Every-Thing Sports

Explaining Bill O'Brien's time management skills

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In his six years roaming the sidelines for the Houston Texans, head coach Bill O'Brien has garnered a reputation for his time management skills, or lack thereof. He repeatedly will waste timeouts, not call them, botch end of game/end of half situations, and generally shows a lack of understanding when it comes to situational football. This was particularly apparent when at the end of first half of the Jags game, he held onto two timeouts. When asked about it in the postgame presser, he gave yet another bullshit answer basically saying they executed minus a few missed opportunities on a couple plays.

That was maybe the "toughest" line of questioning O'Brien has faced since coming to Houston. Instead of calling for checks and balances, or even his job, let's try to understand where O'Brien is coming from. Maybe he's just misunderstood? He could be more complex than the thin-skinned arrogant prick we've grown to know and loathe. I've taken a few psychology courses and read a ton of material. Personally, I think I'm qualified to look into what makes O'Brien tick and why he's so bad with time and timeout management. There are several reasons why I think O'Brien may be confused in crunch time. Here's a look into some reasons why he tends to have brain farts:

Playoff Tiebreaker

AJ Hoffman mentioned this on The Blitz that he thinks O'Brien yesterday in hour two that his theory is that O'Brien thinks saving timeouts are a playoff tiebreaker. Giving the way this season is going, he probably thinks piling up timeouts will help his team's chances in a heated playoff race.

#TeamChicFilA

In the great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019, O'Brien is #TeamChicFilA. He must think saving timeouts and wasting clock is a way to earn points on the Chic Fil A app. I'm almost certain he's reached red status by now. However, he must believe that the extra timeouts and/or time clock wasting is earning him points on the app that will lead to rewards, which will give him brownie points with the team when he caters lunch after practice. Popeye's never stood a chance because they didn't have rewards points on their app and ran out of sandwiches.

Cash back on gas

O'Brien does a ton of driving as does most Houston residents when it comes to commuting to and from work. Maybe he's convinced that the timeouts can be converted into gas miles/points he can use. While I can't pinpoint where he lives, one can only imagine that his commute is at least 15-20 minutes like the rest of us. Given that aspect, he's most likely hoarding then to get money back or a discount off his gas when filling up. If he's smart, he'd use Get Upside.

Overrated

O'Brien thinks stopping the clock late in a half or game is overrrated. He's so overly confident in his play-calling abilities, that he has fully convinved himself that calling timeout is overrated. He believes in himself so much, his confidence has outgrown his belief in time itself.

Hoarder

Here's a theory some of you may not have suspected. O'Brien could be a secretive hoarder. It could be on of those situations in which Mrs. O'Brien isn't fully aware of his secretive hoarding. Henceforth, he's always tried to retain timeouts thinking that he will accumulate them and be able to use them later.

Stupid smart

Yet another working observation I've noticed is that he could be so smart, he's a dumbass. Some smarts lack in other areas. O'Brien may be one of us. There are tinmes in which I can't figure out simple things, but I can tell you who blew an assignment or ran a bad route on any given play. O'Brien may be the same way. He's so focused on the macro that he loses track of the micro. Bad combination.

As you can see, we could all be looking at O'Brien the wrong way. Maybe we should be giving him the benfit of the doubt. Maybe we should all be following his lead. Instead, we sit by awaiting his firing while he's busy being the smartest guy on Kirby. Maybe we're all dumbs, and he's a smart? Maybe he has this life thing figured out and we're still stupidly stumbling around looking for answers. I'd hate to live in a world in which O'Brien is the key to life. Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

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Jose Altuve sparked the offense with three hits in Game 2 of the World Series. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.

The Astros lead the World Series 1-1. Not literally obviously, but with the best-of-seven reduced to a best-of the next-five, even with the scene shifting to Philadelphia’s raucous Citizens Bank Park for three games the Astros reclaimed the role of favorites to win it. Game two was not a must win for the Astros but without it the lifting needed to take the series would have gotten a heck of a lot heavier.

Thank you Framber Valdez. He excelled where Justin Verlander faltered. Framber’s curveball laid waste to the Phillies’ lineup as he gave back just one run of a 5-0 lead in spinning six and a third tremendous innings. The Astros can be hopeful that Jose Altuve has awoken from his offensive coma and stays so. After an undisciplined and feeble first eight postseason games (four hits in 37 at bats, .108 batting average, 12 strikeouts) with 12 strikeouts, Altuve’s three hit game two seems revitalizing. Of note, after his first pitch of the bottom of the first double to left, Altuve’s second hit was up the middle and his third a two strike line drive lashed to right. When Altuve is at his very best he avoids being extremely pull-happy. Yordan Alvarez rediscovering his thump would further boost the Astro cause. Since the first two games of the Seattle series Yordan is four for 28 (.143) without a home run.

It’s now that the starting pitching matchups really tilt in Houston’s favor. Justin Verlander vs. Aaron Nola was no mismatch. Zack Wheeler was at least as good as Framber this season. Now while the Astros have Lance McCullers (though it’s road Lance…) and Cristian Javier cued up for games three and four, the Phillies line up Noah Syndergaard and Ranger Suarez. Advantage Astros in each game. Of course, that’s on paper.

As opposed to the TV-dictated schedule nonsense of the LDS and LCS, the traditional best-of-seven series format remains for the World Series. That means after Sunday’s off day games three, four, and five are set for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday with an off day Thursday before if necessary game six Friday and game seven Saturday back at Minute Maid Park. That means only four different starting pitchers are necessary. The Astros have a legitimate fifth starter option in Luis Garcia should they prefer to give Justin Verlander a fifth day of rest and hold him back for a prospective game six which would move Framber Valdez back from game six to game seven. As I noted last week, only once since July 1 has Verlander pitched on only four days rest.

About the only thing missing on Verlander’s resume is winning a World Series game. If we think of Verlander’s big league career as a beautiful face, his World Series track record is a gross, oozing zit. After blowing the 5-0 lead he was given Friday night, Verlander is now 0-6 with a 6.07 earned run average in eight World Series starts. No other pitcher in history without a World Series win has more than four losses. In the past home runs killed him, nine of them allowed in 38 innings before game one. As frame of reference, in the entire regular season this year over 175 innings of work Verlander gave up only 12 homers. This time, after retiring the first 10 Phillies in order Verlander just lost his command. No homers, but six hits and two walks over the fourth and fifth innings wrecked his outing.

Getting shelled in two of his three postseason starts sure ramps up the pressure on Verlander presuming he has one more start to make. Should he flop for a third time, it’s a complicating factor for the Astros’ decision making as Verlander almost certainly opts out of the 25 million player option he has for 2023 to enter free agency before turning 40 years old in February.

Dusty Baker did not blow game one, Verlander did. Second guessing is easy and comes with the territory but when you break down the game situations there was no obvious spot demanding a hook before the game was tied. The Phils striking for three runs in the top of the fourth was not going to chase the ace. The Phils never considered hooking Aaron Nola after Kyle Tucker’s second homer ballooned the Astros’ lead to 5-0 in the third. In the fifth, Verlander gave up a double and a walk, but then induced a pop up for the first out. J.T. Realmuto then laced the game-tying double to the gap in left-center. There it was reasonable to say “Take him out!” but Verlander then retired the next two batters to end the inning. In real time, going to Luis Garcia in the top of the tenth ahead of Ryne Stanek was a questionable choice, but certainly not plainly stupid. Also, five runs should be enough to win, but the Astro offense produced zero over the last eight innings.

The Astros are supposed to be the much better defensive team. They haven't been thus far. In game one while the Philly D was sharp, Jeremy Pena was not charged with an error but failed to make a play he should have made and Verlander had a shot at a double play but didn’t cleanly field a comebacker. In game two the Phillies gifted the Astros an unearned run, but the Astros again weren’t up to their standards. Jose Altuve egregiously went to sleep on a play that cost Pena an error, and Yuli Gurriel very uncharacteristically botched a routine grounder that cost a run. Tightening up the defense is one element that would boost the Astros’ chances of World Series title number two.

Major League Baseball has had eight different franchises win the last eight World Series. The Phillies have made perfectly clear their intentions to make it nine in nine. As the series moves to the laughably nicknamed City of Brotherly Love, it is worth noting that the Phillies are undefeated at home this postseason, having taken two from the Braves and then swept three from the Padres. That will faze the Astros as much as the Astros having been 7-0 in the playoffs entering the World Series fazed the Phils.

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