Cleveland Indians’ Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez win first career Silver Slugger Awards

Men's Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Majestic Navy 2017 Spring Training Cool Base Player Jersey
Men’s Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Majestic Navy 2017 Spring Training Cool Base Player Jersey

Cleveland Indians jerseys teammates Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez both received Silver Slugger Awards in the American League on Thursday based on their offensive production in 2017.

Lindor and Ramirez were among eight players this year to win the award for the first time. Both were also finalists at their defensive positions for Gold Glove Awards, but came up short earlier this week.

The Indians were among five teams with multiple Silver Slugger Award winners, including Houston, Miami, Colorado and the New York Yankees.

Lindor becomes the first Indians Francisco Lindor jerseys shortstop to claim the honor since Asdrubal Cabrera in 2011. Ramirez is the third Tribe third baseman to earn the award since back-to-back wins by Jim Thome (1996) and Matt Williams (1997). Ramirez appeared in 88 games at third base and 71 at second base during the regular season.

The duo combined for 62 home runs and 172 extra-base hits as the American League Central Division champion Indians won 102 games, including an AL-record 22 straight.

Lindor, an All-Star at shortstop for the second time in his career, experienced a tremendous power surge compared to his 2016 campaign. The 23-year-old more than doubled his home run total in 2017. He collected 178 hits, including 33 home runs, 44 doubles and four triples. His home run total and extra-base hits (81) were club records for a middle infielder, and the most by a major league shortstop in 10 seasons.

Among MLB switch-hitting shortstops, Lindor’s 33 home runs ranks first, ahead of Jimmy Rollins (2007) and Jose Valentin (2004), who each hit 30.

Jose Ramirez jerseys, 25, had a historic season at the plate, posting the third-most doubles (56) and fourth-most extra-base hits (91) in franchise history.

Selected to his first All-Star Game, Ramirez scored 107 runs and collected 186 hits, including 29 home runs. His extra-base hit total was the second-most ever by a switch-hitter in MLB history behind Lance Berkman’s 94 in 2001.

Ramirez tied a MLB record with five extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs, during a Sept. 3 game at Detroit.

Here is the entire list of 2017 Silver Slugger Award winners.

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Dak Prescott: ‘High praise’ for Eagles coach to compare me to Donovan McNabb

Men's Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott Nike Olive Salute To Service Limited Jersey
Men’s Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott Nike Olive Salute To Service Limited Jersey

Dak Prescott is not built like a Dak Prescott jerseys typical quarterback. At 6-2, 238 pounds, he looks more like a linebacker, a position he played as a youth.

Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson mentioned Prescott’s ability to use that size to his advantage during a Wednesday conference call with reporters at The Star.

“He’s got such a great lower body,” Pederson said. “His lower body strength kind of reminded me watching him in college and then even on tape the last couple of years like Donovan McNabb.

He’s a strong guy, powerful runner. You see him in the redzone making those plays on the goal line. Just a strong, physical guy that way.”
McNabb played 11 seasons for the Eagles, making six Pro Bowls and leading Philly to a Super Bowl berth in 2005. Pederson was McNabb’s teammate in 1999 and became one of his coaches in 2009.

“That’s high praise,” Prescott said. “It’s a compliment. McNabb was a player Dallas Cowboys jerseys that played well in this league for a long time. You can watch the tape and it speaks for itself.”

“It’s kind of natural, I guess,” Prescott said. “If you look at my family, all of us have big legs, I guess, for the most part. Still, I got to consciously work on my strengths.”

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Chicago Cubs relocating, widening dugouts at Wrigley Field this winter

As the Chicago Cubs went from Lovable Losers to World Series champions, Wrigley Field went from a run-down, antiquated ballpark to a top destination in baseball. Renovated bleachers, video boards and the Plaza at Wrigley Field headlined the first few years of work.

