1962: On April 10th, the Colt .45’s get off to a flying start winning their first game 11-2 over the Chicago Cubs. That first year to keep the Colt .45s from appearing bland, Judge Roy Hofheinz, the visionary who ran the franchise, got the inspired idea to deck them out in blue cowboy suits on road trips, with matching hats and boots. Passing through airports, they were a puzzling sight to travelers who did not get the connection to Texas. The players finally refused to wear the outfits, and the Judge gave up. The Colt .45’s would go on to finish in eighth place with a 64-96 record.
1963: In their second season, the Colt .45’s manage to avoid last place and 100 losses again as they post a 66-96 record while finishing in ninth place.
1964: Tragedy strikes the Colts as pitcher Jim Umbricht loses his battle with cancer, the team would go on to retire his number 32 in his honor. That year the Colt .45’s also made history of a dubious nature when Ken Johnson became the first Major League pitcher ever to pitch a nine-inning No-Hitter and lose in an April 23rd game against the Cincinnati Reds. The team would go on to finish in ninth place with a 66-96 record in their final year known as the Colt .45’s.
1965: The newly renamed Astros open up the Astrodome, and become the first professional team to play indoors. The Astros chose to play indoors because of unbearably hot summers in Texas, which in the past caused games to be held up until after sunset. The Astros peeled off a ten-game winning streak, an occurrence that was so unthinkable that their opponents accused them of tinkering with the air conditioning currents, causing the air to blow out when the home team was at-bat. If only winning had been so simple, as the Astros still finished in ninth place with a 65-97 record.
1966: At first, the Astrodome used grass, which was allowed to grow with panels that allowed sun in for the grass to grow, but sunlight glare made seeing the ball impossible to see the roof is painted and the grass died. So the Astros had to search for a grass substitute, the Astros would make a deal for a new type for a surface that would become the Bain to traditional sports fans everywhere. The Astros allowed the new surface to be called Astroturf so the inventor could get more attention, as the Astros could get it for free. Astroturf would soon spread like an out of control virus throughout professional, and colligate sports. By 1986, ten Major League Parks would have Astroturf installed. Astroturf had the advantage of being easy to maintain; it was easy to keep clean there was no need for constant mowing and watering. It was sturdy and durable. It was not easily ripped up by cleats, and thus could be used continuously for ten years or more. Astroturf would get discolored by sunlight, it would develop creases, it was unforgiving to the bodies of players who attempt to slide on it, and it caused serve knee and leg injuries that shortened many players’ careers. The disadvantages would later hurt teams because many players, when faced with free agency, would choose to play elsewhere rather than having the burden of playing on Astroturf. In their first year on Astroturf, the Astros would post a 72-90 record and finish in eighth place.
1967: Future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews plays just half of the season with Astros but manages to slam his 500th career home run, as the Astros finished ninth place again with a 69-93 record.
1968: In the year of the pitcher, the Astros have some highlights on the mound themselves. First came on April 15th when the Astros and the New York Mets looked horns in a game at the Astrodome that went 24 innings before the Astros scored the game’s only run. On July 14th, Don Wilson would make headlines when he struck out 18 batters in a 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The Astros would also have four pitchers win ten games Don Wilson (13), Larry Dierker (12) Dave Guisti (11), and Denny LeMaster (10). However, the team would finish in last place with a 72-90 record.
1969: After being no-hit by Jim Maloney and the Cincinnati Reds on April 30th, Don Wilson returns the favor to the Reds the next night. That year would see Larry Dierker become the first Astor pitcher to win 20 games, as the team finally achieved the .500 mark finishing 81-81 and in fifth place in the National League Western Division.
1970: The Astros still can’t manage to put together a winning season as they finish in fourth place with a mediocre 79-83 record.
1971: Cesar Cedeño leads the league with 40 doubles, as Roger Metzger and Joe Morgan share the league lead with 11 triples each. However, the Astros still struggle to finish in fourth place with a 79-83 record.
1972: Jerry Reuss and Larry Dierker hurl back-to-back one-hitters on June 18th against the Philadelphia Phillies and June 19th vs. the New York Mets, respectively. The Astros would go to finish with their first winning season at 84-69, and in second place.
1973: The Astros post their second straight winning season as they post an 82-80 record while finishing in fourth place in what would end up Leo Durocher’s final season in a prestigious managerial career.
1974: Under new manager Preston Gomez the Astros can only muster a .500 record while finishing in fourth place at 81-81.
1975: Tragedy strikes the Astros a month before spring training as Longtime Ace pitcher Don Wilson commits suicide using Carbon Monoxide Poising. It would be a year as heartache as the Astros finish with their worst record ever at 64-97. That year also saw the appointment of Tal Smith as Club President and General Manager. His first move was to bring in Bill Virdon to replace Preston Gomez as a manager in the middle of the season.
1976: J.R. Richard becomes Houston’s second 20-game winner, while Cesar Cedeño sets a club mark with 58 stolen bases and earns his fifth-straight Gold Glove. The Astros would go on to finish with a third-place 80-82 record.
1977: Three Astros steal more than 40 bases (Cesar Cedeño, 61; Jose Cruz, 44; Enos Cabell, 42), as the Astros finish in third place with an 81-81 break-even record.
1978: J.R. Richard becomes the first National League right-handed pitcher to top the 300-strikeout mark in a season with 303. However, the Astros would struggle to finish in fifth place with a 74-88 record.
1979: J.R. Richard tops himself by striking out 313 batters. Meanwhile, Joe Niekro who sets a club record with 21 wins, as the Astros finish just a game and half out of first with an 89-73 record. Following the season, the Astros make history by making Nolan Ryan the first player to make a million dollars in one season.
1980: The Astros who looked well on their way to a division title were dealt a serve blow midway through the season when star pitcher J.R. Richard suffers a stroke. The stroke would end Richard’s promising career, which saw him win 107 games in his first ten years. However, the Astros would overcome the loss of Richard and would end the season in a flatfooted tie with Los Angeles Dodgers with a record of 92-70. The Astros would easily defeat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff to claim their first-ever Division Title and advance on t the playoffs. In the NLCS, the Astros would take two of the first three games from the Philadelphia Phillies to put themselves one game away from a trip to the World Series. However, the Astros could not hold leads in the final two games and would end up losing the series with a heartbreaking ten inning loss in Game 5.
1981: The Astros get off to a slow start and sit at 28-29, and are eight games out of first place on June 15th when a strike halts the season. When the players returned 50 days later, it was determined that they would play a split season, giving the Astros new hope for a division title. The Astros would take advantage of their second chance and would win the second-half title with a 33-20 record. During the second-half run, Nolan Ryan breaks Sandy Koufax record by hurling his 5th career No-Hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros would face the Dodgers again in a 5-game series for the Western Division Title. The Astros jumped out quickly in the series, winning the first two games at the Astrodome and head to Los Angeles, needing just one win in Dodger Stadium to advance to the NLCS for the second year in a row. However, the Astros would end up letting the lead slip away as the eventual World Champion Dodgers won all three games at home.
1982: The Astros get off to a slow start and never recover as Manager Bill Virdon is fired. Bob Lillis would take over in August, and the Astros would play 28-23 under Lillis, to slightly improve their season, which ends with a disappointing 77-85 record.
1983: The Astros stumble out of the gate, losing their first nine games. However, the team would recover nicely to finish with a solid 85-77 record. During the season, Nolan Ryan would pass Walter Johnson in career strikeouts, although at the time, he is the second player to do so in the season Ryan would eventually go on to become the all-time strikeout king.
1984: The Astros get off to a slow start again as star shortstop Dickie Thon is lost for the season after he is struck in the head by a fastball from Mike Torrez of the New York Mets. The Astros would go on to finish with an 80-82 record, in a second-place tie.
1985: On July 11th Nolan Ryan strikes out Danny Heep of the New York to get his 4,000th career strikeout. The Astros would go on to finish in third place with an 83-79 record.
