After finishing the regular season with a losing record, the Houston Astros won five of their first six playoff games to reach the ALCS for the fourth straight season.
They weren’t exactly quiet about that accomplishment, either.
“Within the game there is still a pretty healthy amount of antipathy toward them for the sign-stealing scandal, and there are probably a lot of neutrals in baseball who are pulling for the Rays here because of the way the Astros are viewed,” Fox Sports and MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said on Reiter Than You. “The Astros seem to know that and they seem to embrace that. The us-against-the-world mentality often is overused in sports, but in this case, I think it’s actually apt. That’s the one card they’ve got right now. They believe they are united against everybody else.”
The Astros fell behind 3-0 in the ALCS before winning Game 4 against the Rays on Wednesday.
“Dusty Baker, great manager,” Morosi said. “I think he’s done a very good job of just building a continuity and a collective purpose among that group along those lines. I think they certainly sense around them how much negativity there is. Of course it’s different because we don’t have fans in the ball park to remind them of that, which is unique, and who knows how it’s going to be next year?”
Answer: probably not as bad as it would have been this year.
“The longer we get away from it – and I realize [Carlos] Correa is still there and [Jose] Altuve is going to be there and some of the key guys, [Alex] Bregman, are still going to be around the Astros . . . but I think only seven or eight players are even still active on the Astros,” Morosi said. “So it’s a different thing. I think it will change as time goes on, as the roster itself evolves. Different manager, different GM, different players in many cases, but there is still that negativity. It’s going to take a while for that to wear away. But I also think that Dusty Baker has been the right leader for this team, and I admire the way that he has handled things.”