Houston is now 2-1

Greinke exits early, Mariners rally late as Astros pick up first loss

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With two games behind them, the Astros brought their AL-best 2-0 record into Sunday's matchup with the Mariners in game three of the four-game series. Here is a quick recap of game three of four in this series:

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 6.

Record: 2-1, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Dan Altavilla (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (0-1, 13.50 ERA).

Greinke makes an early exit as Mariners jump ahead

Zack Greinke did not have the first appearance of 2020 he would have hoped. In the top of the first, he allowed three-straight two-out hits, nearly four if not for a great catch by George Springer, including an RBI-double by Kyle Seager and an RBI-single by Evan White to put the Mariners ahead 2-0 before Houston could get to the plate.

Jose Altuve walked in the bottom of the first, then would score on a long double by Alex Bregman to get one of the runs back and make it 2-1. After a quick 1-2-3 second inning for Greinke, he would walk two in a scoreless third. A one-out double in the fourth would prompt a move to the bullpen after 58 pitches with Dusty Baker either already having a low pitch count in mind, or not liking the volatility with his command.

Joe Biagini took over on the mound in the fourth, but would not get through the inning before allowing Greinke's third run and one of his own to extend Seattle's lead to 4-1. Greinke's final line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

Houston bails him out with four-run fourth

Houston went to work against Yusei Kikuchi to claw back into it in the bottom of the fourth. They loaded the bases with no outs after two walks and a single, setting up an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to trim the deficit to 4-2. Kikuchi battled back to get the next two batters to strike out, but Josh Reddick would work a four-pitch walk to cut the lead to one run.

That brought Martin Maldonado to the plate, who already had big hits in each of the series's first two games. He would continue that streak, coming through with a two-RBI single to give Houston their first lead of the day at 5-4 and end Kikuchi's day.

Mariners rally to tie then go-ahead in eighth

Bryan Abreu was next out of the bullpen for the top of the fifth, and despite hitting two batters and walking another to load the bases, he was able to get through the inning with the one-run lead intact. He returned for the sixth, but after two quick outs would issue a two-out walk, prompting another call to the bullpen, this time for Blake Taylor, who would get a strikeout to end the frame.

After Josh Reddick would be left stranded on third after a leadoff triple in the bottom of the sixth, Taylor would return to the mound for a 1-2-3 seventh. Chris Devenski started the eighth but put a couple of Mariners on base to set up a tying RBI-single to tie the game up at 5-5, then later a two-RBI single to give Seattle a 7-5 lead. Michael Brantley would get Houston within a run with an RBI-double in the ninth, but the Mariners would hold on for the win.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series between the Astros and Mariners will get underway at 6:10 PM on Monday. Josh James, who has primarily worked as a reliever out of the bullpen, will assume his role as the current fourth spot in Houston's rotation, while Seattle will send Kendall Graveman to the mound.

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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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