From a statistical perspective, there is much to enjoy about these Astros in 2016.
Jose Altuve leads the Majors in hits with 127. George Springer is on pace to set career-highs across multiple statistical categories, and currently has a 120 OPS+ entering last night’s game. Carlos Correa has already become the all-time leader in home runs for all Astros shortstops with 36, 14 of which have come this year.
In fact, it is so easy to get wrapped in the numbers and the numbers only. Baseball as a game has emphasized more on the numbers (which I support) in recent years. But every once in a while, it is nice to see some human emotion exhibited in this great game.
As you can probably summarize from above, I was referencing the recent dugout argument between Mike Fiers, Carlos Gomez, and manager A.J. Hinch from Monday night. Let’s be honest, Fiers deserved to yanked from the game. He left Hinch with little choice but to go with the bullpen. And sure, it wasn’t the best look for multiple teammates to be jawing at each other in the dugout. But the raw emotion that captivated everyone’s attention about this Astros team for once showed its ugly side. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Too many times, we see teams develop apathy towards one another. Especially locker rooms that are distant from each other within four walls. Look at what transpired a few miles away in regards to the Houston Rockets. That was a team that quit trying and were not clearly comfortable with one another. When something went wrong, there was more of a look of “oh, well” among teammates instead of the team as a unit addressing the issue. Emotion is fine when leadership is there to help temper it. There was no leadership basically at the end of the day for the Rockets.
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Don’t get me wrong, Fiers may have seen his tenure with the Astros hit a rocky bump. His pitching will need to improve in order to remain in the starting rotation. And he won’t be allowed to have a poor attitude amidst these struggles. But the Astros seem prepared to handle the emotions, good and bad, and realize the type of leadership required to navigate such choppy waters when they do occur.
Altuve, in particular, seem to put his best foot forward to help diffuse a situation that was clearly from the heat of the moment. The potential AL MVP went out of his way to settle things with Fiers and Gomez following Monday’s game in Oakland. In many ways, Altuve has now become the glue that holds the Astros together.
Good or bad, the Astros are an emotional team. Outside of the numbers, that is one quality of this team that makes a must-watch product. Sure, emotions boil over and get ugly sometimes. But some good may come out of it in the long run. And as long as the team continues to perform well, we should embrace that emotion.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**