Jose Altuve launched a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning and the Astros defeated the Kansas City Royals, 6-1, Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium to cap an 8-2 road trip.
The secondary pitches in Kelvin Herrera’s repertoire have prompted an uneven first year as the Royals’ closer. So on Thursday, as the reigning American League batting champion stood in the right-handed box, Herrera returned to the top weapon in his arsenal.
The Astros' depleted rotation will be without its ace for an undetermined period of time.
This probably wasn't the scenario the Astros envisioned for when they called up Francis Martes for the first time.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. has ace-like stuff and an ace-like makeup. At his best, he combines 94-mph power with a knee-buckling, bat-shattering curveball that might be the best in the game.
With the best record in the Major Leagues and a strong farm system to boot, the Astros have a chance to fatten the cat in this year's MLB Draft with five of the first 91 picks, including two extra picks -- Nos. 56 and 75 -- they received from the Cardinals in the wake of the hacking scandal.
In the span of two days, the Houston Astros transitioned from threatening the franchise record for consecutive victories to operating a shuttle between Kansas City and Fresno, Calif., in a desperate search for viable rotation depth.
Around the League
Gordon Beckham is going to hit 40 homers next year, and other lessons from 2017.
Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the AL Central race, the Weird Baseball Hall of Fame, and the history of the Gatorade bath in baseball.
So far this season, the AL East has played like one of the strongest divisions in baseball history, while the NL East has looked like one of the weakest. What’s caused it? And will it last?
Right now, every Major League front office is waist deep in the Draft waters, angling for the amateur talent that is going to shape squads in the future (here's how to watch and what to watch for once the 2017 MLB Draft begins on Monday). But as soon as we come out of that event -- which will go through Wednesday -- it'll be time to start talking about the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and the search for the players that could help shape the outcome of the 2017 playoff races.