Falcon Points

This has to happen for the Texans to win a Super Bowl

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Yes, we will get to that. But today we look at a bigger point, one brought up by Aaron Rodgers.

In a recent interview, he had this to say about our click bait sports journalism world:

"Everybody's trying to say the most outlandish thing possible to get the most click bait. . . . My problem with putting ridiculous headlines on stories is that in this culture where the attention span is so short for many people, even people probably listening to this interview or watching this who can't stay on the entire time because they've got other things to do or other things to look at on their phone.

All they're going to read is eight words on an ESPN front page and . . . that's what these people are trying to get people to click on. One second on that page, that counts as a page view. And the more page views you get, the more ad revenue you get. And I think it's really low-class journalism. Some of the headlines that get put on some of these articles that have nothing to do with what's actually, contest-wise, in the article. I think it's poor journalism. I think it's a total lack of integrity. And I don't want to look at that.

And I don't want to listen to four people on some show, yelling at each other about opinions that, `Do they really feel that way? Or are they trying to be the most outlandish opinion possible so they get the most views when it gets retweeted on Twitter or posted as a 10-second blurb on ESPN.com or something. I just think it's really done a disservice to the industry of journalism, for sure."

He then added this:

"Look man, it comes down to this: If you're willing to sell out . . . and not have any character to stand on, then you kind of get what you deserve. If that's what it's all about with you, if your integrity is worth clicks or likes, then that says a lot about you."

He is absolutely right. Too much of journalism these days is misleading headlines designed to get you to click. We try to avoid that on SportsMap unless making a point, which is what you find with this article.

The other culprit is the people who don't bother to read the articles. I guarantee you someone will comment on Facebook about how ridiculous it is to say the Texans could win a Super Bowl. That person is proving Rodgers' point (and mine).

The reality is both the media and readers are at fault. Readers don't have time, so they read the headline and form an instant opinion. Media outlets know that, so they inflame headlines to get the clicks. Talking heads come up with hot takes so someone writes "so and so says this." They do it for attention. Headline takes are common on TV now, and there is big money in it. The best part is you don't have to think. You can just come up with an instant opinion.

So what do we do? Take time to read the articles. Don't fall for click bait. Yes, I did it to you, but I am also telling you why.

But since I don't want to contribute to the mess Rodgers refers to, yes, the Texans can win the Super Bowl if the key players stay healthy, Kansas City and Baltimore come back to the pack due to injuries or simple regression, and Deshaun Watson takes the next step. That all might be unlikely, but it's not impossible.

There, you have been paid off. You can thank Aaron Rodgers.

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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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