The Astros walloped the Twins yesterday in a 16-8 game that turned in Houston’s favor with an 11-run eighth inning, in which the team batted around (and then some) to take a 13-8 lead into the ninth. It was not ideal for the Twins; it was a very good day for the ‘Stros.
Teams that take an 8-2 lead into the eighth at home have won in, like, 99 percent of their games, according to FanGraphs’ win probability chart.
Here’s how it happened: Ryan Pressly came in and gave up five runs (none of which, somehow, were home runs) and got one out; Craig Breslow came in and gave up three runs; and Matt Belisle closed out the inning by allowing another three runs (including a two-run home run from Carlos Beltrán).
Drew Rucinski gave up three runs to the Astros in the top of the ninth, but by that point it didn’t matter. The Twins were dead in the water as soon as they let the ‘Stros bat around one-and-a-half times.
Of course, Breslow was saddled with the loss. This is one of those innings where everyone fucked up—making it a one-run game, giving up the lead, and then putting the win out of reach—and all the rules about pitcher wins and losses seem even more stupid than they do during standard games. The outcome was that the Astros won 16-8, showing why they lord over the majors right now.
You can go on forever about this offense. Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are hitting over .300, and George Springer’s gone yard 11 times this season. This is the strongest hitting team in baseball, going off OPS+—theirs is 122 to the second-place Nationals’ 113—and most importantly, they’re healthy. They’ve put up 268 runs—around two more per game than the last-place Royals. As a team, the Astros are batting .272/.340/.456/.796, which makes them roughly the cumulative equivalent of a bunch of 2017 Jayson Werths.
The Astros are fortunate to be sitting atop a mostly empty division, 11 games ahead of the second-place Angels, who just lost Mike Trout for a while. They’re cruisin’, and so far have not made a mockery of Sports Illustrated’s 2014 prediction that the they will win the World Series this year.
As for the Twins, they’re holding on by a hair to the lead in the AL Central; like the Astros, they’re a portrait of a team in rebuilding mode, though they have a few more holes to patch up before truly contending. Still. Eleven runs in a single inning. Goddamn.