How Houston Astros ALDS chances versus Twins won’t hinge on familiar frustration


One of the area's of frustration all season long for Astros fans has been Yainer Diaz's lack of playing time. While we expected manager Dusty Baker to start Martin Maldonado at catcher, we were hoping that Diaz would be used as a pinch hitter in critical situations.

In the 5th inning of Game 2 down 5-0, Dusty opted not to bat Diaz for Maldy after a lead off double. To be fair, this decision did not cost the Astros a win, and Diaz did bat later in the game. But this is just another example of Baker's hesitance to go away from Maldonado, especially early in the game.

Yainer is reportedly slated to start at DH in Game 3, but when that happens, Yordan has to play left field which will leave Michael Brantley out of the lineup against Sonny Gray.

Will the Astros be able to score enough runs against Gray with Javier on the mound?

Series deciding factors

Plus, whether Diaz or Maldy swing the bats well or not, the outcome of this series is going to depend on the success of the heart of the order from an offensive perspective. If Bregman, Tucker, and company don't get going, it's hard to imagine the team will advance past the Twins.

Be sure to watch the video above as we look ahead at Game 3 and much more!

And watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston'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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