Houston Astros’ Framber Valdez Sets MLB Single-Season Record with 25th Straight Quality Start

Framber Valdez has earned his place in Major League Baseball history…

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros set a major league single-season record with his 25th straight quality start in the Astros’ 11-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

Framber Valdez Valdez’s streak is tied for the third-longest all time across multiple seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Valdez (16-5) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings to pass Jacob deGrom (24 in 2018) for the most consecutive quality starts in a single season in MLB history. Valdez, who threw his first career shutout in his last start, is 15-4 during his streak, which began April 25.

“It’s one of those things that just goes down on your resume, and to be able to have a record like that does mean a lot for me,” he said through a translator.

Valdez’s career-high 16 wins rank second in the American League behind teammate Justin Verlander (17) and his 2.57 ERA is sixth.

Manager Dusty Baker raved about the consistency Valdez has brought to the team this season.

“That’s a remarkable streak,” Baker said. “There have been some great pitchers that he surpassed by breaking this record and I’m just glad that he accomplished it and we won the ballgame.”

Yordan Alvarez Hits Three Home Runs to Help Houston Astros Clinch Playoff Berth

It’s a smashing night for Yordan Alvarez

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder hit three monster home runs to help the Houston Astros past the Oakland Athletics 5-0.

Yordan AlvarezAlvarez homered in his first three at-bats, to help the Astros clinch a postseason berth on Friday night.

The Astros (95-50) won their sixth straight game to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the first two teams to secure playoff spots, reaching their sixth straight postseason.

There was no big celebration for this team with much bigger goals, but the Astros did share a quiet toast in the clubhouse postgame.

“You’ve got to keep in perspective … how hard it is to get to the playoffs and to stay on top like this for a while,” Verlander said. “It’s not easy. So I’m glad we were able to take a moment.”

Alvarez, tied for second in the AL with a career-high 36 home runs, had solo shots off Adrian Martinez in the first, third and fifth innings. He capped his big night with a single in the seventh to tie his career high with four hits.

“Hitting one home run feels great, imagine hitting three,” Alvarez said in Spanish through an interpreter. “Just a very special night.”

It is his second three-homer game and first since August 10, 2019, a season when he won American League Rookie of the Year. There have been only 15 three-homer games in Houston history and Alvarez joined Glenn Davis and Jeff Bagwell as the only Astros to have more than one.

Alvarez’s homers totaled 1,329 feet — 434, 431 and 464. He joined Nelson Cruz on July 25, 2019, as the only players with three 400-plus foot homers in a game since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

“Yordan was unbelievable,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Those balls he hit, I don’t know what the combined feet were, but boy that’s a lot of mileage.”

There were two outs in the first when Alvarez connected on a shot to straightaway center field to make it 1-0.

Alvarez’s second homer came with two outs in the third to extend the lead to 2-0.

Jeremy Pena hit his 18th homer to left field with one out in the fifth. The Astros went back-to-back when Alvarez sent the next pitch from Martinez into center field to extend the lead to 4-0 and send Houston’s dugout and the crowd into a frenzy.

“You take Alvarez out of the lineup and the line’s a lot different,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “Yordan is a guy that I referred to before the season started as a possible MVP candidate. And he showed why tonight.”

Framber Valdez Ties MLB Quality Start Record with Career-First Shutout

Framber Valdez is on a monumental streak… And, he’s capping it off with a historic night.

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher threw his first career shutout and the Houston Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 7-0 on Monday night.

Framber ValdezValdez (15-5) posted his 24th straight quality start, tying New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom (2018) for the longest single-season streak.

“This means a lot to me, because it means I’m helping the team when I’m pitching,” Valdez said through a translator. “They help me with their great defense and their offense, and I know I’m giving them a chance to win.”

The All-Star left-hander gave up six hits and struck out eight with one walk.

