Three Up, Three Down: A big week for being petty

Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, left, prepares to hit San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Strickland after being hit with a pitch in the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 29, 2017, in San Francisco.  AP Photo/Ben Margot

Welcome to this week’s edition of Three Up, Three Down — your weekly catch-up of the three best highlights (and lowlights) from around the league. We’re here for all of the cheers and the jeers, because it’s baseball. You can’t have a winner without someone losing along the way.

(Okay, we’re a few days late due to vacation. But the hot stays hot and the cold is still as cool as ice cream on hot June afternoon.)

Up: The Astros are still tearing through the rest of baseball 

You might get tired of seeing the Astros in this spot, but the week that they’ve had has to be mentioned. They’ve been playing excellent baseball all season, but their offense absolutely unleashed itself on their unwitting prey this past week. They also made a bit of franchise history in the process, and it’s beginning to look like the Astros have something special brewing right now.

Going into the eighth inning of their Memorial Day tilt with the Twins, Houston was behind 8-2. Their offense then erupted for eleven runs in that frame and ended up winning 13-8, which broke a 659-game losing streak when it came to trailing by 6+ runs in the eighth inning or later for Houston. For good measure, the Astros swept the Twins and scored 24 more runs over the next two games. To sum it all up, have mercy on anybody who has to face the Astros right now, because it can’t be too much fun for you.

Down: Injury claims baseball’s brightest star

Baseball lost another superstar to injury this past week, and it was none other than the best player that the sport has to offer right now – Mike Trout. The reigning AL MVP was already on an absolute tear this season and showed no signs of slowing down – that is, until he managed to tear the UCL in his left thumb while stealing second base against the Marlins. He opted to have surgery and will be out for the next six-to-eight weeks.

Needless to say, this is a mammoth blow to the Angels. They were floating around .500 with a player of Mike Trout’s caliber in their lineup everyday, so it’s safe to say that they’re going to take a huge hit in production without him, and that also probably torpedoes any chance that the team had at being a surprise contender this season. Plus, if you enjoy watching baseball being played at an extremely high level, then it’s going to be a huge bummer to see Trout on the sidelines for the next couple of months. Baseball needs its superstars more than ever, and now they’ll be without their most talented star for a long time.

Up: Corey Dickerson is 100 percent locked in 

The crew over at FanGraphs figured this out and we’re spreading the gospel as well – Corey Dickerson is very good at hitting the ball. The linked article goes into great detail about just how good the Rays outfielder has been at hitting the ball so far this season, but here’s a stat that should sum it all up in a nice and succinct manner; he has yet to play consecutive games without getting a hit.

As if that stat wasn’t impressive enough, maybe you’ll be impressed with what he managed to do back on Tuesday. Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez threw a pitch that bounced before it reached home plate, but Corey Dickerson does what he wants so Corey Dickerson hit it anyways and got a double. Not only is Dickerson hitting at a very impressive clip this season, he’s also apparently got a future in cricket if this whole “baseball” thing doesn’t work out for him. He’s truly a man of many talents.

Down: Hunter Strickland is 100 percent petty 

You knew we were going to get to this eventually. Back on Memorial Day, Hunter Strickland ran into Bryce Harper in the eighth inning of a game that the Giants were losing 2-0 to the Nationals. Little did we know, this was the moment that Strickland had been waiting three long years for – since the 2014 NLDS, to be exact. Strickland didn’t appreciate the way Harper admired the two dingers he hit against him, so Strickland beaned Harper in the hip.

You know what happened afterwards. Harper charged the mound, Strickland obliged him in fisticuffs, and a donnybrook ensued while Buster Posey sat back was more of a spectator than anything else (and I’ll talk more about that later.). The main takeaway here is that Hunter Strickland came off as being extremely petty. The Giants won the aforementioned playoff series and not only that, they won the World Series as well. Strickland already had the ultimate revenge of success, but apparently that wasn’t enough. Was this an entertaining fight? Of course it was! Was it completely unnecessary and pointlessly instigated by one party? The answer to that is also yes.

Up: Buster Posey’s intelligence shines through

Staying on the subject of the fight, the smartest man on the field during that moment was absolutely Buster Posey. If you kept your eyes on him throughout the entire fracas, it really seemed like he had an air of exasperation about him when it came to Hunter Strickland’s decision to bean Bryce Harper after three years of petty frustration. It’s like he was saying, “Alright dude, you do this but just know that I’ll be back here chilling no matter what.”

You really can’t blame Posey for deciding to stay out of it for the most part. He recently spent some time on the concussion DL, so he had absolutely no reason to risk another one for something as petty as this. It turns out that this was an extremely smart decision since Michael Morse found himself on the concussion DL after he ran into his own teammate during the brawl. Sometimes the winning move is not to play, and Buster Posey absolutely made the right choice on Monday afternoon.

Down: Mr. Met is fed up with the fans

Hey look, the Mets are back in this space again! The good news is that this time it didn’t involve one of their players getting injured due to negligence, nor did it involve one of their players getting suspended due to something done off of the field. It also didn’t have to do with the on-field results (which are still poor when compared to the expectations this team had). Instead, the seemingly-innocent Mr. Met is at the forefront of their latest scandal.

At some point during their game on Wednesday night, Mr. Met and a fan got into a verbal altercation, which ended with Mr. Met giving the fan an obscene gesture that was caught on video. This led to the Mets being in the unenviable position of having to apologize for their “employee” shooting a fan the bird. We’re not even at the All-Star break but the Mets have already had enough scandals and controversies to last for an entire season. Meet the mess.

Yardbarker: MLB

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