Cleat Geeks

The Astros Are Champs, But Are They Allowed To Be So Cocky?

The Astros are 2017 World Series Champions! Or is it the Astros were 2017 World Series Champions? It is currently 2018. According to them they ARE the Champions, and if anyone wants to do something about it, they have to go through Houston in order to do so. Are they allowed to be that cocky? Do you have a problem with Astros players believing in that? Do you have a problem with the Astros players saying it out loud?

The great columnist Bob Nightengale recently wrote a piece about the Houston Astros where he quoted several Astros players. Most of these quotes don’t emulate an Astros roster that is confident in their abilities. Most of these quotes emulate an Astros roster who say they were the best team last year, and since they have the trophy to prove it and they actually are on paper a better club, that means all the other teams fall in line behind them. Let me give you this quote from Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander to start off with, “The World Series goes through us. Everyone in here thinks that way, so why wouldn’t I say that?” Wow, what ever happened to talk softly and carry a big…….bat?

Image result for dallas keuchel astros

Photo by; CBS Sports

How about this from former Cy Young winner and current Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, “Look at us. I know everyone will be gunning for us, but we‘re better than we were last year. We’re the defending champions. To win the ALCS and the World Series, you’ve got to come through Houston. That’s just a fact.”

Then, in some circles, there is this notion that because the New York Yankees added slugger Giancarlo Stanton, it makes them the favorite to suddenly win the AL East. And parley that into representing the AL in the World Series. Now, I am not in that circle, I agree that it is going to take something more than just a guy who is often injured and might hit you 50-60 home runs. But, people think that home runs equal championships. “I get that people want the Yankees to win. They’re a great team. A great organization. One of the most historic franchises in our sport. And they made an unbelievable move getting the reigning NL MVP.” Said Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers. Oh, wait Justin Verlander wants to chime in again, “But starting right now, we’re the team to beat. Bottom line. You’re crazy if you think otherwise.

“It’s just common sense. We won the World Series. We didn’t lose anybody. We got better.” Continued the outspoken Verlander. But did the Astros get better? They will now have Verlander for the entire season. They also acquired Gerrit Cole from the Pirates to go with an already formidable rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. They also strengthened their bullpen by adding both Joe Smith and Hector Rondon. Let’s look at their season a little further, Keuchel missed 8 weeks of the season and only pitched a total of 145.2 innings last season. Brian McCann only played in 97 of the 162 game schedule and you would not know it by how he finished the season but Alex Bregman actually struggled in the first half of the season with a slash line of .256/.388/.419. Looking at all that I would say there is room for improvement and they did seem to get better than there 101 victories of last season.

Image result for a.j. hinch manager

Photo by; The Boston Herald

But, they also need to understand and remember that it was not easy. They had to go 7 games to take down the Yankees, and 7 games to hoist the trophy as the Dodgers gave the Astros all they could handle including a game 5 that took the Astros 5 hours and 17 minutes to come out victorious. Their manager A.J. Hinch tried to be a little more delicate and put last season into perspective. “That’s why we are not going to take it for granted. We know it did not come easy last year. We had so many injuries to everybody. It wasn’t a magic carpet ride.”

Here is a quote that surprised me a little. Mainly because it comes from Charlie Morton a pitcher who has played on some dreadful teams, and it seems now that he is playing on a successful one that he is going to tell the world that his team is the best. “I don’t know how people would see any different to be honest with you. What else could we have done in the off-season? Our offense is the best. We produced the most runs and had the best numbers in every metric that mattered. The rotation is unbelievable. The bullpen is great. And we have a clubhouse filled with guys who just won the World Series and want so bad to do it again. I really don’t know what else we could have done to improve this team, because I think we’ve got it all.” So, Charlie is finally on a successful team, and they can do no wrong. They are the best, and they have it all.

Image result for charlie morton astros

Photo by; FanRag Sports

I am banking the Astros fans are remembering something the players seemed to forget. All those years of losing that they had to endure to call themselves Astros fans. I never heard the Astros organization appoligise for how terrible those teams were. How small the payroll was, but tickets were still being bought. I would also think that the Astros did not discount tickets to any of those games. But, I bet now with a small amount of success, the prices at the ballpark will go up, concessions and merchandise will also be on the rise.

Underselling, overselling, being confident, telling everyone that you are the best. How much of it can the Astros back up? We have 162 games to find out all the answers. I don’t mind you showing off your trophy Houston. But don’t parade around with it in front of your face the whole time, or I will trip you and laugh when it all falls apart. Don’t tell me how good you are, show a little humility, and show me how good you good you are between the white lines, without all the white lies.

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