THE PALLILOG

Rockets are set to pick up where they left off

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

While Major League Baseball and its players jerk around with regard to coming to terms that yield a 2020 season, the NBA path back to the hardwood is firmed up. An on or about July 31 resumption with a postseason running as late as October 12 has risks and all kinds of logistics to navigate, but we're almost certainly getting there.

When we last saw the Rockets, they were at 40-24 in the sixth seed slot in the Western Conference. They can move up (or down) as one of the 22 of the 30 NBA teams that will gather in Orlando for a partial schedule conclusion to the regular season before it's on to the playoffs. The basic outline for the schedule is teams will pick up where they left off when the season was shut down and play the next eight games on the schedule as of March 12, minus games against the eight teams not heading to Florida. That should make the Rockets' first game back against the Lakers. Their other opponents would be the Trail Blazers, Kings, Mavericks, Bucks, Pacers, 76ers, and Raptors.

James Harden has evidently dropped somewhere from 10 to 20 pounds and is said to be fitter than he's ever been. Russell Westbrook is always in peak physical condition. Could make for a fun couple of months. Or the Rockets could get bounced in the first round.

MLB

As for baseball, the two parties seem as close together on a deal as Muggsy Bogues and George Muresan are close on the all-time NBA height chart. The owners offered an 82 game season with huge additional player pay cuts. The players responded with a 114 game season and no additional cuts. Both proposals were wastes of time. The owners' latest proposal is no further pay cuts, but for only a 50 game schedule. Rome is burning and we have dueling Neros fiddling away.

NFL

I am a white man who cannot possibly on the same level as a black man (or woman) feel or comprehend the struggle, pain, and anger that comes with facing endemic racism both overt and covert. If you are white like New Orleans Saints' quarterback and icon Drew Brees, you can't either. In the ongoing aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Brees struck another nerve Wednesday with his remarks iterating his position about what he considers "disrespecting the flag." Outrage response was swift including from several of Brees's teammates. His comments were not evil. Brees can feel how he wants about the flag/anthem, as can any person. Brees's remarks were insensitive and as he put it "missed the mark" and "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy." His Thursday apology was comprehensive and reads fully genuine, and was accepted by every teammate who commented. If lasting positives are to emerge from this sorry episode in American history, millions of white Americans are going to have to deal with (maybe embrace is a better word) uncomfortable conversations. I fear the unfortunate reality through this is that most of those who most need to change and for starters really listen, are least likely to have any interest in doing so.

Citing the flag as a symbol of unity is a nice notion. Realities supersede symbols and notions. Those who pour out disgust at anything short of complete oath and fealty to the flag and national anthem would be well served to remember or learn that the Star-Spangled Banner was written in 1814. The "land of the free" didn't mean a damn thing to the slaves of that time. The Star-Spangled banner officially became our national anthem in 1931. 33 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Lenny Dykstra in the news again

Lenny Dykstra was one heck of a baseball player for several years. His 1993 season with the Phillies is one of the greatest ever put up by a leadoff hitter. As tremendous as he was on the field for significant stretches, off the field Dykstra has been as big a slimeball of a human being. He's done time in federal prison for money laundering and fraud, and has a long list of character stains on his record. Dykstra sued former Mets teammate Ron Darling for defamation and libel over information about Dykstra included in Darling's autobiography. Dykstra's suit was dismissed last Friday by a judge who said Dykstra's "reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured." Beautiful.


Buzzer Beaters:

1. There sure have been a lot of NASCAR races lately. At least gas is cheap these days. 2. Probably not as interesting as the Lance Armstrong doc, but I'm in for the Bruce Lee 30 for 30 Sunday night. 3. Greatest sports Bruces happen to all be football: Bronze-Isaac Silver-Matthews Gold-Smith

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome