Mariners afford to give Felix the ball every five days?
*Yu Darvish clapped back at A-Rod.
*Lawson Craddock, Houston native, finished last in the 2018 Tour de France. Here's a fun story.