Perhaps the most notable changes at the Friendly Confines will be the dugouts down each base line. According to the Chicago Tribune, the dugouts will be wholesale jerseys roughly 15 to 30 feet further down the line ahead of Opening Day 2018. Large sections of the concourse on both sides is already removed. That, of course, relates to the construction of several exclusive club areas that will be located under the concourse.

Men's Chicago Cubs Javier Baez Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey
Men’s Chicago Cubs Javier Baez Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey

Most of the remaining work this offseason focuses on structural improvements. 2019 seems to be the year where notable changes will again take center stage. These include several of the aforementioned luxury clubs and expanded concession areas.

Since the 1060 Project began, Wrigley Field has changed – in my mind, for the better. The concourse is already drastically improved. I went to Opening Day 2015 – where the bathrooms failed and people were urinating off the concourse. Port-a-potties were aplenty Chicago Cubs jerseys and the jokes and jibes wrote themselves.

That same day, the bleachers themselves were unfinished. Beyond the outfield walls, images of yesteryear looked on as the Cubs fell to the Cardinals in the debut of Jon Lester and Joe Maddon. But in the months and years that have passed since then, Wrigley Field has changed for the better.

The video board implementation has been near-flawless. Fans can now get a closer look at great plays and those under review. Most notably, the organization stayed away from tacky usage of the boards (Kiss Cam, etc). Outside Wrigley, though, is unrecognizable from years’ past.

The Plaza at Wrigley compliments the ballpark perfectly. It houses the World Series trophy and the Team Store. Add in the eateries and the New England Patriots jerseys exterior video board and it’s easy to see why fans flock to the grassy area even on non-game days.
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Unless you’re willing to shell out around $500 a pop, you’re not going to experience these new luxury areas. But fans across the ballpark will recognize the changed dugout locations – and, hopefully, a continued improvement in the quality of the viewing experience at Wrigley Field.

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber becoming all right in left

Men's Chicago Cubs Kyle Schwarber Majestic Royal 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey
Men’s Chicago Cubs Kyle Schwarber Majestic Royal 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey

The first time Kyle Schwarber shed his catcher’s gear in Kyle Schwarber Jerseys favor of an outfielder’s glove for the Cubs, another player was generating attention for appearing at a different position.

“They worked me into a game when we were getting our butts kicked and David Ross pitched,” Schwarber said of the July 26, 2015 contest during which the Phillies hammered the Cubs 11-5. “My first fly ball was from someone he pitched to.”

That would be Cameron Rupp and he lofted the fourth pitch Ross — now a retired catcher — threw in the ninth inning to Schwarber, who caught it.

Schwarber has come a long way since that day against the Phillies. While pitchers still fear his slugging, runners now are beginning to recognize the catcher-turned-outfielder isn’t one to be taken lightly when it comes to taking an extra base.

While still a work-in-progress, Schwarber is proving to the Cubs that he can be an everyday left-fielder in 2018 and beyond. During the regular season, Schwarber tied for 10th in the majors with seven outfield assists.

The 24-year-old has flashed his strong throwing arm and accuracy against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, which the Cubs extended Wednesday night with a 3-2 victory that narrowed their deficit to 3-1 in the best-of-seven series that resumes Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

In Game 1, Schwarber swooped in to grab a Justin Turner single and fired a one-hop strike to nail Charlie Culberson at the plate. The call was over-turned because it was deemed catcher Willson Contreras impeded Culderson’s path home. But that did not diminish the laser-like throw that came from Schwarber.

In Game 3, Schwarber nailed Yasiel Puig at second base as the Dodgers outfielder tried to stretch a single into a double.

“To get an out on a guy trying to take an extra base is a big deal on defense,” Schwarber said. “The more accurate you are, the more time your guy has to put down the tag. If he has to go left or right a little bit that takes some time.”

Schwarber’s transition from catcher to Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys outfielder hasn’t been without its foibles.

In Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Nationals, Schwarber flat-out dropped a ball in left and then kicked it for a double-error that led to a run.

“You’ve seen the good and the bad,” manager Joe Maddon said. “What you’re seeing is he’s really coming along well. (Coaches) Davey Martinez and Brandon Hyde spend a lot of time with him (so) the physical side of his work keeps getting better, i.e., the throwing.

