*The Astros and A's currently have a 75-50 record, thanks to the Rangers completely soiling the bed after eating a gas station burrito on the way to the brick-oven ballpark in which they play. The Astros have scored 17 more runs than the A's, and have allowed 104 fewer runs. Yet here we are. FanGraphs still projects the Astros to win the AL West by four games but the fact that I even needed to look this morning fills me with rage.
*The Astros have lost five straight games to the Mariners, and they're 5-16 against AL West opponents since July 4. Hinch:
They outhit us and put a lot of pressure on us from the very beginning of the game. We had one baserunner after the third inning. They did enough to win the game, obviously, with some big at-bats.
*Robinson Cano had three hits - all for extra-bases, including a three-run home run off of Collin McHugh that turned a 4-4 game into a 7-4 game. It was the first home run McHugh had allowed since July 25, and the first home run he had allowed with a runner(s) on base since September 8, 2017. It was poorly-timed.
The last four home runs that Seattle has hit off of Collin McHugh:
August 20, 2018: Robinson Cano
September 26, 2016: Robinson Cano
May 8, 2016: Robinson Cano
April 27, 2016: Robinson Cano
We just have to play consistent baseball through the end of the season, and I think we're pretty confident if we do that we're going to win this division. That's where our minds are at. That's where we're headed. We have some work to do.
Man, if that’s a blowpen, then what do you call the— Zachary Levine (@zacharylevine) August 21, 2018
(counts some more)
29 teams that came into today with worse bullpen ERAs? https://t.co/eCyolL47aJ
*Mitch G.D. Haniger was 2x4 with a walk. Against the Astros this season he's hitting .315/.339/.463 with five doubles, a home run, 16K:2BB.
*The Astros managed five hits last night. It's the 31st time this season they've recorded five or fewer hits, out of 125 games.
*4-9 in Houston's lineup combined to go 0x20 with 7K:2BB.
*Felix Hernandez recorded a Game Score of 50, his highest Game Score since putting up a 53 against [squints] Baltimore on June 25. Last night was the first game the Mariners had won with Felix on the mound since June 30. Felix struck out six of the 25 Astros he faced. He had struck out six of the previous 76 batters he had faced over three starts. So way to go, defending World Champs.
*Mariners relievers Adam Warren, Alex Colome, and Edwin Diaz needed 36 pitches to no-hit the Astros over the last three innings. Adam Warren started each of the three batters he faced with a ball and still only needed nine pitches to retire the side.
*Jose Altuve is set to return after having been out of the lineup since July 27. The Astros will finish up his first career DL stint with an 8-13 record. They've lost eight of their last ten, nine of their last 13 games. Since the 2-1 win over the Giants on August 7, Houston has lost 5.5 games in the standings to Oakland. Kyle Tucker was sent back to Fresno after a relaxing few days in Seattle with the Astros.
*Add "quad soreness" to the list of things ailing George Springer. Also, McCann and Devenski will head to Corpus to complete their rehab stints. McCann will be in Corpus' lineup on Wednesday. Today is a bullpen day as it's McCullers' turn in the rotation. Brad Peacock will start, and will be just the 6th person to start a game for the Astros this season. After tonight, Friday's game against Anaheim will be the last 9pm start of the regular season.
*Eno Sarris in The Athletic: Why do the Astros struggle at Minute Maid Park?
*Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners still look like an all-time anomaly.
*Notable: Rian Watt on the unlikely ascent of Oakland's bullpen.
*FanGraphs' Sheryl Ring: How an agent who represents multiple players avoids conflicts of interest.