Lance Zierlein's Z-report

Carmelo and three other bad Houston sports decisions

Carmelo and three other bad Houston sports decisions
Houston has dealt with a fair amount of misses. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Thoughts and prayers to Carmelo Anthony as his “illness” continues to deter him from getting back on the court with your Houston Rockets. I haven’t heard specific details of the illness, but it has to be pretty bad if it’s kept him off the court for three straight games (2-1). Okay, screw it. We all know he’s not sick and the Rockets and Carmelo are going to mutually part ways. I love that the Rockets have always been willing to swing for the fences in order to try and win at the highest level, but Melo was obviously never going to be a fit at this point of his career. Let’s relive some Houston sports decisions that went sideways.

Carmelo to Rockets

If you discard the “Hoodie Melo” narrative where people wanted to believe he was secretly still a great player based on how he played in video footage of pickups games while wearing a hoodie, you can see that Melo is over. At least the version we once knew is over. It’s been years since Melo was a factor for a winning organization and his inability to defend never matched with the newfound mindset the Rockets adopted last season. Did we mention he’s doesn’t shoot 3’s well?

Pippen vs. Barkley

In the 1998-1999 season, the Rockets added 33-year old Scottie Pippen to the duo of Charles Barkley (34) and Hakeem Olajuwon (35). The old got older. While age was a big problem, the personalities of Pippen and Barkley were bigger issues. Barkley had a hard time getting along with Clyde Drexler by their second year together, and it took even less time for his relationship with Pippen to implode. Pippen started trash talking Barkley publicly to basically force the Rockets to deal him before the 1999-2000 season.

Brokedown Ed Reed

Coming off of a season of injury and game tape that was below par, the Houston Texans decided they needed to add the Patriots killer, Ed Reed, to the roster in order to finally get over the hump against New England. Now, it’s worth noting that Ed Reed had a tear in his hip labrum that he did not disclose which meant the Texans couldn’t check for it during the free agency period. Of course he was hurt most of the year, wasn’t good when he could play, and bad-mouthed Wade Phillips on the way out. Quick question. Why did the Texans think it was a good idea to let a young safety in Glover Quin go so they could add a guy who was basically finished? Smart move, guys.

GoGo a NoNo for Astros

The Astros were used to being extremely terrible when 2015 started, but all of a sudden, they found themselves in the midst of a surprise season with young talent bolstering their improvement. The Astros decided that adding Carlos Gomez, another bat, to the outfield would improve their chances of making the playoffs. “GoGo” was a high strikeout player with just average power, but the Astros apparently saw something they felt should be added to their young core. Gomez had just 385 at-bats as an Astros with 9 homeruns and 131 strikeouts. And….. they traded Josh Hader as part of the package for him. Hader is pretty, pretty good. We all know that Jeff Luhnow turned the Astros into a World Series winner, but this move? Not so great. At least we got to see GoGo’s helmet fly off on missed swings at least seven times per game.

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Welcome back, Justin! Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night at the Washington Nationals.

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Wednesday.

“Getting him back is huge because it brings a level of confidence to our team, a boost of confidence that we’re going to get someone who’s been an MVP, a Cy Young (winner) on the mound,” Espada said. “It's (good) for the morale and to get stuff started and moving in the right direction.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two rehabilitation starts, the first for Triple-A Sugar Land on April 7 before Saturday’s start for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Espada wouldn't say how many pitches the 41-year-old would be limited to but said they'll keep an eye on his workload.

“We've got to be careful how hard we push him early,” Espada said. “I know he’s going to want to go and stay out there and give us an opportunity to win, but we've got to be cautious of how hard we push him early in the season.”

Verlander wasn’t thrilled with the results in his rehabilitation starts, but he said Monday that those games were valuable in getting him prepared to come off the IL.

He allowed seven hits and six runs — five earned — in four innings against Frisco on Saturday. He struck out three, walked one and threw 51 of 77 pitches for strikes.

Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six while pitching into the fourth inning for Sugar Land on April 7.

The Astros have gotten off to a tough start with Verlander and fellow starters Framber Valdez and José Urquidy on the injured list. They enter Wednesday's games last in the AL West with a 6-13 record.

Espada hopes Verlander can be the boost the team needs to get on track.

“It’s good to get him back in the rotation,” Espada said. “With what he means to this club just to get him back on track, getting some innings from him (to) build our rotation with the pieces that we need to move forward is exciting.”

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