The Astros beat the Fightin' Ausmuses 5-4. Anaheim was 1x12 w/RISP, so it's nice to see them Astros that game up. Houston is 83-47 with a 7.5-game lead. There are 32 regular season games left. Nine of their remaining 32 games are against teams over .500.
*The Astros have won five of their last six games. They're 14-7 in August. Remember that six of those losses came in an eight-day stretch.
*Zack Greinke stayed perfect as an Astro, though he worked in and out of trouble. Greinke's line: 6.2IP, 10H/3R (2ER), 1K:0BB. It's the first time since May 25, 2017 that a pitcher has thrown at least 6IP, allowed 10+ hits, and had 0-1 strikeouts, and still got the Win. It's the 8th time in franchise history that's happened, and the first since Mike Hampton did it on July 28, 1999.
He can just really pitch. I know nowadays we're fixated on power and stuff and the strikeouts and wipeout this and spin that, and that's all fine and good. But when you see the artistic side of Zack Greinke and how he pitches, how he moves the ball around the strike zone, how he challenges one of the best hitters in baseball in Mike Trout and beats him, there's just an art that he has the It Factor.
Greinke is the 3rd Astros pitcher to win his first four regular season starts, joining Roger Clemens and Justin Verlander.
*The bullpen of Harris-Rondon-Osuna threw 2.1IP, with only a solo home run from Rondon allowed. Rondon has pitched in 50 games this season, and has had a clean outing in 16 of them. Harris struck out Shohei Ohtani to end the 7th with runners on. Hinch:
Zack did a great job and then handed the ball to Will in one of the biggest outs of the game. Rondon comes in, and luckily for us, we tacked on a run...I don't care how we get our 27 outs, and it might go in a different order.
"Luckily for us we tacked on a run" is Rondon's new Player's Weekend Nickname. Kole Calhoun is hitting .239/.330/.484 in 2019. He's hitting .361/.452/.611 against Houston in 2019.
*Yuli Gurriel hit a 2-run home run off The Coward Noe Ramirez (he's the one who plunked Marisnick that set the Astros on fire in July). It was his 26th home run of the season. Gurriel hit 31 home runs in 2017 and 2018 combined.
*Roberto Osuna hasn't allowed a run in six straight appearances. Gerrit Cole gave him some tips on his four-seam fastball that paid dividends.
*Abraham Toro was 2x4 for his first major-league hits - both singles.
*Chandler Rome has a new mailbag in which he addresses how much playing time Kyle Tucker gets in September, the Cy Young race, and Aaron Sanchez's tiddy.
*Richard Justice noticed how Altuve and Gurriel have been two of the hottest hitters in the 2nd half.
*Aledmys Diaz should begin a rehab stint in Round Rock this weekend ahead of his potential activation on Tuesday.
*Josh James threw his first rehab outing for Round Rock on Thursday night. Now, Round Rock verifiably got the crap kicked out of them by Memphis, 14-2. But Josh Big Flames James threw 0.1IP, 2H/3ER, 1K:1BB with two wild pitches. But his fastball sat 95-99mph.
*Bob Nightengale says Gerrit Cole will get $200m+ this offseason.
*The Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees (in that order) have three of the five best home records since 1995, which is why the Astros need to catch the Yankees for home-field advantage. FanGraphs' projections for best overall record:
FanGraphs says the Astros will go 20-12 over the course of the rest of the season, and the Yankees will go 18-14. The rest of the Yankees' regular season: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, @ Seattle, v Oakland, v Texas, @ Boston, @ Detroit, @ Toronto, v Anaheim, v Toronto, @ Tampa, @ Arlington.
*2020 Rotation Candidate Cristian Javier got promoted from Corpus to Round Rock. It's deserved.
Fayetteville: 28.2IP, 15H/3ER, 40K:16BB, 0.94 ERA / 1.08 WHIP.
Corpus: 74IP, 31H/17ER, 114K:39BB, 2.19 ERA / 0.95 WHIP.
He'll be 23 next March.
*Oh, I found out why Reymin Guduan got suspended.
*In his first trip back to Houston as an Angel, Max Stassi recounted the weirdness of his July 31.
*Been a rough 36 hours for the Astros, PR-wise. The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli writes about how the Astros could have handled the Verlander v. Fenech issue differently.
*Our buddy Brady Rodgers got unconditionally released, and will be a free agent.
*The Phillies were up 7-0 on Miami. And lost 19-11.
*SI: Who is the most hopeless team in baseball?
*I have a history blog, where I can dork out doing deep dives on American history stuff that I find interesting. Earlier this week I wrote about Isabella Stewart Gardner and the most famous art heist in history, if that's your kind of thing. If you're looking for a new podcast, might I suggest "Last Seen," a collaboration between WBUR and the Boston Globe, about the robbery.
*CityLab: Why the Amazon is on fire.
*The Guardian: The Machine Always Wins: What Drives Our Addiction to Social Media.
*A Dead Cat, A Lawyer, and a Five-Figure Donation: How the media fell short on Jeffrey Epstein.
*A Musical Selection: