WEEKEND WRAPUP

Fred Faour: On actual odds of Lebron to the Rockets, Tiger Woods, Blake Bortles and the world is flat. Really.

Lebron to the Rockets? Some gambling sites think so. NBA.com

One of the things that has become popular is the practice of gambling web sites releasing prop odds for things that will spark people’s interest. Such things as Odds to win the Heisman, which coach will be fired first, which coach will get a certain job. There are even odds on who sits on the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones.

They are designed to be fun, create talking points and get the web sites’ names out there more than anything else. So I found it interesting this morning to see that The Big Lead fell hook, line and sinker into a topic that will be of interest to Houston fans: Where will Lebron James wind up next season?

It’s interesting because the Rockets are first favorite on one site, second favorite on the other. The reality is James will probably stay in Cleveland, but at least national news outlets are noticing the Rockets and how well they are playing and do not consider the possibility to be a joke. That sites have them so low is also a show of respect.

Odds are just speculation based on potential outcomes. And there is still a lot of time left before the season ends. After all, the Rockets appear to be title contenders now. But it’s always fun to speculate, right?

Tiger’s back?

Main headline on the front page of USA TODAY sports this morning:

TIGER IMPRESSES

Woods finishes 12th while Thomas wins Honda Classic

The golf world is so desperate for Woods to be good again, it’s almost pathetic. (The media is the same way. You are much more likely to click on a story that says Tiger Woods than Luke Thomas. Wait for it...Gotcha. You probably didn’t even notice that his name is Justin -- not Luke -- Thomas and he is on fire on the Tour). But hey, Woods finished 12th! Tiger being good benefits everyone, so expect more of the same moving forward. “Tiger finishes 10th; Speith wins tournament.” “Tiger shows promise with a ninth-place effort; that Thomas guy wins again.”

Rock solid

The U.S. men won gold for the first time in Olympic curling. It might be the first time I have watched an entire curling match. There is a hell of a lot going on in that game. It seems like it would be a fun beer league thing. But now it will go back into oblivion for four years.

Shame bell to NBC for the awful karaoke rendition by the team of Don’t Stop Believin’. I stopped believing four bars in.

Blake superior

The Jaguars locked up Blake Bortles for three years. He is signed through 2020 and the numbers look big -- $54 million -- but the Jags can essentially bail after one year without much penalty, and if he plays well they have him at a fair price. If you think you can win with Bortles, and the Jags clearly think they can, it is a good deal. I think there were better options out there for a team that is a QB away. Maybe Bortles can take a key step forward, but as we see with a lot of franchises, their window is now. There is no guarantee that a great defense will carry over from one year to the next. For now, Bortles is the man. If the Jags are wrong, they will miss out on a golden opportunity.

Flat out stupid

I would like to assume Geno Smith was trolling when he started buying in to the flat earth argument only to back off later when he was destroyed on Twitter.

One of the positives to social media is it has given people a way to share their views without filter. And that, too, is the negative. No filter means no one to say, “hey, you are going to look dumb if you tweet this.”

His last tweet was this: “I find it funny how you all assume I believe Earth is flat lol I just think you guys should have an open mind because as we know a lot of the “truths” that we thought were true actually aren’t.”

First off, slapping an LOL on it does not make it OK. Secondly, I’m all for questioning things that need to be questioned, but someone thinking the earth is flat is not a “truth.” It’s dumb.

What’s next Geno?

Truth: The moon is made of cheese. And there is a man in it.

Truth: The stars are just God’s night lights.

Truth: I can jump off a building because gravity does not exist and I will float like a leaf on the wind.

Truth: Scarlett Johannson has a secret crush on me and going to leave her attractive husband for an old, disgusting radio host.

Yeah, feel free not to believe any of those "truths."

I think it’s time we focus our energy on some real truths, like Geno Smith sucks at football. But Don’t Stop Believin’ buddy.

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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