The narrative is spreading rapidly in the early days of spring training, told with a certain taste of glee. The Astros are getting hit by a lot of pitches! The cheaters are getting their comeuppance! They’re already being targeted and it’s not even the regular season! There are Twitter accounts with names like Astros* Bean Counter and 2020 Astros Shame Tour tracking all the hit batters. Non-sports sites are publishing videos on Facebook. The “Today” show did a segment on it Friday morning. My friend Dan tells me that even his mom mentioned to him that the Astros are getting hit a lot.
The narrative isn’t completely wrong, but let’s put this in some context. As always, context is important and hyperbole can be misleading.
Entering Friday’s spring training games, the Astros have been hit by seven pitches. That’s no longer the most; the Cardinals have been hit by eight pitches — and they certainly are not being targeted for anything this spring. Four other teams have been hit by six pitches, including the Tigers, and nobody is purposely throwing at batters from a team that lost 114 games last season.
Also, consider the seven Astros who have been hit: