The Astros put it on Oaklandt, 11-1. This is way more fun, now. Houston is 65-37 with a 7.5-game lead on the A's. They're 37-14 at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are 6-0 since Marisnick got beaned.
*The Astros are 8-1 against Oakland in 2019, 32-15 since the beginning of the 2017 season.
*It's the 5th time in 2019 that the Astros have won by a double-digit margin, the first time since a 15-2 win over the Blue Jays on June 14. Hinch, on dominating the appropriately-named Homer Bailey:
We never really let him breathe. We have a really long lineup...and when we put that kind of lineup together and that kind of approach we can really, really make it difficult on the pitcher. He had really nowhere to go when we were putting up quality at-bat after quality at-bat. And it was a good sight to see.
*Let's start with Gerrit Cole. Cole threw 7IP, 2H/1ER, 11K:1BB. He got 41 non-contact strikes. It's the 12th time this season that Gerrit Cole has gotten double-digit strikeouts. I feel like we do this all the time, but it's worth doing again. Gerrit Cole, 10+ K games, by season:
In other words, Cole with Pittsburgh: Six double-digit strikeout games in 127 starts.
Cole with Houston: 20 double-digit strikeout games in 54 starts.
Cole got his 200th strikeout of the season in 133.1IP. He now has a League-leading 205 strikeouts in 136.2IP. Randy Johnson (2001) is the only pitcher to record 200 strikeouts faster than Cole, when he did it in 130.2IP. Ron Kulpa probably cost Cole the record. I don't know how, but I'm going to just roll with it. Cole:
It's a nice accomplishment. Any time you're mentioned with the 'Unit,' that's pretty special. He kind of goes down in folklore as one of the best pitchers of all time. Really cool statistic. Might have a glass of wine about it tonight. Outside of that, we got at least 13 more starts to go, so just keep the head down and keep going.
"Might have a glass of wine about it" is the 2019 Astros slogan now.
Tags notes in that link that Cole edges Johnson in K/9 (13.5 to 13.41 - the MLB record) and needs three more 10+ K games to break J.R. Richard's single-season franchise record.
Cole has already posted the 21st-best strikeout total by an Astros pitcher for a season. Today is July 23. 27 more strikeouts would put him in the top ten in franchise history. Give him however much money he wants.
*Gerrit Cole's last L came on May 22.
*As a team the Astros are hitting .272 (1st) / .348 (1st) / .478 (2nd) for an .825 OPS (2nd). Their 121 wRC+ is the best in the Majors.
*Yordan Alvarez hit his 11th home run of the season in the 2nd Inning. He now has 35 RBIs in his first 30 games, breaking Albert Pujols' record. Alvarez:
I'm very happy and very grateful. It's something I just found out when I got here to the clubhouse, and just hearing that news is something that's really great for the start of my career.
Cole, on Alvarez:
Just (a) really special approach. I haven't really seen anything like it. The discipline, the advancement of his pitch selection, just never seems to get too big. He got tested a little bit with some breaking balls the last few days and seems to have responded well to that.
*The Cuban Contingent, Yordan, Yuli, and Aledmys, all hit home runs - Diaz's came in his first AB back from the IL. Diaz:
It's great. To contribute to the team is amazing. I had the chance to have three RBIs today, which is great. Just win the game is the most important thing.
*5-9 in the lineup (Yordan, Yuli, Reddick, Chirinos, Diaz) went a combined 10x18 with 1K:2BB, 3HR/8RBI. Gurriel's home run - his 19th - is a new career-high.
*Robinson Chirinos went 3x4 with a walk. It's his first three-hit game since September 12, 2018. He's 7x20 in his last six games. Chirinos had seven hits in his previous 63 PAs dating back to June 17.
*Rogelio Armenteros was optioned to Round Rock in order to make room for Aledmys Diaz, who batted 9th last night. Diaz:
It's great to be back with the boys. It's been almost two months since the last time I played, so I'm really excited.
*Josh James won't pitch for a day or two, but downplayed his velocity dip as "general arm soreness."
We can win a seven-game series against any playoff team right now. That doesn't mean there's not going to be an opportunity that presents itself to bring in another starter who could be a playoff rotation starter. We're looking at them.
*The Trade Deadline is just over a week away, and Luhnow says the Astros could target catching:
We are also looking at the market and seeing if there's an upgrade available. It would mean one of the two guys we have now would not be on this team. We obviously have to consider that very carefully.
Max Stassi might be a great story teller or he might lose just enough at poker to stay on everyone's good side. He could be good at roasting dudes. He might be a fine calligrapher. But if the Astros can get a catcher who is at least league-average and not Historically Bad, I'd be okay with that.
