If the Astros lose this world series and their only win over the last 6 years is the cheating year, how does that impact your opinion of their franchise? There's been some silly but fun radio talk about how the Astros, if they lose to Philly, are chokers. 4 World Series in 6 years, 1 win with a big asterisk and 2 ALCS losses.
All this talk of "mini dynasty" makes we wonder if the real story will wind up being that they can't close the deal.
I dunno, not very. Building a team that can go to 6 straight ALCSs in today's draft and competitive-balance environment (which isn't the same as the salary caps in the NFL or NHL, but it ain't the old days of MLB either), is a tremendous achievement. It wasn't that long ago that John Henry was talking about building a team that will go to the postseason 8 out of any given 10 years, and then "anything can happen in a short series".
I don't buy into narratives around postseason performance in baseball the way I do in basketball and the NFL, because the frequency with which a better team beats a worse team is so much less consistent
. You look at the spread of winning percentages in each league, the best NBA teams are topping .700 WPCT, the best NFL teams even more so (14-2 is an 0.875 WPCT). In baseball, if you win 60% of your games (98 wins), your team almost certainly wins the division, might well be the top seed in your league. The margins are finer and the statistical chaos that much more, well, chaotic. Yeah, managers can make better or worse tactical decisions in-game, players can have bad individual moments, but ultimately I still view the MLB playoffs as a crapshoot.
The Astros during this run have won 6/6 ALDSes (in 4, 3, 5, 4, 4 and 3), 4/6 ALCSes (in 7, 5L, 6, 7L, 6 and 4), and 1/3 WS (7W, 7L, 6L). That's still winning 11/15 coin flips against peer or near-peer teams, plus sweeping a wild-card series along the way. The coincidental distribution of those coin flips so that they happen to result in a championship, or in an excruciating WS loss, seems like no more than chance, to me.
Cheating in 2017 or not, they've built and kept together an incredible and exciting core of players. Hats off to them. Now I hope Philly drags them around the field for 4 games.