Falcon Points

Ranking the 5 biggest moves in a busy summer for Houston sports

Compilation by Brandon Strange

Someone asked me on Twitter if there has ever been a more active summer in terms of Houston sports teams both on and off the field. You would be hard-pressed to find one. Let's look at the five biggest moves this summer and grade them:

5) Texans go GM by committee, ship out Clowney for nothing

Texans Jadeveon Clowney Houston Texans/Facebook

The Texans botched their draft, then fired their GM search and botched that, leaving them with a "flatter" organization. It's also a dumber one. Mainly because of the "deal" they made to trade Jadeveon Clowney.

This is a move the Texans did not need to make, especially if they were going to go all-in on the other move on this list. Trading one of your best five players when you did not need to is frankly just dumb. Seattle might only get a year out of him, but then they would get a third round pick if he signs elsewhere, which is basically what they give up. Huge win for Seattle.

Grade: F.

4) Verlander's dominance

Justin Verlander pitches Game 1. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Justin Verlander cemented his Cy Young case with a no-hitter on Sunday in Toronto, striking out 14. Verlander is 17-5 with 2.56 ERA and 257 strikeouts. We are seeing a future Hall of Famer at his very best.

Grade: A+.

3) Astros additions

Colorado Rockies v Houston Astros

The Astros made a big splash at the deadline, acquiring Zack Greinke. While he has not been dominant yet as an Astro, he is one of the best in the business and the move bolstered the Astros World Series chance. In addition, the exciting young Jordan Alvarez was called up and all he has done is make a run at the Rookie of the Year award by hitting well over .300 with 22 HRs and 63 RBI in just 66 games. Throw in Aaron Sanchez's debut with a combined no-hitter and the Stros continue to be the best run organization in the city.

Grade: A+

2) Texans go all in on Tunsil

After the disastrous Clowney trade, the Texans shipped two No. 1s and a 2 to Miami for Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills. Tunsil is something the Texans have been desperate for ever since they shipped off Duane Brown for nothing - a legitimate, No. 1 left tackle with upside. The price was steep, but players like Tunsil are rarely available. He should make a huge difference. It also makes the Clowney trade worse, because if you are going all-in on the season, why don't you keep him?

Grade: B

1) Rockets acquire Westbrook

Russell Westbrook Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Rockets made a huge splash, acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and a package of picks. While it may or not be a fit, putting Westbrook with Harden gives the Rockets an intriguing duo in the Western Conference. For sheer entertainment value, the Rockets get a good grade.

Grade: A-

The bottom line

The Texans and Rockets may never have another first-round pick, but if either team is successful, that will be forgotten. The Astros continue to be the gold standard by which all others are measured. Regardless, it has been one hell of an active summer. Now we will see how it all plays out when it counts.

Houston's magic number is down to 1

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-4 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the mini-sweep of the Rangers concluding with win number 100 on the season which secured a playoff spot, the Astros turned their sights to clinching the division. With their magic number at 2, they could clinch on Friday with a win in the series opener against Los Angeles and an Oakland loss. Here is a recap of the first game of the weekend against the Angels:

Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 4.

Record: 101-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (17-5, 3.05 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jaime Barria (4-10, 6.43 ERA).

1) Starting with a bang

With a chance to clinch their division and continue to lead the battle for playoff home-field advantage, Houston came out swinging on Friday night. In the first inning, the Astros blasted three home runs with solo shots from Jose Altuve which led off the inning, and Alex Bregman as he tries to catch the sidelined Mike Trout for a possible MVP award.

Later in the inning, Carlos Correa took advantage of a runner on base with a home run of his own, a two-run bomb to extend the lead before Josh Reddick tacked on one more with an RBI-single to make it 5-0 after one.

2) Greinke struggles in the fourth but finishes five innings

Zack Greinke allowed just two hits through the first three innings: a single and a solo home run which at the time cut the lead to 5-1. Carlos Correa pushed the lead back to five runs with his second home run of the night in the bottom of the third.

Greinke would struggle in the top of the fourth, however, allowing five straight hits which would score three runs to cut Houston's lead to 6-4. He would recover and toss a 1-2-3 fifth, but that would be it for him in a five-inning start, as Houston passed the ball to their bullpen to throw the last four frames. His final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

3) Houston's bullpen dominant the rest of the way

Josh James was the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen to take over for Greinke in the top of the sixth and erased a two-out walk to complete a scoreless inning. Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance in a month after having surgery on his knee, returned dominantly with a 1-2-3 inning.

Will Harris did the same in the top of the eighth, holding the two-run lead going to the ninth. Roberto Osuna had the chance for another save in the top of the ninth and converted it to finish off the 6-4 win. That reduced the magic number to one, meaning the Astros are now a win or Oakland loss away from clinching the American League West. They are also just two wins away from matching last year's franchise number of 103.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set with the Angles will be on Saturday at 6:10 PM. Wade Miley (14-5, 3.71 ERA) will get the start for Houston while Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 4.91 ERA) is expected to be on the mound for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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