1986: With Mike Scott dominating the National League on the way to a Cy Young award, the Astros easily win the division with a 96-66 record. The highlight of the season would come on September 25th when Mike Scott pitches a No-Hitter to clinch the National League Western Division. Facing the New York Mets in the NLCS, Scott continued his dominance with a 1-0 complete-game win, while striking out 14 in a Game 1 pitcher’s duel with Dwight Gooden, as Glenn Davis supplied the offense with a second-inning home run. After dropping Game 2, the Astros were in a position to take Game 3 at Shea Stadium, as they had a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning. However, Closer Dave Smith yielded a two-run home run to Len Dykstra as the Mets won in dramatic fashion 6-5. In Game 4, it was Mike Scott again, as the frustrated Mets thought the pitcher whom they gave up on was scuffing the baseball as the Astros even the series with a 3-1 win. In Game 5, the Astros would get another excellent pitching performance from an ex-Met as Nolan Ryan allowed just one run on two hits, matching Dwight Gooden pitch for the pitch before the Mets won the game in 12 innings 2-1. In Game 6, the Astros again had the Mets on the ropes with a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning, behind a masterful performance from Bob Knepper, with Mike Scott poised to start Game 7. However, the Mets would rally to send the game to extra innings against the Astros bullpen. The Astros would fall behind 4-3 in the 14th inning, but Billy Hatcher hit a towering home run off the foul pole to send the game to the 15th inning. After the Mets would then scored three runs in the 16th inning, the never say die Astros would score twice before Kevin Bass came to the plate with tying and winning runs on base. However, Bass would strikeout as the Mets went on to win the World Series.
1987: Nolan Ryan leads the majors in strikeouts with 270 and tied for the lead in ERA with a 2.76 mark. However, the Astros would struggle to a third-place 76-86 finish.
1988: The Astros hover around .500 all season as they finish in fifth place with a record of 82-80.
1989: Despite the loss of Nolan Ryan to their Lone Star State rival Texas Rangers, the Astros manage to put together a strong season finishing 86-76 in third place just six games out of 1st.
1990: Despite the superb pitching of Danny Darwin, who has the best ERA in the National League, the Astros struggle with a 75-87 record that lands them in fourth place.
1991: In what is clearly a rebuilding year, the Astros traded away what’s left of their 1986 Playoff team, and become one of the worst teams in baseball with a 65-97 record. However, bright days are ahead for the team as 1B Jeff Bagwell wins the National League Rookie of the Year, while Craig Biggio makes the All-Star team for the first time.
1992: With the Astrodome hosting the 1992 Republican Convention, the Astros are forced to go on the road for a grueling 26 days. Despite the long road trip, the Astros have a solid second half and place fourth with an 81-81 record. That same year the Astros name Bob Watson General Manager, making him the first African American to hold such a position in Major League Baseball history. Watson would remain in the post until 1995.
1993: The Astros set several new team records in hitting as the team continues to improve, finishing in third place with an 85-77 record.
1994: On August 12th, the Astros sit at 66-49, only a half-game out of first place in the newly formed National League Central Division. However, that would end up being the final day of the season as the players went on a strike that would wipe out the entire postseason. Despite the shortened season, Jeff Bagwell sets team records in HR with 39, and RBI with 116. Bagwell would go on to become the third player in National League history to be voted MVP unanimously.
1995: The Astros hurt their chances of winning the Division Title by performing poorly in head-to-head matchups with Cincinnati Reds. However, the Astros have the Wild Card to fall back on and battle the Colorado Rockies until the last day of the season for the first-ever Wild Card spot in the National League. However, the Astros would come up one game short with a solid 76-68 record.
1996: The Astros hold a two and a half-game lead for the National League Central Division and the end of August. However, the Astros would suffer a terrible 8-17 September, and would end the season with an 82-80 record; six games behind the division champion St. Louis Cardinals.
1997: The Astros were able to win a weak National League Central Division with an average 84-78 record. By the time the postseason rolled around, it was clear the Astros were overmatched, as they are swept in a three-game NLDS whitewashing at the hands of the Atlanta Braves.
1998: The Astros acquire Randy Johnson at the trade deadline and run away from the pack in the final two months, winning a club-record 102 games on the way to their second straight division. Johnson would be unbeatable, winning double digits in just months in Houston. In the NLDS, Randy Johnson would lose two pitcher’s duels, as the Astros are stunned in four games by the San Diego Padres. Following the season, the Astros would also lose the Big Unit to Free Agency.
1999: The Astros bid farewell to the Astrodome in dramatic fashion, clinching their third straight National League Central Divison title with a 97-65 record on the final day of the season before a sold-out crowd. Standing-room-only were commonplace during the last year of baseball in the Dome as a record 2.7 million fans flocked to the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” In the NLDS, the Astros take the first game against the Braves in Atlanta. After the Braves won Game 2, the series shifted to Houston, where the Astros let a bases-loaded- no-out opportunity slip through their fingers in the ninth inning before the Braves won in extra innings. The deflated Astros would not recover losing the series on the next day in the final baseball game at The Astrodome.
2000: The new state of the art Enron Field opens up as an Astros record 3,056,139 fans passed through the turnstiles. However, the Astros would struggle with their new surroundings, as Enron Field was a polar opposite of The Astrodome. Where in the past the Astrodome was a pitcher-friendly stadium, the new Enron Field was a home run haven. The Astros would suffer through a miserable first half as the longball victimized their pitchers. The season would go from bad to worse when 2B Craig Biggio sustained a knee injury at the start of August. The Astros would go on to finish with a terrible 72-90 record in fourth place. Not all was lost as Jeff Bagwell benefited from Enron Field by smashing a team record 47 home runs.
2001: The Astros rebound nicely, and surge to the front of the National League Central at the end of August, and establish a six-game lead. The Astros would struggle down the stretch and would enter a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals with the division on the line. However, the series would lose importance as the San Francisco Giants lost on Friday Night, assuring the loser of the series the Wild Card Spot. None-the less the Astros take two of three games to end up in a tie for first place with a 93-69. However, winning that last game would prove vital since it gave the Astros the tiebreaker and the number one seed in the playoffs. In the NLDS, the Astros would face the Atlanta Braves for the third time in five years. The Astros would hold the lead in Game 1, but their bullpen could not hold it as the Braves would go on to foil the Astros again, sweeping them in three straight games. Following the season manager, Larry Dierker, who guided the Astros to four division titles in five years, resigns, as all four trips ended with a loss in the Division Series. In those four trips, the Astros hold a woeful 2-12 record in 14 games.
2002: The Astros get off to a slow start as their young pitching staff suffers early-season growing pains. However, outfielder Lance Berkman would have a breakout year with 42 home runs and 128 RBI, as the Astros had a strong second half to finish in second place with a record of 84-78. Following the season, the Astros would strengthen their lineup by signing Free Agent Jeff Kent.
2003: The Astros would get off to a shaky start as Craig Biggio struggled with the transition to Centerfield, as Lance Berkman and Jeff Bagwell sputtered at the plate early in the season. As the weather began to heat up, so did the Astros as the rose from a mediocre start to find themselves in the thick of a three-team race for the National League Central Division Title. On June 11th, the Astros made history as six pitchers combined to no-hit the New York Yankees. The Astros were forced to use the pen early after start Roy Oswalt was forced out of the game with a pulled groin. From there, Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner each pitched in to keep the Yankees hitless. Over the next few weeks, the Astros would miss Oswalt as the struggled badly over the next few weeks. As the season wore on, the Astros continued to battle the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals for the division title. As September began, the Astros and Cubs would pull away from the Cardinals, but the Cardinals would hurt the Astros taking two of three games in the next to last weekend of the season. Those losses would send the Astros reeling as they lost six of their previous nine games, including two home losses to the last-place Milwaukee Brewers dropping them one game out of first place with a record of 87-75. Following the season, the Astros would sign Houston natives Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, who won a combined 38 games with the Yankees in 2003.
