The Braves are looking at outfielders

3 Comments

Based on today’s report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, it’s pretty clear that the Braves are going to make one more move before the trade deadline, in all likelihood for an outfielder:

When McLouth was sidelined on June 9 with a concussion, he was hitting
just .176 with a .295 on-base percentage. In the seven rehab games he
played for Triple-A Gwinnett, the former All-Star outfielder recorded
eight hits (seven singles and one homer) in 31 at-bats.

“I think we have to be open,” Wren said. “We still have to be in that
mode of evaluating and seeing what opportunities there are. At the same
time, we need to figure out what’s the biggest thing we need.

“I just don’t know yet. That’s not being evasive. I just think we need
to let this play out a little bit.”

As Wren narrows his focus on the trade market, he and his scouts are
evaluating players who could improve his club while playing either left
field or center field. Some of the players they have evaluated include
Kansas City’s David DeJesus, Florida’s Cody Ross, Milwaukee’s Corey Hart
and Washington’s Josh Willingham.

I can’t recall a contending team with an outfield as poor as Atlanta’s is right now, and that’s even if Nate McClouth comes back with some improvement over his pre-concussion performance.  And as long the names Frank Wren is considering are limited to the likes of DeJesus, Ross, Hart and Willingham — and don’t include names like “Jose Guillen” — Atlanta has a good chance of upgrading the outfield at some point in the next few days.

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).