The Astros did the Good Thing and beat the North Corsicana Rangers 5-3. It's the Astros' seventh straight win against the Rangers, 11-4 on the season (and that includes two extra-inning losses). Houston is 56-31, a half-game up on Seattle. Houston has won six of their last ten, 14 of 20, and 21 of their last 30. Their 21-9 record is tied for the best in MLB over 30 games...with Seattle.
*Rangers International Manbun of Mystery and God-awful spy Austin Bibens-Dirkx, the jackass, had a bad game, allowing 9H/5ER, with two home runs allowed and two HBPs: Max Stassi and George Springer. Hinch, on Stassi:
He just couldn't flex his hand. He had no mobility, so we took him out to go get him checked out by the doctors and all that stuff. So far, so good. I'll feel good when he can be mobile a little bit. He's pretty sore, but at least the first diagnosis is we avoided an injury that would really hurt us.
I'd imagine Tim Federowicz is in there tonight with Gattis as a backup. In the Hinch quote link we also find that McCann is likely out until September, which he'll use to rehab to get ready for October.
From Jake Kaplan: Why McCann's injury is unlikely to alter the Astros' trade deadline approach.
Worth noting: 25-year old Fresno catcher Garrett Stubbs (8th Round - 2015) is hitting .339/.404/.471 and has thrown out 13 of 29 would-be base-stealers in 2018.
Asked if he thought Garrett Stubbs was ready to contribute at the major league level, Jeff Luhnow said he thinks so.— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) July 4, 2018
"We like Stubbs a lot, we're high on Stubbs. A good chance he'll be here in September, if not before."
*Rangers pitchers have hit an MLB-leading 47 batters this season. Bibens-Dirkx Bentley had two HBPs going into last night, and managed to double his total in a handful of innings. Rangers pitchers have hit seven Astros batters, one behind the Mariners and Angels. Astros pitchers have hit eleven Rangers batters. They've hit 22 batters not wearing Arlington laundry.
*Dallas Keuchel was back to his Old Self: 7IP, 5H/2ER, 7K:1BB. Keuchel threw a season-high 111 pitches. His 65 Game Score was his highest (via Baseball-Reference) since May 13 - also against the Rangers. Keuchel, in four starts against North Corsicana: 24.1IP, 28H/10ER, 22K:3BB. Keuchel was impressed with his breaking pitches early:
Both of those balls had good action and I knew from then on if I could establish the fastball in to the lefties, it would be a good day.
On the new episode of Lima Time Time, Patrick and I discussed pitch counts and the Astros. So to clear up some research, here are the Astros' pitchers with 100+ pitches thrown in a start:
99 or fewer pitches
Verlander's 122 pitches on June 19 are a season-high for the Astros. But Houston pitchers have thrown 38 starts - out of 87 (43.7%) - of fewer than 100 pitches.
*Josh Reddick hit his first home run since his 2HR game on April 21. From April 22 up to prior to last night's game, Reddick had hit .254/.312/.303.
*Tony Kemp hit a home run, the 3rd of his career and the 2nd of his season, a new season-high.
*The Astros have hit a home run in 23 consecutive road games, four shy of the MLB record set by Oakland earlier this season.
*George Springer was 1x3 with a walk, the first time Springer was on base twice in a game since June 22.
*Evan P. Grant: Another loss to the Astros reminds the Rangers of the long rebuild ahead.
*A.J. Reed was optioned back to Fresno after the Astros activated Joe Smith.
*Justin Verlander will pitch in the final game before the All-Star Break, against Detroit, and will likely not pitch in the All-Star Game.
*FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan: Seattle is trying to be the clutchiest team in baseball.
*Or this, also from Jeff Sullivan: The Astros and the landscape of negative fWAR.
*From The Athletic: How advice from a cab driver saved Wade LeBlanc's career.
*For the second season in a row, Colby Rasmus has left his team to go home in the middle of the season.
*Cardinals GM John Mozeliak: kind of a douche about Dexter Fowler!
*Adult baby Radamel Falcao accused American referee Mark Geiger of favoring England in yesterday's PK win over Falcao's diving, fouling Colombia team.
I was born in England and so I have a soft spot in my head for the England national team. Back in 2010, when England and the US were in the same group, I had an existential crisis when they played each other but ultimately cheered for the USMNT. But since Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena combined to run a team with a pool of 330 million people into the ground that couldn't beat Trinidad & Tobago, I'm pulling for England this World Cup.