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.


 

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Houston's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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