Greinke Debut Opens Rockies Series
Houston Producing Amazing Feats Since Trade

Greinke: Saving the best for last?
(c) Associated Press
Alex Bregman did not want a day off and who could blame him? Winners of four straight and seven of their last eight, the Astros are in a zone and don't want to see anything threaten the momentum. One day after bashing a franchise-tying six home runs in an 11-2 romp over Seattle, the Astros saw four pitchers, two arriving at the trade deadline, pitch a 9-0 no-hitter! Justin Verlander's 15th win seemed almost ho-hum.

After Martin Maldonado homered and two Toronto pitchers, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini delivered seven of the nine no-hit innings Saturday, the big prize of the deadline deals finally gets to contribute Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies. Zack Greinke (10-4 with Arizona) will challenge German Marquez (10-5) in the 7:10 pm Central opener. The 73-40 Houston squad leads the AL West by nine games over Oakland starting Tuesday's play.

If that's not enough for the Rox to dread, Gerrit Cole (13-5), who hasn't lost in over two months, pitches the Wednesday afternoon getaway game against Peter Lambert (2-2) in a 1:10 pm Central matinee.

Greinke will have some tough acts to follow. Sanchez, the 27-year-old Californian who entered his Astros debut with a 3-14 record and an ERA over six, silenced the Mariners for six innings before turning it over to Will Harris, Biagini and Chris Devenski for the final three innings of drama. It was the 12th no-no in franchise history and the second to involve multiple pitchers.

Meanwhile, the bats teed off during the sweep. Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez led the way while George Springer had a four-hit game on Friday. Those who attended that contest did not have to wait around for the post-game fireworks display.

In other news, lefthanded reliever Reymin Guduan was suspended for the rest of the season for conduct not adhering to team rules. Since it was the Astros who took action and not Major League Baseball, plus the severity of the suspension would lead one to think it was likely some off-field misconduct that the Astros have battled with before.

The addition of the four players in trade meant others had to return to the minors but you can expect guys like Cy Sneed and Myles Straw to be back for September call-ups and possibly a post-season assignment.

The rest of the regular season may seem anti-climactic but not if the Astros keep making history while set in their sights is yet another 100-win campaign that threatens to eclipse some current team records.

- Bob Hulsey