Comment of the Day: No, the Braves grounds crew wasn’t messing with Jose Reyes

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Reader Tim’s Neighbor is someone I’ve corresponded with a bit, as he worked for the Braves until recently. No, he wasn’t executive vice president of baseball operations or anything, but when it comes to the issue of Jose Reyes and the curiously wet Turner Field infield, he has some special insight and expertise.

Here’s what Tim’s Neighbor had to say about it in the comments thread a few minutes ago. While it may work to defuse conspiracy theories — and who among us doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory — it probably describes the situation more accurately all the same:

I just left the Braves Ground crew.  I was full time this season up until a few weeks ago.  No way it was intentional.  The crew are creatures of habit who don’t divert from what they are supposed to do every day.  And they do a damn fine job.  I actually texted my buddy on the crew still still and he confirmed that there was nothing sinister.  He said it looked fine even when they dragged both times.

It was crazy hot here yesterday.  You have to throw a little extra water down so the field doesn’t crack over the three hours of heat.  Sometimes, you throw a little extra down.  The Braves Field Director is a lot of things that I won’t go into, but the dude knows is stuff and is widely regarded as one of the best in the biz (he also does the Super Bowl every year).

I’m guessing that Reyes doesn’t know the least bit about field and turf management.  He should stick to getting on base and being speedy.

Any questions?

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).