Scott Schoeneweis hoping to make a comeback this year

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For Scott Schoeneweis, things haven’t been very easy these past couple of years.

The 37-year-old lefty lost his wife to a drug overdose in May of 2009 and has pitched to a 7.41 ERA and 1.89 WHIP over the last two years with Arizona and Boston.  The Red Sox gave him a look in 2010 when he was dumped by the Diamondbacks, but they designated him for assignment after just 15 appearances because he was ineffective and hurting their bullpen.

Schoeneweis, owner of a .229/.304/.309 career line against left-handed batters, hasn’t pitched in a big league game since the Red Sox cut ties with him on May 19, 2010.

But he’s hoping to change that.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Schoeneweis is on the hunt for a minor league contract and an invitation to spring training.  He wants to win a lefty specialist gig in a team’s bullpen and thinks he is well enough physically to turn his career around in 2011.

“I don’t know too many people who could have done what I’ve done considering the circumstances,” Schoeneweis told Cafardo.  “Seems as if I’m being penalized instead of applauded.  It’s not sour grapes. My place is more important to be here raising the kids, but for me personally, I wasn’t quite done. My skills haven’t diminished.”

The veteran southpaw will probably get a shot somewhere.  Whether he actually has something left is another story.

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).