The Pallilog

Charlie Pallilo: At least some big names should be on the field for Texans this weekend

J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should see time. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The third NFL preseason game is typically the least unwatchable of the four. The Texans-Rams game would fill that prescription provided J.J. Watt plays at least a few snaps. There are wackier predictions out there then one suggesting the Texans and Rams could meet in late August, then again in early February in Atlanta. It might take a meeting in Super Bowl LIII for the two quarterbacks taken first overall in the 2016 and 2017 drafts to share the field. The Rams Jared Goff was a bust of a rookie, then with much better coaching and talent around him a breakout star last year. The Texans have less star level talent, so their highest of hopes ride overwhelmingly on Deshaun Watson being healthy and fantastic.

Other than arguably the Jaguars, the Rams were the biggest team story in the NFL last season. After 13 consecutive years without a winning season, the Rams exploded into the highest scoring team in the NFL en route to an 11-5 finish.

Over their 82 seasons as a franchise from Cleveland to California to St. Louis and back to California, the Rams have won 555 games and lost 559. So if they match last season’s 11 wins they’ll climb back over .500 for their history. The only time the Texans’ franchise record has been over .500 was after their inaugural win over the Cowboys in 2002. The quickest the Texans can again get over .500 for their history is by going 16-0 this season, 16-0 next season, and then winning their first four games in 2020. Yeah, it’ll take a while longer.

Ringing it in again

When the Astros scheduled their fourth replica ring giveaway night for this coming Monday, it was not a coincidence that the pick was a Monday night game with the school year underway all across Houston. A game that would otherwise have had thousands of unsold tickets quickly became a sellout. It’s an absolute win-win; the Astros reap some nice additional profits and more fans get the coolest of ballpark giveaways.

Monday darn sure wasn’t picked with the idea that it would be the opener of a huge series with the Oakland A’s who are strongly challenging the Astros for the American League West title. But here we are. It’s late August not late September, but Monday’s game should have the most playoff feel to it of any at Minute Maid Park until the playoffs.

Growing pains

The Astros hoped for help Thursday night from St. Pius High School graduate Kohl Stewart who made a start on the mound against the A’s. Stewart didn’t get the win but his Twins did. In 2013 Minnesota drafted Stewart fourth overall. He had the option of going to play baseball and quarterback at Texas A&M. Aggieland was enticing, but a signing bonus from the Twins of more than four and a half million dollars was more enticing. Stewart was not having a good season in the minors, giving up well over a hit per inning with a 4.47 earned run average split between AA and AAA. Since the Twins’ season is down the drain, they called him up two weeks ago. Three starts in Stewart’s ERA is 6.94.

No shot of watching this

I’m not sure what if any television I’ll be watching come Nov. 23, which this year is the day after Thanksgiving. Could have the Big 12 regular season title on the line that night as Oklahoma plays at West Virginia. The Rockets will be playing at Detroit. I know what I will NOT be watching. Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson in their sure to be overhyped heads up match in Las Vegas. Billed as nine million dollars, winner takes all. In the spirit of Las Vegas, the best bet is it’s not really winner takes all. Sponsorship money, appearance fees, and other revenue streams. Former supermodel Linda Evangelista once said she wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning for less than 10-grand per day. You think Tiger or Phil would let a bunch of others profit while one of them gets zero? If so, can I interest you in some Las Vegas oceanfront property?

Nine million bucks is a notable chunk even to guys each worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the selling of this as some golf ballsy stress test? Neither Tiger nor Phil is risking a penny. Worst of all, Woods-Mickelson will air on pay-per-view. Come on! And no thanks.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Urban Meyer sure seems the opposite of an honorable man. But hey, great football coach!  2. Big time college sports has cheating galore, but I’d still be surprised if Jimbo Fisher and his new A&M staff were brazen and stupid enough to have done what ex-Ag Santino Marchiol alleges.  3. Best ever palindromically surnamed NFL players: Bronze-Doug Harrah Silver-Jim Otto Gold-John Hannah (all o-linemen!)



 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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