Why are the Yankees scouting Cliff Lee?

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As the trading season gets increasingly nutsy, we’ve seen an explosion of “Team X had a scout at Player Y’s last game!” chatter.  Here’s a fine example of such a thing from Jon Paul Morosi yesterday:

The Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals were among the clubs with a scout in
attendance at Cliff Lee’s start in Detroit
on Sunday afternoon.

It marked the second straight start by Lee that the Yankees scouted.

Rival clubs believe the Yankees are pursuing Lee ahead of the July 31
non-waiver trade deadline, although it’s possible the Yankees are
scouting Lee in preparation for his upcoming free agency.

Yes, it could be that the Yankees, a team without any discernible need in the rotation, feel it necessary to scout one of the most-watched, most well-known pitchers in baseball.

It’s also possible, is it not, that the Yankees had a scout at the Mariners game because they play the freakin’ Mariners this weekend and will likely be facing Cliff Lee on Friday.

Scouts scout. It’s their job. Just because they show up someplace doesn’t mean they’re working in advance of a trade.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.