Every-Thing Sports

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

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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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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

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With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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