Brandon Wood to get the nod at third for Anaheim

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Mike Scioscia more or less confirmed what folks who think a lot about baseball had been hoping for: Brandon Wood will break Angels’ camp as the starting third baseman.  There had been concerns that the three-year, $10-million deal the club gave to Maicer Izturis this winter would serve to block Wood. Again.  Scioscia says, however, that he’s “looking for [Wood] to get the first opportunity there, with Izzy helping
out with the versatility he brings to play second, third and shortstop.”

Wood hasn’t been
consistent in his multiple cups of coffee over the past three years, but he has simply raked
down on the farm. He has power. He has nothing left to prove at AAA. The Angels need to play him now or lose him forever. I’m high on him, so I’m happy to see that he’s getting a shot at regular playing time.  The only question now is, if Wood struggles early, how short a leash Scioscia will have with him.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.