They are not infallible, as it turns out, and neither are those conspicuous prognosticators who'd once confidently predicted a repeat. There will be no parades this year, no World Series rings, no Sports Illustrated covers. The Astros' bid for back-to-back championship seasons ended last evening, bringing the space men from Houston back to earth with a thud. There will be time to talk about next year tomorrow, but we are not ready for that today. Today is the day Houston begins to wonder aloud just how much of a championship town it really is, whether a great and glorious run for the city has ended, whether history will remember the 2018 season as an intermezzo or the end of something. Today is a day for mourning.
Game 5 of this year's American League Championship Series will always seem to us the result of a perfect storm, albeit a nasty one that combined poor pitching, poor hitting, and even poor fielding by some of the greatest fielders in the game. And the contest, which Boston won 4-1, should not necessarily lull the Red Sox into complacency about a future World Series victory. The Astros were not at their best physically or mentally, and Boston was not challenged as it should have been, and may still be challenged.
Houston managed just five hits in their final outing of the season, the most notable of them a 359-foot home run by Marwin Gonzalez to left field in the seventh inning that momentarily raised fans' spirits. The Red Sox didn't do much better hit-wise, producing just 8, but they were 8 hits off Astros ace Justin Verlander, which was something in itself. And more importantly, the Sox seemed to capitalize on each and every one of their hits, most spectacularly in the sixth inning, when third baseman Rafael Devers homered after first baseman Mitch Moreland doubled and second baseman Ian Kinsler singled. The game's only other score came in the top of the third, when JD Martinez, Boston's DH, stroked a homer to left.
It was a long drive, a drive as long as the night, a drive as long as the postseason will be for the Astros, a period when we can only hope that our beloved team will take care of itself, return to good health and form, and yes, get 'em next year.