Astros reportedly reluctant to trade starter Brett Myers

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While the focus has understandably been on Roy Oswalt, his rotation-mate Brett Myers is another good starting pitcher likely to be targeted by contenders before the trade deadline.
Last night he tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Cubs, marking the 20th time in 20 starts this season that Myers has logged at least six innings. In addition to the workload reliability he has a 3.24 ERA and 101/41 K/BB ratio in 136 innings overall and has just one fewer Quality Start than Oswalt.
While not really a fly-ball pitcher Myers has struggled at times to keep the ball in the ballpark, serving up an average of 31 homers per 200 innings during eight seasons with the Phillies. However, he’s been able to keep the long balls in check since joining the Astros as a free agent this offseason and has a 4.33 ERA in 203 career starts.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Astros are reluctant to trade Myers and “will need to be overwhelmed in order to move him” because they “hope that he could be a foundation for future rotations.” Which doesn’t really make sense, because he’ll be 30 years old next month and figures to choose free agency instead of the $8 million mutual option in his contract for 2011.
As a veteran who’s increased his value significantly since signing a team-friendly one-year contract this offseason Myers is exactly the type of player the Astros should be looking to cash in for prospects that can actually be part of the long-term plans and Rosenthal notes that he’s “attracted interest from multiple clubs.”

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).