*The Astros played an inter-squad game today, with Josh James squaring off against National Treasure Zack Greinke.
Zack Greinke on Brent Strom referring to him as the silent assassin: “First I’ve heard of it..probably not the most creative thing I’ve ever heard.”— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 16, 2020
*Make sure you check out this Greinke profile from last week by Chandler Rome.
*For the 12th time in his career, and the 3rd time as an Astro, Justin Verlander will start Opening Day. Verlander:
One of my goals was to get my mechanics back to what they had been and get my velocity up to what it used to be, or better than last year anyway. I looked at this as an opportunity to get better. I went through a full rebuild process, working on getting my mechanics where I wanted them. I went down the rabbit hole.
*McTaggart also has an Inbox, in which he addressed the Astros' DH until Yordan's return, the Astros' bullpen with Joe Smith opting out, Forrest Whitley, and Cristian Javier.
*In yesterday's Notebook, McTaggart talked about Joe Smith, Austin Pruitt's impending IL stint, Bryan Abreu ready to come out of the bullpen, and Yuli Gurriel's desire to end his MLB career in Houston.
*Brent Strom is confident in his pitchers, despite [waves hands] all this.
*We are all Brent Strom.
Brent Strom on game7 of the World Series:”I know people will laugh at me,but on my screen saver on my computer is the 2-1 changeup (Greinke)threw to Soto that was a strike that got called a ball n the 7 inning & I think changed the entire World Series..I’m still pissed about it” pic.twitter.com/dOfncre6Ts— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 16, 2020
*Click here to find the radio/tv broadcast info for the two exhibition games with Kansas City.
*ESPN's Baseball Dudes answered some big questions, and the Astros feature prominently.
*Former Astros Great Bud Norris was released by the Phillies. I had not noticed that Norris was not with a team in 2019 - he last pitched for St. Louis in 2018.
*Former Astros Great Tyler White has signed with South Korea's SK Wyverns.
*I'm so triggered by the Baseball-Reference Simulated 2020 season, with the Astros in 4th place at 50-45.
*Yahoo's Tim Brown: Are "MLB's newly-appointed villains" still feeling the hate?
*SI's Emma Baccellieri: How MLB families are navigating the 2020 season.
*The Athletic's Grant Brisbee in a must-read: 10 years ago, Bengie Molina did the most unlikely thing in baseball history.
*Back in April I wrote up a history of Leeds United on this here bolg. You would have to be deliberately obtuse to not know that I'm a fan. Today, Leeds beat last-place Barnsley 1-0, though to be fair, the one goal was an own goal on Barnsley. I had some definite World Series Blood Pressure going. Doesn't matter. What it means is that, with a West Bromwich Albion and/or a Brenford tie or loss, or - should those two teams win out - Leeds only need one point in their last two games to go back to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
*A Musical Selection:
*Vice: 26 essential albums you may have missed in 2020.
*How Rich are The Rich? If only you knew...
*Coronavirus has only made the mafia stronger.
*Outside: A new theory on exercise's anti-cancer effect.
Each day is better than the next.