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Astros Crawfish Boil: August 11th, 2015

Happenings from around the league: George Springer's six week checkup approaches, Jonny Cueto dazzles and Chris Sale handles Angels.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

No one can blame you if you took the day off from baseball yesterday, as the Astros got a much needed day off to refocus. The rough stretch may continue as the Astros prepare for a tough matchup with the San Francisco Giants tonight. But while you may have been taking the day off and focusing on other non baseball related things, the rest of the league was in action. So here is what you missed yesterday in baseball:

First, some Astros related news from the day off:

Contingency Plan Needed for Luke Gregorson?
The Houston Astros need a bonafide ninth inning guy. Luke Gregorson had been that guy, but he is faltering. Do they need a contingency plan?

Astros focused on big picture after rough week
The road did not treat the Astros particularly well. Yet as they get ready to face the defending World Series champion Giants on Tuesday, they still find themselves in first place in the American League West, a game ahead of the Angels.

Scott Kazmir aware of Madison Bumgarner’s bat in Giants’ lineup

From a Dallas Keuchel-Sonny Gray match-up in the last series to a Scott Kazmir-Madison Bumgarner billing to begin a two-game series with the Giants on Tuesday, the Astros aren’t receiving the most favorable pairings to dig themselves out of this rut.

George Springer hopes doctor visit will offer timetable for wrist-strengthening activities

Once the Astros get home — they’re scheduled to fly back to Houston on Wednesday night after the second of two games with the Giants — Springer will shortly thereafter go for his six-week check-up. That could give him clearance to start strengthening his right wrist.

And now on to what happened in the rest of the league:

Mets rally for win over Rockies |
A return to their little slice of Queens, jammed between Roosevelt Avenue and the Grand Central Parkway, was apparently all the Mets needed to rediscover their winning ways. The Mets' 4-2 win over the Rockies on Monday was their eighth win in 10 games and their fourth straight at Citi Field.

Gio Gonzalez, Ian Desmond lead Nats in LA

The Nationals put together a five-run sixth inning and Ian Desmond cranked two home runs as Washington rolled past the Dodgers, 8-3, at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.

Johnny Cueto feeds off fans for shutout
It was a postseason atmosphere Monday night at Kauffman Stadium with Johnny Cueto on the mound making his Royals home debut, and 36,672 screaming fans giving him an ovation every time he strolled back to the dugout. Cueto certainly didn't disappoint, tossing a four-hit shutout, the sixth shutout of his career, and the Royals rolled past the Tigers, 4-0.

Pirates ready for showdown with Cardinals |
"If it wasn't for the Cardinals, you would hear a lot more about the Pirates," Morse said Friday. "The Cardinals, they just can't lose right now."

Keys to Toronto Blue Jays winning streak
No team rocked the baseball world at the Trade Deadline like the Blue Jays did when they acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, among others. Since Tulowitzki made his Toronto debut on July 29, the red-hot Jays have won 10 of 11 games, coming from seven games behind the Yankees in the American League East to a mere 1.5 games out, with New York coming to Canada for three this weekend.

Avi's 2 HRs back Sale as White Sox down Angels |
Reports of Chris Sale's mound demise have been greatly exaggerated. The White Sox ace allowed two runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings during an 8-2 victory over the Angels Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field, beginning a three-game series and a six-game homestand for the South Siders.