Point is, the highest compliment I can pay the Rays is that I hate them and I hope they move to Montreal. Team full of youth pastors and accountants and frisbee golf enthusiasts.
Houston is 87-48. They've lost one of their last one games. They went 8-2 on the homestand and, typical Astros who crap the bed in August are [squints] 18-8 in August. There are 27 games left in the regular season. Oakland beat Kansas City 9-8, if you like unhappy coincidences. Houston has a nine-game lead on the A's. They play four games against each other from September 9-12. The Yankees were off, the Dodgers lost to Arizona.
New York: 88-47
Los Angeles: -0.5
The Astros lost a game they had no business losing: Greinke vs the Bullpen. It's just the 4th game in MLB this season in which a team scored at least eight runs, got at least eight hits, and walked at least ten times and lost. The only time it has happened before in franchise history was April 26, 2000 when the Astros lost 13-8 to the Cubs. It happens. Not often, but it happens. It doesn't make it less stupid.
Six of the nine hitters in Houston's lineup have an OPS of .900 or higher. Greinke was on the mound. None of the starting nine hitters in Tampa's lineup have an OPS over .900. Hinch:
You get a close game like that - and certainly, a crazy game like that - you always look back at the opportunities. We didn't play particularly clean, but we did fight and I love the fight. It was a weird back-and-forth game, but we didn't do quite enough at the right times to win the game.
Greinke: 5.2IP, 6H/5ER, 8K:1BB. His 8Ks are the highest he's posted as an Astro, and the highest since July 20 against the Brewers. One of Greinke's earned runs came when Smith couldn't close out the inning.
The pitching staff of Greinke, Smith, Devenski, Rondon, and Sneed allowed 14H/9ER. It was stupid. The Astros' offense was 2x11 w/RISP and left 11 on base. Everyone was the unclutchiest.
Devenski, especially. In recording precisely one out, Devenski allowed 4H/3ER, two of those hits for doubles.
Devenski, 2016-2017: 189IP, 129H/50ER, 204K:46BB, 2.38 ERA / 0.93 WHIP.
Devenski, 2018-2019: 105.1IP, 103H/56ER, 115K:32BB, 4.78 ERA / 1.28 WHIP.
This may be the emotion talking, as I'm writing this a couple of hours after the loss, but I'm sort of done with Chris Devenski.
*Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi was 2x4 with a walk and 2RBI. He was 2x3 with a double, home run, walk and 2RBI on Wednesday.
*Josh Reddick "struck out" "looking" with one out in the bottom of the 9th. He got ejected after this pitch:
this was a called strike three on Josh Reddick— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) August 29, 2019
The Atlantic League’s robot umps can’t get here fast enough pic.twitter.com/LTa5V6nVB2
This is asinine. The home plate umpire was Jordan Baker. Not the one from The Great Gatsby, though she was a professional tennis player and would have done a better job - at 100+ years old - than this side of rancid bacon behind the plate. Reddick went nuts. Reddick:
Weird thing is (Baker) thought I called him - how do I say this? - a four-letter word for a male's private area.
So not only is Jordan Baker bad at his job, he also can't hear. Good job, MLBUA.
Hunter Atkins: Josh Reddick was right.
It's really easy to blame the Dumb Jordan Baker, but the Astros lost this game as a team. They left the bases loaded in the 4th and the 5th innings. They dunked on themselves, with an alley-oop assist from The Idiot Jordan Baker. That doesn't make it easier. Springer up with the tying run on 1st and one out is different than Springer up with two outs and no one on. But if the Astros go 4x11 w/RISP, or even 3x11 w/RISP, it's a non-issue. I'm glad the Astros are mad.
*Lost in the shuffle of the game was Abraham Toro, who went 1x2 with a home run and 3RBI. It's the first home run of his career. Good lookin' out, AB. Enjoy Toronto and your hundreds of family and friends. Get your Tim Horton's.
*Jose Altuve hit a home run in the 6th to give the Astros a 6-5 lead. It was his 25th home run of the season, which is now a career-high. He hit 24 home runs in 2016 and 2017.
*Check this Mailbag with Chandler Rome.
*No hurt dudes (Correa, Pressly, Peacock, Sanchez, James) will go on this road trip.
*For no reason, I was looking at Travis D'Arnaud's Baseball-Reference page (he had 4RBI in the 9-8 loss). D'Arnaud, he of a career .718 OPS, was drafted 37th overall by the Phillies, traded to Toronto for Roy Halladay in 2009, then traded to New York - with Noah Syndergaard - to New York for R.A. Dickey in 2012. That's nuts.
*BreakingT (of which Ya Boi is but a small part) is having a Labor Day Weekend Sale including the Hugs For Homers shirt. Click the link and buy an inexpensive shirt and I get a cut of the sale. Here's my sales pitch on the shirts they make: I run in these shirts. I run a decently-long distance in these shirts (5-10 miles). Not once have these shirts angered my nipples, and they're a quality organization. Not only do I get a (small) cut, but due to the licensing agreement with the various professional leagues they service, so do the players. There's Astros and Rockets stuff, as well, just scroll through. No Texans gear, because Bill O'Brien's dimple won't sell but still.
*Recent Round Rock/Former Astros Great Felipe Paulino has asked to leave actual affiliated baseball to rejoin the Sugar Land Skeeters, if that makes any sense.
*SI, on Dallas Keuchel's recent success and his possible playoff role for the Barves.
*SI.com: The day former Oregon WR Keanon Lowe encountered a school shooter.
*The other day we mentioned Rays Double-A pitcher Blake Bivens, whose wife, son, and mother-in-law were killed by his brother-in-law. Morgan Ensberg is his manager, and flew home with him.
*After Hurricane Katrina hit, a priceless musical archive was thought lost. Then it showed up in southern California.
*A Musical Selection: