First up: Heads-up, Houston. Check the roads before you bounce to work.
I did Monday's Hot Links on Sunday night, because I thought I might want to sleep later than my usual alarm of 4:30am. Why do I get up so early? It's not all Hot Links, though it does take a little bit of time in the mornings. I wake up, have a cup of coffee in the dark like a serial killer, meditate, read the Good Book, and I've been doing yoga since this persistent foot injury just sort of refuses to get back to normal (after almost three months). Anyway, I was awake at 3:45am because I had a dream my dog's leg fell off in the kitchen and when I jerked awake I thought, "Well that's it for sleeping tonight. Let's try again here in about 20 hours." There was absolutely no chance of me staying awake for last night's game. And I, and my blood pressure, was better for it
The Astros and Mariners met for the most important September series for Seattle in quite some years (I have zero interest in going back through Baseball-Reference to see just how long it's been since the Mariners have been four games out of a playoff spot in September). The Astros...crapped the bed, 6-1. Four of the Mariners' six runs were unearned, thanks to Altuve kicking a double play ball. The Astros were 1x8 w/RISP. It's eight straight games of scoring four or fewer runs, and 11 of their last 13. The loss also means that Oakland wins the 2020 AL West, not that it's any kind of surprise. Houston was 24-2 against Seattle in the last two seasons and are now 24-3.
What are you going to do, just going to give them the next two days? They have to earn the next game first. The Angels are knocking at the door behind them. We've just got to take care of our own business.
*Jose Altuve had two hits and a walk. It's the 6th time Altuve has gotten on base three times in a game in 2020, and the first since August 25.
*Michael Brantley: 3x4, his 4th 3-hit game of the season.
*On September 7 Carlos Correa went 2x4 against Oakland and was slashing .301/.367/.441. Since then he's "hitting" .122/.178/.146, lowering his season line to .261/.325/.375.
*Lance McCullers didn't allow a hit until the 6th inning: 6.2IP, 3H/4R (0ER), 7K:2BB.
McCullers' last two starts: 13.2IP, 5H/0ER, 15K:2BB...and the Astros scored zero runs through all of that.
*Dusty Baker, on the Astros' offensive offense:
I was talking to the batting coaches tonight and they're not sleeping. They're trying to figure it out. I'm trying to help them figure it out.
Six of the Astros' nine hits were singles. Brantley:
We're all right. This is a professional team. A great team. We've been here before. We lost tonight. That's why you play the series. We'll come back tomorrow, hopefully even up the series and then win it.
*Springer was not in the lineup last night because "of all the running he did" on Sunday.
*Jake Kaplan: It's looking like the postseason rotation will be Greinke-Urquidy-McCullers, with Framber going to the bullpen.
*Yuli Gurriel reiterated his stance that he wants to re-sign with Houston:
It's been an unforgettable experience for me playing in Houston. Regardless of whatever happens in the offseason...the city will always be in my heart.
*Brent Strom is confident that Justin Verlander will return to form...in 2022. Strom himself was the second pitcher to have Tommy John surgery. Strom, on the news that Verlander wouldn't return:
As much as he brings to the table, both on and off the field, the group we have right now was not really planning on it happening. There was a lot of noise out there on Twitter and a lot of noise in the media about this, and the fact we came to a tipping point didn't cause any alarm or cause any consternation or anything like that. I think we're ready to go with what we have, and I feel confident in them.
*Former Astros Great Ken Giles will undergo
Rob Manfred Tommy John surgery.
*Jake Marisnick is done for the year with the Mets. He played 16 games, and the Astros got Blake Taylor for him.
*Ken Rosenthal: Might A.J. Hinch be the next Tigers manager? If he is, I'm buying a Tigers hat, I don't even care what you think.
*Shoutout to Baltimore's Trey Mancini, who completed his chemotherapy yesterday.
*Buzzfeed: The FinCEN Files offer "an unprecedented view of global financial corruption, the banks enabling it, and the government agencies that fail to stop it."
*Outside: The Books Our Endurance Expert Loved This Year (So Far)
*A Musical Selection: