Monday, September 11, 2023

Astros Update: No One Asked for This Edition


There has to be a strategy going forward to prevent the boring option in the AL West from taking hold. Because I'm absolutely sick of it.

This season in the AL West we had two fantastic prevailing storylines, the rise of the Rangers and their 10+ run games, and the sudden spike in Mariners productivity in August, and I would have loved if either of those teams had legged it out and finished the season ahead in the division. The Astros didn't seem to care about story or narrative or anything, because they got hot in August, capitalized on cold fronts from both teams and are now ahead of the division again, with a 2.5 game lead going into series' with the A's and Royals, the two worst teams in baseball. 

I'm beginning to think they did this on purpose.

You know how last year, people thought the NFL gave the Eagles an easy schedule, and then this year people thought the NFL gave the Eagles a much harder schedule in response? The MLB must have known that there'd be tough competition in the AL West this year, and just decided to line September with easier series' for the Astros. In addition to this stuff this week, the Astros had easy run-ins with the Tigers, Red Sox, Angels and Padres, in addition to sweeping the ailing Rangers. The only easy team that the Astros seemed to have any trouble with were those unpredictable New York Yankees, but that's mainly because the series happened in the brief window between Jasson Dominguez coming up and then Jasson needing Tommy John surgery. So even when we sweep them, they still have the last laugh.

Clearly it is in the best interest of the MLB that the Houston Astros do well. How else do you explain them continuing to be a league force despite losing multiple pieces of the teams that won them rings. The Astros have become a first place team even with late-career Jose Abreu at first, off-peak Cristian Javier starting games, a mostly-anonymous outfield, and Dusty Baker's insistence that Martin Maldonado get the majority of games behind the plate over Yainer Diaz. Circumstantially, this team should be experiencing a drop-off. And yet here they are, in 1st place, looking at yet another smooth road to the World Series if they catch enough fire. 

Somebody up there clearly likes them. How else do you explain the looseness of the reparations Manfred forced on them? 'Okay, very funny you guys, just don't do it again'.

I'm sick of hearing how Jose Abreu can't stop hitting, or how Bregman and Alvarez are better than ever, or how Hector Neris suddenly learned how to stop allowing runs, or how just plugging Justin Verlander back into this rotation solved all the problems. And it sucks because there are cool developments on this team, like the rise of Yainer Diaz as a power-hitting catcher that it took them this long to procure, or the new rookie pitchers that are inheriting the team, or Kyle Tucker possibly paving the way for a legendary career. But because the Astros winning is the most boring and infuriating outcome to this year, I can't enjoy it. I want the fun outcome, or the sensible outcome. I am 100% done with 'and then the Astros came back and won everything, the end'. 

Last year, the Astros never got their comeuppance. I pray it happens this year, and I pray that it's glorious.

Coming Tomorrow- Ironically a former Astro farmhand who's trying to make the playoffs the hard way.

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