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...

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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