Jeff Bagwell, Astros clearly coping with misplaced commentary that could bite them

The Hall of Famer doesn't sound afraid of any team despite the Astros' slow start, but he may have given a key rival some motivation along the way.
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

There is no sugar-coating it: the Houston Astros are off to a dreadful start in 2024. They sit at 7-16 as of Tuesday afternoon thanks largely to one of the league's worst pitching staffs (5.10 ERA, 1.1 fWAR), a bunch of injuries, some under-performers in the lineup (looking at you, Jose Abreu), and a middling defense. There is no one cause here -- just bad baseball throughout the roster.

It's still April and there is a lot of time for the Astros to turn the season around. Assuming Verlander can stay productive all season long and Houston can get some of their key arms healthy, they aren't going to be nearly this bad the rest of the way (we hope). However, it is important to at least acknowledge the fact that things are looking, at best, very tenuous this season.

Don't tell that to Astros advisor Jeff Bagwell, though. Bagwell was on the Sunday Night Baseball about a week and a half ago and decided to throw some not-so-subtle shade the Yankees way out of nowhere.

Do the Astros fully understand the predicament they are in this season?

Now, Bags' comments came earlier in the season when the full scope of the Astros' problems weren't yet known. Also, it isn't like the Bagwell was going to go on the broadcast and wave the white flag. He was always going to try to gas the Astros and their fans up because, well, that is part of the gig as a company man. Still, the comments came off weird at the time and they definitely haven't aged well as the Astros have floundered while the Yankees are 15-8.

Making matters worse, Bagwell may have given the Yankees some bulletin board material. A lot of that sort of thing is overstated especially early in the season when there's less tension. However, the Astros visit the Yankees from May 7-9, which is coming up fast on the schedule, and they're already playing pretty, motivated to keep pace with the surging Orioles.

Hopefully Bagwell's comments were just run of the mill trash talk and not a lack of recognition of the Astros' very real problems. Even if it was just trash talk, it could make playing the Yankees in the Bronx and getting out of the AL West cellar all the more difficult.

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