The Pallilog

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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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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