“The stuff you see that you don’t like maybe is Chicago Cubs Jerseys very correctable. And when you have a guy who works like he does, you have to believe it’s going to happen.”

Though a bit reluctantly, Schwarber has accepted his dream of being the Cubs’ regular catcher is likely over. With Contreras developing into a star behind the plate, that position is closed.

“My role right now is playing left field,” Schwarber said. “I’m not dumb. We have a really good catcher so pretty much I want to work on left field. If they want me to catch, I’m willing to do that, too, trust me.”

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D-FW viewers embraced Houston Astros’ World Series win over LA Dodgers

Men's Houston Astros Josh Reddick Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey
Men’s Houston Astros Josh Reddick Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey

New York Yankees jersey In the case of the Houston Astros-Los Angeles Dodgers seven-game World Series, familiarity with an AL West rival 240 miles down Interstate 45 did not breed contempt. On the contrary, Dallas-Fort Worth’s interest in the seven-game series was rejuvenated.
After finishing 50th among the Houston Astros jersey 56 major markets for last season’s seven-game World Series that featured the Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians, D-FW climbed to No. 12 for the Astros-Dodgers.
The 13.4 D-FW rating for the series was up from last year’s 10.6.
Nationally, those numbers flipped. The Astros-Dodgers averaged a 10.7 rating, down from last year’s 13.1.
It didn’t hurt that D-FW scored a relatively monster 21.8 for Wednesday night’s Astros clincher in Game 7. That was the eighth best individual market rating across the country for the game.
Indeed, the state of Texas appeared to go gaga for Game 7.
Not surprisingly, Houston, home of baseball’s new champions, was No. 1 among the major markets with a 47.1 rating for the game broadcast on Fox.
That means 47.1 percent of homes with Los Angeles Dodgers jersey televisions in the market watched the game. Each rating point in every market represents one percent of the total homes in that market.
Los Angeles, as you might suspect, was No. 2 at 36.7.
Then came No. 3 Austin at 31.3 and No. 4 San Antonio at 27.3.
Rounding out the top 10 markets: No. 5 Kansas City, a traditional ratings power for baseball, at 26.1; No. 6 San Diego, just down the road from Los Angeles, at 24.8. No. 7 Phoenix followed at 22,1. It was followed by a California’s San Francisco (tied with D-FW) and Sacramento at 21.1.

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Jose Altuve’s World Series triumph gives shattered Venezuela something to celebrate

Men's Houston Astros Jose Altuve Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey
Men’s Houston Astros Jose Altuve Majestic White 2017 Postseason Cool Base Player Jersey

Just as Jose Altuve scooped up a grounder for the Houston Astros Jerseys final out Wednesday night, securing the Astros’ first-ever World Series Championship, the national anthem for his native Venezuela rang out across all broadcast stations in Venezuela, as it always does at midnight.

It was as if the entire South American country were reveling in the moment, in the historic win by two of their native sons: Altuve and fellow Venezuelan Astro Marwin González.

“All of Venezuela was rooting for the Astros,” Walfer Silva, 26, told The Washington Post after the game.

But in Silva’s town of Maracay, “it’s all about Altuve.” In Maracay, Altuve’s hometown, the middle infielder’s name is up there with the pope.

Altuve, the 5-foot-6 superstar, is a top candidate for the American League’s most valuable player. His boundless energy, lightning speed and fierce yet joyous competitiveness won the hearts of thousands of people who had never seen him play before the World Series.

He was already an inspiration to every small kid trying to prove that baseball stardom isn’t just for those who tower.

And his native Maracay, about 70 miles west of Caracas, is known as a breeding ground for legends of the game. The town has produced at least 31 Major League baseball players, including Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.

Baseball is king across Venezuela — baseball terms even Jose Altuve Jerseys weave into daily conversation, as the Associated Press reported in a 2012 story. People say “pitch here” if they want a friend to throw in some money. If a person is teetering on success, people say “you’ve got a three-two count.”

