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Can Houston Astros rebound from Gerrit Cole’s World Series loss?

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Do you remember May 22? It was only five months ago. The NBA was in its conference finals. The NHL had just moved to the Stanley Cup Final. The Twitterverse was up in arms about the “Game of Thrones” finale that aired three days before. And Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros pitcher, lost a game.

A lot of stuff has happened during the five months since then. The NBA and NHL have started new seasons. There’s a “Game of Thrones” spin-off filming somewhere. Summer has come and gone. And Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros pitcher, finally lost another game.

“He’s been so good for so long that it builds this thought of invincibility, that it’s impossible to beat him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “When it happens, it is a surprise to all of us because we’ve watched for months this guy completely dominate the opposition. Which is why I want to give credit to the Nats.”

The opponent definitely earned some props. Cole gave up five runs in seven innings and took the loss in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, a 5-4 nail-biter against the only baseball entity as hot as Cole right now — the Washington Nationals. He had gone an unbelievable 25 straight starts without a loss, a span during which he went 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 169⅓ innings.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

For five months, from the time your kids were wrapping up their previous grade in school to the time they were getting rolling in this one, Cole was unbeatable. Now, in the World Series, he is 0-1.3

“He’s human,” Astros center fielder George Springer said. “He was bound to lose one eventually.”

There is no panic in Houston. A one-game deficit isn’t going to faze this bunch, which won 107 games in the regular season, survived a winner-take-all contest in the division series and took the pennant on a game-ending homer by Jose Altuve. For the Astros, a loss is a kind of quietus — a short pause until their next moment of exaltation. It’s the way it has been for them all season, so why would now be any different?

The Astros’ winning percentage before Cole started his streak was .673. Their record after he started it was .644. Sure, they won nearly all of Cole’s starts over that 25-game span, though they lost twice when he drew a no-decision. But overall including the playoffs, Houston has a .620 winning percentage when Cole doesn’t start — a 100-win pace.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In other words, as great as Cole has been, the Astros have had a lot more than him going on.

“He’s one of the reasons we’re here right now, and I know he’s going to start a new [streak] tomorrow,” Altuve said. “Whenever he plays a game, he’s focused. This one was just one game. We’ve been in this situation before, and he’s going to keep helping us. I know.”

Still, Cole was not at his best. He knows that.

“It wasn’t my sharpest game,” Cole said. “We had to get creative. I thought the fastball was leaking a little bit off the corner a couple times. I struggled with the curveball command, kind of buried us in some bad counts.”

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