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 loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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