This is especially true in Maracay, where a network of youth leagues and baseball schools mold children into stars from a young age.

“The kids dream of playing in the major leagues, and their parents want to plant their children in this field hoping that seed might become the next Miguel Cabrera,” the director of one baseball training school told the Associated Press in 2012.

Altuve had his start in Maracay, playing catch as a kid with his father every day on a patchy field, he recalled in one interview. They would sometimes play with no gloves.

As the story goes, it was also in this cheap jerseys town where a 16-year-old Altuve was sent home from an Astros tryout camp, rejected because of his size. The team’s scouts thought he was lying about his age, . The next day, Altuve returned with a birth certificate, and signed a contract with the franchise.

“The Astros back then, they looked for big players, physically strong and tall. Altuve definitely wasn’t that guy,” said Al Pedrique, the former big league player. Pedrique served as special assistant to the Astros’ general manager in 2006 when the team signed Altuve for $15,000.

“I always tell my wife, ‘Who was going to believe then, when we had Altuve at 15, that he was going to be a superstar?’” Pedrique said.

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Clayton Kershaw’s latest World Series performance added fuel to the biggest criticism of his career

Men's Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey
Men’s Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey

Game 5 of the World Series featured Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys some of the most exhilarating baseball of the season, but for Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, it was the same old story.

With the series tied at two games apiece, the Dodgers had reason to feel good about their chances in the Sunday night showdown — in his career, Kershaw has a 2.38 ERA in eight regular season starts against the Astros, and he led the National League with 18 wins and a 180 ERA+ in 2017.

A good start from the three-time Cy Young Award winner would send the Dodgers back to Los Angeles with a 3-2 advantage, just one game away from their first championship in nearly 30 years. Those plans were thwarted in the fourth inning.

With his team winning 4-0, the normally stingy Kershaw allowed a pair of batters to reach base before giving up an RBI double to Carlos Correa, trimming the deficit to three. After that, a towering home run by first baseman Yuli Gurriel was all it took to erase the Dodgers’ lead, breathing new life into what had been a one-sided game.

Kershaw induced a pair of fly balls to nab the final two outs. He returned to the mound the following inning but continued to scuffle, finishing his night with six earned runs, two strikeouts, and three walks in just under five innings of work. It was an incredibly disappointing performance considering the situation, but postseason struggles are nothing new for the native Texan.

With the consistent Dodgers making the playoffs in seven of his 10 seasons, Kershaw has seen more postseason action than the vast majority of pitchers, and while there have been shining moments, his overall stats are well below his regular season numbers. In 118 innings, the southpaw has gone 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA, not exactly a picture of dominance.

The numbers look even worse compared Clayton Kershaw jerseys with those of his longtime division rival Madison Bumgarner, who’s posted a 2.11 ERA in just over 100 playoff innings. Not everyone can be Bumgarner, of course, but Kershaw has also been outproduced by most of his other elite peers, including Max Scherzer, Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber, and Zack Greinke, all of whom had their struggles this postseason.

While he pitched well enough in his first four starts this October, Sunday’s outing rekindled an old criticism of Kershaw’s career: that he doesn’t get it done in the clutch.

Fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, ranging from sarcastic to philosophical to downright mean. If the narrative of Kershaw’s futility in the playoffs had died down, it’s back in full force now.

Kershaw’s defenders will cite the small Houston Astros Jerseys sample size, but it really isn’t that small — at this point, he’s pitched about a half-season’s worth of playoff baseball. If Kershaw were to reach an All-Star break with a 4.50 ERA, you can bet that people would be talking about it.

For what it’s worth, Kershaw’s fourth-inning meltdown was part of the back-and-forth dynamic that helped make Game 5 one of the best in postseason history. The Dodgers and Astros traded blows throughout the rest of the night, with Houston ultimately winning 13-12.

The series will head back to Los Angeles on Tuesday, when Houston will try to clinch it with a win in Game 6.

