NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Team USA, Kawhi and Westbrook

ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

Welcome to Monday, this week is going to be a great one because we're going to make it that way, right? Set it up and knock it down!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

This Saturday, from 3pm to 11pm the Stixx and Stonez Cigar Society is throwing a huge party slash donation drive, asking everyone to bring socks, washing powder and toiletries for donation at the Stixx and Stonez Sundresses and Summershirts Day Party. Check out the info, it looks like it's going to be awesome.

CONGRATS TO TEAM USA

First of all, congrats to Team USA for winning a record breaking fourth Women's World Cup. This is the kind of thing that should be celebrated at all levels by all Americans. This team was incredibly deep, incredibly talented and incredibly confident bordering on arrogant. They had the misfortune of playing France in Paris and survived, eliminating a host country in a World Cup is already one of the hardest things in sports and USA handled it with ease. Megan Repino has been fantastic as a leader who puts her money where her mouth is and scored so many clutch goals for this team and took so much of the pressure off the team and onto her own back. There has been some blowback on this team though with people mentioning the pay being unfair and making comments, internet sensation Nicole Arbour trying to say fan money should determine the pay for the Women's team. The reason that's a grossly inaccurate take is simply this, the Women's team is run by Team USA and even though the women's team beats the Men's team in ratings, attendance and probably sales of merchandise, they get paid less, get booked in worse stadiums and don't receive the same perks as far as travel and accommodations go. It is truly a pay disparity that warrants discussion, because while one team has won four world cups, the other didn't even qualify for the last World Cup.

THE KAWHI HAS LANDED

So did anyone see The Clippers coming? Anyone? I know I didn't, I'll cop to that in a heartbeat. So keeping their core roster intact and getting two max contract players is impressive, however I don't think this team is all that well positioned in a crowded West. Portland and Houston were already really good teams, the Lakers while adding Anthony Davis were a roster in progress and Utah added a great point guard to what was a quality roster and Dallas may be on the rise leaving The Clippers somewhere around the fifth or sixth best team in the West? Also Paul George isn't the guy everyone thinks he is, his metrics are all great. But when he matches up against quality guys like Dame Lillard, he gets beat. When there's a game 7 he scores ZERO points in three quarters, he's a shrinking violet in my estimation and I don't know that this team is going to be as successful as the roster indicates which after giving up all those picks to get him is exactly the kind of news they don't want to get because as presently constructed this is the roster.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TO HOUSTON?

So yesterday afternoon the news broke that the Rockets were heavily pursuing a trade for Russell Westbrook, while keeping Chris Paul, meaning the team would basically be Harden, Paul, Westbrook and some people. Honestly, I say go for it. The reason I think this is a good move for the Rockets is because no one is going to bail us out of the Chris Paul deal, no one. So if we have Chris Paul for the next three years then this is the window, load up as best as you can and just maximize your opportunity in what is still a wide open Western Conference. No team got that vaunted third star on their roster and Toronto proved you don't need two stars even to win a championship if the roster is deep enough and theirs obviously was, so literally anyone in the West can win this year, why not try and be the best team in the West and go from there.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

I told you guys the NBA free agency was one of the most exciting in sports, I hope you believed me.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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