2004: Heading into the season, the Astros were one of the top contenders for the World Series in the National League. However, Andy Pettitte would suffer an elbow injury in his first start, and it would affect him the entire season as he spent most of the season on the Disabled List posting a 6-4 record in just 15 starts. Roger Clemens would not disappoint as he was dominant for the start of the season, winning his first nine decisions on the way to an 18-4 record with a 2.98 ERA and 218 strikeouts. Along the way, he passed Steve Carlton for second on the career strikeout list on the way to winning his record seventh Cy Young. Despite the greatness of Clemens, the Astros started struggling in mid-May after getting off to a solid 21-11 start. After winning 21 games in their first 32 games, they would win just 23 of their next 56 games. Hoping to jump-start things, the Astros would trade struggling outfielder Richard Hidalgo to the New York Mets while acquiring Carlos Beltran in a three-team deal from the Kansas City Royals. Houston was the center of the Baseball world for the All-Star Game with their hometown hero Roger Clemens was on the mound to start the game for the NL. Meanwhile, Astros Manager Jimy Williams a coach on the team got a less than a warm reaction from the fans at Minute Maid Park, who booed him during pregame introductions. A day after the game with the Astros record at 44-44, Williams would be fired and replaced by Phil Garner. Under Garner, the Astros continued to struggle over the next month as they fell below .500 and seemingly out of contention with a 56-60 on August 14th. Slowly the Astros would begin to play better as Beltran began to become accustomed to the National League pitching. As September began, the Astros were on fire in the middle of a 12-game winning streak as the Astros won 22 of 26 games to become a late entrant into the race for the Wild Card. Down the stretch, the Astros were even hotter winning nine of their last ten, including their final seven games to capture the Wild Card berth by one game over the San Francisco Giants with a record of 92-70. Entering their eighth playoff appearance, the Astros were still without a playoff series victory as they faced the Atlanta Braves who had beaten them in 1997, 1999, and 2001. The Astros would get off to a good start as they took Game 1 on the road behind Roger Clemens 9-3, with Carlos Beltran providing the offense going 3-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored. After losing Game 2 in the 11th inning on a two-run homer by Rafael Furcal 4-2, the Astros rebounded to win Game 3 in Houston behind the pitching of Brandon Backe and the continued hot hitting of Beltran who hit his second homer of the series in an 8-5 win. With a chance to close the series out at home, the Astros let a 5-2 lead slip out of their fingers as the Braves won to force a decisive fifth game in Atlanta. Playing with a heavy heart in Game 5 were Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who was mourning the death of former teammate Ken Caminiti who died of a drug-induced heart attacked in a run-down part of New York. Both would play well in Game 5 as Bagwell homered, but the star of the game was once again Beltran, who went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBI as the Astros won the fifth game going away 12-3. In the NLCS, the Astros faced the St. Louis Cardinals who had run away with the National League Central. Beltran would stay hot in the NLCS homering in the first inning of the first two games.The Astros lost both and needed a strong performance from Roger Clemens in Game 3 in Houston just to stay alive. Which, they would get as they won 5-2 with Beltran homering again. In Game 4, the Astros fell behind early as the Cardinals scored three times in the first inning. However, another amazing game by Carlos Beltran would see the Astros rally to win 6-5 to even the series as the star outfielder hit a homer for a postseason record fifth straight game while scoring three times. Beltran’s bat would be kept quiet in Game 5, so were the other 17 hitters on both teams and starting pitchers Brandon Backe and Woody Williams allowed just one hit each. By the ninth inning, both starters were gone when Beltran led off with a single off Jason Isringhausen then stole second. The steal forced the Cardinals to walk Lance Berkman to set up for the double play, but it would never come into play as Jeff Kent launched a three-run homer to give the Astros a dramatic 3-0 win and 3-2 series lead. With a chance to close the series out in Game 6, the Astros tied the game in the ninth inning to force extra innings. The Cards would win in the 12th inning 6-4 on a Jim Edmonds homer. In Game 7, the Astros would get off to a 2-0 lead as Roger Clemens tried to pitch them to the World Series. However, Clemens would tire in the sixth inning as the Cardinals scored three runs on the way to a 5-2 win. The Astros heartbreak would get worse in the off-season as the lost postseason hero Carlos Beltran in a free agent bidding war with the New York Mets, while Jeff Kent left to play with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.
2005: With the loss of Beltran and Kent, along with Lance Berkman starting the year on the Disabled List with a knee injury suffered in an off-season basketball game, the Astros offense started the year sputtering, as Jeff Bagwell’s ailing shoulder led to him playing in just 39 games. Nobody was hurt more by this lack of offense early in the season than Roger Clemens, who through the first two months had a 3-3 record despite a 1.54 ERA, as the Astros got off to a terrible 15-30 start. As June began and Berkman returned, the Astros offense began to improve slightly, and with a dominant starting pitching staff, they were able to quickly turn things around, winning 29 of their next 42 games to climb above .500 at the All-Star Break. The Astros would continue their turnaround in the second half as they were able to capture the Wild Card for the second straight year with an 89-73 record. Roy Oswalt posted a 20-12 record, while Clemens, despite continued poor run support, had another solid season at 13-8, with a league-best 1.87 ERA. Once again, the Astros faced the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS and got off to a quick start winning Game 1 in Atlanta 10-5, as Lance Berkman drove in five runs. After Clemens struggled in Game 2, the series shifted to Houston, where Roy Oswalt led the way in a 7-3 win. With a chance to close the series out in Game 4, the Astros fell behind early and trailed 6-1 in the eighth inning. A grand slam by Berkman in the eighth gave the Astros life, while Brad Ausmus tied the game in the ninth inning. From there, neither team could scratch the scoreboard as the game became the longest in postseason history at 18 innings. Roger Clemens came into pitch the last three innings and got the win as Chris Burke ended it with a walk-off homer, sending the Astros to an NLCS rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals. After dropping Game 1 in St. Louis 10-5, the Astros rebounded to take Game 2, behind the pitching of Roy Oswalt 4-1. As the series shifted to Houston, the Astros turned to Roger Clemens, who got the win 4-3. The Astros had the series lead a lead; they would use a little luck to grow to 3-1 after winning 2-1 thanks to a dramatic play at the plate and double play to prevent the tying run from scoring in the ninth inning. With a chance to make their first-ever World Series, the Astros grabbed a 4-2 lead on 3-run 7th Inning homer by Berkman. However, with two outs in the ninth inning an all of Houston ready to celebrate the usually reliable close Brad Lidge gave up a dramatic three-run home run to Albert Pujols, as the Cardinals won 5-4. Back in St. Louis in the same situation up 3-2 as the year before, the Astros looked to Roy Oswalt to avoid another letdown. Oswalt would go out and shut down the Cardinals allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings to earn NLCS MVP honors as the Astros finally landed in the World Series with a 5-1 win. Facing the Chicago White Sox, a team with its own history of postseason frustration, the Astros became the first Texas team to play in the World Series. Game 1 would end up being a rough start for Roger Clemens, who lasted just two innings as the Astros fell 5-3. Game 2 would not go much better as the game went back and forth with the Sox leading 6-4 in the ninth before Jose Vizcaino toed the game with a two-run single. It was a short-lived reprieve for the Astros as Brad Lidge surrendered a walk-off homer to light-hitting Scott Podsednik as the Sox took a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to Houston, the Astros hoped they could turn things around and, after taking a 4-0 lead, look like they were on their way. However, the Sox exploded for five runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. The Astros would rally to tie the game as Houston fans were treated to another marathon that went a World Series record 14 innings; before former Astro Geoff Blum broke the tie with a homer as the Sox took a 3-0 series lead with a 7-5 win. Game 4 would be a pitching duel between Brandon Backe and Freddy Garcia, as no team could score through the first seven innings. Looking to get on the board, Backe would be pinch-hit for by Jeff Bagwell, who grounded out to second. The Astros would bring in the struggling Brad Lidge to replace Backe and pitched poorly again, giving up a run-scoring double to Jermaine Dye. The Astros would not be able to come back as the White Sox won their first World Series since 88 years 1-0.
