BRAD LIDGE BRINGS THE HEAT

Exclusive: Brad Lidge reveals why Astros have a huge advantage

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We still have no idea if we will even have a 2020 MLB season as baseball's owners and the MLBPA continue their tone-deaf negotiations publicly in the midst of a pandemic and increased racial tensions sweeping the nation.

However, if MLB does prevent itself from driving off a cliff and can strike a deal with its players, the Houston Astros coming off the revelation of the teams 2017 sign-stealing cheating scandal, might actually have a significant advantage according to former Astros All-Star closer Brad Lidge.

"It is absolutely amazing how this thing has played out to the benefit of the Houston Astros players," Brad Lidge said on The Jake Asman Show on Gow Media's SB Nation Radio. "The one thing that I will keep coming back to is, I think collectively we all understand that there are bigger things out there, more important issues. After what everybody in this country has been through, I think it's going to be pretty hard to go out there and boo the players with the same energy had the coronavirus not hit us. I also think because of the fact there are not going to be as many fans in the stands that will also benefit guys."

Lidge does point out that if there are fewer people in the stands in states that might allow fans to attend games at a lower capacity that sometimes you can actually hear a lot more.

"If there are a really few fans, sometimes you can hear those fans more when there is not as much white noise," Lidge said. "But as a general rule, this is a huge blessing for the Houston Astro players. I think the globe has been through a lot more, a lot bigger things than the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal."

While the sports world is no longer focused on the Astros for the time being, Lidge notes that things will change over time.

"It's a huge obviously, egregious foul for the game of baseball but there are bigger more important things right now," Lidge said. "At some point that will be a focus again once baseball gets going."

You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM-10 AM Central on SB Nation Radio.

You can listen to the full interview with Brad Lidge below:


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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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