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ALCS Live Blog: Rangers-Yankees ALCS Game 5

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7:55 PM: That’ll do it.  Yankees win 7-2 and we’re headed back to Texas for Game 6.

7:46 PM: Yep, here comes Mo.  It’s a non-save situation, but Rivera hasn’t pitched in five days and needs a little work.

7:35 PM: This one is just about over.  Granderson just launched a line drive homer to right field in the top of the eighth inning, moving the Yankees to a 7-2 lead here in Game 5.  Mariano Rivera is warming in the bullpen and appears likely to take on the Rangers in the top of the ninth.

7:28 PM: Wood is rolling right along for the Yankees.  The former Cubs starter and Indians closer retired Vlad on a groundout to the mound, Murphy on a strikeout and Ian Kinsler on a groundout to a diving A-Rod at third base.  The Yanks need only three more outs to advance to Game 6 in Texas.

7:21 PM: A-Rod stole a base and Marcus Thames nearly homered, but the Yankees ultimately went scoreless in the bottom of the seventh frame.  The Rangers still trail 6-2.

7:03 PM: Andrus kicked off the top of the seventh with a leadoff walk and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Kerry Wood.  But Wood caught the speedy shortstop leaning toward third base one at-bat later and connected with Jeter for a crucial pickoff.  Wood then retired Hamilton with a nasty breaking ball to finish off the Rangers’ mild threat in the top of the seventh.

6:47 PM: Kirkman surrendered a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth to Granderson, but the Yankees opted to have Brett Gardner lay down a sacrifice bunt and the young Texas lefty got Swisher to ground into an inning-ending double play.  The Yankees are up 6-2 as Game 5 moves to the seventh inning.

Moral of the story here?  Never give a pitcher his first out, especially a 24-year-old with zero postseason experience and only 16.1 total major league innings to his name.

6:34 PM: Wilson has been pulled after allowing six hits and six runs over five innings.  He threw 93 pitches, only 48 of which were registered as strikes.  Michael Kirkman, 24, has been brought on in relief and will be making his postseason debut.

6:29 PM: The Rangers mustered only one run out of a busy sixth frame, but Sabathia has been pushed to 112 pitches and could be pulled in the seventh if the Texas lineup can manage a baserunner or two.  The Yanks still lead, 6-2.

6:08 PM: Swisher drew a walk to open the bottom of the fifth, A-Rod delivered his first extra-base hit of the 2010 postseason one out later, then Marcus Thames was intentionally walked in front of Berkman, who has struggled traditionally against left-handed pitchers.  You know how this one goes.

Berkman delivered exactly what the Yankees needed, launching a sky-high fly ball to deep center field that allowed Swisher to tag and score from third.  New York leads 6-1 as we head to the sixth inning.

6:00 PM: If the Rangers are going to make a comeback here in Game 5, they’ll have to do it without one of their best sluggers.

Morosi reports that Nelson Cruz has been pulled because of a tight left hamstring.  David Murphy will take over in left field.  Cruz missed a ton of time this season because of problems with his left hammy and could be asked to sit out a potential Game 6.

5:58 PM: Sabathia allowed two singles after Treanor’s solo shot, but got Hamilton to ground into a double play to end the top of the fifth.  The big man has thrown 79 pitches, 54 of which have been strikes.

5:52 PM: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says that the Yankee Stadium scoreboard had Treanor pegged as a “Jeff.”  His first name is Matt, of course.  Redemption!  Or whatever.

5:50 PM: Misty May’s husband!  Misty May’s husband!

Treanor, the Rangers’ catcher du jour, launched a home run to left field off Sabathia to open the top of the fifth inning.  Texas is now in Slam Range with a 5-1 deficit and will look to keep chipping away.

5:41 PM: Posada opened the bottom of the fourth with a double to left field and advanced to third base one at-bat later when Granderson launched a fly ball to deep center field.  The veteran catcher was unable to reach home plate, however, and the score remains 5-0 Yanks as Game 5 moves to the fifth inning.

5:32 PM: TBS sideline man Craig Sager reports that Berkman got the wind knocked out of him and couldn’t breath during the final at-bat of the top of the fourth.  But he was spotted smiling in the Yankees’ dugout moments later and should be fine for the rest of the game.

5:30 PM: Berkman lost his footing on the infield warning track while tracking down a foul ball in the top of the fourth.  He laid on the ground for about a minute, but replays showed that he did not hit his head on the ground and he was able to man first base for the rest of the frame.  It’s something we’ll be sure to keep an eye on.

5:26 PM: Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz lifted a high fastball into the gap in right-center field for a one-out single in the fourth inning.  Cruz is working on a 10-game postseason hitting streak, as is the speedy Andrus, but Sabathia retired Kinsler on a strikeout and then Jeff Francoeur on a sharp groundout to end the top of the fourth.  The Rangers have left runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings.

