Mets' hitting coach Howard Johnson is probably going to get fired

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When you come off a 2-9 road trip in which your team was shut out four times, there’s a decent chance your hitting coach is gonna be in deep trouble. That seems to be the case with the Mets, reports Adam Rubin. Omar Minaya seems poised to fire someone, and that someone is likely to be Howard Johnson.

I remain of the opinion that hitting coaches basically make little difference in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, I think they serve a larger purpose as fall guys than they do in actually helping a team hit the ball better. And Johnson appears to be a fall guy here. The firing designed to forestall Jerry Manuel’s, whose firing in turn will be designed to forestall Omar Minaya’s.

Watch: Brian McCann’s incredible tag nails Greg Bird at home plate

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Things got a little wild in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday. With one out and runners at the corners, Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton fired a 1-1 fastball to Todd Frazier. Frazier returned the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, who tossed a perfect throw over to Brian McCann at the plate just as Greg Bird came charging home. McCann’s setup was flawless, nailing Bird as he slid into the plate and nullifying the Yankees’ first real attempt to get on the board.

That’s as close as the Yankees have come to scoring so far. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with Evan Gattis‘ 405-footer off of CC Sabathia in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Altuve chimed in with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth, while McCann followed his lead-preserving tag with an equally jaw-dropping two-out, two-RBI double. Houston currently leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth.