The Brewers and Rangers make a trade

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It ain’t Kenny Lofton for David Justice and Marquis Grissom, but a spring training trade is always fun.  Today’s version: the Rangers trade infielder Ray Olmedo to the Brewers for catcher Matt Treanor.

Matt Treanor is a backup catcher who can’t hit, and his presence in Texas is significant only insofar as (a) he’s, like, the fifth catcher the Rangers have traded for since everyone was talking about how much catching depth they had at the beginning of last year; and (b) he’s married to one half of what has been called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.”  Misty May-Treanor once played volleyball with President Bush, who is the former owner of the Rangers, so I’m guessing the wheels started turning on this deal 15 years ago or so.

Olmedo is notable for being waived and outrighted to the minors more times than he has professional hits (estimated). Also: someone updated his Wikipedia page with this trade within five minutes of it being announced on Twitter, which means he probably has a very dedicated stalker out there somewhere, lurking.

Programming note: Given the heat this news is generating in blogosphere, it may take me a while to write the “What they’re saying about the Treanor-Olmedo” post.  I mean, a man can only process so much analysis so fast.

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).