Houston ends three-game skid

Astros outscore Angels to take opener of four-game series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the disappointing sweep in San Diego to end their short road-trip with three straight losses, the Astros were back at home in Minute Maid Park against the last-place Angels to try and right the ship. Here is how the series opener unfolded:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 4.

Record: 16-13, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.35 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Patrick Sandoval (0-4, 6.75 ERA).

Astros outscore Angels early

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, Houston would get on the board first in the bottom of the second. The first run came on a solo home run by Kyle Tucker to leadoff the inning before later an RBI-single by Josh Reddick would double the lead to 2-0.

The Angels took advantage of some sloppy baseball by the Astros in the top of the third. They scored a run to cut the lead in half by working a leadoff walk, moving the runner over on a fielder's choice, and then stealing third on a defensive miscue before getting an RBI-single to make it 2-1.

Houston responded right away, though, in the bottom of the inning. They would put together a three-run inning on an RBI-double by Michael Brantley, an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, and another scoring on an error, making it a 5-1 Astros advantage. The Angels would get one of those back in the top of the next inning, hitting a two-out solo home run off Frambre Valdez to make it 5-2.

Valdez finishes seven in line for the win

Los Angeles was able to put up two more runs against Valdez in the fifth, getting back-to-back two-out RBI-doubles to make it a one-run game at 5-4. Framber finished that inning, then returned to retire the next six batters in order over the sixth and seventh, including four more strikeouts to bring his total to eleven on the night, his last an inning-ending strikeout looking of Mike Trout. His final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 113 pitches.

Houston was able to put up more runs on the Angels' bullpen in the bottom of the sixth. They worked two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, setting up a two-out bases-clearing double by Carlos Correa, followed by an RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to push the lead to 9-4.

Houston ends their three-game skid

In the bottom of the seventh, Michael Brantley led off with a double and then moved to third on a groundout. Martin Maldonado reached on a two-out walk, then Myles Straw, who entered to pinch-run for Springer earlier, would bring both in on a two-RBI double to make it a seven-run lead at 11-4.

With Valdez's night done after seven, Cionel Perez took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and retired the Angels in order for a 1-2-3 frame. He returned for the top of the ninth to finish off the game and did so to end Houston's three-game skid and take the first of four against Los Angeles.

Up Next: With tropical storm and expected hurricane Laura threatening the southeast-Texas area, the MLB decided to expedite this four-game series, moving Thursday's game to a part of a new double-header Tuesday. The first game will start at 3:05 PM Central with Jose Suarez (0-1, 33.75 ERA) working as a potential opener for a bullpen game for the Angles against Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.55 ERA) for the Astros. The second game will immediately follow with Julio Teheran (0-2, 10.38 ERA) on the mound for the Angels and a TBD starter for Houston.

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The Texans have a big decision to make. Composite image by Jack Brame

The last few weeks have brought us some very interesting episodes of "As Kirby Turns." Cal McNair has admitted he hasn't spoken with Deshaun Watson and has also doubled down on his affinity for Jack Easterby by saying he's staying around. The franchise's only member of their Ring of Honor, Andre Johnson, came completely out of character by tweeting his support for Watson to "stand his ground" in what most assume is his desire to play elsewhere. Newly hired general manager Nick Caserio has the hardest job in the NFL because he's basically a one leg man in a bleep kicking contest. National and local media are all floating rumors and opinions about Watson's status with the team. Meanwhile, Watson himself has been cryptic and hasn't come out and said one thing either way about his status with the team.

My opinion is that he won't be traded and this is his way of using the leverage he has to get some things done his way to ensure more of his career won't be wasted. Once they hire a head coach he approves of and they talk, he'll be back in the fold and blow things over by saying he never demanded a trade and was only upset about some things due to miscommunication. Blah blah blah. However, where there's smoke, there must be fire. I'll examine some pros and cons to a potential trade of Watson.

Bad news first. This franchise has waited its entire existence for a franchise quarterback like Watson. Finally getting one and having to deal him amidst the bumbling owner and charlatan right-hand man would be a big blow to overcome. This coming year is shaping up to be difficult as it is, but doing so with Watson wearing a different jersey could prove to be a near fatal blow. It would take an additional year or so to recover. The only way this timeline is expedited, is if they get a quarterback back in the trade or with one of the draft picks that they feel can be the man moving forward.

The bright side. Watson is this team's most attractive asset as it looks to rebuild. There are teams in the top five of this year's draft who need quarterbacks, and a couple of them have multiple first round picks. The Jets, #2 and #23 overall in the first round this draft, are the most intriguing destination because they may be bad next season with Watson if you get that pick in the trade as well. Throw in Sam Darnold, who's still young and salvageable, and this could be a hard reset that may not take as long. The Dolphins, #3 and #18 overall this draft, also have a lot to offer. Rumor has it Watson would like to go to Miami in a deal that includes Tua Tagovailoa, who was a guy Caserio liked when entering the draft. Again, another potential hard reset that may not take long if either young quarterback pans out. You could also trade back from those top slots to acquire more picks to help fill some of the many holes you have.

I reiterate, I do not believe Watson will be traded. I'm not even sure his no trade clause is applicable since he's still under his rookie contract and his extension hasn't kicked in yet. The new CBA rules call for stiffer penalties for players who refuse to report, so a holdout is highly unlikely. I'll be glad when they hire a coach Watson likes, and we get the happy family press conference introducing him, so this soap opera can move on to its next episode.

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