Jonathan Sanchez suspended six games for throwing at Allen Craig

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Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates’ left-hander Jonathan Sanchez has been suspended six games and fined an undisclosed amount for throwing at Cardinals’ first baseman Allen Craig last night.

Sanchez has already appealed the suspension and is eligible to pitch tonight, though keeping him away from a mound may be the best strategy for the Pirates if they want to win baseball games.

Sanchez failed to retire a batter in his start last night. He served up back-to-back homers to Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran and a single to Matt Holliday before he threw near the head of Craig and was ejected by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle came out to argue the decision and was also given the heave-ho. You can watch video of the incident here.

Sanchez has allowed 16 runs on 21 hits and five walks over just 11 1/3 innings of work this season. The 30-year-old has an eye-popping 8.76 ERA in 19 starts dating back to the start of last season.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.