And you thought Giants-Rangers couldn’t inspire passion

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With the famously passionate Yankees and Phillies fanbases on outside looking in, I figured there wouldn’t be any trash talk in the leadup to this thing. And there isn’t a ton coming from San Francisco or Texas yet. But if you look down to L.A. there’s some to be found. From the Times’ Steve Dilbeck:

I don’t know much about the Rangers, except they have Cliff Lee and the Dodgers don’t. They play in Ft. Worth, like to call it Dallas-Fort Worth and call themselves the Texas Rangers. When you have that kind of identity crisis, it’s no wonder you can’t find you way to the postseason.

No matter, I am now a huge fan of the Rangers, whoever they are. Go kick some City by the Bay butt. Find your inner Scott Spezio.

I love this because it goes after both teams. The Giants because Dilbeck is a Dodgers guy and hates the Giants and the Rangers for no apparent reason.  Bitterness can be fun if applied liberally and evenhandedly.

(link via Walkoff Walk, who has a much more extended take on it)

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.