*The Astros took care of the Rangers pretty much by the middle of the 1st inning after back-to-back home runs by Altuve and Bregman - on consecutive pitches - gave the Astros a 3-0 lead before they even recorded an out. Astros won 7-2. They are 11-1 in their last 12 games and 5-1 in their last six road games. They are 13-6 overall, a half-game behind Tampa for the best record in the American League.
*Houston had five doubles and two home runs (which should have been four doubles and five home runs, but Replay happened to rule a Springer home run a double). It's the 4th time this season they've had 6+ XBH and the most since April 12, when they had four doubles and three home runs against the Mariners. The Astros are 23-0 in games with 5+ doubles since the beginning of the 2017 season. The last time they lost a game in which they hit 5+ doubles was April 19, 2016 (check the date)...at Arlington.
*The Astros set a team record for average exit velocity in a game. Hinch:
We had a pretty good game plan going in and I like it when we execute it as a team. We had a pretty good idea of what Smyly was going to do against us based on how he pitches....When we have a team offense like that, it's contagious and guys get into it.
*Houston scored seven runs for Justin Verlander, a season-high, and matching the total runs scored in his last two starts combined.
*Alex Bregman struck out twice for the 2nd time this season.
*Tyler White continued to struggle with runners in scoring position, going 0x2 with two strikeouts. The strikeout in the top of the 3rd saw White walk back to the dugout after getting ahead in the count 3-0. He's 0x10 with 7K:0BB w/RISP in 2019 so far.
Check this Chandler Rome article on White's struggle with fastballs. Hinch:
He hasn't handled the fastball. He hasn't put fastballs in play like he normally does. He's getting pitched a little bit differently and he's going to have to adjust to that. It is a small sample. It's early in the season.
*Yuli Gurriel drew two walks, the 6th 2+ BB game of his career and the first since August 29, 2018. He had drawn two walks in his previous 45 PAs combined. So Gurriel is at 8K:7BB for the season. He drew his 7th walk on June 1, 2018 in his 185th PA of 2018. His 7th walk of 2019 came on his 73rd PA.
*Justin Verlander threw his best start of the season: 7IP, 3H/1ER, 8K:3BB over 101 pitches, 71 for strikes. 23 of those strikes were looking, a season-high. Verlander also only got one groundball out, something that has only happened two other times while he's been an Astro: a September 22, 2018 against Anaheim, and September 27, 2017 against Arlington. All three instances have resulted in wins. Verlander:
Boys did a great job tonight. Putting up runs early and often is a great recipe for success. Once we got a big lead, I just kind of pulled back a little bit trying to go in energy (conservation) mode, just hit some spots and try to get deep in the game.
Verlander's Pitch Count, by inning, last night:
Verlander's last two starts: 13IP, 5H/2ER, 19K:3BB. Verlander has thrown 7+ IP in 16 of his 44 starts as an Astro.
*Michael Brantley went 1x4 with a walk and some very hard-hit balls. Check this Jake Kaplan article on what "Uncle Mike" has meant to the Astros.
*Ken Rosenthal wonders if the Astros need another starter, if they intend to be the last team standing in October.
*Brian McTaggart says that Brad Peacock is the Astros' secret weapon.
*Shoutout to Lima Time Time sponsor Bravado Spice, who signed a deal to get into every World Market in America.
*The New York Daily News' Bradford William Davis brought the noise: MLB honors Tim Anderson the way it honored Jackie Robinson: By telling him to shut up.
*Oakland's Khris Davis went 0x4 last night in a 5-1 Oakland loss to Toronto. But the most beautiful thing about it is that it lowered his average to .247.
*Mariners pitcher Rob Whalen recently retired from baseball due to anxiety, and he's not happy with how the Mariners handled it.
*Leeds United did the Leedsiest Thing they ever could have done. They Leeds'd so hard. After Sheffield United won 2-0 against 10-men Nottingham Forest to draw even in the table, Leeds United lost 2-1 against 10-men 20th-place Wigan Athletic, and are now 3rd in the Championship with two games to play. Manager Marcelo Bielsa:
I am sad at this defeat, but I am very motivated. We have had a good season, but it will mean nothing if we do not get promoted.
Leeds are currently six goals back in the Goal Differential tie-breaker, so they need a Sheffield Slip-Up in order to avoid the playoff. I am heartbroken.
*It didn't get any better when Elsik lost to Flower Mound, 3-2, in the 6A Boys Soccer State Semifinal. Flower Mound scored all three goals in four minutes.
*A Musical Selection:
The Hot Links Music Playlist on Spotify is now up to 92 songs and almost six hours of listening pleasure...provided you like the same kind of music I like.