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A Great Game That Astros Fans Will Always Remember. A Game Thread I Hope We Can Forget

The Astros have earned more trust than what some commenters showed yesterday.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros
Yordan Alvarez (44) celebrates after hitting a walk-off three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning in game one of the ALDS 
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What a glorious win.

The Game Thread, not so much.

Fans who have followed the championship-era Astros who gave up on the team during yesterday’s game should be ashamed.

Do you not remember the Astros being down 3-2 in the 2017 ALCS against the Yankees and coming back to win the series?

Do you not remember Game Two of the 2017 World Series when the Astros were down 3-1 after seven innings and tied the game in the ninth on a Marwin Gonzalez home run? And then scored four more runs in the 10th and 11th innings to win on the road 7-6?

Do you not remember Game Five of that World Series? The Astros were down 4-0 against peak Clayton Kershaw. But the Astros came back to win the ten-inning, 13-12 heavy-weight slugfest, finally decided by Alex Bregman’s walk-off single against the best closer in baseball.

Maybe you felt despondent in the 2019 ALCS after the Yankees tied Game Six with a two-run homer in the ninth. But if you hadn’t already learned not to give up on the Astros, you should have learned then. After Jose Altuve’s walk-off homer against Aroldis Chapman that won the game, you should have realized that the Astros don’t quit, and you shouldn’t quit on the Astros.

Yesterday’s game was another glorious chapter in the late history of the Astros, surely the golden age of Houston sports.

Down 4-0 after two innings, then 6-2, then 7-3 going into the eighth inning, the Astros scored five runs to pull out a miracle win, highlighted, of course, by the monstrous walk-off blast by Yordan.

Instantaneously, the Mariners went from being the team of destiny to once again being the Astros’ bitches.

Everything seemed to go wrong in the game for the Astros until suddenly, everything seemed to go right. For Alvarez to hit his three-run walk-off homer, he had to get to that at-bat, and the Astros had to do just enough to get him that two-out chance.

After the crucial two-run homer by Alex Bregman in the eighth, Yuli Gurriel hit a seemingly inconsequential single. But it extended the lineup. With one out in the ninth, pinch hitter David Hensley was hit by a pitch after an eight-pitch at-bat, followed by an 0-2 single by previously hitless Jeremy Pena on a slider, a pitch he supposedly can’t hit.

Giving Yordan his opportunity. Thanks go to Mariners manager Scott Servais for thinking a tired left-handed starter would somehow baffle Yordan Alvarez with low-nineties fastballs down the middle. But you still have to execute, and Yordan devoured that second pitch like a hungry lion eating a gladiator.

This team has been to the ALCS five straight times. And yet, from yesterday’s Game Thread, you’d think it was the Astros, not the Mariners, who hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2001.

Here’s just a sample of the comments from last night. Hopefully, after some of ya’ll have had a chance to sober up from your panic binge yesterday, you’ll see how stupidly you’ve acted.

This is a sample of the comments after the FIRST INNING.

  • “Astros going to get swept.”
  • “Well fu%#, we have to score more than 1 run to win. That’s all the Mariners need against this Houston offense.” (Final score, 8-7 Astros)
  • “They had all year to fire the coaches.” (After winning 106 games)
  • Too many slappers in this run is all Seattle needs. (The Astros scored 47 more runs than the Mariners in 2022 and hit 17 more homers, fourth in MLB, just ahead of the Dodgers)
  • “Pena is back to his old ways.” (His ninth-inning single became the game-tying run)
  • Altuve set this offense in a bad way the first at bat, terrible. (Altuve’s 164 wRC+ was a career-high and 4th best in MLB)
  • Another called Altuve “greedy boy” for swinging at the first pitch, and blamed him for causing the rest of the lineup, especially Jeremy Pena, for being so bad (he didn’t swing at the first pitch, he walked in his second at-bat and scored a run, and his BB% is over 10% )
  • This was probably the last chance 2017 could be redeemed with some of the core still here but of course crane decides to go all drayton mclane on us.” (the whole starting lineup in yesterday’s game except maybe Gurriel will be back next year, plus almost the whole pitching staff. And I won’t even mention the need for redemption)
  • “We get a guy named Chas.” (He also scored a run, and the Yankees once had a guy named Babe)

A little later, the drool just kept coming.

  • I don’t see us coming back from this...Houston doesn’t typically do well coming from behind and with Seattle batting JV around today, in combination with their unbelievable comeback against Toronto, I’m not so sure we’ll get past them in this series. We’re more than capable, but I’m not certain we’ll ultimately prevail…(See historical narrative above)
  • When a commenter advised, “Don’t burn out Javier. We may need him for game 4 or 5,” another responded, “Won’t be one.” Another said, “Don’t see us winning a game at this rate”
  • “Seattle is just the better team.” (The Astros won 106 games to 90. They were 12-7 against the Mariners in the season series. Seattle FEARS the Astros.)
  • First round series loss is not unexpected but it means time for a new GM, New manager.”

Just before the Yordan homer, we had these gems:

  • When someone suggested the rookie Hensley should pinch-hit in the ninth, one sage remarked, “ when it comes to dusty, an old school manager, seniority matters.”
  • “I hate being right about Dusty being wrong.”
  • “Fire all coaches and Click” (see 106 wins comment above)

Well, at least this one commenter might have learned something: “Can’t believe it. Turned the game off after Seattle went up 7-3...Wow” (You’re missing a good game, ump)

That sounds like one of the comments by one of TCB’s most notorious panic junkies who said this during Game 5 of the 2017 World Series when the Dodgers were ahead 4-0: “I’m gone; this series is lost.” (You missed the greatest game in history dude)

But kudos to the commenters who withstood the temptation of despair and remained reasonable and calm. They fought back with comments like:

  • There goes the sweep predicted by someone here.” after Yordan’s smash. And this response. “The Astros can still sweep”
  • When Altuve struck out and someone said “that could have been Springer, but hey, crane got bills to pay,” a commenter retorted, “Altuve just got through the season with what...11....12 leadoff home runs. And a .900 OPS. Come on now.”

Yes, I know the threads are the place for hot taeks. I’ve embarrassed myself many a time. But I just read the Mariners’ game thread after the home run, and they seem more reasonable to me in defeat than some of our people were after Verlander gave up one run.

Even if the Astros had lost, none of the above would have made any sense.

Yes, complain about bad plays and bad coaching decisions. This is a place to vent about the Astros. We’re not mindless fanboys here.

But TCB is also a place for high-level, reasoned discussion by fans of the team. At some point, too much negativity is not rational, and it turns off other fans who prefer to watch their team with some hope in their heart.

The Astros have clearly earned that trust. And if you’ve lost that hope, maybe you shouldn't alienate fans who still have faith with your over-the-top, irrational despair. You are making the threads unpleasant for the real Astros fans, and some are leaving because of you.

I’m not saying you have to believe the Astros are going to win the World Series, or even this series. Great teams sometimes lose five or seven-game series. But for those of a pessimistic bent (I am one of those), try to keep some balance.

On a more positive note, I want to thank the TCB community for maintaining civil discourse all season. Yesterday’s thread could have become a cesspool of ugly name calling but no one resorted to insults when disagreeing, and I thank you all for that. It has been that way all year.

Go Stros.