Jimmy Fallon and the art of the non-interview

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fallon_100112.jpgIf you need any more evidence that NBC is destroying its late night lineup by driving off Conan O’Brien, look no further than Monday night’s appearance by David Ortiz on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

(kudos to Dan Lamothe at Red Sox Monster)

We all know that celebrities use talk shows to promote things they are selling to the public, whether movies, or music, or, as in Ortiz’s case, a line of hot sauce.

But you’d think that on the day Mark McGwire admitted taking steroids, a prominent baseball player like Ortiz – who has himself been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs – might have something to say on the topic. Or at least ask him about it and deal with the brush-off. You know Letterman would ask five or 10 times before giving up or running out of time.

But Fallon, as lovable and irrepressibly charming as he is, either was unable – or unwilling – to ask Ortiz any questions of substance. Instead he fawned over his Boston Red Sox hero, talked about the movie Fever Pitch, and generally wasted time.

Actual sequence from interview:

Ortiz: We have two more (hot sauce flavors) coming out.
Fallon: Two more? (stunned) Oh my gosh.

Wow. That’s some good stuff.

By the way, the fellas on Morning Joe had Papi on Tuesday morning (enough with the hot sauce!) and they managed to ask him about McGwire. Ortiz didn’t say a whole lot, but at least they tried. See Jimmy, that wasn’t so hard. He didn’t even get mad!

Watch the video below:

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).