5:17 PM: Wilson rallied for three straight outs after Swisher and Cano’s back-to-back shots, but the left-hander has thrown 56 pitches — 28 of which have been strikes — and could struggle to last longer than five or six innings.

5:09 PM: Wow.  Hitting against a backdrop of “MVP” chants, Robbie Cano just went yard over Yankee Stadium’s short right field fence.  It is now 5-0 Yanks here in Game 5 of the ALCS.

5:07 PM: Nick Swisher, rocking the high socks, took Wilson deep on a flat inside fastball to open the bottom of the third inning.  The Yankees are up 4-0 with no outs and Cano stepping to the plate.

5:03 PM: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus reached on an infield single that barely stayed fair, advanced to second base on a Michael Young groundout, then stole third base without a throw.  But Sabathia retired Hamilton on a two-out liner to Jeter and ended the threat in the top of third.  Sabathia looks like he might be settling in.

4:49 PM: So much for that late-arriving crowd.  And all that talk about momentum.  Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson knocked a one-out single to shallow right field and a few bad throws by the Rangers allowed both Berkman and Posada to score.  It’s 3-0 Yanks.

4:45 PM: And, just like that, the Yankees are on the board.  Jorge Posada drew a 2-0 count then pushed an over-the-middle fastball into left field as A-Rod raced around to score.  New York leads 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning.

4:42 PM: Wilson threw a first-pitch ball to the first three batters he faced in the first inning, walked both Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman on four straight pitches in the bottom of the second.  Wilson has been excellent this October, but he issued a league-high 93 walks during the regular season and that same lack of control is costing him tonight.

4:33 PM: Ian Kinsler delivered the Rangers’ third hit of the game in the top of the second inning with a shallow single to center field.  Kinsler then stole second base moments later, but Sabathia got out of the jam with a strikeout of catcher Matt Treanor.  Go ahead and file this under “who cares” or “we already know that,” but Treanor is married to celebrity beach volleyball player Misty May Treanor.  Beat that, Jeter.  Oh.

4:25 PM: Wilson carved through the top of the Yankees’ batting order in the bottom of the first, getting Derek Jeter to ground out, Nick Swisher to line out and Robinson Cano on a groundout to second.  Cano is batting in the three-hole this evening because of Mark Teixeira’s hamstring injury.  Big Tex has been ruled out for the rest of the postseason.

4:19 PM: Sabathia allowed two hits in the top of the first inning — one to leadoff man Elvis Andrus and another to hot-hitting outfielder Josh Hamilton — but the Yankees ace induced a key double play and struck out Vladimir Guerrero to finish off the frame.

4:13 PM: Here we are.  The Rangers lead their seven-game ALCS matchup with the Yankees 3-1 and are looking to advance to the franchise’s first-ever World Series with a win this evening in The Bronx.  Yankee Stadium is not exactly rocking, probably due to the odd start time and a late-arriving crowd, but the Yanks do have CC Sabathia on the mound and will look to get going offensively against Texas lefty C.J. Wilson.  We’ll keep tabs on the progress of Game 5 all evening.

Delmon Young arrested for choking, threatening a valet

Delmon Young
Getty Images
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Major leaguer Delmon Young was arrested in Miami last night after allegedly choking and threatening a valet attendant, and using ethnic slurs. Andy Slater of 940-AM WINZ in Miami was the first to report Young’s arrest. HardballTalk has independently confirmed the report after speaking to the Miami Police Department.

According to the report, Young was angry that a valet at the Viceroy Hotel in Miami wouldn’t open a door with access to a club. He allegedly put his hands around the valet’s throat and said “Stupid Cuban, open the f***ing door,” and “I’m gonna f***ing kill you, you Latin piece of s**t.” Young, who lives at the Viceroy, fled the scene and was later arrested in his room. He initially denied that he took part in the confrontation but the valet identified him to police officers. When he was being arrested Young allegedly told the police officer “I’ll slap you in the face with money you f***ing Cuban.” Oh, and he was naked from the waist down when he first opened the door for the police and appeared to be intoxicated, slurring his speech.

As you no doubt recall, Young was arrested in New York in 2012 and eventually pled guilty for harassing people on the street and using anti-Semitic slurs while appearing in a “highly intoxicated” state.

Young, 30, hit .270/.289/.339 in 52 games for the Orioles last year. He has played for the Devil Rays and Rays, the Twins, the Tigers and the Phillies before two seasons in Baltimore. The veteran of ten major league seasons is a free agent right now. And, from the sound of things, he’s likely to stay that way indefinitely.

Here’s the police report:

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.