Jamie McCourt is going to demand that the Dodgers be sold

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Major League Baseball hasn’t been all that crazy about Jamie McCourt these past couple of years, but I bet they love her now. Why? Because she’s going to demand that the court overseeing the McCourt divorce order the immediate sale of the Dodgers.  If the court agrees it could save Major League Baseball from having to seize the team from Frank and the extended, ugly litigation that would bring.

As Bill Shaikin reports, the argument is that Frank has endangered the value of the Dodgers and that, as part owner, she is entitled to have the value of the team maximized. That means a sale now, when she and Frank can control it, and — my guess as to a couple of potential arguments — before baseball can impose crazy austerity measures and before Frank can lock the Dodgers into a below-market TV deal with FOX, among other things.

A hearing date is supposed to be set today.  Just knowing how courts work, though, it seems impossible that such a sale could be ordered in the next week or two. That could put Major League Baseball in a bit of a pickle: if Frank can’t make payroll at the end of the month, does baseball still seize the team, as many expect it will? Does it wait to see if a sale is ordered and, if so, simply help the Dodgers float along financially until it can be sold, sort of like what happened with the Rangers?  How, exactly, does baseball proceed as Jamie’s gambit proceeds?

Interesting questions, but ones I bet MLB doesn’t mind having to deal with if, in the meantime, the wheels get turning on a court-ordered sale as opposed to an open-ended MLB-takeover of the club.

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.