The Astros fell 6-2 in game seven of the World Series. They fell to the Nationals four games to three and end their historic season just short of their second straight title in three years. Despite a brilliant pitching performance early from Zack Greinke, the bullpen imploded and the Nationals just seemed to get hits when they needed them to capture the first title for the nation's capital in nearly 100 years.
There will be lots to unpack about this series in the coming days and about the postseason in general. There will be discussions of free agency and trades in the hot stove league over the winter. For now, the Astros head into the postseason short of their ultimate goal. Here are the winners and losers.
The Houston native was absolutely fantastic in this series, hitting yet another home run in Game 7. In late innings, Rendon was particularly deadly throughout the postseason. He was as deserving of the MVP award as the winner, pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
There was some hand wringing over the fact that neither of the Astros two aces were on the bump in Game 7. But, Greinke was absolutely dominant through six innings allowing just one run on two hits. There was plenty of debate over Manager A.J. Hinch pulling him after one out in the seventh inning given how good he had been. In the end, Greinke reminded everyone that he is still one of the better pitchers in baseball.
James Harden and Russell Westrbrook
Not to get off of baseball, but the Rockets had one of the more remarkable games in basketball, ironically, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night. They ultimately won 159-158, the most points scored in a non-overtime game in franchise history. Harden had 59 points and Westbrook had yet another triple double. Clearly the arguments over them playing together were overblown. Thank God for basketball season.
Maybe this spot should be for Cole's agent, Scott Boras. Cole is in position to be the highest paid pitcher in baseball history after a fantastic season and postseason. This is magnified by the fact that plenty of people thought Cole should have relieved Greinke instead of Will Harris. We'll never know now.
It sucks that Harris, who had been so dominant throughout most of the postseason and arguably the most reliable reliever all season, would have a pair of tough outings against the Nationals. He gave up a two run homer to Howie Kendrick and didn't record an out. It's a tough ending to a very good season for Harris.
The questioning of Hinch and his choices with pitching in game seven will linger for quite a while. Should he have taken out Greinke so soon? Should he have gone to Cole? Those are the issues all managers must face. Hinch remains one of the best managers in baseball, but the narrative about his short leash with Greinke will remain into spring training, fairly or not.
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Home Field Advantage
For the first time in sports history, the road team won every single game of a seven-game series. Given how hard the Astros fought to have home field advantage with the best record in baseball, it was a stunning reversal of fortune.
Astros Hitting with Runners in Scoring Position
The single biggest story of the postseason for the Astros was their inability to hit the ball with runners in scoring position. They left another nine on base with plenty of guys at second and third throughout game seven that they could not get across the plate. When you leave that many players in scoring position, it's no surprise when you get beat. It's unfortunate it happened in the World Series.