Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005. That was the last time the Astros won a meaningful game in October.
It was a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League (I know, it still hurts) Championship Series. On a fly ball to Jason Lane in right field in St. Louis, Roy Oswalt had just earned himself a new bulldozer. Chad Qualls had pitched the 8th inning. Dan Wheeler the 9th. Lane had also hit a home run.
Nearly 10 full years later, the Astros have another win — one that truly matters — in October. Well, unless you count the wins last week in Arizona. Those were nice, but this one truly matters.
It’s good to be back. It’s good to matter in October once again.
Here’s a few thoughts to get you started, but please take the conversation where you will. After all, we’ve all been waiting a long time to matter in October.
1. Dallas Keuchel repeatedly said post-game that the short rest didn’t affect him at all. In fact, he’d rather pitch on short rest than long rest. At what point last night did you stop worrying about the short rest thing?
2. Everyone interviewed said that Colby Rasmus’ homer allowed them to breathe a sigh of relief. How did you breathe when he flipped that bat and started trotting?
As a side note to that, on Facebook I posted a photo of colby jack cheese with the message, “Hey, Masahiro Tanaka, do you know what this is? It’s a little Colby Jack. #colbyrasmus.” My Royals-loving brother actually said I was funny. So, there’s another victory on the night.
3. Carlos Gomez’s homer felt even better to me. One run is nice. Insurance — especially with Keuchel on the mound — is better. Was that the point you thought they might really do this? Was it Jose Altuve’s RBI single? Something before that? Not until Marwin Gonzalez recorded the 27th out?
4. Unsettling fact: Houston managed only five hits. A win is a win, but that’s a lot of 0-fers out of this potent lineup. Concerned heading into Kansas City?
5. Speaking of concern; the Yankees had two on and two out with Alex Rodriguez coming to the plate. So A.J. Hinch wanders out to the mound with Chad Qualls warmed up in the bullpen. Show of hands: Who screamed at their TV?
6. Did you miss Alan Ashby and Bill Brown in the booth? I thought the girl did well, but the guys annoyed the heck out of me. Maybe I just missed familiar voices.
What impressions do you have from last night? Just happy to have a win? Happy to be ahead of schedule and to once again matter in October?
Yeah. Me too.