Yankee Stadium has been a Mausoleum

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It’s hard to truly gauge crowd noise from the TV broadcast. TBS, for example, is notorious for over-amplifying the crowd via some unique mic placement (they did it with the Braves for years and still do it now that they broadcast national games).  At the same time, the Indians broadcasts I watch most nights during the summer seem unnaturally quiet compared to the way I know that ballpark sounds in person.

But despite the vagaries of technology, it’s been pretty obvious how quiet Yankee Stadium was during the first two games of the Series (where is this guy?).  Buck and McCarver talked about it at length last night, and today FOX’s Ken Rosenthal gets the Phillies’ take on it:

Thank goodness the World Series is leaving New York so we can get a little atmosphere.

“Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy, I was really expecting some of that here,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “It was very tame and civil.”

…From mystique and aura to tame and civil. What has the Bronx come to?

“Expensive tickets running loud people out,” Rollins said, referring to the high prices at the new Yankee Stadium . . .I asked the three Phillies outfielders in Game 1 — Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth — if they had heard any abuse from the fans.

“Crickets,” one of the outfielders said, and I don’t even know why I am granting him anonymity; it’s not like revealing his identity would put him in any danger.

I’ve certainly noticed the price-the-passionate-fans-out effect in other venues.  Ohio State basketball games used to be raucous before they moved into a big plush and expensive arena a decade ago.  Almost every new NFL stadium has rendered the previous roar of the home crowd a murmur.

But the Stadium has been loud at times this postseason, so I’m not willing to totally chalk it up to the richies taking over.  There may be some of that — especially considering that the ultra-richies probably buy tickets from the mere super richies for the World Series — but I think the dominating performance by Lee in Game 1 and the stronger than expected outing from Pedro last night had a lot more to do with it.  There has yet to be an instance in either game where Yankees fans had justification to go crazy so, not surprisingly, they haven’t gone crazy.

All of that said, I expect Philly to be positively insane tomorrow night. I mean, even if nothing exciting happens on the field, the roar of Philly fans yelling about how no one believes in them will be deafening enough on its own.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).