THE PALLILOG

Will Fuller signs with possible Texans trade partner, and surprising Rockets odds

Will Fuller signs with possible Texans trade partner, and surprising Rockets odds
Will Fuller is heading to Miami. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

The sexual deviant allegations against Deshaun Watson are disturbing and depressing. Either Watson is a pathetic degenerate who belongs in jail (at this point not an option with these being civil suits) or Watson is the rightfully irate victim of a disgusting smear attempt with the smearers deserving time behind bars. The only possible middle ground is an implausible series of horrible misunderstandings.

This jaw dropping addition to the Deshaun Watson/Texans mess first surfaced mere hours after the Texans struck a deal with Tyrod Taylor to become their starting or backup quarterback. Taylor is a vast upgrade over A.J. McCarron as a number two, but if Taylor is the starting QB, the whole Texans' season looks that much more like number two.

Taylor was one of the more than a dozen entirely unexciting roster additions new general Manager Nick Caserio made this week. No high impact signees and definitely not a promising collection of younger guys. More than half the new Texans will be at least 29 years old when the season starts.

In the short term, Watson's situation likely has some chilling effect with respect to trade interest in him at what cost. The Texans' posture remains they have no interest in a trade. Nevertheless, interesting that logical potential trade partner Miami is signing Will Fuller to bolster the Dolphins' receiving corps.

Rockets favored?

It can't get much worse than the Rockets vs. the Pistons Friday night at Toyota Center. Despite their brand spanking new franchise record 18 game losing streak the Rockets are actually small favorites. Overall at 11-28, the Rockets sit just one half game behind the Pistons for the second worst record in the NBA. Opportunity knocks! A Rocket loss would strengthen their chances of finishing with a bottom three NBA record, which is where they must fall to have their maximum chance of 52.1 percent to keep their draft choice if it winds up in the top four of the draft lottery.

The Rockets got a minimal and reasonable return in trading P.J. Tucker to Milwaukee. They project to move up eight picks or so in the draft from near the top of the second to somewhere in the bottom seven or eight picks in the first round. New General Manager Rafael Stone basically has to move Victor Oladipo by Thursday's trade deadline. The Knicks seem the most logical trade partner. Newly acquired D.J. Augustin makes no sense for the Rockets' roster next season for which he's guaranteed seven million dollars. Stone has to be looking to move him as well. If the Rockets could literally give away Eric Gordon they would. There would be no takers.

After having only three losing seasons in the last 36, it is very possible the Rockets stink for several years. Christian Wood looks good when healthy, Kevin Porter Jr. flashes some nice skills. That's it for guys who reasonably project as average or better NBA starters going forward.

March Madness

By their two seeding in the Midwest Region, anything short of the Elite Eight would be a disappointment for the Houston Cougars. I'm sure their players would agree, if anything they might say anything short of the Final Four would be disappointing. The odds are against them getting that far. Cleveland State should pose no problem in round one, after that any team the Coogs play will be capable of beating them. The Clemson/Rutgers winner is no gimme on Sunday. UH clearly played the weakest schedule of any of the top 16 seeds in the tournament. Had the Cougars been in the Big 12 or Big 10 there is no chance their record would be 24-3. They are a two seed however because they are damn good. Sensational is understating the job Kelvin Sampson has done with the program. With the whole NCAA Tournament being held in Indiana using six venues and the UH-Cleveland State game set at Indiana University's Assembly Hall, Sampson returns to the campus where he was fired for NCAA rules violations and then functionally banned from college coaching for five years.

Baseball is coming

Inside two weeks to the Astros' season opener at Oakland. No position battles. Hardly any roster spots are up for grabs. Zack Greinke is tabbed as the Astros' game one starter. Greinke has previous Opening Day starts with the Royals and Diamondbacks. Only two pitchers have made Opening Day starts for five different franchises. Name 'em? One best known for his curveball, the other for his spitball. Answer below in Buzzer Beater #3.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Sure Michigan likely routs Texas Southern Saturday, but the way the Tigers won the SWAC Tournament to reach the First Four, then their rallying from 10 down at the half to beat fellow 16 seed Mt. St. Mary's…good stuff.

