We love the Houston Astros not because of how bad they are, nor how easy they are to beat, no; we love the Astros because they represent something beyond the typical scope of Major League franchises. Before I get into talking about the Rangers 2nd win in as many days in Houston, or the current 6-game winning streak they’re riding, or being victorious in 11 of their last 12, let me explain:
While some organizations are disillusioned into “going for it” by trading away their top prospects (Royals), or too stupid to realize how bad they actually are (Phillies), the Astros have not been blind as to their actual standing in the baseball universe. They are bad. They know they are bad. They know they will continue to be bad.
But then, perhaps as early as 2015, the losing will cease. Of the 4 teams aside the Rangers in the American League West, Houston is the one team that scares the shit out of me looking forward these next 5-10 years, mainly because they are building an organization from the ground up, much like Jon Daniels & Co. have done.
There’s something romantic about the idea of blowing everything up, starting from scratch. But maybe that’s just me and my occasional fantasy — that I’m too chicken to ever follow through on — of just throwing everything away, walking out of my confines and comfort zone, and never coming back. Just be a completely new person.
So in that sense, I appreciate a good rebuild. If you aren’t going to the playoffs, you ought to just be as bad as you possibly can; sell the assets you can get value from; profit off the higher Rule-4 draft pick.
That’s how I feel about the Astros.
As for the Rangers, it’s the 2nd night in a row they trailed 4-3 heading into the top of the 8th, and the 2nd night in a row they tied and eventually won the game. Last night it was 9-5; on Saturday night it was 5-4.
Derek Holland threw a quality start (6.0 IP/3 ER), but he wasn’t sharp, and numerous times appeared frustrated by the umpire’s strike zone. All told, he did strike out a batter an inning, walking 2, and ultimately put his offense in a position to go out and grab a win.
Alex Rios could be considered the star of the game — in his first action as a Ranger — as he went 2-3 with a walk, tripling home the game’s tying run in the 8th, and scoring the winning run thereafter.
Elvis Andrus had an uncharacteristic night at the plate, striking out 3 times in his first 3 at-bats, and then belted his first HR, a two-run shot, of the ’13 season in his 4th AB.
A.J. Pierzynski added a solo HR of his own.
The Rangers (67-50) are now 17 games over .500 (their new high-water mark in 2013), are 1.0 game up on the Oakland Athletics for the 1st time since July 1st, and their 6-game winning streak is a new season-best.
Basically, everything is going well for the Rangers right now.