How the Hector Neris incident has much bigger Astros implications


With the season on the line, the Houston Astros went into Seattle and took two out of three from the Mariners. Dusty Baker and the 'Stros control their own destiny with three games remaining against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Wednesday's finale was giving off playoff vibes for sure, and it was touch and go for a while, with Framber Valdez pitching only 4 innings before Baker went to his bullpen.

The big news story from the game occurred in the 6th inning when Hector Neris talked some smack to Julio Rodriguez after striking out him out to end the inning.

Benches cleared, and after the game, Mariners third baseman Eduardo Suarez alleged that Neris used a homophobic slur in Spanish aimed at Rodriguez. Rodriguez left the stadium before the media was allowed in the locker room after the game.

Whether that's true or not is up for debate, Neris said he's friends with Rodriguez and said basically told him he won that matchup. Either way, the altercation seemed to give the Astros a jolt heading into the next inning.

With one out, Alex Bregman got things going with a hit to right field that Teoscar Hernandez misplayed, allowing Bregman to get to third. The Astros tacked on three runs in the inning, finally manufacturing offense to give Houston some cushion.

After that the bullpen shut the door and the club came away with the win.

Editor's note: Hector Neris released a statement Thursday denying the use of a homophobic slur:

Astros implications moving forward

Which makes us question, was this altercation the spark the team needed to go on another deep playoff run?

Plus, we have to mention Michael Brantley returning to action and recording 4 hits on Wednesday night. Could he be a key weapon moving forward for Dusty and company?

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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.

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