Hat-tip to David Laurilia at FanGraphs:
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins. It blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings. And then, as soon as the chill rains come, it stops. It leaves you to face the fall alone.
-A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind."
On to the links:
The Astros actually beat the Angels last night, giving them their 41st road win of the season - the first time they've actually posted at least a .500 record on the road since 2004. So to recap the Astros/Angels season series: Astros win 11 of first 12, lose four of final six - three of the first four in must-win games - heading into the season finale.
*McHugh pitched well, holding the Angels to three hits in what Hinch essentially said was a go-through-the-motions game:
What a great performance when it's kind of hard to pitch on a night like tonight. Both teams are out of it, a little bit of speed-up rules, guys are swinging early.
McHugh went 6-0 in his final eight starts of the season. The Anti-Fister.
*Altuve went 2x4, ensuring that he'll win his second batting title in three years, and the Astros held a champagne toast for him after last night's win. Hinch:
I wanted to make sure that he got recognized in front of our team. Very rarely do you get a batting champion in front of you...the team was excited to celebrate him, so we raised a glass to a really remarkable season that continues and can get even better tomorrow. But even if it stops, it's one of the best seasons I've been around.
That's cool....but "even if it stops?" Does Hinch have some card up his sleeve in which math is rendered irrelevant and the Astros make the playoffs? Stay tuned...
Altuve also stole two bases to get to 30 for the 5th consecutive season. We'll have a full look at Altuve's 2016 season in the coming days...
*Brady Rodgers will get the start in the last game of the season, today at 2:05pm Central. Hinch:
He got off to a rough start when he got here, and he's our Minor League Pitcher of the Year and he's earned the right to get a look at the last day for sure.
*Carlos Correa was not terribly pleased with how this season went. Correa:
It was an OK year. Obviously not what I was hoping for, not the expectations that I had for this year... defensively it was a great year. Offensively, last year I thought it was better. But obviously, next year is going to be a different year and that's what the offseason is for, to get better.
*Joe Musgrove is excited for 2017 Spring Training and is firmly in the mix for one of the final two rotation spots. Hinch:
He's definitely in the conversation. A lot is going to happen between now and the spring as to how our roster shakes out. He's done enough to enhance his position.
So you have to figure that - barring some monster trade - Keuchel, McHugh, and McCullers are locks for the rotation. In the mix for the final two spots:
*What's at stake for the teams still in the playoff hunt on the last day of the season.
*The Braves interviewed Bo Porter for their managerial position this weekend. My affinity for Bo Porter is well-documented, but I think he'd be a great fit for the Braves.
*Here's a remarkable story about Scott Boras and his "in case of death" file on Jose Fernandez.
*The Mariners are optimistic about the future.
*I'm so sad that it's Vin Scully's last game.