How Ozzie Guillen gets to Florida

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We’ve been tracking the notion of Ozzie Guillen getting out of his White Sox contract to the Florida Marlins for some time now.  Ken Rosenthal has too, and this morning he’s reporting that Ozzie has a plan to do so:  He’ll ask the White Sox for a contract extension beyond 2011 (when his current deal expires) and if and when the White Sox balk, he’ll ask to be released and be allowed to take the Marlins gig:

Guillen wants assurances that the White Sox would like him to remain
manager long-term, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.

The source even outlined a scenario that could lead to Guillen’s departure from the club:

• Guillen asks for a contract extension, one that goes beyond the team simply exercising his club option for 2012.

• The White Sox balk, and Guillen asks owner Jerry Reinsdorf to allow him to pursue the Marlins’ opening.

It’s genius, really, as is Ozzie getting out in front of this thing with some choice quotes Rosenthal runs in his article. The “I want them to extend me because they want me to stay, not because I’m Ozzie” thing is clever in that it (a) signals his intentions; while (b) signaling to Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams that if they let him go, he won’t spin it as some kind of personal slight or anything. That could help defuse the controversy.

We all like to have a laugh at how politically incorrect Ozzie Guillen can be, but really, the guy is a master of politics. He wouldn’t have survived so long in this game if he wasn’t.

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).