Good morning. It is officially now Not Summer, which has been indicated by temperatures precisely the same as they were yesterday, but with flooding. The Astros took care of the Twins yesterday behind home runs from Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel, and a gem from Dallas Keuchel. Houston is 85-53. Oakland beat New York in a preview of the Wild Card Game to remain 2.5 games back with 24 games to play.
*The Astros first played Minnesota from April 9-11 (Games 11-13) and dropped two out of three. Since April 11, Houston is 75-49. Oakland is 77-48, 1.5 games better, in that span.
*Houston has won 10 of their last 13 games.
*The Astros have now recorded four or fewer hits in a game 15 times this season, and are 4-11. Five of those games have come since August 3.
*Dallas Keuchel: 6IP, 5H/1R (0ER), 6K:2BB. Keuchel:
I thought I was able to make some key pitches in big situations. I kind of put myself in a few uncomfortable moments. This team is not a good matchup for me because they take, take, take, and I'm going to try to make the perfect pitch every time.
Since July, Keuchel has made 12 starts: 77.1IP, 70H/21ER, 56K:18BB, 2.44 ERA/1.14 WHIP.
*Collin McHugh threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:0BB. It's the 5th time this season McHugh has recorded at least four of his six outs via strikeout. McHugh vs Minnesota, 2018: 4IP, 2H/0ER, 10K:0BB. It's his first scoreless outing of 2+ IP since July 29.
*Gurriel hit his first home run since August 19. Since the All-Star Break, Gurriel has nine extra-base hits and is hitting .199/.240/.312 in those 37 games.
*Alex Bregman has hit a home run in three straight games, and is hitting .301/.402/.548 since the All-Star Break. He has a hit in 23 of his last 26 games. Bregman's 31-game on-base streak is the longest active streak in the Majors. Bregman:
I have a lot of room to improve and I'm definitely not satisfied...I think I need to get a lot better.
Hinch, on Bregman:
This is the best I've seen him play in a short career. He's just very locked in...he's very under control...He knows a ball from a strike. He's hunting the right pitches. He's laying off the right pitches. He's a pretty elite performer.
McTaggart notes that Bregman's 72 extra-base hits are the most by an Astros since Lance Berkman's 78 in 2008.
*After taking a liner to the hand, Hector Rondon is expected to be okay.
*RIP Marwin Gonzalez, who left the game with "oblique discomfort."
*Charlie Morton played catch for the 2nd straight day and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this week. If he's feeling good, he'll start against Boston on Saturday. If not, the Astros will go with Big Flames Josh James.
*Minor-League Playoff Update: Five of the six domestic affiliates made the playoffs:
-Fresno will open at El Paso tomorrow night.
-Corpus won both halves of the Texas League South and will play San Antonio tomorrow night.
-Buies Creek will open the postseason tomorrow night against Winston-Salem.
-Quad Cities will play Peoria tomorrow night.
-Tri-City will play Mahoning Valley tomorrow night.
*Corpus' Ryan Hartman won the Texas League Triple Crown, leading the league in ERA, strikeouts, and wins.
*From The Athletic, how the MLBPA got so big.
*Jacob de Grom is making history, and not in a fun way thanks to his trash team.