FALCON POINTS

Admit it, Astros haters: You need these villains in your life

Getty Images

The Houston sports scene in general remains a disappointment. The Rockets are playing golf and looking for a new coach. The Texans? Pretty much a national joke. But there is good news. The XFL will be back in 2020, and the team everyone outside of Houston hates is still alive in the playoffs.

After slogging along in the shortened season with a losing record, the Astros swept the Twins and will play either Oakland or the White Sox, teams they are certainly capable of beating to reach the ALCS for a fourth straight year.

The best part? The whiny national media, MLB and fans of other teams get to vent about 2017 all over again.

If MLB were smart (I know, that phrase is ridiculous) they would embrace the hatred. Make it a redemption tour. Don't we all love a redemption story? Become more like the WWE. The Astros went from the lovable good guys to heels. Now they try to turn back and win it "the right way."

No one will admit it, but the Astros being alive is the best thing that could happen to baseball. The sport is struggling, and now going up against football, it needs all the attention it can get.

Enter the Astros, who will enable the keyboard warriors and talking heads of the world to spew hyperbole and keep the cheating story alive. The faux outrage will get clicks and ratings. Imagine if the Astros were to make it all the way to the Series again - against the Dodgers, no less. It would dominate the sports headlines, even in an NFL world.

If they lose, the angry mob will have nothing to complain about. They will get a day of "ha ha, the cheaters lost," then will have to retreat back to their basements. Baseball will once again take a back seat to the NFL.

So if you are one of those "I hate the cheaters" people, you should join Astros fan and root for them to keep winning. It will give your meaningless life some purpose. You can extend your pointless outrage for a couple weeks.

From a baseball perspective, the Astros aren't last year's group. The pitching is piecemeal, they have no real ace, and the hitting has not been what it should be. They beat a team that has lost 18 straight playoff games. But they have enough to beat Chicago or Oakland in a five game series. Tampa or New York would be a stretch, but they do have playoff pedigree, and if they can get enough pitching, anything is possible.

Admit it, haters: You need the Astros, Would there be a Star Wars without the empire? Did you not celebrate when Darth Vader turned from the dark side? Rejoice. You have a villain.

The villain baseball needs.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome