Houston now heads out on the road

Astros outscore Rangers to take the series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this three-game set with the Rangers, the Astros were on the field Thursday afternoon trying to end their homestand with a series win by taking the rubber game against Texas. Here is how they fared:

Final Score: Astros 8, Rangers 4.

Record: 21-15, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-0, 2.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.67 ERA).

Another hot start for the Astros

As they have done many times this year, the Astros put together a hot start to a game by putting up multiple runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, the first three batters all reached base on aggressive early swings, the third bringing in a run on an RBI-single by Michael Brantley. With two runners still on base, Aledmys Diaz would get his season's biggest hit so far, a three-run homer to make it a 4-0 Houston lead.

Greinke throws a quality start 

The Rangers were able to chip away some at the lead against Zack Greinke, getting hits and runs off of him in the second, fourth, and sixth innings sandwiched between quick innings in the first, third, and fifth. Still, he recorded another quality start by finishing six innings and left in line for the win by holding on to the lead given to him by his offense. Greinke's final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 104 P.

Meanwhile, the Astros were able to tack on more runs to their total on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the fifth and a solo home run by Martin Maldonado in the sixth, making it a 6-3 game after six frames. Cy Sneed took over on the mound for Greinke to start the seventh, and after a quick 1-2-3 inning, would return for the eighth. The Rangers would make it a two-run game against him, getting a one-out solo home run to make it 6-4.

Houston takes the series to end the homestand

Sneed would retire one more batter, then Cionel Perez entered and erased a walk and a single to get the last out of the inning. Houston was able to push the lead back to four runs in the bottom of the eighth, getting two on base to set up Michael Brantley for two more RBI in this series on a two-run double, making it 8-4. In the non-save situation, Blake Taylor took over on the mound for the top of the ninth and recorded the last three outs to wrap up the win, giving the Astros the series victory.

Up Next: With this homestand complete, Houston will now take to the road to play eleven games over the next nine days, including two doubleheaders. The road trip starts Friday at 8:10 PM Central in Los Angeles with Lance McCullers Jr. (3-2, 5.06 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Dylan Bundy (4-2, 2.47 ERA) for the Angels.

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Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

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