The Z REPORT

Lance Zierlein: I’m just here for Bregman

It's Alex Bregman's world. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

At this point, it’s Alex Bregman’s world and we are just renting space. It used to be Olajuwon’s world. Then it was Bagwell and Biggio’s world. It’s been J.J. Watt’s world for a long time and Astros like Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers, George Springer, Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman, and Charlie Morton all passed “the world” around last fall from game to game.

Now, in 2018, Bregman is hitting walk-off homers, walk-off infield flies, walk-off foul balls that go fair.

He doesn’t have an HEB commercial yet, but still…. It’s now Alex Bregman’s world.




I don’t know this for a fact…..

While I don’t know these things to be true, I’m just going to guess that they are:

  • When Alex Bregman grills well-marbled, Prime New York strips and always makes them medium rare - he never over-cooks them.

  • Alex Bregman is the wing man who will jump on the grenade just to hook you up. He’s probably that guy.

  • When Bregman was a kid, sleepovers were always at his house because he had the best games on PlayStation.

  • At an expensive restaurant, Bregman is the guy who pays the check for the entire table when he pretends to go to the bathroom.
     

Alex Baseball - what could have been for Johnny

I was watching the #InMyFeelings challenge video that Bregman posted on his Instagram page when it hit me.

You see it, right? Alex Bregman looks like Johnny Football! I mean, they aren’t doppelgängers or anything like that, but with his sunglasses on and his hat to the back, there is definitely some Manziel there.

And you know what? Bregman’s career could have been Manziel’s. It’s like Bregman is showing us what Manziel could have been if he had stayed sober, showed up to batting practice meetings on time, and worked on his game in the off-season.

Look at the picture. It’s Alex Bregman living his best life! His best life is going to the All-Star game with good friends and fellow All-Stars, on a private jet, while wearing his World Series ring. His best life isn’t about seeing and being seen, it’s about being the best player he can be, being unbelievably clutch, being a legend in the city and THEN… enjoying the spoils of his success.

It’s almost like Bregman is teasing us with what Johnny Manziel might have been if he had truly loved football and loved the process that goes with it.

Carlos Correa, George Springer, Justin Verlander, James Harden, J.J. Watt….. these guys have the size and personas to be the King of Houston, but Bregman has become the newest, hottest Houston sports legend.

 

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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