Houston lives to see another day

Astros avoid elimination with ALCS Game 4 win

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With the Astros having lost the first three games, an uphill battle presented itself to not only win the game to force another game but needed four straight to advance to the World Series. With the Rays carrying all the momentum into ALCS Game 4, Houston needed to get something going quick to shift things their way.

They would get another early spark from Jose Altuve, along with a strong start from Zack Greinke, to get into the win column in the ALCS. They make it a 3-1 series lead for the Rays, forcing a Game 5. Here is a quick recap of Game 4:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rays 3.

Series: TB leads 3-1.

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke.

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow.

Altuve brings in some early runs as Greinke has a solid start

For the third time this series, Jose Altuve would put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the first inning with a solo home run. This one was possibly the sweetest, changing the narrative off of his fielding miscues and back to his success at the plate. That success continued in his next at-bat in the bottom of the third, when he would get a rare (in this series) RBI with a runner in scoring position, a double to bring in Martin Maldonado, who worked a one-out walk earlier in the frame.

That put the Astros ahead 2-0, but the Rays would quickly respond in the top of the fourth against Zack Greinke, getting a two-run home run off the bat of Randy Arozarena to tie it up 2-2. Greinke would otherwise do well, pitching into the sixth when he would face some traffic with back-to-back one-out singles. Dusty Baker would come out to have a conversation with him, ultimately leaving him in, which proved to be the right call as he would make it through the inning. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 93 P.

Astros force Game 5

Greinke would leave in line for the win, with that jam-escaping sixth inning taking place with a 4-2 lead. The two runs that had the Astros ahead came courtesy of George Springer, who would capitalize on a one-out single by Martin Maldonado by crushing a two-run go-ahead homer.

Cristian Javier would take over on the mound in the top of the seventh and erased a two-out single for a scoreless inning. He kept going in the top of the eighth, a perfect inning with two strikeouts. He would go back to the mound in the top of the ninth to try and finish it off, but after a leadoff walk, Dusty Baker would bring in Ryan Pressly. Despite allowing a two-out RBI-double, he would get the save to wrap up the win for Houston. The Astros avoid elimination with the victory and force another game in the ALCS as they try to become the second team to come back from down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series.

Up Next: ALCS Game 5 will start a bit earlier on Thursday, with first pitch at 4:07 PM Central. Neither team has announced who will start on the mound as the Astros try to keep the series going.

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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