These are the games that try fans' souls. The summertime rooter and fair-weather fan will, in this crisis, shrink from the fandom of their team. The AL West, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the more heartbreaking the losses, the more glorious the triumph.
Whether or our victory over the division was declared too soon, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that eight months earlier we would’ve been satisfied with our current position, seven games above .500 and in possession of the 2nd Wild Card spot. However in the here-and-now the fall from the top seems great.
We did not make proper use of runners in scoring position. Our glorious Captain Correa delivered a two-out double in the first, only for his efforts to come to naught as Colby Rasmus struck out. Rasmus came to bat once more in the 5th with the Captain and King George Springer on 1st and 2nd, making contact but right into a double play, the mortal enemy of any offensive rally.
I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that the BABIP Gods are on our side and regression will come. Our run differential is +85. Even in this very game, the BABIP Gods blessed us with two runs in the 4th. Through the defensive ineptitude of Mike Napoli, Evan Gattis knocked in a run on an double that floated over the left fielder’s head. Two batters later, Luis Valbuena blooped one over Rougned Odor, plating Houston’s 2nd run. Sadly these would be the only runs scored in the game, however, I am confident that the offensive beast will awaken in the coming weeks. ‘Tis a streaky team, one that can sweep in four games a powerful Toronto team, only to get swept themselves by the very same team a fortnight later.
Yes, our pitching situation is dire at the moment. Every single pitcher that took the mound tonight allowed a run. Lance McCullers, who only a month and a fortnight ago was driven out of Arlington and back to Corpus Christi, made his return back to Globe Life Park. He put on an admirable effort in six innings but a three-run home run by Mitch Moreland in the 3rd would be his downfall. It would take four more pitchers to finish the game, giving up eight more runs. But shall we surrender to pessimism after for five months witnessing both one the best bullpens and starting rotations in baseball? Or that they are under the masterful guidance of Brent Strom?
‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a fan base. Every team in nearly every year have been subject to them. Just 10 years ago our hometown paper declared the Astros dead. Did we resign ourselves to pessimistic prognostications? NO! The daily rags could not tie that World Series team down, and neither shall a bad trip to the metroplex (is there any other kind?) do the same to this squad.
I thank Jobu, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out. It is gut check time inside the Houston clubhouse. In the coming weeks I have confidence that Manager AJ Hinch can rightfully earn the American League Manager of the Year Award and rally his team for a march into the playoffs. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.