Every-Thing Sports

WTF Texans and Rockets?!?

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As the days go by, it seems as if the problems continue to grow. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they're self-inflicted wounds. Those are the worst kind because they could've been avoided had one taken the proper precautionary steps. The salt in the wounds are the moves the Astros continue to make that improve an already championship roster. Meanwhile, their football and basketball counterparts are steadily making fools of themselves. Let's take a closer look at what is making Houston a frustrating place for sports fans:

To extend or not to extend

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni is essentially a lame duck coach heading into the final season of his contract. Some of his assistants have been run off, or fired. There was even talk of the team bringing in Tyronn Lue. Add all this to the fact that he called off contract extension talks amid some language in his contract, only for the talks to begin again after said language was removed adds up to a puzzling situation to say the least. The Rockets need to get a clear cut direction for their head coach and commit to it. This Shakespeare-like drama isn't a good look.

Texans fire Brian Gaine

When the Texans let general manager Brian Gaine go last Friday evening, it was a shock to the system. Who fires their GM weeks before training camp is supposed to start? This move was not only bad timing, it came out of nowhere. Not only are fans, and the media, looking for definitive answers, but they're also left wondering if Cal McNair is stable enough to be running the show on Kirby? It's a strange flex for Cal to use at a strange time, but it's his team now and maybe he's out to prove things will be different under his rule.

Trade...or nah?

The rumor mill has been hot and heavy as it pertains to the Rockets. Supposedly they're willing to trade anybody not named James Harden. There has even been talk that the willingness, or lack thereof, to trade Jadaveon Clowney could be a reason why the Texans fired Gaine. On the Rockets end, change is needed. They need a shock to the system since the formula they have in place isn't getting the ultimate job done. They may be heavily relying upon other teams to get weaker in order to make a move up the food chain (like the Warriors). The Texans on the other hand, have not improved beyond a team stuck in purgatory of being good enough to barely make the playoffs, but bad enough to not not draft very high. A Clowney trade could've brought them a decent enough haul to help improve their chances. Same for the Rockets. A tweak to their lineup could bring enough of a change to help get them over the roadblock that resides in the Bay Area.

The rich get richer

The Astros finally called up Yordan Alvarez. He promptly hit a home run in his second at bat to set off a frenzy of hot takes about his future. This comes on the heels of he and Kyle Tucker both having killer seasons in the minors and some debating which of the two should be called up. All of this, and I haven't even mentioned Forrest Whitley's inevitable call up. Oh, and that other famous beard who used to pitch for the Astros recently had to settle for a one year pro-rated $20 million dollar deal with the Braves which is a far cry from the multi-year big money deal he thought he deserved. Meanwhile, the Astros aren't missing him at all and are sporting one of the best records in MLB, despite being plagued with injuries.

So what now?

The Astros are basically on cruise control. They just have to continue to make the right decisions when it comes to personnel and they'll be fine. Jim Crane will need to dip into the luxury tax in order to keep more of the core players together if they plan on continuing to contend over the next few years. Even if they don't, they have really good players in the pipeline to keep on chugging along. The Rockets have been on the brink the last couple years. However, they need some tweaking in order to move past their stagnation. What that tweaking needs to be perhaps comes in the form of a coaching staff and roster shakeup. As long as they have Harden, they'll be OK, but the window to win a title is shrinking with the days that go by. Creating some roster flexibility by trading Chris Paul and/or Clint Capela will help, but it depends on what they get back in return. The Texans have the unfair advantage of being the drug this city is addicted to. Fan support won't waver because the city needs football like a junky needs their next fix. That's why Bill O'Brien can be a C-student, get extended while the guy he wanted as general manager gets fired, and seemingly still has job security. There are still moves for the Texans to make, but with the draft gone and free agency dried up, those moves are limited this offseason.

I wish nothing but the best for all Houston sports teams.The Astros probably need it the least as they have taken the proper steps to ensure they'll be contenders for years to come. The Rockets can be fun to watch at times, but are stuck in a rut in which it seems they may be in for the foreseeable future due to the confines they've gotten themselves into with some albatross type contracts. It's not impossible, but it is an improbable mountain to climb. The Texans have moved to the front of the line when it comes to hot messes. They need to become more focused and driven. If they can commit to a certain direction and stick to it, They have some pieces in place to build around and need to make the right decisions moving forward in order to get out of the rut they're in. For the sake and sanity of Houston sports fans, I hope and pray the Texans and Rockets get their collective shit together.

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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