Every-Thing Sports

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

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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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With the disappointing loss in extra innings late the night before, the Astros returned to RingCentral Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to try and even the series against the A's, who now owned a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over Houston. Here is a quick rundown of the middle game of the series:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 6-8, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (2-1, 1.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (0-2, 2.04 ERA).

Valdez does his job

Framber Valdez ran into stress early on Saturday, facing trouble in the bottom of the first inning. It started with a leadoff solo home run, putting Oakland up 1-0 before they would record an out. He later allowed back-to-back one-out singles to rack up his pitch count in the frame but would limit the damage to the single run.

He was able to re-focus and settle in during the following innings, getting quick, scoreless innings in the next four. In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff groundball that likely should have been the first out was instead a single that would come back to bite Houston. That runner stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw, then scored on an RBI-groundout, doubling Oakland's lead to 2-0. Valdez would go one more inning, giving Houston precisely what they needed by helping give their exhausted bullpen a break. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

Houston's offense unable to get anything going

Unfortunately for Houston, Frankie Montas was even more efficient on the other side. Houston was only able to notch two hits against him over seven innings while Montas only had to throw 86 pitches over that span. Oakland would go to their bullpen in the top of the eighth, with the Astros getting just a single in the inning.

Nivaldo Rodriguez would take over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a solo home run to make it 3-0 before completing the inning. Houston would get a leadoff double by Kyle Tucker to start the top of the ninth, and he would come around to score on an RBI-single by Alex Bregman. That's as close as Houston would get, though, as Oakland would finish off the win to secure the series and extend Houston's losing streak to four games.

Up Next: The final game of this series and Houston's nine-game road trip will be on Sunday at 3:10 PM Central. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will make a start for the A's while Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his success in 2020 for the Astros.

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