Houston splits the series

Correa's ninth-inning homer lifts Astros over Angels

Carlos Correa's first home run of the season was a big one. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With their first loss in the books, the Astros returned to Angel Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to try and end their opening road trip with a win to split the two-game set with the Angels and move back into sole possession of first place in the AL West. They had their current ace, Zack Greinke, on the mound to try and get it done.

Greinke did his part, providing seven innings of two-run baseball. It would take a late spark to get the job done for Houston, though, as the game stayed tied for most of the afternoon.

Final Score: Astros 4, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 5-1, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Raisel Iglesias (1-1)

Both teams trade two-run innings early

In this game, the Angels would get on the board first. In the bottom of the first inning against Greinke, Shohei Ohtani reached on an infield single, setting up a two-run homer by Mike Trout to make it a 2-0 Los Angeles advantage. The Astros responded quickly, getting back-to-back solo shots by Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Diaz to tie the game in the top of the second.

Both starters settle in as game stays tied

The teams stayed gridlocked 2-2 as both Greinke and Angels starter Dylan Bundy settled in over the next several innings. Bundy would keep Houston off the board through six innings while striking out ten, giving way to the bullpen starting in the seventh. Greinke, meanwhile, was able to complete seven innings, allowing just two hits after the first inning. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 96 P.

Correa's clutch home run seals the deal

Ryan Pressly would take over for Greinke to try and keep the game tied in the bottom of the eighth. He did so, working around a two-out single to send the tied game to the ninth. Houston would finally break the stalemate, with Yordan Alvarez leading off the top of the ninth with a broken-bat single, setting up Carlos Correa's first home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Astros their first lead of the day, 4-2.

Pressly remained on the mound in the bottom of the ninth for a rare two-inning outing and would earn the win by erasing a one-out single to end the game, splitting the short two-game series. The victory also put the Astros back in sole possession of first place in the AL West.

Up Next: Houston will travel back home for an off-day tomorrow before their home opener Thursday night. They'll get to face the A's for three more, with the opener starting at 7:10 PM Central and featuring Cole Irvin (0-1, 8.31 ERA) on the mound for Oakland and Cristian Javier (0-0, 4.91 ERA) making his second start for the Astros.

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Could the Texans pass on QB? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Houston Texans know it will have the second overall draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Despite that, the team is not so sure about who will be available to take with that selection.

One team that could shake things up in the draft is the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts. Currently holding the No. 4 overall pick, the Colts are in desperate need for its next signal caller after years of trying to find Andrew Luck’s replacement.

If the Colts were to trade up to No. 1 with the Chicago Bears and take whoever was the Texans’ No. 1 player at quarterback, who should Houston take instead?

With the hiring of DeMeco Ryans a week ago, it is no doubt the Texans are going to be looking at numerous players on the defensive side of the ball who can make plays and be building blocks for Ryans’ swarm vision. But who are some of the players on that side of the ball that are viable options for the Texans to take at two or elsewhere if they choose to trade down?

Will Anderson Jr. – Alabama

The Texans were only 19th in the NFL when it came to sacks in the 2022 season, and they were dead last when it came to rushing yards allowed to opponents, giving up over 170 yards on the ground per game.

Will Anderson Jr. is a player that instantly would fill a need on the team if he was selected at No. 2. The 6-foot-4-inch linebacker at Alabama became a tackle-for-loss king for the Crimson Tide during his three years there.

Playing in 41 games for Alabama in his three-year stint, Anderson racked up 62 tackles for loss and an outstanding 34.5 sacks. In 2021, he was a monster who put up 34.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks alone in that season.

Ever since losing J.J. Watt after the 2020 season, the Texans have not had the identity nor the player with an ability to be a game wrecker for opposing teams. Anderson’s versatility on defense seems like a perfect fit for a Ryans' team because he is a player that can be relentless, make plays, and be adaptable.

Tyree Wilson – Texas Tech

Similar to Anderson, Tyree Wilson put together a strong résumé during his time at Texas Tech. What is most exciting about him is that every season with the Red Raiders he showed growth, which is mirrored by his numbers.

In 2020 after transferring from Texas A&M, he only had 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in nine games. That number jumped to 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2021 as he appeared in 13 games for Texas Tech. Lastly, in 2022, Wilson’s numbers once again jumped even though he only played in 10 games. He garnered 14 tackles for loss and still got seven sacks in less games.

Standing at 6 feet and 6 inches, Wilson has plenty of room left for growth. One of Wilson’s best games this season came against then 16th-ranked North Carolina State, when he got 11 tackles and two sacks against the Wolfpack.

Jalen Carter – Georgia

Jalen Carter will be a big addition upfront to whichever team he is drafted to. The 6-foot-3-inch defensive lineman was a key piece in Georgia’s back-to-back national championship-winning seasons.

When it comes to the Texans’ rushing defense struggles, taking an interior lineman would be addressing a need.

For Houston, taking Carter could be a game changer. The Bulldog was known for his ability to bulldoze into the backfield of opposing teams at Georgia. He accumulated 18.5 tackles for loss and six sacks from his interior position with the Bulldogs.

It is worth noting the Texans have interior lineman Roy Lopez on the roster, who has been a decent piece on the otherwise struggling Houston defensive line.

The bottom line, if Houston cannot take or chooses not to take a quarterback with the second overall pick, there are plenty of defensive choices on the board that could be nice additions to the Texans’ defense.

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