Houston is now third in the division

Astros swept by A's as losing streak grows to five games

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With Oakland having already locked up the series victory, the Astros took the field on Sunday looking to end their road trip with a win to break their four-game losing streak and trim a game off the A's growing division lead. Here is a quick rundown of the series finale:

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 2.

Record: 6-9, third in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jesus Luzardo (1-0, 2.60 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cristian Javier (1-1, 4.02 ERA).

Oakland knocks Javier out early

The A's were able to get to Cristian Javier early on Sunday and knock him out of the game early. After a scoreless first frame, Javier allowed a solo home run in the second, but the real damage came in the third. In the bottom of the third, he issued two walks to set up a two-out three-run home run, followed by a solo shot as Oakland would get back-to-back homers to take a 5-0 lead.

Javier would get the third out, but would not return for the fourth inning. It would take him 63 pitches to get through his three innings, with all of his hits allowed being home runs, which paired with the walks resulted in the lopsided score. His final line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 HR.

Benches clear in the seventh

Houston tried to start a rally in the top of the next inning, getting a two-out double by Michael Brantley followed by a two-run homer by Yuli Gurriel to cut Oakland's lead to three runs at 5-2. Brandon Bailey would take over for Javier in the bottom of the fourth and worked around a lead-off walk for a scoreless inning.

Bailey stayed on the mound for the bottom of the fifth but ran into trouble by allowing a single and hitting a batter to put two on base, with one eventually coming in to score later in the inning against Andre Scrubb, who was the next reliever out. Scrubb would record a 1-2-3 sixth before Humberto Castellanos took over in the bottom of the seventh in the 6-2 game.

After one out, a pitch would get away from Castellanos and hit Ramon Laureano. After bickering occurred back and forth between Laureano and the Astros bench, Laureano would charge the dugout and prompt a full benches-clearing brawl. Once things settled down, Castellanos would finish the inning but not before the A's pushed the lead back to five runs at 7-2.

Oakland completes the sweep, Houston's losing streak extends to five 

Carlos Sanabria made his second appearance of 2020 by pitching in the bottom of the eighth. He would allow a leadoff double and two-out walk but was able to strand both runners in a scoreless inning. Houston would come up empty in the top of the ninth, giving Oakland the series sweep, extending the Astros' losing streak to five games, and pushing them down to third in the division standings.

Up Next: The Astros will travel back to Houston to start an eight-game homestand on Monday at 8:10 PM against the Giants, who sit at 7-10 on the year. Houston will send out Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 9.22 ERA) in the opener of the three-game set, looking to turn the page on the extremely disappointing start in Arizona, while San Francisco is expected to send out Logan Webb (1-0, 2.13 ERA).

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There's an elephant in the room when it comes to the Houston Texans. No, it's not Bill O'Brien. He's the ominous black cloud that hoovers over the whole building. That cloud is like a slow moving weather system that's constantly dumping rain and flooding the city. Eventually, it'll pass, we'll rebuild and recover from it.

It's not even the McNair family. Cal and Janice are the building itself. It exists, but needs people around and operating it in order for it to fully function. Sure, it could use some work. After all, it's almost twenty years old and could probably use a facelift. It happens when buildings age and are only taken care of or held to minimal standards.

The elephant in the room is Deshaun Watson. More specifically, his progress as a franchise/superstar quarterback. I've heard different people talk about this in one way, shape, form or whatever. AJ and Fred covered it on ESPN Houston's The Blitz. My friend @itsDanielBsr tweeted it and brought it up as well. There were others who talked about this topic, but these were the two places I encountered it in which I could pay closer attention.

When it comes to Watson, most people believe he's a great talent. However, there is a growing sentiment that it's time for him to take the next step. Watson turned 25 on September 14. He signed his four-year extension about a week before his birthday. When you're getting paid like a top quarterback and people recognize you as one of the better young quarterbacks, there comes a time when you need to poop or get off the pot.

When calling Watson to the carpet, people will call O'Brien into question. O'Brien is a factor in holding Watson back some. He's been the play-caller his whole time here in Houston up until this year when he allegedly turned it over to Tim Kelly. We've all seen how that has gone. O'Brien is also the general manager that traded away Watson's top target in DeAndre Hopkins. These type of things can hinder a young quarterback's growth and development, but at what point do we stop blaming O'Brien and start looking at Watson?

Some will point to the offensive line as a key factor as to why Watson isn't progressing. We've seen him escape sacks and create plays out of thin air. But when is it time to call him to the carpet for not going through his reads and/or making a check-down? He often escapes sacks and looks downfield, but should he be looking to scramble more often? Should he be reading progressions better? These intimate details are answers we won't ever get, but we hope we can understand that Watson is making his reads and decisions the way he's supposed to.

Whether it's his big extension, his bumbling idiot of a head coach, his lack of protection, or his lack of weapons, fans will eventually stop giving Watson a pass. Del said it best on ESPN Houston's The Bench: When will people stop bringing up Clemson when talking about Watson's greatness? NFL quarterbacks have their college career talked about in their rookie seasons. After that, it's all about what have you done for me lately. I sincerely hope Watson realizes his tremendous potential. He's a star now and a superstar in the making. The one thing that he needs is the success on the field that will catapult him into the upper echelon of the other top talents at his position. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Pat Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson all have either a league MVP award and/or a Super Bowl ring. If Watson is to be mentioned in that rarefied air, he needs to start taking the necessary steps. The clock is ticking and people are watching. Your move Deshaun.

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