Injuries can be a hindrance or a help. Perspective is everything. Whether you're the guy injured, the one stepping up, the teammate of either, or the opponent of either, there's a way to look at things. You can take the positive approach: choosing to see things as a blessing in disguise and look forward to what the future holds. You can also take the negative approach: seeing how bad things are and how they'll torpedo what you're trying to do.
When news came down that Rangers' pitcher Jacob deGrom will miss significant time due to needing Tommy John surgery, I imagine how hard it must've hit their organization. The video of him tearfully talking about how he's going to miss time and whatnot must've been rough for them to watch. As an Astros fan, and admitted hater of all things that far north of The Wall, I didn't shed a single tear. Tough break!
The Astros have dealt with injuries every year since they've become a powerhouse contender. Every year, a prominent piece of this team misses time. And every year, this team finds a way to keep on winning. During the pandemic season, they still managed to make it to the ALCS. Starters, relievers, position players, suspensions, firings, sanctions, regime changes…NOTHING has stopped this train from rolling down the tracks!
If anything, it's motivated them to play harder and forced guys to step up. One could argue it's helped more than hurt. We've seen guys not only step up, but show out when thrust into the spotlight. Remember when Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr went down? Remember when guys left via free agency? Remember when there was a regime change due to scandal, then another due to creative/business differences? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Do I feel bad for deGrom? Of course. I wouldn't wish injury on any athlete. Well, not most of them. There are a few that…another day, another topic. I hope he comes back better than before. That would make beating them next season and the season after much better because they'll be at full strength. The Astros have constantly risen to the occasion. The Rangers will have to do the same. The difference is, the Astros have done it time and time again. The Rangers haven't won the division since 2016, and haven't been to a World Series since 2011. They don't have the same track record.
That's why I believe this season will be another Astros division title win. They have the firepower to continue to forge ahead, while an injury like this could derail the Rangers. They tried to buy their way to relevance this past offseason. As of this writing, they're 4.5 games up in the division. Other teams that have tried to buy their way into the postseason and/or a World Series aren't doing so well. The Yankees (-7.5), Angels (-9), Mets (-6.5, and Padres (-8) are all teams who've thrown money at attempts at winning and are all behind in their respective divisions.
Refer back to this article in August or September. I guarantee the Rangers will join that list and the Astros will be back in their rightful spot: atop the AL West and headed to the annual AL Astros Invitational, aka the ALCS.