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How Justin Turner grew into a Dodgers folk hero, just like his beard

Men's Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Turner Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey
Men’s Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Turner Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey

As The Beard grows, so goes the Dodgers.

Justin Turner Jerseys let his fiery orange beard go. Especially this year, he just decided to let his beard go crazy and his career has taken off as well.

The ex-Met gave the Dodgers fans a modern-day Kirk Gibson moment in the NLCS with a walk-off home run against the Cubs, then won the Battle of the Beards against Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the World Series with the game-winning home run.

With the World Series tied 1-1 after the Astros amazing four-home run comeback in the 11-inning, 7-6 Game 2 victory in LA, the pressure is on Turner and The Beard to come through as the Dodgers need three more wins to capture their first World Series in 29 years.

Dodgers showman Yasiel Puig confided to The Post, with that mischievous Puig smile, “I want to cut that beard. But I like it. Sometimes I touch it for good luck.’’

Turner’s lumberjack beard is much more than a good luck charm, it’s a fashion statement, it’s hip, it’s Hollywood. The fans love the beard as much as they love Turner. You see all kinds of Turner beards being worn by fans as you walk around Dodger Stadium.

If the Dodgers win the World Series, he has promised to trim it but not cut it off. It’s become a thing. Turner is getting married soon. He wants to be fresh for that occasion. Turner is a tireless worker on the field and in the community, the best community-based athlete Dodgers president Stan Kasten said he has ever been around.

The Beard is a statement. Beards and baseball go hand in hand these days.

“It’s serious business,’’ Turner said of the October version of The Beard.

Turner was asked about his beard and Keuchel’s beard, and he cut to the chase: “The beards aren’t throwing any pitches or taking any swings. So, it’s about the man underneath them.

“Dallas’ beard is stellar, but obviously his beard isn’t throwing any sliders or changeups. It’s him out there.

“And my beard is not taking any swings for me.’’
No, it’s not. The All-Star hit .322 this Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys season. In 28 career postseason games, Turner is a .344 hitter with six home runs and 26 RBIs.

Game 3 is Friday night (FOX, 8:20 p.m.) at Minute Maid Park with the Dodgers throwing Yu Darvish against Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr.

The beard is an exclamation point to the third baseman’s fun-loving personality. On the big board at Dodger Stadium, “Animal’’ from the Muppets chants “Jus-tin! Jus-tin!’’

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wears a light beard, and appreciates Turner’s beard and game.

“It’s a great form of self-expression,’’ Maddon said during the NLCS. “I know he has a beard, but I don’t focus on it. Abraham Lincoln wore a beard too, so there are a lot of influential people throughout history who have worn beards and anybody who is bothered by that, is defining themselves.’’

“Usually, it’s let me get a picture,’’ Turner said. “Because of the beard.’’

How did Turner, 32, become the player he Cheap jerseys has become after the Mets dumped him? It’s not just about adding a leg kick with Marlon Byrd’s help.

They go hand in hand this season, because Turner has had a beard for years, but now it’s The Beard.

Turner began to grow a light beard back with the Mets, but it has blossomed over the last year.

“I just was texting with David Wright a few days ago,’’ Turner said. “David played a huge role in my career for maturing and growing up and watching how he handled the leadership role in New York. He took me under his wing and helped me out when I didn’t know how to handle certain situations. I will be forever in debt to him for that.’’

The Beard does not forget.

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Yanks’ run ends with Game 7 loss to Astros

Men's Houston Astros Josh Reddick Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey
Men’s Houston Astros Josh Reddick Majestic White 2017 Postseason Patch Flex Base Player Jersey

