Every-Thing Sports

Let's discuss the best ways to watch the return of the Astros

Let's discuss the best ways to watch the return of the Astros
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

MLB is returning to live games with their pandemic-shortened schedule on Thursday, July 23. The rest of the league will play on Friday, July 24, including your Houston Astros. Fans won't be able to be in attendance at the games, but there's no doubt in my mind many will be tuned in. After all, there's very few live sports we have to watch that will hold our attention.

Sure there are other live sports to watch, but do they really hold a candle to one of the big three? UFC has held some entertaining fights. I've seen some decent boxing matches as well. My son has gotten us into racing since watching Ford vs Ferrari. The Korean Baseball Organization is pro baseball, but it comes on at like 3am. So now that we're getting one of the big three back, how do you plan on watching?

Small gatherings

Some people will gather together to celebrate. I know for a fact that Cobos Que will be open and serving his mouth-watering BBQ. There's going to be some good food served and I suggest you make plans accordingly. For the few places that are allowed to remain open, I'm sure folks will either sit and eat, or order to go. Several friends have said they will gather to watch together as well. Whatever you choose to do when it comes to gathering, please be responsible. Mask up and practice social distancing.

Flying solo

There will be many more who will choose to watch the game alone and/or in the comfort of their own homes. This is my go-to move. I describe myself as an antisocial extrovert. I can be around people and seem like a people person, when in reality I'm fighting off my anxiety because I'm around other people. This is also the safest move since the city is back on red alert. Order food to go or have it delivered. Pour your favorite beverage. Sit back and enjoy the Astros inside your own four walls.

Drinking Haterade

With success, comes detractors. Add that to the fact that the Astros were hit hard by MLB for cheating, and you have fans of other teams ready to watch the Astros just to see them fail. Hell, there are even members of the media that want to see them fail! Sure, they cheated, got caught and took it on the chin. But they weren't the only ones. They cheated and deserve the venom spewed their way. The holier-than-thou attitude by others is what truly gets me. With the shortened season and no fans, some are actually angry that the Astros won't get the treatment they deserve. When you allow that level of hate to consume you, you deserve to be miserable.

Indifferent

Another segment of society will be totally indifferent. They'll watch if it's on and there's nothing else holding their attention, or maybe catch some highlights. These are the ones that don't really care if MLB comes back or not. I'd love to see a Venn diagram of those in this category and their overwhelming love for football and/or basketball. MLB has done an awful job of appealing to the younger audience. Their dwindling audience is getting older and older. Disposable income is growing with the demographic they're failing to reach. This is why MLB has fallen to third among pro sports and is in danger of falling further.

Much talk was centered around the league and players publically arguing over money. Now that they've gotten things settled and are set to return, they can focus on the issue at hand: seizing the moment. The NBA is set to restart their season around the same time. The NFL is on target to open training camps as well. MLB has an opportunity to grab a hold of their moment in the spotlight to get a foothold on a segment of the sporting world. The Astros hold a special place in the hearts of their fans because of their recent success. I could see this season paying off big time for them. Having two aging pitchers and another coming off major surgery favors them. I'm ready to see what this team can accomplish. 60 games is plenty enough time to determine a champion. Let's sit back and enjoy the Astros season. Who knows, it may be one of their last title runs given the state of the roster...

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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