Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Riding a five-game winning streak including a sweep of the Rangers over the weekend, the Astros began a series with the A's on Monday night. Here is a recap of the series opener:
Final Score: Astros 11, A's 1.
Record: 65-37, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Homer Bailey (8-7, 5.42 ERA).
1) 11 runs on the anniversary of Apollo 11
Sometimes you can't predict a story so fitting. After a scoreless first inning, Houston's offense erupted in the second and third innings. It started with Yordan Alvarez who led off the bottom of the second with his eleventh home run. The solo shot to put the Astros on the board at 1-0.
That opened the floodgates as they would go on to score three more runs on an RBI-single by George Springer, RBI-walk by Jose Altuve with the bases loaded, and an RBI-groundout by Alex Bregman. That put Alvarez back at the plate to lead off the third, and he would again spark a big inning.
He walked, setting up a two-run home run by Yuli Gurriel to maintain his unreal pace in recent weeks. They put the next two batters on, which brought Aledmys Diaz to the plate in his first game back from the injured list. He reminded everyone of his power, hitting a home run of his own to score three more runs.
Alvarez would bat again later in the same inning, getting an RBI-double to raise his season total to 35 over his first 30 games. That set a new MLB record over that span of games to start a career. Then, in the next at-bat, Yuli Gurriel would provide another run in the inning on an RBI-single. That made it a seven-run inning, but more notably, gave the Astros an 11-0 lead by scoring eleven runs on eleven hits — all on a night to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
With this 2B, Yordan Alvarez has set a new record for most RBI (35) in a player's first 30 career games. 👏 pic.twitter.com/M5ygezo3w9
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) July 23, 2019
2) Cole reaches 200 strikeouts with 11 on the night, gets win 11 on the year
It was just another ho-hum night for Gerrit Cole on Monday. He started on fire, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. He allowed his first hits of the night in the fourth, a couple of doubles which scored a run to make it an 11-1 game.
That run was overshadowed quickly by a milestone set by Cole in the start; he recorded the second-fastest time to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. In addition to that, Cole threw yet another double-digit strikeout start. He finished the sixth inning with ten and with a pitch count of 95.
That meant he would get the chance to start the seventh inning and attempt to get strikeout number 11. Not only did he start the top of the seventh with that eleventh strikeout, but he would also go on to complete the inning. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11K, 0 HR.
It's July 22.@GerritCole45 has 200 strikeouts. #TipOfTheCap pic.twitter.com/p8EJ6Mp41G
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2019
With Cole's terrific night done, Houston went to their bullpen for the final two innings. First up was Hector Rondon who had a scoreless eighth inning. Then, Joe Smith came in for the ninth inning to close things out for Houston's sixth-straight win.
Up Next: Houston will attempt to extend their winning streak to seven games with another game against Oakland tomorrow night at home. The start time is 7:10 PM with an expected pitching matchup of Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.64 ERA) for the A's going up against Wade Miley (8-4, 3.25 ERA) for the Astros.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.
Astros GM Dana Brown has recently discussed how the club is going to approach free agency on the team's flagship station, and based on his comments, it doesn't sound the Astros are going to spend a lot of money.
He mentioned being “creative” with their strategy and maybe exploring some trade possibilities. Which is why we were surprised to hear from Jon Heyman that the Astros may have interest in Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or another “elite” starting pitcher.
Phillies are still looking at top starters after bringing back Aaron Nola. They have company, as at least the Red Sox, Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers and Astros are looking for an elite starter (and many more than just those teams are on Yamamoto, who’s only 25).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 20, 2023
With the team right up against the tax threshold, a signing like this would certainly push them over, unless they find a way to dump some salary that's already on the books.
But the report that Houston is looking for an elite starter, certainly caught our attention. Mainly, because Dana Brown's comments about backup catcher and bullpen help being the priority, with starting pitching being more of a pipe dream considering the budget constraints.
A move like this would likely require someone like Alex Bregman being traded to make the money work. So is Jon Heyman off the mark with this report, or is Dana Brown quietly looking to add an elite starter?
Plus, just this week the Phillies signed Aaron Nola to a 7-year $172 million contract. Framber Valdez is looking for a long-term deal with 2 years remaining of club control. Will Framber's agent use this contract as a benchmark for what is client is looking for?
Don't miss the video above as we make sense of these recent reports!
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