Will Hot Links become weekend-only? I'm not sure. But I'm absolutely willing to do this every morning that I can for the time being. That said, the Houston MF Astros beat the Angels 11-3 to improve to 67-50. The Rangers are not allowed to lose, so the Astros are 2.5 back. There are 45 games remaining in the 2023 regular season.
*Since the All-Star Break the Astros are 17-9, third-best record in the AL. The Rangers are 17-8, second-best. The Mariners are 18-8.
*Houston is 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Rangers are 9-1.
*The Astros have scored 7+ runs in four of their last five games, and have 10+ hits in four straight games.
*Houston has hit a home run in nine straight games, and in 23 of 26 games since the All-Star Break.
*7-8-9 in the lineup (Singleton, Pena, Machete): 9x13, 4XBH, 8RBI.
*1-4 in the lineup: 3x15, 3RBI.
*The Astros struck out five times in the game and PH/3B Grae Kessinger had two of them.
*Jon MF Homerton was 3x4 with two home runs, 5RBI, and a walk. It's his first MLB HR since July 29, 2015 against...the Angels. It's the longest stretch between MLB home runs by a position player since Rafael Belliard homered for the Pirates in 1987 and the Braves in 1997.
It was the 4th 3-hit game of his career and the first since August 2, 2014.
There was this moment in time where I wouldn't say I didn't imagine it, but it wasn't even a thought in my mind. But as life went on, things changed and it definitely was a thought in my mind that this could be my life again.
That was a great night. That's a long time between big league homers. The guys were happy for him and wanted him to get another one, but we'll take whatever we can get.
I think somebody as highly touted as him in the baseball world, you hear about. So yes, I knew of him. Really, really happy for him today. Obviously, it's been a long road. Finding himself back in the big leagues and then having a game like today, really special.
*Jeremy Pena was 3x4 with a double, RBI, walk. It was Pena's first extra-base hit since August 1.
*Maldonado was 3x5 with a double and an RBI. It's his second 3-hit game of the season, and you have to go all the way back to August 3 to find the first one.
*Jose Altuve had two hits and two walks. Since coming back from the IL with an oblique (14 games, 65 PAs), Altuve is hitting .411/.492/.661. He has 1,990 career hits.
*Alex Bregman was 0x2 but drew two walks for the 14th time this season.
*Justin Verlander got the win on his 500th career MLB start. He and Zack Greinke are the only active players to have made 500 starts. Verlander has made 104 regular season starts for the Astros. He's thrown a Quality Start in 81 of them.
It was Verlander's 251st win, tying him for 46th all-time with Bob Gibson, CC Sabathia, and Al Spalding, and puts him 27 wins ahead of Zack Greinke for the most by an active pitcher. Next up is Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell, at 253 wins.
*Rafael Montero threw a clean inning in relief. Since the All-Star Break, Montero: 10.2IP, 5H/3ER, 15K:6BB, 2.53 ERA.
*Phil Maton got hit on the elbow by a comebacker and got X-Rays.
*Jose Abreu got an MRI on his lower back. Dusty, on the problem at 1B (before last night's game):
The other guys that are playing first haven't shown that they have earned that yet, either. You can't just give it to them. We're not in the experimenting business. We'll see how that goes before we start talking about timeshare or whatever. You have to figure out who you're sharing time with and how they're doing.
*Dan Solomon: What did we learn from the Johnny Manziel documentary?
*A top mountain climber has been accused of walking past a dying guide on K2.
*A Musical Selection: