FALCON POINTS

5 things to watch in the Texans preseason opener

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The Texans preseason begins tonight against Green Bay, and while the games are meaningless, there are a few things you can pick up. Don't expect to see stars like J.J. Watt or DeAndre Hopkins. Much of it will basically involve backups and the battle for those jobs, but here is a look at what to keep an eye out for:

1) How they handle the quarterbacks

Deshaun Watson should not play more than a series if at all. That means we will probably see a lot of Joe Webb, as A.J. McCarron, the presumed backup, is out, possible for the preseason. They signed Jordan Ta'amu, a rookie who was in their rookie camp. He may get snaps out of necessity tonight, even with one day's notice. Expect Webb to play the bulk of the offensive snaps.

2) How do the young linemen look?

First round pick Titus Howard and second round pick Max Scharping will likely see time at both guard and tackle. While they won't see any stunts or blitzes, it will be interesting to see how they fare against NFL players. Spend some time watching these players to see how they match up physically.

3) Running backs behind Lamar Miller

The Texans cut D'Onta Foreman earlier in the week, so the backup jobs are wide open involving a bunch of free agents and guys off the street. It will be interesting to see if any of them can be successful. They should all get ample opportunity, as there is no reason for Miller to play. Karan Higdon and Damarea Crockett are particularly intriguing.

The trade to acquire Duke Johnson means these players will be battling for the third spot and perhaps the practice squad, but some of them will be part of the roster.

4) Any promising young corners in the house?

This will be another position to keep an eye on. There is room for someone to emerge and help out on the back end, and like the running backs, they will get a lot of time. Jermaine Kelly, Xavier Crawford and second round pick Lonnie Johnson all bear watching.

5) Another pass rusher

With Jadeveon Clowney sitting out the preseason, there is room for someone to earn a spot as a pass rusher. Peter Kalambayi and Brennan Scarlett should be particularly interesting.

Bottom line

Otherwise, we aren't going to learn much. But that's OK. At least it is football. Sort of.

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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