IT'S OVER!

Here's the Texans & A-Rod connection you never thought you'd hear

It's time to move on. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Headline this week: "NFL Teams Believe Houston Texans Are Moving On From Deshaun Watson."

Texans moving on? Why would other teams think that? You mean just because Watson has demanded to be traded, he's being sued by 22 women for sexual misconduct, two of them alleging sexual assault, he's being criminally investigated by the Houston Police Department, sponsors are abandoning him, and the NFL may suspend Watson for violating its personal conduct policy?

That's all? Sounds like a keeper to me. Last year, Watson was one of the NFL's brightest young stars and the Texans signed him to a $156 million contract. Now he's like a shiny car that just came back with a bad Carfax report. He's a tough public relations sell. The Texans need to unload him on an unsuspecting buyer right now, get whatever they can in return and wipe their hands clean of Watson.

Jack Easterby, the Texans front office Svengali, can't enjoy reading the X-rated court filings that portray the quarterback as a creepy massage addict and possible sexual predator. Watson claims the only reason he scoured Instagram for masseuses, including some from California, Arizona and Georgia, was because the Texans couldn't hook him up with licensed massage therapists because of the pandemic. And yes, he did occasionally have sex with some of the masseuses, but the sex was consensual. Watson denies all the allegations against him and says he's always treated women with the "utmost respect."

All that nonsense from Texans general manager Nick Caserio about the team having no interest in trading Watson despite Watson practically begging to be traded … is like the guy who stalks a woman, she goes to court to get a restraining order, and the guy thinks she's trying to continue the relationship. Watching the Texans, at least publicly, hoping to patch things up with Watson is like watching A-Rod pining on Twitter for J-Lo to come back. It's over. She's with Ben Affleck. Don't you watch TMZ? The Texans and A-Rod need to move on with their lives.

Which is really what the Texans already have done. They've signed Tyrod Taylor as their gap quarterback and drafted Stanford QB Davis Mills with their top pick (in the third round, thanks Bill O'Brien).

This week Texans owner Mr. Tudball had a rare conversation with the media and was giddy about the state of his team. He said, "I see a lot of positive energy, a lot of good things happening."

The owner is like that kid in The Sixth Sense. He sees dead things. The Texans are coming off a disastrous 4-12 season, their quarterback is mired in legal woes, they have a new general manager, new head coach, new team president and stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt have gone to Arizona. It's time to cue the nice men in white lab coats waving butterfly nets. Go with them, Cal. They're here to help you.

Teams that might have been interested in offering a boatload of first-round picks for Watson have drafted or traded for their quarterbacks of the future. Against the advice of every stockbroker, the Texans didn't sell high. Now, according to NBC Sports columnist Peter King, the Texans' likely trade partners for Watson are down to the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers.

Here's how it's going to play out. Watson's lawyer Rusty Hardin and the accusers' lawyer Tony Buzbee will reach financial settlements for some or all of the women. Once money changes hands, with Watson admitting no guilt, he just wants to get all this past him, HPD will drop the case. The NFL will lower the boom on Watson, however, putting him on the commissioner's exempt list for six, or eight, or more games, possibly the entire 2021 season.

When the dust settles, the Texans will trade Watson, not for pennies on the dollar, but maybe a half-price liquidation sale. Then all that's left will be Watson apologizing for non-specific actions, and Hardin and Buzbee deciding whether to go on the talk show circuit together or by themselves.

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Luis Garcia played his part in a pitcher's duel with Carlos Rodon on Friday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With an impressive offensive onslaught to overpower Chicago in game one of this series, the Astros entered this second of four games hoping to keep their momentum going. After an impressive pitcher's duel left the game tied late into the game, Houston would edge out the win with a big walk-off in the ninth.

Final Score: Astros 2, White Sox 1

Astros' Record: 41-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Garrett Crochet (2-3)

Garcia matches Rodon in a pitcher's duel

Both starting pitchers were very effective, save one inning, in their respective seven innings of work. For Luis Garcia, he had his struggles in the top of the first to start the game, allowing a one-out double and single to put runners on second and third, setting up an RBI single to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead.

He limited the damage to that one run, both in that inning and the rest of his night, as he would follow that with six straight scoreless frames. Once he found his groove in the fourth, he would retire 12 of 13 batters he faced over that span to get through seven one-run innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 96 P.

For Houston, it took until one out into the fifth inning to get a hit and their first baserunner against Carlos Rodon. That sparked an opportunity to grab a lead, as they would go on to load the bases still with one out but would get just one run out of it with a two-out RBI walk by Martin Maldonado to tie the game up 1-1.

Astros walk it off in the ninth

Ryne Stanek was first out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the eighth, erasing a one-out walk for a scoreless inning to keep things gridlocked. Still in a stalemate in the top of the ninth, the Astros opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and keep it tied to set up a potential walk-off. He was perfect, striking out Chicago 1-2-3 to send it to the home half.

In the bottom of the ninth, Yuli Gurriel got the winning run on base by hitting a one-out single. That brought Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who got the walk-off hit, roping a ball into the right-field corner deep enough for Gurriel to hustle from first to home to win it for Houston, 2-1.

Up Next: Now having won five in a row, the Astros will try to lock up this series in game three of four on Saturday at 6:15 PM Central. Lance Lynn (7-2, 1.51 ERA) will try to get a win for the White Sox, while Framber Valdez (3-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his 2021 success for Houston.

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