2006: While Roger Clemens waited until June to decide whether or not to play another season, and Jeff Bagwell was unable to play ever again due to an arthritic right shoulder. The Astros got off to a surprisingly strong start winning 15 of their first 21 games. In May, the Astros problems would catch up with them as they posted an 11-19 record. Making matters worse, Closer Brad Lidge’s postseason struggles carried over as he struggled all season, posting a 5.28 ERA. In June, Clemens would return as the Astros slipped below .500, meaning they would need another second-half comeback to reach the playoffs again. To try to spark a struggling lineup, the Astros acquired Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays just after the All-Star Break. In his first game with the Astros, Huff paid immediate dividends hitting a three-run homer as the Astros beat the Florida Marlins 5-1. However, they continued to struggles as they appeared to be going down quietly as they were eight and a half games out of first with 12 games to play, and the Wild Card even further out of reach. Then suddenly, the magic of the last two seasons past came alive as the Astros went on a nine-game winning streak propelling themselves over .500 and within a half-game of the suddenly struggling St. Louis Cardinals. Still needing to win their last three games in Atlanta, the Astros ship ran out of fuel as they dropped two of three to the Braves and fell a game and half short with a record of 82-80.
2007: The Astros added some offensive punch by signing Free Agent outfielder Carlos Lee, but lost some pitching as both Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens returned to the New York Yankees. Early on, it was clear the Astros missed their two critical starters as they got off to a slow start, as they ended April in last place with a record of 10-14. In May, things got bleaker as the Astros endured a ten-game losing streak that buried deep in the back of the pack in the National League Central Division. While individual players like Rookie Hunter Pence, who led all National League rookies in batting average .322 and triples gave Astros fans something to cheer about, the team was otherwise dreadful. It would be the farewell tour for Craig Biggio, which became the focal point in the second half. Before ending a 20-year career spent entirely in Houston, Biggio would collect his 3,000th hit dramatically, tying the game in the ninth inning off Aaron Cook of the Colorado Rockies. The Astros would later win that game on a towering grand slam by Carlos Lee. In August, the Astros would part ways with Manager Phil Garner replacing him with Cecil Cooper as they would go on to finish in fourth place with a record of 73-89.
2008: The Astros entered the season without high expectations, as they began life without Craig Biggio. Through July, the Astros were in line with those who doubted them, as they sat in fourth place with a record of 50-57. However, out of nowhere, the Astros skyrocket in the National League Central, as they won 21 of 30 games to get back into the wildcard race. The Astros would stay hot into September as they won nine of their first ten games and 14 of 15 overall dating back to the end of August. Highlighting this winning streak was an impressive three-game sweep of the first-place Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field. On September 11th, the Astros sat just three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the lead in the Wild Card race with an 80-67 record. However, as the Cubs were scheduled to come to Houston, Eastern Texas was hit by Hurricane Ike, which had caused significant damage through the City of Houston. After the first two games were rained out, the series was moved to Miller Park in Milwaukee, where the obviously distracted Astros were no-hit by Carlos Zambrano in a 5-0 loss. A day later, they were nearly no-hit again, scratching out just one hit in a 6-1 loss to the Cubs in another home game played in Milwaukee. The Astros would not recover as they limped home with an 86-75 record that landed them in third place. Individual accomplishments include 100 RBI seasons from Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee.
2009: After contending for the Wild Card a season before, the Astros stubbed their toe right from the start of the season, losing six of their first seven games, as they ended in April in last place with a record of 9-13. Things would not improve much in May as the Astros continued to linger at the bottom of the National League Central Division while posting an 11-16 record. As June arrived, the Astros began to show signs of improvement as they posted a winning record over the next two months, climbing above .500 and within one game of first place. In August, it would all come crashing down as the Astros returned to the baseball that had them in a hole early in the season, as they entered September out of contention with a 63-68 record and 13 and a half games out of first place. The Astros would close the season playing horrible baseball as they won just ten games in September on the way to finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 74-88. As the season was coming to a close, the Astros decided to make a change, firing Manager Cecil Cooper, with third base coach Dave Clark running the team over the final two weeks of the season.
2010: It was a year of transition under new Manager Brad Mills, as several Astros veterans were on the trading block as the team looked to get younger for the future. The season started poorly for Mills and the Astros as they lost their first eight games on the way to posting an 8-14 record in April. Things would not get much better in May, as the Astros posted a 9-20 record and entered June in last place with a record of 17-34. As June began, the Astros started to play better baseball, winning eight of ten games. However, they would struggle in interleague play, particularly against the Texas Rangers, who they lost five of six games against. In July, despite posting a 13-11 record for the month, the Astros were one of the biggest sellers at the trade deadline, sending Lance Berkman, the last of the Killer Bees to the New York Yankees for minor leaguers Jimmy Paredes and Mark Melancon. While their top pitcher Roy Oswalt was shipped to the Philadelphia Phillies for Pitcher J. A. Happ and two minor league players. Happ, who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, pitched well with the Astros, posting a record of 5-4. August would be a good month for the Astros as they began with a season-high seven-game winning streak, and completed a four-game sweep of the Phillies on the road, while as they posted a 17-12 record. The Astros continued to play well in the role of spoiler as they climbed into third place and to within four games of .500 on September 20th. However, they could not keep the momentum into the final two weeks of the season, as they posted a 3-9 record down the stretch on the way to ending the year in fourth place with a record of 76-86.
2011: Right from the start of the season, it was easy to see that Houston had a problem as the Astros, whose farm system was left bare, were clearly in a rebuild mode. Meanwhile, the team was put up for sale by longtime Owner Drayton McLane. Starting the season on the road, the Astros would be swept by the Philadelphia Phillies, losing to Roy Oswalt in the season finale. The Astros would drop their next two games to the Cincinnati Reds, before winning in their sixth game of the season. The Astros would also drop their first two games at home against the Florida Marlins, as lost eight of their first ten games. The Astros would finish April with a 10-17 record. The Astros would not play much better in May, as they found themselves in last place at 21-34. Over the next two months, the Astros continued to struggle to win just 14 games as they held an atrocious 35-73 at the non-waiver trade deadline. Once again, the Astros would be sellers at the deadline, dealing Michael Bourne, who was on his way to leading the National League in steals to the Atlanta Braves and Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies for prospects. The month of August was the Astros strongest month as they posted a 12-17 record, and posted two separate four-game winning streaks, their longest streaks of the season. The Astros would reach 100 losses for the first time in franchise history with a 2-1 loss against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 17th. They would go on to finish the season with a record of 56-106, which was the worst record in baseball. Following the season, the Astros would be sold to Jim Crane, who agreed to move the Astros to the American League West for the 2013 season.
2012: In their final National League season, the Astros celebrated their 50th Anniversary as they wore some of their classic uniforms in the past while planning a complete image overhaul for the 2013 season when they moved to the American League. The Astros were also in need of an overhaul on the field as they were coming off their first 100 loss season. The Astros played hard early in the season, winning three of their first four games, as they were around the .500 mark up until Memorial Day weekend with a record of 22-23. However, an eight-game losing streak would end any hopes the Astros had of staying competitive. In June, the Astros would begin attempts to reduce payroll and go with younger players as they attempted to deal Carlos Lee to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, Lee would reject to waive his no-trade clause. Eventually, Lee would be dealt to the Miami Marlins for prospect Rob Rasmussen and Matt Dominguez. It would not be the last trade the Astros would make as they stood on June 27th with a record of 32-43, which included an embarrassing 10-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants, in which they had 14 strikeouts as Matt Cain tossed a Perfect Game on June 13th. Over the next two months, the Astros would endure one of the worst stretches in the history of baseball, with an awful 8-49 record over a 57 game stretch. As the trade deadline approached, the Astros would nearly gut their entire team as J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon were sent to the Toronto Blue Jays. Brett Meyers was sent to the Chicago White Sox, and Wandy Rodriguez was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros would also make a managerial change as Brad Mills was fired and replaced by Tony DeFrancesco on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. During the first 34 games of the awful stretch, the Astros failed to win two straight games at any point, winning just three overall as they suffered through an embarrassing 3-24 record in July, which included a 12 game losing streak and play in the field that resembled the Bad News Bears. The Astros would play slightly better down the stretch, splitting their final 30 games, as they suffered their second straight 100 -loss season with a franchise-worst record of 55-107, suffering a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in their final National League Game.
