All eyes shift to these primetime players in Astros, Twins ALDS slugfest


Coming off a big win behind starter Justin Verlander, the Astros were looking to take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Twins on Sunday. But the Astros bats struggled against Pablo Lopez. The Twins offense got going as well, with Carlos Correa and company knocking Framber Valdez out of the game early.

The Twins would then cruise to a 6-2 victory, evening the series at one game a piece. Next up, the Astros face Sonny Gray in Minnesota, with Cristian Javier taking the mound for Houston.

The Astros are likely going to need a classic Javier performance on the road, as runs should be tough to come by against Gray. Javier has been pretty good over his last several outings, so let's hope that's the case again on Tuesday.

Sweet relief

If Cristian Javier pitches his typical 5 innings on Tuesday, the Astros will have to get plenty of help from their bullpen arms. Hector Neris was knocked around in Game 1, but don't expect that to continue.

He's been nails this season, and the club is going to need him moving forward. He was due for an underwhelming performance after being one of the main reasons the Astros won the division over the last two series of the regular season.

Hitters hit

While Yordan Alvarez has been terrific with 3 home runs in 2 games, the club could use a lift from Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. Both have combined for 2 hits in the series, and things won't get easier against Gray in Game 3.

And hitting the road might be just what the doctored ordered for the Astros. We are fully aware of how much better they are away from Minute Maid, so let's hope that's the case in Minnesota.

Don't miss the video above as we react to the first two games, and discuss what could turn the series on the road.

Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel!

Most Popular

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!

If you enjoy the videos, subscribe to SportsMapTexans on YouTube!

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM