Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa have a combined 68 years of managerial experience and 4,703 wins between them, including Thursday night’s 10-2 win by the Astros over the White Sox.
Baker, the most accomplished African-American manager in MLB history, and La Russa made history in the first meeting between two managers over the age of 70 in the modern era (1900).
MLBbro and All-Star candidate Michael Brantley set the tone with a three-run blister to give the Astros a 3-0 lead and they never looked back.
These guys are meeting for the first time as 70-year-olds, but they have a long history of battling between the lines and from the top step.
This is their fourth freakin’ decade coaching against each other. Most people don’t know their spouses that well. However, it is the first time in a decade and there were certainly some senior citizen bragging rights at stake.
All jokes aside, these guys are still sharp as swords. Like the masters in the old Wu-Tang videos who looked 100 but were untouchable in hand-to-hand combat against younger, stronger adversaries.
The Astros are now 40-28 and just two games behind the Oakland A’s in the AL and are one of just five teams in the American League with 40 wins.
The Chicago White Sox are 43-26 and share the American League’s best record.
This meeting of the minds didn’t live up to its potential as the Sox had an off night and the Astros bats continue to torch teams led by Jose Altuve who has 9 homers this month.
Expect to see both of these teams in the playoffs and the senior citizens at the helm will both be at the top of their games if they happen to meet.
It would be quite a show to see old Dusty going head up and matching wits with the three-time World Series mastermind.
Both managers have taken teams with talent and elevated them to the next level. True contenders.
Baker has seamlessly taken over for former disgraced manager AJ Hinch and helped the Astros regain some integrity along the way.
As long as the Astros continue to win games under Dusty’s leadership, Houston’s front office will look like geniuses to the fans and the rest of baseball for bringing in the OG skipper and further separating the front office and ownership from the World Series scandal that rocked MLB.
Michael Brantley isn’t a power hitter. He isn’t a base stealer.
But what he is, is a professional hitter.
And right now, he’s in orbit.
The Houston Astros have gone 4-2 over their last six games, taking road series from the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. Houston scored 45 runs in those games, and while the entire Astros offense has been blasting off, Brantley has been in another stratosphere with it.
The 34-year old veteran outfielder is on pace to have his best season since 2017 and has a solid chance of being named to the American League All-Star team for the fourth time in five seasons when lineups are announced.
All Michael Brantley does is hit missiles all around the field with a contract-driven old-school approach. He's .300 walking in shorts and shades#mlbbrohttps://t.co/JH774jUr2w
Brantley’s .337 average leads Houston and is second only to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. among American League hitters.
In five games in the month of June, he’s had three games with at least three hits, and two four-hit performances, producing a .600 average. His OPS is an astronomical 1.502, with five of his 12 hits going for extra bases.
Through 46 games, the exact number he played last season, Brantley has already bettered nearly every statistic he posted in 2020. Houston manager Dusty Baker has done a fantastic job of providing enough rest for Brantley to remain impactful, even without being available every day.
At times, Injuries have been as much a part of Brantley’s career as has his steady hitting. It’s part of why he was available in 2018 after 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, where he was an All-Star in 2017 and hit .295.
Brantley returned from the 10-day injured list on June 8 after dealing with tightness in his hamstring and has been able to pick up right where he left off.
When healthy, Brantley has been one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball this season. He’s hit safely in 35 of 46 games and has yet to go consecutive games without a hit. In fact he has more multi-hit games (16) than hitless ones (11).
Brantley trails only Cedric Mullins in percentage of games with at least one hit and has the highest percentage of multi-hit games among the top five hitters in the American League.
He’s also in the top ten in OBP and top 20 in slugging and OPS.
He’s proven that with six seasons with at least 150 hits, and his career .298 batting average puts him alongside such greats as Cecil Cooper, Jim Rice, Barry Bonds, and Mookie Betts in the record book.
As Houston continues its pursuit of the Oakland Athletics in the AL West standings, consistency is key; and there is no one on the Astros roster any more consistent than Michael Brantley.
Dusty Baker continues to bring good mojo to H-Town. The winningest Black manager in MLB history has the Houston Astros sporting the best offense in baseball and leading the Majors in almost every hitting category.
With fans being allowed back in ballparks for the first time since 2019, people are finally getting their chance at vengeance against the Astros for their sign-stealing scandal during their 2017 World Series run.
From Los Angeles to New York, entire stadiums are at war against Dusty’s 26-man crew, and he’s proven to be the perfect general for the fleet. Protecting his players like a bulletproof vest and keeping the conversation on baseball because that’s what he does best.
After taking over a franchise in the midst of chaos and scandal, Baker probably should have been the Manager of the Year, considering what he had to deal with and the negative microscope that his team was under.
Baker shook off the haters, maintained the fort, and shocked MLB by leading the Astros to Game 7 of last year’s American League Championship Series. Baker has them right back in contention this season as they are Top 5 in the American League in offense and pitching.
Let’s get to their bats first: Right now, the Astros currently lead all of MLB in runs, hits, RBI, batting average, total bases, On Base Percentage, and OPS.
Baker sits in 12th place all-time with 1,925 wins as a manager, 36 of them coming this year. His Astros are three games back of the Oakland A’s for the top spot in the AL West. He’ll look to add two more to his win total during a quick homestand against Demarcus Evans, Jason Martin and the Texas Rangers.
MLBbro.com video reporter Jones Whitner is giving the FACTZ about 13-year MLB veteran Michael Brantley. He’s also giving Brantley his flowers. So far this season, Brantley leads MLB with 10 doubles and continues to be the model of consistency as a hitter (.297 Lifetime BA).
In this age of boom or bust baseball, a four-time All-Star like Brantley, who is a technician at the plate with an old-school approach of making contact and working the gaps, doesn’t always get his propers.