An unexpected shakeup to get the Houston Astros off the mat


The Houston Astros quickly find themselves down 2-0 to the Rangers in the American League Championship Series, so there's no more margin for error.

Manager Dusty Baker needs offense in the worst way heading to Arlington, and so far Yordan Alvarez has been mostly the sole source of runs for the club. Over two games, the Astros have only scored 4 runs, so that has to change and change fast, unless we expect Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy to dominate in Games 3 and 4.

So how do they get the bats going?

First, playing Michael Brantley in every game going forward feels like a must (health permitting). He's one of the four players on the team with a batting average over .300 in this postseason.

Another possibility is using Mauricio Dubon over Chas McCormick. McCormick has struggled in some big at-bats this series, but he's also one of the four players hitting over .300 this postseason, along with Dubon, Yordan, and Uncle Mike who we mentioned above.

And of course, the debate we've had all season. Down 2-0 and needing offense, should the Astros go to Yainer Diaz over Martin Maldonado? While Yainer is no doubt the better hitter than Maldy, he is 0-10 with 5Ks this postseason.

Framber Valdez is another situation to monitor. If the Astros reach a Game 6, should the club at least consider starting JP France over Framber based on his struggles?

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

And for all your Astros coverage, watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) on SportsMap Houston's YouTube channel.

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How Texans' CJ Stroud got the last laugh on Panthers entire organization

When Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were drafted with the first two picks of the NFL Draft, we knew they would be compared to one another for years to come.

And here we are just 11 games into the season and one quarterback has already seen his head coach fired. Panthers owner David Tepper spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed his decision to fire Frank Reich, and also set the record straight on how they arrived at the decision to draft Young.

In so many words, Tepper basically blamed the Texans for how the top of the draft played out. He mentioned Stroud by name and said the Panthers were ready to draft him at No. 2 overall until the Texans backed out of the three-team trade with the Bears.

Tepper made a point of saying everyone in their building had Bryce Young as the top player on their draft board, despite rumors about Frank Reich preferring Stroud.

CJ Stroud and the Texans have been so much better than Bryce Young and the Panthers that Tepper clearly felt it was necessary to defend himself, and the decisions he's made for the organization.

In the end, the person that gets the worst end of the deal is Bryce Young. Coaching changes can be very difficult on young quarterbacks. And it looks like he'll have to learn a new offense in his second year when the Panthers hire a new coaching staff.

How fortunate we are as Texans fans to have DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud leading the team moving forward.

With all of this in mind, is there a reason Texans fans haven't fully bought in to the new-look Texans? JJ Watt was a guest on The Pat McAfee Show this week and was asked about the team's inability to fill the stadium on Sundays.

As a former player for the Colts, McAfee always thought Houston had the loudest and best fans in the NFL. And while the Texans are 9th in attendance this year according to ESPN, even CJ Stroud has asked for the fans to fill the stadium.

So there is something to it. You can see the empty seats in photos. So why aren't the Texans packing NRG with a shiny new franchise QB?

We believe the recent history of the team is why fans are slowly coming back. McAfee wasn't here for:

Bill O'Brien cussing at fans during games

Trading DeAndre Hopkins away for next to nothing

The Jack Easterby disaster

Deshaun Watson allegedly blaming ownership for why he wanted out

The Deshaun Watson scandal

Firing back-to-back coaches after one season, and the list goes on.

Don't miss the video above for the full conversation!

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