FALCON POINTS

Baseball Twitter loses its mind over the silliest things - collisions and juicy balls

Justin Verlander. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The All-Star break has come and gone, and baseball is set up for the second half of the season. The Astros are well on their way to another postseason run, and as they continue to get healthy, the post-All-Star break should be an easy coast to the wire. Yes, they need another starting pitcher before the playoffs, but the odds are good they will make a move.

But in the silly season of summer, the slowest time of year, baseball Twitter is losing its mind over goofy topics, and the Astros are at the center of both.

Overreaction to a play

You can tell the sports world is slow when Jake Marisnick is a topic for two days. If you have not seen the play, well, you have been living under a rock. The overreactions were instant. "Dirty player!" if you aren't an Astros fan. "He did nothing wrong" if you are. Almost every take was overly simplistic and patently biased. People had their minds made up and used whatever they saw to back up their argument. That unfortunately is the way of the world.

Did it warrant endless debate where everyone had to have an opinion? Of course not. Was it intentional? Probably not. But there is no way of truly judging that. Was it the right call? Yes. Should he get suspended? Possibly. You can not intend to hurt someone, but actions matter. Could it have been avoided? Maybe. The guy who drinks a fifth of Jack Daniels and gets in his car does not intend to slam into a minivan, either. But there is punishment. A play might not be intentionally dirty, but it can still be dirty.

Still, it is absolutely ridiculous to look at a bang bang play in slow motion and determine intent. An athlete has less than a second to make that decision in real time. You have 20 seconds in slow motion hindsight. Does it mean you should not have an opinion? Of course not. But bumper sticker takes and ripping anyone who disagrees? Save that for our uplifting political Twitter.

I do get where it comes from. There are a lot of hot take TV screamers making a lot of money doing the same thing. So many people feel the need to parrot the takes or take the opposite side. We have lost the "debate" part of debates.

Regardless, MLB should make a decision and move on and Twitter should find something else to pontificate about. Oh, wait...

Your balls are juiced

Justin Verlander started the discussion on juiced up balls by calling out MLB. "It's a (bleeping) joke," he said.

Verlander is refreshing. He speaks his mind, and is not afraid to take a stand, even if it is something you disagree with. It is much better than athletes who give stock answers.

It started a debate on whether or not he was correct. Several players disagreed, including his own teammate, Carlos Correa, the victim of a vicious massage assault.

Does it really matter? Home runs sell tickets. Just look at the steroid era. And if you don't believe there are PEDs out there that can't be masked or have not been discovered, then you are just naive. If they have juiced the balls? Fine. There are other, more detailed possibilities. But let's not worry about stuff like that, right?

If these are the topics that people are concerned with...It's time for a change in your life. Go on a date. Watch Stranger Things. Get out of your parent's house and go do something fun and put the Twitter machine away for a while. Don't turn simple comments or actions into endless debate. Be more than a Fortune Cookie philosopher or have better than a bumper sticker hot take.

What's next?

I get things are slow. But by now, we should have all moved on. Yet here I am writing about it. I can't wait for football season, when we can dive into real takes.

Like "was that really targeting?" "Did he intend to hurt the player?"

Oh, wait...

Astros get back on track with lopsided win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 11-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With two of their worst pitching performances behind them from Monday and Tuesday nights, the Astros had Gerrit Cole on the mound on Wednesday to try and right the ship. Here is a recap of the third of four games in this series:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 2.

Record: 60-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Felix Pena (7-3, 4.92 ERA).

1) Overpowering offense makes it easy for Houston's pitchers

Houston's openers and primary pitchers put up disappointing numbers the offense could not overcome the previous two nights. Houston's bats flipped the script on that, taking control of the game on Tuesday night to make it less stressful for Gerrit Cole and the bullpen.

They started with a three-run first inning, getting a one-out single by Jose Altuve who would score on an RBI-double by Alex Bregman before a two-run homer by Michael Brantley in the next at-bat. They continued scoring in the next two innings, getting a run in each. Jose Altuve notched an RBI-double in the second, then Yuli Gurriel led the third inning off with a double before scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning.

They nearly doubled that 6-0 lead in the top of the fifth, getting four straight two-out hits. It started with a single by Robinson Chirinos to move Michael Brantley, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, over to second. Tyler White was next with another RBI in this series, getting a single to score Brantley. Jake Marisnick was next, and he came through with an RBI-double before George Springer would clear the bases with a three-run dinger to make it an 11-0 game.

2) Cole gives fans a breath of fresh air

As mentioned, Astros fans were desperate for an efficient pitching performance after the woes of the last two nights. Gerrit Cole delivered, rebounding from his previous start, which was a drop-off from his usual numbers and having a more typical night.

Cole allowed only a handful of hits and a walk over the first four innings, keeping the Angels off the board until the fifth. They would tag him with his near-daily home run in that inning, a solo shot to make it an 11-1 game, the only run he would allow on the night.

Even with his pitch count in the 90s after six innings, the Astros trusted him to come back out and eat another inning. He did so, getting a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh on three strikeouts, bringing his total on the night to eleven. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.

Cole's excellent performance meant only two innings of relief needed from Houston' bullpen. Joe Smith provided a scoreless eighth, then Ryan Pressly wrapped things up despite allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 11-2.

Up Next: The Astros and Angels will conclude this series tomorrow with the finale of the four-game set starting an hour earlier at 8:07 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) for Houston going up against Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA) for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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