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Thursday's Three Things

Talking about end of the year awards, the Phillies, and Minute Maid Park

Pour one out for the Rockets' season.

1) Not even half way through the season, let's talk the Cy Young Award

ESPN's Jayson Stark talked about his first quarter MLB awards, naming Bryce Harper NL MVP, Nelson Cruz AL MVP, and Max Scherzer as NL CY Young award winner. I'll save you from having to skim, Stark's choice for AL Cy Young award winner thus far is Dallas Keuchel.

The beard has been lights out this season, posting in a 6-1 record with a 1.98 ERA through 72 2/3 innings. He has 49 strikeouts and 21 walks. Keuchel leads the Astros in WAR (1.5) thus far in 2015 and leads the league in opponent batting average (.190), OPS (.507), and innings per start (7.3).

Stark talks about his selection of Keuchel:

Want to make a case for Felix Hernandez or Sonny Gray? I'd never say you're wrong. I could make sizzling cases for both of them without even breaking a sweat. And I almost did. But have you noticed that Keuchel pretty much never loses? OK, so technically, he lost his last start, in Baltimore on Monday. But that was his first loss in over nine months. In between, the Astros went 13-1 in games he started -- and 32-33 when anyone else pitched.

Personally, I would say that Keuchel's case hinges on the Astros' overall success. If the Astros finish the job and make the playoffs, the national media will be looking for storylines to explain that success. No doubt Keuchel will be a key cog in the success thus he would be one of the top candidates for the award.

2) The Astros have become the template

Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News talked with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch, and reliever Chad Qualls. It's always interesting to see an outside perspective on the Astros. Donnellon talked to Qualls, the former Phil, about celebrating the 2005 season and being on the other side of the losing cycle. Hinch and Luhnow talked about their surprise, or lack of, towards the Astros success this season.

Luhnow talking about the his lineup:

"We might be the first team to reach 30 wins with half of our lineup hitting probably 50 points lower than their career averages," said Luhnow, laughing. " . . . People may think it's some formula we came up with. But it's not."

The Phillies can also look to the Astros as a way to get out of the basement and rebuild the farm.

3) Minute Maid Park survives Houston flooding

(sigh) (long sigh) reports that Minute Maid Park did not suffer any major damange after the Houston area flooding this past week.

We also spoke with a rep for the Houston Astros -- who told us Minute Maid Park was also spared ... suffering no major damage on the 29 acre property.

The Houston area saw over 10 inches of rain in much of the Houston area on Monday. As a result of the rain was devastating flooding, property damage, and numerous deaths.

I speak for everyone at TCB, that we wish everyone a swift recovery in Houston area.