Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) vs Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08)
A day for Altuve; a day for Abreu. It was not a day that ended as the Astros would have liked, but it's still a far sight better than the soul-crushing despair of the previous three seasons in Houston. After a pre-game controversy when the Astros announced that Jose Altuve would sit out to preserve his batting title, the team eventually reversed course and gave Jose his wish, putting him in the lineup to win the title on the field. Which he did, going 2x4 to finish at .341, with 225 hits. But Bobby Abreu's final career hit - #2470, good for 103rd all-time - kicked off a 2-out rally in the Mets' half of the 5th that put New York in the lead for good. Astros lose the season finale 8-3, finishing 2014 at 70-92 (.432) - 19 games better than 2013's franchise-worst 51-111. They wrap up Tom Lawless' September 11-13; from May 11 through the end of the season, they went 59-66 (.472), and 20-20 (.500) from August 15 on.
On the Mound:
*With Collin McHugh at a career high in innings pitched (173.2 between OKC and HOU), Tom Lawless gave the season's final start to New York native Nick Tropeano. NiTro alternated scoreless frames with those allowing runs, giving up single runs in the 1st and 3rd before a pair of 2-out runs in the 5th. He finishes his first season of MLB action 1-3 in 4 starts, with a 4.57 ERA, following this afternoon's 5 IP / 6 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 3 BB / 1 K line.
*Mike Foltynewicz turned perfect frames in the 6th and 7th, but got tagged hard in the 8th, allowing a pair of doubles and a 2-run Lucas Duda HR (again) while recording just one more out.
*Folty finished with 3 runs on his ledger, as Jorge De Leon came in with one on and allowed the Mets' second 2-run HR of the inning, to Ruben Tejada. Jorge then got the last two outs without any further damage suffered.
At the Plate:
*Jose Altuve came into the game leading all of MLB with 223 hits and a .340 batting average, 3 points ahead of Detroit's Victor Martinez (.337). Jose now stands as Houston's first ever batting champion, with a .341 final average after going 2x4 with a double and an infield single RBI. V-Mart, meanwhile, went 0x3 in Detroit this afternoon to finish at .335.
*Max Stassi finished 2014 on a high note, going 2x4 with a RBI double and a RBI single, plus a caught stealing on Ruben Tejada to end the 2nd.
*Mike Bob Grossman ended the year on a 10-game hitting streak, hitting safely in 17 of his last 18 games, after a 1x4 afternoon.
*Jonathan Singleton had a double and scored on Stassi's double in the 2nd, finishing his day 1x4.
*Jake Marisnick also doubled and scored thanks to Stassi in the 6th, ending up 1x4 with 3 K.
*Gregorio Petit doubled and scored Houston's other run, on Altuve's RBI single in the 5th, finishing 1x4 with a K.
Mets manager Terry Collins gave retiring 2x All-Star Bobby Abreu the start in right field for his final game, and Bobby had a nice moment in the 5th, singling to left with none on and two out in his second AB. Collins then pulled him from the game for pinch runner Eric Young Jr., allowing Bobby to end his career on a hit and earning an appropriate ovation from the Citi Field crowd. The moment turned out to be more than ceremonial for the Mets, however, as a Daniel Murphy walk and a Lucas Duda 2-run double then put New York ahead 4-2.
Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve. His 225 hits are the new franchise record, tied for the 56th-best season all time, and the most in the Majors since Ichiro's own 225 back in 2009.
Goat of the Game:
None of Houston's pitchers were particularly brilliant today, but overall, expectations for the Astros have been raised. 2014 was a long-awaited step forward. Here's to the positives and to a better 2015 to come.