The Couch Slouch

A fun look at what ESPN is doing without sports

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ESPN without sports is like NASA without space. But ESPN is smarter than NASA – it can still thrive even if its world explodes into the atmosphere. Here is a look at the new ESPN 24-hour coronavirus programming schedule:

8 a.m. ET: "Don't Get Up!"

10:00: "Stephen A. Smith: Unfettered." The real Stephen A. lets loose – unvarnished, unbridled and uninhibited – at a Brooklyn barbershop.

11:00: "Greatest NFL Coaches' Challenges (Season 1)."

11:30: Stephen A. Smith talks smack to first responders on their coffee break.

12 p.m.: Chris Berman runs down his all-time 250 favorite nicknames, alphabetically.

1:30: 1998 French Open women's bracket draw.

2:00: "Burning Bridges with Keith Olbermann." The once-popular "SportsCenter" anchor documents his seven tours of duty with the worldwide leader in sports.

3:15: "Best NASCAR Pit Stops, Volume 3 (2010)."

3:30: "Kiper and Lunardi: The Art of Coaxing." The two iconic ESPN savants discuss how they persuaded the network to turn one-day events into year-round pursuits.

4:30: Stephen A. Smith yells at gate agents at O'Hare Airport.

5:00: "Around the Shoehorn." Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armor reps examine best self-quarantine footwear.

5:30: "Pardon the Interruption, Undercover." A hidden camera documents Tony Kornheiser complaining about Michael Wilbon and every single guest cohost with whom he's ever worked.

6:00: 2001 Mid-American Conference men's basketball tournament third-place game.

6:30: "Backstory with Don Van Natta Jr." An investigative look at Adam Schefter's cellphone log.

7:00: "Outside the Lines: The Sunset." The award-winning OTL team chronicles the sun setting in Bristol, Conn. ITAL Live. END ITAL

7:30: World Series of Poker 2003.

8:30: World Series of Poker 2004.

9:30: "Outside the Lines: The Sunset (Pacific Time Zone)." The award-winning OTL team chronicles the sun setting in Pahrump, Nev. Live.

10:00: Stephen A. Smith moonlights as a tollbooth worker who will not give out change.

10:30: "Cricket Tonight." Adnan Virk returns as host.

11:00: World Series of Poker 2005.

12 a.m.: World Series of Poker 2006.

1:00: "Stephen A. Smith: After Dark." The very eligible sweet talker tries his best hot takes in several New York City singles bars.

2:00: World Series of Poker 2007.

3:00: World Series of Poker 2008.

4:00: "The Sports Reporters 2.0." Veteran correspondents from Bleacher Report, The Big Lead, Deadspin and Barstool Sports debate the hot issues of the day.

4:30: "The Making of 'Cold Pizza' (2003-2004)."

5:00: Jeremy Schaap reads select passages from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."

5:30: Shuttle run highlights from 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.

5:45: Charley Steiner ITAL is END ITAL "Macbeth."

6:00: 2014 Pub Darts Challenge (Ireland vs. Wales).

6:30: "BodyShaping" (any year).

7:00: "Kraft Mac & Cheese Presents The Craig Kilborn Show." With sidekick Downtown Julie Brown. Why not?

Meanwhile, Fox Sports 1 has a simpler, adjusted schedule:

9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET: "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed."

1 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.: "Skip All Night." Skip Bayless at home!

9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Off air for routine maintenance.

Ask The Slouch

Q. After several days of all major sports sidelined, I watched the PBA and saw statistics of MPHs and RPMs on the screen. As a bowler, can you tell me if I am withdrawing from baseball and NASCAR, or is it real and I need some help? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane, Wash.)

A. It is real – we all need help. I have begged the powers-that-be to wipe the screen clean; alas, they will not listen to a 140 bowler.

Q. Being the wise man you are, can your readers assume that you anticipated this pandemic-related sports hiatus and have a mitigating stockpile of columns to get us through these rough times? (Kim Hemphill; South Riding, Va.)

A. I am currently watching dozens of old Dick Vitale broadcasts that will provide me column content through Labor Day.

Q. Is it true the only reason your marriage to Toni has lasted 12½ years is ever since your wedding night, she has strictly enforced the six-foot social distancing rule? (J.B. Koch; Macomb, Mich.)

A. Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt on our wedding night.

Q. After you've written, edited and submitted your column, do you then "take no responsibility" for it? (JC Hodgson; Spokane, Wash.)

A. Many of my columns write themselves; thus, indeed I take no responsibility.

Q. I see Sean Payton has the coronavirus – can't he challenge that? (Kirk Long; Spokane Valley, Wash.)

A. Not reviewable – NFL competition committee will take a look at this during 18-month offseason.

Q. Is it true that Robert Kraft is suing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for entrapment? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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