Astros unable to rebound from Gerrit Cole's horrible start

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: Rangers 9, Astros 4

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After taking the series opener on Friday night, the Astros looked to take game two from the Rangers on Saturday night to lock up another series win. Here's a quick rundown of the game:

Final Score: Rangers 9, Astros 4

Record: 13-7, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Shawn Kelley (3-0).

Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (1-3).

Stars of the game: In an otherwise disappointing game, Max Stassi and George Springer were able to provide some highlights, both hitting two-run home runs to try and keep Houston in the game.

Notes: The Rangers got on the board first on Saturday night, getting a huge inning off of Gerrit Cole who had a horrible start to his night, allowing five runs, one of which was unearned, on four hits and two walks which paired with some sloppy defense handed Texas a quick 5-0 lead. They wouldn't let up on Cole there, extending the lead to 6-0 on a solo home run in the bottom of the third. Houston finally broke through with a good inning of their own, getting a two-run home run from Max Stassi in the top of the fifth to trim the lead to 6-2. The Rangers extended it right back, though, getting another run off of Cole in the bottom of the fifth, making it 7-2 before Houston would finally dip into their bullpen, bringing in Chris Devenski. Devenski would also fall victim to the Rangers, allowing a two-RBI triple to make it 9-2 and bring Cole's earned run total to eight on the night, making it the worst start of his major league career. George Springer got Houston back within five runs with a two-run home run to straight center in the top of the seventh, making it 9-4. That's as close as the Astros would get, though, as that score would go final to even the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: Houston will wrap up this series against the Rangers tomorrow afternoon with first pitch of the rubber-match game at 2:05 PM. Collin McHugh (3-1, 1.96 ERA) will start for the Astros and will go up against Shelby Miller (0-1, 9.00 ERA) for the Rangers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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