Orioles' manager Dave Trembley is in trouble

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How do you know that? Because people who know things — people like Ken Rosenthal — are talking about who should replace him.  Rosenthal’s choice: Phil Garner. He notes that Andy MacPhail interviewed Garner when MacPhail was president of the Cubs.

I was rather surprised that Trembley was even brought back for 2010. He’s a nice fellow and someone you might want to have around when young players first break into the bigs, you know, so as not to scare them or something, but there’s a fine line between being a friendly welcoming face and perpetuating, however inadvertently, a culture that everything’s OK, win or lose. If Trembley has motivational skills they’ve eluded everyone who watches and writes about the team. He reminds me of a more sedate Ned Yost if such a thing is possible.

Firing the manager is always an exercise in scapegoating to some degree, but the Orioles don’t want for talent at the moment. It’s too early to expect them to contend, but it’s not too early for them to be playing sharper baseball, and it’s never a good time for them to be comfortable with losing, which many Orioles fans think this team is quickly becoming.

Is Phil Garner the answer? Eh, I was never a big fan of his, and there’s a danger in overreacting by bringing in rah-rah guys like him and Larry Bowa and their ilk.  But it’s not like anyone expected Trembley to still be around when this team finally does contend. To the contrary, even if the team was doing better right now, he’ll long have accepted a roving instructor or special assistant job within the organization by then for being the dutiful organizational solider he has been, having been replaced by a guy with some experience with a winning team.

And really, something has to change in Baltimore, if for no other reason than to give the fans something to care about for a while.

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).