Northern Exposure

Oh yeah, the Astros made a trade with the Blue Jays, too

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So July 31, 2019 will be going down as one of the most exciting dates in Astros History. This day will be enough to shut up the haters because #TakeItBack is becoming more possible by the minute. Unless you lived under an I45 bridge, you knew today was the MLB trade deadline. The Astros had been fairly quiet, and fans were growing impatient; to the point that when Marcus Stroman was traded to the Mets, they were trying to justify trading for Trevor Bauer. While they managed to nail down yet another ace to bolster their pitching rotation in Zack Greinke, the Astros trade that really got my attention was the one between the Astros and Blue Jays.

I have been a Blue Jays fan since I was a child growing up in the yellow prairies of Alberta. Yes, I do own a Joey Bats jersey. The start of the millennium marked my move to the great state of Texas, and I have been following the Astros since my move (Big Puma, anyone?). How could I not when the Juice Box is literally 25 minutes away? So, today took an interesting turn when the Blue Jays traded Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini to the Astros for nothing but Derek Fisher. I painfully reminisced over Sanchez's starts (or lack thereof) the past few seasons. He has only pitched in 51 games since the 2017 season. Finger injuries have plagued him; from a finger caught in a falling suitcase in 2017 to being pulled out of a game for a broken finger nail this season. Hand injuries are Sanchez's kryptonite so it was hard to wrap my mind around where he would help improve a pitching rotation that had just added Zack Greinke. Sanchez's last couple of starts have been a bit reminiscent of his 2016 season. His July 28th game against the Tampa Bay Rays had his most exciting start where he allowed no runs to be scored until the 5th inning and had 10 strike outs. Sanchez should not pitch for more than 4 or 5 innings because the exhaustion can clearly be seen in his demeanor on the mound. Maybe it is time for Sanchez to take on a relief role on a team that has the almighty wizard that is Brent Strom.

Joe Biagini, is admittedly, a player I have been indifferent to. He has a 3-1 record but struggled in his outing against the Royals. Looking at his stats for his short 4-year career, this is his second-best season. Stepping back and taking a look at this trade, it is hard to see how the Astros got away with only sending Derek Fisher for Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini. I have heard various comments on Derek Fisher but per Ross Atkins, he is confident in his level of play and expected to provide depth, however Fisher is a left fielder and currently that position is being dominated by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

All I can say to Ross Atkins is, bless your heart.

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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