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Monday, June 24, 2019

Articles tagged: Houston Astros

Look: Rain leaks through at Minute Maid Park during Astros game

It rained so hard in Houston on Thursday night that rain even came through Minute Maid Park during the Houston Astros-Texas Rangers game.

A woman named Jackie Kohlmaier shared a video on Thursday that shows rain coming through the roof at Minute Maid Park:

The spot where it was leaking was in the seats beyond the right field wall.

Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof that was closed for the game, but it wasn’t enough. This isn’t new, as the stadium has been susceptible to leaking and flooding during intense rain in the past.

Heavy rain was expected throughout Houston on Thursday night, with flood warnings also being issued.

Astros not backing down despite lawsuit over T-shirt cannon

Minute Maid Park Houston

The Houston Astros are not backing down despite a lawsuit from a fan who claims she was injured by a T-shirt cannon fired by the team’s mascot last year.

The Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday that a woman is suing the Astros for over $1 million, claiming her finger was “shattered” after being hit by a T-shirt fired from a cannon by team mascot Orbit. The injury took place during a July 2018 game and left the woman’s left index finger broken. The woman claims she has undergone two surgeries on her finger and that she still suffers pain and a loss of range of motion. She says she also underwent physical therapy.

The woman’s lawsuit accuses the Astros of being negligent in using reasonable care while firing the cannon and not giving proper warning to fans about the risks the cannons pose.

The Astros responded in a statement.

“We do not agree with the allegations,” the team said. “The Astros will continue to use fan popular T-shirt launchers during games. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment on this matter.”

T-shirts are shot into the stands at many sporting events as fun giveaways for the attendees. Just like anytime someone tries to catch an item, there is some inherent risk with trying to catch a shirt fired into the stands. The distance at which the cannon was fired at the fan, whose tickets were for halfway up the first deck behind third base, is critical. If the cannon was fired at the woman from a very close, unreasonable, and unsafe distance, the Astros might have some culpability. If not, it would be difficult to view this as any more than an unfortunate accident.

Umpire Ron Kulpa criticized for antagonizing Astros following ejections

Two Houston Astros coaches were ejected for arguing balls and strikes early in Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, but it is home plate umpire Ron Kulpa who has been heavily criticized for the way he handled the situation.

Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron was the first to get tossed when he and several others in the Houston dugout were furious over pitches they believed were off the plate being called strikes. Manager AJ Hinch was ejected next when he came out to defend Cintron, and Kulpa was smirking and seemed like he was enjoying the whole thing. He could also been seen telling Hinch, “I’ll do what I want,” and Hinch later confirmed that’s what Kulpa said to him.

The following inning, Kulpa irritated Gerrit Cole when he inexplicably interrupted the Astros pitcher while he was warming up. Kulpa later appeared to antagonize Cole as he was heading off the field, which led to a discussion between the umpire and Houston catcher Max Stassi. While it looked like the two were having a civil conversation, some have pointed out that Kulpa gave Stassi a condescending shove toward the dugout.

Hinch has had issues with umpires he claims acted inappropriately in the past, but it certainly seemed like Kulpa escalated the situation and was on a power trip. That’s the opposite of what Major League Baseball wants its umpires doing, and it would not be a surprise if he hears from the league about it.

Blake Snell has high praise for Astros after rough outing

Blake Snell

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had high praise for the Houston Astros after being roughed up by them on Opening Day.

Blake Snell was shelled for three home runs — over three consecutive innings — and gave up five runs in six innings in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 loss to Houston on Thursday. After the game, Snell put matters in context, saying the Astros are a class above most teams.

Indeed.

Houston won the World Series in 2017 after winning 101 games in the regular season. Last year they won 103 games and walked through the ALDS until running into the hot Red Sox. Most pitchers wouldn’t enjoy facing them.

Ranking the top 10 World Series contenders

Kris Bryant

Much attention has been given to the number of MLB teams that are currently going through rebuilding processes, but there are still a number of teams trying to win it all this season. The race for the World Series should be thrilling in 2019, with a lot of talented teams from both leagues that can correctly claim that they have a chance at winning the whole thing.

Some teams definitely have a better chance than others, though. Here are the top 10 preseason contenders for the 2019 World Series.

10) St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals never take missing the playoffs well, and that usually provokes a reaction. This offseason, that reaction was to acquire Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the hopes of turning their fortunes around. Goldschmidt has since signed an extension, and that’s great news for a Cardinals team that won 88 games last year. If their talented young pitchers continue to mature, they stand a great chance of making the playoffs, even in a tough division, and anything can happen once they get there.

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Report: Astros could re-sign Justin Verlander on short-term deal

Justin Verlander

There had been some talk that Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros may struggle to agree to terms on a short-term deal, but there may be a better chance of it than previously anticipated.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it is at least “possible” that the Astros would be willing to go north of $60 million on a two-year deal to keep Verlander. Houston is an analytical organization that some believed would be hesitant to offer that kind of money to someone who will be 37 in 2020, especially with Verlander eager to set a new average annual value record for a pitcher.

Verlander has said he’d be willing to go short, but the caveat was that he added it would only happen if the value was right. That’s going to be the sticking point in any negotiations, and they could be fruitless if the Astros aren’t willing to push $35 million a year.

Report: Padres, Astros have interest in Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel

With MLB Opening Day less than a month away, Dallas Keuchel somehow has not found a job for the 2019 season. That could change now that Bryce Harper is no longer a free agent.

Jim Bowden of CBS Sports reports that the San Diego Padres have been in contact with Keuchel’s agent, and the Houston Astros also maintain interest in bringing the left-hander back.

The Philadelphia Phillies were previously linked to Keuchel, but that is unlikely to happen now that they signed Harper to a $330 million deal. Although, one report claimed they wanted to sign Harper, Keuchel and another top free agent.

In addition to the aforementioned teams, the Atlanta Braves have also emerged as a potential suitor for Keuchel with starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman dealing with injuries.

Keuchel turned 31 this offseason, and his ERA jumped from 2.90 in 2017 to 3.74 in 2018. He made 34 starts for the Astros last season and threw over 200 innings, but his strikeout numbers were down a bit to 6.7 per nine innings and his 1.31 WHIP was his highest in six years. It’s possible teams view those as signs that he could be losing effectiveness, but Keuchel remains an elite talent who can be virtually unhittable when at his best.