FALCON POINT

Fred Faour: Draft week lacks intrigue for Texans, but there is still much to be accomplished

Deshaun Watson essentially is this year's No. 1 pick. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

With the fourth pick in the 2018 draft, the Houston Texans select…

Deshaun Watson.

Draft week is upon us, and it understandably lacks the usual anticipation in Houston, as the Texans -- barring a deal -- will not pick until the third round. They traded what became the fourth overall pick this year in order to move up and select Watson last year.

Lance Zierlein wrote last week about what the Texans would do if they still had their 2018 pick. The reality is the Texans would have likely been picking second had they not made the trade for Watson. Tom Savage won all of one game as a starter.

Meanwhile, assuming he stays healthy, the Texans have a franchise quarterback for years to come, one that looks better than anything they could have drafted this year. The negative? The interest in the draft is way down.

Ordinarily, fans would be excited, hoping for an impact player who could step right in. While that conceivably could happen, it’s more likely they will add some depth players who might eventually become productive.

The obvious need is for offensive line help, but whoever they draft is unlikely to be a contributor right away. The most likely position where the Texans could get someone who could make an impact on the field next season is running back. D’Onta Foreman showed promise last year before his injury, and the Texans could easily find a player who will have similar production.

The secondary will also need to be addressed, and whatever player they get could see significant time before season’s end.

It will GM Brian Gaine’s first draft as the main man in Houston, and one can presume there will be a heavy Bill O’Brien influence as well. If Gaine and the Texans have a good draft, it will build on last year’s, which is looking very solid.

Besides offensive line, secondary and perhaps running back, the Texans could also look to tight end as well as interior defensive linemen. A project backup quarterback would not be a bad idea, either. Also, keep an eye on undrafted free agents; the Texans have historically found players there.

So while the draft itself might lack the drama of past versions, the biggest impact has already happened: Deshaun Watson. Later this week, the Texans just hope to add a few more pieces. 

 

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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