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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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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