Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros didn’t have the drama of Tuesday’s possible headhunting and bench clearing, but the bad blood of a World Series won via cheating was still apparent.
It was never clearer than when usually affable Dodgers color commentator Orel Hershiser dropped an interesting bit of analysis after Jose Altuve struck out looking on a down-the-middle fastball in the fifth inning.
“Guessing is harder than knowing,” Hershiser said after play-by-play man Joe Davis speculated Altuve might have guessed another pitch was coming.
"Guessing is harder than knowing." - Dodgers announcer Orel Hershiser after Jose Altuve struck out. pic.twitter.com/ab025YGOOX— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 30, 2020
It’s not hard to guess which illegal sign-stealing system Hershiser might be referring to. He also wasn’t alone in noting the optics of the Astros’ performance following an offseason that exposed their admitted cheating in the 2017 regular season and offseason.
Not the best series for the Astros
Both games of the two-game Dodgers-Astros series in Houston ended up being just what the Astros’ critics were hoping for, as the Dodgers came out on top each night. Wednesday’s game ended in the 13th inning thanks to rookie slugger Edwin Rios’ leadoff 2-run homer.
Diving into the box score provided even more juice for knocking the Astros. Many, including the Dodgers’ Davis, noted that the Astros’ top three hitters went hitless in both games. The implication of the Astros suddenly struggling following an MLB investigation into their illegal sign-stealing is clear.
The Dodgers held Springer/Altuve/Bregman to 0-for-20 in the 2 games.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) July 30, 2020
Of course, even going beyond the fact that drawing sweeping conclusions from any two games is a foolish exercise, such tweets ignore the members of the 2017 Astros who did have a decent performance. Shortstop Carlos Correa went 5-for-9 with a homer in the series (plus one now-infamous strikeout), while first baseman Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-7 with three walks. It’s also worth noting that MLB determined the Astros’ trash can system ended in 2018, though we don’t know for sure if the team didn’t simply shift to a different system.
As a whole, the Astros clearly struggled at the plate, but, again, we’re talking about two games.
From the publishing of that fateful story in The Athletic, it was clear the Astros were heading into a season in which all of their struggles would be received with glee by fans of the 29 other teams. The coronavirus pandemic caused the team to avoid the thunderous jeers that were awaiting them on true road games, but that hate was never going away. And odds are good it’s not going away any time soon.
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