AROUND THE SPORTS WORLD

Turmoil in New York, the college football playoff and Herm hits Arizona

Eli Manning is back. SBNation

You can listen to my radio show, The Sports Bosses, Monday thru Friday 10 a.m. Eastern on SB Nation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

Another curious drive around they sports map this week. While I always say that I never let the facts get in the way of a good story, this week’s nuggets tell me that truth is always stranger than fiction:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

The Geno Smith era began and ended for the New York Football Giants with a 24-17 loss to the Raiders Sunday.

While Geno didn’t actually play bad he will forever be linked to the buffoonery that was the Ben McAdoo era in the meadowlands.

At 2-9, I get what the Giants were doing. But the logic of looking to Geno Smith to see what he can do is like saying .. I have a Rolls Royce but I want to drive something different this week. Oooh that Toyota Corolla looks interesting. All the while the “future” of the team, Davis Webb was inactive for the game.

After the loss New York fell to 2-10 on the season and quickly fired McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. Eli Manning is back as the driver of Big Blue as New York shakes themselves.

As far as McAdoo...I always thought that he looked like first guy killed in every mob movie. Well, congrats. You just earned Fredo Corleone status. And Monday, the Giants took Fred ah, Ben.. fishing. Good riddance.

TUSCALOOSA, ALA.

The College Football Playoff committee announced that Alabama would join Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia as the four teams vying for the sport’s National Championship leaving Ohio Stare on the outside looking in. Bravo. They got it right. Bama should be there.

What is the CFP? A business. A show. They hav an obligation to their shareholders ( TV, sponsors, partners) to deliver the most interesting storylines and games.

Clemson vs. Alabama is a better story line. It is two southern teams playing in New Orleans. It is a better game. It is better... business.

CINCINNATI, OHIO

Whoa was that Steelers/Bengals game uncomfortable to watch. Two players taken off in stretchers and a vicious helmet to helmet hit.

While the commissioner may be lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills after getting a contract extension, the Monday nighter pulled back the curtain on the NFL. A violent, cruel game that leaves the players discarded like palm husks on the side of the road.

The league can try to put in all the education, equipment and safety to make the game safer. The players need to give a damn too. No more cheap shots. No more targeting. It just ain’t cool.

TEMPE, ARIZ.

Finally thank you to Herm Edwards. I hope he has a long run as head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils. The press conferences are going to be epic. He’s graduated to “old man shouting at cars” status. Bless his heart.
 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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