Houston posts another poor offensive day

Astros held scoreless by White Sox to lose the series in Chicago

Framber Valdez's rough start on Sunday paired with Houston's lack of offense handed Chicago the series. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

With each team grabbing a lopsided win in the first two games of the series, the Astros tried to lock up the series with a win in the finale on Sunday behind Framber Valdez. It would not go their way, however, with Carlos Rodon holding Houston's potent offense in check for a second straight game, and the White Sox getting runs on the board against Valdez to take the series.

Final Score: White Sox 4, Astros 0

Astros' Record: 56-38, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Carlos Rodon (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-2)

Valdez loses the pitching battle

While his offense was struggling to get anything done against Carlos Rodon, Houston's starter Framber Valdez was trying to power through to a quality start but would come up short. After a scoreless first, the White Sox struck first in the bottom of the second against him, turning a one-out walk into an RBI single later in the inning. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 third but was met with a leadoff solo homer to start the bottom of the fourth, making it 2-0.

He allowed another solo shot in the bottom of the next inning, then continued on the mound through to the bottom of the seventh, where after a leadoff walk and RBI single to make it 4-0, would allow a double to his last batter before Houston would make the call to their bullpen to bring in Ryne Stanek, who finished off the frame. Valdez's final line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 97 P.

Astros get shutout as White Sox take the series

That planted Valdez firmly in position for the loss, as Rodon subdued Houston's offense to just one hit over seven innings before Chicago would go to their bullpen in the top of the eighth. Houston would stay unless, and in the bottom of the eighth, their next reliever was Blake Taylor who posted a 1-2-3 inning. Houston would continue to be held scoreless in the top of the ninth, with Chicago completing the shutout to take the game and the series.

Up Next: With this short three-game road trip complete, the Astros will return home to welcome in the Indians for a series starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature the pitching matchup of J.C. Mejia (1-4, 7.42 ERA) for Cleveland and Luis Garcia (6-5, 3.06 ERA) for Houston.

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The Astros play Game 1 of the ALDS Tuesday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

With a nod to Charles Dickens, October is the best of times (Astros) and the worst of times (Texans and Rockets) for Houston sports fans. At least this October.

October is the one month when all three of Houston’s major sports teams are guaranteed to be in full swing at the same time. It’s possible, if the Astros make the World Series that November will have all three teams in action, too. But let’s not jinx things.

The Astros start their playoff run Tuesday on TBS. Since the Yankees also play that day, also on TBS, we can assume the Astros will get the daytime slot, the Yankees in prime time. Now before Astros fans start screaming east coast bias, it really only applies to TV. Fun fact: no New York Met has ever won an MVP Award, and only one Yankee has won it in the past 37 years – Alex Rodriguez in 2005 and 2007. How’d that work out for him? Most important, a New York team has won the World Series only once in the past two decades – the Yankees in 2009.

The Astros could play as many as 15 more games in October, five in the Division Series, seven in the League Championship Series and three in the World Series before the calendar flips to November.

Meanwhile, the Texans plod on with three more games in October, and the Rockets have 11.

The winless Texans are at home against the Titans at NRG Stadium, on the road against the Jaguars and Raiders.

The Rockets, coming off the worst record in the NBA last season, have three games at home at Toyota Center and eight on the road.

This presents a problem of abundance, an embarrassment of riches, for Houston sports junkies. Who are you going to watch on TV? Which team will you pay to watch in person? Who are you rooting for the most? Whose jersey will you buy?

David Puddy is right, you “gotta support the team,” but who will own Houston this month?

What to do? If it’s true that nothing succeeds like success, and everybody loves a winner – it’s an obvious choice.

The Astros.

The Astros just completed their regular season with 106 wins, second most in franchise history, another American League West title, the best record in the American League and will have home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Even though fans had high hopes for the Astros entering 2022, the team smashed everybody’s expectations. Vegas put the Astros over/under wins at 92 games. The Astros seemingly flew by that number during spring training.

They are the first team in American League history to win 100 games in four of their last five full seasons. Not even Babe Ruth’s Yankees of the 1920s and 1930s did that. This core of Astros has won five of the last six American League West titles. They’ve played in three of the last five World Series. This is a dynasty right before our eyes. We’re witness to greatness. How ‘bout them Astros?

What a season it was. Who could have figured that 39-year-old Justin Verlander, out of action for two seasons after Tommy John surgery, would have a career year, a ridiculously skinny earned run average and the overwhelming pick for the Cy Young Award? Jose Altuve would return to a .300 batting average, Cristian Javier would lead the team in strikeouts, Yordan Alvarez would finish No. 2 between Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in OPS, and rookie Jeremy Pena would slug 22 home runs, the same number as Carlos Correa? Remember last offseason and cries of “pay the man!” Some of a team’s best deals are the ones they don’t make.

Strap yourself in for an October to remember. The storylines are endless. There’s bad blood between the Astros and the Yankees, between the Astros and Dodgers, between the Astros and boo birds in every stadium not named Minute Maid Park.

It’s going to be fun.

As for the Texans, Deshaun Watson returns to action Nov. 4 against the Texans here at NRG Stadium. And we’ll catch up with the Rockets when the NBA season starts for real on Christmas Day. But until then … play ball!

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