Houston's bullpen woes continue

Astros blow four-run lead before losing in extras to Giants

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After snapping a five-game losing streak with a win to start the three-game series with the Giants on Monday, the Astros had a chance to secure the series victory on Tuesday. Here is how the middle game went:

Final Score (10 innings): Giants 7, Astros 6.

Record: 7-10, third in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Trevor Gott (1-0, 1.50 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cy Sneed (0-3, 6.75 ERA).

Astros build another early lead behind another solid Bielak start

The Giants would strike first on Tuesday, hitting a solo home run off of Brandon Bielak in the top of the second to grab a 1-0 lead. Houston's offense would answer right away in the bottom of the inning, getting a one-out triple by Kyle Tucker, followed by an RBI-double by Martin Maldonado to tie the game. Later in the frame, a go-ahead two-RBI double by Josh Reddick gave Houston a 3-1 lead.

Alex Bregman made it a three-run lead in the bottom of the third, leading off the inning with a solo home run. San Francisco would get that run back in the top of the fifth, getting a run on a walk and two hits in the inning, making it 4-2. With that extended inning, Bielak would hit 84 pitches, and that would be it for him. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Houston extends their lead, San Francisco rallies to tie and force extras

First out of the bullpen was Enoli Paredes for the top of the sixth. He made it a 1-2-3 inning, retiring the Giants in order. In the bottom of the inning, the first three batters all singled to load the bases with no outs. It looked like it may go to waste after a third-to-home double play left runners on first and second with two outs, but Myles Straw would deliver an RBI-single. Jose Altuve got a much-needed RBI-single in the next at-bat to push the lead to 6-2.

Paredes returned in the top of the seventh but would get two outs and walk a batter before Dusty Baker went to his bullpen again to bring out Blake Taylor. Taylor would get the third out, but not before issuing a walk to set up a three-run home run by former-Astro Hunter Pence, making it a one-run game at 6-5.

Still a one-run game in the top of the eighth, Andre Scrubb took over on the mound and kept the lead intact by stranding a leadoff walk and two-out single to complete the inning. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth for Houston's offense, they would bring in their current closer, Ryan Pressly, for the second-straight night. He would blow the save, allowing a walk and single to put runners on the corners to set up the tying RBI-single. He would recover to get the final two outs, sending the 6-6 game to the bottom of the ninth, where Houston would come up empty, forcing extra innings.

Giants get a go-ahead run and win in extras

In what has seemed like a regular occurrence in 2020, Cy Sneed was on the mound to start the tenth inning. He would not fare any better than his last outing, where he blew a one-run lead in the thirteenth and allowed a walk-off to Oakland, allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning to put the Giants ahead 7-6 for their first lead of the night. He would get two more outs before Houston brought in their new reliever, Brooks Raley, to get the third out.

In the bottom half, George Springer would pinch-run for Michael Brantley, and moved to third on a groundout to start the inning, but would get left stranded there as the Astros would fall in extra innings, allowing the Giants to tie the series.

Up Next: The final game of this three-game set will start Wednesday at 6:10 PM Central, an earlier start than the first two games. The pitching matchup is not yet finalized with San Francisco still taking their rotation day-by-day, but Houston will send Zack Greinke (0-0, 3.00 ERA) to the mound.

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Is the experiment already over? Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Now that the Rockets' season is over, it is time for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to reevaluate the roster. Besides the coaching vacancy, the Rockets need to make moves during the offseason, so they can compete for a championship.

When the Rockets got Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and two first round draft picks last summer, it was reasonable trade. As the Rockets took a second-round exit versus the Lakers, eyebrows have risen. Westbrook struggled inside the bubble during the playoffs after missing some time because of a quad injury. He had a playoff low by averaging 18 points per game, shooting 24 percent from three, and only making 53 percent at the free throw line.

Westbrook was not as effective when James Harden was doubled. There were countless times when the Lakers left Westbrook wide open from the perimeter. In the +/- category, Westbrook made the Rocket 4.6 points worse in the playoffs. Westbrook's net rating was six points worse, and he averaged four turnovers a game. The horrifying part is the Rockets owe Westbrook $133 million over the next three seasons.

Russell Westbrook left wide open for a 3-pointer | Lakers vs Rockets youtu.be


After doing some research, Westbrook is tradable for the Rockets so it won't be a surprise if a deal happens over the offseason. Greg Swartz from Bleacher Report came up with a great trade idea for the Rockets where they would get a lot in return. If the Rockets trade Westbrook and Robert Covington to the Indiana Pacers, they could possibly get PG Malcolm Brogdon, C Myles Turner, F Doug McDermott, G/F Jeremy Lamb, and a 2021 first-round pick (lottery-protected). The Rockets would get shooting, blocks, rebounds, and another player to build around for the future.

I believe it is better to send Westbrook off than Eric Gordon because the Rockets would get more in return. If the Rockets trade Gordon and Covington, they could possibly get Gordon Hayward from the Celtics. But another injury prone player would not help the Rockets win a championship or make the Western Conference Finals.

Hopefully, Rockets GM Daryl Morey makes the right decision when it comes to evaluating trade options for the Rockets. The team needs a culture change for next season.

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