Houston Astros: Tough loss will fuel another World Series run in 2020

Houston Astros fans react to the team losing in the World Series (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
Houston Astros fans react to the team losing in the World Series (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images) /

The stinging loss in the World Series to the Washington Nationals should be fuel for the Houston Astros to bounce back for the 2020 season. Here’s why.

The loss to the Washington Nationals is one of the hardest things Houston Astros fans have to deal with right now. The reality of baseball can be brutal, but one thing it can do is fuel the Houston Astros for another shot at the World Series.

It’s been a few weeks since I sat in the stands of Game 7 of the World Series. A game I wish we could’ve won ended up with heartbreak. To have 107 wins and then take it to Game 7 at home in a series where the road team was going to win no matter how hard our fanbase tried to be loud. I wanted to cry when the realization that our championship would not be happening came into view.

You think about historic seasons like Bob Gibson in 1968 or the 2001 Seattle Mariners. They put up incredible numbers but came up empty in a World Series title. This one is going to sting because we had to encounter tough challenges and yet, the biggest challenge came from a team that should not have been heavy underdogs in my opinion.

I didn’t want to write an entry then because I could hear criticisms about the team in my head. I needed a break. In the time away, I thought about everything that took place. Maybe what was said about us was a sign of trouble.

Did the talk about us being the Warriors of the MLB boost our ego? Did the unfortunate incident in the locker room following our ALCS win really become a distraction? Did we underestimate the Nationals even though we knew they would present a major challenge? Did AJ Hinch make some mistakes as a manager in this series?

I certainly don’t think any of these are true. It just came down to one reason: baseball. It’s the most unpredictable sport of the four major ones (sorry hockey fans) that can happen. The chances of Washington winning the whole thing were just as good even though the oddsmakers didn’t see it that way.

To the Washington fans, including the ones I had the opportunity to congratulate after the game, enjoy this moment. No matter what happens to your team beyond, whether you win another one or not, it will never ever replace the feeling of winning the first title. We know that because we know what it was like to be in Washington’s shoes in 2017.

But in the midst of all this came a sense of understanding and realization. In spite of the awards that will and have already been coming to us from Gold Gloves to Rookie of the Year to Cy Young Award and a potential MVP, the loss should be fuel for 2020 and beyond.

Washington won the series and we lost the series. The Houston Astros have to be angry and mad that they let a title slip away. No matter what people will say, the Houston Astros are not going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, we might be without some key pieces including Gerrit Cole. Sure, the division might be tighter next year and we might not win 100 games in a row. But the truth is, after two straight years of having a bitter taste in our mouth, we have to be feeling enraged.

As it stands, the Houston Astros are the favorites to win the World Series in 2020 according to the odds. Given that Justin Verlander wasn’t himself in the postseason, you would think he’ll have another successful season (maybe not like the last three).

Zack Greinke is on board as a starter while Lance McCullers Jr. will be returning. The catching situation will need to be tended to as both Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado are both free agents. But all the same, our core offense will be returning with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and George Springer.

It’s not easy winning the World Series. You have 30 teams who work hard for 162 games to fill a spot for 10 teams that ultimately fight it out more for the right to be crowned champions. We’ve seen every scenario that can happen in baseball. We either miss the playoffs, suffer the worst record with a #1 draft pick, make the playoffs and lose early, lose the World Series, and win the World Series.

Next year will be challenging for sure. Teams can be great for a few years and then health or other

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team’s successes can prove to be the end of an era. As far as I’m concerned, our era, while hurting over the loss, isn’t over.

My best guess is we have maybe three to five years left for success. If Jeff Luhnow can somehow find a way to keep this team as consistent with winning as possible for that long, no matter what others may say, the talk of a dynasty can still be realized.

Ultimately, the wounds of this loss will heal and there will be a day when title number two will take place. But the legacy of this era will forever be remembered like this. In times when adversity strikes and the Astros have been tested, they have never given up and they have never backed down.

They might not always succeed and will lose heartbreaking games, but through all of this, we no longer have to worry about never winning a title because for a few seasons and beyond, we have shown the heart of a champion and that will lead us to more glory.

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We’ll look back on this era and smile. The decade has proven to be a successful one from the cellar to the top. Now, we carry on into next season.

Rest easy Houston Astros because, by February, the 2020 season will be upon us.