“That’s a monumental streak — a lot of great pitchers have never come close to getting there,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Players know when they are getting close to something like that, and that doesn’t bother me, because I know it motivates them to excellence.”

Valdez became the 12th major league pitcher to throw a shutout this season — on track for the fewest in a full season since eight in 1873. No pitcher has more than one.

It was just the 28th complete game in the big leagues this year — down from 50 during the entire 2021 season.

The Tigers were shut out for the second day in a row and club-record 21st time this season, tying them with the 1973 New York Yankees and 1976 Chicago White Sox for most by a team with a designated hitter.

Detroit had runners thrown out at the plate in the first and third innings.

“We made a couple young mistakes early, because we’re struggling to score and we’re trying to make things happen,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “That’s 91 wins for them, and a lot of that comes from elite defense.”

Jeremy Pena had three hits for the Astros and scored twice.

“We scored quite a few runs and I think we could have more,” Baker said. “I’m just happy with the results.”

Tigers starter Eduardo Rodriguez (3-5) allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings.

“They just keep the line moving when they get something going,” Hinch said. “Eduardo wasn’t sharp and they got to him.”

Jose Altuve started the game with a single, stole second and scored on Pena’s single. Pena also stole second and Alex Bregman’s RBI single made it 2-0.

Valdez said the two outs at the plate inspired him to go for his first shutout.

“Once I got out of the third inning, I knew I had a chance,” he said. “That’s always a goal of mine, and today I wanted to get it because I was getting such great defensive plays.”

In the third, the Astros managed to add a run on an inning-ending double play. With the bases loaded, Kyle Tucker hit a grounder to shortstop Javy Baez, who was shifted to the right side. Bregman froze between first and second, preventing Baez from tagging him. Detroit turned the 6-3-4 double play, but Pena scored from third before the Tigers could retire Bregman.

Tucker made it 4-0 with an RBI groundout in the fifth and Yuli Gurriel followed with a run-scoring double.

Tucker added a two-run single in the ninth.

As usual, Valdez picked the team’s navy blue jerseys for his start, but said it wasn’t for superstitious reasons.

“I don’t know why, but they feel lighter to me,” he said. “We’re going to keep wearing them when I pitch.”

Boston Red Sox Catcher Christian Vazquez Traded to Houston Astros

Christian Vazquez is preparing for an astronomical change…

The Houston Astros have acquired the 31-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher from the Boston Red Sox.

Christian VazquezThe Red Sox received infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez and minor league outfielder Wilyer Abreu from the Astros in exchange for Vazquez.

Vazquez has a .759 OPS with 8 home runs and 42 RBIs this season and will provide an immediate upgrade over the Astros current starting catcher, Martin Maldonado.

Vazquez, who will be a free agent next season, had been with the Red Sox since 2014 and was the longest tenured player in the organization.

Valdez, 23, is batting .327 with a 1.016 OPS in 82 games for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land. He is ranked as the Astros’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America.

Abreu, 23, is batting .249 with a .858 OPS in 89 games with Corpus Christi. He is ranked as the Astros’ No. 21 prospect by Baseball America.

Seattle Mariners Acquire Luis Castillo in Trade with Cincinnati Reds

Luis Castillo is heading west…

The Seattle Mariners, looking to end a postseason drought that stretches to 2001, acquired the best arm on the trade market on Friday night in a deal for the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds.

Luis Castillo“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game — he’s really established himself as a dominant starter,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve got a chance to do something really big here this year. You have to step out and take a chance once in a while if you ultimately want to get the reward, take a little risk. Dominant starting pitcher, and I’m anxious to meet him.”

Minor leaguers Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo and Andrew Moore are headed to Cincinnati, the teams announced.

Marte, a shortstop, is the highest rated of the group, with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranking him the 12th-best prospect in baseball ahead of the season.

“We felt this was the best return we could get for Luis,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said.

