Shorter one today. You may have noticed that my friend IRL Jeff Blogwell is taking the Hot Links on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I very much appreciate it, and him. The Astros...wow. Houston lost to San Diego 13-2.
*The Astros are 0-7 against the Dodgers, A's, and Padres. Those are the only teams the Astros have played who are over .500. The Astros are 0-7 against good teams, and 15-5 against everybody else. Houston and Arlington are the only two teams without a win against a team over .500.
*The Padres hit six home runs. The Astros have allowed 6+ home runs in a single game just 12 times in franchise history. Trent Grisham is just the 10th player to hit three home runs in a game against the Astros.
*Brandon Bielak "started" the game: 1.1IP, 5H/7ER, 2K:1BB, 4HR. Bielak:
They were just hitting the pitches they were supposed to. I didn't have my best stuff.
Dusty, on Bielak:
It was just a bad night for a young man that's been doing so well. You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. We're just hoping he learns from it.
*Jose Altuve went 3x4 with two doubles. Altuve:
I think it's a combination of a lot of things - good positioning, good pitches to hit, good approach and just be patient and wait for your pitch.
Altuve has raised his batting average from .168 to .221 in the last four games, and his OPS has risen 107 points.
*Taylor Jones hit his first career MLB home run.
*Michael Brantley was activated from the IL and replaced on the IL by Josh James.
*The organization shut down the alternate training site in Corpus after a (1) positive COVID test. After contact tracing, there was apparently no contact with the Main Roster or the Taxi Squad. Imagine seeing this paragraph in a Hot Links seven months ago. Related: Cionel Perez's return to the Astros was delayed after a positive COVID test.
*Lance McCullers [don't do it] had [please no] TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE Friday night. Lance:
I just think sometimes my stuff throughout the games or throughout batters is doing different stuff than I'm accustomed to. I think that's just part of coming back from the surgery and getting the feel.
Click (get it?) that link for some good numbers from McTaggart on his curve/slider usage, and the damage opposing hitters are doing against each pitch.
*Bregman: Said he's "doing great, considering."
*Carlos Correa set a franchise record with 84 consecutive error-less games at Shortstop.
*ESPN's Dan Szymborski says Kevin Gausman is a realistic trade target for the Astros in the next [opens Timepage app] eight days.
*This week is going to be crazy for Houston, and the Gulf Coast in general.
*Texas Monthly: The Man Who Walked Backward.
*One of the few podcasts I regularly listen to is Radiolab. Here's an NYT profile on Radiolab producer Dr. Latif Nasser.
*A Musical Selection, an old-school banger, no way dudes who look like this today achieve any semblance of fame: