NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: The Mandalorian, trouble in Mexico City and X-Men updates

ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

For the next two weeks I'm going to be pointing to the charity called "Let's Bring 'Em Home." They buy plane tickets for active duty enlisted guys and fly them home for the holidays. On December 13th, Nerd Thug Radio and The Adventure Begins will be teaming up and holding the Nerd Thug Takeover to benefit this wonderful organization. Starting at 6pm, proceeds from sales will be going to this 501c registered charity and will be helping to try and bring some enlisted people home for the holidays so they can see their families.

KRAKOA TROUBLES

There may already be trouble in X-Paradise, part of the massive X-Men relaunch has been the new titles with new line ups and new directions. They're already putting one book on hiatus after only two issues and they're bringing more down the way. It's obvious that they haven't found the right line up yet and they're still struggling to find the right mix. Fallen Angels is going to go on a break and Wolverine comes out now at a larger page count, they are also previewing a new book with the most "dysfunctional lineup" ever. I'm not filled with confidence.

TROUBLE IN MEXICO

There's a massive tour going around and the other day they were in Mexico City and the show was cancelled after barricades were damaged and the bands Slipknot and Evanescence hadn't played their sets yet. Some members of the 50,000 strong crowd decided to storm the stage and destroy everything they could get their hands on, which included Evanescence's band gear. They literally watched their gear burn up, that is not how Mexico City should party. Evanescence has been cool about it but bands may want to start renting gear when they play Knotfest.

THE MANDALORIAN

Suddenly there's unhappy nerds with the fourth episode of The Mandalorian. After three episodes of happy nerds in the world of Star Wars, suddenly there's an episode they don't like. It happens to be the episode with a ton of action and an AT-ST walker tank. Who the heck is complaining about this episode and why? Well it turns out, because women help and are bad ass in this episode. Yeah Gina Carano of MMA fame is featured in this episode as shock trooper on the run from her past, and people are mad that she's tough. This is such a joke. Just the casting alone should have been a hint that a character is capable of some serious damage, but then she and the Mandalorian both are on the same page throughout the episode so she's basically set up as a high level mercenary or experienced mercenary of some serious degree so if we've accepted The Mandalorian as an awesome mercenary without any backstory then why are we asking for her backstory before we decide she's awesome too?

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

So in the buildup to Christmas I'm enjoying the access to the entire Marvel catalog and rewatching all of the movies (minus the Hulk and the two Spider-Mans) in chronological order so I started with Captain America. I think of all the intro movies this has held up maybe the best or second best (behind Iron Man). To see young Steve Rogers again, knowing how this all ends and to see the dynamic of the love lost knowing they find each other at the end of Endgame, it makes this movie and the whole story arc for Cap and Agent Carter sweet.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Fortunately for Houston, the Yankees are also going through a rough patch. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Astros playing all their summer home games in air-conditioned Minute Maid Park waters down one aspect of the “dog days of summer” component of the baseball season, but the Astros are dealing with the dog days nevertheless. Even Justin Verlander was afflicted some Wednesday (these things are relative) as the Texas Rangers bombarded him for three runs. Three! Verlander’s season earned run average shot all the way up to 1.85 as he gave up more than one earned run for the first time in eight starts. It’s been a frustrating stretch for the Astros and their fans. A second series loss to the awful Oakland A's, a home series loss to the going nowhere Red Sox, settling for a split in Cleveland after winning the first two games of a four game series, and the as usual also-ran Rangers pestering them. Frustrating, but really not a big deal.

Since exploding out of the All-Star break with five straight wins, the Astros have stumbled to a 7-9 mark in their last 16 games. It happens. 162 games is a lot, and the gap between the haves and have-nots in terms of winning percentage is much smaller than it is in the NFL or NBA. The good news is the Yankees have been stumbling longer. There was no chance the Yankees were going to sustain the pace that had their record at 56-20, but their 15-20 mark since enabled the Astros to eliminate an eight game deficit in the race for the best record in the American League. The Astros have the clearly easier remaining schedule and hold the tiebreaker.

Back in 2017 the Astros blew the doors off the American League with a 42-16 start to their season. As you may recall they’d wind up winning the World Series. Their finishing kick to the regular season was spectacular, 22-8 the final month after acquiring Verlander from the Tigers. The Astros won 101 games in 2017. So simple math tells you for the nearly half the season that fell between the 42-16 start and the 22-8 close, the Astros were a perfectly mediocre ballclub winning 37 and losing 37. The point is, it’s the full body of work that defines the regular season. The Astros opened this season 11-11. Meaning between that and the recent 7-9 struggle, the Astros were an awesome 53-21. The 162 games are about how you finish overall to be positioned for the playoffs. The best team over the whole regular season infrequently wins the World Series. Since the advent of the Wild Card in 1995 in only seven of 27 seasons has MLB’s best team in the regular season won the postseason tournament.

Head-scratching lineup decisions continue

Dusty Baker does some things with the Astros lineup that are simply ridiculous. Among others General Manager James Click is either aware of this or overmatched in his job. Click is not overmatched in his job. Jake Meyers has been overmatched in his job offensively for a month now. As in nine for 64 at the plate, a .141 average and hard to be that bad .422 OPS. Chas McCormick has clobbered left-handed pitching this season while being inept vs. right-handers. So Dusty starting Meyers vs. lefty Martin Perez Tuesday then McCormick vs. righty Glenn Otto Wednesday was daffy. Not exactly shocking they combined to go 0 for seven.

Batting Yuli Gurriel second is also silly, with a bit of a caveat. Yuli has fallen way over the hill. His bat speed has obviously slipped, his plate discipline declined. Martin Maldonado is closer in on base percentage to Gurriel than Gurriel is to McCormick. I mean, come on. The somewhat caveat in Dusty’s defense is the Astro offense has more holes than it has had in years, so he has fewer good options. Michael Brantley’s get on base skill is sorely missed, looking more and more like for good. Over his last 50 games Jeremy Pena is batting .204 with a sub-.600 OPS. Other than McCormick vs. lefties the center field output stinks, Kyle Tucker’s season to date is disappointing, and while Alex Bregman has been much better the past six weeks he’s nowhere close to the stud of 2018 or superstar of 2019. Oh, there’s this. DUSTY, TREY MANCINI SHOULD BE IN THE LINEUP FOUR OUT OF EVERY FIVE GAMES. Mancini should be the primary first baseman, Gurriel more of a pinch hitter and defensive replacement.

McCullers returns this weekend

Lance McCullers has made nearly 12 million dollars so far this season. Saturday he’ll finally throw a pitch that counts. The five year 85 million dollar contract extension the Astros gave McCullers was an eyebrow raiser at point of signing given Lance’s injury history. Will he show enough to be in the Astros’ postseason starting rotation? Verlander is the unchallenged number one with Framber Valdez second. Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy would be the other two. Does McCullers supplant one? Luis Garcia’s ERA over his last 10 starts is 4.76, so he presently would not get consideration, though plenty can change. Under eight weeks of regular season remaining for water to find its level.

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