EVERY-THING SPORTS

Why this version of the Rockets embodies the city

The Rockets have won 6-straight games. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Houston is a very diverse city and metropolitan area. It is home to the most diverse county in the United States (Fort Bend), more different ethnicities and types of foods outside any city not located on the East or West coasts. On any given day, you could encounter at least four or five different languages, or more. You can choose to eat from just about any kind of cuisine from any part of the globe, and it would be one of the better dishes you've had in that category.

Coming here from New Orleans in 2000, I was skeptical of the food scene here. Yet, here I am all these years later, and I'm still impressed. I can look up any type of food I want to try and have full faith that it'll be one of the more authentic experiences in said category. My favorite thing is talking to so many different types of people from around the globe. Getting to know the different cultures and backgrounds is exciting.

When you look at the makeup of the current Rocket's roster, you get those same feelings. The owner is a self-made billionaire who's a native of the Houston area and made his money in the hospitality business. The general manager is a guy who made his bones as a legal expert in the business department and found his way in the GM role at the right time. The head coach is the son of a former NBA player and head coach who waited over twenty years to get his first head coaching gig. All three of these guys took different paths to get to where they are right now. All three are examples of how taking different paths can lead to success.

When looking at the roster, there are similar stories of finding different paths to success. You have guys who were high lottery picks after being highly recruited NCAA players (John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins), then there are guys who worked their way into the league after toiling away on the European and other leagues around the world (PJ Tucker and Jae'Sean Tate). There's someone on this roster anyone in this city can relate to. Christian Wood is perhaps the team's best player. He was a guy who thought he'd be drafted high, went undrafted, and worked his butt off to get to where he's at now which is on the verge of making his first All-Star appearance.

This city is full of diverse and resilient stories of success and survival. When I look at this Rockets roster, I see some similarities. Not to say that any of these highly paid pro athletes have survived a Hurricane Harvey or anything, but there are stories of overcoming rough circumstances and making the best of a crappy situation to make yourself into a success. This city is covered in those types of stories and so is this Rockets roster. The Rockets are much easier on the eyes nowadays with their style of play. They hustle, play hard, share the ball, and don't have anyone with a huge diva attitude. They're more relatable and their style of play is more appreciated. The Rockets are currently above .500 for the season and working their way into securing a playoff spot. Who would've thought this was possible? No one, and that's another reason why their success is so relatable to many in this city.

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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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