Houston has won five straight games. Every starter currently in the rotation has won their latest start. The Astros are 24-6 in their last 30 games against AL West opponents. Houston is 9-2 in their last 11 games against Love Field.
*Jose Altuve, who went 2x4 with his 14th home run of the season:
I like where we're at right now.
*The Rangers struck out 41 times in the three-game sweep. Houston pitchers have struck out 13+ batters in four of their last five games. It's the pitching staff's third straight game with 13+ strikeouts, which ties a franchise record, set twice in 2018 and twice in 2016.
*Rogelio Armenteros became the second straight pitcher to record their first MLB win. Armenteros threw 5IP, 2H/1ER, 6K:1BB. Bregman:
Huge back-to-back performances (by Urquidy and Armenteros). It was a great sweep. They came up huge for us this week and now it's about time to start getting on a roll.
*Will Harris, on Urquidy and Armenteros:
Any time we're running starters out there that are throwing the ball well, it has a way of stabilizing the pitching staff. The two guys that threw the last two days - being young rookies to come into division games like that to throw the way they did, it's the reason we swept them.
*Collin McHugh threw 1.1IP, allowing 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB. Here are McHugh's appearances since the All-Star Break: July 14, July 15, July 18, July 21. His last three appearances have been exactly three days apart. Are the Astros starting to transition McHugh back to the rotation, now that we know Brad Peacock will be out until at least the middle of August?
*Josh James might be hurt, departing after 15 pitches where he allowed a home run and struck out a batter. Hinch:
It just looked a little bit off. We went out there to make sure he was OK, he was making some mannerisms that made him look uncomfortable. He said it was just general soreness, that he didn't feel good. It didn't look like he had quite the velocity it normally does. It's July. You get into July and August, especially with the bullpen...I used Josh a lot in Anaheim so we'll see how he is. It seems to be just a day to day thing.
James threw a total of 32 pitches on back-to-back days on July 15/16. He threw 38 pitches on July 13, and 100 pitches since July 13. James had not allowed a home run since May 28, and he had not allowed a run since July 7. He averages 97mph on his fastball, but his last two before getting pulled averaged 90mph.
*The Gun Barrel City Rangers' Savior Joey Gallo was 0x4 with 4K:0BB. In 2019 Gallo is 0x23 with 17K:1BB at Minute Maid Park.
*Lance Lynn is the only pitcher to strike out 11+ Astros in a game in 2019. He's done it twice in 11 days. And North Corsicana is 1-1 when that happens so suck it.
*Michael Brantley went 3x3 with 2HR/3RBI, 0K:1BB. It's his 2nd straight 3-hit game. It's the 6th time in his career he has hit two home runs in a game, first since May 8, 2019. Brantley:
We're playing good baseball...It felt good to sweep against somebody in the division. We're doing it as a team, doing it so one guy doesn't have to carry this team. It's fun to come to this field every day and compete.
Michael Brantley's walk-up song is now The Circle of Life from the Lion King, and he's gonna roll with it for a while.
*6-9 in the lineup (Reddick-Marisnick-Stassi-Straw) went a combined 0x14 with 9K:0BB.
*Max Stassi has enjoyed 90 PAs with Houston this season. He has 13 hits, two extra-base hits, and a .440 OPS. His 24 wRC+ ranks 405th out of 412 MLB players with 70+ PAs. This is the 10th-worst offensive season in franchise history, among non-pitchers with at least 80 PAs. Among those Astros with a worse wRC+ and more PAs:
Luis Pujols (1983): 23
Skip Jutze (1976): 23
Andy Mota (1991): 22
Luis Pujols (1978): 20
Raul Chavez (2005): 19
Ronn Reynolds (1987): 9
Tim Bogar (1998): 9
Mike Fischlin (1978): -17
In 44 games (95 PAs) in 1978, Mike Fischlin hit .116/.165/.128 for a -1.2 fWAR. Impressive, really.
*Hinch, on the importance of this week:
Everybody is anticipating Aledmys and Carlos coming back at some point. Guys that are huge members of the team, you look forward to it. I try not to look too far ahead. I owe it to the guys inside to just play the roster that we have and keep those guys motivated. It will be nice to get some of our players back.
A hard decision is coming once Diaz and Correa come back. Myles Straw seems most likely to return to the Hill Country, as he has options left, but Tony Kemp needs to be concerned, as well. Of course, if Josh James is actually injured, then it might spare one of them.
*Buster Olney says that movement on the trade front across MLB could come this Wednesday/Thursday.
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*Oh hey Good News! Luhnow corrected the record and said that Forrest Whitley only walked four guys, not six!
Talked with one of the Astros rovers the other day, and he essentially confirmed something that has just blown my mind this year.— Matt Sabados (@BigMattAHH) July 21, 2019
The Astros pitching development has been able to teach budding arms fourth/fifth pitches in extremely short times
*Former Astros Great Asher Wojciechowski threw 7.1IP, 1H/0ER, 10K:2BB as Baltimore shut out the Red Sox. Look for the hot new Fox buddy cop dramedy "Elias & Sig" this fall!
*Brandy Halladay was perfect in memorializing her late husband Roy in Cooperstown.
*A line drive foul ball from Francisco Lindor hit a 3-year old kid in Cleveland, and Lindor says "It stinks, man." Would be nice to make sure people don't get hurt when they frequent your business. Instead, Rob Manfred or any of the owners are probably wondering how they can charge $20 for a tallboy. Lindor:
I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down. I know it's all about the fans' experience of interacting with players and I completely get that. You want to have that interaction with the fans, getting autographs and stuff, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure everybody comes out of this game healthy, and we (have) got to do something about it.
In response, Manfred reportedly agreed to change the pitch clock to 35 seconds and also to not hold umpires accountable for their actions. He appreciates your cooperation.
*You just hate to read this story about the bind the Cardinals are in.
*Inside the Bulletproof Coffee Guy's Body-Hacking Gym.
*A Musical Selection: