Astros Win AL West on Final Day of the Season: Four Thoughts

Dear MLB, please change your minds and give Kyle Tucker a 30/30 season.
Dear MLB, please change your minds and give Kyle Tucker a 30/30 season. Photo by Jack Gorman
Wow, it was quite a Sunday. Over at NRG Stadium, the Texans were honoring J.J. Watt while stomping the Pittsburgh Steelers behind rookie coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie QB C.J. Stroud; the Astros were completing their sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Arizona; and the Rangers were choking away the division crown to the Mariners 1-0 even though Seattle had been eliminated a day earlier.

Like we said, it was a lot on the first Sunday in October and, for once, a banner day for Houston.

The Astros come from behind most of the year to improbably take the AL West division title for the sixth time in seven years. Here are our thoughts.

Thanks for the help, Mariners.

Seattle and its fans despise the Astros, which is why it came as such a shock that they didn't roll over and fold up the tents against the Rangers on Sunday. A loss wouldn't have mattered to them. They had been eliminated the day before. But a win over the Rangers combined with an Astros win in Arizona would give Houston the AL West. Well, they decided to step up and shut out the team that had led the division for much of the season and hand the crown to Houston. So, thanks, guys. We didn't know you cared.

Appreciate the hangover effort, Arizona.

Oh, and D-Backs, it's awful nice of you to hold out most of your starters and play a bullpen game on the last day of the season. We know you clinched on Saturday thanks to a Cardinals win over the Reds and so you partied pretty hard that night, but it was doing the Astros a solid by letting your guys take the day off. Y'all are the best.

Nicely done on the choke job, Rangers.

Well, well, well, Arlington. It appears as if all that bluster about the division lead and the trades at the deadline were just a smokescreen for the real Rangers. Not only did you get crushed by the Astros this season, but you limped your way into the postseason with your dreadful bullpen and recently anemic bats. We might end up meeting in the playoffs, but we doubt it. You're going to have your hands full with the Rays in the Wild Card round. Best of luck!

Welcome back to the postseason, Astros.

It's been a super weird year for this team. They have had injuries hamper them, struggles from rookies playing big roles and odd lineup choices. Yet, they did what they always do. They won. This was already a team that other franchises wanted no part of in the postseason. Now, they have to contend with the fact that the Astros have a full week off to rest and line up their pitching. We know most team and baseball fans hate them. This must sting for them.

Bonus: Give Kyle Tucker his home run!

In one of the strangest plays of the season, Tucker, who was sitting on 30 steals and 29 home runs for the season, ripped a laser shot over the right fielder. He rounded third and realized the cut off man wasn't going to make a play at home. Inside the park homer, right? Well, maybe? First, it was signaled a triple and an error on the outfielder. Then, it was changed to a home run. Finally, the powers that be changed it to a triple with a fielder's choice that allowed the run to score. Listen, the stat means nothing to anyone, so come on, MLB, give the man his 30/30 season, for the love of all that's holy.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke