Verlander throws a gem in Astros win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 5-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After taking the first game of the series against the White Sox, the Astros had Justin Verlander on the mound Tuesday night to make it two in a row. Here are the quick results of the game and two hits:

Final Score: Astros 5, White Sox 1.

Record: 33-16, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (8-1, 2.24 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dylan Covey (0-3, 5.31 ERA).

1) Vintage Verlander

Justin Verlander was spectacular on Tuesday night, and in fact, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Over the first six innings, he allowed just a walk while striking out ten. The no-hit bid was broken in the top of the seventh on a solo home run, but that didn't stop Verlander from having an incredible night. He'd complete eight innings during which he allowed only the one hit and run while striking out 12. The win moved him to 8-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.24. Hector Rondon took over for the ninth and threw a scoreless inning to wrap up the win.

2) Big fifth inning of offense

After both teams going scoreless through the first three innings, Yuli Gurriel finally got Houston on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. The big offensive inning of the night, was the fifth, though, with the Astros putting up four runs on a wild pitch an RBI-single from Carlos Correa and a big two-RBI double from Michael Brantley.

Up Next: Game three of this four-game set will get underway with another 7:10 PM start on Wednesday night. Houston will send the league leader in strikeouts, Gerrit Cole (4-4, 3.56 ERA), to the mound to match up against Ivan Nova (2-4, 7.42 ERA) for Chicago.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Over the next few weeks, we'll break down all the positions and hopefuls for the final 53-man roster. We begin with the team's most important position — quarterback.

It seemed like yesterday former general manager Rick Smith completed the most compelling trade in Houston Texans' history.

Three years later, Smith's risky decision has paid off. Not only has Deshaun Watson established himself as the best quarterback in franchise history, but one of the finest the league has to offer at his position. For a team coming into the 2020 season with a plethora of fresh faces, Watson's return as Houston's unheralded starting quarterback appears to be the only familiarity in what will be an abnormal year for the Texans.

Deshaun Watson: Starter

On the cusp of his fourth season, Deshaun Watson will be just as good as he was during his first three years in the league. Sure, the loss of DeAndre Hopkins will have its effect at the start of the year. However, Watson's supporting cast is too talented for him to regress.

In 2019, the 24-year-old quarterback finished the season with 3,852 passing yards and 26 touchdowns in 15 regular-season games. If Watson had played in the Texans' final regular-season game, he would have notched over 4,000 passing yards for the second straight year — averaging 256.8 yards per game. As one of the league's best dual-threat quarterbacks, Watson recorded seven rushing touchdowns to go along with 413 yards on 82 carries.

He nearly cut his 2018 sack numbers in half thanks to an improved offensive line (62), but 44 hits from behind the line of scrimmage are far from ideal for a franchise quarterback. Although nicknamed "The Houston Houdini," it may be beneficial for Watson to give up the ball sooner to avoid various unnecessary hits in 2020.

However, regardless of the number of times he hit the ground, Watson will be the starting quarterback in Houston. And there isn't anything anyone can do to dispute his case.

A.J. McCarron: Backup

A.J. McCarron appeared in two games for 69 snaps in 2019. Even though he does not see the field too much playing behind Watson, Houston has a reliable substitute should something happen to their franchise quarterback. The Alabama prodigy showcased his talents for a full 45 minutes during the Texans' Week 17 loss to the Titans. He threw for 225 yards to go along with 39 rushing yards and a touchdown — in what was his first start since 2015.

Although it was one game as the starter. McCarron's performance was enough for the Texans to re-sign the veteran quarterback to a one-year deal worth $4 million with $3.75 million guaranteed. In 15 career games, McCarron has thrown for 1,153 passing yards and six touchdowns — while completing 62.4% of his attempts.

Alex McGough: Third String

Drafted in the seventh round (No. 220 overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in 2018, Alex McGough has yet to make an appearance in a regular-season NFL game. After the Jaguars waived him last January, McGough spent the 2019 season as a member on the Texans' practice squad.

McGough played four years at Florida International University, where he ended his collegiate career with 9,091 passing yards and 65 touchdowns for the Golden Panthers. In January of this year, the Texans signed the 24-year-old quarterback to a reserve-future deal.

Nick Tiano: Depth

Nick Tiano is one of nine undrafted rookies who signed with the Texans in April. The 6-foot-5 quarterback played his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga — where Tiano recorded 744 yards and 10 touchdowns in 28 career games.

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