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...

Houston's magic number is down to 1

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-4 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the mini-sweep of the Rangers concluding with win number 100 on the season which secured a playoff spot, the Astros turned their sights to clinching the division. With their magic number at 2, they could clinch on Friday with a win in the series opener against Los Angeles and an Oakland loss. Here is a recap of the first game of the weekend against the Angels:

Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 4.

Record: 101-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (17-5, 3.05 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jaime Barria (4-10, 6.43 ERA).

1) Starting with a bang

With a chance to clinch their division and continue to lead the battle for playoff home-field advantage, Houston came out swinging on Friday night. In the first inning, the Astros blasted three home runs with solo shots from Jose Altuve which led off the inning, and Alex Bregman as he tries to catch the sidelined Mike Trout for a possible MVP award.

Later in the inning, Carlos Correa took advantage of a runner on base with a home run of his own, a two-run bomb to extend the lead before Josh Reddick tacked on one more with an RBI-single to make it 5-0 after one.

2) Greinke struggles in the fourth but finishes five innings

Zack Greinke allowed just two hits through the first three innings: a single and a solo home run which at the time cut the lead to 5-1. Carlos Correa pushed the lead back to five runs with his second home run of the night in the bottom of the third.

Greinke would struggle in the top of the fourth, however, allowing five straight hits which would score three runs to cut Houston's lead to 6-4. He would recover and toss a 1-2-3 fifth, but that would be it for him in a five-inning start, as Houston passed the ball to their bullpen to throw the last four frames. His final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

3) Houston's bullpen dominant the rest of the way

Josh James was the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen to take over for Greinke in the top of the sixth and erased a two-out walk to complete a scoreless inning. Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance in a month after having surgery on his knee, returned dominantly with a 1-2-3 inning.

Will Harris did the same in the top of the eighth, holding the two-run lead going to the ninth. Roberto Osuna had the chance for another save in the top of the ninth and converted it to finish off the 6-4 win. That reduced the magic number to one, meaning the Astros are now a win or Oakland loss away from clinching the American League West. They are also just two wins away from matching last year's franchise number of 103.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set with the Angles will be on Saturday at 6:10 PM. Wade Miley (14-5, 3.71 ERA) will get the start for Houston while Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 4.91 ERA) is expected to be on the mound for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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