THE PALLILOG

Yordan Alvarez impresses early, brutal ending for Warriors

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Image

All dynasties end. If the Golden State Warriors' dynasty is done, what a brutal ending. Kevin Durant's ruptured Achilles followed in the next game by a torn ACL for Klay Thompson? Stunning and sad. Even those bitterly envious of the Warriors' success the last five seasons should feel so. The Western Conference is now clearly ripe for the picking by the Rockets or someone other than Golden State next season.

Will Kawhi stay?

Full credit to the Toronto Raptors. A deep and versatile team (with exactly zero lottery picks on the roster) led by Kawhi Leonard earned the NBA title. Now, does Kahwi re-up in Canada or head home to California and sign with the Clippers?

Alvarez looks the part

If you're an Astros fan Yordan Alvarez's big league debut this week was exciting stuff. In his first game a missile launch of an opposite field homer then in his second a flick of the wrist homer to right on a pitch below the strike zone. Alvarez will have his struggles, but his raw power is awesome, his left-handed swing is easy looking, and he is not a swing at anything guy.

The Astros don't think Alvarez can play a competent first base, yet at least. It would be nice if he could because when the Astros are healthy, among the everyday players Yuli Gurriel has been the weakest lineup link this season. With first base not in the cards for him in 2019, Alvarez primarily slots at designated hitter with an occasional start in left.

One dreamy comparison for Alvarez is late Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. A six foot six inch left-handed monster who played left field early in his career before settling in as a first baseman. McCovey finished with 521 home runs en route to Cooperstown. McCovey wore number 44 his whole big league career. Interesting that the Astros gave Alvarez the number 44 jersey. As of now anyway that means no retirement of 44 for Roy Oswalt, who merely had the greatest Astro pitching career in franchise history.

Of the players prior to Alvarez who homered in their Astro debut game, only Ken Caminiti had what could be called a good career. In 2003 Dave Matranga homered in his first big league plate appearance. It was his only big league hit.

Hall of Fame DNA

Teoscar Hernandez was an Astro when he homered in his first MLB game in 2016. He's having a horrible season with the horrible Toronto Blue Jays who are in town for a three game series. Hernandez is not the player with a Houston connection of interest to many this weekend. That guy is Cavan Biggio, son of Craig. He's scuffled since getting the call up last month, batting only .185, but he hit two homers Thursday and has shown excellent plate discipline drawing 12 walks in just 57 plate appearances. Unlike his Hall of Fame father, Cavan bats left-handed.

The Jays' phenom prospect to watch is Vladimir Guerrero Junior. son of another Hall of Famer. Pretty much universally regarded as the best hitting prospect in the game coming into the season, the 20 year old Vlad Jr. has picked it up after his own slow start. Vlad Sr. looked chiseled out of granite. Vlad Jr...let's say he evidently likes to eat. A lot. He and the Jays should be worried about getting and keeping his body right.

Allegations against Texans

One of the worst allegations that can be made against an individual is being called racist. That is what fired Texans' security coordinator Jeff Pope has done in filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the Texans claiming that fired Texans' General Manager Brian Gaine systemically targeted African-American employees for termination.

This gets out just days after the Texans' fired Gaine. The Texans say they knew nothing about the allegation ahead of dumping Gaine less than a year and a half into his five year contract. Coincidences certainly happen.

At least one person is despicable here. It could be an embittered former employee with a fallacious claim. It could be Gaine. If it turns out there is fire behind the smoke and the Texans knew anything about this, and then Cal McNair in his statement announcing Gaine's dismissal called him "a man of high character," oh boy.

Meanwhile the Texans face tampering charges from the New England Patriots over the Texans' interest in hiring Nick Caserio away for the Pats to succeed Gaine.

All this stuff may just run its course and that's that. At the moment however the Texans have multiple looks of a sorry soap opera.

Buzzer Beaters: 

1. By 2021 the Astros could have three young left-handed hitting studs in their lineup: Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Seth Beer. Without any contract extensions Josh Reddick, Michael Brantley, and George Springer, all become free agents after next season. 2. I laugh when the world's best golfers whine about how tough the course layout is at the U.S. Open. 3. Best sports trophies: Bronze-Borg-Warner (Indy 500 winner) Silver-Heisman Gold-Stanley Cup

COLTS 30, TEXANS 23

Texans vs Colts 1: Good, bad and ugly

Getty Images

In the battle for the early AFC South lead, the Texans lose a close one to the Colts 30-23. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson had a good game, minus one play here or there. 23/34 for 308 yards and a touchdown to go along with 32 yards rushing on three carries. The three sacks he took weren't really his fault either. One bad decision turned the ball over, but he kept them to a minimum as well.

-DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills both helped Watson's stat line. The duo combined for 13 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown. Moving forward, if the receiving corps stays healthy, I can see this stat line becoming more of a norm. Awesome to see Hopkins have a capable No. 2 on the other side.

-Phillip Gaines had a decent game. For a guy who was injured and has never found a home, he's seemed to have found one in the Texans secondary room which has doubled as an infirmary. He's always had good size and athleticism, but never stayed healthy. (I wrote this earlier in the 2nd half, and he got carted off with 1:46 left in the game. I jinxed him.)

The Bad

-Midway through the 1st quarter, Jonathan Joseph tipped a sideline pass to Chester Rogers. Rogers ended up catching it off the tip and managed to stay in bounds. JJo made a decent play on a ball, but to no avail. That drive eventually led to the Colts' first score and capped a 12 play, 94 yard drive.

-After settling for another field goal instead of a touchdown before halftime, the Texans came out to start the second half by giving up another touchdown drive. This is how they always end up losing games by not stopping opponents and trading field goals for touchdowns.

-With 9:31 left in the game down 28-16, Deshaun Watson threw an interception on a pass intended for Duke Johnson. Johnson was open, but Watson sailed it over his head and into the arms of Pierre Desir. It was a poor decision in an otherwise good game Watson played.

The Ugly

-Tashaun Gipson left the game with a back injury early on and never returned. Will Fuller was also ruled out with a hamstring injury. Jonathan Joseph banged up his shoulder. At this point, I think I'm going to get in shape again. They may need me to play a few snaps. Expect open tryouts on Kirby soon.

-Awful call by the refs cost the Texans a touchdown on their second field goal. Watson was in the grasp of Justin Houston, but managed to keep himself upright long enough to complete what was though to be a touchdown pass to Hopkins. However, the refs blew the play dead saying he was sacked. Protecting the quarterbacks at all costs cost the Texans here.

-Situational football and clock management are like an incurable disease for Bill O'Brien. Down 28-23 in the 4th quarter with about 3:23 left, O'Brien waited until about 2:44 left to call a timeout and call in a safety and free kick. Good idea, poor execution. Know the situation and call for that safety immediately. Or, call the timeout ASAP without letting so much time run off. Will someone get this man a Coaching For Dummies book please?

After Starting 0-13 in Indy, the Texans won three of the next four. Today's loss shouldn't start a new streak. While Watson ended the game with two interceptions, one is for sure his fault, while the other was a great play made on a tipped/dropped ball. While they didn't run the ball well as a team (24 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown), they held the Colts to 62 yards rushing. Perhaps because Jacoby Brissett torched them for 326 yards and four touchdowns passing. I understand they'll need any warm bodies to play defensive back for them in the next few weeks, but what about a pass rush to help those guys? Oh, I forgot, they traded Jadeveon Clowney for a pack of cigarettes and a gas station tuna fish sandwich. They could've traded him long time ago for better draft picks, but didn't listen to me. Such is life. Hopefully this team will have the "next man up" mentality and guys will step up. If not, it could be a long rest of the season.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome