And in the end the Astros lost their last game of the season, something that has happened in 58 of their 59 seasons. Despite out-hitting Tampa 59-44, Houston lost a seven-game series getting outscored by a total of three runs. The Rays simply took advantage of more mistakes than the Astros. That said, coming back from an 0-3 deficit to force a Game 7 for a 3rd Pennant in four years, in a "season" in which you got six innings from Justin Verlander, nine PAs from Yordan Alvarez, 4.1IP from Roberto Osuna, is extremely impressive. I'm mad as hell, but I appreciate what this team did since the end of July. Super-appreciative of the ride they gave us, but I'm going to need some space from this team.
The legacy of this group is that these guys are ballpayers. These guys are men; they have been through a whole bunch other than on the ballfield. Now these guys can forget the problems they had that it out there and come together as a group and be forever friends.
This is painful when you're one game away from going to the World Series. I'm proud of these guys, because nobody expected us to even be in the position or even to be here....One thing's for sure: We'll be back in this position again next year.
*MLB: Anatomy of the Astros' comeback, and near-miss.
*Houston, as a team, was 11x46 with runners in scoring position. The 2020 ALCS, w/RISP:
Saturday's loss lived as a microcosm of Houston's 73-game run, one riddled with ineffectiveness, injury and invective from the outside following the sign-stealing scandal. The lineup disappeared, as it so often did during a 29-31 regular season. A clutch hit never came.
*Carlos Correa drove in the only two runs of Game 7. He hit .362/.455/.766 in the 2020 Postseason, with 17 RBI. Correa:
We didn't fold. We kept battling. We got to the playoffs and no one gave us a chance in Minnesota. We won three games against Oakland. They beat us in the regular season and we came up huge and won that series. Down, 0-3, everybody was talking about the Astros getting swept and this and that. We came back and forced Game 7. It wasn't the finale we wanted, but I'm just proud of this team, man. It's been unbelievable.
*I have no idea, and will never understand, why the Astros continued to challenge Randy Arozarena. Arozarena hit a 2-run home run.
Arozarena: .321/.367/.786 in the ALCS
Ji-Man Choi: .385/.529/.615 in the ALCS
Nobody else in that lineup had an average over .278. Six of the Rays' Game 7 lineup had an ALCS average under .167. Sixteen of the 25 runs the Rays scored - yes, they only scored 25 runs in seven games - came on home runs. Kevin Cash:
We are lucky to have Charlie Morton. For a group that doesn't have a wealth of experience in these roles, Charlie does. He has been there, done that. It lined up really, really well for us.
*Charlie Morton in Game 7s, career: 14.2IP, 6H/1ER, 15K:3BB. Beginning with the 2017 ALCS Game 7, Morton has recorded seven straight Wins in the postseason.
*Lance McCullers: 3.2IP, 4H/3ER, 7K:1BB, 2HR. McCullers:
It sucks, man. It really does. But congrats to the Rays. They're a damn good team. They've been the best team in the AL all season. They went through the Yankees and they went through us. You have to tip your cap to them, as well. It sucks because it just feels like we were right there.
We got down 3-0 and we fought and we showed the kind of team and kind of grit that makes up this team. We weren't on a revenge tour. That's not what this was. This was a bunch of guys that came together, wanted to play damn good baseball and win a World Series. And we fell short of our goal.
*Bregman, 2020 Postseason: .220/.316/.300. After recording three straight two-hit games from ALDS Game 3-ALCS Game 1, Bregman went .083/.154/.083 in 26 PAs. And we still don't know why Bregman was pulled late in Game 7.
Bregman, 2020 until the hamstring injury: .272/.374/.500, 13 extra-base hits, 15K:14BB.
Bregman, 2020 after the hamstring injury: .187 (I'm bad at calculating OBP and SLG)
I'm extremely proud of this team for fighting every single day, battling every pitch and going out there and playing hard and playing for one another. But like I said before, our goal is always to win the last game of the season, so it's time to work extremely hard in the offseason and get better.
*Gurriel, 2020 Postseason: .114/.245/.114.
*Jayson Stark: The Weird and the Wild of ALCS Game 7.
*Brian T. Smith: The Astros' revival hit a wall.
*Of course now the focus of the front office turns to free agency. Is this the end of the Astros era? George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Josh Reddick are all free agents once the World Series ends. Correa, on Springer:
Some guys that we love very much and we've been playing with forever, and hopefully they come back, but if they don't, we're going to miss them for sure. We've got George Springer. He's been my teammate since I got to the big leagues and been a great leader and role model.
I haven't really thought about that yet. Our season just ended. I'm more focused on kind of what's happening now, what happened tonight, and I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
*Jerome Solomon: There is plenty for the Astros to look forward to.
*Jake Kaplan: All the looming off-season questions for the Astros.
*Now, I guess we just wait. Read for pleasure. Go to bed early. Drink some herbal tea. Hot Links will continue throughout the off-season with or without Astros news. Thank you for reading along.
*The Atlantic: The mad, mad world of niche sports among Ivy League-obsessed parents.
*Wired: His writing radicalized young hackers, now he wants to redeem them.
*A season-ending Musical Selection: