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The Houston Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, clinching their best-of-three Wild Card Series and advancing to the best-of-five divisional round, where they'll meet either the Oakland Athletics or the Chicago White Sox. The Astros are, naturally, feeling themselves, to the extent where one of Houston's top players dared to address their proverbial haters during his postgame Zoom conference with the press.

"I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don't want to see us here," said shortstop Carlos Correa, who homered as part of a two-knock game, "but what are they going to say now?"

Correa's frustration is understandable. It can't be fun to have critics question the legitimacy of one's accomplishments at every turn. The obvious retort, though, is that Correa and the Astros did it to themselves. Remember, this all stems from Houston's sign-stealing scheme that led Major League Baseball to suspend both the club's former manager and general manager, and to fine and strip the organization of draft picks. Yes, other teams were probably doing similar things, but the Astros got caught; that means suffering the consequences, such as public criticism. 

Beyond that, the Astros have not performed like their usual elite-team selves this year. They finished the season under .500 (29-31), and wouldn't have made the playoffs if not for the 16-team format. Part of that is because of a slew of injuries to veteran pitchers, including ace Justin Verlander and closer Roberto Osuna. Part of it, though, stems from an offense that hasn't slugged like it did before. Whether or not the lineup-wide power outage is because of some reason greater than a small sample size is anyone's guess; the future will dictate that narrative.

To answer Correa's question -- what will people say now? -- our guess is that people will say it's two games. Houston deserves credit, no doubt, but these kinds of results happen in baseball independent of some larger narrative shift all the time. Heck, the last-place Detroit Tigers swept the Twins in late August; that didn't stop anyone from saying the Tigers were a poor team.

Houston's wins came during the playoffs, so it's not a perfect, one-to-one comparison by any means. Still, the Astros would be well-served to realize that no amount of winning this year is going to erase the sins of the past. That stinks, and it might not be fair, but they have only themselves to blame.