Astros take another from the Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 3-0 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After an exciting finish to the first game of the series, the Astros looked to take game two on Friday night against the Rangers. Here's a quick rundown and four points from the game:

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 0

Record: 24-15, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (6-1, 2.51 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (4-3, 5.48 ERA)

1) Altuve exits with an injury

After reaching base by hustling out an infield single, Jose Altuve would try to stay in and run but would eventually get removed from the game with a leg injury. The current status is left hamstring discomfort (a term Astros that fans are all too familiar with) which has him day-to-day. Hopefully, that diagnosis is correct and not something more long-term.

2) Verlander throws seven shutout innings in win

Friday night was just another day at the office for Justin Verlander. He threw seven one-hit innings of shutout baseball, and along the way threw eight strikeouts to move him to 22nd on the all-time list, sitting at 2,774 in his great career so far. The scoreless night also moved his ERA down to 2.51 on the year. The win moves him to 6-1 on the year.

3) Bottom of the order powers through

As proof that there's no easy out in this Houston lineup, it was the 7-8-9 hitters that provided most of the offense in this game. Jake Marisnick got the Astros on the board with a solo home run in the third to make it a 1-0 game. After some quiet innings, Yuli Gurriel and Robinson Chirinos made some noise with back-to-back homers to extend the lead to 3-0.

4) Pressly and Osuna close it out

With Verlander done after seven innings, the Astros looked to their one-two punch of Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna to close out the win. Pressly extended his scoreless inning streak to 35 with a 1-2-3 eighth including a strikeout, moving the 3-0 game to the ninth. Roberto Osuna came in looking to grab his tenth save of the year, and with a little help from Josh Reddick for the second consecutive night, was able to do so to close out the victory for Houston.

Up Next: Game three of this four-game set will get started at 7:10 PM tomorrow night in Houston. The Astros will send Gerrit Cole (3-4, 4.17 ERA) to the mound to extend his league-lead in strikeouts. He'll be up against Drew Smyly (0-2, 6.63 ERA) for the Rangers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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