Alex Gordon: "I'm going to dominate next year"

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Alex Gordon hasn’t done a whole lot since the Royals recalled him from the minors in mid-July, hitting .233/.323/.375 in 52 games, but he’s drawn some walks, shown some power, and most importantly is finally getting another chance to play regularly after destroying Triple-A pitching.
Gordon will turn 27 years old this winter, so the former college player of the year and No. 2 overall pick is rapidly approaching “put up or shut up” time given his .247/.330/.408 career line in 1,601 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
And he’s certainly talking a good game about his plans for 2011, telling Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “going to dominate next year.”
Here’s more from Gordon:

Not that this year is over, but I’m going to dominate next year. I’ve shown flashes, but something that’s bothered me is I haven’t been consistent. I show flashes, and then I go into a little bit of a slump that kind of erases what I did. I just need to figure out how to be consistent and put it all together throughout the year. I feel comfortable in left field. I was struggling at third [base], and it was taking too much out of me. My numbers aren’t where I want them to be. I’m not producing like I want to produce. But I’m feeling good out there, and I think it’s going to come around.

Gordon is never going to live up to the tremendous hype he had as a college star or top-ranked prospect, but I remain convinced that he can be a very solid big-league hitter. I’m not quite as confident about that happening in Kansas City, because the Royals sent him to the minors at age 26 and only recalled him when he put up ridiculous numbers for three months at Triple-A.
With that said, general manager Dayton Moore talked to Dutton about Gordon and indicated that perhaps they have a bit more faith in him than I believed:

I think Alex is going to have a great year next year. I really do. I think Alex is going to be a solid contributor. I’ll say this: You can win a championship with Alex Gordon on your club. We’re counting on him to be that type of guy when we’re ready to win.

I still think there’s a pretty good chance the Royals trade Gordon this offseason, but if he does remain in Kansas City at least it now sounds like he’ll do so as an everyday player in 2011. And after that, if Gordon fails to produce, then he sank on his own.

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.