The Mariners, led by star rookie Julio Rodriguez, are 54-47, 12 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West. They are in the second of three AL wild-card spots, a half-game in front of Tampa Bay (53-47) and two games ahead of Cleveland (51-48). Seattle won its final 14 games before the MLB All-Star break, one short of the longest winning streak in team history and the best run by any club heading into the break since 1933. But the Mariners are 3-5 since, following an 11-1 loss at Houston on Friday night.

Now, they’ve added the best available arm ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline, one who will join an already-solid rotation that includes Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert.

It’s a massive pickup for a Mariners organization that has not reached the postseason since 2001, the longest active drought among the four major North American pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL).

Castillo is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts for the Reds this season, striking out 90 and walking 28 in 85 innings. His fastball averages 97 mph. He has a career 3.62 ERA in six seasons, all with Cincinnati.

“It has been a beautiful experience,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “To have my name in the fans’ mouth and having them cheer me on, it is something I will treasure forever.”

Castillo won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, so the Mariners would have him for at least the rest of this year and all of next.

Castillo has bounced back from a career-worst season in 2021, when he lost 16 games and walked a league-high 75 batters. His changeup has been his best pitch for most of his career, but this year, he is actually throwing his four-seam fastball more, and doing so with a lot of success. Opponents have whiffed on 39% of their swings against his four-seamer, the highest rate of Castillo’s career and the highest of any pitcher in the majors (minimum 300 four-seamers thrown).

Castillo has a 1.38 ERA in four starts against the AL this year, second to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (0.69) among qualified pitchers.

The Reds have been moving veteran players for prospects since the end of the lockout earlier this year. In March, they traded Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Mariners, and Thursday, they traded outfielder Tyler Naquin and reliever Phillip Diehl to the New York Mets.

They’re getting a haul from Seattle in this trade, with Marte and Arroyo ranked among the team’s top 10 prospects ahead of the season by ESPN’s McDaniel.

Marte, 20, has spent the year for High-A Everett, hitting .275 with 15 home runs and a team-best 62 runs scored and 55 RBIs to go along with 13 steals entering Friday.

McDaniel ranked Arroyo, also a shortstop, as Seattle’s eighth-best prospect entering the season. The 18-year-old has spent the season at Single-A Modesto, hitting .316 with 76 runs, 67 RBIs, 13 home runs and 21 steals.

Stoudt, a 24-year-old right-hander and a third-round draft pick in 2019, is 6-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Arkansas this season.

And Moore, 22, has a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Modesto this season.

“Noelvi Marte has a chance to be an impact middle of the order bat who can play shortstop,” Krall said. “Edwin Arroyo same thing — he has power/speed combo, who can play shortstop. Levi Stoudt has a chance to be a major league starter. Andrew Moore just started to pitch. He was drafted last year. He has explosive, explosive stuff. His fastball is up to 102 with a plus slider.”

Cincinnati infielder Brandon Drury also could be moved before the Tuesday deadline, along with several Reds relievers.

J.D. Martinez Added to MLB All-Star Game Roster

J.D. Martinez is getting his all-star moment after all…

The 34-year-old Cuban American professional baseball player, a designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, has been added to the MLB All-Star Game rosters, according to the league.

J.D. Martinez Martinez is part of a roster of new additions that includes Garrett Cooper, and an Francisco Giants ace Carlos Rodon.

Martinez replaces Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez and becomes the third Boston Red Sox player to land on the American League roster along with Xander Bogaerts and have been added to the All-Star rosters, MLB announced Tuesday.

Cooper steps in for reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper. The Philadelphia Phillies‘ star has a fractured thumb. Cooper gives the Miami Marlins three All-Stars as he joins teammates Sandy Alcantara and Jazz Chisholm Jr. 

Rodon was one of the more notable snubs when rosters were announced, but he ends up making his second All-Star appearance by replacing Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader, who has family responsibilities.

