Every-Thing Sports

Houston sports: A song of love and apathy

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The Rockets lost to the Warriors at home in game six of the Western Conference semifinal round despite Kevin Durant being out. Durant left game five towards the end of the third quarter with a calf strain. No game in that series was decided by more than six points. To say they pissed away another golden opportunity in consecutive postseason runs would be an understatement. The team is married to a couple bad contracts which severely limits what they can do to improve, but at least they have a former league MVP in the fold to keep things interesting. After all, this team has only had two losing seasons in the last 20 to 30 years or so.

The Astros broke the curse of pro sports teams in this city not winning any titles couple years ago. Although it took this fanbase enduring several losing seasons, many of which the organization boldly claimed they weren't even trying to produce a winner, the fans were eventually rewarded with a World Series win. Not only that, but this team is built to contend for many years to come in the near future. Fans may have bandwaggoned their allegiance to this team after seeing them win, but you can't blame them for wanting to support a team that has gone from laughingstock to model of consistency.

The Texans finally found the most important piece to building a winning franchise when they moved up to draft Deshaun Watson. Before, they were a team in which very few outside of this city believed in. After drafting Watson, the feeling remains the same amongst those not considered hardcore Texan fans because they don't believe in the front office or ownership to lead this team to anything other than mediocrity. The Texans' fans will continue to support this team no matter what because it went through a period of not having an NFL franchise. The fan and ownership relationship is borderline abusive because ownership knows the fans won't leave, so they continue to act as if the fans don't matter.

Can you see now what I meant in the title? Part of my inspiration came from this FaceBook post by a good friend and mentor Craig Shelton. It was the best description of why Houston sports fans still feel love and appreciation for the Rockets and Astros despite any shortcomings they may have, but have skepticism towards the Texans.

When you look at the way things have fallen for the three different franchises, there's no reason why all three can't consistently compete for championships every year. The love and support the Texans get despite constantly letting this city down year after year is why I described it as abusive. Meanwhile, the Rockets can't even get a full house before tipoff of major games and the Astros play in front of a less than capacity crowd even when one of the premier MLB teams is in town during the week and sometimes on weekends. Yet the Texans will have sold-out games and thousands more tailgating for a Thursday night game against any random NFL team simply because it's an NFL team.

I sincerely hope one day that all three franchises will bring consistent winners to this city. The fans have been through enough. They've stuck by these teams, mainly the Texans, despite not being given a glimmer of hope. It would be nice of the Texans to return the favor and bring home a Lombardi Trophy for their fiercely loyal fans to go with the Larry O'Briens and Commissioner's Trophy the Rockets and Astros respectively have delivered already.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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