Josh Reddick jersey The deafening roars began on the first pitch thrown by Charlie Morton in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, and they didn’t stop. Solo homers by Evan Gattis in the fourth inning and Jose Altuve in the fifth rocked Minute Maid Park, and a two-run double by Brian McCann later in the fifth sent the ballpark into a frenzy.
The party was just getting started.
Only four years after losing a club-record 111 games — in their first year in the AL in 2013 — the Astros completed a remarkable run to the World Series by beating the Yankees, 4-0, on Saturday night to win the ALCS presented by Camping World and send Houston to its second Fall Classic.
“It’s something special, man,” shortstop Carlos Correa said. “It’s like, ‘We’re going to the World Series.’ It’s something you think of and dream of as a little kid, and now it’s real.”
“We’ve earned it,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think our team has been singularly focused from the very beginning. In Spring Training, we felt we had this caliber team, and at that point, we stopped talking about it. … There’s two teams left standing, and I don’t care what cities they’re from — one of them is from Houston.”
After disposing of the Red Sox in the AL Division
Los Angeles Dodgers jersey Series presented by Doosan and the Yankees in the ALCS, the Astros will meet another iconic franchise in the World Series presented by YouTube TV — the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the NLCS presented by Camping World after posting the best record in baseball this year. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles. This will mark the first time since 1970 (Reds-Orioles) that 100-win teams will meet in the World Series.
“[The Dodgers are] a good team,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I think if you looked up about halfway through the season, both of us were
Houston Astros jersey leading the AL and the NL, and … a lot of people were saying, ‘Hey, Astros-Dodgers.’ I think a lot of us have been keeping a close eye on what they’re doing. We just need to go in and play our game.”
For just the fifth time, the home team won all seven games in the series, with the Yankees scoring just three runs in four games at Minute Maid Park after outscoring the Astros by 14 runs (19-5) in the middle three games of the series in New York. The Yanks fell a game shy of their 41st World Series appearance and were eliminated by Houston for the second time in three years.
“This group is just unbelievable,” said Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia, who worked 3 1/3 innings and took the loss. “I have 25 brothers in here, and we played that way all year. We’ve got nothing to hang our heads about. This is tough, it hurts, but we’ll be better for it.”
Morton threw five scoreless innings for the Astros, allowing a pair of hits and striking out five batters, before turning the ball over to fellow starter Lance McCullers Jr., who finished off the shutout with four one-hit innings. He retired 12 of the 14 batters he faced with a steady diet of curveballs.
“I talked to [Dallas Keuchel] yesterday, and he said, ‘Hey, you may not be starting, but you may finish it,'” McCullers said. “And I said, ‘Man, if I have the ball with any opportunity to finish the game, I’m emptying the gas tank every pitch, and I’m just going to keep going and going until they tell me otherwise.’
“I did not want to come out of that game. I cannot say enough about this team. This team is unreal. Everyone wrote us off, man. Win the first two, lose three at Yankee Stadium, and we’re resilient. We knew we’re coming home. We had our dude on the mound, [Justin Verlander], our guy for the sixth game. Charlie Morton did an unbelievable job. This team is, start to finish, unreal.”
McCullers got Greg Bird to fly out to center fielder George Springer for the final out, raising his hands in the air before turning to hug McCann.
“That’s awesome,” said Springer. “To catch that ball and to present that ball to A.J. meant a lot to me.”
Gattis opened the scoring by leading off the fourth with a homer to left field off Sabathia. Later in the inning, Sabathia was pulled with runners at first and third base and one out, and reliever Tommy Kahnle needed one pitch to get Springer to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Astros go from woeful to World Series in just 4 years

Men's Houston Astros Majestic Orange 2017 Players Weekend Authentic Team Jersey
Men’s Houston Astros Majestic Orange 2017 Players Weekend Authentic Team Jersey

Just four years ago, the Houston Astros Jerseys weren’t just bad, they were embarrassing — so embarrassing that many dubbed them the “Lastros.”

Now Houston is heading to its second World Series in franchise history after beating the Yankees in the AL Championship Series, and its time as the league’s laughingstock seems like a distant memory.

“You always picture yourself in the World Series, but to be here after my debut in 2012 with the team that we had, with the players that we had, I never thought we would be here,” left-hander Dallas Keuchel said.

