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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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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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