Astros lock up the series win against the Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After taking the opener on Friday night, the Astros had their sights on locking up the series with a win over the Rangers on Saturday. Here is a recap of the middle game of the three-game set:

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 1.

Record: 63-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jose Urquidy (1-0, 5.54 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ariel Jurado (5-6, 4.92 ERA).

1) Gurriel cannot be stopped

It was Houston once again starting the scoring for the night, this time in the bottom of the third. Myles Straw led the inning off with a double, then came around to score on another double by George Springer. Springer would then also score no a one-out double by Michael Brantley, putting the Astros up 2-0.

The Astros quickly extended their lead in the fifth. It started with back-to-back two-out singles by Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez, bringing Yuli Gurriel to the plate. Gurriel continued his recent red-hot streak, drilling a home run to make it a 5-1 lead for Houston. The home run was Gurriel's thirteenth in his last twenty-one games, and the three runs from it brought his total in that same span of games to twenty-eight.

2) Brilliant start for Urquidy

Jose Urquidy received another chance to start on Saturday night while the Astros continue to try to figure out the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. He took complete advantage of the opportunity, giving his team exactly what they needed with an extended outing.

Urquidy did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, though it would be a costly one in a solo home run which trimmed Houston's lead to 2-1 at the time. He quickly put that behind him, settling right back in and only allowing one other hit over the rest of his seven innings of work.

Along the way he also racked up nine strikeouts while issuing zero walks, further solidifying it as his best start so far in the big leagues. Urquidy's final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

3) Holding on to take the series

With Urquidy giving Houston seven innings, that meant only two innings of work for the bullpen. Chris Devenski took over for the top of the eighth and struck out the side on fourteen pitches. Hector Rondon was given the ninth with the five-run lead, looking to put his most recent outing behind him. He did so, getting a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the victory.

The win not only secured a win in this series but a win in the season series with the Astros taking their tenth of the nineteen-game series.

Up Next: The Astros and Rangers will conclude this series with the first pitch of the finale scheduled for 1:10 PM Sunday. Texas will have the best starter of their rotation on the mound in Lance Lynn (12-5, 3.87 ERA) while Houston will hope to get a solid start out of Rogelio Armenteros (0-0, 2.00 ERA) to get a weekend sweep.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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College football needs to call a timeout on the 2020 season.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce, maybe today, perhaps in a few weeks, whether they will play football this fall.

Already the Ivy League, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference have canceled their fall football season for health and safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference – should get onboard and put their football seasons on hold, too.

While some elected officials without medical degrees say that coronavirus amounts to little more than sniffles for young people, healthcare experts argue that college-age people, while they do recover quickly and may not exhibit symptoms, do contract and spread the virus.

There has been a 90 percent increase of young people testing positive for the virus in the past four weeks. More important, health experts say they can't measure the long-term effects of the virus, which may include brain damage, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

There is a simple solution to play or not play college football this fall – postpone the season to next spring, when health experts will know more about the disease. There possibly could be a vaccine by then, which would allow fans back in stadiums.

Many high-profile college players and coaches weighed in on the debate Monday, almost unanimously saying that the 2020 football schedule should be played on schedule, starting in a few weeks.

Players, including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, adopted the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. In a tweet, Lawrence said that players would be more at risk for coronavirus if the fall season doesn't move forward. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."

Lawrence added that, if the football season is canceled or postponed, players "will be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely."

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN, "Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home."

Two points: University presidents should listen to only one group of people – healthcare professionals – when they decide whether to cancel or postpone the fall football season. Yes, players want to play during this pandemic. But players also want to play when they are injured or their brain was just scrambled by a vicious tackle. We applaud athletes who play with a broken leg. We see players with concussions plead with their coaches to put them back in the game.

As for the argument that players are more likely to catch the virus if they're sent home – who's sending them home? These are student-athletes. Students. Most college campuses will be open with students attending classes this fall. Major college programs like Clemson have 85 full scholarships designated for football. Colleges won't take away players' scholarships if the football season is canceled. Clemson's campus will open Sept. 21 for in-person classes.

ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy also said the season should be played as scheduled: "If they're (players) OK, then I'm OK." Texas governor Greg Abbott chimed in on the players' side. He said, "It's their careers, it's their health."

What "careers" is he talking about? There are about 775 colleges that play football. Only 1.7 percent of all those players will play in the NFL or another professional league. On Sept. 3, Rice University will play Army. It is unlikely that any of those players will have a career in football. However, given the excellence of academics at those colleges, players will have career opportunities in something other than football. The average NFL career is 2-1/2 years. Rice and Army grads can top that.

The NBA is completing its season in a bubble in Orlando, with players confined to their hotels between games. Only 22 teams are in Orlando for the lockdown. The Rockets organization sent about 35 people, including coaches, players and essential personnel to Orlando.

Baseball is playing its season outside a bubble. So many players are testing positive for coronavirus that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week threatened to end the season if teams don't do a better job of enforcing the league's health protocol. What's left is an unbalanced season. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have played 18 games, while the St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games. The ironically first-place Miami Marlins, which had 18 players test positive, have played only 10 games.

College football can't be played in a bubble. There are too many teams, with some having more than 100 players and 20 coaches. And no sport thrives on fans' excitement and marching bands like college football. Several colleges, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M, have stadiums that hold more than 100,000 fans. Even if college football could be played in a bubble, it would require isolating players from August to January, when they're supposed to be in class. I know … supposed.

This one is easy. For the health and safety of players, play the fall 2020 season in spring 2021.

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