Head to Karbach for the official Astros watch party! Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
Real fans know that there's no reason to panic after the Houston Astros fell 6-2 ALDS playoff game loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, October (the only thing that stung was former Astro Carlos Correa driving in three runs).
History shows that we can bounce back to our Game 1 form, where Justin Verlander and our boys dropped the Twins 6-4 on Saturday, October 7. Let Yordan Alvarez go yard, let Alex Bregman blast some Breggy Bombs, and we're back in business.
Now, as the Stros travel to Minnesota for Game 3 and Game 4, locals can scream for our men in orange and blue at restaurants and bars across the city — check out CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler's list of food and drink deals here.
A quick time out for the Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown
As sports fans know, CultureMap and SportsMap are teaming up to celebrate the return of the fall sports season with The Tailgate, our all-out party devoted to everything sports. It’s happening Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios, and tickets are already on sale.
For The Tailgate’s second year, we’re inviting CultureMap and SportsMap readers to vote for Houston’s best sports bar in our Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown. Our panel of editors and other local experts has compiled a roster of 16 local favorites with an array of different strengths. Some are owned by professional athletes, while others are part of local or national chains.
Some are big enough to accommodate hundreds of people at a time, while others are more intimate. Regardless of the specifics, they all offer a lively atmosphere for rooting on all of our favorite teams.
Rather than a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament, we’re inviting readers to vote for their favorite establishments from the entire field. The top half of all vote getters will advance to the next round as we go from 16 to eight to four to two to a winner. People may vote once per day, and voting will be monitored to ensure every establishment gets a fair shot to win. Vote here for your favorite.
Back to the Astros ALDS Watch Parties
Looking for a team-sanctioned Astros rally? Head to the Astros Official ALDS Watch Parties at Karbach Brewing Co. (2032 Karbach St.) on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 10 and 11, in Spring Branch.
Fans can look forward to special appearances by everyone's favorite green guy Orbit and the Coca-Cola Shooting Stars, check out a prize wheel, snap pics at all the photo ops, snag official team postseason gear from the team store, and more.
Here are the watch party schedules for Game 3 and 4, which kick off 30 minutes before first pitch.
Game 3, Tuesday, October 10: Watch party start time is 2:30 pm; game time is 3:07 pm.
Game 4, Wednesday, October 11: Watch party start time is 5:30 pm; game time is 6:07 pm.
"Every single person in that clubhouse is motivated to go out and play well tomorrow," Bregman told the media on Monday, October 9 when discussing his teammates' focus and readiness.
No doubt, Alex — now, it's game on.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.