3. Howie Kendrick‘s Home Run – 2019 World Series Game 7
The wound is still fresh on this one, and how the final three innings of this game unfolded will always be a sore spot. As good of a job as Hinch did as Astros manager, there’s no denying he could’ve handled this one much better.
Zack Greinke had cruised through the first six innings as the Astros had a 2-0 lead. He gave up a solo homer to Anthony Rendon with one out in the seventh and then walked Juan Soto, although I still maintain the home plate umpire missed a call in that at-bat. Hinch then went to Will Harris when he should have stuck with Greinke.
On an 0-1 count to Kendrick, Harris located a fastball on the low-outside corner of the plate, which would be a great pitch in most circumstances. But Kendrick managed to hit it just right and bounce it off the right field foul pole to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. The Astros had squandered multiple chances to extend that 2-0 lead, so the Nats going ahead felt like a death knell.
And in the end, it was. Hinch went to Roberto Osuna, who gave up another run in the eighth, before the Nationals put the game away with two more in the ninth. The Astros offense only managed one baserunner in the final three innings, so that home run effectively took all the wind out of their sails.
It was a particularly bitter loss in the World Series considering the Astros won all three games on the road but failed to win a single game at home. It’s never easy to make it to the World Series in the first place, so losing one in such a fashion will always be a bitter pill to swallow.