Charlie Pallilo

For what it is worth, Texans are worth a LOT

Bob McNair's Texans are worth 2.8 BILLION. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Forbes Magazine Thursday released its annual valuation of NFL franchises. According to Forbes Bob McNair now holds a property worth four times what he paid for it. McNair’s expansion fee was $700 million dollars; Forbes says the Texans are now worth $2.8 billion. The Cowboys are No. 1 at an even FIVE billion. The Texans come in at number nine. That’s great for generations of McNairs, but if the Texans don’t beat the Giants Sunday the rest of this season will be worth closer to a plugged nickel.

16 games on the week three NFL schedule, Texans-Giants is the only one matching teams that stumbled out of the chute to 0-2 starts. Most years, there is a team that begins 0-2 which winds up in the playoffs. The Texans did it in 2015. An 0-3 start? Call the coroner. The 1998 Bills were the last team to recover from 0-3 to wind up in the postseason. So for late September the stakes are high Sunday. It seems a fair fight. The Texans and Giants both have credible defenses, and atrocious offensive lines that drag down the offenses.

At least the Texans have hope at quarterback with Deshaun Watson. The Giants have 37 year old Eli Manning. Eli has had a fine career highlighted by two runs to Super Bowl victories, but since the second Super win over New England the Giants have made the playoffs once in the last five years. Manning is among many reasons why. Eli is extremely immobile, and while he has that weak o-line he also has what would be the number one tandem picked in a draft of same team running back/wide receiver combos in rookie RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr. Some might prefer the speed kills pairing in Kansas City of Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill.

Coaching woes

The evidence mounts that for all his command of a room, Bill O’Brien lacks the goods of big time head coaches. Losing to a Blaine Gabbert quarterbacked Tennessee team was feeble if not a disgrace. Parts of it absolutely were a disgrace. The Texans repeatedly looked poorly coached, unaware, and/or undisciplined.

O’Brien is on his third special teams coach in four years, over which time their special teams have routinely stunk. Gifting the Titans first touchdown by not even covering one of their outside punt coverage guys? You could have justified firings on the spot.  O’Brien’s explanation was lame.

After his “it’s not my job” snorting away questioning of his timeout non-usage at New England, I wonder if O’Brien considers knowing the rules part of his job. It’s a terrible rule, but O’Brien didn’t know the penalty when Gabbert caught his own pass and threw the ball again from behind the line of scrimmage.

On the Astros

While the Texans wallow in franchise mediocrity the Astros close in on back-to-back 100 win seasons for the first time in franchise history, and a crack at getting back to and winning another World Series. The odds are against them winning it all again, but that’s true of any single team. The Astros have as a good a shot as anybody.

I can’t see A.J. Hinch doing it, but if Carlos Correa doesn’t show something at the plate the final week of the regular season there is a case to be made for sitting him against the Indians. In 34 games since returning from the disabled list Correa has been the worst everyday offensive player in the big leagues (OPS a stunningly woeful .480), and it’s not as if he has been trending up of late. Hinch dropped him from the cleanup spot to fifth in the batting order, then to sixth. Correa has three doubles and one homer in 121 at bats. The Indians will start three nasty righthanded pitchers in Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. In his career Correa is a combined seven for 39 against them (.179).

The guess is Hinch would hope Correa finds it out of nowhere and produces. It could happen. Sports! And while Correa is a class act, he has an ego as does everybody. The Astros probably wouldn’t want to tempt any possible hard feelings going forward. Correa’s defense has looked fine so the “he’s still hurting” argument seems shaky, but if Correa isn’t physically right and his play is hurting the team he should sit. Unless his back is really messed up and will be an issue going forward, Correa should get back on a star track next season.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Sure didn’t take long for Patrick Mahomes to zip past Watson as the most exciting QB out of the 2017 Draft. Of course, Mahomes has much better offensive teammates and coaching.  2. If UT wants to matter this season, beating TCU is a must. 3. Best college football fight songs: Bronze-Notre Dame Victory March Silver-Yea Alabama Gold-Hail to the Victors (Michigan)



 

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After the big offensive showing to take the opener on Thursday, the Astros entered Friday's game at Globe Life Field against the Rangers just one win or Angels loss away from securing their spot in the playoffs. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 5, Astros 4.

Record: 29-29, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 1.98 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-3, 3.05 ERA).

Urquidy goes seven while allowing two

The Rangers would strike first in Friday's game, getting a two-out solo home run against Jose Urquidy in the bottom of the second to grab the early 1-0 lead. Urquidy did relatively well on the night, though he would allow another solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs he allowed, working in and out of some trouble throughout the game on his way to finishing seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 98 P.

Houston grabs their first lead late

Unlike their hot night at the plate the night prior, it took the Astros until the fifth inning to get on the board. It came after Carlos Correa hit a leadoff single, then came all the way around to score on an RBI-triple by George Springer, making it a 1-1 tie at the time.

After the Rangers went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on their second solo homer of the night, Alex Bregman would tie it up again with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-2. Houston would get their first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, with Altuve working a leadoff walk before scoring later in the inning on an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel.

Rangers get the walk-off to keep Houston waiting for playoff bid

After Urquidy, Blake Taylor would take over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Rangers in order for a scoreless inning to hold the one-run lead. Still 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to their closer, Ryan Pressly. After two quick outs, he would allow a game-tying solo home run, making it 3-3 to postpone Houston's celebration at least another inning as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve was placed on second as the free runner. He advanced to third on a groundout to start the inning, then scored on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it a 4-3 lead for Houston. Enoli Paredes would load the bases before Texas would tie the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, keeping runners on second and third. Houston made the change to Brooks Raley to try and extend the game another inning, but instead, the Rangers would get the walk-off win, spoiling Houston's chance to clinch their playoff spot themselves with a win.

Up Next: The third game of this four-game set will get underway at 6:05 PM Central on Saturday. On the mound for Texas will be Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87 ERA), and, as of now, the Astros still have Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA) listed as their starter.

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