Ladies and gentleman, I'm sad to report that the Houston Astros' 2016 season has come to a close. Before hopping into the game recap, let's review the season as a whole.
During an abysmal April, the Astros looked lost and out of sync. Nothing was working right. Hitters were too streaky and the pitching was awful. Thankfully, things started to turn around in May. The Astros rewarded their fans with an incredible hot streak through the All Star break. They suffered injury set backs and saw multiple players leave on paternity leave in July and some of August which in turn led to more losses than we expected. Incredibly, the team pulled it together to challenge for a wild card spot until the last week of season. What a journey! Now onto today's game.
The Astros faced off against the Los Angeles Angels in the last game of the season with what many would call a B-squad. One of the veterans that remained in the lineup, George Springer, set an incredible personal milestone today. With his only plate appearance of the day, Springer officially played in all 162 games. Oh, he also ended up with a single during that at bat. Way to go, George! Hopefully we see more healthy seasons similar to this one for years to come.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game wasn't as exciting. Brady Rodgers got the start and was promptly pummeled for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. He'd end his day tossing 3.2 innings of four run ball, allowing five hits and issuing three walks.
The Angels continued to pour it on in the sixth and seventh innings. Kevin Chapman got tagged with three runs of his own in the bottom of the sixth, and Jandel Gustave gave up a solo shot in the seventh.
Teoscar Hernandez provided the only run the Astros would score on the day in the top of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly, scoring Colin Moran. The Astros end their year with an 8-1 loss in a game with no real meaning beyond professional pride.
Despite the disappointment we probably all felt after being knocked out of the wild card race, I'm still proud of this team. We lost our best pitcher on the year in Lance McCullers in August. The baseball gods decided that wasn't enough and took down Dallas Keuchel after it looked like he was rounding into form for the September stretch. Doug Fister regressed, hard. And yet, the Astros still fought until they were mathematically eliminated from the postseason.
Now we face the long break before the Winter Meetings in December, and then the real baseball doldrums until pitchers and catchers report in February 2017. We're going to miss you, Astros. Until next year, goodbye and thank you for an incredible ride!