Maybe it’s better this way. Perhaps it’s better for the hearts and nerves of Astros fans that our team was quickly beat down in 5 games by the Boston Red Sox instead of losing in a long, gut-wrenching 7-game series. Regardless of how you wanna look at it, the 2018 season of the Houston Astros is over. The World Series champions won’t even get a chance to defend their title. (Tag: 2018 Houston Astros)
Ultimately, the way the story has to be written is that the Astros were simply outplayed by a better team. You could even say the 108-win Red Sox are among the elite American League champions of all time. With the exception of defensive play at 3rd base, the Red Sox were simply better than the Astros in every department; pitching, batting, baserunning and coaching.
There’s certainly no shame in losing to a superior team. But it certainly is disappointing. The Astros are no longer an underrated team that’s just happy to make it to the ALCS. They set the bar high last year after winning it all. We now expect them to play in the ALCS every season…and win it. But if and when the Astros face a team in the League Championship that’s as talented and well-coached as the Red Sox are, we have to accept that they just might lose.
A+ Is Better than A-
If we’d lost just one decisive game to the Red Sox because they got all the lucky breaks and all the calls from the umps, I could understand some anger. But this series win by the Red Sox’ was not a fluke or the result of an umpire’s bad call. They beat our team soundly and decisively. They humbled the Astros in Houston. And the scores would’ve been even more lopsided if the Astros weren’t the excellent team that they are. We put our A- team against an A+ team and someone had to lose.
Don’t blame Joe West. Yes, his bad call on the fan-interference play cost us 2 runs in Game 4 and we ended up losing that game by 2 runs. But once again, we didn’t lose this series because of one call or one pitch or one bad game. We lost this series over the span of 4 games. And 3 of those games were in Houston. We had dozens of chances of overcome the bad luck that went against us in this series. Instead, we left a ton of guys on base. We also didn’t come through with 2 outs…but the Red Sox did. They were sharper and better prepared.
Humbled in Houston
Although it hurts for a young team to be embarrassed at home, it just might be exactly what the Astros needed in the grand scheme of things. This team is built for the long run. They’re going to be a contender for the next 5 to 10 years. Losses like these are what winning teams need to experience before they can reach the pinnacle of their sport. It was the devastation of losing the ALDS to the Royals in 2015 which set the stage for the Astros to win it all in 2017. And this early exit from the playoffs in 2018 will create the necessary hunger for their success in upcoming seasons.
I’m glad the Astros stood there and watched the Red Sox jump for joy and celebrate on their pitching mound. I’m glad that the visiting team’s locker room reeks of champagne right now. And I’m glad that David Price mocked Alex Bregman for his silly Instagram video. I want this loss to sting…just like it stings for us fans. And I want them to remember this pain next time they get to an important series. That’s the fuel that’s going to fire the Astros to another championship season.