THE PALLILOG

O'Brien's silence on Hopkins trade speaks volumes

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Caveat ahead of the rest of this column: So much is trivial relative to the life and death and other critical Covid-19 pandemic issues, but sports matter as passions of so many, as multi-billion dollar businesses with impact on many other businesses, and beyond. All things in context.

We grind on. All we can do. As responsibly as we can. The line from the TV series Friday Night Lights comes to mind: "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose." Not true of course, but still a great message. Now: "Wash Hands, Social Distance, Hang In There." Man it's a struggle for sports material these days.

Texans Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien isn't exactly the most beloved sports figure in Houston these days, but give the man his due for donating 100 thousand dollars to the Houston Food Bank. Those so inclined, insert O'Brien donating DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals joke here. 100K will provide tens of thousands of meals to many people in need. Doesn't change the fact that on the professional side it is so weak that O'Brien has yet to speak publicly about his Hopkins deal that is as universally mocked as ridiculous as any trade I can recall. It's a virtual certainty it won't turn out to be the worst trade ever or even close, but at the time of the deal nobody other than (presumably) O'Brien himself, and maybe his right hand man Jack Easterby thinks the Texans made a reasonable exchange. Every expectation should be that upon questioning Emperor O will offer up variations of "Like all moves we make we do what we think is best for the football team." It's still part of his job to take the questions. Frankly, it's weak of Cal McNair to let O'Brien get away with it.

The NFL proceeds relatively undeterred. It's monstrosity of a draft extravaganza in Las Vegas won't happen, but the NFL Draft will in less than three weeks. Barring a highly surprising trade, the Texans sit out the first round Thursday night April 23. Part of the price for acquiring left tackle Laremy Tunsil who went on record this week saying he intends to become the new highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. The Texans have reportedly offered a package averaging 18 and a half million dollars per season. That's a little over a million per Tunsil penalty (17, not counting three that were declined) committed last season. He's a very good should be entering his prime left tackle. Philadelphia right tackle Lane Johnson's extension signed last year averages 18 mil per season, presently tops among tackles. Johnson's deal also set the new tackle high with over 54 mil guaranteed.

Seems pretty obvious that 20 mil per season (at least) is Tunsil's hope. That's where ex-Texan Jadeveon Clowney was thinking as he entered unrestricted free agency. Not happening. No pity party necessary if Clowney winds up "settling" for, say, three years 45 mil. The Texans certainly could use him, and only the Browns presently have more available salary cap space. You don't suppose?

​Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Someday​.

There is no chance of Major League Baseball starting its season within the next couple of months. I doubt A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow are sharing a laugh about it, but they can't be unhappy to hear that if even if there winds up being no MLB games played in 2020, their season long suspensions will be considered served. Thing is, if no baseball is played, no team is going to fire a manager to hire Hinch for 2021, or an executive to put Luhnow in charge.


Astropologists may struggle to deal with it, but Evan Gattis this week became the latest ex-Astro to acknowledge how disgraceful their cheating system was. On an Atlanta based podcast within The Athletic Gattis offered this apt line: "It was wrong for the nature of competition, not even just baseball."

Simply Shameful

Re: those dozens of spoiled, self-entitled UT students now with coronavirus after chartering a plane to Cabo for spring break in the process spitting in the face of government advisory and any common sense. Are they sorry for their immensely irresponsible and selfish behavior that could ultimately impact many other people, or only sorry that they have coronavirus? If that.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Tom Brady is leasing Derek Jeter's 30-thousand square foot Tampa home. Think they haggled over the rental price? 2. Which is sadder: that ESPN intends to televise the entirety of a 16 NBA player NBA 2K video tournament, or that I'll probably watch some of it? 3. Top "should have beens" this weekend: Bronze-Ferociously contested Sunday softball Silver-Astros at Angels Gold-the Final Four in Atlanta

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Houston gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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