*What the Astros do with the rotation at the deadline and/or how Jose Urquidy handles his next couple of starts will determine what the Astros do with Brad Peacock: rotation or bullpen.
*Tags has your pre-game roundup. Luhnow:
It's good (Urquidy and Armenteros) are showing they can contribute. We're going to continue to look at opportunities to improve the club like we do every year, and there is a long way to go. It feels like not much has happened yet, but I have a feeling things will pick up here as we get close to the Deadline.
*Carlos Correa will play today and tomorrow for Round Rock before traveling to St. Louis with the team. He can be activated prior to Friday's game.
*Fayetteville's Jeremy Pena (2018 - 3rd Round) hit a home run in Potomac that broke their scoreboard.
*Forrest Whitley's next start will come in the next nine days and will be in Fayetteville. Luhnow, on Whitley:
All these guys when they're struggling, it's a combination of mental and physical. It's a tough game and we've seen it before, (being) a top prospect is tough physically and mentally. It's a combination, but he's got a good mindset and a good attitude. He certainly has the talent.
*This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but here are some Minor League standouts of which teams are undoubtedly aware as we get closer to July 31. Minor League Names On Which To Keep An Eye (organized alphabetically. Stats valid prior to the games of July 22):
RHP Bryan Abreu. 2019: 65.1IP, 49H/36ER, 86K:37BB, 4.96 ERA / 1.32 WHIP between Fayetteville and Corpus.
Seth Beer (2018 - 1st Round). 2019: .314/.410/.562, 22HR, 84K:35BB between Fayetteville and Corpus.
RHP Brett Conine (2018 - 11th Round). 2019: 84.1IP, 60H/21ER, 107K:18BB. 2.24 ERA / 0.92 WHIP between Quad Cities and Fayetteville.
RHP Austin Hansen (2018 - 8th Round). 2019: 72IP, 41H/18ER, 92K:35BB. 2.25 ERA / 1.06 WHIP between Quad Cities and Fayetteville.
RHP Tyler Ivey (2017 - 3rd Round). 2019: 31IP, 12H/2ER, 44K:13BB. 0.58 ERA / 0.81 WHIP between Fayetteville and Corpus.
RHP Cristian Javier. 2019: 82.2IP, 40H/18ER, 114K:44BB. 1.96 ERA / 1.02 WHIP between Fayetteville and Corpus.
Taylor Jones (2016 - 19th Round). 2019: .284/.384/.509,17HR, 88K:51BB in Round Rock.
RHP Collin McKee. (2016 - 18th Round). 2019: 48.2IP, 25H/13ER, 63K:29BB. 2.40 ERA / 1.11 WHIP between Corpus and Round Rock.
RHP Enoli Paredes. 2019: 78.2IP, 42H/23ER, 107K:35BB, 2.63 ERA / 0.98 WHIP between Fayetteville and Corpus.
Jeremy Pena (2018 - 3rd Round). 2019: .298/.383/.435, 5HR, 73K:38BB between Quad Cities and Fayetteville.
RHP Yohan Ramirez. 2019: 73.1IP, 45H/31ER, 111K:49BB, 3.80 ERA / 1.28 WHIP between Fayetteville and Corpus.
RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez. 2019: 86IP, 57H/21ER, 86K:29BB, 2.20 ERA / 1.00 WHIP between Quad Cities and Fayetteville
Josh Rojas (2017 - 26th Round). 2019: .319/.407/.590, 19HR, 58K:48BB between Corpus and Round Rock.
Abraham Toro (2016 - 5th Round). 2019: .289/.379/.483, 14HR, 77K:44BB in Corpus.
Kyle Tucker (2015 - 1st Round). 2019: .271/.355/.574, 25HR, 93K:41BB in Round Rock.
Forrest Whitley (2016 - 1st Round). RIP.
*Think you can swing a Big Time Trade? Use this Trade Simulator to land the pitcher you want.
*The Phillies are in on all the Tigers pitchers.
*The Yankees are in on Mike Minor
*NY Mag's Intelligencer: Even locals who believe climate change is real have a hard time grasping that their city will almost certainly be flooded beyond recognition.
*NY Times: Why so many of us don't lose weight when we exercise.
*A while ago there was a poll in which 12% of men said they could win a point against Serena Williams. Those men are narcissists and chauvinists and This is for them.
*A Musical Selection:
The Hot Links Playlist on Spotify is now over 150 songs and almost 10 hours long, if you're into that kind of thing.