Astros get shutout and drop series to Rangers

Astros daily report: Rangers 4, Astros 0

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston faced the Rangers on Wednesday night with the winner taking the series win. Here's how it went:

Final Score: Rangers 4, Astros 0

Record: 2-5, fourth in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Mike Minor (1-1).

Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (0-2).

Star of the game: There wasn't a true star in this game for the Astros considering the bad night, but Jose Altuve did get his second multi-hit game of the year, going two for four with a couple of singles.

Notes: It was the Rangers who struck first in the game, getting a couple of hits off of Gerrit Cole in the bottom of the first to grab an early 1-0 lead. A few egregious pitch calls that went against the Astros stirred some arguments in the second inning, resulting in A.J. Hinch being ejected from the game. After rebounding well from the early run in the next couple of innings, Cole would give up a few more hits in the fourth, expanding the Rangers' lead to 3-0 before his night ended at six innings, with the three runs allowed to go with nine strikeouts. Josh James would come in from the bullpen, looking great overall but allowed a solo homer to add on to the Rangers lead at 4-0. After continued poor calls at the plate, Houston would be unable to get anything going offensively, getting shutout the first time this year, dropping the series 2-1.

Up next: The Astros get their first day off in the early season on Thursday, a chance to regroup and turn things around in front of their home crowd in their home opener. First pitch in Friday night's series opener with the A's will be at 7:10 PM and will pit starter Collin McHugh for Houston against Frankie Montas for Oakland.

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It's all about Deshaun. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Texans moved to 3-7 following their 27-20 win over the Patriots. They are still without a permanent head coach and general manager. There lies the problem, and those problems will be settled this upcoming offseason. The new general manager and head coach will steer this franchise in the direction it needs to go in. Undoubtedly, Deshaun Watson will be at the forefront of what they do. How can he not be? You don't take a job like this with a quarterback like him and not consider him the centerpiece. What else would make one take either of those jobs? The salary cap hell the team is facing? The lack of draft picks coming off a terrible year? The faith ownership has placed in the NFL's version of Littlefinger?

Watson is the lone attraction to the flaming dumpster fire Cal McNair allowed to occur on his watch. If he's not careful, it could get worse and he'll find it hard to recover from. Watson signed an extension that'll keep him in Houston for another four years. He'll still be in his prime (barring any serious, career-threatening injury), and be eligible to hit the market as a free agent before he turns 30. So who do the Texans hire as head coach that can get the most out of Watson? Who can convince him to stay and re-sign after his extension is up?

The main cast of characters will most likely take better jobs. The Jets job is more attractive because of the cap space and draft picks. If the Falcons job opens up, so is it because of Matt Ryan and that offense. What coach/coaches would be interested in taking on this job that would be viable candidates given that the best of the best would take other jobs? Jayson Braddock and I tackled this topic not too long ago on Late Hits. Here are a few guys off the beaten path we felt were contenders:

Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator: Daboll is a guy who, according to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, is openly campaigning for this job. The work he's done with Josh Allen has been remarkable. Allen has gone from a raw prospect with all the physical tools to an MVP candidate. Who wouldn't want a guy like that in Watson's ear guiding him over the foreseeable future?

Greg Roman, Ravens offensive coordinator: Roman has done wonders for Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson. He helped Kaepernick reach a Super Bowl with the 49ers and turned Jackson into last season's league MVP. Given his history with athletic quarterbacks, he should be a natural fit and given full consideration.

Tony Elliott, Clemson offensive coordinator: Here's where it gets interesting. Elliott has been the OC (or co-OC) at Clemson since 2015. He has an established relationship with Watson and a proven track record as a coordinator of high-powered offenses in college. He's the type of hire that won't cost as much as some big names will, but might be able to provide the same spark.

Note that all three of these guys are offensive coaches. I fully understand that the defense is an issue and needs help desperately. I also understand that the previous two coaches were offensive guys as well. But Watson is your franchise quarterback and the most attractive piece in a pile of flaming dung that resides on Kirby. If anyone is going to take this job, it'll be because of number four. I know these aren't the sexy names most folks would want to hear, but these names are more realistic as candidates. None of them has head coaching experience. That fact cheapens their price tag and lends itself to them being long shots. A lot of this depends on the general manager hire. We'll get into that in another articel. For right now, dwell on this and let me know what you think.

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