2013: Moving to the American League West, the Astros now managed by Bo Porter went back to the past returning to the classic NASA like blue and orange color scheme as they brought back the vintage blue caps with a white H imposed on an orange star. In their first American League game against the Lone Star State rival Texas Rangers, the Astros won 8-2 at Minute Maid Park, as Rick Ankiel broke the game open with a three-run home run. However, two days later, the Astros would not reach base until the ninth inning as Marwin Gonzalez two-out singled ended Yu Darvish’s big for a Perfect Game as the Rangers won the game 7-0. Despite their Opening Night win, the Astros would be dominated in the Lone Star State showdown, as the Rangers won 17 of 19 in their first season as division rivals. After winning their opener, the Astros dropped their next six games, as they ended their first month in the American League with a record of 8-19. Things would not get much better in May, as the Astros lost 11 of their first 13 games, and sat in last place with a record of 10-30 through the first quarter of the season. As May turned into June, the Astros had their best stretch of the season as they won six straight on the road against the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels. June would be the Astros best month as they were somewhat competitive, posting a record of 12-15. However, the long hot summer would separate the pretenders from contenders, and the Astros were shown to be the former as they only won six games and ended the month on track to lose 100 games again at 36-70. They would not do much better in August, posting a record of 8-21. Starting September at 44-91, the Astros looked determined to finish the season as strong as possible as they posted a 7-5 mark, highlighted by a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners on the road. However, with two weeks left in the season, the Astros suddenly went ice cold, losing their final 15 games. For the third straight year, the Astros would set a new franchise record for most losses in a season, this time around posting an atrocious record of 51-111, as their three year stretch of 162-324 was the worst in 50 years. In a season in which the Astros ranked among the worst teams in hitting and pitching, few players could be spotlighted as positive. Chris Carter (23) and Matt Dominguez (21) were the only Astros to top 20 homers, while no starters had a winning record as Jordan Lyles led the team with a 7-9 record.
2014: Coming off three consecutive 100-loss seasons, the Houston Astros had no place to go but up. Facing the New York Yankees to start the season, the Astros losing streak ended with a 6-2 win at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day, with Scott Feldman getting the win. The Astros would also earn a 3-1 win over the Yankees in the second game of the seasons. However, wins would still be somewhat scarce for Houston, as they posted a 5-14 record over their first 19 games. May would see the Astros show signs of improvement, as they had a winning record at 15-14, highlighted by a seven-game winning streak. Helping the Astros cause was Dallas Kuechle, who won six of his first eight decisions. Kuechle would finish the season with a record of 12-9 with a solid ERA of 2.93. Shortstop Jose Altuve would emerge as the team’s new star as he became the first Astros player to winning a batting title, leading the majors in hitting with a .341 average. Altuve’s 56 stolen bases also led the American League, while adding 47 doubles, seven home runs, and 59 RBI. George Springer, one of Houston’s top prospects, also gave the Astros a boost after making his Major League debut on April 16th. Springer would hit his 15th home run on June 26th, breaking a franchise record for home runs by a rookie at the All-Star Break. George Springer would be hampered by injuries in the second half and finished the season with 20 long balls, 51 RBI, and a .230 average. Springer was the first of what the Astros hoped would become a long line of prospects to begin making their mark in Houston. One player that would not be a part of the Astros plans was Brady Aiken, who was the third straight number one overall pick for the Astros. However, a contract could not be reached by the deadline, and the Astros became the first team in 31 years to fail to sign the top overall pick. With the struggles of the Texas Rangers, the Astros were able to climb out of last place. The Astros would post a winning record again in August at 15-14 as they won two of three on the road against the New York Yankees. Despite the signs of improvement, the Astros would terminate the contract of Manager Bo Porter on September 1st. Tom Lawless would manager the Astros for the remainder of the season, posting a record of 11-13. The Astros would finish the year with a record of 70-92, good enough for fourth place in the American League West.
2015: As the season began, fans of the Houston Astros could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel as they started the season under new manager A.J. Hinch. With the development of Dallas Kuechel into a certified ace and 2012 number one overall pick Carlos Correa on the verge of joining the big leagues, the Astros entered the season hoping to begin to climb back to respectability as they played their third season in the American League. Kuechel outdueled reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, as the Astros opened the season with a 2-0 win over the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park. Kuechel would win all three decisions in April as the Astros launched themselves into first place with a ten-game winning streak that carried into May. It was part of an overall stretch that saw them win 14 of 15 games. Solid starting pitching was a key to the Astros early success, as Colin McHugh a journeyman pitcher matched, Dallas Kuechel’s 3-0 April. While most experts expected the Astros to come down to earth in May, they remained in first place all month thanks to the 1-2 punch of Kuechel and McHugh. Dallas Kuechel had finished May with a record of 7-1, as he was named American League Pitcher of the Month for each of the season’s first two months. McHugh meanwhile was nearly as strong, posting a record of 5-2. Through the first two months, the Astros offense had some decent power numbers, but nobody that scared anyone. That all changed when Carlos Correa made his big league debut on June 8th. Correa came up and made an immediate impact as he had nine doubles and five home runs in his first 20 games. On July 5th Correa became the first player since 1914 to record five games with a minimum of three hits and a home run in 25 plate appearances since his debut as Astros fans pushed for Carlos Correa to make the All-Star team. The 20-year old Shortstop would finish the season with 22 home runs and 68 RBI while batting .279 to earn the American League Rookie of the Year. As the All-Star Break arrived, the Astros lost their grip on first place, losing six in a row and eight-of-nine heading into the Mid-Summer Classic. The break proved to be therapeutic for Houston, as the Astros went 9-3 in their next 12 games, highlighted by a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to reclaim first place in the AL West. Not satisfied, the Astros were active at the trade deadline. The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Oakland Athletics for a pair of prospects. Kazmir earned a win over the Kansas City Royals in his first start with the Astros, but struggled the rest of the way, posting a record of 2-6. The Astros would later add more offense, picking up Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitcher Mike Fiers for four minor leaguers. While Gomez struggled in Houston, Fiers made history throwing the first No-Hitter at Minute Maid Park as the Astros blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 on August 21st. August was also a big month for Dallas Kuechel, who won Pitcher of the Month again. Kuechel would go on to claim the American League Cy Young, posting a record of 20-8, with a 2.48 ERA that includes a perfect 15-0 record at home and 216 strikeouts. Collin McHugh was just behind, posting a record of 19-7. The Astros would remain in first place as September began, but the young team appeared to hit a wall and got off to a terrible start in the final month, losing 12 of 16. The slump included a four-game sweep against the Texas Rangers that saw their rivals from the north take over first place for the remainder of the season. The Astros would recover and finished strong to claim one of the American League’s two Wild Card spots with a record of 86-76.
