BARRY LAMINACK

Kevin Johnson's loss may be no loss at all for Texans

Perhaps the most frustrating thing to come out of last Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots was the play of starting cornerback Kevin Johnson. His inability to be anywhere near the ball and do his job effectively stood out to me more than anything else on Sunday.

He looked lost out there; like he didn’t belong.

I went so far as to say on Twitter, during the game, that he should never be allowed on the field again.

What I didn't anticipate was shortly after my tweet hit the web that Johnson would suffer another concussion, an injury that would necessitate him being placed on IR (but according to Aaron Wilson on Twitter(@AaronWilson_NFL): "...he can be designated for return.”)

First things first, I feel horrible for Kevin Johnson. I would never wish injury on any player, especially such a serious and dangerous injury like multiple concussions. All my best to Kevin for a full and speedy recovery.

That said, it still doesn't change my mind about his role with the Texans. I think at this point it’s time to move on from Johnson, and the Texans have plenty of options that will allow them to do so.

To fill the roster spot the Texans went out and signed journeyman cornerback Shareece Wright. Wright started five games last year for the Bills, so it’s not a total Shock that Brian Gaine reached out to him.

But even with the signing of Wright, the Texans have a ton of other options already on the roster that can be moved around in the secondary.

Johnathan Joseph is pretty much staying put, but Aaron Colvin could slide to the other outside corner position (and I’ll go as far as to say now that I think by the time the year is up, he’ll be the best corner on the Texans).

If the Texans like Colvin covering the slot, they could move Kareem Jackson back to corner and give some reps to highly regarded rookie Justin Reid at safety. Heck the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu often moved up from his safety position to play some corner when he was in Arizona.

So don’t worry about the secondary Texans fan, I think they’ll be fine.

Spend all of your time worrying about that o-line. Yikes!

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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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