Everybody knows what the Astros did. This is about who they are.

This is about who they were last October, when only their own fans were rooting for them to somehow make it back to the World Series, and about the way they’re still playing right now for a great old baseball man named Dusty Baker. The Astros have come out of the gate at 5-1. They look as if they can mash with any team in the game. They not only don’t go away. They keep coming. Whatever you think of the Astros and what they did, this is some big baseball story.

Baker’s team was just 29-31 during the regular season of 2020, but then got on a roll in October, and came back from 0-3 down to the Rays in the American League Championship Series before finally losing Game 7. Even in that one, they were down, 4-0, and got a couple of runs in the eighth to throw one more scare into Kevin Cash’s team.

Now the Astros are back to being what they were for a long time, which is the favorite in the AL West. Do they have enough pitching to continue to be one of the best teams in the whole league? The season will tell us that. But what we know already is that they are as tough an out as there is.

In the last two years, since losing Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, it has been quite a timeline. First, the Astros lost Gerrit Cole to free agency that December. Then the world found out about their sign-stealing operation.