Over and over in the last six years the Astros have showed us what they're made of, mustering up the necessary grit to overcome any and all obstacles.
Boo them off the field for their 2017 sign-stealing scandal? No problem. Tag them for five home runs in Game 3 of the World Series to have them fall behind 2-1 in the series and lose home field advantage? They'll rip off three straight. Sign away one of their aces or superstars in free agency? No need to worry--they'll call up another big league ready contributor right away.
No adversity has been too much for them to overcome.
Well, unless you'd count a home game against the 102 loss Kansas City Royals and Jordan Lyles as adversity. That combo may simply be too much to overcome.
One day after choking away the division lead, and make no mistake, after a 2-5 stretch against the A's and Royals, the lead has been choked away, the Astros were gifted a golden opportunity to get back on track.
Jordan Lyles took the mound for the Royals last night. No qualified starter in the MLB had a worse ERA than Lyles' 6.43. After the Astros decided to finally "activate playoff mode," the hapless Royals were ripe for the picking.
The Astros responded with two hits in five scoreless innings against Lyles. They only managed to score two runs on the Royals bullpen, which has the third worst ERA in baseball. A Chas McCormick solo home run and back-to-back doubles from Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker was their only production all night.
Kansas City somehow won 3-2, and unfathomably, has a chance to sweep the Astros today.
The Astros loss locked up a losing record at Minute Maid Park for the first time since 2014. One year after winning the World Series on this field, they can't manage to beat the two worst teams in the MLB on it.
The only consolation was that the Rangers beat the Mariners again, meaning Houston at least clung to the final Wild Card spot.
After a gutless performance in a must-win game against a AAA-caliber foe, it's fair to wonder how long they'll be able to lay claim to even that.