Shaun Marcum is still dealing with shoulder soreness

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Shaun Marcum was bothered by some shoulder stiffness late last week, but the Brewers still had him penciled in to make his Cactus League debut this Saturday against the Giants. Not anymore.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Marcum felt continued discomfort playing catch over the past two days and was scratched from Saturday’s start after being examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch.

The setback means that Marcum will not have a chance to get fully stretched out during spring training, but Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke hasn’t ruled him out for the start of the season.

“He won’t be stretched out to 90 pitches, but if we get him to 75 pitches, we feel pretty good about him going into the season,” Roenicke said.

It’s worth noting that Marcum skipped a start last spring with shoulder tightness, but managed to start the season on time and posted an outstanding 2.21 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio across 36 2/3 innings over six April starts. The Brewers are naturally hoping they’ll have similar luck this year.

UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Marcum has been shut down for the next 2-3 three days, likely after receiving a cortisone injection. However, the Brewers remain confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season.

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).