2015 Wild Card and ALDS: In the Wild Card Game, the Astros would send Dallas Kuechel to the mound against the New York Yankees. Kuechel was dominate, allowing just three hits while striking out nine in six innings. The Astros meanwhile got home runs from Corey Rasmus, and Carlos Gomez as the won in the Bronx 3-0. The Astros would move on to face the Kansas City Royals in the Division Series. Game 1 would see Colin McHugh combine to lead the Astros to a 5-2 win. The Astros started the game with two first-inning runs by Rasmus and Evan Gattis. Colby Rasmus continued to drive the Astros offense, homering for the third straight game to build an early 3-0 lead. The Royals would, however, show the start of some late-inning magic that would drive them the entire postseason, rallying to win the game 5-4. As the series shifted to Houston, Dallas Kuechel got the start and was solid again, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings, as the Astros doubled up the Royals 4-2. The Astros appeared to be on their way to the ALCS as the star rookie Carlos Correa had a monster Game 4, with four hits in four at-bats, with a double, two home runs and RBI to help Houston take a 6-2 lead after seven innings. However, the Astros bullpen imploded, allowing seven runs over the last two innings as the Royals evened the series with a 9-6 win. The Royals would go on to win the series finale 7-2 in Kansas City and went on to win their first World Championship in 30 years.
2016: A year after making the playoffs for the first time in the American League, the Houston Astros looked to continue their climb as they were a trendy pre-season pick. However, Houston had problems early in the season as they lost seven of their first ten games on the way to a terrible 7-17 record in April that had them languish in last place seven games out. The Astros would try to claw their way out of their April hole in May and played considerably better with a 17-12 mark. Despite the Astros getting back on track, the same could not be said for reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Kuechel who lost six straight after winning his first two decisions. The Astros would look like the team fans expected as they ran off a record of 18-8. The Astros June surge helped get them back over .500, but it could not get them closer to first place as the Texas Rangers held a nine-game lead at the start of July. As the Astros turned their season around, Dallas Kuechel continued to struggle as he held a 6-11 record at the end of July. Kuechel would pitch better down the stretch but still had a disappointing season with a record of 9-12 and an ERA of 4.55. As July came to an end, the Astros found themselves going backward as they dropped 10 of 13 into August. The Astros would also suffer a five-game losing streak as their hopes faded away. The Astros would make one last push when they won six of seven, but it was not enough as they finished the season with a record of 84-78. It was a disappointing all-around season for Houston, as most of the team did not live up to expectations, one player who did have a great season was Jose Altuve who led the American League in hitting at .338 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI.
2017: After a disappointing season in 2016, the Houston Astros looked to bounce back. The Astros climbed to the top of the American League West early, as they swept the Seattle Mariners to begin the season. Posting a record of 16-9, Houston was in first place most of April, a big part of their strong start was Dallas Kuechel who looked like the pitcher that won the Cy Young in 2015, posting a record of 5-0 with a 1.21 ERA as he was named Pitcher of the Month. The Astros played even better in May, winning 22 games and carried an 11-game winning streak into June. They held the best record in baseball on June 4th at 42-16 as Lance McCullers Jr. was named pitcher of the month, as he had a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings as he was 4-0 with an ERA of 0.99. Carlos Correa meanwhile was named Player of the Month in May, batting .386, with eight doubles, seven home runs, 26 RBI. The Astros faced turbulence for the first time in June, as Dallas Kuechel missed most of the month dealing with a sore neck. Despite the troubles, the Astros were the best team in baseball at the All-Star Break, holding a record of 60-29 as they had a 16 and a half games lead in the American League West. Injuries again became a factor after the All-Star Break as the Astros lost Carlos Correa to a thumb injury and Lance McCullers Jr to a back injury. The next six weeks would be a struggle for the Astros, especially in August, as they suffered through an 11-17 record during the season’s dog days. As the month came to an end, the attention of Houston and the Astros was elsewhere as the city was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey as the Astros were forced to move a series with the Astros to Tropicana Field in Tampa. While the Astros maintained a sizable lead, General Manager Jeff Luhnow felt more was needed as they prepared to enter September, as they made a deal with the Detroit Tigers just moments before the roster deadline on August 31st to pick up Justin Verlander. To acquire the former Cy Young winner, the Astros sent a trio of prospects Franklin Pérez, Jake Rogers, and Daz Cameron to the Tigers in return, as they also added Cameron Maybin off waivers. As September began, the Astros were able to go home, sweeping the New York Mets in a Labor Day weekend series, as they hammered Matt Harvey in what had to feel like a cathartic response to the storm that upended so many lives in the region. The Astros finished the season strong, easily winning the division with a record of 101-61. Down the stretch, Verlander was better than anyone could have expected, winning all five starts, with an ERA of 1.06 and 43 strikeouts. Dallas Kuechel meanwhile overcame his neck issues and finished with a record of 14-5 with an ERA of 2.90. Carlos Correa, meanwhile despite missing several weeks, had an excellent season, hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI, while George Springer led Houston with 34 long balls, with 85 RBI and a .283 average. The Astros real spark was Jose Altuve, who was named American League MVP with a league-leading .346 average, hitting 24 home runs with 81 RBI.
2017 ALDS: In the Division Series, the Houston Astros gave the ball to Justin Verlander for Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox. Things started well for Houston, as Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. After the Red Sox tied the game in the fourth, Marwin Gonzalez gave the Astros a 4-2 lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning. Verlander settled down and allowed just two runs in six innings, while Jose Altuve hit home runs in the fifth and eighth to become the first player in Astros history with three home runs in a postseason game. The Astros would go on to win the game 8-2. In Game 2, the Astros had the power once again, as Carlos Correa staked Dallas Kuechel to an early 2-0 lead with a blast in the first inning. George Springer added a two-run blast in the third, as they won again 8-2. Looking for a sweep in Game 3 at Fenway Park, the Astros again got off to a fast start as Correa’s two-run blast capped a three-run first inning. The Astros would not score again as the Red Sox sleeping bats woke up, scoring six runs in the seventh for a 10-3 win. Game 4 played on a damp afternoon in Boston, saw the Astros take an early 2-1 lead, but the desperate Red Sox looking to force a fifth game, called upon Chris Sale to shut down the Astros bats taking a 3-2 lead on a home run by Andrew Benintendi in the fifth inning. Sale continued to shut down Houston, until the eighth inning when Alex Bregman silenced Fenway Park with a ball over the Green Monster. The Astros would take the lead on a double by Josh Reddick with two-outs adding a run in the ninth on a double by Carlos Beltran to close out the series with a 4-3 win.
2017 ALCS: In the American League Championship Series, the Houston Astros faced the New York Yankees coming off a stunning upset of the Cleveland Indians. In the opener, the Astros had Dallas Kuechel on the mound, and he continued his mastery of New York, as he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out ten. The Astros meanwhile scratched out two runs in the fourth and won the game 2-1, as Ken Giles recorded the save, despite a solo home run from Greg Bird. In Game 2, Justin Verlander went the distance in a 2-1 win, as Carlos Correa doubled home Jose Altuve in the ninth inning with the winning run. As the series shifted to the Bronx, the Yankees bats took over winning 8-3 in Game 3. In Game 4, things looked good for Houston as they led 4-0 in the seventh inning after Lance McCullers Jr. pitched six scoreless innings. The Astros bullpen faltered as the Yankees scored twice in the seventh and four times in the eighth to win the game 6-4 to even the series. In Game 5, the Yankees finally figured out Dallas Kuechel, scoring four runs in five innings as Mashario Tanaka tied up the Astros, in a 5-0 win. Down 3-2, the Astros faced desperation coming home with Justin Verlander on the mound in Game 6. As he did so many times in his brief Astros career, Verlander came through, pitching seven shutout innings. Meanwhile, Jose Altuve provided the offense as the Astros won 6-1 to force a seventh game. In Game 7, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined to three-hit the Yankees, as the Astros advanced to the World Series for the second time in franchise history with a 4-0 win. Evan Gattis put the Astros on the board with a home run in the fourth, while Altuve went deep in the fifth and was followed up by a two-run double from Brian McCann, as Justin Verlander was named ALCS MVP.
2017 World Series: The Houston Astros would take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic it was the first time since 1931 that the two teams in the World Series had won 100 games in the regular season. Game 1 at Dodger Stadium would make history as the hottest game-time temperature at 103 °F. Dallas Kuechel would take on Clayton Kershaw in a classic pitcher’s duel that would take just 2:28 to play the quickest World Series game in 25 years. The Dodgers would win the game 3-1 as all the offense was provided by home runs, as Chris Taylor led the game off for LA, with Alex Bregman answering for Houston in the fourth. The Dodgers would get the winning blast a two-run home run by Justin Turner in the seventh. Justin Verlander got the start for the Astros and was sharp again, but left trailing 3-1 after giving up a two-run homer to Corey Seager in the sixth inning. The Astros would not go down without a fight as Carlos Correa broke the Dodgers bullpen 28-inning scoreless streak with an RBI single in the eighth. In ninth, Houston would tie the game on a home run by Marwin Gonzalez for Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. In the tenth inning, the Astros took the lead on home runs back-to-back home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. However, the Dodgers answered as Yaseil Puig homered off Ken Giles, with Kike Hernandez following up with an RBI double to tie the game 5-5. In the 11th inning, the Astros again took the lead on a two-run home run by George Springer. The Dodgers kept fighting back on a home run by Charlie Culberson. The Astros though, would hold on to win 7-6 as Chris Devenski struck out Puig to end the game. In Houston for Game 3, the Astros jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning sparked by a home run by Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel, however, brought controversy into the series when he was seen in the dugout, making a racially insensitive gesture towards Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. Yuli Gurriel would get a five-game suspension for the start of the 2018 season but was allowed to play in the rest of the World Series. The Dodgers would scratch their way back into the game against start Lance McCullers Jr, but Brad Peacock came in and did not allow a hit over the final four innings to earn the save as the Astros won the game 5-3. Game 4 would be a pitcher’s duel between Alex Wood and Charlie Morton. With the game tied 1-1, the Dodgers scored five times in the ninth inning as Ken Giles continued to struggle, giving up a three-run homer to Joc Pederson. Game 5 would be one of the wildest games in World Series history as Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw, and Dallas Kuechel both were hit hard. The Dodgers staked Kershaw to a 4-0 lead, but the Astros rallied with four runs in the fourth inning to tie it, with Yuli Gurriel providing the big blow with a three-run blast. In the fifth inning, the Dodgers answered with a three-run shot from Cody Bellinger; the Astros, though answered right away as Altuve tied the game with a three-run that nearly tore the rough off Minute Maid Park. In the seventh inning, George Springer misplayed a hit by Bellinger into a triple that put Los Angeles back in front 8-7. Springer made up for it by homering in a third straight game, hitting a ball that appeared to explode on impact to tie the game again. The Astros would score four runs in the seventh inning with a double by Altuve and home run by Correa. Each team scored in the eighth, as the Astros held a 12-9 lead entering the ninth. This time the Dodgers fought back, tying the game with three runs, as Chris Taylor’s RBI single tied the game after Puig’s blast made it 12-11. Yasiel Puig’s home run was the 22nd of the Fall Classic, setting a new record for most long balls in a World Series. In the tenth inning, Brian McCann was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After Springer was walked, McCann was replaced at second by pinch-runner Derek Fisher, who scored the winning run on a single by Alex Bregman. The 13-12 win was the second-highest scoring game in World Series history. The Astros had Justin Verlander on the hill in Game 6 at Dodger Stadium looking to win their first-ever World Series. Things looked good early as Springer homering in a third straight game gave them an early 1-0 lead. However, that was all Houston could manage as the Dodgers with Joc Pederson proving the offense won 3-1 to send the series to a seventh game. The Astros scored two runs in the first inning, benefiting from an error by Cody Bellinger. In the second inning, the Astros made it 5-0 as George Springer hit his fifth home run of the World Series. The rest of the game was on the Astros pitching staff. Lance McCullers got the start but failed to make it out of the third inning, allowing three hits and hitting four batters. However, the Dodgers failed to take advantage as the score remained 5-0, as eight men were left on base in the first three innings. Brad Peacock, Francisco Liriano, Chris Devenski pieced things together to get the game to the fifth inning, as Charlie Morton pitched the final four innings allowing just one run. As Corey Seager grounded out to Altuve to end the game, giving Houston and the state of Texas its first World Series Championship with a 5-1 win. When the Astros were still struggling four years earlier, Sports Illustrated predicted they would win the 2018 World Series, on the cover of that magazine was George Springer. He was named World Series MVP, going 11 for 29 with five home runs and seven RBI as the Astros’ leadoff hitter. As the Astros celebrated, Carlos Correa proposed to his girlfriend Miss Texas USA winner Daniella Rodríguez.
2018: Coming into the season as the reigning World Series Champions, the Houston Astros had nearly identical roster as the year before. They added a few relievers to the mix in Joe Smith and Luke Gregerson but felt confident in the group they had. Houston got off to a terrific start that they were able to sustain for most of the season. Alex Bregman had a walk-off hit early in this season, as the Astros began the season with a six-game win streak in April. A few months later, Houston had an eight-game winning streak that was also highlighted again by a walk-off hit from Alex Bregman as they finished June with a 55-30 record. Perhaps their biggest scare of the season came when Jose Altuve was placed back in the disabled list with a knee injury. Fortunately for them, the All-Star was activated in the middle of August. Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman, and George Springer joined Altuve as All-Stars in the Mid-Summer Classic in Washington, with Bregman earning MVP honors. The Astros clinched a playoff spot on September 21st with an 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels and clinched the AL West days later in Toronto with a 4-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Astros went on to finish the season with a record of 103-59, setting a new franchise record for wins. Alex Bregman led the team with 31 home runs and had 103 RBI. Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Martin Gonzalez, Josh Reddick, Evan Gattis, George Springer, and Tyler White all hit ten or more home runs. On the mound, all five Astros starters had at least ten wins with Justin Verlander leading the way with 16. The Astros traded for closer Robert Osuna for Ken Giles at the trade deadline, and despite him suspended for domestic violence for a portion of the season, he had 12 saves in 23 appearances.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 ALDS: Facing the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, the Houston Astros dominated winning the series in a three-game sweep. In Game 1, Justin Verlander got the start and was excellent in working into the sixth inning, allowing two runs. Alex Bregman opened the scoring with a home run, and Josh Reddick singled home a second run in the fourth inning. George Springer and Jose Altuve hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth doubling the lead to 4-0. For Springer, he tied a team record of five straight games of postseason home runs dating back to the 2017 World Series with Carlos Beltran, as the Astron won 7-2. In Game 2, the Tribe jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a home run from Francisco Lindor off Gerrit Cole. It would be the only run they would score. In the sixth, Marwin Gonzalez turned the game around with a two-run double. Bregman homered for the second straight day as the Astros won 3-1. Behind a 12 strikeout, no walk performance from Gerrit Cole, he became just the second pitcher in playoff history to strike out at least 12 and not walk anybody. In Game 3 in Cleveland, it was all Houston, as the Astros scored ten runs in the final three innings for an 11-3 win. George Springer had two home runs, and Carlos Correa had one. Collin McHugh came out of the bullpen to relieve Dallas Kuechel and got the win to complete the sweep.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 ALCS: Facing the best team in the regular season in the Boston Red Sox, the Astros took Game 1, scoring the final six runs in a 7-2 win. Justin Verlander was pitching for the Astros and moved to 2-0 in the postseason. Carlos Correa singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth, and Houston added four more in the ninth on a home run from Josh Reddick and a three-run home run from Yuli Gurriel. In Game 2, Boston raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first. The Astros thought would tie the game up on a two-run double from George Springer and take a two-run lead on a home run from Marwin Gonzalez. Jackie Bradley then gave the Red Sox the lead once again with a bases-clearing double, and after the Red Sox added some insurance runs, they went on to even the series at a game apiece, with a 7-5 win. Heading to Houston for the next three games, Boston got an eight-run outburst in both Game 3, winning 8-2 and in Game 4, winning 8-6 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In Game 5, David Price pitched perhaps the best game of the series pitching six scoreless innings. J.D. Martinez hit an early home run off Verlander before Rafael Devers broke the game open with a three-run homer in the sixth as the Red Sox won 4-1 and advanced to the World Series.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2019: After falling short of a return to the World Series, the Houston Astros started the season on the road, losing five of their first seven games. Coming home, the Astros quickly found their stride, winning six straight with sweeps of the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. It was part of a bigger ten-game winning streak. The Astros finished April in first place with a record of 18-12, they would remain atop the American League West for the remainder of the season. The Astros hit the afterburners in May, posting a second ten-game winning streak, as they won 20 games. The Astros success was on the back of their two front line pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, who were two top two pitchers in MLB in 2019. Verlander reached 3,000 strikeouts during the season and threw his third career No-Hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 1st. Only five other players had three no-hitters. Verlander would win the American League Cy Young for the second time, posting a record of 21-6 with 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole may have been even better, as he did not lose a game after May 22nd, posting a record of 20-5 with an ERA of 2.50 and 326 strikeouts. The Astros lineup was just as lethal as they had four players top home runs, led by Alex Bregman, who had 41 dingers and 112 RBI. George Springer had 39 homers with 96 RBI, while Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel each hit 31, with Altuve driving in 74 runs, while Gurriel had 104 RBI. Yordan Alvarez may have joined them had he been called up before June. The rookie made a splash as soon as he was called up from AAA Round Rock on June 9th, as he hit seven home runs in his first 12 games. Alvarez ended the season with 27 home runs, and 75 RBI in 313 at-bats, as he set a rookie record with a .655 slugging percentage. Yordan Alvarez would go on to win the American League Rookie of the Year. The Astros would cruise to the division title, topping 100 wins for the third straight year, with a record of 107-55, the best in the history of the Astros.
