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Here are two distinctly different looks at J.J. Watt's epic rant

JJ's had enough. Composite photo by Jack Brame

After losing to the hapless Bengals, the Texans managed to reach a new low. This was their only loss to a team deemed to be subpar. All other losses were to teams either in the playoffs or in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs. Needless to say, the losing has caught up to J.J. Watt and he couldn't hold back any longer:

I've never seen J.J. act like this before. He seems frustrated and pissed off for lack of a better term. All the losing, all the doubters, all the turmoil, it's finally gotten to him. I've heard and seen two different schools of thought on this rant. One side has people skeptical of Watt and wondering where was all this fire previously. The other side has people fired up and ready to run through a brick wall. I can see and explain both sides.

The ones who are questioning Watt's intentions and timing have every right to do so. Why is he just now getting so fired up? Where was this when Bill O'Brien was ruining the franchise? Why now? Fans who feel this way are the same ones who've always felt skeptical of Watt's persona. He probably comes off as doing way too much to them and someone who's willing to do what he has to do in order to get the spotlight on him. More than likely, these fans are solidly behind trading Watt to get a draft pick, or cutting him altogether to clear the cap space.

Then there are the fans who are ready to suit up and run through a wall. They love the rah rah stuff Watt does and this is right up their alley. Any time Watt has one of these moments, these are the fans that fall more in love with him. They're the ones he was talking about that still tweet and comment online that they love the team. They're the ones he referenced when he talked about spending their hard-earned money to continue to support this team. This segment of fans want Watt to stay with the team no matter what until he retires.

In my own humble opinion, I like the passion J.J. showed. Fans get too caught up in the timing or assumed meaning behind certain actions. They also tend to wear team colored glasses and feel as if their team/players can do no wrong. Let the players and their emotions play out without riding too high or too low. Easy for me to say when I only write my opinion about the tea. I'm not deeply invested on a more personal level. But I get both sides. I just so happen to side with the fans who enjoyed Watt's rant more than the detractors. I like when players show this level of care and passion. We will never know if this was his true feelings, or a front. I will speculate this was a spur of the moment thing because it didn't seem rehearsed, and he stumbled a few times. Maybe we'll get to see more of this in the future, maybe not. But I love it. Tip of the cap to J.J. for calling it like he sees it and not being afraid of the fallout.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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