The Astros beat the Rangers, again, 3-0. Verlander dealt and the Skros got production out of the bottom of the order. Houston is 24-15, 14-4 at home. They have a five-game lead through 39 games. No other AL West team is above .500.
*Houston shut out an opponent for the 4th time this season. They have limited opponents to 0-2 runs 18 times in 2019. In their last three games (3-0): 27IP, 8H/2ER, 37K:8BB.
*Big early news of the night was Altuve leaving the game in the bottom of the 1st inning after legging out an infield single. It is described as left hamstring discomfort. RIP Jose Altuve, you were a shining light. Hinch:
He just said that he felt something in his left hamstring. He's been evaluated. It doesn't seem serious. We don't know the extent of the injury until we get to tomorrow. He was frustrated, but he made the right decision to alert us of some soreness.
*Justin Verlander threw 7IP, 1H/0ER, 8K:2BB. It's the 12th time in his career with 7+ IP and one or fewer hits allowed. He last did it on April 15, 2018 against...the Rangers. Verlander:
In a tight ballgame like that, you're kind of on edge the whole time. One mistake could obviously lose you the ballgame. From the first inning through the seventh, it was a grind. The boys behind me did a great job.
*Rangers manager Chris Woodward, on Verlander:
I thought we did a good job...he's just really good. I don't want to give him too much credit, but he's arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He's got a lot of weapons. He was up for the challenge. He's good, he's a competitor. He's got a ton of weapons he can use and he's not afraid to use them.
*With a strikeout of Rougned Odor in the 7th, Verlander passed Frank Tanana for 22nd on the MLB all-time strikeout list. He has 2,774 strikeouts. Cy Young is up next at 2,798.
*Houston held the Rangers' "hitters" to two hits. It's the second time in 2019 the Astros have held their opponent to two hits. Both opponents have been the Rangers.
*Ryan Pressly/Roberto Osuna, since joining Houston:
Pressly: 40.1IP, 19H/2ER, 48K:3BB.
Osuna: 40IP, 22H/6ER, 34K:4BB
Combined: 80.1IP, 41H/8ER, 82K:7BB, 0.90 ERA / 0.60 WHIP
Verlander, on Correa's play:
You don't know how that changes the game. You don't know what happens after that. I know it's a big momentum shifter. A guy makes a play like that, and for me, against the other team, it's kind of deflating. It's just a huge momentum boost.
*Jake (Roger Maris)nick broke open the scoring with a home run. He's hitting .288/.333/.525 in 2019. Gurriel and Chirinos also homered, meaning the Astros got three runs on three home runs from their 7-8-9 spot. It's the 2nd time in franchise history the Astros got home runs from 7-8-9, the last being the King Felix Destruction game. Marisnick added a double, so four of the Astros' six hits came from the bottom third of the order.
*A few days ago I wrote up how Jose Altuve would be fine and noted that his launch angle and his IFFB% were way up over his career averages. Chandler Rome has "Access" though, and talked to A.J. Hinch about Altuve's season so far. So did McTaggart, and also had Hinch, on Springer:
When he's walking and driving the ball to all fields, he's a star. He's dangerous from the first pitch, which we know, and it's why he's in the leadoff spot. It's fun to watch. As much as it can be a different guy every night that delivers a key hit or gets the big at-bat, or hits the big home run, our offense is generated from the top. When his energy's at a high level and his production is at a high level, our offense is really good.
*Jake Kaplan did a side-by-side comparison of the 2019 Astros offense vs. the 2017 Astros offense.
*McTaggart noted that Springer's 13 home runs in the team's first 38 games tied Brady Anderson in 1996 and Mookie F. Betts in 2018 for the most homers from a leadoff hitter through 38 games.
*George Springer and Michael Brantley changed a stranded motorist's tire on the way to last night's game. Forgive the headline, but FanGraphs is already talking about Michael Brantley as the best free-agent signing of the offseason.
*Reid Ryan talked about how it can rain inside Minute Maid Park with the roof closed.
*A.J. Hinch was extremely complementary of Will Harris' curveball.
*Round Rock beat Omaha 8-7 after Forrest Whitley allowed 5H/5ER, 5K:3BB (3HR). Kyle Tucker went 3x5 with a double, home run, and an outfield assist at home plate. Yordan Alvarez went 3x4 with 3RBI.
All Triple-A stats should be remembered with the same running theme: the balls are different. So what's benefiting Yordan Alvarez is also hurting Forrest Whitley. Whitley, 2019: 18.1IP, 23H/22ER, 24K:10BB. He has given up 7HR in 2019 after giving up 7HR total in 137.1IP from 2016-18.
*On Thursday night Fayetteville's Cristian Javier and Enoli Paredes combined to strike out 17 batters.
*Paul LoDuca said on a podcast that Billy Wagner got strikes called from Joe West because Wagner let Joe F. West borrow his '57 Chevy. Billy belongs in the Hall of Fame. Joe West belongs in a nice home for the elderly in Connecticut.
*Something happened yesterday that I thought had happened years ago: James Loney retired.
*Former Astros Great Preston Tucker will sign with the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization.
*The Twins are betting that their historic power surge will continue.
*Mike Trout's latest improvement is his most impressive yet.
*Cy Ranch won a playoff game on a really weird walkoff.
*BBC: How organized crime helped destroy Vancouver's real estate market.
*NME: Remembering Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchinson.
*Vox: The rise of fear-based social media.
*Leeds United plays Derby County in the first leg of the playoffs today at 11:15am Central. The nerves, I have them.
*A Musical Selection: