The Astros lost their final 15 games

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The Yankees brought half a team to Houston, but that was enough to get a three-game sweep and conclude the Astros’ historic season with 15 straight losses.

They’re the first team since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders to lose their final 15 games.

The Astros ended up 51-111. They’re the 12th team since 1900 ever to lose 111 games. No team lost 110 from 1970-2000, but the 2003 Tigers went 43-119 and the 2004 Diamondbacks, like the Astros, finished 51-111.

The Astros do have a few league leaders. Chris Carter ended up with 212 strikeouts, the third highest total of all-time. He came up 11 short of the record set by Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks in 2009.

Jose Altuve led the AL by getting caught stealing 13 times. He also finished second in GIDPs with 24 and and fourth in outs made with 498. The Astros dominated the caught stealing category, with Brandon Barnes finishing tied for second and Jonathan Villar sneaking into a tie for seventh place despite not debuting until July 22.

Right-hander Lucas Harrell led the league in walks with 88 and losses with 16, though he was tied with Seattle’s Joe Saunders there. He reached those marks while making just 22 starts and 13 relief appearances.

The Astros did win something for all of their struggles, though. They’ll pick first overall in the MLB draft for the third straight year next June.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.