It seems the Astros are getting all sorts of press this week for some good, not so good and absolute bonehead reasons.
Not surprisingly, one of the most critical articles written in the past 24 hours comes from bow tie aficionado and all around Astros hater, Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal has been particularly critical of the rebuild efforts of the Astros since day one. That hasn't changed.
In "Difficult to figure what Astros are doing but GM has answers" Rosenthal questions what the Astros are up to in regard to utilization of the shift, the competence of Bo Porter, and what is really going on with Mark Appel and his assignment to extended Spring Training. GM Jeff Luhnow does a nice job of explaining to Ken how sabermetrics is this new-fangled thing that smart people use in baseball, but I'm not sure Ken was buying what Jeff was selling.
If you are looking for a full explanation on defensive shifts and how the Astros are using them, definitely head over to Chron.com to check out Evan Drellich's piece "Astros making system-wide changes in defensive positioning." Not only is the title of that a mouthful, but the article itself will give you something to chew on for a while. Whether you agree or disagree with the way Houston has been heavily using the shift, this gives a nice overview of why they're using them and who else employs the same the thinking.
Two pieces I'd call must-reads if you've been wondering about the shift and the defense we've been watching so far this season.
I promised you bonehead press as well, so here you go: Bryant Gumbel compared Jim Crane to Donald Sterling of the NBA on Sunday's "Meet the Press." The TCB writers have decided that no one outside of the beltway actually watches the show, but when someone calls someone a racist, there're going to be lots of articles written about it. The Houston Chronicle did a great job of explaining why Bryant Gumbel's a bonehead and his comments were irresponsible at best. I'd say go read "Astros: 'Bryant Gumbel's comments on Jim Crane irresponsible," but it may just be better that you know Bryant Gumbel's a bonehead and Jim Crane's not a racist.
And that's your Tuesday Daily Boil, my friends!