Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2017 MLB World Series Champion, Houston Astros.
After last Wednesday night, I needed to take a couple of days to process everything that had happened in this year’s World Series before I could talk about it. I wanted to make sure that I had the time to really appreciate every little moment that happened that made this year’s Fall Classic so special. And, to be honest, a day isn’t really long enough to capture every little detail. But, just like baseball is now in its offseason, I am too. However I don’t want to hop right into the typical offseason possible free agent or trade targets for the Sox, I don’t want to talk about what the Red Sox need to make their team World Series contenders in 2018 (because that’s a long list right now and in fact, I’d like to put those off as long as I can. That’s what everyone talks and writes about, and really, it’s all just hypothetical. I could sit here and tell you what I THINK a professional baseball organization needs to do to win, but that would be just that, a regular guy talking about something much bigger than he is. Instead, I’d like to write a little profile about the 2017 World Champs.
By now, I’m sure you’ve at least heard about the Sports Illustrated cover from 2014 that proclaimed, “Your 2017 World Series Champs” and featured a picture of now-MVP Springer in a bright Astros jersey right on the front cover. I don’t know if the author, Ben Reiter, is a genie, or if he just got lucky…either way, that shit is just straight up weird. Especially because at the time the story was initially written, the Houston Astros were a doormat in the MLB, losing more than 100 games for three straight seasons. So how did Ben Reiter come up with this story?
In 2014, Altuve had only been playing in the majors for three seasons and didn’t put half of the numbers were used to seeing him put up now. In 2014, Carlos Correa wasn’t on the field with the Astros, he actually debuted in 2015, and even in 2015 was good but not great. In 2014, Springer played his debut season hitting 20 dingers but only hitting .230. In 2014, Marwin Gonzalez hit above .250 for the first time in his first three seasons. Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman wouldn’t debut until the 2016 season. In 2014, Dallas Keuchel posted his first season with a winning record and an ERA under 5.
We know now that that core group of guys has an incredible amount of talent and plays championship caliber baseball, but this Reiter guy…he must have just taken a lucky guess and said, “These kids are young, give them 3 years to grow and play together and they’ll win it all!” Because, in 2014, I don’t know if anybody would have believed that the Houston Astros would be the best team in baseball, and win the franchise’s first World Series Championship, just three years later. Well, you may not have believed it in 2014, but I’m sure you do now.
What I thought was kind of ironic was the fact that this series was all about the long ball, the high scores, the timely big hitting; everything was a slugfest. Who could score the most and give up the least? But in Game 7, it was actually the best baseball the Astros played all season. They got ahead early by scoring 2 in the first when Springer started the game off with a double. I know it sounds crazy but I could almost feel all momentum shift towards the Astros when he was standing on second base with nobody out in the first against Yu Darvish.
Speaking of Yu Darvish, the man was horrendous in the World Series. And I mean absolutely horrific, horrible, terrible, just bad. In Game 7, he only made it through an inning and two-thirds, giving up three hits and all five of the Astros runs (technically, one was unearned, but he still sucked).
Anyway, after the top half of the first, everyone was expecting that the Dodgers would come up to bat and tie the game in the bottom half and we’d be off to yet another game filled with fireworks. But Lance McCullers came on with other plans, and blanked the Dodgers in the first. Yu came out after giving up two in the first, and responds by giving up a bomb and a total of 5 runs before recording only 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd. Unacceptable.
The 5 runs proved to be all the Astros needed – actually the 2 would’ve been enough. McCullers only pitched two and a third, but gave up 0 runs on 3 Ks. Brad Peacock came in and did more of the same for 2 innings, giving up nothing on a hit and a walk with 2 Ks. Liriano and Devenski each came on to get an out and did their jobs. And of course, Charlie Morton came on for the final four frames to lock down the Dodgers lineup and seal the deal. Ultimately this game came down to scoring early and holding the lead, which the Astros were able to do effectively to win the franchise’s first World Series Championship.
Congrats to Houston a tremendous season, one their fans won’t soon forget.
And now, bring on my least favorite time of the year, the MLB Offseason. But at least, finally, I can continue finishing again with my favorite catchphrase, Go Sox!