The Astros...I just don't know anymore. Lance McCullers threw a magnificent outing for seemingly no real reason and the Astros rewarded him with exactly what they had done for the past few starts: 0 runs scored. The Gun Barrel City Rangers win 6-1. Houston is 29-30. If they do not win today, they will be the first team to make the playoffs with a record below .500. Making history is what it's all about. Sub-.500 flags fly forever. Morons.
*McCullers: 4IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:2BB.
His last three starts: 17.2IP, 7H/0ER, 24K:4BB.
And the Astros' "offense" scored zero runs in those 17.2IP. McCullers:
[You] can't take away games or innings, but you want to look at the large sample size. Subtract a 30-minute hump in early August, I'm rocking a sub-3.00 [ERA] in my last seven or eight starts, I think [it] indicates the pitcher I am. I'm really proud of myself this season.
The lineup did not feature Springer, Brantley, or Correa.
*It was a little bit of a head-scratcher as to why Lance McCullers pitched last night, but it does set up Greinke in Game 1, Urquidy in Game 2, and McCullers for a potential Game 3 (or Game 1 of the 2nd Round - I don't know how many rounds of playoffs there are yet - in an ideal situation.) Today will apparently be a bullpen game. Framber will likely be deployed out of the bullpen, since he has experience doing that sort of thing.
*Brandon Bielak: 2IP, 5H/4ER, 3K:1BB.
*Rangers SP Kyle Gibson vs. Houston, 2020: 15IP, 10H/0ER, 13K:4BB. 0.00 ERA / 0.93 WHIP
SP Kyle Gibson vs Everybody Else, 2020: 52.1IP, 63H/40ER, 45K:26BB. 6.88 ERA / 1.70 WHIP
I hate Kyle Gibson.
*Chandler Rome: The lack of power and clutch hits have defined the Houston Astros. Hitting coach Troy Snitker, on the lack of in-game video:
That was one of the biggest strengths I felt we had as an offense. We had a bunch of guys who were willing to make adjustments in the game, they wanted to be coached in the game. They didn't want to go 0-for-4 or 0-for-3 before they changed something.
*Last night in playoff seedings!
The Mariners won both ends of a double-header. The Twins beat the Reds, the White Sox beat the Cubs, the Pirates beat the Cleveland Spiders.
2. Minnesota: x
3. Oakland: -1
4. Chicago: -1
If all of these results hold, it would appear that the Astros would play Oakland in a three-game series. Nothing bad has ever happened when playing an important series in Oakland.
*Thoughts and prayers with Gary Pettis, who has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and will miss the rest of the season. Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that develops in the plasma cell. Pettis is expected to make a full recovery.
*Carlos Correa is happy with his defensive effort in 2020.
Going into last night's game, Correa was hitting .256/.320/.362 with 13 extra-base hits out of 51 total hits (25.5%) in 2020. For example, Adam Everett hit .248/.299/.357 for the Astros in his career with an XBH% of 28.4%.
Correa, 2015-2017: 1573 PAs, .288/.366/.498, 83 2B / 66 HR, 137 OPS+
Correa, 2018-2020: 1008 PAs, .255/.333/.447, 45 2B / 40 HR, 109 OPS+
*With Ryan Pressly's blown save appearance on Friday night, it gave him the requisite number of appearances for his $10m 2021 contract to vest.
*Former Astros Great Hunter Pence retired from baseball. The former 2nd Round pick by the Astros in 2004 went on to finish 3rd in the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year vote (behind Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki), and had two All-Star appearances for the Astros before getting traded to Philadelphia. This is fun:
Pence was traded for Jarred Cosart. Cosart was traded - in part - for Jake Marisnick (who was traded for Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona), Frances Martes, Colin Moran (who was traded, in part, for Gerrit Cole), and a 2015 Draft compensation pick that turned out to be Daz Cameron (who was traded, in part, for Justin Verlander).
Pence was traded for Jon Singleton, who did nothing much except hit no fewer than 14 of the most magnificent home runs you've ever seen.
Pence was traded for Josh Zeid, who was released after the 2014 season.
Pence was traded for Domingo Santana, who in turn was traded to Milwaukee for Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez. Gomez was released in August 2016. Fiers won a World Series with the Astros before getting signing as a free agent with Detroit and then burning down the Astros.
Good trade all around!
*Jake Kaplan notes that with one additional walk, or one fewer PA, in 2018 or 2019, Kyle Tucker would have qualified for the Rookie of the Year race in 2020. How would he fare in voting?
*Brain-eating amoeba may be in Houston-area tap water, just in case you haven't 2020'd hard enough yet.
*I've been a vegetarian since the middle of May (a mixture of personal health, environmental, and moral concerns). So I love seeing that major restaurants are offering vegetarian options! Oh, wait.
*Wired: The cheating scandal that ripped the poker world apart. Freakin Luhnow at it again...
*Leeds United plays Sheffield United at 6am today. GET UP.
*A Musical Selection: