Northern Exposure

Oh yeah, the Astros made a trade with the Blue Jays, too

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So July 31, 2019 will be going down as one of the most exciting dates in Astros History. This day will be enough to shut up the haters because #TakeItBack is becoming more possible by the minute. Unless you lived under an I45 bridge, you knew today was the MLB trade deadline. The Astros had been fairly quiet, and fans were growing impatient; to the point that when Marcus Stroman was traded to the Mets, they were trying to justify trading for Trevor Bauer. While they managed to nail down yet another ace to bolster their pitching rotation in Zack Greinke, the Astros trade that really got my attention was the one between the Astros and Blue Jays.

I have been a Blue Jays fan since I was a child growing up in the yellow prairies of Alberta. Yes, I do own a Joey Bats jersey. The start of the millennium marked my move to the great state of Texas, and I have been following the Astros since my move (Big Puma, anyone?). How could I not when the Juice Box is literally 25 minutes away? So, today took an interesting turn when the Blue Jays traded Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini to the Astros for nothing but Derek Fisher. I painfully reminisced over Sanchez's starts (or lack thereof) the past few seasons. He has only pitched in 51 games since the 2017 season. Finger injuries have plagued him; from a finger caught in a falling suitcase in 2017 to being pulled out of a game for a broken finger nail this season. Hand injuries are Sanchez's kryptonite so it was hard to wrap my mind around where he would help improve a pitching rotation that had just added Zack Greinke. Sanchez's last couple of starts have been a bit reminiscent of his 2016 season. His July 28th game against the Tampa Bay Rays had his most exciting start where he allowed no runs to be scored until the 5th inning and had 10 strike outs. Sanchez should not pitch for more than 4 or 5 innings because the exhaustion can clearly be seen in his demeanor on the mound. Maybe it is time for Sanchez to take on a relief role on a team that has the almighty wizard that is Brent Strom.

Joe Biagini, is admittedly, a player I have been indifferent to. He has a 3-1 record but struggled in his outing against the Royals. Looking at his stats for his short 4-year career, this is his second-best season. Stepping back and taking a look at this trade, it is hard to see how the Astros got away with only sending Derek Fisher for Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini. I have heard various comments on Derek Fisher but per Ross Atkins, he is confident in his level of play and expected to provide depth, however Fisher is a left fielder and currently that position is being dominated by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

All I can say to Ross Atkins is, bless your heart.

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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