I missed the Hot Links yesterday because it was my daughter's birthday, and she was so pumped to eat All The Sugar in the World that I had to stop and accommodate this request. So the Astros had a chance to put their foot on the neck of the Waxahachie Rangers and Framber crapped the bed. Bregman took one to the chin. It was a shameful performance and everyone should feel bad about themselves, especially the Rangers, who actively use Devil Magic when playing the Astros. Houston lost 5-0 and are now 57-34. They are seven games up on Oakland and eight games up on Farmer's Branch.
*Framber Valdez became the first starting pitcher in MLB this season to allow four hits with three walks and record less than three outs. It's only the sixth time that has happened in Astros history and Framber's the first Astro to do it since Bud Norris on April 17, 2013 against Oakland. Hinch, on Framber:
We've seen this out of him. The good version is really good. And the version that struggles, it's tough for him to manage innings and get out of innings.
Framber's three appearances from June 3-15: 17IP, 11H/3ER, 18K:4BB
Framber's three appearances from June 16-July 11: 7IP, 16H/15ER, 5K:7BB
*Shoutout to Cy Sneed, who threw 5IP, 6H/1ER, 7K:1BB. Hinch, on Sneed:
He's a consistent strike-thrower, which is good, and his stuff is good...This game was still in hand when I brought him. For him to go five innings was critical for us to stay in the game.
According to Our Dude Steve Grande, Sneed is the first Astros pitcher with multiple 5+ Inning appearances in relief since Danny Darwin in 1988.
*Last night was the third time this season the Astros got 7+ hits and did not score a run.
*Houston was 0x4 w/RISP.
*George Springer was the only Astros with multiple hits, going 2x4 with the team's lone extra-base hit.
*The Astros had a chance to cut into the Rangers lead in the 2nd, with Reddick on 1st and Alvarez on 2nd with one out:
-Tyler White struck out swinging
-Robinson Chirinos struck out swinging
That was pretty much it.
*Alex Bregman was taken out of the game in the 3rd Inning when he got popped in the chin by a 98.5mph groundball from Shin-Soo Choo. Hinch:
He was bleeding when I got out there. It took a really nasty hop for him. We'll see how he is.
*Brad Peacock threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 4K:1BB on Wednesday night for Corpus. Seth Beer hit his 11th home run for Corpus and his 20th of the season in a 6-5 win over Midland last night.
Peacock and Joe Smith were both with the Astros in Arlington last night. Peacock:
The big test was today, and I played catch and felt pretty good. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I feel good right now.
We got the volume up and got some people on base, and I had to try to work out of it. It's good to have that because it's going to happen at some point. Knowing the strength and stamina is still there to be able to do that is good.
On Diaz and Correa, Hinch:
We want [Diaz] to do a few things around our Major League team, and he's going to join either Double-A or Triple-A. He's going to stop in [Arlington] on his way to his next stop, and Carlos is only a couple of days behind him. We should have both of those guys on rehab by the early parts of next week to start their work to get back to us in the big leagues.
*The next 13 games are against divisional opponents. Michael Brantley:
The stretch is very important. Right out of the gate, it's a division rivalry. Texas has been playing great baseball. We have to come in ready to go, look fresh, and have a great series.
Gerrit Cole told Chandler Rome (previous link):
I'd like to see us add. I'd like to see us add some good pieces, some impact pieces. I think with the people that we're competing against - not just in our division; we're looking for home-field advantage against the Yankees and the Red Sox and ultimately against the best team in the National League as well - I think those things weigh heavily on some of the outcomes of a series. It certainly makes it more challenging when you have to go on the road.
*Jake Marisnick was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his efforts to try to get past Jonathan Lucroy, who was blocking the plate. Joe Torre:
After thoroughly reviewing the play from all angles, I have concluded that Jake's actions warrant discipline. While I do not believe that Jake intended to hurt Jonathan, the contact he initiated in his attempt to score violated Official Baseball Rule 6.01(i), which is designed to protect catchers from precisely this type of collision.
It's more fun if you read this quote, especially in which Torre says "Jonathan," in the same voice as Ian McShane in John Wick.
Obviously, I still feel terrible about it. It was a rough couple of days just going through...just kind of everything that happened. Had a chance to sit back and digest it. I've seen a lot of takes on it, and obviously everybody has their own opinion. But I know deep down in my heart that I had no intent to hurt, or make contact with [Lucroy].
A two-game suspension would cost Marisnick just over $27,000.
*Mike Petriello talked to A.J. Hinch about the Astros' current pace of becoming the first team in MLB history to not intentionally walk anyone.
*Do you want Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz? The Mets "want to be overwhelmed" by an offer.
*The Padres, Cubs, and Red Sox join the Dodgers, Braves, and Rays with the Astros as teams in on Detroit's Matty Boyd. Chris McCosky:
Boyd, with three years of team control remaining, is the Tigers' most valuable trade chip. There are a lot of teams that like, want and need Boyd. Interestingly, among those tracking Boyd are the analytically-savvy teams like the Dodgers, Braves, Astros and Tampa.
*Fireworks have been avoided as the Cheatin'-Ass Cardinals put Yadier Molina on the IL with an injured thumb, likely from popping off like an internet tough guy on Instagram. He'll miss three weeks, including the Astros' visit to St. Louis later this month.
*From The Athletic's Levi Weaver: Coffee, Magic, and the Ineffable Joy of Hunter Pence.
*Ruthless "superhuman" poker-playing computer program makes elite players fold.
*Insider hired the writer of Black Hawk Down and the art director of Archer to present the Mueller Report in a way that people would actually read it.
*50 facts about the Apollo 11 mission on its upcoming 50th anniversary.
*A Musical Selection: