High school football

VYPE rankings: Titles at stake this week for top teams

VYPE rankings: Titles at stake this week for top teams
Clear Lake knocked off Friendswood to make things interesting in Class 24-6A. Andy Tolbert

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

The games that made the most waves last week that affected our polls today were Clear Lake knocking of then-No. 9 Friendswood, Lufkin knocking Oak Ridge out of the rankings and Tomball upsetting district-leader Huntsville in Class 5A.

Clear Lake knocked off Friendswood to make things interesting in Class 24-6A. By Andy Tolbert

So what will this weekend bring?

In Class 5A, No. 1 Katy faces steady-climbing Strake Jesuit for the district title. Could be lopsided in the Tigers’ favor, but kudos for the Crusaders being in this position. Up north, No. 2 faces No. 13 Klein for their district title. The Bearkats only stubbed their toe against Oak for their only blemish.

The heavyweight game of the week?

No. 5 Ridge Point vs No. 9 FB Bush for bragging rights in Fort Bend and the championship belt. Stay tuned for our predictions later in the week.

In Class 5A, No. 2 Angleton faces No. 9 Foster. The big question is will star BJ Foster be on the field or on the sideline due to injury. Tomball now faces Magnolia West, who is also undefeated in 20-5A. In Class 21-5A, Porter and New Caney go for the No. 2 spot in district.

CLASS 6A 

Rank

Team (Record) 

Comment
1Katy (6-0)For District Title vs Strake Jesuit?
2Klein Collins (7-0)Big Game vs No. 14 Klein for Crown
3Cy-Fair (7-0)Falls; Then Langham Looming
4Westfield (7-0)Will Take Down Ike
5Ridge Point (6-1)Game of the Week vs No. 9 Bush
6The Woodlands (5-1)Montgomery Up Next
7Lamar (5-1)Rolling Through HISD
8Langham Creek (7-0)Lobos are Legit; Cy-Fair in Crosshairs
9Bush (6-0)Can Broncos Knock Off No. 5 Ridge Point?
10Spring (6-1)No Probs with Big Mac on Deck
11Cinco Ranch (6-1)Morton Ranch Will Hang around for Half
12Atascocita (5-1)Will Dominate CE King
13Klein (6-1)Klein Collins for the Title
14Dawson (6-1)Alief Taylor Up Next
15Strake Jesuit (6-1)Can they Shock World in W Over Katy?
16Clear Lake (6-2)Do Not Led Down Now, Falcons
17Friendswood (6-2)Must Rebound after Lake Loss
18Deer Park (5-3)Off Week
19Summer Creek (5-3)In Playoffs Now; Channelview Next
20Pasadena Memorial (5-1)La Porte will be Tough Game


CLASS 5A

Rank

Team (Record) 

Comment
1Manvel (7-0)Rolling; Santa Fe Up Next
2Angleton (7-0)Faces Foster for Title; BJ Hurt?
3Crosby (8-0)Humble On Deck
4Magnolia West (7-0)Crushed Waller; Tomball a Great Matchup
5FB Marshall (4-2)Texas City Should be a W
6Tomball (6-2)Huge Win Over Huntsville; Now Mag West
7Waltrip (7-0)They are Going Undefeated
8Foster (5-2)Peaking At Right Time w/Angleton Up
9Barbers Hill (6-2)Off Week
10Porter (6-2)New Caney Week

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It's go time! Composite Getty Image.

96 games down, 66 games to go as the Astros tackle a fairly significant series in Seattle to open up the figurative second half of the season Friday night. It’s actually just over 40 percent of the schedule remaining. With the Astros having closed within one game of the Mariners in the American League West it’s the biggest series possible for them as the season resumes. But it’s not remotely make or break. Measuring by run differential the Astros should already be out front. They have outscored their opponents by 49 runs while Seattle is just plus-19. The actual standings can be explained in no small part by this comparison: in one-run games the Astros are a pitiful 7-17 while the Mariners are 19-14.

The spectrum of outcomes this weekend ranges from the Astros sweeping and leaving the Emerald City two games on top, to getting swept and heading down the coast to Oakland four games behind. Of note, the Mariners beat the Astros in five of the seven meetings to date this season. So if Seattle wins this series it clinches the season series and playoff tiebreaker should a spot come down to it. The Astros and Mariners have another series to come after this one, three games in Houston the final week of the regular season.

Trade deadline looming

What may be even more important than this weekend’s games is who gets what done between now and the July 30 trade deadline. With Justin Verlander clearly not close to returning, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss both performance question marks, and both Ronel Blanco and Hunter Brown being asked to handle unprecedented workloads for them, the Astros’ rotation needs obvious fortification. The Mariners’ rotation is second to none in the American League and their bullpen is good. Seattle’s lineup is atrocious. The Chicago White Sox are on pace to be one of the worst teams of all-time. The ChiSox’ offense is a joke with a team batting average of .220. The Mariners’ team average is .219. Only the White Sox and pathetic Marlins are scoring fewer runs per game than the M’s.

The Mariners have 11 players with at least 100 at bats this season. Eight of them have an OPS of .690 or lower. Cal Raleigh has the highest at .734. The Astros have 12 guys with at least 100 at bats including Jose Abreu. Abreu, Chas McCormick, and Mauricio Dubon are the only .690 or worse OPS guys. Kyle Tucker is the Astros’ OPS leader by a significant margin, .979 to Yordan Alvarez’s .912. What’s that you ask? Who is this Kyle Tucker? 35 missed games and counting for “Tuck” with his leg bone bruise, with return not imminent. T-Mobile Park is a notably better pitchers’ park than is Minute Maid Park, but not enough to shrug off the Mariners’ offensive ineptitude. The Mariners team payroll is more than 100 million dollars below the Astros’ payroll. The Mariners have the clearly better farm system from which to deal. If Seattle doesn’t add offense, its ownership and front office will deserve a continued fade in the second half, on top of the Mariners’ 8-15 gimp into the All-Star break.

Don't forget about the Rangers

With the Astros and Mariners going at it this weekend with the division lead in the balance, a reminder that this is not a two-team race. The Texas Rangers rallying to take the final two games at Minute Maid Park last weekend sent up a flare that the reigning World Series Champions are definitely still in the picture. The Rangers sit four games behind the Astros, five back of the Mariners. If the Rangers manage to win their series in Arlington with the Orioles this weekend, they are guaranteed to gain ground on at least one team ahead of them. The Astros-Rangers season series sits tied at five wins apiece with three games left, it will be decided in Arlington the first week of August. The Rangers and Mariners play seven more times.

In broader view, as measured by opponents’ records, the Astros have the toughest remaining schedule among the three. Among the 30 big league clubs the Rangers have the fourth easiest slate left, the Mariners have the fifth easiest, the Astros have the 15th easiest. If the Astros ultimately are not to win the West, there is the Wild Card race to keep in mind. The Astros are seven games behind the Yankees, four behind the Twins, and three and a half back of the Red Sox. Those three currently hold the Wild Card spots. The Astros are also a game and a half behind the Royals. The Astros have already lost the season series and tiebreakers to the Yankees, Twins, and Royals. The Astros and Red Sox have all six of their meetings yet to come.

Remembering Ken Hoffman

This is my first column since the passing last Sunday of my friend and eventual colleague Ken Hoffman. I originally learned of Ken’s quirkiness and wit through his columns at the Houston Post. He was a big sports fan. Our friendship was driven in part by our shared passion for tennis. We played probably more than a thousand times over nearly 20 years. Tennis and baseball were Ken’s two favorite sports. His two favorite athletes were Roger Federer and Jose Altuve. Well, after he and his wife Erin’s son Andrew, who was a pitcher on Trinity University’s 2016 NCAA Division Three national championship-winning team.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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