When the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros lose in postseason, they don’t just lose. They lose in some of the worst ways imaginable.
Rangers things have happened
Wednesday’s Game 5 loss was the latest in a series of postseason calamities for the Rangers. They’ve gotten used to losing in unbearable ways.
In 2011, they led the Cardinals in the World Series 3 games to 2 and led Game 6 by two runs in the ninth inning and two runs in the 10th inning. David Freese tied the game in the ninth with a two-out, two-run triple that just eluded Nelson Cruz. After Josh Hamilton put the Rangers ahead, Lance Berkman’s two-out single in the 10th inning tied it. Freese won the game with a home run in the 11th inning. The Cardinals won Game 7 (after the Rangers took an early lead) to win the series.
In 2012, the Rangers led the AL West by four games with six to play and two games with three to play. But they lost three straight to the Athletics to close the season, giving the Athletics the division title and forcing the Rangers into the AL Wild Card Game. They lost to the Orioles 5-1 (in a game in which they had Yu Darvish starting against Joe Saunders) to end the season.
In 2013, the Rangers had a 6-16 stretch in late August into September that cost them first place in the AL West. Though they rallied to win seven straight games, they lost 5-2 to the Rays and David Price at home in a one-game playoff.
In 2015, the Rangers led the ALDS 2-0 against the Blue Jays. They dropped the next two games in Arlington, then were unable to hold multiple leads in Game 5 in Toronto. The Rangers were done in by three errors in the seventh inning and a go-ahead home run by Jose Bautista. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that they became the first team to make three errors in an inning of a winner-take-all postseason game.
Houston has had so many postseason problems
The Houston Astros lost Game 5 in Kansas City on Wednesday night after coming very close to advancing to the American League Championship Series on Monday. It's not the first time they've experienced heartbreak in the postseason.
In 1980, they led the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies 2 games to 1 and had a 2-0 lead in Game 4, but lost the game. They then had a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning of Game 5 with Nolan Ryan pitching and lost that game, too -- and with it the series. The Phillies went on to win the World Series that year.
In 1981, the Astros lost the NL Division Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros were up in that series, 2 games to 0, with three shots to win the series. They lost all three games, including the finale, which Ryan pitched. The Dodgers went on to win the World Series.
In 1986, the Astros played an epic NLCS with the New York Mets. Trailing 3 games to 2, the Astros had a chance to force a Game 7 (in which their ace, Mike Scott, would have pitched). But they blew a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning and ultimately lost in 16 innings. The Astros had the tying and winning runs on base in the 16th inning, but Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass to end the series.
In 2004, the Astros played a fantastic NLCS with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros had Roger Clemens starting Game 7 and gave him a 2-0 lead, but the Cardinals rallied to win 5-2 and go to the World Series.
In 2005, the Astros finally got to the World Series. Yes, they got swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox, but there were plenty of what-if moments along the way. The Astros blew a 4-2 led in Game 2 (losing on Scott Podsednik's walk-off home run) and had a 4-0 lead early in Game 3 (losing on Geoff Blum’s home run in the 14th), before losing the clinching game 1-0 at home.
In 2015, they led the Royals 6-2 in the eighth inning of Game 4 at home and couldn’t finish it off. They allowed seven runs in the last two innings and lost 9-6. They then lost Game 5 in Kansas City after holding an early 2-0 lead.