The Houston Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 yesterday afternoon to improve to 21-19, four games back of the Rangers for the division lead. The Astros have won four of their last five games after winning three of their previous ten games. Mercurial sons of bitches. At 2 hours and 33 minutes, it was the shortest of the three-game set and the 12th-quickest game of the season.
*The Astros went 5-4 on a nine-game road trip with stops in Seattle, Anaheim, and Chicago. Now they return home to face the Cubs and A's. Thirteen of their next 19 games are at home, where they [squints] enjoy an 8-11 record.
*Houston is 17-6 when allowing three or fewer runs, and 19-5 when scoring four or more runs.
*FanGraphs has the Astros at 41.9% to win the AL West, just ahead of the Rangers, who are at 39.3%.
One thing to note about the Rangers is their Strength of Schedule. Baseball-Reference has them tied with the Mets as having the easiest schedule in the Majors to this point, while the Astros have had the 7th-toughest schedule in the Majors. 13 of the Rangers' 40 games have come against the Royals and A's.
*Hunter Brown tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, and yesterday he pitched into the 6th Inning for the first time since April 26. After recording 21 outs in three of his first five starts, Brown has yet to record 18 outs in his last three outings. But! After walking five of the 20 batters he faced against the Giants on May 2, Brown has walked two of the last 47 batters that briefly stepped in.
*The Astros statistically have the third-best rotation in the Majors in 2023, which is insane to think about.
*Bullpen, yesterday: 3.1IP, 0H/0ER, 5K:1BB.
*Yesterday was Ryan Pressly's 18th appearance of the season. He hasn't allowed a hit in 12 of them, and hasn't walked a batter since April 21. Since taking the L on April 11 against the Pirates, he has thrown 12IP, 8H/2ER, 10K:1BB - a 1.50 ERA / 0.75 WHIP.
*After getting at least one hit in six of his first eight games of the season, David Hensley since April 11 (51 PAs - 16 appearances, 13 starts): .067/.177/.156, 18K:6BB, 2XBH.
*Alex Bregman went 4x8 on May 8-9 at Anaheim, and since then has gone 2x16. In May, Bregman has "hit" .170/.235/.277, which is not exactly what you're looking for in the 2-hole.
*Yordan Alvarez has an 11-game hit streak, breaking his previous record of 10 games which he set from September 9-19, 2022.
*In 1270 games with the White Sox, Jose Abreu hit .292/.354/.507. A hit yesterday brought Abreu's line up to .214/.262/.253. Game of Abreu's first homer of the season:
*Congratulations to Yainer Diaz, who hit his first career home run yesterday, and then got the silent treatment. Danielle Lerner wrote about the Yainer Diaz Predicament.
*Jose Altuve got his first hit of 2023 for Sugar Land yesterday.
*Michael Brantley says his shoulder is "very frustrating" and doesn't know how long this latest shut-down will last.
*AT&T SportsNet will broadcast 15 Astros games in Spanish, the first one coming next Sunday.
*After a three-game stretch in which Forrest Whitley threw 13IP, 13H/13ER, 11K:7BB, Whitley went 4IP, 2H/1ER, 4K:1BB on Saturday against El Paso.
*Sugar Land's J.J.
Matisyahu Matijevic, 2023: .299/.354/.573. Grae Kessinger: .317/.436/.472.
*In 19 games for Corpus, Joey Loperfido (2021 - 7th Round) is hitting .308/.452/.554. Corpus' Rhett Kouba (2021 - 12th Round) has a 35:4 K:BB ratio in 29.2IP.
*2022 12th Round pick Zach Dezenzo is hitting .388/.455/.600 in 24 games for Asheville.
*Former Astros Great Zack Greinke became just the 5th pitcher to strike out 1,000 different batters.
*The Athletic: The Brent Venables way, and his vision for the future of Oklahoma football.
*BBC: The surprising power of horror stories.
*My beloved Leeds United are currently at 67% to get relegated to the Championship (2nd division) of English football, with Southampton already clinching relegation. Leicester City are the only team with worse odds (70%) than Leeds. Leeds absolutely have to win at West Ham this weekend, and then hope that Spurs simply want to hurry up and get to Ibiza, in order to stay up.
*ESPN: Doyle Brunson passed away at the age of 89.
*Are Hot Links back? I'm not sure. Are they back this morning? Yeah buddy.
*A musical selection: