GRUFF TIMES

5 ways to make Bill O’Brien more likeable

Billy O's image could use a reboot. Composite photo by Brandon Strange

The Texans have won nine in a row, are in control of the AFC South and in the running for a top two seed. They have dusted two inferior teams in the last two weeks, and are playing great football.

But for some reason, no one likes Bill O’Brien. If we put his picture on a story, people don’t want to read it. He’s gruff, standoffish, a know it all, a bully and at times comes off as an ass. Or, as Charlie Pallilo calls him, Billy Bluster.

If the Texans keep winning, O’Brien’s profile is going to continue to grow.

So as a public service, here are five things O’Brien can do to become more likeable:

  1. Answer the questions thoughtfully. The infamous “not my job” comment and terse responses - especially after losses - come off as petty. You can be that way when you have titles (Bill Belichick, Gregg Popovich). But when you don’t you are just a jerk. Put some effort in it, Billy.

  2. There is this thing called a smile...Have you ever seen him do it? Nope, neither have we. When you win, show some positive emotion. As Billy himself says, it’s hard to win a game in the NFL. When you do, take a second to enjoy it.

  3. Puppies. Bring a puppy to the press conference. Everyone loves puppies. They will ignore everything else. “We sucked today” will still get an “awwww” with a good puppy.

  4. Open up a little. People close to O’Brien say he is a great guy. That side never shows up in public. Yeah, we know you have to put on a facade, but not everything has to be the tough guy, small man act.

  5. Screw it. Just keep winning. Get a Super Bowl and you can act like an ass and no one cares.

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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