Papa’s got a brand-new bag! Astros manager A.J. Hinch thinks that his team will match up better with the Texas Rangers.
Last season, it was a running joke around baseball how the Rangers dominated the Houston Astros. Rangers fans on Twitter would troll Houston fans by asking who owns the Astros? They would then respond with, the Rangers do! That’s right Rangers fans, go ahead and get overconfident. The Astros will be better prepared to face you in 2017. He felt better about things at the season ticket holder town hall meeting Tuesday night.
As a teacher, even though I teach Algebra 1, students often wonder why they have to learn history? The response is often; so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past. Those who do not know the history are doomed to repeat history. The Houston Astros are all aware of the history versus the Rangers over their existence, but most notably, the 2016 season.
We all know that the Rangers won 15 of the 19 games versus the Astros. A.J. Hinch of all people knows this more than others. He knows that the way they played versus the Rangers caused Houston to miss out on the playoffs last year. In Hinch’s two seasons as the Stros skipper, he said that he has only played two meaningless games. Those were the last two games of 2016 versus the Angels after they had been eliminated from the Wild Card.
Let’s not make a big deal of it until we have too.
Hinch knows the history versus the Rangers, but he said he is not going to make a big deal about it. The returning players were part of the disaster last year, but Hinch doesn’t feel like making a big deal about it until he has too. Nori Aoki, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, and Charlie Morton were not on the team last year. They could search the record on Baseball-Reference, but to them, it’s just another team. “They have no clue what is was like to play against the Rangers last year.”
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If he starts talking about the struggles versus the Rangers this early, he will lose half of the room’s attention because they weren’t part of it. “I’m not going to punish Beltran for being a Ranger for half a season.”
Hinch then issued a battle cry for the 2017 season versus the Rangers. “I’ve got a new squad for those Dallas boys.” The way he said it led to cheers from the crowd, it’s time to take back Texas. Beltran has a career slash line of .313/ .379/ .526/ .905 in 329 career at bats versus the Rangers. This will be the first time he will be on a team in the same division, but his veteran presence is valuable. This year will be different.
McCann has a history with Carlos Gomez and is a hard-nosed baseball player. He has not really played the Rangers much in his career, but he has a .792 OPS in 95 plate appearances. Reddick has played mostly in the same division with the Rangers and had a slash line of .313/ .375/ .543/ .939 over his career. Aoki may not be much help with a career OPS of .513 in his limited exposure.
The Astros can’t curl up in the fetal position versus the Rangers in the expect to win the AL West. I expect the Houston squad will have more bark in their bite this year. The Rangers had a large number of one-run wins last year. Their luck will run out this year with the Astros new offensive power. Bring it on Rangers. We are ready for you!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***