Houston Astros Alex Bregman Is 1 World Series Win From Some Post Scandal Vindication

“Cheater … Cheater … Cheater,” the Phillies fans chanted throughout the three World Series games against Houston last week at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

The five remaining Houston Astros from their state-of-the-art, technologically-savvy sign-stealing scandal of 2017 and ’18 heard and have heard it ever since the story broke in late 2019 and early 2020. The scandal obviously heavily tainted and likely should have obliterated the Astros’ 2017 World Series title over the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

Now, five years later, after World Series losses to Washington in 2019 and to Atlanta last year, the Astros are one win away from their first clean World Series title.

First pitch of game six will be at 8 p.m. Saturday on FOX. If a game seven is necessary, it will be at 8 p.m. Sunday on FOX.

Houston third baseman Alex Bregman hit better on the road in 2017 without illegal pitch signals at .290 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs than he did at home with illegal pitch signals at .278 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Alex Bregman And 4 Other Astros Remain From Scandal Team

Third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, first baseman Yuli Gurriel and pitchers Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers are the surviving soiled stars. Bregman was bitter about the scandal and at first avoided the question at an Astro Fan Fest appearance in January of 2020. A month later at a press conference, though, he apologized.

“I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me,” he said at the time. “I have learned from this and hope to regain the trust of baseball fans.”

Behind the scenes, Bregman was much more apologetic and remorseful, his former coach at LSU, Paul Mainieri, told OutKick this week.

“When that story broke, he called me shortly after, and he could hardly talk on the phone because he was so upset,” Mainieri said. “And he was so apologetic to me. He said he was not making excuses and taking full responsibility. He was as remorseful as he could be.”

In 2017, Bregman, who was the second overall pick of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft by the Astros out of LSU, was in his first full season with Houston.

“He was a new player, and the veteran guys were putting pressure on him to get in on the signals, too,” Mainieri said. “He went along, and his reputation got tarnished. It was a shame because Alex Bregman is as honest, high integrity, blue collar of a player as there is. But he got caught up in that, and he’s got to live with that scar.”

Alex Bregman Has Steadily Improved Since Scandal

But the scar and the tarnish could be fading under his statistics. Bregman hit .284 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs in 2017. He hit .286 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs in 2018. In 2019, Bregman hit .296 with 41 home runs and 112 RBIs.

After the story came out, he hit .242 with six home runs and 22 RBI in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Then he hit .270 with 12 homers and 55 RBI in an injury-marred 2021 season. He missed two months with a quadriceps injury and had off-season hand surgery. In the 2022 regular season, he hit .259 with 23 home runs and 93 RBI.

In the sign-stealing postseason of 2017, Bregman hit just .208 in 18 games, but he had four home runs and 10 RBI. One RBI was particularly crucial. It was a two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning of game five against the Dodgers for a 13-12 win to give Houston a 3-2 lead in the series.

At the moment, Bregman is having one of his better postseasons as he has equaled his best batting average at .292 (also in 2018) and is on his best home run and RBI pace with three homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games. His two-run double off reliever Jose Alvarado Wednesday broke the game open in the fifth inning at Philadelphia for a 3-0 lead. Houston won 5-0 to even the series 2-2.

Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola, who was Bregman’s roommate at LSU in 2014 and the two remain close friends, took the loss. The Astros won 3-2 Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Should there be a game seven, Nola could meet Bregman again.

Philadelphia pitcher Aaron Nola was Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman’s roommate when the two played at LSU in the 2014 season. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri Sometimes Can’t Watch

“It’s hard for me to watch Aaron pitch against Alex,” Mainieri said. “Because you want to see them both do well. I just sit there and watch it like a nervous wreck. I’m a softie. Maybe these guys just want to beat each other’s brains in.”

Mainieri watches two of his favorite former players very closely. And he was protective of Bregman as the scandal story unraveled peel by peel in early 2020. He went back and found an interesting statistic. Since the sign stealing and signals only happened in Astros’ home games, several of the stars of that team had significantly better numbers at home than on the road.

But not Bregman. In 75 games at home in 2017, he hit .278 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs while walking 27 times and striking out 44 times. In 78 games on the road without help, he hit .290 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs while walking 28 times and striking out 53 times.

Alex Bregman’s Statistics In 2017 Were Curious

“Even though he was involved in it, he still hit better on the road,” Mainieri said. “He would’ve still had a good season. He didn’t need that to do great. All hitters benefit when they know what pitch is coming, but Alex doesn’t get fooled that much by off-speed pitches anyway partly because he has such a compact swing. He’s such a good hitter. People think they can get him out by changing speeds, but he hits the majority of his home runs off curveballs. He did that at LSU, too.”

Mainieri said Bregman, 28, is not bitter about the scandal.

“He’s the same guy,” he said. “No one loves the game of baseball more than Alex Bregman. He would rather work at baseball than anything. It’s all he wants to talk about. He’s totally obsessed.”

At one time five years ago, probably too obsessed, like his Astros teammates at the time.

“He really wants to win this World Series to put that behind them,” Mainieri said. “Alex Bregman deserves everything he gets in the game because no one is more dedicated.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

7 Comments

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    • You still booing Springer(Toronto), Correa(Twins), Cole(Yankees), Stassi(Angels), Marwin Gonzales(Yankees), Tony Kemp(A’s), Teoscar Hernandez(Toronto), Colin Moran(Reds), J.D. Davis(Giants), Joe Musgrove(Padres), Collin McHugh(Braves), Charlie Morton(Braves), Tyler Clippard(Nats), Jake Marisnick(Pirates), and don’t forget the guys who came up with the plan, Carlos Beltran(employed by Yankees) and Alex Cora(Red Sox manager)

  1. How exactly does this potential win “vindicate” him from anything? He cheated. He admitted to it. There might be a case to be made that he is redeeming himself. #VindicationVsRedemption

  2. Hi, Glenn. Nice to see your one-note-samba of Astros bashing is still ongoing. However, you seem to have forgotten that there were a number of teams involved with sign-stealing. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers all had sign-stealing operations going on in their home parks. Funny how you conveniently forget that, eh? Did you also forget that the Astros had to defeat each of those teams in the Year Of The Scandal, including the Dodgers at their home park, with their sign-stealing op ongoing? Yes, apparently you did. Funny how that works, eh? Oh, and that Trophy looks great, thank you very much!

    You’ve seemingly got one thing to write on, so you just keep beating it. That horse is beginning to smell, Glenn…

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