Roughnecks vs Battlehawks

XFL Week 2 preview

Photo courtesy of Houston Roughnecks

Your Houston Roughnecks take on the St. Louis Battlehawks this Sunday at 5pm at TDECU Stadium.

A few things to expect from St. Louis this week.

  • QB Talk. They don't have a PJ Walker but the Battlehawks DO have Jordan Ta'amu. The former Ole Miss QB isn't just going to throw the ball around. He's a runner… And pretty good at it. He also avoided throwing any interceptions in his XFL appearance last weekend.
  • RUN. Speaking of running, this team played more conservative in their game against Dallas. Unlike most of the teams in this league, the Battlehawks offense avoided airing the ball out too much. Instead, they stuck to the run game... SUCCESSFULLY. They racked up the most rushing yards in the leagues' debut. Look to see a few different backs attack the ground.
  • DEFENSE. The secondary in particular stood out last week. DB Darius Hilary and Safety Dexter McCoil combined for 13 tackles and 4 assists. LB Terence Garvin caught fans attention with his 6 tackles and 2 assists.
  • PENALTIES. No this is the Tampa Bay Bucs BUT St. Louis did rack up their fair share of penalties in game one. Most were due to false starts. (One would assume this was a key issue to work on in practice this week but it's worth noting.)

Yesterday I spoke with Roughnecks Offensive Coordinator, Chris Miller. Here's what he had to say about last week's game.

"PJ Walker was obviously the hot topic of the week, was the transition to this offense as easy as PJ made it look?"

Chris Miller: "Well, I think PJ obviously did a nice job. He played very well in the game, managed it well. Got out and made some plays with his legs outside of the pocket. I think you have to give June Jones a lot of credit with the amount of reps we've put in since early December. In training camp we probably worked more than most, I know we had a few two a day sessions. In terms of the install and what June put in, what PJ's been able to grasp. A lot of its due to how many reps he's got. We've been able to hit the ground running."

"The XFL has this new offense the fans are really into. The DC Defenders showed out with their new trick plays last week. Do we have any big surprises in the playbook?"

Chris Miller: "Well we have a few wrinkles hidden up our sleeve, but if I told ya I'd have to kill ya. I can't do that... I think that's a move line. I'm just kidding but we've been reppin' a few things and working. We have some in our repertoire, we'll see if we will need to pull them out and you'll be one of the first to know."

"I noticed we're going for a lot of 2pt conversions, is there a thought process behind the PATs? Is it all situational?"

Chris Miller: "Well I think right now we're all learning about it. It's kind of going by feel right now. If you score first, you're thinking let's go for one and be up a conventional 7-0, but LA scored first and I think they missed their conversion or they may have gone for 1 so then you try to either match them or maybe go up 8 to 7. So my theory is, if you go for 4… if you go for two 2 point plays form the 5 and you hit them, that's 4 points. And if you go for four 1 point plays from the 2 and you only get two out of four then you're only getting 2 points for that. So it's kind of mathematical theories but I think as the game goes along, it's more situational how many points you want to be up at that time. There's no exact science to it so I think right now it's kind of new and we have to feel it out. It's interesting."

"How much improvement do you expect to see from your team and league wide in game 2?"

Chris Miller: "We've all got one week under our belt, one game. I think there was a lot of good football put on from what I watched. At the end of the day, it was new and there was a lot of uncertainty as to what we would see and what we would put out there. I think you just trust in your training and then it becomes football. STL is a very good team. They have a big defense, they're a physical bunch. It's a good group. I think it'll be a good challenge for us but maybe some of the areas we were a little bit rough in or didn't execute well we hope to see improvement in those areas."

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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