Splashy moves, cheap heat at Astros expense sets stage for fireworks in the MLB's 3rd act
Newton’s Third Law of Motion says for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Bet you weren’t expecting a science lesson here. According to Sir Isaac, if the Astros are rising, then the Rangers must be setting in the West. And it's about damn time, too.
This could be the week the Astros reclaim their constitutional right to be in first place. I believe it’s the Sixth Amendment.
Despite trade deadline headlines by the Rangers and Angels, the Astros are in good shape for the pennant drive and another spot in the World Series.
Sure the Rangers made a splash by acquiring Max Scherzer from the Mets, but he’s clearly in his pitching twilight years. His earned run average is up, strikeouts down. Statistically he’s having his worst season in the past 10 years.
Max Scherzer and many of today’s superstars have become hired guns, jumping from team to team chasing a World Series title. Look at Scherzer. He’s a future Hall of Famer, no doubt. Throughout his career he’s been able to name his place and price. He has pitched for six teams since arriving in the big leagues in 2008: the Diamondbacks, Tigers, Nationals, Dodgers, Mets and now the Rangers.
If the Wagner Group ever fielded a baseball team, their starting pitcher would be Max Scherzer. With Justin Verlander warming up in the bullpen.
Free agency, payroll budgets and trade deadline frenzy have created a caste system of haves and have-nots in baseball. Lucky for fans in H-Town, the Astros are the most-have team in MLB the past six years.
Of course it’s not a hard and fast rule that wealthy teams win and penny-pinching teams lose. The Baltimore Orioles are in first place with the 29th lowest payroll (there are only 30 teams), while the Mets are holding a yard sale despite the highest payroll in baseball history. The Padres have the third-highest payroll and they’re below .500 right there with the Mets.
Contracts aren’t loyalty oaths that a player will stay in that city for the length of the deal. Contracts are really just pay schedules. Teams can trade players and players can force their way off a team. Look at Verlander. He signed a two-year deal with a third-year option with the Mets. He practically got a tattoo that said “I Love NY.” His bags are packed after only four months with the Metropolitans.
Kind of makes you admire great players who stick with one team their entire careers, like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell … and let’s wait and see, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.
A funny thing happened Monday night with the World Wrestling Federation in town at Toyota Center. Trish Stratus, a bleach blond evil rulebreaker, was running her mouth about fan favorite Becky Lynch when, out of nowhere, she said, “One thing I’m not is a cheater … like the Astros!”
Yeah, she went there. The sold-out crowd rained boos and jeers on Stratus. It was the loudest crowd reaction of the night. Who the hell are you to say that about our beloved Astros? Hey, we can criticize the Astros and rant on Twitter, but not you Trish Stratus!
Lately there's been a lot of criticizing manager Dusty Baker about his decisions, mostly his continuing to play Martin Maldonado at catcher instead of rookie Yanier Diaz. Maldonado is batting .169, while Diaz is hitting more than a hundred points higher. Baker’s heard it. This week he responded.
“Yanier has trouble with lefties. Everybody’s trying to help me manage. I don’t really need it, thank you,” Baker said.
Baker is right about Diaz’s futility against pitchers who throw left. He’s batting .179 against southpaws.
Just as you can’t blame Baker for asking fans to get off his back on Twitter, fans are entitled to snipe at the manager’s moves. It’s not being disloyal to the team. That’s how baseball works, the team and fan dynamic. So complain all you want. Just not you, Trish Stratus.