The Angels "are not limited financially in any way"

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You know who is going to be a big free agent player? The Los Angeles Angels are going to be a big free agent player.  Why? Because they don’t care if they lose money or not. Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles:

According to a baseball source, the Angels expect to lose about $10
million this season. So will Moreno go deeper into his pocket to get
[Carl] Crawford? Or will the Angels try to shed payroll to accommodate that
contract?

Well, just about every team in baseball that’s losing money (or that at least says it’s losing money) would say it’s time for austerity. Not the Angels. Here, quoted by Saxon, is Angels GM Tony Reagins:

“You always have to take account of how the finances work, but we’re not
limited financially in any way. Whatever we need to do that makes sense
and that’s reasonable, we’ll address.”

I’m reminded of my man Charlie Kane when told that he was losing a million dollars a year in late 19th century money:

“You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a
million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next
year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year,
I’ll have to close this place in . . . 60 years.

That’s pretty much Arte Moreno’s m.o., it would seem. No, not fomenting wars with Cuba and forcing his wife to do jigsaw puzzles in front of a comically over-sized fireplace, but in keeping year-to-year losses in perspective while realizing that overall value is where it’s at.

I don’t know how much the Angels are really losing, but let’s say it’s $10 million.  Given Moreno’s investments in marketing and the ballpark and the payroll and everything else, how much more are the Angels worth today than when he bought the team a few years ago?  I’m betting quite a bit. Certainly enough to absorb a $10 million loss. And certainly enough to afford Carl Crawford.

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).