*GAME 8 LET'S GO. Astros vs Nationals in West Palm Beach. Dusty Baker said it's going to be younger players in the lineup at 5:05pm (MLB Network) and veterans will start to work in for a few innings beginning on Sunday.
We also find that Riley Ferrell (3rd Round - 2015) has been sent back to Houston for tests on his right shoulder, and Rogelio Armenteros is still in West Palm Beach, but has "right shoulder and elbow injuries that have shut him down."
*Check McTaggart's Five Best-Case Scenarios for Five Key Astros in 2020.
*Dan Szymborski posted his "insanely early" ZiPS projected standings for 2020 over at FanGraphs. Here's how his projections have the AL West shaking out:
Houston: 95-67 (74.5% to win the division)
Oakland: 88-74 (19.4%)
Anaheim: 83-79 (5.6%)
Arlington: 75-87 (0.4%)
Seattle: 62-100 (0.0%)
Worth noting that the Astros win the World Series in 11.7% of the simulations, third-highest behind the Yankees (18.3%) and the Dodgers (17.9%).
*George Springer is on MLBTR's Top 10 Free Agents of 2021 list. I think the Astros should take a run at him in the offseason.
Sign Stealing Stuff
*The Astros have been getting death threats, because being Online is like having have a half-melted ice cream cake in your skull. Someone wished cancer on Josh Reddick's newborn twins. Correa:
Everybody in here is getting death threats. It feels like when you open social media these days, it's the norm. You don't see positive comments anymore. You just see, 'If you come to New York, you better watch out. Your wife better watch out.' They start talking about raping, killing, all this stuff.
So we've narrowed it down to New York...
And here's the thing: If you're mad at the Astros, disappointed in the Astros, cannot be convinced that they weren't cheating in 2019, fully believe they were the only team cheating in 2017, etc., then that's your prerogative. But if you're sending death threats to the Astros, or to Mike Fiers, for that matter, then please pick up a book and slam your reproductive organs in it.
MLBPA President Tony Clark:
There's no doubt making sure that making our players and their families are able to go to and from the ballpark and perform safely is a huge piece of the puzzle.
*Brent Strom talked with Jake Kaplan and indicated this might be his last season:
I initially thought I was going to do a couple years. This is going to be a very trying year. I'll see how I feel at the end of this year. I fully expect an onslaught from opposing teams, opposing fans and everything. And so I'll see how I feel physically at the end of this year and see what direction the organization wants to go in. Whether I want to continue to do it, I don't know yet.
On his role in the sign-stealing:
I knew it was wrong, but I kind of wrapped myself into the idea that I'm on the pitching side of the thing. I think I did that to myself to kind of alleviate some of the guilt that was in my mind about this stuff going on. I kind of stayed in my lane. I was as complicit as anybody.
*Check out this steaming turd from Rick Reilly. He's cute and called them "the Asterisks" the whole time.
*Oh don't worry: Mark Teixeira said the Yankees' sign-stealing is nothing like what the Astros were doing.
*The Undefeated: Jackie Robinson vs. Malcolm X.
*Rolling Stone: The Brutal Rise of El Mencho.
*Mental Floss: The Cruel (But Effective) Agony of the Kars4Kids Jingle.
*A Musical Selection: