How new contenders have surfaced to challenge Astros postseason push

The Houston Astros are heading to Miami to begin a series against the Marlins after taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels. Despite the Astros hot start out of the All-Star break, they still can't seem to find a way to catch the Texas Rangers.

And don't look now, but the Seattle Mariners are making a late to push to try to win the division, relying on their elite pitching (currently ranked first in baseball in team ERA).

Seattle has also beaten Houston five times out of the seven times they've played in 2023. So the upcoming series against them could prove critical for the Astros, as they don't want to lose the tiebreaker.

The Astros have managed to play well overall this season without their best hitters getting hot at the same time. Whether it be injuries or slumps, the club hasn't been able to fire on all cylinders. Is it unfair to expect the team to put it all together come playoff time?

The bottom third of the lineup isn't as talented as it was in years past, so expecting that to change when the playoffs start feels like a big ask. But if Jon Singleton and Yainer Diaz prove they deserve more playing time, Houston's lineup could look a lot more formidable, even if they're just used a bit more in a timeshare scenario with Jose Abreu and Martin Maldonado.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion.

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After another poor performance from former Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns' season is starting to look like an uphill climb. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb is out for the year, and Cleveland fans aren't too pleased with the way Watson is playing, especially considering the massive contract extension he signed with the team. And we didn't even get to the off the field drama that comes with Watson.

However, Houston fans are invested in the Browns' season outcome as well, with the Texans holding the Browns' first round pick in 2024, and having sent their own first rounder to the Cardinals in the Will Anderson trade.

So each loss for the Browns, means a better draft pick for the Texans!

For Houston, it looks like they have their QB of the future in CJ Stroud. And he'll be on a less expensive rookie contract for the next several years, giving the Texans more cap space to upgrade the roster.

With all of this in mind, is it fair to question if the Texans dodged a bullet when Watson demanded a trade?

DeMeco Ryans vs. Lovie Smith

Plus, we're only two games into the season, but Lovie Smith's defense was much better (with a similar roster) than what DeMeco Ryans' defense has shown thus far, and DeMeco has the benefit of Will Anderson rushing the QB.

Are the struggles on defense more about the roster GM Nick Caserio has put together, or does this slow start fall on DeMeco?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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