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Astros Crawfish Boil: March 2, 2018

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Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for March 2, 2018.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Justin Verlander (pictured, during the World Series) has been one of several Astros who have been vocal in challenging MLB’s insistence that the composition of the baseball is unchanged. Last night, Verlander struck back in a big way via Twitter.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you missed Justin Verlander’s tweets last night, stay tuned - we’ll break it all down as best we can coming up at 9 AM CST as a special feature segment kicking off a six part series called “Reading Between The Seams.” Suffice to say it is...revelatory.

Moving on...let’s get right to the action, starting off by continuing our shiny new “Tag’s Tweets” mini segment, shall we? Go follow Brian McTaggart on Twitter, if you don’t already, by clicking this blue button:

Tag’s Tweets

And a bonus from Alyson Footer (though Tags retweeted it) that discusses briefly the absolute best part of the Astros broadcast yesterday:

Astros News

Kyle Tucker Is On Fire

The stud prospect slugged his third home run and made the “Top Prospect Performers” post on mlb.com. Here, go on and watch it again, if you missed it:

Astros single-game tickets on sale Friday

Bring all the money.

Thirst for first: Competition heating up for Astros

Davis, Reed, White vying to fill in for Gurriel early in regular season

With few spots left with Astros, players going all out to catch attention

The Astros roster is pretty much set. Few spots are available. So for those looking to break through, every day is an opportunity.

Morton rides adrenaline in strong spring debut

Game 7 hero goes 2 scoreless; Sipp tosses 1-2-3 inning vs. Red Sox

Former star Jeff Bagwell among guest instructors at Astros camp

Inducted into the Hall in 2017, Bagwell is among a list of Houston guest instructors, along with Biggio and pitcher Nolan Ryan, scheduled to appear in camp during the coming weeks.

Around The League

We X-Rayed Some MLB Baseballs. Here’s What We Found.

Some seminal reading on the “juiced balls” theory that’s moving ever closer to verified fact. This piece seemed to prompt the tweets from Justin Verlander last night that will be the subject of a separate piece at 9 AM CST this morning here on TCB.

Eno Sarris: Would signing Jake Arrieta give the Nationals the best rotation in baseball?

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) Eno Sarris takes a look at whether a Jake Arrieta signing would give the Washington Nationals the best rotation in the sport.

The secret to beating the Astros? Rangers could set new record in potentially helpful stat this season

For anyone who needs a good laugh at the expense of the Texas Rangers.

Hope for MLBPA: Tony Clark’s state of (the players’) union visit engages Pirates’ newbies

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) Keeping abreast of the ongoing drama with the MLBPA.

Latest Rumors And Rumblings On Jake Arrieta, Other Top MLB Free Agents

Forbes takes a look at the remaining free agents and rumors.

Restoring Roman: Quinn’s quest to make the Phillies and perseverance in overcoming injuries is rooted in family

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) A truly, truly wonderful profile of a young Phillies player named Roman Quinn and his family. Cool piece.

Who’s left? Odd trend for AL hitters examined

A really interesting piece from mlb.com that looks at the strange dearth of elite left-handed hitting in the American League. Astros fans might interpret this to support the notion that the team carrying a dedicated, dominant LOOGY (lefty one out guy, for the uninitiated) in the pen is not, strictly speaking, necessary.

A Side Effect of the Super-Team Era

Fans of super teams - like Astros fans - will likely find this piece just as interesting as fans of the other teams.

Taylor: Let’s root for a Tim Lincecum comeback, but be prepared to realize he may have nothing left

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) Another look at the Lince-comeback.

Slow Market Likely Means Record March Spending

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the potential for record-breaking March spending in the weirdest MLB offseason in history.

Ohtani may DH more than originally expected

Scioscia won’t rule out phenom hitting on days before and after pitching

The Next Big Thing in Defense?

A really interesting look at an aggressive and somewhat radical (though not unprecedented) defensive strategy that the Phillies are employing that seems like it might catch on writ large.

Eno Sarris: Did the Diamondbacks get lucky last year?

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) No team outperformed their projections, as a group, as much as the Diamondbacks last year.

Predicting every team’s likeliest award winner

This is a fun piece by Anthony Castrovince at mlb.com.

A conversation with the Angels’ Justin Upton: On hitting, stats, and the end of free-agent courting

(Subscription to the Athletic required and highly recommended) After the 2015 season, Justin Upton was one of the last players to sign a free-agent contract. After the 2017 season, he was the first.

Even the Rays Can Get a Billion Dollar TV Deal

TV deals are still a hot mess, hit-or-miss crapshoot.