Tough loss for Houston

Astros force extras before Rangers walk it off in series opener

Tyler Ivey made his MLB debut Friday night. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

After starting this road trip with a 2-1 series win over the Oakland A's to regain the lead in the AL West, Houston returned to Texas to face another division opponent: the Rangers at Globe Life Field. After trailing most of the game, the Astros would tie the game late, forcing extra innings, but the Rangers would pull out the win in the tenth to hand Houston the loss.

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 26-19, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Taylor Hearn (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-3)

Tyler Ivey makes his debut

Making his major-league debut close to his hometown of Rowlett, Texas, Tyler Ivey tried to make it a memorable first start. While it wasn't an incredibly impressive outing, he could still provide his team some innings, though allowed a few runs. The first came on a solo home run by Brock Holt in the bottom of the third, then two more came in the bottom of the fourth on a two-RBI double by Adolis Garcia, bringing in two runners that reached on a walk and a single.

He returned in the bottom of the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before getting his last two outs as Dusty Baker would go to his bullpen to bring in Kent Emanuel to face some Texas lefties. Emanuel would allow an RBI single to his first batter, with the run charged to Ivey, making his debut line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 79 P.

Houston's offense starts slow before clawing back into it

Houston managed to bring in just one run over that span, getting runners on base to set up an RBI fielder's choice by Aledmys Diaz in the top of the second. Still down 4-1 in the top of the seventh, the Astros wasted a golden opportunity, getting the bases loaded against Texas' bullpen with Kyle Gibson finally out of the game but stranded all three runners.

After Emanuel finished the fifth, he returned for one out in the sixth before Joe Smith would finish that frame. Brandon Bielak was next out of the bullpen, tossing a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Houston clawed back into it in the top of the eighth, getting RBI hits from Carlos Correa and Jason Castro to get back within a run at 4-3. Jose Altuve then tied the game, getting an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to fifteen games and knot things up 4-4.

Astros go ahead, but Rangers walk it off

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. He did his job, retiring three batters on nine pitches to send things to the ninth. After getting two on base in the top of the inning but coming away empty, the Astros brought in Ryan Pressly in the bottom of the ninth to try and force extra innings, which he would do. Carlos Correa began the top of the tenth on second base as the free runner, and with one out, would score from there on a groundball turned error, putting Houston one run ahead and leaving runners on the corners.

They would strand those two runners and brought in Bryan Abreu in the bottom of the inning to try and finish things off. After a sac fly moved the free runner to third, Abreu would get a strikeout for the second out. A two-out walk brought Garcia to the plate for Texas, who would hit a walk-off three-run homer, handing Houston a loss to start this series.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be a 3:05 PM Central start on Saturday. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.70 ERA) will look to get his sixth quality start in a row for the Astros, while the Rangers will send Jordan Lyles (2-3, 5.93 ERA) to the mound.

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It's Draft SZN! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

On Thursday June 22, the NBA will hold their annual draft. With the Rockets owning the number four overall pick, you'd think things would be looking up for them. However, in a draft where the top three players are all expected to be immediate impact guys, the drop begins where the Rockets are selecting. Armed with some young talent, cap space, and a new head coach, the Rockets are looked at as a team on the rise. But what will help contribute to that rise?

When you have assets, you have options. There are three main options I see here for the Rockets with number four: keep the pick and select the guy you think will work best moving forward; trade up to select the guy they feel they missed out on that isn't a punk Frenchie who dislikes Houston; or trade the pick for an established star. The other option is trading the pick for a good player and a future pick/s. Let's take a look at the options:

Option 1: Keeping the pick means you're drafting the leftovers. Those leftovers start with Amen Thompson. He's the guy I believe can come in and help sooner rather than later. At 6'7 and 215 pounds, he has an NBA body. His skill set can come in handy because he's played point guard. This team could use a true point guard, but Thompson isn't exactly a traditional point. He has the size of a wing player, which allows him to see over the top of the defense. His outside shooting is abysmal and needs a vast improvement. To me, adjusting to life as a pro without his twin brother Ausar, another good draft prospect himself, will be difficult. Overall, I believe he's the guy to take at four if they decide to stay.

Option 2: Trading up to get Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller may prove to be difficult. Both teams picking ahead of the Rockets have their point guards. Charlotte wants to find Lamelo Ball a running mate and have their eyes rumored to be set on Miller. Portland is trying their best to keep Dame Lillard happy. The Rockets would be best served to trade with either team willing to move down for whatever they offer, provided it's worthwhile. Portland was just in the playoffs the last few years and aren't as far out as some would think. They're the ones I'd eye to trade with. Speaking of Portland and Dame…

Option 3: The Rockets need a point guard and Dame may be looking to get out. Help them start their rebuild and bring Dame to Houston. Or, how about the Jaylen Brown rumors? Fred VanVleet has a player option for next season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent. There are a few options of finding veteran help around the league, especially at the point. Problem is, are any of these team willing to take the Rockets' offers? It'd start with number four, and include other assets as well. This option makes sense if the organization believes the roster, with whatever vet addition they make via trade, is playoff ready.

Option 4: The last option I thought about is to trade the pick for a first rounder in next year's draft and a decent player. I see this as a last resort of sorts. But only if they do not feel comfortable with whatever player they may take. That, and if they want to save cap space for next free agency period. Not having a first rounder next year isn't as bad as one might think. The team will need to make the necessary moves this offseason to ensure that won't be an issue next draft. FOMO is real, especially when a team is rebuilding and can't use one of the best/cheapest forms of acquiring top talent.

I talked with my good friend “TC.” The guy loves basketball and even hips me to a bunch of stuff. He wants them to move up in the draft for Scoot or Miller. While he is a James Harden fan, he doesn't necessarily want him back. He wouldn't mind it, but it's not his first option. I've spoken with a lot of native Houstonians about this. They all want a winner sooner than later, but have different philosophies on how to get there. Personally, I say options two and three are my faves. Trade the pick for help, rookie or vet, and go from there. I guess we'll have to wait three more weeks before we find out. Or will we…

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