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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The Texans have a big decision to make. Composite image by Jack Brame

The last few weeks have brought us some very interesting episodes of "As Kirby Turns." Cal McNair has admitted he hasn't spoken with Deshaun Watson and has also doubled down on his affinity for Jack Easterby by saying he's staying around. The franchise's only member of their Ring of Honor, Andre Johnson, came completely out of character by tweeting his support for Watson to "stand his ground" in what most assume is his desire to play elsewhere. Newly hired general manager Nick Caserio has the hardest job in the NFL because he's basically a one leg man in a bleep kicking contest. National and local media are all floating rumors and opinions about Watson's status with the team. Meanwhile, Watson himself has been cryptic and hasn't come out and said one thing either way about his status with the team.

My opinion is that he won't be traded and this is his way of using the leverage he has to get some things done his way to ensure more of his career won't be wasted. Once they hire a head coach he approves of and they talk, he'll be back in the fold and blow things over by saying he never demanded a trade and was only upset about some things due to miscommunication. Blah blah blah. However, where there's smoke, there must be fire. I'll examine some pros and cons to a potential trade of Watson.

Bad news first. This franchise has waited its entire existence for a franchise quarterback like Watson. Finally getting one and having to deal him amidst the bumbling owner and charlatan right-hand man would be a big blow to overcome. This coming year is shaping up to be difficult as it is, but doing so with Watson wearing a different jersey could prove to be a near fatal blow. It would take an additional year or so to recover. The only way this timeline is expedited, is if they get a quarterback back in the trade or with one of the draft picks that they feel can be the man moving forward.

The bright side. Watson is this team's most attractive asset as it looks to rebuild. There are teams in the top five of this year's draft who need quarterbacks, and a couple of them have multiple first round picks. The Jets, #2 and #23 overall in the first round this draft, are the most intriguing destination because they may be bad next season with Watson if you get that pick in the trade as well. Throw in Sam Darnold, who's still young and salvageable, and this could be a hard reset that may not take as long. The Dolphins, #3 and #18 overall this draft, also have a lot to offer. Rumor has it Watson would like to go to Miami in a deal that includes Tua Tagovailoa, who was a guy Caserio liked when entering the draft. Again, another potential hard reset that may not take long if either young quarterback pans out. You could also trade back from those top slots to acquire more picks to help fill some of the many holes you have.

I reiterate, I do not believe Watson will be traded. I'm not even sure his no trade clause is applicable since he's still under his rookie contract and his extension hasn't kicked in yet. The new CBA rules call for stiffer penalties for players who refuse to report, so a holdout is highly unlikely. I'll be glad when they hire a coach Watson likes, and we get the happy family press conference introducing him, so this soap opera can move on to its next episode.

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