It's the 2nd anniversary of the Verlander trade. The Astros overcame Thorntonitis and beat their former farmhand and the Blue Jays, 7-4. Houston is 88-48. Houston is 31-15 since the All-Star Break, with their .674 win% in the second half beating their 1st Half win% of .633. There are 26 regular season games left. Since the Astros' five-game losing streak (August 13-17), they're 10-2. Houston is 19-8 in August.
Oakland beat New York, and Los Angeles lost to Arizona again, which means that the Astros have moved into a share of the overall best record in MLB:
Houston (88-48): -
New York (88-48): -
Los Angeles (88-49): -0.5
Oakland (78-56): -9
FanGraphs' Rest-of-Season win% projection:
Los Angeles: .608
New York: .580
The Astros have the 14th-hardest remaining schedule according to opponent win%, with an opponent win% of .474. The Yankees have the 13th-hardest, at .484. The Dodgers come in at 15th, with a .478 opponent win%. The Yankees are 12-10 vs the AL West in 2019.
*Jayson Stark notes that the Astros could be the first team to lead the league in pitching strikeouts and have the fewest batting strikeouts.
1. Houston: 1369
2. Boston: 1348
3. Tampa: 1343
1. Houston: 971
2. Pittsburgh: 1017
3. Anaheim: 1031
*Former Astros Great and inaugural member of the Astros Butthurt Hall of Fame Trent Thornton held the Astros to two hits and five strikeouts through the first four innings, and then took the loss after allowing a Springer 3-run home run.
Trent Thornton vs Houston, 2019: 11.2IP, 12H/3ER, 13K:3BB. 2.31 ERA / 1.29 WHIP
Thornton vs Everybody Else, '19: 118IP, 131H/74R, 110K:49BB. 5.64 ERA / 1.53 WHIP
*First four in the lineup (Springer-Altuve-Brantley-Bregman): 8x19, 4K:1BB, 4RBI. It's the 14th 4RBI game of Springer's career, and he last did it on May 12 against the Ramgers. Springer's home run was hit 112.6mph, 463 feet, and he didn't feel a thing. Springer, on his 3-run homer:
It's kind of one of the purest things, I think, in this game. I just kind of heard it and I saw the flight of the ball and just put my head down.
Hinch, on Springer's bomb:
It broke the game open. We really were still fortunate to still be within one run and being able to build that inning...George can hit some pretty long homers, he can hit some timely homers, and that was a perfect one....When we arrive in a ballpark and you're sending George Springer up as the first hitter, it's pretty intimidating. He knows what he's doing, he knows how to jump-start a team, he knows how to provide a lot of energy, a little bit of life in the dugout. He's the perfect table setter.
*Michael Brantley got his 53rd multi-hit game of the season, one behind [shuffles papers] DJ LeMahieu for the league lead. "DJ LeMahieu" is French for "DJ The Mahieu."
*Wade Miley couldn't find the strike zone, allowing 5BB in 3.2IP. It was his 2nd-shortest outing of the season, one out better than his August 14 start. It's the second time this season he has walked five batters in a start (August 2). He had walked four batters total in the four starts since that game. Hinch:
Very rare for him to have (those) kind of command issues. When they rolled the lineup over a third time, it was time to take him out.
*Joe Biagini did the good work, throwing 2IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB against his former team. Biagini, on Toronto and Houston:
I'm excited about it because I know the system they have here is really good. But I was pretty happy with the system in Toronto as well. It's a different philosophy, and I see the merits of this and I see the success they've had with it. There's no denying that. I'm buying in and I'm making these adjustments and I'm trying to kind of assimilate into that way of throwing.
*Rondon, Devenski, and Harris each allowed a solo home run. McHugh was taken out after just 0.1IP and 14 pitches, because Hinch said it didn't look like he had much life on his pitches. In that link, Chandler Rome noted a dip in velocity for McHugh. Not ideal.
*Astros All Access has an interview with Former Astros Great Charlie Morton.
*Former Astros Great Mark Appel has opened a sandwich shop in The Heights.
*Sad news out of DFW as Fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol was found in Tyler Skaggs' system. An Angels employee could be the one who gave the drugs to Skaggs, and the family has retained Rusty Hardin.
*As Hurricane Dorian bears down on Florida, the Astros will clear out their Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach. The Rays could be looking at moving their games against Baltimore, and Houston is a logical fit. Time to repay the favor from Harvey. Charlie Morton pitches for Tampa tomorrow, so it would be a good crowd on hand.
*Cool story on Houston native Paul Goldschmidt, who gave his Silver Slugger award to his former hitting coach.
*Octavio Dotel was cleared of ties to a Dominican crime ring.
*In honor of the 2nd Anniversary of Verlander Day, let's check the receipts:
Verlander: 37-14, 2.48 ERA / 0.84 WHIP, 576K:76BB, Cy Young Runner-Up in 2018, World Series Champion.
Daz Cameron: .217/.332/.385 at Triple-A in 2019.
Franklin Perez: Injuries have held him to 30.2IP since the trade.
Jake Rogers: .118/.230/.289 in 23 games for Detroit in 2019.
*The Atlantic: Meritocracy is killing American high school sports.
*A Musical Selection:
The Hot Links Music playlist on Spotify is up to 181 songs and 11.5 hours.