National media pushing unsourced Astros, Dusty Baker narrative in part by revising history

STONE COLD 'STROS

National media pushing unsourced Astros, Dusty Baker narrative in part by revising history
Do the Astros miss Dusty Baker? Composite Getty Image.

One of the big stories across MLB this season has been the Astros shockingly slow start. It's the first day of May, and the 'Stros are nine games under .500 and in last place in the AL West.

With so many Astro haters across the country and in the national media, it's no surprise they are enjoying Houston's struggles in 2024.

However, it is fair to question why a team with such high expectations is not living up to them. One of the first things to consider is, what's changed since last year?

Enter the Dusty Baker narrative. USA Today's Bob Nightengale wrote about the Astros slow start out of the gate and how the loss of Dusty Baker is having a negative impact on the club. He also stated that Baker retired because of “the constant media criticism and interference” from the Astros’ analytics team.

Which as an Astros fan sounds odd. Baker was known in Houston for not following the analytics by starting Martin Maldonado over Yainer Diaz. He also took heat for not using Chas McCormick enough, despite him being one of the team's best hitters in 2023. Baker was also constantly asked about Jose Abreu hitting in the heart of his batting order, even though he would finish with the ninth-worse OPS in baseball.

Since there weren't any quotes in the article, it makes us wonder. Is this something Nightengale believes, something he heard in passing, or was he told this by a current or former member of the organization? Hard to know.

Nightengale also said in the piece that “the Astros now are recognizing just how much they miss the future Hall of Famer.”

Here's something else to keep in mind. Baker was in the news just last week for winning a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Baseball Digest. Nothing against Nightengale, but this does feel like convenient timing at the very least.

Also, a Houston media outlet recently published a piece about when Baker leaves an organization, the team falls off. The article does a fine job of pointing out how that was the case in some circumstances. But if you dig deeper, you'll see that's really not the whole story, or true for that matter.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine Baker's role in the Astros' 2024 woes, and analyze if teams really take a step back when Baker is no longer their manager.

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Astros take the series! Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

Ronel Blanco held Oakland in check for seven innings in his return from a suspension and Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics on Sunday.

Jose Altuve added a two-run single in front of an announced crowd of 10,927 to help the Astros win the series and improve to 18-4 against the A's over the past two seasons.

Blanco (5-0) looked sharp in his return from a 10-game suspension for having a foreign substance in his glove during a start against Oakland in Houston last week.

He struck out five of his first eight batters and allowed only four hits, including a solo homer by Max Schuemann, before turning the game over to the bullpen. Houston improved to 8-1 in games started this season by Blanco, who has allowed only 33 hits in 54 1/3 innings.

Shea Langeliers added a solo homer in the ninth for Oakland against Josh Hader.

Oakland starter Aaron Brooks (0-2) pitched around trouble in the first three innings, inducing double-play grounders in the first and second and then striking out Alex Bregman top leave the bases loaded in the third.

Brooks appeared to be on his way to working out of the fourth allowing only one run before a pair of errors by Schuemann at shortstop led to a big inning for Houston.

Schuemann bobbled a two-out grounder by Mauricio Dubon for an error and then threw it wildly to second base for his second error on the play, allowing runners to advance to second and third.

Altuve followed with a two-run single and Tucker then hit his 18th home run to give the Astros a 5-0 lead.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: 1B José Abreu, who accepted a minor league assignment after a sluggish start to the season, is set to rejoin the the team on Monday in Seattle after going 0 for 7 with a walk in two rehab games with Sugar Land.

Athletics: RHP Ross Stripling was set to see a doctor Sunday to determine the severity of his strained right elbow.

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-2, 4.32) is set to start the opener of a four-game series at Seattle on Monday.

Athletics: Oakland is off for Memorial Day and will begin a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Tuesday with RHP Mitch Spence (3-2, 4.09) expected to start the opener.

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