Paul Gallant created a religion to worship Houston's greatest G.M.

The church of Jeff Luhnow

Paul Gallant


For sports fans, nothing beats rooting for a sure thing.

Luckily for me, I've been #blessed #soblessed to grow up rooting for an actual demi-god: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady.

That beanie tho...

Elsa/Getty Images

I know, I know. Some of you are frothing at the mouth. Others are experiencing heart palpitations, shuddering as you recall a handsome gunslinger carving up a one loss team that thought letterman jackets were a fantastic fashion statement. Or yo-

"Your lord and savior is a cheating fraud, PAWL."

SHUT UP.

Does being a disciple of the TB12 method mean that I'm more likely to marry a super model? Or that I'd have been a successful quarterback into my late 40s if coach had given me a shot (clearly he was racist against skinny paste bois)? Or that . . . I'm better than you?

Probably. But don't fault me for my parents arbitrarily decided to have the sex / children in the greater Boston area being one of the chosen people. Instead, focus on this: if you're an Astros fan, YOU TOO have a sure thing.

Jeff. Luhnow.

Look at that legend, wheeling, dealing, and acquiring aces for nothing

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

He landed Justin Verlander – and a World Series trophy – by trading a can of pringles and an oatmeal crème pie cookie. He acquired Gerrit Cole for a box of Lunchables Pizza and a Capri Sun.

"Nearly 50% of what you just said was inaccurate to some degree, PAWL."

I'm not even close to done. He drafted Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, and found Yuli Gurriel. He took flyers on the oft injured Charlie Morton and Michael Brantley, and got MVP worthy play out of both. He's fine tuned the use of analytics SO MUCH that the Astros are practically speaking a different language than all of baseball. ALL OF THIS helped slowly turn the Astros from a total laughing stock into the best organization in baseball.

And on Wednesday, Luhnow outdid himself again. He acquired Zack Greinke – 10-4 on the season with a 2.90 ERA - from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, sending over two former first round picks ('18's Seth Beer and '17's J.B. Bukauskas) along with Corbin Martin and Josh Rojas was a lot. BUT, when you consider that he was able to keep BOTH of the Astros top prospects – Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley - this deal looks SIGNIFICANTLY more impressive.

Verlander. Cole. Greinke. And [arguably] the best lineup in baseball. Cancel the season. It's over. Go home.

I'm not a religious man. But Luhnow's greatness has touched something spiritually within me. And I want to share this feeling with ALL of you, through the power of worship. So guess what? I'm starting a religion. Introducing the Church of Jeff Luhnow.

Creating a religion is INCREDIBLY easy. Thanks internet! I became an ordained minister in less than five minutes here (and there are at least 10 alternative just as easy options) and filled out the necessary I.R.S. paper work (slightly more difficult since there are two forms to fill out) for tax exemption. Will I use all future tax-free donations for my own personal gain to spread the word of Luhnow? You bet!

Per the internet, it only takes about 5 steps to create a religion. They are as follows.

1. Choose a focus, a central theme, idea, or person.

This one is easy. Jeff Luhnow – our sweet bilingual Mexican-American prince – is our lord and savior. And through his wisdom, we shall walk the path behind him towards enjoyable October baseball every year.

2. Create a central belief system, consisting of 2 or 3 main dogmas.

We only need 3.

  • Thou shalt not question Jeff Luhnow
  • Seriously, thou shalt not even think of such a thing
  • ARE WE ABOUT TO HAVE A DONNYBROOK YOU DEAF SON OF A-

3. Create Rituals:

  • Win in all trades by aggressively bartering. Even if you're purchasing something from a vending machine, never pay unless you've had a hearty haggle session.
  • Always avoid trading top prospects, because there are lots of dummies in Major League Baseball, and you can always steal an elite pitcher from a team of poors.
  • Aggressively defend the importance of spin rate, even if you literally have no idea about its actual impact on a baseball match.
  • Constantly remind people that analytics are the future of baseball…
  • ...And that you're smarter than other people because you embrace those analytics. REMIND PEOPLE CONSTANTLY for full salvation.
  • And most importantly, persecute Rangers fans to the point of conversion. Good old fashioned Church Inquisition fun!


4. Pay attention to aesthetics, in terms of materials, symbols, etc.

Well, I did make a stained glass window of THE HOLY ONE for our future place of worship...

The perfect stained glass for your home!

Paul Gallant

…and this hat does make me look fat religious enough?

The Grand Tradesman himself.

Paul Gallant

5. Choose your own role. Who are you in this religion?

After atonement / self-flagellation for these two heretical takes on the Gallant Says podcast, I declare my self the High Tradesman of the Church of Luhnow.

So, my new Luhnow-niites, follow me to glory. Trades be with you.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays on iTunes), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 CT on Kube 57, and contributes to SB Nation Radio. Want to get in touch with him? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Houston will look to even the series in Game 2

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: ALCS Game 2 Preview

Elsa/Getty Images

Houston's performance in Game 1 of the ALCS was a night to forget. The Yankees dominated on both sides of the ball en route to a 7-0 victory, which halted any momentum that Houston had built by winning their way into the series with their big Game 5 win in the ALDS.

However, the ALCS is a seven-game series, which means that overcoming a 1-0 deficit is something that a team of Houston's caliber should be able to do. What the Astros have in their favor is that they had arguably their worst starter of the first three games take the mound in Game 1, and in Game 2, they will have Justin Verlander. Here is a quick preview of Game 2 that will take place Sunday night:

Game Facts

When: Sunday, 7:08 p.m Central.

Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, Texas.

TV: FS1.

Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Justin Verlander vs. James Paxton

Series: Yankees lead 1-0.

Series schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching matchup
Game 1Yankees 7, Astros 0Minute Maid Park, Houston TXGreinke (L) vs Tanaka (W)
Game 2Sunday 10/13, 7:08 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXVerlander vs Paxton
Game 3Tuesday 10/15, 3:08 PMYankee Stadium, Bronx NYCole vs Severino
Game 4Wednesday 10/16, 7:08 PMYankee Stadium, Bronx NYTBD vs TBD
Game 5*Thursday 10/17, 7:08 PMYankee Stadium, Bronx NYTBD vs TBD
Game 6*Saturday 10/19, 3:08 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXTBD vs TBD
Game 7*Sunday 10/20, 6:38 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXTBD vs TBD

* If necessary
+ Projected Starters

Game Storylines

Houston needs a big day from Verlander

With the Yankees' bats overpowering Houston pitching in Game 1, the Astros will look to Justin Verlander to try and hold the potent lineup in check to keep them from putting the game out of reach as they did on Saturday against Zack Greinke and Ryan Pressly. Verlander will rise to the moment well, like he always does, and could be just what the Astros need to hold New York at bay.

The intriguing storyline to see will be how Verlander can manage his pitch count. Greinke was able to do great in this area on Saturday, finishing six innings with a pitch count that, if needed, could have allowed him to go deeper. With Verlander working for more strikeouts than contact, it would be a significant benefit to the Astros if he can go deep into Game 2.

Astros need offense to build on

Houston's bats went nearly silent in Game 1. They cannot allow that to happen again on Sunday. While coming out and putting up a huge first inning would bode well for them, the Astros would also do well to get some offense to build on in the early goings of the game to capture some momentum that they can use to get the crowd behind them to shake the Yankees off their game.

I would expect one, or several, of Houston's key bats to have a huge game to even this series up before it shifts to the Bronx for three games. As was seen in Game 1, it's unlikely that the Yankees will go down without getting a few big hits that usually result in runs. The Astros need to put up as many runs as possible to keep the Yankees out of reach.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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