The Cowboys Report

The Dallas Cowboys get in some work to prepare for the season; Rams up next

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The Dallas Cowboys began their 2019 NFL Football season Saturday night on the road when they took on the San Francisco 49ers in their first preseason game of the year.The Cowboys went into halftime leading 9-7 but eventually lost by the final score of 17-9.

Almost all teams use the preseason as glorified practices to get players game speed repetitions and evaluate new players or players coming off of injuries.This is why most starters don't play much for any of the teams.

Starting Quarterback Dak Prescott looked good on his only drive of the game by completing all four of his passes as he led the Cowboys on a 9-play 65-yard drive that ended with a Brett Maher 25 yard field goal.He looks to have a great connection with second year receiver Michael Gallup who caught two passes for 19 yards on the drive as well.Another bright spot of the game was seeing Pro Bowl Center Travis Fredrick return to action. He missed all of last season due to Gullian-Barre Syndrome.

Most notably missing from the team was two-time Pro Bowler and last year's leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott. He has yet to report to the team and is holding out until he can secure a new contract even though he still has two years remaining on his original rookie deal.This a bit strange because most players hold out when they only have one year left but Zeke is probably the best running back in the league and wants to be paid as so. The position he plays has a very short shelf life and I don't blame him for wanting to get fully compensated.

The Dallas starting defense looked good in the two series they played.They only allowed two first downs and shut out the 49ers in the first quarter.

3 things to watch for

1.Running backs (T. Pollard or A. Morris): With Zeke away from the team, it will be good to see who can help replace his production.Rookie Tony Pollard from Memphis played with the starters on Saturday.He had 4 carries for 16 yards.Free agent acquisition Alfred Morris did not play this game but since he just signed with the team a few weeks ago he is probably still learning the play book.

2.Red Zone issues: The Cowboys have not been good at scoring touchdowns from inside the opponent's 20 yard line.This game was no different as they went 0-4.They have added a new offensive coordinator (Kellen Moore) and the return of 11 time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten should help improve this.Witten did not play on Saturday as well.

3.Kicker Brett Maher: The second year kicker from the Canadian Football League went 3 of 4 on his field goal attempts on Saturday. He missed from 35 yards in the second quarter. He tends to struggle between 30 and 40 yards. If the Cowboys Red Zone problems continue, Maher will have to be more effective.

Coming Up

Saturday, Aug. 17th the Cowboys (0-1) will be on the road again taking on the Los Angeles Rams (0-1) in Honolulu, Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.This one should be a little more interesting as both teams will be looking for their first preseason win and all starters might play a little more than a series or two.

Currently, the line on this game is a pickem with the over/under at 43.5.Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Who bets on preseason games?" but you would be surprised on how many people actually do. I will be staying away from it but if you have to play it, I would lean on the under. Both the Rams and Cowboys combined for only 12 points this past weekend.


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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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