ANAHEIM -- The Angels enter the offseason wondering what could have been had their pitching staff not been decimated by injuries. The Astros head into the winter knowing they played well enough to contend until the final week of the season but just didn't do enough to get into the
ANAHEIM -- The Angels enter the offseason wondering what could have been had their pitching staff not been decimated by injuries. The Astros head into the winter knowing they played well enough to contend until the final week of the season but just didn't do enough to get into the postseason.
The 2016 season came to a close for both teams on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium, where the Angels prevailed, 8-1, to win a three-game series. The Astros took the season series, 13-6, and finished 84-78 after winning the second American League Wild Card last year.
"I like the fact that 84 wins is not good enough in our minds," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We changed the culture a little bit as to what the expectations are. We tasted the postseason last year and came close this year. We have a lot to work on. We had a successful season by some standards and by other standards not."
Mike Trout collected his 100th RBI and reached 30 stolen bases for the third time in the last five years with the Angels, while Astros second baseman José Altuve sealed his second American League batting title.
"Yeah, but still we didn't make the playoffs," Altuve said. "We were in it until Game 160. It was a good season, a winning season. It didn't end the way we wanted to, but like I said, we're going to come back next year, and we're going to make the playoffs and go far."
The Angels won each of their final three series and were 25-20 over their final 45 games.
"Obviously, we were out of it, but we finished strong," Trout said. "There was a lot of positives we can look in for next year. Seemed like every other week we had a guy go down in our lineup or our pitching staff. It took a big hit. We played it good the last few months."
Angels starter Jhoulys Chacín fired seven shutout innings to fill in for Jered Weaver, who was unable to start because of back tightness. Chacin scattered four hits and struck out seven with one walk.
The Angels scored four runs in the second inning off Brady Rodgers, who made his first big league start. The Halos later tacked on four runs against the Astros' bullpen.
Jefry Marte smacked a leadoff homer in the seventh, his 15th homer in 88 games in his first season with the Angels. Marte went deep in three of the final five games. The solo shot traveled a projected 411 feet and had a 101 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™.
Teoscar Hernández drove in the only run for the Astros with a sac fly to score Colin Moran in the eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trout pads stats: Trout walked in the first inning and stole second base to reach 30 steals for the third time in his last five seasons. He's the first player in Major League history with three years of 25 home runs and 30 steals before his age-25 season. Trout finished one home run shy of becoming the Angels' first player to pair 100 RBIs with a 30-homer, 30-steal season. Trout walked twice on Sunday to increase his franchise record for a single season to 116.
Following his 100th RBI, Trout was removed for a pinch-runner and came off the field to a standing ovation in the sixth inning.
"I knew about them, for sure," Trout said of his stats. "But that's always cool to get 30 stolen bases and obviously 100 RBIs." More >
Altuve wins batting title: Altuve talked his way into the lineup on the final day of the season despite an 18-point lead over Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox in the race for the AL batting crown. His teammates toasted him on Saturday, so there was no drama like there was two years ago when he captured the batting title on the final day. Altuve singled in the ninth to finish with a .338 average and a Major League-high 216 hits.
"Every time you do something like that, that means you're doing it in a good way," Altuve said. "It means you're doing something good for the team. It's always good to win a batting title and lead the league in hits. It's great, and like I said, my teammates encourage me to play hard every day." More >
Weaver honored: Weaver, a free agent after the season, was honored in the middle of the third inning for reaching 150 career wins this year. He came out of the dugout and tipped his hat during a standing ovation.
"Jered has been such a huge part of what we've done over the last 10 seasons, and hopefully there's more," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But just to reflect on what he's done, I think it is a special moment, a great moment for Jered and his family. I know although he doesn't want to be out in the limelight, I know he appreciated the way the fans wrapped their arms around him. There aren't too many guys who have taken that mound with his competitive nature. It's inspiring. Hopefully, he will keep going with it."
Springer makes quick exit in 162: Astros outfielder George Springer led off the game with an infield single and was replaced by a pinch-hitter. That means Springer played in all 162 games this year, becoming the first Astros player to do that since Carlos Lee in 2007. He has played in a Major League-leading 187 consecutive games and finished the season with 744 plate appearances, which tied for second in franchise history. More >
"All in all, he can hit in his sleep. He can do so many thing things with the bat, and he showed it all year." -- Hinch on Altuve
Video: [email protected]: Hinch on Rodgers' start, Altuve's season
"This guy is the MVP. I don't think there's any question. I don't know of anybody that has done as much as he's done on the field." -- Scioscia on Trout
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Angels went 0-4 in extra-innings games, becoming only the second team since 1913 to go an entire season without an extra-inning win (1969 Expos).
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.