The Astros Legitimately Won 2017 World Series, According To The Numbers
Houston already had enough regrets for having traded for pitcher Mike Fiers, whom it acquired at the trade deadline in 2015. He ended up losing as many games as he won for the Astros, in spite of the fact that the team won division championships in the two full seasons he spent in the rotation.
That trade also stung because Houston, in exchange for Fiers, sent Josh Hader to the Brewers. As everyone now knows, Hader quickly became one of the best closers in all of baseball. His presence in the Houston bullpen this past November would very likely have brought about a second World Series Championship, considering the failure of the Astros relievers to hold leads against the Washington Nationals.
Just a week after the World Series Fiers, who spent this past year with the Oakland Athletics, accused the Astros of electronically stealing signs during the 2017 season. Controversy naturally has arisen, as some MLB officials and fans are clamoring for punishment. It has even been asserted that Houston's Championship be stigmatized forevermore with an asterisk.
Pundits have been quick to point out the way the Astros pounded Los Angeles starter Yu Darvish in game three in Houston, when much of the baseball world thought he was tipping his pitches. It now may appear that, just as manager Dave Roberts insisted, Darvish was doing no such thing.
Even if the Astros electronically acquired Darvish's pitches because of a camera in center field, that explanation does not account for his losing game seven at Dodger Stadium.
Furthermore, if the cameras were such an advantage for the Astros, why did they muster a paltry seven runs in the first two games in Minute Maid Park? In fact, they even lost game four after getting only six hits, an indication that the alleged sign stealing had indeed been no advantage whatsoever.
Houston had also lost a game at home to the Red Sox in the American League Division Series, which they eventually clinched on the road at Boston's Fenway Park. During the five games the Astros hit much better on the road than at home, pretty much quelling any allegations of having an illicit advantage in Minute Maid Park.
Throughout 2017, the season in which the cameras supposedly stole the signs, Houston consistently performed better offensively on the road. They scored 501 runs in their 81 away games, yet plated just 395 at Minute Maid.
Before burdening the Astros with extreme punitive measures, consider the season stats as well as the source of the allegations. Houston won the 2017 World Series without the advantage of illegal sign stealing and certainly without Mike Fiers, who ended up with an embarrassing 8-10 record for the World Series Champs.