When you’re past the All-Star break and you’re leading your division by 15.5 games, these summer days are supposed to be relaxing. Monday was anything but for the Houston Astros.
It all started with a little bit of good-natured frivolity. After all, Houston is 10.5 games better than anybody in the American League. And when you’re cruising like that, you’ve got to mix it up. So the Astros decided to stage a funeral for Carlos Beltran‘s glove. He hasn’t played in the field for two months and, well, why not?
Pay your respects.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 18, 2017
If you think the ceremony might have been just a tad premature, then you’re in agreement with Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who told MLB.com, “I’ve not quite given up on the glove, even though they’re going to bury it in the outfield today.”
You can’t beat fun at the old ballyard. When the day began, it seemed like the more interesting ballpark in the Astros organization was Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas, where ace Dallas Keuchel was making a rehab start. (It was a good night for high-profile rehab starts, with the Chicago Cubs‘ Kyle Hendricks throwing five perfect innings for Double-A Tennessee.)
Keuchel did fine, throwing three scoreless frames with two hits and a walk. He threw 45 pitches, 29 for strikes. Keuchel, 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA, has been out since June 2 because of a pinched nerve in his neck. He’s likely to have a couple of more minor league outings, if only because there is exactly zero reason to rush him back to The Show.
After all that, the Astros had a game to play, and it was a doozy. The opponent was the hard-charging Seattle Mariners, whom some like as a wild-card contender. It’s not a stretch to say that the Mariners’ series in Houston is a much bigger deal to Seattle than it is for the Astros.
Seattle jumped to the early lead, but Beltran tied it the sixth with his 433rd career homer. While the teams were trading runs to set up a…