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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After a rough, disheartening loss the night before to even the series at one game apiece, the Astros tried to shake it off and regroup for a win on Thursday to get the series win against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Here is a quick recap of the finale:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 5, Astros 4.

Record: 6-6, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Junior Guerra (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ryan Pressly (0-1, 40.50 ERA).

Bielak tosses an impressive start as Houston puts him in winning position

After both teams finished the first three innings scoreless, the Astros were able to get a little bit of good luck on their side, unlike the night prior. Jose Altuve started the inning with a much-needed single, stole second, then moved to third on a groundout for the second out. That set up Yuli Gurriel, who hit a ball down the third-base line that would strike the bag and bounce away from Arizona, allowing Altuve to score and put Houston up 1-0.

Though he likely would have preferred more run support, Brandon Bielak made do with that one run in his first career MLB start. He was able to complete five innings of work, holding Arizona scoreless over that span despite allowing a runner in each inning. He left in line for the win, with a final line of 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 HR.

Altuve extends the lead, then Diamondbacks go ahead

Jose Altuve helped double the lead in the top of the sixth, connecting for a one-out solo home run to make it 2-0. With Bielak's night over at five innings, Cy Sneed took over in the bottom of the sixth and allowed back-to-back one-out doubles to cut Houston's lead in half. He allowed a single to put runners on the corners before Dusty Baker would move on to another reliever to try and preserve the lead. Blake Taylor would enter but allowed the tying RBI-single to take Bielak out of winning position. Taylor would go on to allow a go-ahead run before getting out of the jam.

In the bottom of the seventh, Taylor was still on the mound but would only get two outs before another call to the pen. Andre Scrubb would enter and get the final out of the inning. In the top of the eighth, Jose Altuve would improve to 3-for-4 on the night with a two-out double, setting up Alex Bregman for a go-ahead two-run home run to make it 4-3, Houston.

Ryan Pressly allows the walk-off

Scrubb went back to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and was able to record a 1-2-3 inning to move the game to the ninth. After a scoreless top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly would attempt to get the save in the bottom of the inning. Instead, he would allow the walk-off, loading the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles before a two-RBI single to give Arizona the win and the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Oakland to kick off a three-game weekend series with the A's on Friday at 8:10 PM Central. The A's will send Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.93 ERA) to the mound while Houston will turn to Zack Greinke (0-0, 5.00 ERA) to help cut down Oakland's division lead.

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