DEL OLALEYE

Alabama continues to roll; Aggies still can't close out games

Nick Saban and Alabama continue to roll. Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Alabama dispatches LSU   

The only people who thought LSU had a chance to win Saturday night were fans of LSU. They showed up strong inside and outside of Tiger Stadium and with good reason if you’re a...lets just say exuberant(delusional) fan. Their favorite team was ranked 3rd in the first College Football Playoff poll and had already beaten a Top 5 Georgia team in Death Valley earlier this season. Tigers fans had dreams of ending their losing streak to Alabama and Nick Saban as LSU hadn’t beat the Crimson Tide since 2011. Unfortunately, Georgia isn’t Alabama and Jake Fromm isn’t Tua Tagovailoa. There are no positives to take away from getting shut out 29-0 at home. For all the anticipation going into the the game the gulf between the two SEC West rivals appears as large as ever. LSU coach Ed Orgeron says he needs better players on his offensive and defensive fronts to compete with Alabama. While that may be true, the difference in quarterback play can’t be overlooked. LSU has been deficient at the position for almost a decade. With a potential Heisman winner playing the position for Alabama, the lack of productivity for LSU at the position is only exacerbated. Great quarterback play beats the Tide. You are never going to out-recruit them in the trenches. Find that special one at quarterback LSU. It is the only chance you’ve got.

Closing out games remains a problem for the Aggies

The early season optimism from of all things playing Clemson to two points and beating Kentucky has evaporated for Texas A&M. In the last two weeks, themes that consistently plagued Kevin Sumlin’s tenure at Texas A&M have re-emerged. The Aggies can’t close teams out. The inability to defend a 3rd and 21 against Mississippi State deep in Bulldogs territory in the fourth quarter changed the complexion of that game. At the time it was a one-point game in Starkville. Jimbo Fisher’s team went on to lose that game by two scores. The misery didn’t end there. Leading by ten points in the fourth quarter over a scuffling Auburn team this past Saturday, Texas A&M missed a field goal, threw an interception and allowed a huge punt return. All three of those things contributed to a devastating loss that dropped the Aggies to 5-4. Losing to Alabama and LSU had come to be expected during Sumlin’s time in Aggieland. Getting beat by the likes of the Mississippi schools and Auburn drastically changed the complexion of Sumlin’s final seasons in College Station and eventually led to his dismissal. Fisher has all the job security in the world. You just don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the guy who you replaced. A loss to Ole Miss on Saturday would mean paying Fisher about $7.5 million a year resulted in not much changing on the field for the Aggies.

College Football Playoff Game of the Week

10 Ohio State vs 18 Michigan State

The Buckeyes need to be impressive if they have any chance of making people forget about the ass kicking Iowa gave them. Somehow the committee thinks a very average Michigan State team deserves a top-20 ranking. A win for Ohio State over a “quality” opponent keeps them in the race for a playoff spot. A matchup with No. 4 Michigan in The Horseshoe is looming.


 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome