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While other Houston stars are opting out, Carlos Correa is opting in

This would be huge for Houston sports fans. Composite image by Jack Brame.

To say it's been a rough few months for Houston sports fans would be an understatement. The Rockets came up short in the NBA playoffs yet again. They followed that up by trading their superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook within weeks of each other. The Texans are in complete disarray following a 4-12 season. They've fired Bill O'Brien, hired Nick Caserio, and managed to alienate, allegedly, franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. Westbrook was supposedly tired of the culture Harden was allowed to perpetuate and wanted out. Harden grew weary of not winning and decided he wanted out. Watson is apparently, allegedly, tired of the way things are being run on Kirby and is using his leverage to force a trade. But there's one star in the area who's ready to fully commit to staying.

Recently, Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa said he wants to stay in Houston long term. When one hears this from Correa, there's a few things that come to mind. First: was this merely a reactionary statement based off the recent exodus of stars? One can't help but to be skeptical given the fact that Correa is seen as a potential star in MLB that could be looking for a mega deal in a huge TV market. However, one's profile as a pro athlete is based off their play and social media presence rather than the city they play in, this can be seen as wanting to take advantage of some good will in the city he's under contract in and has built a reputation in. Smart move.

Secondly, Correa's statement can also be seen as a preemptive strike to James Click, the Astros general manager. While George Springer opted for greener pastures in Toronto, Click was able to bring back Michael Brantley. Justin Verlander is out for his final season under contract, but this team may still have enough left to compete. If Click is able to bring back Correa on a long term deal, that will go a long way to proving to the fans that he's truly committed to keeping the title hopes alive past this season.

Ultimately, I see Correa as trying to fulfill his role he's assumed since the cheating scandal was exposed over a year ago. Jim Crane castrated the franchise by firing AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, then forcing his players to apologize for something every team was doing. Ever since then, Correa has assumed the mantle as team leader/spokesman. He's been the one to speak out on behalf of the team and defend their honor throughout this whole process. He's been the one to step up to the plate and answer the tough questions. By Correa saying he wants to stay in Houston long term, it reiterates his willingness to put his reputation on the line and forgo possible financial gain in the future for cementing himself as a Houston legend. There's something to be said about a player who forgoes potentially higher financial gain in order to stay where he's beloved. Correa will make generational wealth either way. But what will make him a legend here is choosing to stay in Houston over greener pastures because he believes in what this city and franchise has going. Long live Carlos Correa!

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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