Every-Thing Sports

How players testing positive for COVID-19 could impact the Texans

Photo by Getty Images.

What a fun, odd, puzzling, crazy, WTF year 2020 has been so far! We've had Tiger King (gay, gun-toting, private zookeeper, convicted felon in murder for hire), a global COVID-19 pandemic (a respiratory based disease that supposedly originated from eating bats), Murder Hornets (some sort of hybrid hornet whose size and venomous sting is more deadly than others), and more police brutality cases (murders) that have finally drawn the ire of more than the black community that has been disproportionately impacted.

The death of George Floyd, a Houston native, sparked a revolution of sorts. Protests were done in all 50 states and dozens of nations worldwide. Mind you, we're still under a global pandemic from COVID-19. Social distancing and whatnot has gone to the wayside with the protests. Many people weren't wearing masks, or weren't wearing them properly. Couple that with the government wanting to open things up to stimulate the economy, and you have a recipe for disaster.

News came down Monday that several Cowboys and Texans players have tested positive for COVID-19. The only one named was Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliott. The immediate question I pose is simple: How does this impact the upcoming NFL season, specifically regarding the Texans?

It's still early

According to the NFL's timeline for returning, most teams are scheduled to report to training camp on July 28. The Cowboys and Steelers are scheduled to go to camp on July 22 since they're playing in the Hall of Fame preseason special. That timeline gives players who've tested positive right at a month to quarantine and get healthy before training camp gets started. Although this virus is highly unpredictable as far as who, what, when, and how it takes hold and impacts individuals, a month for a pro athlete should be plenty of time.

Who tested positive?

Apart from Elliott, there are no known superstar players at this point in time who tested positive. With the Texans moving to a new offensive philosophy (speed based), it will require lots of cohesion, chemistry, and timing. Building an offense around speed requires a different level of offseason preparation. If Deshaun Watson, a key offensive lineman, or one of his top targets has tested positive, this could hold back the necessary reps needed for any and all the new pieces. Hopefully, that isn't the case. But if it is, it could prove difficult.

Could be a non-issue

With positive tests increasing because things are opening up, it could dealy the start of the season. The NFL was smart enough to set up the league schedule to account for this. If there's a delay, these early positive tests could prove a non-issue. It would give teams and players enough time to not only recover, but to put plans in place to account for guys testing positive. The refs already came out and expressed concern about the virus. A setback instarting the season could give the league time to react to anything that may negatively impact their start, whether on time or not.


When it comes to the local team, I think this team can, andmaybe will, prove some doubters wrong this season. Despite the odds stacked against them, they have some things working for them. Bill O'Brien's recent statements speaking out for social injustice, J.J. Watt calling out Twitter trolls about kneeling, as well as other prominent players protesting and attending George Floyd's funeral could all be rallying points for this team. As long as no featured players test positive too close to the start of or during the season, they could fare well. Let's hope masks, gloves, social distancing, washing hands, and whatnot procide enough of a barrier between the virus and the start of what could be a successful season.

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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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