4th and a mile with Paul Muth

The Astros are MLB's Patriots, and World Power Rankings

There's only one move from here. Win. Photo by Getty Images

Weekend takeaways

Well, like I said last week, this past weekend certainly didn't disappoint. The Houston Roughnecks kicked off the season with a huge win, and UFC 247 put on one heck of a show. I learned two things Saturday night:

  1. Reddit's r/XFL appreciated my low effort Roughnecks merch.
  2. Derrick Lewis could not care less about meeting fans after a fight.

That poor guy was inundated with rabid UFC fight bros just dying to get a picture with the heavyweight Houston native once he had arrived to his official after party at Little Woodrow's EaDo. The cringe moment of the night was every fight bro who asked him to do the weigh-in fight pose. There's probably at least one fight bro on your friends list who's already changed his profile picture to that.

Taking a page from Foxborough's playbook

The Astros have more in common with the New England Patriots right now than they'd probably like to. They've both found sustained success (obviously New England has done it longer, don't @ me Patriots fans), but they've also been a source of controversy. Both went to their respective championships, and later it was discovered that both used cameras to steal signs from the defense the same year. The Astros did it in 2017, and coincidentally, the Patriots exactly a decade prior.

The Astros cheated, and the Patriots cheated. There's no denying it.

But here's the thing: you probably thought to yourself "oh yea!" when I brought up the Patriots thing, even though it's almost exactly what the Astros did. The reason you forgot, is because the Patriots kept winning after the fact.

The Astros did two things specifically that have the sporting world outside of Houston demanding blood:

  1. They cheated.
  2. They beat two of the largest markets in the sport in the process

There's a pretty good argument to be made that there would probably be a lot less chirping if the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks had been defeated rather than the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, but here we are. One thing the Patriots at least had going for them was that they were caught spying on a New York Jets team that went 4-12 that season.

Everyone forgets the timeline because we're just now finding out about it, and as a result they think that the 2018 and 2019 seasons were tainted too. The 2019 season was legitimate, and all the more heartbreaking as a result, but it proves something that the dog day Astros fan already knows:

This team is still really, really good.

Vegas doesn't care how much anyone likes a team. They care how good they are, and right now the Astros have the third best odds to make it back to the World Series according to OddsShark.com.

It's painful to be an Astros fan right now. Practically every preseason marketing visual has been scrubbed clean of any Houston representation despite finishing the season in a World Series game 7. It's easy to guess why. But between that and every social media platform spewing venom in the comments section at anything even remotely associated with the Astros, it's understandable why fans would look for ways to just make it go away.

There is a way. The Patriots showed us all, and it's pretty simple.

They won. The Patriots, much like the Astros (at least at the moment) were hardly apologetic. They shrugged it off, continued winning, and eventually the spotlight moved away.

So for everyone's sake Astros...

Go win.

The ultimate world power rankings of the week



#5: Another dog being an awesome bro.

It's really easy to get on my list. Just be a dog doing something awesome like this:

#4: Ohio Medical board harshes fans' vibes

I love the fact that a panel of brilliant doctors had to be convened for this, but once they were they voted in opposition of the petitions that called them there in the first place. According to ESPN.com, It was determined Wednesday that "[b]eing a fan of the NFL's franchises in Cincinnati and Cleveland does not meet the condition requirements to purchase medical marijuana."

They must not be big sports fans, because there's at least some room for debate there if we're being honest.

#3 Football bro invents rule that the other football has been doing for years

I've seen a lot of memes floating around XFL and NFL pages that, well, aren't really memes. It's just the two league's logos and what they think is a hair-brained idea:

This isn't new. This is called relegation, and outside of the play-in game, they've been doing this in soccer for years. Look it up.

#2: Brown Jewelry

No other weird valentine's day gift will dominate your sports commercials more than Kay Jewelers trying to offload those weird brown--excuse me--"Chocolate" diamonds. I still haven't met anyone that has ever actually asked for them, but the TV said it's a thing. Enjoy your final week in the spotlight, weird brown diamond, we'll see you back on TV the day after Thanksgiving.

#1 Valentine's newest trend, pandering to the jaded

This seems like a new thing over the past few years, but if it isn't it's at least gained popularity. Capitalism has found a way to make even more money off of their fake holiday by catering to those who won't be celebrating it. So if you're a vulnerable, newly single person looking for an unhealthy attempt at catharsis, the San Antonio Zoo has just what you're craving. That's right, for $5 you can name a cockroach after your ex. And for those of you truly unable to cope you can drop $25 and they will happily name a pre-frozen rodent after them, to be fed to a reptile later on. Don't worry, for proof they'll send you a certificate that "can be shared on your own social media pages." They'll be live-streaming everything too, so don't worry about missing out!

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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