Rodon (8-5, 2.70 ERA) was selected by the league to fill in for Hader, while Martinez and Cooper were next up in voting at their positions. This is the fifth time Martinez has been an All-Star, but the first time for Cooper.

Dodger Stadium will host the MLB All-Star Game next Tuesday night at 7:30 pm ET.

Framber Valdez & Three Houston Astros Relievers Tie MLB Record for Strikeouts in Nine-Inning Game

Framber Valdez has earned a place in Major League Baseball history…

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher and three Houston Astros relievers tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game, as the Astros won 4-2 for a sweep on Sunday of the Los Angeles Angels.

Framber ValdezTwelve different Los Angeles batters came to the plate and all of them struck out at least once. 

Valdez struck out a career-high 13 in six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks. Relievers Hector Neris and Rafael Montero each struck out two in scoreless innings and Ryan Pressly (2-2) fanned three in the ninth.

“It’s something that is very emotional and very exciting for me,” Valdez said through a translator after the game. “It’s very special to be a part of that.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker concurred.

“It’s very impressive. He was throwing strikes,” Baker said referring to Valdez, and when asked about the team total of 20, he simply replied, “Boy, that’s a lot.”

The 20 strikeouts is the most in a nine-inning game in Astros franchise history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. There had been several occasions where other teams struck out 20, including performances by Max Scherzer, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. The Astros’ previous record was 18 in 1964 against Cincinnati.

Houston pitchers fanned 47 in the series against the Angels.

Yordan Alvarez Signs Lucrative Six-Year Contract Extension with Houston Astros

Yordan Alvarez isn’t leaving Houston anytime soon…

The 24-year-old professional baseball designated hitter and outfielder, a Cuban defector who hadn’t played in any professional games in the U.S. when he was acquired, has signed a six-year contract extension with the Houston Astros that runs through the 2028 season.

Yordan Alvarez“First, I want to give thanks to [owner] Jim [Crane] and [general manager] James [Click] to give me the opportunity to be here the next six years,” Alvarez said. “It just means a lot. I’ve put a lot of work into this and to see the fruits of the labor means a lot.”

In August 2016, the Astros completed a minor trade that sent relief pitcher Josh Fields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the unproven Minor League Baseball slugger, and it turned out to be one of the best deals in Houston franchise history.

Alvarez, moved quickly through the Astros’ system, winning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2019.

This year, he’s in the hunt for the AL Most Valuable Player Award and is a budding star, which is why the Astros wanted to make sure to keep him in a Houston uniform for years to come.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com when the deal was first reported Friday that it is worth $115 million. Along with a $5 million signing bonus, Alvarez will receive $7 million next season, $10 million in 2024, $15 million in ’25 and $26 million each year from 2026-28.

That makes it the second-largest contract in club history, trailing only the five-year, $151 million extension Jose Altuve received in March 2018.

“Yordan is one of the most complete hitters in the game of baseball,” Click said. “His combination of plate discipline, approach, power to all fields and the ability to hit any pitch that is thrown to him make him an elite hitter at the plate. Early in his career, many talked about him as a designated hitter. But through his hard work and dedication, he has turned himself into a quality player in left field. Combined with his hitting, this makes him quite simply one of the best players in the game right now.”

Entering Monday, Alvarez was fourth in the MLB in OPS (1.105), while leading the Astros in many offensive categories, including batting average (.295), home runs (16) and RBIs (34).

He was named AL Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .565 (13-for-23) with four home runs and eight RBIs.

“He’s the best hitter I’ve ever played with,” Altuve said. “He’s amazing. He can hit the ball the other way; he hits triples, homers and he walks. What a good hitter. I’m happy about this deal. I know how hard he’s worked, and just to know we’re going to have Yordan for six more years, it means a lot.”

The Astros began talking about a possible extension with Alvarez in March and negotiations began in the middle of April, agent Dan Lozano said.

“I think the biggest part is the timing was right and we were able to come to an agreement,” Alvarez said.

