FALCON POINTS

Here's why this suspended Texan is a more significant loss

2020 strikes again for the Texans. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

Let's face it; the Texans aren't going anywhere this season. But they have played better since ending the Bill O'Brien era, going 4-3 with two close losses.

After humbling the Lions for their most impressive win of the season, the Texans were able to bask for all of three days before the news came down that WR Will Fuller and CB Bradley Roby were handed six-game suspensions for PED use.

Fuller was surprisingly healthy and having his best season as a pro. It's probably no shock that he had to take something to stay healthy. It's also no surprise that Brian Cushing - he of the "overtraining" - is an assistant strength and conditioning coach on the team. But that is another story for another time.

The Texans offense will miss Fuller, especially with Randall Cobb on IR and Kenny Stills cut last week. They are down to Brandin Cooks and Keke Coutee plus whatever practice squad fodder they can find. But Deshaun Watson is the key and is playing well, and the tight ends and Duke Johnson out of the backfield can be used as passing game weapons. So Fuller will be missed, but the Texans will figure it out.

The bigger issue is the loss of Roby, their only real cornerback. The defense has been better of late, but when Roby has been out, the secondary has gotten torched. Gareon Conley is also out with injury, leaving Vernon Hargreaves, Phillip Gaines and Keion Crossen as the main culprits. It's debatable any of them even belong on an NFL roster.

Roby would take the opponent's best receiver, letting the others face off with lesser lights. While he was beaten a lot, he played well at times and gave the Texans a positive return from the position.

On a bad defense, losing a key player only makes things worse. Roby is a key player, and there simply is no replacement anywhere on the roster. Fuller is certainly a loss, but the offense can be adjusted. Roby? There does not seem to be any way to replace him. In the end, losing both players sucks. But losing Roby sucks more. And any good will or momentum the Texans built up took a major hit.

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Framber Valdez was dominant on Thursday. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Astros came into this game against the Rangers looking to take the finale of the 3-game series, and they did exactly that.

Framber Valdez had another classic performance, pitching seven innings while allowing zero runs and four hits. Valdez also recorded 8Ks and 1BB.

On offense, it was a big day for Yuli Gurriel who bounced back with 3 hits after going 0-5 the previous night. Alex Bregman and Martin Maldonado both went yard, hitting 2 and 3-run bombs respectively.

Maldonado's came in the bottom of the second inning, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead.

Bregman's put the Astros on top 5-0 in the bottom of the 5th.

The Astros added two more runs in the 7th after Bregman singled to drive in a run, and a sac fly from Aledmys Diaz.

Heading into the 8th inning, Seth Martinez took over for Valdez protecting a 7-0 lead. That lead wouldn't last long after Martinez allowed a couple of base runners and gave up 2 runs off a pair of singles from Nathaniel Lowe and Leody Taveras.

The Astros headed to the bottom of the 8th up 7-2.

After a scoreless bottom of the 8th, Rafael Montero came in to close the game out in the 9th.

Montero gave up a solo homer to Marcus Semien with 2 outs in the 9th before shutting the door.

Final: Astros 7, Rangers 3

Next up: Oakland comes to Minute Maid to play the Astros Friday night at 7:10PM.



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