Astros drop series finale to the Cubs

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Despite injuries starting to pile up for the Astros, they still had the chance for a series sweep of the Cubs with a victory on Wednesday night. Here is a recap of the series finale:

Final Score: Cubs 2, Astros 1.

Record: 37-20, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.09 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Wade Miley (5-3, 3.25 ERA).

1) Miley allows two runs in another solid start 

Wade Miley looked to be in trouble early in the game after allowing a solo home run to Kyle Schwarber in the very first at-bat of the game then another to Kris Bryant in the top of the third to put the Cubs up 2-0 early. However, he'd rebound from those early runs and lock in over the rest of his start, completing seven strong innings, including a season-high in strikeouts and innings pitched — Miley's final line: 7 IP, 6H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.

Chris Devenksi took over in the eighth and despite loading the bases with a single and two walks was able to get a strikeout to leave them all stranded. Will Harris had the ninth and would give the offense a chance for a walk-off by keeping it a one-run game after a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Unfortunately, a walk-off would not come to fruition.

2) One run not enough

The Astros were able to trim the lead to one run after putting runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff double by Alex Bregman and single by Michael Brantley. They'd score the run on a one-out sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick but would get stopped there as the Cubs maintained the lead at 2-1.

They'd go scoreless the rest of the way, dropping the series finale despite taking the series with the two wins on Monday and Tuesday.

Up Next: The Astros will get a day off tomorrow as they travel to Oakland for a three-game series over the weekend. The first game of the series will get started at 9:07 PM on Friday and will feature Brad Peacock (5-2, 3.19 ERA) on the mound for Houston going against former-Astro Mike Fiers (4-3, 5.05 ERA) for the A's.

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

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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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