The Pallilog

The sports world halts for Coronavirus; what does that mean for we the fans?

The sports world halts for Coronavirus; what does that mean for we the fans?
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Friday the 13th. That's just a silly superstition for triskaidekaphobes. If only COVID-19 was so silly. I have said on multiple occasions that the most important variable in sports is the same as the most important variable in life. Health.

So how to go about typing a sports column when the sports world is essentially shut down? Amidst this coronavirus pandemic and the specific fallout of the last couple of days, it's absurd to do nuts and bolts sports analysis and commentary. So I won't do so here, though I very much look forward to embracing the next chance to rightfully do so.

This is unprecedented ground. The 9/11 attacks in 2001 were a giant fell swoop of devastating terrorism. Less than a week later Major League Baseball was playing again. The NFL resumed after one weekend off. Now? An altogether different and open-ended March Madness has forced cancellation of the NCAA Tournament in its entirety. The NBA is on hiatus for least a month. Just two weeks from the scheduled start of the baseball season, we know that that season won't be starting until at least two weeks after March 26. The NHL is temporarily out of business. And MLS. And XFL. And the world tennis tours. And golf tours. The rest of college sports and presumably all high school sports. It's everything.

The Rockets mostly brutal play the last week and a half of games? Big deal.

The Hate On The Astros road show? It'll just have to wait.

Tom Brady's free agent destination? Who gives a flip right now? Next week, different story since the NFL will open for free agent business as scheduled on Wednesday.

I have not seen the 2011 movie Contagion, but it feels like we're living a real life sequel. It's starting to feel like that leading a semblance of a normal life may make exposure to if not contraction of COVID-19 a probability. It is worth noting, or reminding, that beyond the heightened risk for the elderly and already ill (which of course is very serious), for most coronavirus is something to be ridden out. Let the scientists and medical community do their work, and accept some new realities as to how we should lead our lives. As in the aftermath of 9/11.

It's said you can't miss what you never had. Man will we miss sports for however long we're without them. But it's not going to be forever. In the meantime, we can talk, and read, and explore other interests.

Buzzer Beaters

1. It's also said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That's not always true. But work with me here! 2. Faint silver lining: Say the start of the baseball season is pushed back a month. That consumes part if not all of Justin Verlander's recovery time from his lat strain. 3. Maybe trite to some, but should be true for all: Bronze-The Golden Rule Silver-Take nothing for granted. Gold-Tomorrow isn't promised.

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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