HOUSTON — Two days after the Game 7 heartbreak, Astros manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Lunhow answered questions about the late innings of that deciding game and the future of the team.

Houston took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning, but saw their hopes of a second title in three years unravel as the Nationals hitters knocked around the Astros' bullpen to win 6-2.

"In the seventh, we went from getting in the middle of the inning to losing the lead pretty quickly," said Hinch. "At that point, I brought in Harris. I brought in Osuna."

The questions a lot of people were asking was why they didn't bring Gerrit Cole into the game to finish what starter Zack Greinke had started. 

"If we had regained the lead or gotten a tie, Gerrit would have gone in for the potentially the ninth or 10th," said Hinch. "But that never came to be."

During the broadcast, Cole was seen warming up in the bullpen. Hinch said during the early part of the game, that was Cole's decision, that he was warming up on his own. During the latter innings, Cole was warming up in case Houston tied it up or went ahead. 

“We had to make a decision on whether regular relievers who had been elite during the regular season would have been a better option than Gerrit and we all know how that turned out," said Hinch.

Even if Cole does move on, as he's expected to, Lunhow expects the team to make another deep playoff run. 

"Almost our entire lineup is back next year with the exception of our catchers and we’re going to have to work on that," he said. "We still have JV (Justin Verlander) and Greinke, (Lance) McCullers is coming back. We have a lot of young pitchers who are going to be vying for a couple spots and we’re going to be able to evaluate who’s out there in free agency."

RELATED

Lunhow also expects his coaching staff to be back, though he knows other teams hope to snatch some of the championship caliber talent Houston has.

"As we get into the off-season and other teams are assembling coaching staffs, but as of now, I do expect everyone to be back. This is a great coaching unit and I’m happy about that."

Lunhow also addressed Cole's letter to the city of Houston.

"I thought it was a good letter," he said. "He enjoyed his time here. I think he benefited from his time here and I think we benefited from his time here.  As far as trades go, that is one I’d do all over again."

MORE ON THE ASTROS