Houston gets the win

Astros overpower Rangers in series opener

Astros' Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucer
Kyle Tucker had a big homer in the middle of Houston's offensive outburst in Friday's game against the Rangers.Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Kyle Tucker had a big homer in the middle of Houston's offensive outburst in Friday's game against the Rangers.

After starting their second half 3-3 with a series loss against the White Sox and win over the Indians, the Astros welcomed in the Rangers to try and improve their record and stay on pace in front of the A's in the AL West. Thanks to two big innings in Friday's opener, they would grab a win to start this three-game installment of the Silver Boot Series.

Final Score: Astros 7, Rangers 3

Astros' Record: 59-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3)

Losing Pitcher: Kolby Allard (2-8)

Houston breaks it open early

After two scoreless innings on both sides, the Astros broke the seal, and the game open, in the third and the fourth innings. In the bottom of the third, Houston loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk, setting up an RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI ground ball by Carlos Correa, then three-run homer by Kyle Tucker, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. They tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on second and third before an RBI groundout by Michael Brantley and a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel, extending the lead to 7-0.

Odorizzi runs into trouble in the fifth

That gave Jake Odorizzi a clear path to a win. Yet, after four scoreless innings, he would struggle in the fifth, getting two strikeouts to start the frame but then allowed three runs on three hits and a walk, making it 7-3 and prompting Dusty Baker to bring in Brandon Bielak to finish the inning. Odorizzi's final line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 86 P.

Astros take the opener

After recording the last out of the fifth for Odorizzi, Bielak retired seven of the eight batters he faced, getting through the seventh inning out of the bullpen for Houston and maintaining the four-run lead. Blake Taylor was the next reliever out, and he erased a two-out walk and a single to complete a scoreless top of the eighth. Cristian Javier came in to close things out in the top of the ninth, tossing a 1-2-3 frame to finish off the victory.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will get started at 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Framber Valdez (5-2, 3.26 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (6-2, 2.86 ERA) is slated to go for the Rangers.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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