After an offseason where the Houston Astros were caught cheating, they found themselves one win away from advancing to the World Series. Although the Astros would ultimately lose game seven, one cannot help but wonder about the excruciating levels of pain and sorrow the Astros would have inflicted by advancing to the World Series.
The Tampa Bay Rays were going to be the heroes that everyone needed. They were going to bring justice to the Astros, who had cheated their way to a World Series appearance in 2019 and a championship in 2017. Additionally, they were going to bring light to a dark world that was already wounded from COVID-19 and from the death of NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant.
Down three games to none and with the entire world rooting against them, the Astros found themselves in a major hole. They had lost three consecutive games to the Rays in which the Astros were outscored 11-5. Additionally, the Astros never looked legitimate, as they had finished the regular season with a losing record. It was never a matter of if, but a matter of when this Astros team would be eliminated.
However, the Astros refused to simply rot away, storming back to win three consecutive games, putting the entire world on notice. Houston started by winning the next two games in game four and game five. In game four, Jose Altuve led the charge, hitting a home run in the first inning and an RBI double in the third inning. In game five, Carlos Correa lifted the Astros over the Rays with a walk-off home run late in the ninth. In game six, the Astros once again staved off elimination, scoring four runs in the fifth inning, forcing a decisive game seven.
At this point, the Astros found themselves in elite company. Historically, the Astros became only one of two teams to force a game seven after being down 3-0. The other team to pull off this feat was the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who went on to secure the World Series in game seven. Would history repeat itself from 2004? For a moment, the world stopped spinning on its axis, as everyone waited in fear to see if the villainous Astros would be victorious.
Thankfully, the Rays woke up and took care of business, officially eliminating the Astros in game seven 4-2. Rays starter Charlie Morton looked brilliant, allowing just two hits in five scoreless innings. Rays superstar rookie Randy Arozarena got the bats started for the team, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. The Rays would later lead the Astros 4-0 heading into the eighth inning.
In the eighth inning, the Astros began showing signs of life. With bases loaded, Correa rose to the occasion, hitting a two-run RBI single. At this point, the Astros found themselves in scoring position with Astros players on first and second base with Alex Bregman at bat. On a 1-2 pitch, Peter Fairbanks struck him out with a 100-mph fastball. The Rays would hold on to win game seven and keep the Astros from advancing to the 2020 World Series.
One cannot begin to fathom the chaos that would have ensued if the Astros had advanced to the World Series. The MLB investigation confirmed that in the previous years, the Astros used a camera system to steal signs from pitchers. Aside from the official investigation, there was video footage alleging that Altuve was wearing an electronic device that would reveal pitches to him. This was most notable in 2019 where Altuve hit a walk-off home run against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in game six of the American League Championship Series. After the home run, Altuve was allegedly telling Astros players not to take off his shirt and began to hold his shirt tightly. Although the wearable device was never officially proven, it would not have surprised anyone if these wearable devices were a real thing.
Regardless of the wearable devices, the MLB Investigation found the Astros’ cheating through an extensive operation that was assisted by the use of technology. With this game seven loss, the world can rest peacefully knowing that the Astros will not be playing in the World Series this year. After the elaborate cheating system that the Astros pulled off in previous years, they have finally met their ultimate fate: a one-way plane ticket back to Houston, Texas.