Astros drop first game to Indians

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 2-1 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After winning the series against the Twins with a victory on Wednesday, the Astros turned the page to the Indians to start a four-game series on Thursday night. Here's a quick look along with three hits from the game:

Final Score: Indians 2, Astros 1

Record: 15-10, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Trevor Bauer (3-1).

Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (1-4).

1) Decent rebound for Cole 

After his career-worst start against the Rangers this past weekend in which he allowed nine runs, Gerrit Cole did well to put that behind him against the Indians. Cole pitched seven innings during which he allowed two runs on three hits, two solo home runs, three walks, and struck out ten. Unfortunately, he'd only get one run of support behind him.

2) Bad call halts Houston's momentum 

In a big spot in the bottom of the sixth, Houston had two on base with one out and Carlos Correa at the plate. Correa fouled a ball off of his foot that ricocheted to third base, and with the Astros staying put due to the foul ball, the Indians played it out and were rewarded with a double play on what should've been a foul ball. To make matters worse, the play was not reviewable.

3) Bauer holds Astros to just a solo dinger by Springer

After falling behind 0-1 in the game, George Springer tied the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the third. That would be the only run they'd get off of Trevor Bauer, though, as he would go on to complete eight innings of one-run baseball on 118 pitches. Brad Hand would get the save to finish off the win for the Indians in the ninth.

Up Next: The series will continue on Friday night with first pitch at 7:10 PM. Houston will send Collin McHugh (3-2, 4.78 ERA) to the mound to go up against Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.88 ERA) for the Indians.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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