Brian Matusz has a 9.84 ERA and the highest homer rate ever

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Brian Matusz had the shortest start of his miserable season yesterday, recording just four outs while allowing five runs against the Yankees.

He threw 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA as a 23-year-old rookie last season, but instead of establishing himself atop the Orioles’ rotation Matusz is 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA in 10 starts and spent much of the season in the minors.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail indicated that yesterday was probably Matusz’s final start of the season, admitting to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that “I don’t know that he’s doing us any good or we’re doing him any good” by remaining in the rotation to take a beating every five days.

Buck Showalter wouldn’t commit to Matusz’s status either way, but the left-hander has coughed up 48 runs in 43 innings while allowing opponents to hit .364 with a .679 slugging percentage. To put that in some context, consider that Jose Bautista is hitting .306 with a .632 slugging percentage.

As part of his overall struggles Matusz is in historic territory when it comes to serving up homers. He’s surrendered 15 long balls in 43 innings for a rate of 3.1 homers per nine innings, which is the highest homer rate in baseball history among all pitchers with at least 10 starts. If he were to somehow throw 200 innings at that rate it would equal 70 homers.

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).