Tonight the Astros did everything right and everything wrong in a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Coming into this game, the Brewers were fighting to squeeze into the final Wild Card playoff spot and their chances looked good. Their starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo owned a career 13-2 record against the Astros (100 innings pitched, his most against any team), for a 2.68 ERA and only six home runs allowed. Meanwhile, Astros starter Edgar Gonzalez has a 5.81 career ERA over nine seasons.
What went right: The Astros jumped all over Gallardo, tagging him for 8 hits, 3 walks, four earned runs, and two home runs over six innings. Fernando Martinez hit his seventh double, Brett Wallace his ninth home run, Jason Castro his fourth and fifth home runs, and Jose Altuve his seventh. Gonzalez himself drove in a run on a sacrifice bunt attempt that turned into a bunt single, and Matt Dominguez had two hits and two RBI.
What went wrong: There is no way to be gentle: Justin Maxwell earned himself the Golden Sombrero; he struck out four times and looked terrible doing so. He was just lost at the plate tonight.
What went right: Gonzalez pitched masterfully. His only mistake led to a long solo home run by Carlos Gomez in the Third Inning. Gonzalez walked nobody and Brewers hitters seemed baffled as they continued to beat the ball into the ground. Gonzalez finished with a 9/2 GB/FB ratio.
What went wrong: The two runs allowed by Gonzalez in the sixth were only barely his fault, as they came on some bloops after a pitch bounced off Castro's foot allowing the first runner to move into scoring position. The damage could have been limited without that little oops. The biggest pitching issue was closer Wilton Lopez' serious attempt at blowing the game by allowing two runs on solid contact in the bottom of the ninth inning. Only a bang-bang-bang double play prevented the game from going extra innings.
What went right: Matt Dominguez. The Astros third baseman had a couple fantastic defensive plays. One was a belly flop to stop a screaming grounder down the line. He leaped up so fast he had to have been time travelling, and he nailed the runner at first with plenty of time to spare.
What went wrong: Matt Dominguez. A line drive caught Dominguez in the foot late in the game, his first error of the season. FSN commentators felt the official scorer was unfair, because the liner came at approximately 239,823,985,273,958,723,958,273,598,237 miles per hour and Dominguez did not have time to get in position to catch the ball. I agree, but the error goes on the books anyway and the game was prolonged at a time when the Brewers were rallying.
The Astros' season wraps up on Wednesday, and that means this is my final Friday night recap of the year. I've had a blast--using user comments to write some recaps, creating a 2,000-word thesis on classical music, a recap in haiku, photos of cake, scanned game scorecards, and lots of sarcasm. Thanks to all of you for the comments throughout the year, and I look forward to contributing off-season content as the Astros move into the American League.