Deep Thoughts: PED-using coaches edition

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Several readers suggested this one:  If it’s such a big deal that the Cardinals have hired a coach who took PEDs — if he’s toxic, if he’s a distraction — then why does no one care that Glenallen Hill coaches for the Colorado Rockies?

And don’t tell me that it’s because Hill, unlike McGwire, truly “came clean.” His story to George Mitchell was that he bought HGH but never used it. That standing alone doesn’t pass the smell test any better than McGwire’s “I took it for health purposes.” It’s the PED-equivalent of “I didn’t inhale.”  It was also contradicted directly by (a) his dealer, Kirk Radomski, who claimed that Hill did indeed take the drugs he was sold and even told Radomski about their effects; and (b) Jason Grimsley, who swore out an affidavit stating that Hill used steroids.  Unlike Hill, both Radomski and Grimsley were under legal compulsion to provide their information.

So, in Glenallen Hill and Mark McGwire we have two PED-using coaches who haven’t come clean according to the standards of people like Ken Rosenthal and Howard Bryant.  In light of that, if anyone can tell me why the former is allowed to go about his business and the latter is currently the subject of a full court media press trying to oust him from his job before he can even start it, please let me know, because I really don’t get it.

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).