Keuchel is one of just four Astros who remain from a 2013 team that hit rock bottom by losing a franchise-record 111 games in its first year in the AL. Houston became the first team since Kansas City from 2004-06 to lose 100 games in three straight seasons. Those bumbling Astros, who had the league’s lowest payroll as the franchise shed its veterans to rebuild, often played in front of fewer than 10,000 fans and routinely faced boos from the few people who did show up.

All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez and right-hander Brad Peacock are the other holdovers from the lean times.

“When I got here, no one talked about winning,” said manager A.J. Hinch, who took over in 2015. “And that was one of the first things that Altuve told me in my office, that he wanted to win. And that represented what the next step was for this organization. And obviously in 2015 we got to taste it a little bit, 2016 we had some disappointment, 2017 we’re going to the World Series.”

An example of just how terrible that 2013 team was came on the night they dropped their 100th game. The 10-0 defeat by the Cincinnati Reds featured numerous lowlights from the “Lastros.” The first came when starter Jordan Lyles badly overthrew first base for a two-base error. In the bottom of the first inning, Jonathan Villar singled, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Simply being thrown out for a baserunning error was pretty routine on this terrible team, but the way Villar was thrown out was so humiliating that it went viral and even made it on NBC’s “Today” show the next morning.

Villar slid into second base, but Brandon Phillips already had the ball before he began the slide. The always flamboyant Phillips reached backward between his legs to apply the tag as Villar crashed head-first into Phillips’ backside, a moment many still refer to as the “butt tag.”

The Astros began to slowly improve wholesale jerseys in 2014 and ended their 100-loss streak by going 70-92 in the last season under manager Bo Porter. Houston surprised most everyone when the team went 86-76 in 2015 in the first year under Hinch to reach the postseason for the first time since 2005. Those upstart Astros were led Keuchel’s Cy Young Award-winning season and a stellar debut by 2012 top pick Carlos Correa, which earned him rookie of the year honors. That team downed the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game before losing to eventual champion Kansas City in the Division Series.

Expectations were high entering the 2016 season, but a 7-17 start, numerous injuries and a tough year by Keuchel left them just short of reaching the playoffs and determined to bounce back this year.

They did just that, opening this season 36-16 to race out to such big lead in the AL West that no one had a chance of catching them. They finished with 101 wins and their first division title since 2001 to return to the postseason. Though the Astros added plenty of pieces in the last four seasons as they moved from baseball’s basement to the top of the heap, the four players who endured that disastrous 2013 season have all played important roles in this year’s success.

Gonzalez had his finest season, hitting .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs — all career highs — and becoming an everyday player after filling the utility role for years. Keuchel went 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA to rebound after going 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA in the follow-up to his Cy Young season. Peacock was perhaps the biggest surprise of the group, winning a career-best 13 games and finishing with a 3.00 ERA to steady the rotation when injuries piled up midseason.

However, none of their contributions come close to what Altuve did for the team in the regular season and continued to provide as the calendar turned to October. And he may appreciate this more than anybody after playing on those “Lastros” teams.

“I’m coming from a team that lost 100 games in a row three years, three straight years,” he said. “We made the playoffs in 2015, we didn’t make it last year and after last year we were a little uncomfortable because we were watching the playoff games from home and we were like, ‘OK, we’re good enough to be in the playoffs.’ We showed up this year, we did it again, and I’m really happy and excited.”

He’s an MVP front-runner this season after hitting a career-high .346 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs. Altuve has followed that up by hitting .400 this postseason with a major league-leading 16 hits and five homers to lead the Astros to the World Series for the first time since they were swept by the White Sox in 2005.

“He’s the best hitter on the planet,” Correa said.

His performance came as no surprise to cheap jerseys
anyone who has kept up with the Astros over the past few years. Altuve has won the AL batting title in three of the past four seasons and has piled up more than 200 hits in four consecutive years.

“There’s no doubt that when he has good games, it’s hard to beat the Astros,” Hinch said.

And now he and the Astros will get a chance to prove that when they meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series starting on Tuesday night.

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