Astros Make Late Trades, Rangers Sweep the Angels
The July 31 trade deadline has come and passed with only one AL West team getting in some late trades: the Houston Astros (36-70).
On Wednesday afternoon, they traded starting righty Bud Norris (6-9, 3.93 ERA) to the Baltimore Orioles (59-49). Norris will hit the ground running and pitch on Thursday against his former team.
In return, the Astros got pitcher Josh Hader, outfielder L.J. Hoes and a draft pick.
In Triple-Norfolk this season, Hoes has batted .304 over 99 games while Hader (3-6, 2.65 ERA) has been playing at Class-A Delmarva.
But the Astros did more than just this deal, they also traded outfielder Jason Maxwell to the Kansas City Royals (53-51). In return, the Astros got righty Kyle Smith. From high-A Wilmington, Smith brings a 5-4 (2.85 ERA) record to the team.
Earlier before the trade deadline hit, the Astros had also traded closer Jose Veras to the Detroit Tigers (61-45) for outfield prospect Dantry Vasquez. They’ll receive a second player to be named at a future time.
For the Astros, they sit with the worst MLB record as well as 26 games behind the AL West-leading Oakland A’s (63-45).
On Thursday, they take on the Orioles for the final game of their three-game series with righty Jordan Lyles (4-4) going against former teammate Norris. The Astros crushed the Orioles 11-0 on Wednesday which came from strong play by Juan Castro; he had a grand slam and two doubles.
But this will be short-lived as the Orioles come back for the win (-260, 8.5 o/u).
Rangers Sweep the Angels
A ninth-inning home run by Adrian Beltre got the Rangers their win. In this series, all the games were won on late home runs.
And because it was all about home runs, Rangers Nelson Cruz (No. 25 career against the Angels) got things started in Game 3 with one in the second inning. He has been in the news lately for the Biogenesis scandal as he could possibly be suspended from his role but he has remained in the team’s starting lineup.
In the seventh inning, Angels Josh Hamilton smacked his own home run to tie the game at 1-1.
Beltre said of his recent play via the Associated Press, “Being able to walk off three times in a row, and our offense has been the reason why we struggled the last few weeks, and our offense is getting a lot better. And it starts with me. I haven’t been swinging the bat real well, hitting in the middle of the lineup and not doing my job, but the last couple of games have been better, and hopefully it creates that for everybody.”
Wednesday’s game also included a pitching duel with the Rangers rookie lefty Martin Perez (3-3) vs the Angels righty Jerome Williams (5-7). Perez gave up one run and four hits as he pitched a career-high 7 1/3 innings while Williams was on the mound for 7 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits.
With the three wins, the Rangers have gained ground on the A’s but they still sit four games behind. On Thursday, they’ll play the Arizona Diamondbacks (55-52), who sit four games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (57-49).
For the Rangers, righty Yu Darvish (9-5) will take the mound and help the team grab their fourth straight win. He’s been playing well since coming off the DL with a back strain.
The Diamondbacks will have righty reliever Zeke Spruill for pitching duty. His start comes as the team made a late deal by sending pitcher Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres (50-59) on Wednesday. In return, they received lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, a minor league player and a draft pick.
The Rangers get another win (-192, 8 o/u).