Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Houston athletes are next level when it comes to supporting the city's other pro teams

The Astros represented the Rockets. Julia Morales Twitter account

I’ve observed something about Houston pro sports athletes over the past few years. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But after this past weekend, it clicked: Houston pro sports athletes support each other better than other cities, and it doesn’t seem close.

The impetus for this thought came when I saw the Astros wear Rockets gear ahead of their recent road trip and hashtag it on social media as the #RunAsOne road trip. It isn’t the first time we’ve seen this in Houston sports.

Guys like Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and JJ Watt of the Texans have been seen courtside at Rockets’ games. J.J. and friends have even taken batting practice at Astros games in previous years. James Harden and Chris Paul were photographed at an Astros game very recently. Dwight Howard was even seen at Minute Maid during his brief stint as a Rocket.

This didn’t just start; it’s been going on for a while. I remember seeing David Carr out to eat with his family wearing an Astros hat. But lately, things have gone up a notch. Now, it’s fairly normal to see other sports stars in the city to be seen at other games across the city. But what the Astros did in a show of solidarity for the Rockets is next level.

While embarking on their next road trip, the Astros decided to wear Rockets gear. Everyone from manager A.J. Hinch, to Justin Verlander, and even their sideline reporter Julia Morales all donned Rockets paraphernalia. Verlander was photographed holding a basketball walking into the stadium in Los Angeles! George Springer had a full Rockets uniform on, complete with a headband! In a time where the Astros have raised the bar for success, this was pretty cool to see. Maybe the Texans will abandon their silly idea of letterman jackets in favor of Rockets or Astros gear next time they have a big road trip?

Humans love and appreciate respect. Respect is a huge deal amongst pro athletes. Whether it’s from their peers, media, fans, front office people, or anyone else, respect is something they crave. It’s as if they’re fueled by it. While they may like to try other sports, there’s a certain level of appreciation for what fellow athletes can do. Seeing a Rocket or Texans player take batting practice, or an Astro or Texans player shoot the ceremonial first shot may put in perspective that they weren’t built to play another sport at a high level such as their peers. Seeing their interactions, especially when admiring each other’s accomplishments (in person or on social media) shows that the mutual respect is there.

The Astros raised the bar by winning a title last season, and have put together what looks like an all-time pitching staff that can carry the flaccid lineup to another one. It put the Texans and Rockets on notice. The Texans have never won a Super Bowl; and it has been over 20 years since the Rockets have brought a championship to Houston. Judging by the way last night’s game went for the Rockets, it may be another year, at least, before we can look forward to them bringing another title here. The Texans appear to be doing the right things to put a contender together, but with several key players returning from injury, it’s hard to say they’ll win the AFC South this year.

Despite what may seem like a bleak future for some Houston sports teams, I sincerely hope the love and respect they show one another never fades. The admiration they’ve all shown each other gives the fans hope. It makes things easier to tolerate (such as the Rockets Game 1 loss). Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into bad juju like those letterman jackets.

 

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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