The Houston Astros won the 1986 National League's West Title by going 96-66, .593 and finished 10 games ahead of the second place Cincinnati Reds.
Pitcher Mike Scott won the Cy Young Award for the league's top pitcher. Mike Scott with his wicked split-fingered fastball was 18-10, 2.22 ERA, struck out 306 hitters in 275 innings, hurled a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants and won two games in the playoffs against the New York Mets.
Bob Knepper with three speeds, slow, slower and slowest, was outstanding going 17-12, 3.14 Era. The Astros' bullpen ace, Dave Smith saved 33 games, with a 2.73 ERA and Charlie Kerfield, the teams middle reliever, went 11-2 in 61 games, 2.59 ERA. Starter Jim Deshales finished at 12-5, 3.25 ERA.
Nolan Ryan, despite being on the disabled list twice, racked up a 12-8 record, 3.34 ERA, 171 innings with 194 K's. The 1986 Astros had quality players throughout their infield. Led by first-baseman Glenn Davis, 31 homers, 101 RBI's, and Denny Walling at 3rd hit .312. Dickie Thon and Craig Reynolds played outstanding defensive at the keystone combo. Alan Ashby, rated as a fine defensive catcher, capable at calling "the right pitch, at the right time" was one of the teams' leaders.
The outfield was loaded with defensive stars "who could flat-out rundown and catch balls hit in the power-alleys". Kevin Bass, .311, 20 HR's, 79 RBI's, Billy Hatcher and Terry Puhl provided first-rate defense, and 39-year-old Jose Cruz was still an aggressive hitter, 72 RBI's.
The Astros, second in the National League in pitching, 3.15 ERA and fourth in batting .255, took over first place for good in the NL West on July 21 and clinched the division in spectacular fashion two months later on Mike Scott's no-hitter. In the league's playoffs against the Mets, the teams split the first four games. The Mets won Game 5 in 12 innings and Game 6 in 16 innings and advanced to the World Series. Mike Scott, who allowed only one run in winning two games, was named the Series MVP. baseballhistorian.com - 1986 Houston Astros
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