STOP MELTING DOWN

Patrick Creighton: Astros fans should be happy right now

George Springer and the rest of the Astros will start hitting soon. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If I can steal a quote from Aaron Rodgers for all nervous Astros fans right now, it would be this:

R-E-L-A-X

There’s no reason to think they won’t be at their rightful place atop MLB at the end of the season.

I know they’ve lost three straight.  It has happened before. It will happen again.  It’s no big deal.

I know they aren’t hitting a lick right now.  It’s called a team slump. It passes. Consider the lineup.  You don’t really expect the whole team to be cold all season, do you?  

Realistically, when the team slump ends, a team streak will start.  This team can put up eight runs a game when they hit normally. Just wait until they are hot.

George Springer isn’t going to hit .224, Alex Bregman won’t bat .212.  Right now Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, and Derek Fisher are all riding the Interstate, and Yuli Gurriel just came back from wrist surgery.  

This team won the World Series last year, O Ye of Little Faith.  Have some confidence.

Yes, they’re “only” 10-7.  Believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

When you look at great teams of recent history, generally there’s anywhere from 2-4 hot streaks, and the rest of the year they hover around .500.  

For example:

1984 Detroit Tigers

The Tigers went 104-58 and won the World Series.  They got off to a 35-5 start, and had another 11-1 run later in the year.  That means the rest of the season they were 58-52. Close to .500 ball.

1986 New York Mets

The Mets went 108-54, and won the World Series.  They had three noted streaks during the year, 18-1, 16-3, and 11-2.  Those three hot streaks combined for a 45-6 mark, which means they were 53-48 the rest of the season, or just above .500.

1998 New York Yankees

I chose this team because they not only had an incredible record but because of the fact the Astros lineup is so deep, and that was one of the hallmarks of this Yankees team.  

These Yankees went 114-48 and won the World Series. They had four pronounced runs:  25-4, 20-4, 16-2, 15-2, which combined for a 76-12 mark. The rest of the season, the Yanks were 38-36.  

Are you sensing the pattern yet?

Here, let’s look at one more team that everyone reading this should be familiar with.

2017 Houston Astros

The reigning, defending, undisputed World Champions finished 101-61 last season. They had four distinguished streaks: 10-2, 14-3, 13-1, 14-3, combining to go 51-9.  They went 50-52 in the other games that year. How did it work out? (See the first sentence in this paragraph for a reminder).

Yes, the Astros are scuffling right now, and essentially haven’t been able to hit a beach ball for three weeks.  They are still 10-7. They’re playing near .500 ball while they struggle, and then the hot streaks will come.

By the way, have you noticed the revamped rotation?  You know, where three starters have ERAs under 1.40? The one that is striking batters out faster than trolls can post on Twitter?  

Take a deep breath.  R-E-L-A-X. This team will be just fine. The bats are asleep right now, but we all know what happens when you wake a sleeping giant.

Patrick Creighton is the host of “Straight Heat” on SB Nation Radio, which can be heard locally 9p-12a CT on SportsMap 94.1FM.  Look for his new show “Late Hits” coming to ESPN 97.5 weeknights 7-9p, debuting April 23rd.  Follow him on Twitter: @pcreighton1

 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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