A quick note before we get into the Hot Links: Starting at 2:45am on Monday, I am chaperoning a trip of 86 high school students to Manhattan. Pray for me. It also means that these West Coast games won't start until 10pm for me. Flick is taking over the Hot Links from Monday-Thursday. I may be back for the Friday Morning Hot Links, but I may just have to sleep until noon.
The Astros had leads of 2-0, 3-2, and 5-4 before getting pushed to extra innings and coming away with a 7-6 win. Errors were absolutely ridiculous. Houston is 58-35. They're 7-6 against East Fort Worth in 2019, with a 6-game lead on Oakland.
*Altuve, on his go-ahead double in the 11th:
We lost the first two games here so we were trying to win a game and get some momentum. I just wanted to put the ball in play. When I hit it, I didn't think George was going to score, but what he did was amazing. I hit the ball good, but probably 50 percent or more of the play was on him. I think we won because of him.
Myles Straw redeemed himself after getting picked off 1st right after replacing Michael Brantley as a pinch-runner in the 9th, getting a single that scored Altuve to provide the 7th Astros run. Straw:
You want to redeem yourself, and to get out there and get that insurance run...Obviously we needed it...It was awesome.
We could easily talk about missed opportunities or mistakes, but we hung in there and I'm proud of our guys for being able to just get through the game and get a win, in a game where we didn't play our best. Perseverance went a long way tonight.
*The Astros are 8-1 in extra-inning games, 17-11 in 1-run games. They were 5-6 in extra innings in 2018, and 24-24 in 1-run games. Since dropping three consecutive one-run games at Cincinnati, Houston is 5-2 in 1-run games.
*Houston has allowed 146 home runs in 2019, 1.57 HR/game. They allowed 152 home runs in 2018, 0.94 HR/game.
*The Rangers got six hits, five of them for extra-bases, and drew three walks. They were 1x8 w/RISP. How this game was so close is beyond me. Errors by Altuve, Bregman, and Springer, I guess. The last time the Astros committed three errors in a single inning was in May 2013.
*Wade Miley threw 6.2IP, 4H/5R (3ER), 5K:1BB, and 3HR allowed. Lower McKinney has hit eight home runs, drawn eight walks, and struck out 29 times in the last two games. It's the 7th time in his career that Miley has allowed three home runs in a game.
*The bullpen threw 4.1IP, 2H/1ER, 7K:2BB. Osuna allowed 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB in the 11th. Osuna:
It was a tough inning. I got up [in the bullpen] three or four times before that inning. The last three hitters, I was running out of gas. I was grinding and thank God I got the job done.
*Jose Altuve was 4x6. It's his 2nd 4-hit game of the season, and his 2nd 4-hit game in July. Since returning from the IL Altuve is hitting .306/.326/.459. He has 30 4-hit games in his career, one more than Babe Ruth. Bregman, on Altuve:
He's battling every single day and he's a great leader for this team.
*Alex Bregman returned to the lineup after taking a 98.5mph grounder off the chin. I hit my little toe on the side of the dishwasher and didn't run for a week. Bregs was 2x5 with a walk and a solo home run, his 24th of the year. It's his 82nd career home run, nine of them have come against the Rangers (tied with Oakland for most against an opponent), six of them at Pizza Oven Park.
*Tyler White got his 10th 3K game of the season, going 0x5.
*Brad Peacock is on track to be activated for Monday's game at Anaheim.
*Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz will begin rehab starts on Monday for Round Rock. Hinch, on Correa:
He's more likely, given the schedule, to stick in Triple-A longer on rehab, and we're excited to get him into games as well. He's got a little longer on rehab projection based on the injury and how long he did virtually nothing in terms of baseball.
*The Chron's Hunter Atkins, on Gerrit Cole regaining his rhythm. Hinch:
He was trying to be too disruptive with timing. He would change his delivery a little bit. He's got a handle on that better now, where he can disrupt the timing of the hitter a little bit without negatively impacting his pitches.
Here's the rotation for 2020 as contracts stand right this minute:
SP1: Justin Verlander
SP2: Lance McCullers, Jr.
SP3: Brad Peacock
That's it. That's the entire rotation that is currently under contract for 2020. Cole, Miley, and McHugh are free agents at the end of this season. Maybe the Astros have a trade or two up their sleeve in the next 17 days to shore that up, but Corbin Martin is out for most of next season. Forrest Whitley's 2019 hasn't gone exactly as expected. Neither has Framber Valdez and Cionel Perez and Jose Urquidy's. J.B. Bukauskas has a 6.81 at Double-A Corpus.
The Astros have a committed payroll of $121.4m for 2020 as of right now. That's a reduction of $37.1m from 2019 payroll. We'll do some payroll shenanigans later, but right now I don't know how the Astros can afford to not keep Gerrit Cole, if they're going to keep this window open. I have zero issue with using my Astros County Official Extremely Limited Megaphone to yell that not re-signing Charlie Morton as a 2-year insurance policy was freaking stupid, especially after what we've seen so far this season. Even if the front office had concerns over his shoulder, it was silly to think that you could lose 500IP from 2018 (Keuchel, Morton, McCullers) and not hit a significant road bump.
While you can reasonably assume the Astros will win the AL West and the ALDS, you can no longer assume that a World Series Championship, let alone an AL Pennant, will happen. That is, of course, if you ever assumed those things would happen. I did.
The last thing I remember, I was kind of inching my way up the line and reaching for the baseball. The first thing I remember after that is when they put me on the golf cart. He knocked me out.
*Check out this sweet throw from Round Rock's Josh Rojas.
*Now that Myles Straw has graduated off the MLB Pipeline Prospect List, Taylor Jones takes his spot.
*Cristian Javier threw 3IP, 1H/0ER, 6K:0BB in a 7-6 extra-innings Corpus loss to Midland. Seth Beer was 0x3 with 3BB. Granden Goetzmann was 3x5 with a walk and 3RBI.
*The Red Sox sent two minor-leaguers to Baltimore for Andrew Cashner. The two minor-leaguers were 17-year old IF Noelberth Romero, who has a .700 OPS in the Dominican Summer League, and OF Elio Prado, a 17-year old with an .818 OPS for the same team. These are notes for making comps for future trades. Cashner has a 1.8 fWAR this season with a 3.83 ERA belied by a 4.25 FIP and a 4.88 xFIP. Orioles starting pitchers have recorded 21 wins, Cashner has nine of them.
*A masseuse tried to kill Kenneth Giles and gave him nerve inflammation. Fire all of the massueses.
*Former Astros Great Juan Minaya was DFA'd by the White Sox.
*Minnesota's Max Kepler's last 6 PAs vs. Tyler Bauer:
Top 4th, July 13: Strikeout
Top 3rd, July 13: Home run
Top 1st, July 13: Home run
Top 7th, June 6: Home run
Top 3rd, June 6: Home run
Top 1st, June 6: Home run
No hitter had ever hit five consecutive home runs against the same pitcher in a single season before.
*Division leads, by games:
-AL East: 6
-AL Central: 7.5
-AL West: 6
-NL East: 6
-NL West: 13.5
-NL Central: Every team is within 5.5 games of 1st.
*Scott Miller: Why young players step into bad contracts.
*HOFer Bob Gibson has been hospitalized with pancreatic cancer.
*If you are in Houston and need legal assistance related to immigration, call 1.800.468.4664.
*A former grandmaster was suspended for using a phone during a chess tournament.
*The impending global water crisis.
*A Musical Selection: