Mike Stanton on the verge of call-up to Marlins

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Marlins prospect Mike Stanton kept rolling last night with two more homers, giving the 20-year-old outfielder 20 long balls in 48 games at Double-A. He’s also hitting a career-high .307 with a .436 on-base percentage, .722 slugging percentage, and nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (50).
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com notes that Stanton could be on the verge of a call-up to the majors, as Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and assistant general manager Dan Jennings were both on hand to see his latest power display yesterday and, like with Stephen Strasburg in Washington, any service time-related considerations are no longer a factor.
According to Frisaro the Marlins think Stanton is ready for the majors offensively despite being six months shy of his 21st birthday, but “defensively the team is still weighing if he can handle playing right field in the big leagues on a daily basis.” Stanton has also been playing some left field recently, leading to speculation that Chris Coghlan could be the odd man out.
Coghlan has been hot lately, however, collecting three hits in back-to-back games and batting nearly .300 over the past three weeks, so benching or demoting the struggling Cameron Maybin is also a possibility. In that scenario the Marlins would shift Cody Ross to center field, with Stanton in right and Coghlan in left.

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).