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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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