Every-Thing Sports

What are the Rockets?

As of this writing (Monday night around 8:30pm CST), the Rockets are in fifth place in the Western Conference. They're one and a half games behind the Utah Jazz for fourth place. The same Jazz team that beat them in Houston on a last second Hail Mary three pointer as time expired. They're also four games behind both the Nuggets and the Clippers, as well as seven games behind the Lakers. Needless to say, they're climbing up a hill lined with Vaseline.

This team is not where anyone thought they would be at this point in the season. 53 games into the season with 29 left to play and the Rockets have little time to make any waves. The playoffs are approaching, but this team looks more like a pretender than a true contender. Owner Tilman Fertitta, general manager Daryl Morey, and head coach Mike D'Antoni are looking more like the Three Stooges instead of three of the leading individuals in their respective fields. So what exactly are the Rockets?

Gimmick-ball Frauds

The small ball lineup, the analytics, threes over twos...all of this is cool when it works. When you trade away you center and decide to run a lineup out there in which the tallest player is 6'7, there's sometimes in which things will work, and there are times in which it goes down like the Hindenberg. Things have been a flaming disaster more than it's been a striking success. The small ball has been more hit than miss lately., but there's been more stumbles than stand ups lately, leaving me to think this team is a fraud.

Playoff-bound

​Despite the obvious hang-ups, they will make the playoffs. However, don't be surprised if they make an early exit. Living by the three means you'll die by it too. Whenever they aren't making their threes, they struggle big time. In a seven game series, their style may not hold up against tough competition. But what if the Rockets make the necessary adjustments? If they do, they'll make themselves the most annoying team to face in the playoffs and perhaps the toughest out.

All or nothing

Their playing style leads you to believe they could win it all, or lose in the first round. Either they'll win or lose by 20. Either they'll spend money and pay the luxury tax, or they'll make questionable moves to get under it. They remind me of the old school slugger in MLB named Dave Kingman. Kingman hit 442 homers in his career, but had a .236 batting average. He's the best example of what the Rockets represent.

This team is an enigma wrapped in a paradox that's been sucked into a black hole. Their best qualities are only shown when the perfect conditions present themselves. The difference between them being considered geniuses and idiots is a fine line called winning. When they win, they look smart. When they lose, they look like dumbasses. Morey and D'Antoni have laid all their eggs in the small ball basket. They're attempting to play with a lineup the league hasn't seen in over 50 years. They'd better be careful because Fertitta doesn't take too kindly to losing. We're talking about a guy who's won at just about everything he's done in life. This team is on a collective hot seat. I give them this season and maybe one more before Fertitta blows it up and starts over. Maybe his ego won't allow him to tank and/or blow it up like the previous owner did. If they don't show a significant enough improvement, D'Antoni is gone after this season and Morey may not be here too much longer. Until then, let's get our popcorn and enjoy the show. It'll be a beauty or a beautiful disaster either way.

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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