The Houston Astros punched their ticket to the ALCS yesterday, and fans have no clue how to feel. Their World Series title in 2017 has been completely vacated in the minds of some fans. Would winning this year validate them? We might have no choice but to give them their flowers if they win this year’s World Series.
When they finished with a losing record in the regular season (29-31), we realized that Carlos Correa and the Astros were who we always thought they were. Until they weren’t. Suddenly, Houston flipped a switch, dismantling the Minnesota Twins (for whatever that’s worth) and then annihilating the Oakland Athletics. That’s a division leading (36-24) Oakland squad that everyone, especially Vegas, favored.
We assumed pulling the plug on their cheating operation would turn their playoff success into a dud, but it hasn’t. Maybe they were an excellent team that used cheating to find separation with the Dodgers? Their regular season averages plummeted like we expected, yet they’re monstrous in the 2020 postseason.
Carlos Correa continues to be the most outspoken Astro of them all, and his play is unfortunately backing that up. When you hit two homers in two different ALDS games, you get to speak on it.
Carlos Correa is the first player in postseason history with multiple multi-HR games while appearing as a shortstop.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2020
He also had a multi-HR game in the 2015 ALDS in Game 4 against the Royals.
His 14 postseason HR are 1 shy of George Springer for the most in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/MNc5ckPBTt
Will fans forgive them?
If Houston wins the World Series, we should give them credit for being a World Series team. Their title this year would validate what they accomplished three years ago, even if some fans disagree. A major snag for the Astros is how they’re handling the media. Embracing the punk mentality and popping off when they were the ones that cheated doesn’t sit right with many audiences.
Sometimes apologizing and letting fans breathe gives you the opportunity to earn your stripes back. Alex Bregman is a perfect example of this approach. He hasn’t said much since the scandal. With players like Correa running their mouths, all they’re doing now is making opposing fan bases more reluctant to give ’em their due.
Nobody wanted the Houston Astros to be good this year, but it’s a reality we can’t deny. They took a coach in Dusty Baker that was just shoved out the door by the Nationals. They lost a Cy Young runner-up in Gerrit Cole (who should have won) and replaced him with young farm system arms. They also lost a Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander, who has undergone Tommy John surgery. And still the Astros sprinted into the ALCS like it was nothing.
Four straight ALCS berths just might mean they’re better than we thought they were. It’s human nature to blame the opponents for choking, but the Astros are getting the same results regardless of cheating.
Yankees/Rays Game 5 is on tonight, and most of us are hoping for Gerrit Cole to earn his contract. A Yankees victory might be the only way for upset fans to rain on the Houston parade.