With the trade deadline in our rear view mirror, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of the HBT Multiverse* for clicking in and reading us as the rumors went wild and the news nuggets flew these past couple of weeks.
Traffic was through the roof in July. That’s nice, but even nicer is that there has been a nice steady climb in readership of the blog each month since the day we started it last year. That means that you’re not only showing up for the big news and transactions, but that you’re sticking around for the highs and lows of the baseball season too. We’re glad you’ve come and we’re glad you’ve stayed.
I know the redesign was rocky and at times annoying and I know that no one needs to see my pasty mug on video six times a week, but through all that adversity, you folks have remained loyal and — more importantly — haven’t stopped giving us the business in the comments when we’ve needed it. We view this blog as a conversation, and we’re happy you’re talking back.
We’re pumped as hell for the pennant races to start sizzling this month and next, and from the playoffs through the winter meetings and on into next spring we’re going to keep it rockin’ like Dokken for you.
In the meantime, never hesitate to click the little “tip/feedback” button to the left to tell us what you’re hearing, what you like, what you hate and anything and everything else you can think of short of requests to help you “liberate certain funds that are on deposit with the Central Bank of Nigeria.” Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us three, four and five times, well, that was Gleeman’s fault. He thought we were due.
I lost my train of thought. So let me just explain — wait, that would take too long, so let me sum up — by saying, once again, thanks!
*Take that Yankees and Red Sox. You can have your puny universes and nations.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.