My managerial ejection conspiracy theory

12 Comments

Charlie Manuel was ejected early in today’s Phillies-Indians game. Game time temperature in Philly was 94 degrees and it’s probably getting hotter. The manager’s office is air conditioned, there’s HD TV, and if Cholly is as awesome as I like to imagine he is, there’s probably a six pack of Ballantine or Hamm’s or some other brand of defunct beer that only he can get because he knows a guy who knows a guy.

What’ I’m saying is, I think the fix is in and Charlie wanted a breather from the hot day.  I have no evidence for this. I’m just speculatin’ on a hypothesis. Worth noting though, that the Phillies were already up 4-0 at the time against a weak team. In short, it’s not a day that requires Manuel’s managerial expertise.

I’ve always thought that Bobby Cox does this, by the way. Indeed, there was a stretch there — especially between 2006 and 2009 when the Braves weren’t playing so hot — where if it was a day game above 85 degrees, you could almost guarantee that Cox was going to get run for arguing balls and strikes. And he wouldn’t put up much of a fight, either. He’d go straight to the magic words, sometimes barely leaving the dugout before he was ejected. I think he was jonesin’ for the AC as well.

And I’m not being critical here. I love it!  Probably because I’m a giant wuss when it comes to heat and I’m totally projecting on two of my favorite managers in the game. I wish I could do what they do, and I’d like to pretend that they’d do what I’d do, even if doing so is pretty selfish and irresponsible. It’s probably also worth mentioning that when I woke up this morning my air conditioner wasn’t working and, as I type this, a repairman is working on it while the temperature in my house climbs above 80.

So, yeah, double the envy of the beer sipppin, feet-on-the-desk Charlie Manuel, who (in my mind at least) is thinking that today’s adversary Manny Acta is an A-1 sucker for not gettin’ wise to his plan, see?

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

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).