Is Dom Brown too much of a hot dog?

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Of course you might think a Braves fan is going to say that. Like I noted earlier, baseball fans are capable of some pretty amazing homerism and provincialism. But it’s not a Braves fan saying it this time. I don’t have any negative opinions of Dom Brown outside of his low walk total. As Bob Brookover of the Philly Inquirer reports, however, some are taking issue with the Phillies’ breakout star. Sure, the fans love him, but …

The response among baseball’s scouts and executives in attendance was a little different. Many of them did not like the way Brown flipped his bat, then took a turn so wide it looked as if he had entered a Jersey jughandle before making a left at first base. Equally disturbing to some is the leftfielder’s routine after he crosses home plate. He has a ritual handshake with teammate Ryan Howard when the Phillies’ cleanup hitter scores in front of him, and he also has a martial arts-type salute in which he puts his hands together.

Brookover goes on to quote a scout voicing his disapproval and some Marlins players saying that they won’t forget the display.

Bah. This is so much baloney. I mean, yes, it may very well get him a fastball in the ribs at some point, but this is a guy having the time of his life after years of frustrated promise. And he’s singlehandedly carrying this team back into contention. Plus, he doesn’t have any other karma about him from any past bad acts. Contrast this, say, with Yunel Escobar who (a) is already someone who has demonstrated knucklehead behavior in the past; and (b) does his showboating when his team is way behind in a game.

I suppose people’s mileage may vary, but I sorta feel like some slack ought to be cut here.

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).