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This Week in Houston eSports – Houston Outlaws and Clutch Gaming

It's a big week for the Outlaws. Twitter

Last week was a mixed bag for the Houston based franchises. Clutch Gaming went 0-2 against both 100 Thieves and Cloud 9. The Outlaws went 1-1 for the week, defeating San Francisco 3-1, but losing to Seoul 3-2. In addition to the standard weekly updates, this week’s article also explains the competition structure in both sports.

League of Legends

The League of Legends season (Season 8) is divided into Spring and Summer Splits, each containing a best of one double round robin where the teams play 18 games per split. The top six teams in each split make the playoffs. Based on the standings after playoffs, teams earn circuit points that lead to three of the ten teams qualifying for the World Championships against top teams from around the world. (The summer split winner, highest remaining circuit points holder, and the team that wins a gauntlet style event based on the amount of circuit points held by the remaining teams) Riot Games also announced earlier this week that the Spring Split finals for League of Legends will be held in Miami.

Clutch Gaming (2-4) Tied for 7th Place

Despite this week’s 0-2 record, there are some positives and reason for optimism moving forward. Against 100 Thieves, Solo played a very strong game on Jayce with a 1/0/5 KDA (kills, deaths, assists) stat line. The team also had a gold and kill lead before losing a late game team fight that allowed 100 Thieves to push into the nexus and win the game before CG’s players respawned. Cloud 9 maintained a consistent lead over Clutch Gaming, but Febiven’s 5/1/2 KDA was certainly a bright spot for the team. Despite the loss, the whole team played well and made things interesting with some strong late game plays.

Predictions (1-1 for the season)

This week, Clutch Gaming takes on Team Solo Mid (Saturday at 4 PM) and Optic Gaming (Sunday at approx.. 8 PM)

Things will click into place for Clutch Gaming this week with a hard fought victory over TSM and a clean win over Optic Gaming, leaving the team with a 4-4 record as they near the halfway point of the Spring Split.

Overwatch League

The Overwatch League consists of four Stages of five weeks each, with a total of 20 series played at two matches per week. At the end of each Stage, the top three teams from the Stage participate in a miniature playoffs to determine the Stage winner. At the end of all four stages, the top team in each division along with the next four highest ranked teams regardless of division will participate in the playoffs to determine the winning team for the inaugural season.

Houston Outlaws (5-3) 4th Place Overall

Last week resulted in a 1-1 record for the week and a reason for optimism for Outlaws fans to expect a very strong season and playoff contention at the end of the season. Star DPS player, LiNkzr did not play last week due to illness with Clockwork filling in quite well. Tank player coolmatt was having a very strong week as well. After beating San Francisco 3-1, the Outlaws fought admirably against the Seoul Dynasty, eventually losing the series 3-2 on the fifth map tiebreaker.

Predictions (2-0 for the season)

This week, the Outlaws begin with a crucial series against the 7-1 London Spitfire on Thursday at approximately 8 PM and play against the 5-3 Boston Uprising on Saturday around 3 PM. Both series are must win if the Outlaws want to have a shot to play in the championship series for the first Stage. The Outlaws showed that they are prepared to play well under pressure and LiNkzr returns from illness to have a very strong week, finishing Stage One with a 7-3 record. If things fall their way in the other matches, they will have a chance at finishing in the top three for the Stage. Either way, they will be well positioned to have a strong start to Stage Two.

 

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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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