The Cowboys Report

Cowboys crushed by Chicago; Rams up next

Jerry Jones
Rob Carr

The Dallas Cowboys (6-7) were destroyed 31-24 by the Chicago Bears (7-6) and don't let the score deceive you. Dallas was only in the game for about the first 8 minutes, then the Bears took over and they never had a chance after that.

Recap

For the 2nd week in a row the Cowboy offense took their opening possession and scored a touchdown, but just like last week that was about all they did right.It looks like coach Garrett has lost the team and there needs to be a change.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 27/49 for 334 yards, 1 touchdown, and NO turnovers. The NFL's leading passer put up another good looking statistical game but it still led to a loss. Prescott connected with 6 different receivers and 2nd year man Michael Gallup led the way with 6 catches for 109 yards. Dallas' #1 receiver Amari Cooper had 6 catches for 83 yards and a late garbage time touchdown towards the end of the game.

Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott had a good game. He carried the ball 19 times for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. After the first drive he looked like he was set to have a big day but the Bears made better adjustments that Dallas couldn't keep up with.

Dallas (6-7) has now lost 3 games in a row but are luckily still leading the NFC East even though their division rival Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) won. No matter how bad they have been playing, they still have a 67% chance of winning their division and making the playoffs. Essentially they only need to win their game against the Eagles in Week 16.

3 Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke had good game stat wise, but he is going to have to put the team on his back to get them a win this week against another top 10 defense in the Los Angeles Rams.

2.Cowboys Defense (All): Just made Mitch Trubisky and one of the worst offenses in the NFL look like All Pros, hopefully linebacker Jaylon Smith can help contain ProBowl running back Todd Gurley. If not, they could be in for another loss just like the last 2 games.

3.Kai Forbath (Kicker): The Cowboys finally cut kicker Brett Maher who was leading the league in missed field goal attempts so this will be Forbath's first game with the Cowboys this year. Forbath was just cut by the New England Patriots last week. Let's see if he can provide some easy points.

Coming Up

The Dallas Cowboys (6-7) will be at home taking on the Los Angeles Rams (8-5) on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff is set at 3:25 pm Central time. The Cowboys are somehow favored to win this but I can't see a scenario where they come out with a win here. They are a very talented team that just can't seem to put together a whole game.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB), Michael Gallup (WR)

Rams: Cooper Kupp (WR), Todd Gurley (RB), Robert Woods (WR), Jared Goff (QB)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -1 and the over/under is 48. Dallas has not beaten a team with a record of.500 or better this year, the Rams are 3 games over .500. Bet the Rams for an easy win.

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Who's going to step up in the Astros outfield? Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.

Astros manager Joe Esapda has certainly faced his share of criticism this season. When it was looking like another playoff appearance was out of reach in May, many were putting the blame mostly on Espada (Jose Abreu took his lumps too).

Now that the Astros have crawled above .500 and are in striking distance of the division leading Mariners, a new challenge has emerged.

Who should be playing regularly in the outfield and at first base? It would be nice if one of these options really stood out from the rest of the pack. But that hasn't been the case, at least since Joey Loperfido returned on June 21. So I decided to dive into this minuscule sample size to see who's making the best case to get regular at-bats as of late.

How have the bats fared since Loperfido returned?

When Loperfido rejoined the team, the Astros said they would get him more at-bats this time around. And that did happen for a while. He started five straight games after being recalled to the big league club (June 21).

His first game back was terrific as he recorded 3 hits with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. But after that, he's done next to nothing as a starter. He did have a huge pinch hit against the Mets, but otherwise he's been pretty underwhelming since his big game against the Orioles on June 21.

So if Loperfido doesn't appear quite ready, what about Chas McCormick? McCormick shares some similarities with Loperfido recording one multi-hit game since June 21. He's started 4 games, plus some pinch hit opportunities. He, too, had a big game against Baltimore, but hasn't done much else in limited chances.

Trey Cabbage has shown some flashes with 1 multi-hit game in three starts. But nothing to write home about.

Mauricio Dubon has 2 multi-hit games with nine starts over this span, splitting time in the infield and outfield.

Jake Meyers appears to be the mainstay out of this group. His offense has been solid, and his defense is Gold Glove worthy. He has two multi-hit games in nine starts.

Jon Singelton may not play the outfield, but he does impact Dubon's playing time at first. He has two multi-hit games in six starts, which includes a three-hit game with a dinger against the Mets.

Let's assess the situation

Okay, we covered all the recent stats for these players and one thing has become apparent. Nobody is doing enough to get regular starts outside of Meyers and Dubon. And that has more to do with their season-long resume.

One could argue Singleton has been okay over this short stretch. But he's almost 33 years old. Expecting him to show much improvement over his career numbers seems unlikely. He'll continue to get chances against right-handed pitching, but that's about as far as it goes. We've already seen him lose playing time to Dubon even with righties on the mound.

Just look at Wednesday's lineup. Espada started all righties outside of Yordan Alvarez against left-handed Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi.

Photo via: MLB.com/Screenshot

Right-handed hittingGrae Kessinger is starting at first base over Singleton and Loperfido. This should tell us everything we need to know about the logjam in the outfield and at first base.

Espada has seemingly made this a full-blown platoon situation. And that's not changing unless one of these players steps up and takes the job.

Over the next two weeks before the All Star break, the sample size will get bigger, and we'll have a better idea of who deserves the most playing time. Hopefully, Kyle Tucker will return around that time, and that will make cracking the lineup even harder for these guys.

That's when predicting the Astros lineup will get a lot easier, in theory. Meyers and Dubon have done enough to play almost every day. With Meyers in center and Dubon bouncing between the outfield and first base. Which means Singleton will start against righties fairly often, and Dubon should play first when a lefty is on the mound.

If that's the case, Espada won't be looking to put Cabbage or Loperfido in left field against a southpaw. Chas McCormick will likely get most of those starts, being right-handed.

What about Yordan?

When he plays left field, we typically see Yainer Diaz hitting DH. I would expect that to continue. When Yainer has the day off and Yordan plays left, expect Espada to play the matchup (shocker).

The other factor to consider is Cesar Salazar. We know he'll get starts behind the plate, spelling Yainer Diaz. So those lineups could be a little tougher to predict depending on if Yainer is in the DH spot.

But Salazar does deserve a quick mention. Espada received some criticism for pinch hitting Cabbage for him in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's loss. This season, Salazar has been money with runners in scoring position. He's slashing .571/.500/.714 with an OPS of 1.214.

Cabbage made Espada look even worse with an uncompetitive at-bat, swinging at three straight high fastballs.

But that goes along with the point of this article. Espada is going to have his hands full trying to predict which player will come through on any given day.

If someone doesn't separate themselves from the bunch, he's going to play the matchups almost exclusively. Which is understandable based on the cards he's been dealt.

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