The Astros look like the Astros again, and we can all relax

Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the 8th inning Tuesday night. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Water is truly amazing. It covers about 70% of the Earth's surface, makes up about 60% of our bodies, and is necessary for most lifeforms. We use it for food, drink, to clean, and all sorts of other things. Water can also be destructive. Floods and leaks cause damage to homes, as we all know too well. Dirty water leads to bacteria and disease. Sitting water and moist conditions leads to mold and mildew. So, for as beneficial as water can be, it can also be very harmful.

There's a saying about water: it will always find its level and/or the path of least resistance. So will the Astros. This team has taken several hits over the last few years. Players have come and gone, star players at that. The general manager and manager that helped bring a World Series to the city and helped reshape this organization were unceremoniously fired following the team being made the face of an age-old cheating scandal. Not to mention the owners locked the players out for the majority of this past offseason which cut spring training short tremendously.

After starting the season 7-8, the team has gone 12-3 in their last 15 games and is within one game of the division lead as of this writing. Fans and some media hit the panic button a tad too early. They thought the loss of talent, leadership changes, and setbacks were too much for this team to overcome. They thought the ride was finally coming to an end. The string of playoff appearances had come to a jolting halt. What they failed to realize was, the season had just started. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. At 30 games played, we're barely at the 20% mark of the season.

Two players come to mind when looking at the way this season has started: Justin Verlander and Jeremy Peña. Verlander is the pitching staff's unquestioned ace. The future Hall of Famer is coming off Tommy John surgery after missing all but one start the last two seasons. Who would've thought he was capable of having a 1.55 ERA through his first six starts? Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Twins on Tuesday night. He's been unbelievable.

Peña had the unenviable task of replacing Carlos Correa. His defense, leadership, and "It Factor" aren't enough to eclipse what Correa brought to the table, but this kid is a baller! He's come up with big hits and timely plays to make you forget he's a rookie. I'm looking forward to watching him grow.

Water is also necessary for life and growth. When a seed is planted, it needs sunlight and water to grow. When it's damaged, water helps it repair itself. The Astros' tree has taken some hits over the years after it became fully grown. It's still producing fruit, still goes through the seasons, and still standing strong. Sometimes we see trees take hits during storms, but they survive. The Astros aren't only surviving, they're thriving. Verlander and Peña are only two of the buckets of water that are fueling the tree. This season has just started. The water is finding its level. The tree is repairing itself. The Angels better watch their ass because the Astros are hot on their trails! This run has put the league on notice that the Astros aren't going anywhere.

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss the Houston Texans' big win over the Jaguars, and share their takeaways from CJ Stroud's impressive start to his career.

Plus, Florio looks back at the draft process and all the negativity surrounding CJ Stroud and his S2 testing. He makes the point that teams were trying to get the Texans and owner Cal McNair to be concerned about his cognitive scores, and pass on him at No. 2 overall.

But the Texans didn't flinch, taking Stroud without hesitation. Florio was impressed the Texans “didn't take the cheese” and it now looks like they have a QB to be excited about moving forward. He goes on to say that the Panthers may already regret passing on Stroud.

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

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