Holly's Take

Could XFL shutdown be a clue that the NFL is delaying the start of the 2020 season?

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Friday night on Late Hits I checked in with Patrick Creighton and Jayson Braddock.

Earlier Friday morning there were rumors out of the XFL closing shop. Shortly after, ESPN alerted everyone that the league shut down for good.

I spent all day talking to my fellow colleagues around the league. From players, to personal, coaches… Whoever. In case you missed the segment, here's what I was able to report:

There was a 9-minute conference call between the head office and XFL employees (not players). In this call, they were given specific instructions and guidelines on turning in their things. They were also asked NOT to ask any questions. The call was ended when the head office hung up on everyone.

I reached out to multiple players also got conformation that they were paid on Friday with an additional amount added onto this check. While some players told me they expected this to be their last check, others told me they were to be paid until May 31st. No word from HR yet. It is now Monday and the XFL officially filed bankruptcy. Safe to say that the additional amount on their check was not a Good Friday gift from the Easter Bunny.

The worst part of what I was told was from another side conference call. According to a source, ALLEGEDLY there was a call that happened between Vince McMahon and Roger Goodell. I was not on this call, OBVIOUSLY but here's what my sources said: Goodell wanted XFL shut down because "when the COVID-19 vaccine is found and we are allowed to be in large groups again," the NFL wanted to be the first to host live stadium games. The word from this call is that the NFL does plan on postponing or eventually cancelling the 2020 NFL season. As of now, the main focus is the virtual draft that we're all looking forward to. I strongly believe that IF this call did happen, the NFL will not tell us that they plan on postponing until the absolute last minute when they have to. It's their job to give us hope and keep us positive during these crazy times. I respect that. It may be way into the end of summer before we hear anything. IF we hear anything.

Now, BEFORE you freak out... Please note, this is what I've been told from a source. However, I received this information from the same sources that confirmed the conference call AND the paycheck information. (And the first positive COVID test on an XFL player I reported to you… That was a humble brag real quick). As much as I hope this news is fake and I am completely wrong, it's my job to let you know. As much as I do NOT want to believe that the NFL could be postponed, there is a very good chance it eventually is. As Patrick Creighton talked about on Late Hits a few days back, there was a phone call between Donald Trump and some "guys in high places." Obviously, the President knows more than the public is told. I'm pretty sure the elite business men such as Roger Goodell and others know as well.

So now I leave you guys with this...

How much Netflix, online poker and Instagram Live stories of pushup challenges can we take? How long until we really get sports back? Are we prepared to face this IF we don't get sports back in 2020?

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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