Every-Thing Sports

Post-draft Texans fan freak out...or not

Brian Gaine had a decent draft. Houstontexans.com

Last week, I wrote about the Texans needing to draft more out of need as opposed to best player available. That came about after watching the roster moves they made and didn't make in free agency. Lance Zierlein brought up a good point on their morning show when he stated that by the Texans continuing to sign less free agents than they lose, it keeps them eligible for compensatory draft picks.

The draft came a few days after the article, and to form, the Texans drafted out of need instead of adding quality depth. I'd say five of their seven selections were done because of need: two offensive linemen, two defensive backs, and a tight end. Defensive end Charles Omenihu and fullback Cullen Gallaspia were guys who added depth at their positions, but weren't necessarily needs. Defensive end is a position they have decent players at, and they've never really carried a fullback. However, the fifth and seventh rounds aren't rounds you typically take quality depth guys. Those rounds are reserved for special teamers and/or taking a flyer on a guy for various reasons. Cody Stoots wrote a very good in-depth look at the Texans 2019 draft class. If you're looking for info on these guys, some film, analysis of their skillsets, and even some fun tidbits, I suggest reading his article.

What I want to focus on here are the fan freak outs. Fan reactions after drafts have always been a range of emotions. Some fans will act as if this is the worst draft class ever and the team will take years to recover. Some will think the team just drafted three future All-Pros and maybe a Hall of Famer that will lead them to several Super Bowl wins. Others will take more of a mild mannered approach. The proper response is to wait and see. Unless you're a Giants fan. In that case this year, it is totally OK to freak out and think your team has been set back several years.

I've noticed a range with Texans fans. Social media tends to bring out the worst in people, especially when it comes to sports and/or politics. Texans fan reactions have ranged from "Why did we take another project offensive linemen? We could've taken ___ instead!", to "I love this pick! I think he's going to anchor the line for years to come!," to "Meh. Let's see what they do when it's time to play."

I must say, I'm pretty damn proud of Texans fans this year for not going too overboard. Taking the wait and see approach is best. Draft classes take about two to three years to tell whether or not they were good. Instant draft grades only tell you the opinion of the person giving the grade as it relates to what their perceived needs for that team were before the draft started and how it relates to the players they took. For the most part, Texans fans have more fallen into the "love/like" or "meh" categories. I think they're happy that there were some needs filled, but are skeptical as to how well the players will be able to fill those roles. In years past, Texans fans have freaked out big time. Mario Williams, JJ Watt, and Duane Brown are the most famous freak out picks. Jadeveon Clowney and Andre Johnson were two picks the fans seemed to love universally.

This growth and maturity as a fan base should be met with some production by the team and the front office. When a fan base shows a level of maturity and wises up, it can often leave your team high and dry if you can't produce winning results. I'd love to see the day when fans start protesting with their money and force ownership to make some actual changes. But I'd rather see this team start winning and giving those fans something to celebrate and give me more interesting things to write about.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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