2019 ALDS: Facing the Tampa Bay Rays, the Houston Astros had Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 1. Verlander allowed just one hit in seven innings, striking out eight, while Jose Altuve led the offense with a two-run homer as the Astros took the opener 6-2. Gerrit Cole got the call in Game 2 and was nearly as dominant striking out 15 as the Astron won 3-1, with Alex Bregman leading the way with a home run. At Tropicana Field in Game 3, the Astros had Zack Greinke their significant deadline acquisition on the mound looking for the sweep in Tampa. However, it was former Astro Charlie Morton who was large and in charge on the mound, as Greinke struggled with the Rays winning 10-3. The Astros went with Justin Verlander on short rest in Game 4. The ace was not at his best as the Rays scored three runs in the first and won 4-1 to force a decisive fifth game. Gerrit Cole got the call in Game 5 at Minute Maid Park and got staked to an early 4-0 lead as Altuve’s two-run double sparked an early uprising. Cole would strike out ten batters, earning the win as the Astros won 6-1. The 25 strikeouts in two games established a division series record of Gerrit Cole.
2019 ALCS: The American League Championship Series was the most anticipated matchup of the season as the Houston Astros, and New York Yankees battled all season for the best record in the American League. In Game 1, the Astros pushed to a fifth game by the Rays had Zack Grienke on the mound, once again Greinke struggled as the Yankees won the opener at Minute Maid Park 7-0 behind the pitching of Masahiro Tanaka. Justin Verlander made the start in Game 2, a game that would go into extra innings, with Carlos Correa winning it 3-2 in the 11th inning for Houston with a walk-off home run against J.A. Happ. Gerrit Cole got the start in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, Cole was at the top of his game, pithing the Astros to a 4-1 win as Altuve and George Springer each hit home runs. After a rainout, the Yankees had Tanaka back on the mound for Game 4 as Zach Grienke looking for redemption pitched for the Astros. The Astros got a three-run big blast off the bat from George Springer and a three-run shot by Correa to win 8-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Astros had a Verlander on the mound for Game 5, but the Astros’ ace allowed four runs in the first inning, as the Yankees record a 4-1 win. Back at Minute Maid Park for Game 6, it was a day for openers, as the Astros saved Gerrit Cole for a potential Game 7. The Astros got a jump on New York as Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run home run in the first. The Astros had a 4-2 lead going into the ninth inning, with Robert Osuna looking to clinch the series. However, D.J. LeMahieu tied the game with a two-run homer. In the bottom of the inning, the Astros had ALCS MVP Jose Altuve at the plate with two outs after Springer reached base on a two-out walk. A bang or a buzz was all the Astros second baseman needed as he drilled the ball over the bullpen to send the Astros to the World Series with a 6-4 win.
2019 World Series: The Houston Astros would move on to face the Washington Nationals in the World Series, looking for their second championship in three years. Gerrit Cole got the start for Houston in Game 1 and got an early lead, with a double by Yuli Gurriel. However, the Nationals battled back with home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto. Max Scherzer meanwhile had the Astros frustrated the rest of the way to take the opener 5-4. Game 2 saw a matchup of Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg; both teams scored two runs in the first inning. Those two runs would be the only runs until the seventh inning when the Nats erupted for six runs Kurt Suzuki chased Verlander with a home run. The Astros went into Washington, facing desperation after losing the first two games at home. Zack Greinke got the start and pitched in and out of trouble all game, allowing seven hits before exiting in the fourth inning. He only allowed one run, as the Astros with Michael Brantley plating two runs won the game 4-1. In Game 4, rookie Jose Urquiy made the start for Houston and was better than expected to allow just two hits in five innings. The Astros won to win the game 8-1 as Robison Chirinos and Alex Bregman each hit a home run, with Bregman’s grand slam blowing the game open in the seventh inning. Game 5 would see Gerrit Cole back on the mound for the Astros as Max Scherzer was scratched for the Nats. The Astros took full advantage winning 7-1 as Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa and George Springer each homered to give Houston a 3-2 series lead. Coming home, the Astros expected a day of celebration at Minute Maid Park in Game 6 with Justin Verlander on the mound. Bregman gave him an early 2-1 lead with a first-inning home run, but Strasburg shut down the Astros again as Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, and Anthony Rendon each homered to give Washington a 7-2 win to force a seventh game. Zack Greinke got the start for Houston in Game 7 as Scherzer still feeling neck pain made the start for the Nationals. The Astros looked to be closing in on a championship up 2-0 when Greinke ran out of gas, giving up a home run to Rendon. Will Harris came in relief and proceeded to give up a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick, which stunned Houston into silence. The Nationals would go on to pad their lead, as the Astros lost their buzz and lost the game 6-2. It was the first World Series in which the road team won all seven games.
The Cheating Scandal: As the World Series got underway their began to be whispers that the Astros 2017 World Championship had been won with the help of an elaborate sign-stealing system. Weeks after the series ended, MLB started an investigation. It would not take long for evidence to appear, as audible banging was often heard during games when the Astros were at the plate. The Astros had set up a video camera that stole pitcher’s singes banging a nearby garbage can, with rumors of some players using a buzzer. Rumors that were inflated by Jose Altuve’s ALCS winning home run when he ran to the clubhouse to not have his jersey ripped off. During the investigation, Mike Fiers came forward and ended up being the whistleblower MLB needed to drop the hammer on Houston. The Astros would get a $5 million fine, the max allowable as the top two draft picks were stripped in 2020 and 2021. Also, both manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year. The Astros, as a result, would fire both. The fallout of the Astros scandal had deep reverberations, as Alex Cora, who moved on to manage the Boston Red Sox, was also fired after it was learned he was doing similar tactics in 2018 with Boston. Also, Carlos Beltran, who played in 2017 and helped devise the system, was fired before ever managing a game with the New York Mets. Some believe the Astros got off lightly and believe the 2017 Championship should have been stripped as forever tainted.
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Page created on February 25, 2001. Last updated on May 14, 2020, at 11:55 pm ET