The 2016 season for the Houston Astros was certainly a long, 162-game roller coaster ride. From the Opening Day game getting postponed to losing to the Rangers too many times, the Astros had some dark days in 2016.
While there were some good days, overall the Astros were a disappointment in 2016. Picked by many to win the AL West, the Astros just could not come together and rally after a terrible month of April. Astros fans appreciated the team’s run considering how many injuries the team had to overcome, but in the end 84-78 was simply not enough.
Personally, I believe the lowest point in the Astros season came on a warm July night in the Motor City. The Astros were taking on the Detroit Tigers, a team that ended up finishing ahead of the Astros in the American League Wild Card race.
The game stung more than any other game this year because the Astros had the contest in their grasp, stolen from the enemy in the ninth inning.
Mike Fiers, as bad as he was in 2016, pitched an outstanding game that night in Detroit, going 6.1 innings with only four hits allowed, six strikeouts, and only one run allowed. Pat Neshek and Ken Giles were solid in relief, and the Astros had their opportunity to strike in the ninth inning.
The Astros had their boys ready to seize the lead in the ninth inning. George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa all delivered in the clutch to tie the Tigers at 1-1. Even Colby Rasmus (YES, COLBY RASMUS) helped out that inning as his ground out to Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias would bring Altuve home for the leading run.
Then, Will Harris all of a sudden was not very trill. With the Astros up 2-1, Harris retired the first two Detroit hitters, as a typical All-Star reliever would do, before melting down. The Astros had the Tigers on the ropes, and let them off the hook when Harris just couldn’t keep his foot on first base for the final out, as he was beat to the bag by Jose Iglesias on a walk-off infield single.
It seemed like everything sort of spiraled downwards after that loss, as the Astros would go on to get swept by the Tigers and lose 7 of their next 9 games. The Astros has some late spurts that vaulted them back into the race, but this was a crushing loss for the Astros when the AL Wild-Card appeared to be well in grasps.
Unfortunately, the Astros in 2016 gave me many bad memories, as I had a lot of material to choose from when writing this article. Here’s to less of this in 2017….