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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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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