HBT Weekend Wrapup

8 Comments

It occurred to me as I was driving eight hours back to central Ohio, away from the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan, away from the clean and cool air of the north, away from the fresh cherry pie and away from the easy, uncrowded and unhurried pace of life in my little vacation abode that I could easily write this blog from anywhere, so why not there?

But I have responsibilities here. Kids in school. A wife with a real job. A cat to feed. A fortified compound to patrol.  That kind of thing. I guess the sign of a truly good vacation is that you find yourself obsessing over real estate listings of the area after you’ve left. Alas.

Anyway, here’s what you missed while wondering if you could trust civilian movers to relocate your fortified compound to a little hamlet in Leelanau county:  

  • The Marlins are concerned
    about having to share a playing surface with the Dolphins. Maybe they
    should just lie about how much money they make and hoodwink Dade County
    and the City of Miami into paying for a new ballpark against the will of
    the taxpayers while simultaneously enriching themselves. Oh wait, they already did that.
  • Aroldis Chapman hit 105 on the radar gun. Probably the same one that cop used to clock me at 84 in that speed trap town in New Mexico a few years ago. I mean, no question, both the fastball and I were moving. I just kind of doubt that we were going that fast.
  • Someone needs to tell Nyjer Morgan that, given how he’s not that good at baseball, his primary selling point as a major leaguer is his infectious enthusiasm, positive attitude, old-timey stirrups and hustle (not necessarily in that order). In other words, he really needs to cut out all the bad guy stuff.

And with that, we can dive into this week and push the thoughts of vacationland out of our heads.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

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).