After missing most of the 2020 season following a pair of knee surgeries, Alvarez hit .277 with 33 homers and 104 RBIs in his first full season in the big leagues last year. He was named the 2021 ALCS MVP, hitting .522 with a homer and six RBIs against the Red Sox.

While Alvarez has blossomed into an elite offensive player, he’s also made huge strides defensively after serving mostly as a designated hitter in his rookie season. He underwent surgeries on both knees that cost him most of the 2020 season, and he was determined to play more left field. He started only nine games in left in ’19, but he started 39 in left last year and has started 18 so far this season.

“He’s a big man, but he’s also faster than he gets credit for,” Click said. “He has the ability to chase balls down in the gaps. That’s the main thing I’ve seen for him out there. … It’s a testament to his work ethic, his dedication and his character that he’s worked himself into shape to play out there as much as he has.”

The press conference to announce the deal was attended by several of Alvarez’s teammates, including Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley, Jake Odorizzi and Aledmys Díaz. The show of support from his teammates has helped Alvarez make Houston his home for years to come.

“I feel very happy,” Alvarez said. “From the day I was called up, they gave me the opportunity and trusted in me. It felt like I was in the Majors for a while because of the trust they put in me.”

Houston Astros Acquire Mauricio Dubón from San Francisco Giants

Mauricio Dubón is preparing for an astronomical season…

The Houston Astros have acquired the 27-year-old Honduran professional baseball shortstop and center fielder in a trade with the San Francisco Giants.

Mauricio Dubón Dubón is batting .239 with two homers and eight RBIs in 21 games this season. He has big league experience at second base, third base, shortstop and center field.

“He really came together as a man, as a teammate, and as a baseball player,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “This is a great opportunity for him.”

The Giants received minor league catcher Michael Papierski in the deal. Papierski was assigned to Triple-A Sacramento.

“It’s always nice to have a switch-hitter and a guy that’s more difficult to match up against,” Kapler said about Papierski. “As aggressive as we are in using our bench, it’s always nice to have, potentially at some point, a guy that you may be able to kind of let ride, particularly at the catcher position.”

San Francisco also recalled infielder Donovan Walton from Sacramento before the Giants’ game at the St. Louis Cardinals.

Dubón made his Major League Baseball debut in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He is a .258 hitter with 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 179 games in the majors.

The Astros had won 11 straight games heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Washington Nationals.

Natalee Linez to Appear in Hulu’s Series “Tell Me Lies,” Based on Carola Lovering’s Novel

Natalee Linez is in a telling mood…

The Latina actress has been cast in the Hulu series Tell Me Lies, based on Carola Lovering’s novel.

Natalee LinezJonathan Levine will direct the pilot and executive produce the project.

Linez will star opposite Gabriella Pession and Edmund Donovan have been cast in recurring roles opposite Grace Van Patten in the series executive produced by Emma Roberts.

Adapted by Meaghan OppenheimerTell Me Lies follows a tumultuous but intoxicating relationship as it unfolds over the course of 8 years. When Lucy Albright (Van Patten) and Stephen DeMarco meet at college, they are at that formative age when seemingly mundane choices lead the way to irrevocable consequences. Although their relationship begins like any typical campus romance, they quickly fall into an addictive entanglement that will permanently alter not only their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.

Oppenheimer, who wrote the pilot script, executive produces with Roberts, Levine and Belletrist co-founder Karah Preiss via their banner. Laura Lewis executive produces for Rebelle Media, and Shannon Gibson executive produces for Vice Studios. Matt Matruski will oversee for Belletrist, with Stephanie Noonan overseeing for Rebelle Media and Sam Schlaifer overseeing for Vice-owned Refinery29. Lovering will serve as a consulting producer. The series comes from 20th Television.

Linez most recently appeared in the role of Jessica Figueroa on Starz’s Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Her other recent credits include The Good Doctor, Siren and Hawaii Five-O.