Mark McGwire loves being a hitting coach. Will he be doing it for long?

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Derrick Goold interviews Mark McGwire in the Post-Dispatch today. The key points: Mark McGwire loves being a hitting coach. Mark McGwire is on a one year contract that both sides called an “experiment” when the year began. The Cardinals are currently gagging their way the hell out of playoff contention, primarily because they’re not hitting the ball too well.

Wait, I was told there would be no math, but it’s so easy to do here.

Or is it?  Seems to me that the key to all of this is La Russa.  His contract is up too, and if he decides to come back I’m guessing that McGwire would too because he’s Tony’s boy and all of that.  Plus I’d like to think that John Mozeliak is smart enough to realize that hitting coaches really don’t matter a hill of beans in this world and firing one over the offense tanking would be a pretty empty gesture. If the manager likes him and he’s not some problem, there’s no sense in not keeping him around.  If the manager leaves, let the new manager bring in his own guy.

Oh, one extra key fact from the interview: In addition to his older son who followed him around back during the 1998 home run chase, McGwire’s wife had triplets recently and they have two younger sons who just started school. So take that PED haters

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).