As we sit here on January 13, 2016, it is officially 82 days until Opening Day for the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium!
As long as we’re keeping the number 82 in our minds, let’s dial back to last year. Before the 82nd game of the year, the Astros were on a roll, having won four games in a row, including a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. It was in that three-game sweep that Astros fans and the national media took notice of this team. Funny enough that the Astros would play Kansas City in the playoffs and for much of the playoffs it seemed as though the Astros were going to win that series.
Losing the Divisional Round Series certainly was a low point in the Astros and Astros’ fans hearts. It was without a doubt a terrible way to end a year in which the team made their first playoffs in ten years. But like most fans of most teams do, we complain. The complaints of needing a hard-throwing closer was on the top of the list and much other little things. Many Astros fans still feel a pain in their stomach from that series. Many Astros fans thought they should be raising the World Series Trophy. Don’t fear Astros fans because the number 82 will calm you down just a bit as you will see that the Astros can bounce back.
The 82nd game of the year was on July 3, 2015, vs. the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. This game featured a lot of lead changes, and a star was born. In the top of the eighth inning, the Astros were tied seven to seven and Carlos Correa hits a home run over the Green Monster to make it eight to seven. In the top of the tenth inning, Correa breaks an eight to eight tie with an RBI Single, and the Astros would eventually win twelve to eight. This game really brought out the optimism in Astros fans. Even though they were down and the pitching wasn’t great, they were able to come back with offense, and most importantly Correa rose to the occasion.
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After the 82nd game is where the story flips but has some light at the end of the tunnel. After beating the Red Sox in the first game of the series, the Astros would go on to lose eight of nine going into the All-Star break. During this losing streak, the Astros could only muster up 21 runs in nine games and were shutout two times. The worst part of this losing streak was that the Astros lost the lead in the division to the Angels. Astros Fans were yelling and screaming and couldn’t understand why this was happening and seemed to want to give up on the team.
After the All-Star break, the Astros would win nine of twelve games and would have a two-game lead in the AL West. The low point of the All-Star break didn’t hurt the players, and they were able to find a rhythm. Another low point hit in the year when it seemed like the Astros were coasting for a division crown. In the 138th game of the season, the Astros were up three games in the division but hit a rock. They would go on to only with two of their next eleven games and would fall into second place. Again the fans were doubting if the Astros would make the playoffs.
Even though the Astros didn’t go on to win the division, they came up clutch on the last road trip of the season where they won four of the last six games and would secure the second wild card spot.
If you’re one of the Astros fans that still have a pain in their stomach when thinking about game four of the Division Series, just remember the number 82. Game number 82 is where the Astros proved they could come back and win games and showed that young talent can rise in big moments. After game 82 the Astros had two losing streaks that put fans in a frenzy, but again the Astros came through. Of course, the Astros blew game four in the playoffs, but if the history holds up, the Astros should be just fine in 2016.