Every-Thing Sports

Santa Jermaine hands out gifts for the Houston sports scene

Houston Roockets Official Twitter account

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" I'm sure you've all heard that jingle/song line/phrase in one way shape or form over the last few weeks. Probably more than many of you would have cared to hear. It's Christmas time and you'll be hearing all sorts of Christmas music, Christmas jingles, and the like.

Every year at Christmas, you inevitably get a gift, or gifts, that you don't like. You may have even gotten gifts you can't return. Here in Houston, there are some special gifts Santa Jermaine would like to give out to some of the local sports scene:

Chris Paul

I would like to gift Chris Paul some new legs this year. Last year, as many Rockets fans would say, the team was "a hamstring away from the Finals!" Well Houston, I'm here to take away the pain from the idea of paying a 33 year old point guard $160 million dollar extension this past offseason. Once he gets his new legs, think of the scene from Forrest Gump when he takes off running and sheds the leg braces.

The Astros

This team is poised to be a World Series contender for years to come. However, they have some key decisions to make, and they need to be made now. I will gift the Astros Yankee/Red Sox/Dodger money. Sure, this won't be the answer to all their problems, but it will solve a lot of them. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will be free agents after the season. George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman will all need to be paid as well. Hell, Dallas Keuchel doesn't look like he's poised to return this offseason and Lance McCullers is out with Tommy John surgery and will need to be resigned when/if he's healthy.

James Harden

The Beard won league MVP last season, but the team is off to a bad start. He's doing what he can to keep them afloat for now, but he needs help. Well, help is on the way in the form of a Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant-type killer instinct and defensive intensity. Harden is the best one on one scorers in this generation. The constant complaint across the board is that he lacks that killer instinct, defensive intensity, and consistent effort guys like MJ and Kobe had. If he gets this gift, do you think the Rockets win a ring any time soon? Better yet: why do they need this gift and Chris Paul's gift? Well…

Darryl Morey

…the Rockets need those gifts because their G.M. is sometimes too smart for his own good. I want to give Morey the gift of using his Jedi mind tricks when trading again. He was able to get Harden from the Thunder for a bag of basketballs and some magic beans. If Chris Paul's gift fails to work, or the team isn't able to improve from within or maybe even if it's not working over the next couple years, how could you waste Harden's prime?

Deshaun Watson

Watson is living up to all the hype. He's a playmaking quarterback that will be with the Texans for the next 10-15 years…if he's healthy and continues to improve. For Watson, I will gift him Tom Brady and Drew Brees' ability to stay healthy, as well as their decision-making. If there's a knock on him, it's his health and ability to read defenses and get the ball off. Taking sacks will contribute to his health questions. This is by proxy a gift to DeAndre Hopkins. A healthy Watson with better decision-making will help him in his quest to be this team's all-time best receiver.

Honorable Mention

Gow Media- The gift of me as a full-time employee. The Dynamo- A bigger fan base. U of H Football- A great coach who wants to be a Coog for life. Bill O'Brien- An offensive coordinator/quality control specialist.

There are more gifts to give. If you guys have any, hit me up. I'd love to know what you think.

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Houston needs a win to advance

ALWC Game 2 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It took all nine innings, but the Astros rallied late and took Game 1 by a score of 4-1 and are in the driver's seat in this best-of-three series. They'll return to Target Field, home of the Twins, on Wednesday afternoon to try and get the win and advance to the ALDS. Here's what you need to know about Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 12:08 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ESPN 2

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Jose Urquidy+ vs. José Berríos.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Astros 4, Twins 1 Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Urquidy+ vs. Berríos
Game 3* Thu 10/1, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis McCullers Jr.+ vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Houston's offense has to get going earlier

The Twins' error in the ninth inning in Game 1 was a gift for the Astros that they were able to take advantage of and score the winning runs. It's unlikely to be handed another chance like that in the postseason, so in Game 2, it's paramount that Houston creates their own opportunities at the plate.

The good news is, every batter in the lineup was able to reach base in the first game, either by hit or walk. However, they would go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine on base during the game. Because they can't expect to have two pitchers to combine for a one-run game on Wednesday, they will have to carry over the momentum from the end of Game 1 into Game 2 to build a lead their bullpen can carry.

Trust your arms to navigate through

Whether it's Jose Urquidy, who is the likely candidate, or anyone else who ends up starting Wednesday's game, the Astros have to be prepared to have a longer stretch of innings filled by their bullpen. Despite his struggles to end the regular season, Greinke did well only to allow one run to the Twins over his four innings in Game 1.

You should expect a similar outcome in Game 2, where hopefully your starter can hold the Twins at bay for as long as they can before needing to make the change to relievers. It will be interesting to see how Dusty Baker plays that situation, mostly dependent on the score at the time, as he could have someone like Cristian Javier come in for multiple innings. The only thing the Astros shouldn't do is fire too many of their bullets and put their chances in a potential Game 3 at risk.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

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