The Phillies are better than the Mets because they are arrogant and condescending

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Not my words! Those are the words of the Daily News’ Andy Martino, who believes that the biggest thing separating the Phillies and Mets is that the Mets lack “swagger” and lack “arrogance and condescension toward opponents” like the Phillies have:

While the roster is not the deepest, the Mets have never wanted for championship-level talent. The team has, however, lacked the swagger that, to hear those who were there tell it, defined the 1986 Mets, and has defined the 2007-2010 Phillies. Utley will slide spikes-up into any second baseman, and Rollins will publicly bash his opponents. When Colorado manager Jim Tracy this spring complained that the Phillies kept binoculars in their bullpen in an apparent attempt to steal signs, Charlie Manuel told him to “quit crying.” The Phillies manager then, without provocation, accused the Mets of stealing signs.

It all adds up to a “(expletive) you” edge that the Mets lack. From the general manager to the coaching staff to the star players to Chris Carter and Jesus Feliciano, they are almost all nice people. Maybe too nice.

Must be getting close to college football season, because that’s about the only other time you hear people talking b.s. about “swagger” being a cause of on-the-field success as opposed to an effect of it.

At the heart of this article — like so many other article analyzing the Mets’ recent failures — is a fallacy: that the Mets are as talented as the Phillies have been over the past few years.  They’re simply not.

The Phillies have not gone into any season over the past three years with the kinds of black holes in the lineup like the Mets have had in right field and second base or the kinds of nearly season-long injuries like those to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes last year (and into this year). At the same time, the Mets don’t have a single pitcher close to Roy Halladay’s quality (sorry Johan) or a position player as good as Chase Utley (sorry David Wright).  Add in the fact that their manager can’t hold a candle to Charlie Manuel and the notion that all that separates these two teams is likability or swagger is laughable in the extreme.

It’s a comforting idea I suppose — we’d win if only we weren’t so nice! — but it’s hogwash.  Baseball rewards intensity and emotional demeanor less so than any other sport. The games are too long. The season is too long. Calm calculation is just too important.  Attitude can only take you so far.

Ultimately, winning baseball is about talent and execution.  The Mets could fill a wagon with swagger and it wouldn’t do them a damn bit of good. Because the Phillies are just better.

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).