The Astros could not get it done when it mattered most

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Houston's season comes to a disappointing end with World Series Game 7 loss to Nationals

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The 2019 Astros had the best regular season in franchise history, and one of the best all-around rosters, ever. They battled against the Rays to win a Game 5 in the best-of-five ALDS, then defeated the powerful Yankees in the ALCS. They fell behind 0-2 in the World Series, then rattled off three impressive road wins to come back to Houston for the final two games. Yet, the Astros' season has come to an end with a disappointing loss in World Series Game 7.

The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 6-2 in World Series Game 7, completing an unprecedented stretch of seven games where the road team won every game. The loss prevents the Astros from winning their second World Series. Here is a breakdown of Game 7:

Final Score: Nationals 6, Astros 2.

Series: Nationals win 4-3.

Winning Pitcher: Patrick Corbin.

Losing Pitcher: Will Harris.

Gurriel puts Houston in front early

As expected, Game 7 started as a low-scoring affair, with both Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke keeping their opponent from blowing the game open early. It was Houston who would get a pivotal early run, though, thanks to a solo home run by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the second to put the Astros ahead 1-0.

Astros extend the lead while Greinke puts on a defensive clinic

While the Astros were getting runners on base and making Scherzer work for every out, Greinke was doing exactly what the Astros went out and got him for at the trade deadline. He was fantastic in the early innings, getting quick innings thanks to several gems by himself on defense.

Carlos Correa would help give him another run to work with, getting a two-out RBI-single to make it 2-0 to finally give the Astros a hit with runners in scoring position after struggling to that point. The Nationals moved to their bullpen in the bottom of the sixth after Scherzer reached 103 pitches through his five innings while allowing two runs. First out was Patrick Corbin, who would erase a leadoff single by pinch-hitting Jake Marisnick after a strikeout and double play.

Washington fights back with a big seventh

In the top of the seventh, Greinke remained in the game and would allow Washington's first run of the game, a solo home run to Anthony Rendon to cut the lead in half at 2-1. He would walk Juan Soto next, ending his night as A.J. Hinch would come to get him and move on to Will Harris. Harris, who allowed his first runs of the postseason the night before, would falter again in this game, giving up a go-ahead two-run home run to Howie Kendrick to make it a 3-2 Nationals lead.

Harris would allow a single in the next at-bat, getting pulled before recording an out. Houston would bring in their closer to try and stop the bleeding, and Roberto Osuna would get the last two outs of the seventh. That would finalize Greinke's line on the night: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Nationals add to the lead and take the series

Corbin would hold the Astros scoreless again in the bottom of the seventh, and then in the top of the eighth, the Nationals extended their lead off of Osuna, who remained in the game, getting an RBI-single by Juan Soto to make it 4-2. The Nationals would get another single, and Houston would move on to Ryan Pressly to try and get the last out of the eighth, which he would do.

The Nationals stuck with Corbin in the bottom of the eighth, and he would record another scoreless inning to put Washington three outs away from the win. Joe Smith was next out of Houston's bullpen to try and keep it a two-run game and give his team a chance to rally in the bottom half. He would get only one out before loading the bases, bringing in Jose Urquidy. Urquidy would allow the dagger, a two-RBI single up the middle to Adam Eaton, to push it to a 6-2 lead for Washington.

In the bottom of the ninth, down four runs, the Astros had the top of their lineup against the new reliever for Washington, Daniel Hudson. They would come away empty, watching the Nationals win the World Series and begin their celebration inside Minute Maid Park.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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It seems like every single day there is a new update on player testing positive for the Coronavirus. After a team outbreak on the Miami Marlins and new positive tests on the St. Louis Cardinals, it feels like the baseball season could be on the brink of being canceled by Rob Manfred if things do not get better fast.

ESPN MLB reporter and analyst Tim Kurkjian joined The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio Monday to discuss this situation. Kurkjian presented a bleak outlook when asked if he thinks MLB will complete its season.

"I don't think we are going to make it through," Kurkjian said. "The game is in turmoil and it should be given what it is up against, a pandemic like we have never seen before. My guess is that if we have another outbreak like the Marlins or even like the Cardinals then that might be enough to say the schedule is too messed up, the integrity of the game is in question but most important the health and safety of all people around the game is in question, so that might be enough to say 'alright we aren't going to play' but that is a very difficult decision the commissioner does not want to make."

Multiple reports seem to indicate that several Marlins players went out to a bar and broke MLB's protocol as did a few of the Cardinals when they reportedly went to a casino on their road trip. Is it fair to blame the players if the season ends up getting canceled?

"I think the bottom line is when this started, we were asking a bunch of young guys in their early 20s to show discipline and restraint that maybe they haven't shown their whole life," Kurkjian said. "That was a challenge to begin with and obviously some mistakes have been made but to blame the players for this entirely I'm not sure that is fair either."

When asked about the recent altercation between Joe Kelly of the Dodgers and the Astros, Kurkjian said he wasn't surprised a player went after the Astros but knew that baseball was trying to send a message by suspending Kelly for eight games.

"Even though eight games was a harsh penalty, I think it was Major League Baseball saying 'we have to send a message,' Kurkjian said. "MLB is trying to social distance in the middle of a pandemic and the last thing they need is a brawl, a dustup of any kind. To me this was baseball through Joe Kelly telling everyone 'we're not putting up with this.'

You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM -10 AM Central on SportsMap Radio.

You can listen to the full interview with Tim Kurkjian below:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/66WoodTsqgSVkzYkS1VPbi

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