EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ASTROS ANALYST

Mike Stanton on MLB's return & Astros chances of winning another championship

Photo by Getty Images.

Baseball fans aren't quite sure what to call Major League Baseball's second attempt at starting the 2020 season but Wednesday marks the start of Spring Training 2.0 or MLB Summer Camp. Most MLB teams are preparing for the upcoming 60-game season at their home city ballparks instead of their usual Spring Training locations, but not every player will be playing for their team in 2020.

Multiple players have decided to opt-out of playing the 2020 season for various reasons regarding health concerns or potentially exposing the virus to an at-risk person in their family. The Nationals Ryan Zimmerman, announced earlier in the week he was opting out of playing because he has a newborn child and a mother suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

But will the rest of the players on those teams losing key members support or resent these decisions?

Former MLB All-Star reliever and current Houston Astros analyst on AT&T SportsNet Mike Stanton joined The Jake Asman Show on Gow Media's SB Nation Radio Wednesday to discuss this situation. When asked if what players say publicly about supporting their opting-out teammates differs from what they may think privately, Stanton said that could definitely be a factor.

"I think there could be some resentment," Stanton said. "I don't know if it ever becomes public or if it ever becomes known by the player that opts-out, but yeah there is going to be some of that here or there. I'm not going to say it's going to be rapid because I think the players that do opt-out will be dealing with inner turmoil with that decision. It's not going to be a decision that is made on a whim, a snap decision, it's not going to be an emotional decision, there's going to be a lot of things that go into that. I think most players are going to understand why these players are going to be opting out but there might be some players that go 'man I wish Mike Stanton' was here today."

Unlike other sports attempting to return, MLB will not be playing games in an isolated bubble meaning that it will be on the players to police themselves and abide by the social distancing guidelines when they are away from the ballparks. Stanton says veteran players are going to have to lead the way to ensure that the younger players follow in-line.

"There is going to have to be accountability," Stanton said. "Those conversations need to be had in between the players... You can't be on the road and be like 'I'm tired of this hotel room, I'm going to go out to lunch today' you just can't do that. You have to maintain your discipline and not get too comfortable in your situation because that is when mistakes happen."

How does the current Astros analyst on AT&T SportsNet feel about the 2020 Astros chances of winning another championship?

"I think they are definitely one of the top two or three teams in the American League," Stanton said. "I think they have as good of a chance as anyone… Especially in a short season, really anything can happen."

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 Mike Stanton below:


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Houston has lost back-to-back games

Astros drop series to Giants with finale loss

Houston's offense came up short again in San Francisco on Sunday. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games against the Giants, the Astros tried to grab the finale to win his high-difficulty series. They came up short, though, with San Francisco once again one-upping them on offense against Luis Garcia, giving Houston back-to-back losses.

Final Score: Giants 5, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 64-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Logan Webb (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (7-6)

Gurriel strikes first, but Giants get the better of Garcia

The Astros were able to grab an early lead against Logan Webb in the top of the first, getting a runner on base to set up Yuli Gurriel for a two-run homer to start the scoring. Luis Garcia, who erased a walk in the first and a double in the second to maintain the 2-0 advantage, ran into trouble in the third. After two quick outs, Kris Bryant, recently acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline, changed the momentum with a solo homer in the first game for his new team.

They scored two more runs during the two-out rally on three hits and a walk, grabbing a 3-2 lead before Garcia would get the final out. He managed a scoreless fourth, but San Francisco got to him again in the fifth, chasing him out of the game with a two-out, two-run homer to extend their lead to 5-2. His final line in the loss: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 89 P.

Giants take series as Astros drop the finale

First out of Houston's bullpen was Rafael Montero, making his debut for his new team. He did well, getting the third out of the fifth then tossing a scoreless sixth. Phil Maton was next, coming in for the bottom of the seventh and erasing a single to keep it a three-run game. After wasting a chance with two runners on in the seventh, the Astros started a new rally in the top of the eighth, getting back-to-back hits to lead it off with runners on first and third with no outs.

They would get just one run from it, though, making it 5-3, which would go final after a scoreless bottom of the eighth by Ryne Stanek and a 1-2-3 inning at the plate by Houston in the top of the ninth. That gave the Giants the series and left the Astros reeling from back-to-back losses as they turn the page to another high-caliber opponent to finish this road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel to the last leg of this road trip, Los Angeles, before a day off on Monday. Tuesday, they'll pick up a quick two-game series with the Dodgers, with Lance McCullers Jr. (8-2, 3.23 ERA) for the Astros going up against Walker Buehler (11-1, 2.19 ERA) for LA in the opener at 9:10 PM Central.

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