Mannywood no more: Dodgers agree to send Manny Ramirez to White Sox

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Our long national nightmare is over.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the White Sox will acquire Manny Ramirez tomorrow, which means his Dodgers career ended with his coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter and being ejected in the middle of an at-bat for arguing balls and strikes this afternoon.
There’s no word yet on whether the White Sox will send anything back to the Dodgers in exchange for Ramirez or if they’ll simply assume his remaining contract, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms that the 12-time All-Star is headed to Chicago.
This offseason the White Sox chose not to re-sign Jim Thome and instead turned the designated hitter spot over to a rotating cast led by Mark Kotsay. Not surprisingly they’ve gotten some of the worst DH production in the league, so while adding Ramirez can’t get back all the runs and games lost by not keeping Thome it does provide a big upgrade to the middle of the lineup.
Ramirez has hit .311/.405/.510 this season, which is good for a .915 OPS that ranks fourth among all NL hitters with at least 200 plate appearances behind only Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, and Carlos Gonzalez. Whether there’s enough time left for Ramirez to make a big impact on a team 4.5 games out of first place is questionable, but there’s no doubt that the White Sox’s lineup just got a whole lot more dangerous.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.