BLANCO DEALS, ASTROS WIN!

Ronel Blanco strikes out 8 in 6 innings as Astros beat Giants

Astros Ronel Blanco
Astros defeat Giants, 3-1. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images.

Ronel Blanco had eight strikeouts in six innings, Mauricio Dubon scored twice and the Houston Astros beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Blanco (6-2) allowed one run on three hits and became the first pitcher in Astros history to go undefeated in his first nine career road starts, improving to 6-0 away from home. His eight strikeouts tied a season high.

Houston took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when two runs scored on an RBI infield single by Alex Bregman. With two outs and runners on second and third, Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman grabbed Bregman’s softly hit ball with a bare hand but threw wide of first for an error, allowing both runners to score.

Ryan Pressly earned his second save of the season, striking out two in the ninth to finish a three-hitter. The Astros can pick up their third consecutive series win with a victory on Wednesday.

Both teams scored a run in the third. Dubon came home on Jose Altuve's groundout after hitting a leadoff double, and Brett Wisely homered for the Giants. Dubon, who played for San Francisco from 2019-22, went 2 for 3 with two doubles.

Giants starter Jordan Hicks (4-3) allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: C Yainer Diaz is still dealing with a sore right index finger after getting hit by a foul ball Sunday. Houston recalled César Salazar from Triple-A Sugar Land for catching depth while Victor Caratini continues to start. OF Joey Loperfido was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. … OF Kyle Tucker, on the injured list with a bruised right shin, is improving and was doing exercises in the weight room before the game.

Giants: Chapman returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore hamstring. … RHP Alex Cobb (shoulder) felt “great” after throwing a bullpen of 20-25 pitches, according to manager Bob Melvin. … LHP Blake Snell (left groin strain) will throw off a mound Wednesday. … SS Marco Luciano (right hamstring strain) is close to beginning a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

RHP Logan Webb (5-5, 2.92 ERA) pitches for the Giants against LHP Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.53) in the series finale Wednesday.

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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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