WeatherMap

Welcome to the new SportsMap weather update

National Hurricane Center

So I know what you are thinking. "Oh sh**, the weather nerd is back – now what is it." I wouldn't blame you for thinking that, but this time my presence on SportsMap is a bit more benign (for now). Instead, this is the first post in what will become a regular bit on SportsMap where I hope to give you a little weather information every couple of days while you stop by to get your daily fix of Rockets drama, Texans ineptitude, or Astros baseball. My hope is that every few days I can be a source of drama-free and easily digestible weather information for you. I'm not going sit here and tell you a hurricane is coming four weeks out or that a regular thunderstorm is the apocalypse. I'm not getting paid enough (or rather at all) to make up stories like that. I hope you stick around and find what I plan to do here useful. Now with that intro out of the way lets get to the weather:

If you have paid attention to any local news over the weekend you probably heard about the possibility of some action in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, its true, but hold your horses. I'll get there in a minute.

Lets start with the story for the next couple of days - the heat. Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday all look to be typical July days. An area of high pressure has situated itself overhead and that basically means the oven is turned up to broil. For the next 3 days skies will be mostly sunny and temperatures will climb into the upper 90's each afternoon. This is Houston, so what would the heat be without oppressive on top of it. The heat index or rather the "feels like" temperature will be between 105-110 degrees each of these days. Cooling rain showers are highly unlikely during this period but not completely impossible. If you happen to get one consider yourself lucky - maybe go buy a lottery ticket or something. If you work outside you know the drill by now, this will be one of the hottest stretches of days we have seen so far this year.

Ok, now on to the tropical update, eye on the gulf, gulf watch, gulf tracker 3000, or whatever your favorite news station calls their segment on tropical weather. Over the next few days a storm system currently over the southeast US will dive south into the Gulf near the Florida panhandle. This is where the high level of certainty ends with this feature. Over the past couple of days computer models have really struggled with what happens to this system in terms of how it develops and where it goes. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 60% chance of developing into at least a tropical depression over the next 5 days (see image at the top of this post). Currently it does not look to be a huge concern for us as the thinking is that the system will stay east of the Houston area. It is still far enough in the future though that I can't say our chances of seeing any action from this are absolutely zero, but we have a good amount of time to watch it. I'd say that right now somewhere between New Orleans and Pensacola, Florida has the highest odds of seeing impacts from this system. No matter where it goes though it does not look to be a very strong system once it gets there. Once the forecast becomes a bit clearer you can bet I will be back to let you know.

You can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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