Baseball Games In Houston

When our family traveled to Texas in June, we went to see two different Houston Astros baseball games. In both of the games, the Astros played the Chicago White Sox. The first game on Friday night was the best game we could’ve seen, and the second game on Saturday was pretty boring.

We and our friend Asher before the start of the first game.

It took us about 25 minutes to walk from our Airbnb house to the Astros’ Minute Maid Park. We didn’t have to wait in lines for too long to get inside. There were free giveaway jerseys that you collected as you entered the stadium.

Sitting behind the Astros dugout, we had an excellent view of the game. Framber Valdez pitched for the Astros, their second best pitcher this year, while Lucas Giolito, who’s an above-average pitcher but is having a down year, pitched for the White Sox.

In the 1st inning, the Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman hit a home run, so that made it 2 to nothing. At that point in the season, he was slumping and hadn’t hit a homer in a while so that was cool to see. The next inning Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel also hit a home run which made it 3-nothing. Gurriel was in a slump, too, so it was exciting that we saw both of the slumping hitters hit a homer. The only bad inning pitcher Valdez had was the 3rd where one of the White Sox players hit a home run to tie the game at three runs.

However, the Astros scored three runs in the 6th to take back the lead. They still had the bases loaded with zero outs and the Astros left fielder Michael Brantley came up to bat. He’s not really known for hitting home runs; in fact, last year he only hit eight homers the whole season. To our amazement, this time he hit a grand slam to make it 10-3 Astros!

Brantley’s grand slam (we got it on video)!

Interestingly, both times we’ve seen the Astros (the other time was in Baltimore back in June 2017), a Houston player hit a grand slam at the winning game, while the next day’s game was disappointing.

But this season the Astros best hitter Yordan Alvarez smashed a homer, giving Houston another run. It was 12-3 and they were destroying the White Sox. Surely, I thought they wouldn’t score anymore that inning, but then the very next batter Kyle Tucker hit yet another homer, making it 13-3. That was the first time the Astros had scored 10 runs in one inning since 2017. For the rest of the game, the Astros pitching didn’t let the White Sox score any runs and the Astros won the game easily. 

Minute Maid Park before the game

The following day, we saw the second game in the afternoon. The Astros best pitcher Justin Verlander was on the mound whereas the White Sox pitcher hasn’t been performing wells since 2016. The White Sox scored first in the 3rd inning when they loaded the bases and their center fielder knocked in two runs on a single. Their next batter also got a hit which scored two more runs for the Sox. In the 4th, Chicago scored three more runs and Verlander was taken out of the game.

At that point in the season, Verlander had an ERA below 2, meaning that he was only allowing 1 run per a full game; that’s why he’s considered an elite pitcher. In this game, however, he didn’t do that. What’s weird is that now, Verlander has been living up to his reputation and even has the best ERA in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the one time saw him pitch, he was subpar. But we did get to witness a awesome first game at Minute Maid where Astros offense did incredible. 

For years I have wanted to attend a baseball game in Houston and we finally got to see two. It was a really fun experience and I’d love to see another game sometime.

The Road Trip to Texas

Our trip to Texas was fun, especially the Astros games we saw, but the ride there and back were pretty stressful. We had seven people in our car: me, my two brothers, my parents, our friend Asher from South Carolina, and my grandmother. We also brought our German Shepherd, Jade. Atop our 15-year-old car was a heavy luggage carrier with 100 pounds of stuff on the inside. We left North Carolina around 11 A.M. and we picked up Asher in Greenville at around 2:30 P.M.

Rolling along smoothly, we stopped at a gas station to get some snacks near the Georgia state line, but after we made our way further into the state, we saw something weird: a car that was completely on fire in the middle of a street we could see from the interstate. It was an extremely hot and humid day, about 100 degrees, but when we got into Atlanta, it rose to 108. With bumper-to-bumper traffic, we were stuck for about 30 minutes. 

For the whole trip so far, there had been bumps in the road. Because our car was so weighed down, every time we hit a rough spot, it was extremely loud. Our clunky van sounded as if it was falling apart. Scared to death, with each and every wallop Jade would try to get in my parents’ lap. Surprisingly, when we got to Alabama, the roads were nice and smooth, and there were only a couple bumps throughout the whole state. We thought we might have to drive through the night, but instead we decided to stop in Mobile, Alabama. 

A plaque at an Alabama rest stop.

Stopping around 11 P.M., we got the “best” hotel in the city. The hotel was quite trashy and smelled like marijuana, although the rooms were comfortable. In the morning we got up at 6:30 and packed our things back into the car and hit the road around 8.

Monument in Louisiana.

After traveling for only about 45 minutes through Mississippi, we crossed over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge at which we were about 7 or 8 hours away from Houston. We passed over a massive swamp called the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana and whizzed by many flat plains before arriving in Texas. We stopped at the state welcome center for bathroom break and then kept driving since we still had a few hours to go. The roads in Texas were particularly shoddy, with potholes and uneven pavement every five minutes. Jade was not happy. Texas was the flattest place I have ever been to and there were barely any trees. Exhausted and a bit on edge, we finally made it to our Airbnb at around 3 P.M. and slept like rocks.

Us at the Texas rest stop.
Jade and my dad resting under the star.

Six days later, we were ready to leave Texas, departing around noon. We stopped in Louisiana for lunch so dad could get boudin and had dinner in Mandeville with my cousin Casey and her husband Garret who live in New Orleans. We ate fried seafood and then got back on the road. In Greenville, Alabama, we spent the night at a motel, which was a little better than the hotel in Mobile.

Us having dinner in Mandeville, Louisiana.

Waking early the next morning, we made good time and dropped Asher off in South Carolina around 6 P.M. We arrived home at 11 P.M. and had a late dinner, then went to bed. We made great memories in Texas, especially at the baseball games, but the drive there and back was definitely not the best part, but it was worth it.