Houston finishes the day at 17-14

Astros win series against Angels after splitting doubleheader

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Due to Hurricane Laura looming in the Gulf of Mexico, the Astros and Angels expedited their series by having a doubleheader on Tuesday to move through two games in one day, along with postponing Wednesday's game. After winning the opener on Monday, Houston would try to sweep the now three-game series by taking both of the two seven-inning games. Here is a recap of the two games:


Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): Astros 6, Angels 3.

Record: 17-13, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.77 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jose Suarez (0-2, 38.57 ERA).

Astros score five in the first

Houston went hard after Jose Suarez in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1, scoring five runs on five hits and an error, including an RBI-single by Josh Reddick and a two-RBI single by Jack Mayfield. The game remained 5-0 until the bottom of the fourth, when Jose Altuve would walk with one out then scored from first on a long RBI-double by Yuli Gurriel, extending the lead to 6-0.

Javier with an efficient start

After cruising through the first four innings without allowing a hit, the Angels would finally break through against Cristian Javier in the top of the fifth. A leadoff walk would come around to score on an RBI-single by Jason Castro, the first hit of the day for Los Angeles.

They added another that inning on an RBI-double, then led off the top of the sixth with a solo home run to make it a three-run game at 6-3. Still, Javier did his job by pitching most of the seven-inning game. His final line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5K, 1 HR, 89P.

One down, one to go

Blake Taylor came on to get the final out of the sixth inning for Javier, then with the score 6-3 going to the top of the seventh, Houston would bring out Ryan Pressly for the save situation. He would collect the save, erasing a leadoff single by retiring the next three batters. The win moved the Astros to 17-13 at the halfway point of the 60-game season.


Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 12, Astros 5.

Record: 17-14, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Felix Peña (2-0, 2.30 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-2, 5.40 ERA).

Bielak's struggles continue as Angels score four in the first

The Angels flipped the script on the Astros in the first inning of game two. They would put up four runs on Brandon Bielak, whose struggles continued on the mound as he would only record two outs while allowing the four runs (one unearned) on three hits and three walks. That put Houston in a 4-0 hole before they could even get to the plate.

Cy Sneed took over for damage control in the first, and he was able to get the third out of that inning, throw the second, and get one out into the third before the Astros went to their next reliever, Brooks Raley. Raley allowed a solo home run to lead off the fourth, extending Los Angeles' lead to 5-0. They tacked on one more in the fifth, giving Andre Scrubb his first earned run of the year with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 6-0.

Astros finally crack Teheran in the fifth

Meanwhile, Julio Teheran was blanking Houston's bats. He allowed a single in the bottom of the second but followed that up with a double play to erase the runner. He would complete four innings while facing the minimum amount of batters, maintaining the five-run lead behind him.

The Astros would finally get to him in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single followed by an RBI-triple by Kyle Tucker, who would later score on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick. Abraham Toro followed Reddick with a solo home run to cut the lead in half at 6-3 and chase Teheran out of the game. They continued their two-out rally, getting a walk by Dustin Garneau, who advanced on a wild pitch then scored on an RBI-single by Myles Straw, making it 6-4.

Angels take game two

The Angels answered in the top of the sixth, getting two runs right back on back-to-back RBI-singles to make it a four-run game at 8-4. They added more insurance in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of more struggles by Joe Biagini, putting up a four-run inning to make it 12-4. Despite a solo home run by Dustin Garneau in the bottom of the seventh, Los Angeles would wrap up the game as the Astros and Angels split the doubleheader, with Houston taking the series 2-1.

Up Next: With Wednesday's game postponed, the Astros will have two days off to let Hurricane Laura pass through the southeast Texas area. Their next scheduled game is Friday night at home against the A's. The first pitch is 8:10 PM Central, and as of now, the expected pitching matchup is Franke Montas (2-2, 5.22 ERA) for Oakland and Lance McCullers Jr. (2-2, 5.74 ERA) for Houston.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

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Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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