MISSING OUT

Yankees land Mariners' Paxton as Astros refuse to give up Whitley, Tucker

Kyle Tucker and pitcher Forrest Whitley are key pieces the Astros want to keep. Rich Schultz

Well that didn’t last long. When all of Houston is hoping for some pitching help for their Astros; a huge domino just fell and well, it’s not good.

The New York Yankees traded for Mariners left handed pitcher James Paxton per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Corey Brock of The Athletic. James Paxton sitting at a stout 6’4’’ could have mirrored Justin Verlander's resurgence due to one of the best/reteamed coaching staffs in the MLB. Paxton is 30 years old and netted an impressive 30 games pitched in 2018, which included 11 won, 6, lost, 208 strikeouts, 2.9 WAR and an ERA of 3.67. The best geek stat for Paxton... 32% strikeout rate in 2018. The possibilities could have been endless but what done is done.

The Yankees gave up a pretty good haul for the lefthander. The Yanks will send No. 1 prospect, lefthander Justus Sheffield, No. 22 prospect righthander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.

Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow was not willing to deal his best prospects (Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley) gutting his minor leagues but with Paxton having two years of arbitration control left its hard not to wonder why he didn’t take the chance. Tucker has drastically disappointed and Whitley is slightly above average at best. Whitley has already proven to be immature with his 50 game suspensions in 2018. Whitley has gone 7-10 in 38 starts with a 3.14 ERA, 163 innings pitched and 239 strikeouts.

Now that Paxton is gone, Noah Syndergaard should bethe  top priority. Although he is up for arbitration in 2019 this should not have the Astros or Luhnow afraid to go for it. He is simply too strong to overlook. Syndergaard went 13-4 with an ERA of 3.03 and a WAR of 4.0. The Pirates tried and failed to trade for him but they also don’t have the farm system that the Astros have. The acquisition may not take much seeing that he will have to get paid soon but that should drive the price needed to acquire him way down. It may not even need to include Whitley. With the departure of this generation's Tom Glavine and Andy Pettitte (Dallas Keuchel) imminent, there is plenty of room for a top arm in the rotation. Do not get me wrong he will be expensive but the Astros should not hesitate to pay him over Keuchel.   

This is nothing new and to date it has worked out for Luhnow. All Astros fans can do now is hope that the plan that Luhnow has on paper can be carried out in real life. He is off to a great start by trading for Blue Jays utility man Aledmys Diaz. Luhnow better hope that Whitley is who he thinks he is.

 

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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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