Some Red Sox odds and ends from Peter Gammons

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Now that Peter Gammons is officially back covering the Red Sox as a part of his NESN gig, he probably feels a lot more comfortable simply working the Boston sources he’s cultivated for thirty some-odd years, and we get the benefit of it.  He was on WEEI the other day and offered the following Sox tidbits:

  • Forget the renewed interest in Jason Bay stuff. Not happening. They made their best offer last summer, it was no better (and maybe worse) than what the Mets have out there now, and it’s not getting any better. My thought: if Bay does go back to the Sox anyway, how much of an eff-you is that to the Mets? Then again, given how long he’s left them hanging on their current offer, the eff-you is already implied;
  • No matter how much people want it to happen, the Sox and the Padres haven’t even talked about potential players that would be involved in an Adrain Gonzalez deal.  As I and many others have noted in the past, Jed Hoyer is the one GM in baseball who can’t be hoodwinked by Theo when it comes to Red Sox prospects, so rather than the Padres and Sox being ideal trading partners, they’re actually horribly matched;
  • Better bet for a big bat in Boston: an early-season Detroit Tigers swoon followed by a trade for Miguel Cabrera.  Yes, he’s more expensive than Gonzalez, but because of that he could no doubt be more easily had;
  • Jacoby Ellsbury is going to play a lot of left field.  Reason: it will help save his legs, and since Mike Cameron is in the fold, it won’t mean much of a defensive hit. Ulterior motive I’m totally making up but which seems plausible: Ellsbury as a left fielder would have lower arbitration comparables than Ellsbury as a centerfielder.  Though I’ll admit, I don’t know that the Sox really think that way;
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka is in “unbelievable shape.”  I don’t suppose that fitness will translate into him working any faster, will it? I’d like to be able to watch one of his starts without falling asleep one of these years.
  • Some wishy-washy talk about how Mike Lowell could be an important contributor and presence and all of that.  I still think they pay for him to to go someplace else.

Lots of other Red Sox dish at the link.  Plenty to chew on with your holiday leftovers.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.