Houston can't complete the sweep

Houston's stretch of stellar pitching ends as Astros fall to Red Sox in finale

Houston's bats went quiet in the finale against Boston. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

With a series victory in hand, the Astros tried to end their current homestand with a four-game sweep of the Red Sox if they could get a win on Thursday afternoon, which would also keep them in step with the Oakland A's atop the division. Instead, Houston's streak of solid starting pitching would come to an end as Boston would power their way to handing them a loss.

Final Score: Red Sox 5, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 31-25, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Martin Perez (4-2)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-3)

Odorizzi lasts just three innings

After a decent start where he went 5.1 innings while allowing one run to the Padres in his first game back from the IL, Jake Odorizzi did not fare as well against the Red Sox. After working around a single in the first inning, he put two on base to lead off the top of the second on a double and a walk, setting up a three-run homer by Christian Arroyo to give Boston a 3-0 lead. It would take him 38 pitches to get through that inning, and after finishing the third at 76 total, he would see his day ended short as Dusty Baker made the early call to the bullpen. Odorizzi's final line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 76 P.

Astros miss another chance for a sweep

Enoli Paredes was the first reliever out and erased a one-out walk to get through a scoreless top of the fourth. Cristian Javier was next, coming in to eat some innings, and worked around a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fifth by getting three strikeouts to keep it a 3-0 game. He rebounded from that with a 1-2-3 sixth, but the Red Sox tagged him in the seventh by getting two on base to set up a two-RBI double to extend the lead to 5-0.

Meanwhile, Houston's offense had nothing going against Martin Perez, who was able to get 7.2 shutout innings on the board before Boston had to dip into their bullpen. After Joe Smith and Blake Taylor tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, Yuli Gurriel got the Astros on the board in the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run. That would be the lone offensive highlight of the day, though, as Houston would watch another sweep slip away and pushed them a game behind Oakland in the division.

Up Next: The Astros will hit the road, starting with a trip up to Buffalo, New York, to take on the Blue Jays in their temporary home. The three-game weekend series will begin at 6:07 PM Central on Friday, with Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.67 ERA) going opposite Hyun Jin Ryu (5-2, 2.62 ERA).

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DeMeco values leadership at the QB position above all else. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

With the NFL Draft getting closer and closer, it is becoming more likely the Houston Texans will be taking a quarterback with its No. 2 overall pick.

With a plethora of options available — from Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Will Levis or Anthony Richardson — head coach DeMeco Ryans recently talked about what quality he believes a quarterback should have in the NFL. It is leadership.

“Is that quarterback a guy who can galvanize a locker room and rally the troops and get guys to believe in him,” Ryans said. “That's the trait. It's easier said than done because only so few guys can do that.”

While it may be cliché, Ryans makes a great point about why leadership is a non-negotiable for his play caller.

The quarterback position is the face of the franchise. He is the person media talk to every single week, and is the person who gets a huge share of the credit or blame when it comes to the team’s success or lack thereof.

Whoever the Texans pick at No. 2, if it indeed is a quarterback, will also be tasked with leading Houston throughout its rebuild on the field. But how can the team’s staff evaluate leadership?

As advanced as stats have gotten over the years, there is nothing you can look at to quantify leadership points. It all depends on personal evaluation.

For Houston, the decision on whom the next quarterback for the team is, could well be made over the course of the next few days.

The Texans will bring both Young and Stroud to Houston for individual meetings, according to Aaron Wilson. Both have consistently been quarterback No. 1 and No. 2 throughout the entire process.

There is no doubt Ryans and general manager Nick Caserio will be trying to gauge where each respective prospect ranks in leadership when they step foot in NRG Stadium.

Ryans believes the franchise quarterback needs to be seen by his teammates both on offense and defense and instill confidence in them that he can be counted on to make a play. Hosting prospects is one way to get a gauge in that area, which the Texans will have the opportunity to do.

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