FALCON POINTS

All the reasons Deshaun Watson's situation is nothing like James Harden's

There's still time smooth things over with Deshaun. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange

In what might be a week filled with the most drama in recent Houston sports history, big things are afoot.

The Rockets sent James Harden packing in a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Short term, it will be painful, but in the longterm, the Rockets made the right move for their future. They got as far as they could with Harden, who is not going to get better at this stage of his career. Harden pouted his way out of Houston and acted like a petulant child. He got his wish, but the Rockets will be better for it down the road.

Of course, national media compared Harden's case to that of Deshaun Watson, who is not happy with the Texans - and he shouldn't be. As usual, that's a lazy, hot take narrative.

The situations could not be more different. Harden has had his way with the Rockets for years. They have brought in multiple stars to try to appease him and win a title, and none of them worked out. Harden is near the end of his dominance as a player, and time is running short for him to add a title to his resume. The deal made sense for both parties. Harden gets to try again with Kevin Durant, and the Rockets move on.

As great of a player as he was, Harden never saw that he was the problem. There's that old poker adage, put so well by Mike McD in Rounders - "If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker." Harden was the sucker at the table.

Deshaun Watson is not. He has not publicly said anything other than a cryptic tweet. He has not demanded a trade. Watson does have a right to be angry as the Texans have made one dumb move after another, and they clearly lied to him about having an input on the GM search. Andre Johnson's flame-throwing tweet only added to the drama.

SO of course rumors are already swirling about potential Watson trades. But unlike the Harden mess, Watson's can be fixed.

New GM Nick Caserio will have to smooth things over, but he has already made strides by requesting an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Watson's reportedly preferred choice at head coach.

While the Texans could conceivably trade Watson - and you could make a pretty good case for doing it - this isn't in the same ballpark as Harden. It's not in Watson's DNA to not show up for camp and cause discord, which is the only way he could force a deal. The more likely scenario is he gets his voice heard in the coaching search, and that appeases him. It's on Caserio to make that happen. It also means it is time to part ways with Jesus Jack Easterby, who has become the city's latest sports villain. Johnson's tweet made sure of that.

Watson has every right to be miffed. He had to live with Bill O'Brien's dictatorial rule for three-plus years. His best weapon was traded away for peanuts. And the goofball owner, Cal McNair, lied to him about keeping him in the loop on hires. In short, the Texans have become a joke of an organization.

But that can be fixed. Caserio is a sharp guy, and he will figure out how to smooth this over. Getting the coaching hire right - with Watson's input - could easily change the narrative. The more Caserio and the new coach get out front, the less McNair and Easterby can screw up.

In the end, it should get worked out, and all of this will be meaningless. Sure, Watson could decide enough's enough and pout his way out of town like Harden. But that's a long shot. Harden's time had passed in Houston. Watson is still getting started. His best years are ahead of him.

But it's time for the Texans to stop stepping on their own cranks and get the right coach and players in house, and stop letting Easterby have any say whatsoever. McNair needs to have the right people in place and trust them to do their jobs. Hopefully Caserio is that guy, and we will find out when he hires a coach. If they ignore Watson again? Then you can compare it to Harden. But it's hard to see that happening. Then again, hardly anything surprises with the dysfunctional Texans these days.

Until then, the drama continues. But don't expect it to end the way Harden's tenure did.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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