Quarterly Report

Houston's 5 most influential sports figures for the first quarter of 2019

Kelvin Sampson. Jackson Gatlin/SportsMap

Houston has no shortage of big-name superstars and top flight coaches. The Astros alone could make up a top five list. As the first quarter of 2019 winds down, here is who has had the biggest impact so far this season.

No. 5: Deshaun Watson

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The Texans disappointed in their playoff game with the Colts, but Watson did lead them to 11 wins, played a full season and should improve. He will likely get knocked off the list once the Astros are playing again, but for now, here he is.

No. 4: Alex Bregman

No, he hasn't played meaningful minute in 2019. But his new contract puts him in the elite level of Houston athletes. He is now the second highest paid Astro behind Jose Altuve, and tied for the second highest ever. It is a six-year, $100 million extension and keeps him an Astro until he turns 30. Leave it to Bregman to crash the off-season party.

No. 3 Tilman Fertitta

Fertitta Center Tilman Fertitta made the Fertitta Center a reality. Houston Cougars Men's Hoops Facebook

Fertitta is not just the Rockets owner, he is on the board at UH and and helped oversee a resurrection of men's hoops thanks to the opening of the Fertitta Center. Now if he can just get a hockey team...

No. 2 Kelvin Sampson

Kelvin Sampson has the Cougars rolling. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Kelvin Sampson's Cougars won the AAC regular season title, went 31-3 and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. No matter what happens, it has been an amazing season for the Cougars.

No. 1 James Harden

James Harden

James Harden.

A year after winning the MVP, Harden has picked up where he left off. He had an amazing scoring streak and helped carry the team through some midseason struggles. In short, he is still the man until someone knocks him off the perch.

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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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