H-town! How are you feeling today? I know you’ve heard it a number of times since last night and you’ve probably said it to yourself multiple times, but the Houston Astros are World Series champions. How does that feel? How does that sound? The organization that lost 92 games in 2014 and more than 106 games each of the three years is now measuring for rings. Those Astros teams were a mess. The Lastros looked like a cosmic joke, and now they’re the world champs.
Does it feel real? It should. Because your team damn sure earned that title. That wasn’t given to them. They absolutely ripped it. Went into Dodger Stadium and landed one haymaker after another early in the game and then just choked out the Dodgers. And did it in a Game 7, on the road, in one of the most pressure-packed situations, but they didn’t flinch, starting with George Springer in the top of the first with a double.
First batter, first inning and he’s already causing damage. And then the Dodgers inflicted a little damage of their own with their throwing error trying to get Alex Bregman at the first, sending Springer home.
Bregman then steals third and then scored on Jose Altuve’s sacrifice. 3 batters into Game 7 and the Astros were up 2-0. The thought was there was no way that they could hit Yu Darvish the way they did in Houston in Game 3 and that thought was wrong. They were just sitting on everything from Darvish. Either spitting on it or hitting it. And then Springer came up again in the second.
5-0 Astros. Springer just missed the pitch before that, but he didn’t miss that one. Absolutely smoked that. As he said later, “I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat. And I knew it was a good sound.”
That wasn’t a good sound, that was a great sound, for Springer and the Astros. That’s the sound of a ball leaving the bat at 110 miles per hour. And that is why Springer was your World Series MVP. A record-tying 5 homers in the series, a world-series record four straight games with a homer, and a world-series record for extra base hits with 8. His first four home runs either tied the game or gave Houston the lead. And all of this was after he went 0 for 4 with 4 Ks in Game 1. From the Golden Sombrero to the World Series MVP.
And it may have been tempting to call “ballgame” right after that Springer bomb, but you could never call it that early in this series because no lead has ever been safe. And it wasn’t really in this game either, because Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. was pretty wild. He said after the game he knew he didn’t have much, which was accurate, but what he did have was hbps in bulk, yo. Justin Turner, have one. Yasiel Puig, get some. Kike Hernandez, take that. Turner, have another.
I’m not sure what’s more insane, that McCullers managed to hit four guys in less than three innings or that none of them managed to score. And that was just part of the weirdness of last night. Like Brad Peacock batting in the fourth inning. Think about that – a relief pitcher batting in the fourth inning of Game 7 of the World Series?!?
That was all AJ Hinch and he showed last night why he’s one of the best managers in baseball. That bullpen was a hot mess earlier in the series and he handled it like a wizard last night. Four pitchers in the first five innings before he turned it over to Charlie Morton for the final four innings. Hinch and his pitchers took all the drama out of the game by being so comfortable in tough spots. One challenge after another from the Dodgers was met by an Astros team that was too tough and too good.
Can’t say enough about how impressive that was from the Astros. On the road. Against a 4-time All-Star pitcher. And they took care of business. They handled it like guys who’d been there before, even though almost none of them had ever been there before. But when you look at that team, you have to think they’ll be back again. They weren’t built for one run, they were built for a long run.