Sustained success by the Astros has put Houston fans in an unfamiliar position

Dear Astro Fan: Quit whining and embrace your inner villain

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." – A quote by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight.

Since the playoffs began there has been a constant rumble among Astros fans about the perceived bias by the national media against the team. This includes more than one "accusation" that pitch tipping by opposing pitchers has artificially augmented the Astros' success. I duck as I say this, but Houston fans have a proclivity to whine - often - about the coverage their teams receive by national outlets; and when it comes to criticisms by those outsiders, well, Houston fans aren't necessarily the toughest bunch. Whether the "hate" in these playoffs is real or just simply perceived it is something Houston fan needs to come to grips with. So with a best in the majors 107 win team still alive and kicking in the playoffs I ask of Houston fans: Why So Serious?

The time has come for Houston fan to embrace the role of the villain

Having a team occupy the villain role in the national discourse is uncharted territory for Houston sports fans, because honestly none of the Houston teams have had serious shots at a championship for multiple years in a row before. Sure you can argue the Rockets have had good stretches but they have never been the odds on favorite to win the title for 3, 4, 5, or more years in a row. Even in the years they did win back-to-back championships they are more or less remembered nationally as the placeholder champions for the years Michael Jordan decided to be a baseball player.

Now with a World Series title, multiple consecutive 100 win seasons, three consecutive ALCS appearances, and a championship potential window that looks to be open for at least a few more years the Astros aren't so beloved outside of Houston anymore. Sure in 2017 they were national darlings as they were a young likable team who were the end result of a long painful losing process. But now people outside of Houston are tiring of their domination. If the Astros are able to move on to the World Series this year I can promise you very few people outside of Houston will want to see them win. The Nationals will be the scrappy team of Avengers and the Astros will be Thanos. But hey, don't worry – Thanos wouldn't be Thanos if he didn't do a whole lot of winning.

The great thing about having your team be the villain though (not including vilification for off the field issues) is that unlike movie villains, sports villains win, and win a bunch. A team only comes to occupy that "bad guy" role among those outside of its fan base by consistent winning. Think of how hated the Yankees, Patriots, Warriors, and Crimson Tide are. Well guess what, their fans are slurping it up and it's time for Astro fan to do the same.

Going back to the Harvey Dent quote at the beginning of this article - the Astros didn't die as heroes in 2017, they have lived long enough with sustained success to become the villain. So next time the Astros get disrespected, whether its from A-Rod, Joe Buck, or an anonymous twitter egg, relish in it, channel your inner villain and think of this:



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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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