Shoutout to the County Mountie for giving me the weekend off of Hot Links. Baseball was stupid and tomorrow's the first day of school, so it was very much appreciated. The Astros finally won a game for once in their wretched lives, besting the vaunted Oakland Athletics 4-1 behind an Alex Bregman jack and a solid start from Zack Greinke. Houston is 79-46 with a 7.5-game lead on Oakland. There are 37 regular season games left.
Houston is 22-13 since the All-Star Break, and 10-6 in August. Five of those losses came last week. The Astros have scored four or fewer runs in three straight games for the first time since July 23-26. Houston went 4-6 on the ten-game road trip.
*Zack Greinke threw 7IP, marking the second time since August 2 that an Astros SP has recorded 21 outs (Verlander did it on August 16). Greinke gave up 4H/1ER, 6K:3BB. The walks tied a season-high for Greinke. He has walked seven batters in his three starts (19IP), after having walked seven batters in his previous nine starts for Arizona (58.1IP).
Congratulations to Zack Greinke on picking up his 200th win. Add another Astros cap in the Hall of Fame here in about eight years. He's one of three active pitchers with 200 wins (Verlander, Sabathia). Greinke:
Wins are good. You look back at the end of the year and the team wins a lot and you win a lot, you can't ask for much more than that. I wouldn't say there's many pitchers that would say that that's the Number One most important stat for them, but if you and the team are winning, it's the most important. It doesn't necessarily say you're pitching the best, but it's the most important.
I think Zack did a great job of coming out and stopping the bleeding tonight. We finished a long road trip with a win. We got a lot of work to do to accomplish what we want to, but today was a step in the right direction.
*Pressly and Osuna needed 23 pitches combined to get through the 8th and 9th innings.
*The Astros "offense" was 2x14 w/RISP, because it was just one of those series. They went 5x30 with runners in scoring position over the four-game series.
*But not Alex Bregman! Bregman went 4x4 with a walk, double, and a three-run home run. It's the second time in his career that he's been on base five times in a game, and you have to go all the way back to August 1 to find the first one.
In 14 August games, Bregman is hitting .442/.540/.904 with 10 doubles, 4 home runs, two strikeouts and ten walks. He has raised his OPS from .909 on July 31 to .974 right now. There are only three instances of an Astros' 3B posting a 5.0+ fWAR season. Bregman has two of them (7.6 in 2018, currently 5.5 in 2019). Morgan Ensberg (6.1) had the other one, in 2005.
Bregman's home run was his 30th of the year. He's the first Astros 3B to have back-to-back 30HR seasons, and the first Astro since Lance Berkman (2006-2007) to hit 30HR in back-to-back seasons.
Just a reminder that Justin Maxwell led the 2012 Astros in home runs, with 18. Seven of the 2019 Astros currently have 18+ home runs, and it's the middle of August.
*Yuli Gurriel's RBI double gave him 86 RBIs on the year, a career-high.
*Josh Reddick got a hit! For a second straight game! Reddick's last extra-base hit came on August 6. His last home run was on June 28, a span of 136 PAs. Reddick is 6x40 (.150/.167/.200) in 12 August games. For no reason, Jack Mayfield hit .143/.163/.310 in 16 games. His OPS is almost 100 points higher than Reddick's is in August. Rough stretch.
*Aledmys Diaz was placed on the 10-Day IL after experiencing dizziness on the team bus on Saturday. Maybe he's pregnant. Hinch:
We're going to take every precaution imaginable to make sure he's OK. He should travel back with us and be back in Houston with our doctors. With the roster the way it was, we needed to make a decision.
Cy Sneed, who had already been optioned to Round Rock but hadn't left Oakland yet, was recalled to give the Astros an extra arm. So the freshest arms in the bullpen are now Cy Sneed and Brad Peacock.
Within that link we also find that Gerrit Cole is expected to start Thursday.
*Here's Jake Kaplan with a look at Kyle Tucker and his chances of getting to Houston, or maybe a postseason roster spot, in 2019.
*McTaggart has the origins of each Astro's Players Weekend nickname.
*This offseason we'll take a look at just how many numbers have been retired by the Astros, and why, but Jose Altuve's 27 is Will Leitch's pick for the next Astros number to never get used again.
*Joe Biagini threw for the first time since the Bullpen Game against Chicago and, well: 0.2IP, 3H/5ER, 2K:2BB. Round Rock lost to OKC 14-11.
*The Age of Envy: How to be Happy When Everybody Else's Life Looks Perfect.
*Vanity Fair on Perfection Anxiety.
*A Musical Selection: