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Carlos Correa and the Astros take the Red Sox to the woodshed once again

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Sometimes, when a team loses, there is room for finger-pointing and criticism. Sometimes, however, they just get whupped. That’s what’s gone down in Minute Maid Park in Houston the past two days anyway. The Astros pounded the Red Sox once again this afternoon, winning 8-2 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best of five Division Series.

Game 1’s hero was Jose Altuve, who smacked three homers. Altuve was solid once again today, going 2-for-3, walking twice, driving in a run and scoring twice. The hero of Game 2, however, was Carlos Correa.

In the first inning, with Altuve on first base after a single, Correa took a 91 m.p.h. Drew Pomeranz fastball way deep to left field to make it 2-0 Houston. Boston put a run on the board with a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single in the second, but Houston increased its lead in the third with an Altuve RBI single and a homer from George Springer to make it 4-1.

Both teams were kept off the board for the next few innings, with David Price providing the Red Sox’ only bright spot in the form of two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, but Houston put the game away with a four-run sixth inning. The rally was highlighted by Correa’s two-run double and lowlighted — for Boston anyway — with this rather interesting play from Mookie Betts:

That came on a shallow fly ball off the bat of Alex Bregman that likely would not have scored the runner from third but did so anyway thanks to the miscue. How much of that play by Betts was attributable to what is clearly an injured thumb — it was bothering him greatly during an eighth inning at bat — is unknown, but we’ll likely hear more about that tonight and into the weekend. Later that inning Evan Gattis‘ RBI single plated Correa gave Houston its eighth run. Boston added a second run in the top of the ninth, but it was too little, too late.

The clubs are now en route to Boston where they’ll get a day off tomorrow before Sunday’s Game 3. It’s not impossible for the Sox to make a comeback or, at the very least, to make this series competitive, of course, but thus far they’ve been at the Astros mercy.

Not because they’ve done anything wrong, really. They’re just getting beat by what appears to be a clearly superior ballclub.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.