Houston goes quiet at the plate again

Astros shutout by Yankees in series opener in Houston

Houston's normally potent offense was held in check for the second straight game on Friday. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After a surprisingly quiet offensive day that resulted in a loss to Oakland the day prior to end their winning streak, the Astros welcomed in the Yankees to Minute Maid Park to try and have success in their last series before the All-Star break. Instead, they would have similar offensive struggles, with the Yankees getting a shutout win to start the three-game set.

Final Score: Yankees 4, Astros 0

Astros' Record: 54-35, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lucas Luetge (3-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (3-4)

Yankees tag Odorizzi with two runs

After three scoreless innings to start the series, New York would put the first runs on the scoreboard against Jake Odorizzi in the top of the fourth. The Yankees notched three hits that inning: a one-out single, two-out single, then a two-out two-RBI double to give them the 2-0 lead. That did it for the scoring as far as the starting pitchers were concerned with New York's Nestor Cortes going four and two-thirds innings while holding Houston at bay, and Odorizzi finishing six. Odorizzi's final line, which despite being a quality start still had him in line for the loss: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 103 P.

Astros shutout in the opener

With Odorizzi's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of Houston's bullpen, looking to repeat the success he had in his first start off of the IL on July 6th when he gave his team two scoreless frames. It would not go as well, however, as he would give up a one-out walk followed by a double to set up a two-RBI double to double New York's lead at 4-0. Brandon Bielak would ultimately come in to finish the inning, while Houston tried to get on the board themselves against the Yankees' relievers.

No runs would come for Houston in the bottom of the seventh, then Bielak remained on the mound for a scoreless top of the eighth, then returned with the score still stuck at 4-0 in the top of the ninth. He kept it a four-run game, completing 2.2 impressive innings of scoreless relief, but Houston's offense would not get anything done in the bottom of the ninth, suffering the shutout loss to start the series.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game series will get underway at 6:15 PM Central on Saturday. Former-Astro Gerrit Cole (8-4, 2.91 ERA) will make his first start in Houston since leaving the team after the 2019 season, going opposite Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.64 ERA).

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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