Astros going with a six-man rotation for a while

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Houston manager Brad Mills has decided to go with a six-man rotation through the All-Star break.  The reason? Bud Norris is coming back and the Astros are so happy with the guy who has been replacing him — Dallas Keuchel — that they don’t want to send him back down.

Eh, their call, but it’s not like Keuchel seems worth the fuss. He’s pitched superficially well in his brief stint, posting a 1.29 ERA in a couple of starts, but it’s a little misleading. He has 14 innings and in that time has only struck out five dudes while walking five. His k-rate has been fairly unremarkable in the minors too, and he’s mostly seen success when repeating a level, which is the sign of a guy who isn’t a stud prospect.

But hey, why not? The Astros aren’t going anywhere. If they want to take a closer look at Keuchel for a couple of weeks while giving some of the other starters a break, no biggie.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.