2. In five of the last seven tournaments a 14 seed has stunned a three seed. Beware Texas Longhorns vs. Abilene Christian.

3. Bert Blyleven and Gaylord Perry. Three other pitchers most defined by one pitch in their repertoire: Bronze- Trevor Hoffman change-up Silver- Bruce Sutter split fingered fastball Gold-Mariano Rivera cutter.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Nationals defeat Astros, 6-0. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images.

Left-hander Mitchell Parker threw seven shutout innings, and Luis Garcia Jr. had three singles and two RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 6-0 on Sunday.

The Nationals have won three of their past four series after starting the season 2-6.

After allowing two runs over five innings last Monday in his major league debut, a 6-4 win over the L.A. Dodgers, Parker (2-0) was even more effective in his second major league start, allowing three hits, striking out eight and walking none, throwing 57 of his 73 pitches for strikes.

“He has so much poise," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "He’s ready. He gets the ball, ready to get back on the mound. I watched him today. He threw a ground ball. The play was made and he got right on the mound and was holding his glove up as if, ‘hey, come on, give me the ball, like I’m ready to get back on there’. It was cool to watch. He understands what he wants to do.”

Parker mixed his 85-87 mph splitter, 81-82 mph curveball and 92 mph four-seam fastball. He struck out Jose Altuve and Jeremy Peña a combined four times. Dylan Floro and Matt Barnes each added a scoreless inning for Washington.

Parker was thrilled to be able to throw the splitter for strikes, something that did not come as easy against the Dodgers.

“100 percent, yeah," Parker said. "We were able to get in there for more swings and misses. They were more competitive pitches. Going to keep working on it, seeing if we can keep it where it is at.”

Astros right-hander Hunter Brown replaced scheduled starter Cristian Javier, who was scratched from Sunday’s series finale with neck discomfort. Javier was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to April 14, and right-hander Spencer Arrighetti was called up from Triple-A Sugar Land.

Manager Joe Espada said they have not decided yet on an MRI for Javier.

“Neck discomfort, started a few days ago,” Espada said. “He tried to work through it but just couldn’t happen. This kind of just came out of nowhere. So, we are going to see what happens here.”

Brown allowed three runs and three hits and a walk in the first but then settled down, lasting four innings when his pitch count reached 84.

“Even in the first I felt like made some good pitches," Brown said. "Came to the outing prepared. Kind of did what I wanted to and it just didn’t fall our way there.”

García Jr.’s two-run single to center field highlighted the three-run first inning for the Nationals.

“We try to score every inning,' Garcia Jr. said through a translator. "But definitely when we score the first inning it gives you a different kind of sense of confidence throughout the game and it carries on through the games a different feeling.”

Joey Meneses had a bases-loaded two-run single to right field off Shawn Dubin in the fifth to make it 5-0. Nick Senzel hit his first home run of the season in the sixth to close out the scoring.

The Astros' tailspin continues, having lost five of their past six and nine of their past 12.

“It is not ideal in the situation that we are in but we are in this situation,” Espada said. “And we got to fight through this. We have guys in there who are capable of giving us innings and some of them are doing that. We are going back to playing the style of baseball that everyone sees the Astros play. We feel pretty good about the guys that we have in there to get us some good innings."

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros left-hander Framber Valdez threw again Sunday and has a chance of starting one of the games in Chicago his week. “We will see how he feels,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “Once we see how he feels, we will start talking about the possibilities if he can pitch in Chicago or not.”

Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz said he is about “90 percent” recovered from the flu that placed him on the 10-day injured list on April 12. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Ruiz will go on a rehab assignment this week to play a couple of games before returning to the club.

UP NEXT

Houston travels to Chicago to begin a three-game series against the Cubs on Tuesday. Espada confirmed JP France and Justin Verlander will start two of the games, but did not specify the order. Spencer Arrighetti, who was called up for Javier, is an option for the opener.

Washington has a day off before hosting the L.A. Dodgers on Tuesday night. Left-hander Patrick Corbin (0-3, 8.06 ERA) faces the Dodgers for the second consecutive start.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome